Guild Wars 2

So, the cast of Star Wars episode 7 got announced. The curtain was pulled off a new Call of Duty game based on the future that’ll probably have more rock tessellation. New iPhone pics got leaked. Lots of things were said on Twitter. A lot less things were said on Facebook. And more importantly, I had a weekend without too many obligations. Mother’s day happened! But I missed most (I did see my mother at least) of those things. Why? I was playing Guild Wars 2 again.

This is probably the twelfth time since I bought the game in late 2012 that I’ve come back to the game. Whenever I stop playing, it’s normally for inane reasons like feeling guilty for spending so much of my life enjoying myself instead of working to the bone and crafting something nobody will read. Or some new game came out. Or I get addicted to something I can binge watch on Netflix. Inevitably, I always come back to this damn game, like a heroin addict who’s methadone has run out. Okay, that was dark, but it’s kinda how I feel sometimes.

So, you’d think a game that I seem to like enough to be fairly addicted to would qualify as “good.” But the truth is, I had a hard time with this classification. It’s not a perfect game in any sense of the word. But I’d argue that it’s the most important MMO to come out since World of Warcraft. I feel like this is a controversial opinion, even though every critical review of this game gives it a 9/10 or 4/5 and Metacritic’s user reviews are even a 7.9/10. But I’ve seen enough negative vitriol in the comment threads to build a complex around playing this game. “But damn it, this is a good game!” I’d yell in my office to my wife while she shakes her head and sneaks off into the other room to watch anime. Besides, there have been plenty of games that I got addicted to in the past that I would even classify as being passingly decent. Besides, I’ve gone through a lot of terrible games just because they were skinned with a Star Wars theme. Don’t judge me, you know you’ve done it too.

How many terrible MMO’s did you run out and pay $50 for plus a $15/month subscription just to see it go free to play a year later? Oh and by the way, that’s the first thing you should know. It currently runs for $40 on Amazon right now and there is no subscription fee. Let me say that again. You pay $40 once, play in a persistent and constantly evolving MMO world, and never have to pay another red cent. No it is not free to play, but it only costs money once. So what the hell are you waiting for? I’ve endorsed it, and you’re reading this because you give my opinion credence for some reason. So go buy it? Oh, you need more reasons? Well screw you. Alright fine. But why the hell are your pennies red, anyway? Sicko.

People Aren’t Assholes

I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell is this optimistic dribble? You telling me that people on the internet aren’t assholes?” No. I’m not. I’ll be the first to tell you that people are terrible and generally most human beings that can afford an internet connection will sell your family members into slavery just to get a hundred more YouTube subscribers. But, the great thing about human nature is that when you motive people properly, you can get them to do anything. Even be respectable human beings.

Almost all video games are predicated on taking advantage of a simple reality. Every single person that lives in modern civilized society is insecure about something, is constantly measuring their dick (metaphorical or literal) against their neighbor, and thinks about how much his/her life sucks at a constant basis. Video game makers have believed for the longest time (and still believe) that all their users want to do is compete against other people and be able to prove themselves better the other person. As true as that might be, the reality is that these type of games do no satisfy any need. They just feed it. There is always a bigger fish. There is always someone who will beat the shit out of you, raise you up like a child, and pull you down like it’s true. Even if you’re on top, there’s that nagging desire that someone will de-throne you at any time. You’ve got to keep on your game. Keep fighting. Always afraid of that last battle that will take you down. Always looking behind your shoulder.

That’s goddamned frightening, people! What the hell is wrong with you? How can you people handle that kind of stress and actually feel like you’re enjoying yourselves? There are so many games out there! So many more are coming out every day? What do you do if you can’t be the top of every one? Do you go out on Twitter and message forums and complain about how that game sucks? Oh wait, I think I just explained the internet.

Well people, it is time to put away all the stress and the terror and the fear. Guild Wars 2 is not the MMO we deserve, but it’s the one we need. This game doesn’t try to encourage you to play co-op. It doesn’t reward you for grouping up and then punish you for playing alone. The game is designed so that you find one day that you are playing co-op and didn’t even know it.

