Today I found myself trying to explain to a non Guild Wars 1 player what exactly it is about Guild Wars 2 that breaks the mold of many MMOs I’ve played in the past. While GW2 does borrow ideas from several games, I feel this is the first time I’ve seen a game that combines so many original features all in one.
Here were some of the highlights I came up with and wanted to share here as well. These aren’t, by far, the definitive list of awesome things. And again, I’m not saying GW2 is the first to do some of these, but the way they are packaged together makes for a unique MMO experience.
- No such thing as griefing. You can’t kill steal — if you attack something someone else is attacking, everyone gets full EX and loot. This encourages people to work together to achieve the overall goal, even if you’re not grouping. And it works, especially since you’re always moving from one event to another on the map.
- There are no quests. Not in the traditional sense, at least. You walk into an area and you are notified of public events or NPCs that need you to accomplish things for them. These events change the world around you based on whether you win or lose, and often have many ways that you can contribute (besides battle). You’re rewarded for the amount of help you provide in the event once it’s complete. Events scale based on the number of players in the area, too, and will become harder or easier as needed.
- You can’t outlevel content. The whole game is end game. At first I didn’t like the sound of that, but now that I see it in action, it’s great. That means even if you’re a level 50, you can go back and play with new low-level friends or return to events you enjoy. If you go to a level 5 area, you’ll scale down to level 5, but you still earn the experience and loot of a level 50. You also get to keep your elite skills and such, so you’ll be more powerful than an average level 5, just not powerful enough to face roll the content.
- There are no healing classes. So there’s no Tank-Healer-DPS trinity in this game. Everyone can self heal. Some classes have abilities that allow them to heal others around them and heal a bit better, though. But most people are self sufficient enough to make it through. Everyone can rez when needed.
- You don’t die when you die. You go into a “Downed” state. When this happens, your skills change to powerful attacks and self heals that allow you to strike back at the enemy and fight for your life. If you kill the enemy within a certain time, heal through it, or someone comes to help you, you revive and get back into the fight again. You can be defeated, though, if you don’t pull out of the Downed state in time.
- HUGE, seamless cities/world that feel alive. NPCs have lots of funny audio conversations. The cities and world is stunning and beautiful. It feels very massive — I remember opening the city map and my jaw dropping at the sheer size. And that was only one city — each race has their own.
- Personal stories. These are like the instanced missions within the game. Your personal story is effected by questions you answer about your character when you first create them and later branches out based on choices you make within the instances. This allows you to play through the game, even as the same race, with a completely different storyline. Friends can help you through your personal stories, so they’re not just solo things.
- It plays a lot like an single player action RPG. You have to be on the move in battle and learn how to use dodges along with your attacks. You can solo the whole thing, but you’ll never really be alone — since you can just walk into any event, join it and help progress the goals without ever needing to group.
There’s lots more (underwater battle, weapon based skill sets, dynamic World vs. World vs. World, etc.) but the list is long enough as it is!
Do you have any features to add to this list that you feel makes GW2 an unique experience?