Guild Wars – Review

4/5

Guild Wars is a casual non-gear-oriented PvE MMO with some good PvP to do as well. Some devs from Blizzard wanted to try something new, left Blizzard and created ArenaNet, and they came up with Guild Wars. Considering Guild Wars has sold over 5 millions boxes, we can say with certainty that venture is a great success. Do not let yourself fool by the title that the game is fully PvP, the Guild Wars title actually refers to a certain period of time called Guild Wars in the history of the world of Tyria.

The devs wanted to try many new things and one of them is the settings of the game. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth and creatures have been overused to death during the last decades in novels and games of all sort (D&D to videogames) so for those who want fantasy without having to deal with yet another Tolkien’s inspired world… again, then Guild Wars is your answer. The only remnant of Tolkien in Guild Wars is the Dwarves that we get to interact with, the only playable race in Guild Wars is Human. So the first Guild Wars, called Prophecies, is based on a fantasy medieval europe with its characters (white caucasians) to architecture to armors. The graphics are superb and the art style oh so beautiful, the devs have decided to go toward realism of graphics instead of cartoonish for World of Warcraft. Even though the game has awesome graphics, the game can be played on very low computers and be played as well on dial-up connection, the game was made to be playable for everyone and to look way better than World of Warcraft in term of graphics. The devs have worked very hard on the lore and history of Tyria, fleshing out their world and there is a great variety of different environments from jungles to desert to snowy areas to explore. Even better, the devs have come up with a good storyline in Guild Wars that makes us the heroes and they use well instances, missions and cinematics (voiced videos) to fulfill this. The day you see your own alt in those cinematics, you’re hooked.

Each campaign adds a new area and a new type of people with their own history, you do not need the first game to buy a campaign. In Factions, the game is inspired highly by Asia and the devs have created a fantasy asian game with Asians everywhere, you even get to create your own asian alt. In Nightfall, the devs have inspired themselves from Middle-Orient and Africa to make it, so there are indeed Black and Oriental NPCs everywhere and you get to create your own too. Each campaign has its own storyline similar to the first Guild Wars and each adds two new classes as well as two new slots to play them. In Factions comes the Assassin and the Ritualist and from Nightfall the Paragon and the Dervish. The other playable classes are Warrior, Monk, Elementalist, Necromancer, Mesmer and Ranger. One fascinating aspect of the classes in Guild Wars is that each class has its own unique look and its own unique set of armors that the other classes cannot wear so it really sets them apart. If you want more slots you can now buy them on the online store. The beautiful music in Guild Wars was composed by Jeremy Soule who has previously won prizes for his music in other videogames, and in each campaign the music is different and suits well the different settings.
Guild Wars is a team-based game and you have to team up most of the time in order to do quests and missions. There are Henchmen that can be hired if you cannot find people to play with at that moment, but be aware that the Henchmen take their part of the drops like golds and items and that their AI is so so. In Nightfall, you get better, you get customizable heroes and you can choose which skills they will use and which weapons too, their AI is superior to the regular henchmen but just like them they take their part of the loot too.

The game is mostly instanced so you are alone with your team. It allows for scripted quests, you also don’t have to deal with bad players and you don’t have to wait in line for anything. Once the mobs are killed, they do not respawn. The maps are really good, the small one shows you exactly where you’ve been walking and exactly where you should go for the quest, and the top map at the right, you can also write on it with your mouse if you want to show the strategy you want to use to your teammates more clearly. The game makes it easy to do quests by showing you where to go, that doesn’t mean it will be a one minute trip though. You can only use eight skills at once on your bar so you have to make that decision before leaving town because once you are outside you cannot change your skills.

Talking about skills, it’s pretty much what Guild Wars is about. Each class gets tons of skills (I think each class has over 100 skills now, including elite skills) in different trees and in town you can switch around your points in the trees you want without having to pay a fee. In Guild Wars, each player gets to have as well a second class and everything you’ve unlocked on a class (skills and pet) is kept forever even if you switch around your second class many times (because you can switch too anytime your second class without having to pay a fee). So, the number of possible combinations with the first and second class and the amount of skills available, it makes you think a lot when it’s time to choose which eight skills you will bring with you this time. As I said, the game is pretty much about skills and the storyline, since the max level is 20 and easily reachable, you keep playing the game to follow the storyline but as well to acquire more skills including elite skills only obtainable by killing a certain elite boss.