No One Complains of Kill Stealing

Before I go into how they completely changed around the quest system, I feel like I should point out something that EVERY FRIGGIN multiplayer-based RPG should implement and that almost none of them do. There is no such thing as kill stealing. There is no competition for loot. There is no “Need/Want” based system (a stupid honor system asking players to ‘do the right thing’ by saying they don’t really need something so don’t vote to get it). None of that crap is here, and it’s glorious. You know how? Every player has their own individual loot. Every player gets experience for fighting enemies. There is no advantage for landing the killing blow that I have ever seen. When an enemy is dead, you will see that the guy will glitter like he’s irradiated or something. Walk over to the enemy, hit F, and you get your randomly generated loot. If you fight a Boss monster that needs everyone’s help, someone who has been doing 1000 damage a second to the boss will probably get better loot than the guy who hit him a few times. But honestly, the difference is mostly based on level. If you try really hard to fight a boss, you will generally get an appropriate amount of experience and loot.

Okay, I want to state how important this is to build a truly cohesive multiplayer environment. Please, don’t make your players hate each other. You know what this system inevitably does? If you find yourself alone, facing a goddamned army or some hell creature from the depths, you won’t be alone for long. Everyone wants a piece of that action. Why? Because they are rewarded for being helpful. And you know what, if you are the guy who was alone, you are glad to see the help, not pissed off that this guy is stealing your kills. When you get players to be glad to have fellow human beings show up, that’s how you foster a devoted community, that’s how you build friendships, guilds, and relationships that keep those people playing and investing in a game.

In one particular venture away from Guild Wars 2, I encountered another recent MMO that not only avoids this very simple rule, but also very seldom spawned valuable quest items. This particular MMO even threw in random chests that needed to be unlocked, but only the first to unlock the chest would receive any loot. Do you know how frustrating that is? I need to accomplish a damned quest, and now I can’t because some jackass who is probably just a normal cool human being that I could have eventually fostered a friendship with but now is tainted by my experience with this damned game went around and grabbed the quest items before I could have. So I sat around waiting for 20 minutes, killing monsters just because they spawned first, just so I could finish this stupid gather quest.

So instead, I went back to Guild Wars 2. I joined in a few boss monster fights. Got some loot and XP. Helped out a couple of newbie characters. Felt good about myself instead.

Area-Based Events and Group Quests

Most games I’ve played try to combine single player and multiplayer by making a single quest that you can bring friends to help out with. But that’s just a band aid for a quest giving system that doesn’t make sense. Giving a quest to defeat some baddy or group of baddies may help to make the player feel powerful on his or her own, but in reality, no army or group of monsters or leader of something scary just hides away in some dungeon waiting for you to come. Typically, threats come unexpectedly. Cities get attacked. That’s why bad guys are bad, right? They hurt innocent people. Only in the dark ages could a single hero defend an entire town by delving into the cave of some deformed and monstrous mother and child and slay them for daring to search for food and drink near a population.

ArenaNet took that simple logic to the quest system and completely redefined it. Guild Wars 2 does not individualize quests by giving them a quest log, but instead tells the player what battles are currently going on around him. In the example to the side, there is a quest in green which is the single player story line quest, and then in the orange box, there is a description of what’s going on in the current invasion of Orr (I’m on the coastline that is shared with the island of Orr), as well as a suggestion to go help protect the coast against Risen attacks. I didn’t have to pick this quest or do some other pre-requisite quest first. I just came into the area, and that’s what’s going on right now, and so I can go help out or go somewhere else.

