I don’t like Guild Wars 2.
Allow me to elaborate on that before I am branded an internet troll, dragged to the gallows and publicly ridiculed in front of a rabid MMO community.
Guild Wars 2 seems to be the darling of the industry right now and anyone who played the beta (and even a good chunk of people who never stepped into Tyria 2.0) cannot stop waxing lyrical about its many graces and how it will be the one game to rule them all. On paper it all sounds great. A modern action oriented MMO with a huge overworld to explore, beautiful art direction, interesting combat mechanics and a strong PvP component. Equally important: it will have no monthly fees. What’s not to love? I pre-purchased quite a while ago and couldn’t wait to play it.
Truth is, now that I did play it, I’m having a hard time engaging with the game. I forced myself to level a Mesmer and managed to get all the way to a measly level 7. That’s over two weekends. Something is clearly wrong. During play it felt like I was just mashing away at my abilities as soon as the cool downs expired hoping that the enemy would die before I did. This is nothing like what I saw in a dev video interview where fights were being executed with clever use of skills and impeccable positioning, like some ballet of death. I also found that the combat felt floaty and there was a definite lack of weight behind my attacks. I concede that the Mesmer might have been a poor choice for me or maybe I did not grasp the class. Then again I felt no impetus to try out another class. I just felt numb.
Having any mmo story immediately drop me in a conflict, like GW2 does, never really appealed to me. I want to be set loose on the world and allowed to explore, not be forced to follow a tunnel which the developers decided would be fun for me. I remember the devs talking about coming across a centaur invasion which players are able to repel but that is only fun when players are also given the choice to walk away and take their adventuring elsewhere if they so desire. Forcing us to get involved does not rest well with me. Am I being too nit picky? I mean, this was just the tutorial area and the absolute majority of mmo games do this. And that’s exactly my point. GW2 was meant to be doing things differently! It definitely does not scream ‘evolution of the genre’. It is not helped by the fact that the main story line bored me to death and I did not care an ounce for what was transpiring.
The innovative quest system didn’t really impress me either. If by innovation they meant being able to collect apples or sort out papers to complete a quest in lieu of killing/fetching then I believe that Arena.net has completely missed the boat. The argument that one can choose not to do these chores, and instead go fighting, is moot. I felt that coming across a sparkling bale of hay (or any other mundane item), which you can click to advance your quest, did nothing to immerse me in this world. Ultimately I got alienated by these strong theme park elements very thinly disguised in sandbox trappings.
I do not want to sound like I am bashing the game. I know I have no right to criticize a beta product, especially after only a couple of hours playtime. However I can’t hide my disappointment with what I have experienced so far. In all probability getting involved in a beta was not a good idea to begin with. In fact I deleted the client and will only play the game on release. There is also the possibility that I set my expectations too high. Only time will tell.
Hopefully the finished experience will be very different. Until then I will just pretend Guild Wars 2 does not exist.