Maybe it could be time I talk about PvP. The PvP in Guild Wars is fair and square since the game is non-gear-oriented which means anyone with so so armor and weapons can compete with the others in PvP. PvE and PvP are completely separated in Guild Wars which means that PvE players can happily do nothing but PvE and never touch to PvP, also your chance to get ganked is none in Guild Wars, and it’s true the other way around as well since you can create a full PvP alt at max level but you cannot do PvE with that PvP alt. There are many different forms of PvP available in Guild Wars: Guild versus Guild, Random Arena (2 teams of 4 put randomly), Team Arena (2 teams of 4), International PvP (Hall of Monument), some PvP with the Kurzicks and the Luxons and the last PvP Alliance Battle which is my favorite form of PvP. Most players in Guild Wars actually do not PvP or rarely. The devs behind Guild Wars, in order to satisfy the demands of the PvE players, have decided to put aside Guild Wars because the devs are limited with its engine and have decided to restart anew, build a new engine, and make Guild Wars 2 which happens around 250 years after the last expansion (Eyes of the North).

ArenaNet have recently put on sale a Guild Wars Trilogy that contains all three campaigns for a very good price, 50$ USD, which is very good for anyone who has wanted to try out the game but was overwhelmed at the thought of having to buy all three campaigns at 40-45$ USD each.

Nothing is perfect in this world, except for cats of course, so Guild Wars has to have flaws. I think the most important is the constant fights between the PvE players and the PvP players, and for a game where PvE and PvP was supposed to be separated, too many PvP elements was ruining PvE: balancing the skills in term of PvP and ignoring its impact in PvE was one, the Underworld (a dungeon) was only accessible if your country had won x times in the International PvP form, etc. On this matter, 3 years later, ArenaNet has finally fully separated these two but it’s too little too late. Some may find the instances and the absence of jumping a complete turnoff. Also, while at first there was sometimes a class discrimination when it was time to make a team, now it’s builds discrimination where players are not admitted in a team because they do have the "right" build (the set of eight skills on the skill bar). The community is so so and some places are filled with teenagers, or so it seems, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad, there are plenty of nice people but unlike the bad ones they are less vocal. Guild Wars at first was all about fun and no grind, now it’s more about grind and it’s very sad indeed to see. It’s hard to find people to do missions but that is partly because people are spread out through the three campaigns so it makes grouping harder, the other reason is that Guild Wars will not get more content like a new expansion or campaign so some people have burned the game a while ago and have stopped playing the game, awaiting patiently for Guild Wars 2 (or not).

The game is perfect for casual players who love flexibility and who want to play a genuine fantasy game that is in no way related to Tolkien, where they get to be involved in many storylines where they are the heroes and have fun exploring beautiful fantasy worlds, where they can as well play a fair PvP when they want to. They will have to accept though that no new addition will be made to Guild Wars since the devs are focusing solely on Guild Wars 2.

The official website: http://www.guildwars.com/

This is a past blog entry from my gaming blog on Multiply.

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LOTRO and CoV

I’ve never had interest into CoH, thought playing a superhero in a MMO would probably be lame but I thought I’d play the villain version though. Sounds like they listened to a lot of people’s prayers because the villain version came out and I ended up playing it.

CoX is a breeze of fresh air among all those fantasy MMO and being in that modern/scifi environment is fun. Sure you can create supernatural characters of course, from zombies, demons to werewolves, but the surroundings are modern. The character customization is amazing and I must have spent at least an hour creating each of my character. I was surprised to discover that the community was mature and all and I even got the opportunity to RP. CoV’s graphivs are better than CoH and the cities are dirty and the music is really rock. It looks really nice. You get all those weird powers. There is a lot of dark humor in it as well.

I managed to find a good SG and even good friends, one in particular I was RPing a lot with. We were making death threats to each other, it was funny. You get to write your characters’ bio and it’s great to bump into players who take the time to read your bio and act accordingly, and even make jokes about your character.

I’d say the downside is the repetiveness. All the maps are the same, in particular the inside of the buildings.

I was checking out Tabula Rasa too and at some point it looked like it was going to come out so I cancelled my subscription to CoV. I ended up not liking TR later. Anyway, it was a good thing because there were hard moments at that point and I really needed every cent I could save.