What I like to say is that characters don’t necessarily have quests, it’s the land that has quests. And the thing is, the outcome of this area quest determines which area quest happens next. If Stentor Cannonade falls, there will be a quest to retake it from the enemy. If the place is held, there will be an area quest to protect some troop carrying submarines as they try to invade the coast of Orr. Each small area of the world map will have several of these events that are cycled through as time passes. They normally have to do with defending a town, protecting supply trains, defeating some uber boss, or rescuing the natives of that particular area from the evil aggressors. Anyone who comes into the area of one of these events while it’s going on will receive a notification of the event and can immediate jump in and help out. There is no penalty for joining late and no advantage for joining early (other than maybe killing a few more dudes and getting more loot and XP as a result). There is a bit of a penalty for not questing though, because if the regional enemy takes over a town, that town’s merchants will no longer be available and the nearby waypoint will become “contested,” meaning you can’t quick teleport there. If you manage to complete the area quest for retaking that area, then everything returns back to normal.

This type of questing shows off one of the coolest elements of this game, that it truly has a “living world.” I know that’s kind of a buzz word around these MMO parts, but it fits well with Guild Wars 2. If you just stand around and do nothing, you can see a particular area’s progression through area quests. If there are no players in the area, most quests will fail and the land will become controlled by the nearby aggressor. But normally a group of players will mosey in, return the land back to normal, and then everything starts up again.

I was initially disappointed with the fact that each area has the same area quests that cycle on and off in a fairly regular rotation, so you’ll generally see every area quest pop up at least once if you spend a bit of time in the area doing all the heart quests (like the one shown to the right). As a side note, these quests you also stumble upon as you enter an area, but they are generally individual. You help out this guy to kill bandits, clear mud wallows, etc., until that bar is filled, and he’ll reward you with some money, EXP, and a shop you can buy nice gear from. But in any case, I was initially disappointed to see all the area quests cycle about, but after I got over the fact that it’s almost impossible to not script these things, I really started enjoying the reality that each area in this game has its own history, its own backstory, and its own story going on. Certainly, it’s not the most innovative approach, as nobody has ever created a truly living environment, its good enough to fool my senses. And that’s all that matters to me.

And also, to be fair, ArenaNet wasn’t the first one to think up public quests. Warhammer Online and Rift have area-based quests with publicly available groups, but Guild Wars 2’s system is so much simpler. There are no groups to join. No coordination needed. You just get the notification or see the icon on your map, and you just stroll in. It’s almost like the area has the quest, not the person. If you fight for a while, but then leave before it’s over, you’ll still get EXP and questing credit should the area quest be successful without you. There’s no commitment. Being a soldier of opportunity is an incredible experience of freedom, and it makes the game so fun to play.

If this sounds like a system of quests for loners, maybe you’re right. You don’t have to really interact with anyone to quest. There’s no need for parties. People just congregate in a general area and fight in the same general area. But does that mean people aren’t fighting together? Not in my experience. While normal area quests can be fulfilled by a single person, they still bring people like flies to the slaughter because it’s so damn easy to join in, get loot and experience, and just generally feel good about doing something interesting. However, to combat this, ArenaNet created Group based Area Quests. They work the same way as regular Area Quests, except that a big giant [GROUP] is placed on the description to tell you that you really shouldn’t attempt this alone. And if you do, you will die, I can assure you. But Group events are much more epic and have much greater rewards, so they’ll generally brings players like white on rice. In my experience, there’ll even be some random guy announcing when these events pop up so that the rest of the players in the area will come help out. However, I’ve developed a general practice of charging head on into these group quests hoping that someone will come eventually. If you join in the fight, it shows on everyone else’s UI in the area that someone is doing something to bring that progress bar down. If everyone in the area originally thought they couldn’t handle it on their own, they might go help just because it means someone else will help them, and it will mean good loot and XP for everyone. The worst that can happen is that you will die. Since there’s not really a death penalty in this game other than having to teleport to some other waypoint, it doesn’t matter much to me.

See the video below of me (Lokita Polymock the Asura Mesmer) and Oanskor (Human Elementalist) running into a group quest to see how this stuff works and how awesome these fights can be.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/PuI1VcyoRMM]

The Game Rewards You For Being Nice

This game actually encourages you to help people. This is quite odd behavior for an MMO since most MMOs are built around the competitive human experience. However, a point to this fact is that you actually get EXP from resurrecting people. Furthermore, there are Daily Rewards and Monthly Rewards that can trigger by resurrecting a certain amount of people. And just for another nudge in that direction, since most of the quests that you are running through are done communally, and since there are no penalties from having more people join your communal group, people will resurrect others compulsively. I mean, it’s so easy. You walk up to a downed person, hit the “use” key (usually F) and your character will immediately kneel down and start healing that person until he or she can stand up. Normally you’ll get a meek little “thanks” from the person.

