Guild Wars 2 Review

I’m writting this 2 year review simply because i’m such a fan of the series, but it’s not going to be all fluff and praise.

While the initial release of the leveling experience wasn’t perfect, it felt fairly well paced.

The caviat however, is progressing through the story should have been precise, it should give players the ability to just go straight through the story all the way through to level 80. While it may have seemed silly to think a player could get to 80 by simply crafting. It was still a very nice choice for players to have, which is completely counter to not being able to leveling through story progression alone.

The world is quite breathtaking and alive.
I still have a good deal of fun just exploring and running across sights and sounds i may have missed or forgotten about. No real downside to this one.

The combat is fluid and just the right amount of action packed.
However, I would have liked having mana as an added layer (like the original). I realize this would make fighting more complex since you’d have another layer for skill management, but i think it would have helped made combat even more interesting and less predictable (PvP). There is also the plain fact that most encounters are auto-attack and dodge. Huge recharges on skills really only goes so far as a mechanic.

Diversity of player characters and customization.
I’ve really enjoyed the whole concept of cosmetics as an end game from the original and it’s just that much more robust in GW2. Sadly, there really just isn’t enough of it to call it end game. While there are lots of skins, many of the better pieces are tied to the gem store.

The gem store and currency exchange.
The way they designed the system is really top notch. The ability to use in-game currency to purchase items out of the store is probably one of the best ideas any game could do with an in-game shop. Yet, i can’t help but feel like the cost on most items are pretty over priced.

The global trading post.
This by-far for me is the most starkly contrasted things in the entire game. While it’s great to be able to just buy what you want, the impact on rest of the game, in terms of rewards and pace of earning currency, is so huge, it’s seems almost impossible to balance. This really feels like a major factor to so many design desicions and ultimately why I feel the rewards are so lacking. One wrong number (or wrong desicion) on the availablity of an item could easily impact a large segement of the economy. Ooops, it’s raining precursors!

Time-gating anything.
This is the most uninspired, cheapest way, to extend the player experience. This game totally “jumped-the-shark” for me when they introduced this as a mechanism to extend the aquisition or percieved worth of anything.

RNG.
While most games of this nature have an RNG mechanic, Guild Wars 2 go so far overboard with it, it’s almost a stellar failure. It’s again a very uninspired, cheap way to gate players from content. Players should ALWAYS feel they are moving closer to aquiring a wanted item. It’s utterly frustrating to be up against pure dumb luck. It’s certainly fine for materials and rare gear to be random. It seems very counter intuative to have reliable ways to earn dungeon gear, but almost everything else (excluding simply buying it in the TP, which is often a moving target) be so random.

More oddities.
I’m really not sure if it’s just inconsitent design concepts or a technical issue, but what’s with the one-way conduit on trading and depositing stuff? It’s very strange that a player can “Deposit all collectables” or Sell items on the TP anywhere in the world, but we still have to goto (or summon) a bank or TP vendor for everything else. Don’t get me wrong, i like being able to dump my mats, but a lot of people don’t even know you can, since you have to go to an bank NPC for EVERYTHING else. It’s oddities like this that are sort of littered throughout the game, and makes players feel like the design direction is half-baked.

Megaserver.
Finally, the creme-de-la-creme. I get it, it’s clear the game released with too many server, hindsight and all. The world feels more populated, yadda-yadda. But, you build a game that pits worlds against each other, that had seperate communities established and then shoved them all together throughout the rest of the game. Then to top it all off, you make the big world events happen on a set schedule. Wow, just, I can’t even.

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