Since I get my fantasy fix with GW, I wanted something different as second game, like CoV, or TR. As I said, I was checking out Tabula Rasa, I wanted to be in the beta and so in order to get more experiences in beta I subscribed to other betas including LOTRO. I never checked out LOTRO before. As strange as it may seems, I’m never interested into MMOs based on an IP. I’ve loved Stargate very much but I do not plan to ever play the game, I’m just sick tired now personally of the show and I wish that instead of making a remake (Stargate Altantis), that the producers would come up with a genuine scifi show instead with a new story and background, etc. I do not plan to play either Stars Wars, or Star Trek Online, or Matrix Online, etc. While I do love the LOTR movies, love the book and read other Tolkien books as well (Bilbo, Silmalirion, etc.), I’ve never payed attention to LOTRO. I was chosen to be in its beta thought.

I got tons of problems trying to download the LOTRO client so I was a bit pissed off when I started playing the beta. Still, I’ve fallen slowly but surely in love with LOTRO. I’m not saying the game is without faults but it has so many good things in it. The graphics are beautiful, beside the characters who are a bit awkward I admit; the world is living; the quests are well done and engrossing; the storyline makes me feel as if suddenly I’m in GW, meaning that you’re part of the storyline, not player #23455; it really feels as if you live there and with the housing now it just makes the feeling true; RPing in it is great with a mature community, etc.

I have to admit that lately I’ve started to feel a CoV itch, a desire to go back in it and have fun RPing as a villain and rob banks. The thing though is that I can’t really afford more than one subscription game at once and I really do not want to leave LOTRO that I love dearly. What to do now?

This is a past blog entry from my gaming blog on Multiply.

My rant on Guild Wars

I love Guild Wars, make no mistake, but there are certain elements that were later added to the game that make me cringe, the biggest one being grind.

In Factions, it started small. You had to gain 10 000 faction points in order to advance in the story. While at first it seemed cumbersome, it’s quick to see that there are many ways to gain these points, the most fun being alliance battles, and these points are gained account based so you only gain once these points for all your characters.

Alas, troubles showed up with Nightfall. You have to gain points again, not only Sunspear point but Lightbringer ones as well, and unlike Factions where these points are account based, it’s not the case anymore in Nightfall: you have to gain all these points for each of your characters. Technically, if you’ve gained all expansions, preorders, and used all your slots, you should have around 9 characters. This is a lot, and this without counting those who have bought extra slots like me and/or have multiple accounts.

But it’s really Eyes of the North that has digged the hole with the Hall of Monument, a supposedly hall where our characters in GW 1 could leave their trace and items to their successors in GW 2. Unfortunately, the hall in question has turned into a hall of achievements only accessible to the hardcore players, where the numbers of things being accepted in the hall are very limited, which force people to only play a few of their characters and grind like crazy over titles and expensive armors.

This is my biggest gripe over Guild Wars, the developers are slapping in the face the casual players and patting the hardcore players. The game is about grind now. It’s not as grindy as other games of course but it is a deviation that should be taken seriously and make us worry about the state of Guild Wars 2. I am a hardcore player, I play a lot, I have 16 characters, but I much prefer trying classes, builds, following the story, than grinding for titles and armors for the Hall of Monument. I also do not care about the worth of armors, I only care about the look of armors, many expensive armors are plain, ugly and even creepy. Many of my characters wear outstandingly dashing inexpensive armors and I would prefer seeing my characters wearing their outstandingly dashing inexpensive armors in the Hall of Monument then having to grind to make them wear horrible expensive armors. Looks like my characters won’t have anything to put in their Hall of Monument. A gigantic disappointment!

This is a past blog entry from my gaming blog on Multiply.

Tabula Rasa and other stuff

I WON A TABULA RASA BETA SLOT!!!

Now that I got it out of my system I think I can write normally. Yup, big surprise for me to learn that I’ve won a beta slot. I’m really excited, especially that Tabula Rasa looks better everyday, doesn’t it? I guess the beta should start in january but no date has been set yet.