But here’s the weird thing. The game doesn’t really reward people that much. Yeah, you can help your way towards monthly rewards, but there are other ways to get those rewards. Yeah, you get extra EXP, but it’s about as much as you get from killing a standard baddy. Yeah, it’s always nice to have the help, but it’s not always necessary. But regardless, I see people resurrecting others almost compulsively. If you’re in a big boss fight, you will die a ton, and you will get resurrected a ton. Why? That guy could have been lobbing a few more hits at the boss. Arguably, he or she put his or her life on the line to kneel down for a few seconds and heal you. Why? It’s because of the culture that ArenaNet has built into this game. The above reasons don’t reveal a game that rewards you for playing co-op, it reveals a game that has very little separation between co-op and single player. The above examples reveal a game that is crafted around the idea of a cooperative and civilized culture, not a competitive one.

The fact that players run around and heal each other for no other reason than because they can shows how much ArenaNet’s efforts to redefine gaming culture have worked. With just a few simple tweaks, by just rewarding players for playing in a communal way rather than a competitive one, ArenaNet has crafted a culture around its’ incredible game that will be tightly knit, free from anger and hatred (as long as you stay away from PvP arenas anyway), and will continue to invest in their characters, and maybe even invest in the in-game store, which will keep the company going and keep them investing in the game.

An In-Game Store That’s Not Annoying

For a game like this, the worst thing you can do is put in a free-to-play-style game store with a currency you can only get by paying money. So Guild Wars 2 did exactly that. Well, not exactly. For one thing, the only stuff you can get in the store that you can’t get in the game is aesthetic stuff like dyes or mini pets that don’t actually fight things or account level upgrades like extra character slots. A lot of people will see this an immediately wretch. Yes, Free-to-Play games have taken these systems and twisted them into terrible monstrosities that will eventually require you to spend ludicrous amounts of money just to play the damn game. Guild Wars 2 is not one of those games. Even though ArenaNet pioneered the technique of profitable micro-transactions with the original Guild Wars, even that early in-game store wasn’t that annoying. It was basically just a way to buy cool aesthetic stuff and unlock skills and spells before you could otherwise earn them. The store wasn’t necessary, but it’s nice to have for those who are devoted to the game.

Well, Guild Wars 2 continues that trend. The store, as I said earlier, has cool stuff but not necessary stuff. There will be no time while playing the game that you’ll be hounded about how much money you’re not spending in the store. There’ll never be a quest you can’t complete or a skill you can’t achieve without. You can even buy the real money currency with in-game gold through a currency exchange that follows a player driven stock market. That basically means that if you play the game enough, you can buy everything in the in-game store without ever paying any real money. But when you go into the store for the first time, you’ll instantly recognize the validity of this store. You might look at it and think, “Psh, this is all stupid stuff, whatever.” You might also think, “Wow, this stuff is really cool, maybe I’ll think about buying this one thing later.” You might also think, “This is the greatest game in the world and I will definitely play this game for the forseeable future, I might as well invest in some stuff to make my characters look/feel awesome!” Either way, none of those people are saying, “Gah, this game is so frustrating. I could get this one thing and make it so much better, but it costs $10. Gah, I hate this game.”