Am I the only one watching Heroes? I dropped to the floor the first time I watched it, dropped even further when I watched the pilot (that I missed). WoW! I’m really addicted to this show, it’s so painful to wait a whole week just to watch the next episode. Now I’be been waiting weeks already until the Holidays are over so Heroes can finally restart. Supernatural also finished into a cliff-hanger of some sort with Dean ready to die along with his brother. Obviously he has not recovered from his forced rescue in the first episode in the second season, you can see he had chosen to die in this episode, had gotten used to the idea. And the show ended with Dean about to crack and finally tell Sam what their father told him… but no, we got the credits instead. I have to wait weeks again to finally know what it is. This is so cruel.

Dark Flame Blame my meleemancer in GW died peacefully last week. He was replaced by another meleemancer so I’ve been budy rushing her so that she can get a hat coming from the Xmas event in GW.

This is a past blog entry from MySpace.

Gaile is a b****

You probably wonder who is Gaile. She is the spokerperson of ArenaNet who makes Guild Wars. I had a confrontation with her on a board and let’s just say her reputation to my eyes went down the drain.

The event occurred two weeks ago right before the PvP Nightfall event. I was waiting for the possibility of purchasing character slots, which was so dear to my heart I barely slept these past weeks. So, in our thread “More slots”, we were discussing the slots and also the upcoming event and hoping we’d be able to buy the slots before the event in order to participate. Upon reading what Anet wrote it was clear there would be no key or slot unlike all the other events before. Then Gaile showed up and said there would be no key for the event and she would check with her bosses for additional slots.

I was quite frustrated by this news, which is one more proof (no matter how much Anet loves to deny it) that Anet prefers PvP over PvE (death penalty to pets is another, they changed their mind after tons of people complained). You pay for a game, you use at its fullest (all the slots) and when there are events you are punished because if you were a PvP player you’d have a free slot but because you’re a PvE player, too bad, you can’t participate.

So I started a thread but I did this as calm as possible. There are plenty of things I could have written, like Anet sucks let’s bang on them and/or the old PvP PvE warfest. Nope, I wrote like a robot with no feeling whatsoever. Just posted exactly what Gaile wrote (that there would be no key and possibly no slot as well), then mentioned a thread which was showing 45-47% of the players had no free slot and therefore could not participate to the event and then told people to express themselves on the matter, and this without expressing myself. The thread started well with people talking, and even some with no free slot who didn’t mind not participating to the event… up until Gaile showed up.

Gaile had fun calling me names, that I was starting a rumor, and then building up people against me, telling me I was misquoting her. She said she would check with her bosses about the additional slots for the event, she’d go check about them (she meant for the event). I apologized and told her since in the other thread we were talking about buying slots and hoping to get them before the event that she meant to ask her bosses if the purchasable slots would be buyable before the event. But since she said we were not getting keys I was half right so this was not really a rumor thread. Gaile made no apology whatsoever on her side. The thread got locked soon after, which gave people who could not participate no way of expressing themselves on the matter. Gaile finally showed up in game (never came back on the forum on this matter) and said we were not getting slots for the event. Her scripts are usually saved and put in a thread in a different forum and most don’t even look at that forum so people wondered for a week if they’d be able to participate or not when the answer was there in another forum, but there are times she shows up online and people don’t even catch her in time, if they catch her at all. I always check that forum personally and I was really pissed off. My “rumor” thread ended up being 100% fact, Gaile got away with it and now everyone hates me.

This is a past blog entry from MySpace.

The alternative me in Guild Wars… continued

Here are my new characters I made after I bought the extra slots. Yes, we can finally buy extra slots.

My mesmer:

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I based my mesmer on Alec in Dark Angel (the tv show I miss dearly, I shall curse Firefly until the end of time). He was so adorable and so perfectly dark, funny and smart. If you wonder who I’m talking about and you have the courage to look without fainting at this drop dead gorgeous guy, look HEREPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting. I love playing my mesmer so far and I could not resist not tame a melandru stalker as pet, a feline, which goes very well with Alec who was a genetically engineered officer with feline DNA. I knew I was right to say cats are purrfectPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting. My dear mesmer wears the 1.5K Stylish armor, undyed.

My monk:

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I could not resist to the beauty of the asian female characters for my female monk, I decided to create her in Factions instead of the first game. She is so pretty. I made a monk so that there is one more monk in the game considering that there is a shortage of monks. I was worried I would not like the class but I love it, it’s different. She wears the 1.5K Canthan armor, dyed red.

This is a past blog entry from MySpace.

The alternative me in Guild Wars

I spend so much time with them, I might as well show them. I’ve been through so much with them. I waited for them to have their final set of armor before showing them. I plan to make a mesmer and monk soon once they sell character slots. Here they are.

My ranger:

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My ranger is probably the first character I created. He is wearing collector armor right now, undyed. I thought he was pretty lame at the beginning since the damage he was doing with his bow was very low. I tamed a wolf and I really loved that. He is mostly beastmaster but to go to certain places he ends up being a trapper or a barrage/pet ranger. I’ve appreciated him better with time.

My female necromancer:

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My female necromancer was probably created second or third. I really love her. I find necromancy a really fun powerful and cool class to play. I’ve enjoyed playing her right from the start. From my ranger, I really liked Troll Onguent as a self-heal so I picked ranger as second class for her to have that skill. Once I was there, I could not resist not tame a wolf as well, I really love having a pet. I tossed away Troll Onguent rather quick but kept the pet. I usually do blood spike and use the pet with her. Sometimes I switch to curses to go to certain places. She is wearing the 15K Cultist armor right now, undyed.

My elementalist:

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Here is my poor elementalist. I say poor because I really did not like playing him at first, I was not fond of my ranger either but my ranger had a pet, which was to me quite a redeemable feature. Elementalists are overrated in term of damages, necromancers beat them anytime. I picked monk as second class for self-heal and/or maybe in the future replace a monk if necessary. I was using more smithing skills (monk skills) than elementalist skills with him, just to tell you how poor his damages were. Actually the only reason he did not get deleted is because I finally found a quite redeemable feature to him, he is so damn cute I’d gladly take him off the screen and kiss him. And he even looks better with his 15K Aeromancer armor now, undyed. I enjoy admiring him.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My male necromancer:

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Before him I had a warrior/monk. I did not like playing her even though I enjoy melee weapons very much. I guess I find the warrior class very boring, all you do is smash smash smash. As you know, I love the necromancer class and I had heard of the meleemancer builds, a necromancer with melee weapons. I already have my female necromancer but I could not see her hanging around with an axe or a sword, she was happy with her wolf and her life-stealing skills; plus I love melee weapons and I knew I’d want a nice collection (which I started with my W/Mo) and my necromancer’s inventory was already almost full, no place for extra in there. I took a chance and deleted my warrior, created my necromancer, put my warrior’s weapons in the necromancer’s inventory and started to play him. He is actualy more fun to play indeed, playing him requires tactic and inteligence, not just smash smash smash. When I created him, I wanted to make him look like Dhomochevsky in the manga Blame by Tsutomu Nihei, I find Dhomochevsky really cool, but I think my necro looks more like Spike in Buffy. I’ve never liked Buffy but Spike is the only redeemable feature of the tv show and he is really cute. So whether he looks like Spike or Dhomo, I like him. He is wearing the 1.5K Necrotic armor right now, undyed.

My assassin:

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I was really excited by the assassin when I heard about this new class in Factions. When the PvP event happened, I really didn’t know how to play this class, it was weird and not fun after all. During the world open event happened (the PvE event), it was the opposite, seems like I was really grasping the class and the combos. My male necromancer can steal HP, put Life Siphon on mobs to keep his HP up and his warrior skills require adrenaline. But not the assassin. I tried using a pet, in the case of my assassin, a pretty tiger, but no avail. She is a bit hard to play but I have fun and I’m usually the last one standing. She is wearing the 1.5K Kurzick armor right now, dyed silver.

My ritualist:

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When I heard about the ritualist class in Factions, I did not know what to think of this class. My heart was going to the assassin. When the PvP event happened, I really enjoyed and love the class, while I was confused over the assassin. I mean, the other spellcasters are spellcasters, but the ritualist is a witch, a shaman, and as a Wiccan, I felt like a link between this class and my faith, with what I do. I love how expressive she is with her body when she does spells, which inspires me for my faith. During the world open event happened (the PvE event), I had lost connection with my ritualist but gain some with my assassin. I was worried I would not gain back this link once the game would go live but it happened and I enjoy playing her. She is now among my favorites. I gave her the collector dragon mini-pet I bought. Her armor is a mix and match armor, mixed with many armors. Her head gear is Imperial, her top is Seitung, her braces are Canthan and her skirt and shoes are Exotic, all 1.5K armors, dyed red.

This is a past blog entry from MySpace.