So, I’ve talked a lot about a damn store, which isn’t even an important part of the game. But I mention it because I think it really shows off the entire philosophy the developers have around this game. While they do charge people initially for the game, in order to sustain their servers, they need to make money by micro-transactions. You’re not going to entice people into supporting your enterprise by shoving a game store in their face or making the game experience terrible without buying certain upgrades. This is logical and player-centric thinking and it’s the kind of thinking that actually makes me, typically a cheapskate when confronted with such games, actually think about buying something. In fact, I have five characters on my account, which is the maximum allowed without buying an upgrade, and I’m actually considering paying the $10 for another character slot just because I like the game and I want to play around with the Elementalist class. Does that make me a sucker? Maybe. Or maybe I just enjoy the game and want to buy some DLC in order to continue the experience. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The Marketplace

I also want to touch a bit on the marketplace within this game as well. Every MMO has a marketplace of some kind. Normally it’s where you sell your rare stuff you don’t want and buy the rare stuff you do want. True to form, Guild Wars 2 has this as well. But it’s one of the best implimentations I’ve run across. You see, this game has a crazy in-depth crafting system that requires a lot of raw ingredients. A lot of these ingredients can be obtained on the go, but some are rarer than others. Also, since you can only choose two crafting professions per character, there’s bound to be a lot of stuff you’ll never need. Being able to buy and sell ingredients on the marketplace easily is key to making this crafting system work. Oh, there’s also the fact that storage in a premium. You collect all sorts of stuff as you travel. Some you can sell off as junk, some you can salvage, but some stuff is really good, but you can’t use it. Being able to sell things on the marketplace easily is a must for a game like this. Meet the Black Lion Trading Company. Accessible with just a stroke of the “O” key anytime, anywhere. That right there is one of the most awesome parts of Guild Wars 2. You can buy and sell off items in the marketplace on the go. Got a huge item haul and need some space? Got a bunch of stupid sigils that you don’t want? Hit “O” and sell it off. While you can’t pick up any profits or items you buy without going to a marketplace vendor, you can at least drop items off on the marketplace.

When you go ahead and try, you’ll see a “Sell Your Stuff” section with your entire inventory before you with a handy price per unit cost next to them. That price per unit is based on what the highest buyer has requested that item for. And that’s one other interesting thing about this marketplace. If it’s not available or not for the price you want, you can request a certain amount of those items for a certain price. When a seller (like yours truly) wants to offload an item, he or she might see your offer if it’s high enough.

When you click on an item in your inventory, you’ll see the screen to your left, which lists the amount that the highest buyer is willing to pay along with the amount that the lowest seller is offering. Most of the time, there’s a discrepancy, like this example in which the highest buyer is willing to pay 3 silver and 89 copper for this sigil, but the lowest seller is only willing to part for it for 5 silver. You can then match the lowest seller, meet the highest buyer, or try to list it for somewhere in between and hope that one of the requested buyers is willing to compromise with you.

Why are all these people looking for low level sigils and such? Because of some combination of a level requirement and crafting. I won’t go into the crafting system, because I haven’t really used it enough to talk about it except to say that it’s easy but also fairly complex. But I will say that the majority of times that I’ve bought something on the market has been to satisfy some requirement of crafting so I can progress my crafting skill level.

Grinding is Actually Really Fun

There is only one constant in any MMO. Grinding. This is the process of doing something over and over again in order to obtain a goal of some sort, like leveling up or moving to the next section. Unless you’re playing some economic simulator like Eve Online, grinding always takes the form of combat. So, it makes sense to make the thing that your players are going to do constantly in their experience of the game is streamlined, entertaining, and challenging, right? Well, the only reason I’m talking about it is because that message doesn’t seem to translate to a lot of developers unfortunately. As much as I hate to say anything negative about a particular target, I was really hatefully disappointed that lightsaber combat is really boring in The Old Republic. I’m only pointing that out because it’s so aggregious, but there are so many MMOs that I’ve played where the combat is jumpy, suffers from horrible controls, or is just plain boring to watch. Heck, even Eve Online got the message, guys. Those guys have massive battles that attract hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers because they look so spectacular. But then again, combat is not the grinding element of Eve Online.

Anyway, this is the element that really keeps me playing Guild Wars 2. The combat is really fun. Like really fun. I mean, heck, look at the video I took the other day of my little Asura Mesmer kicking butt like some sort of Yoda that shoots purple laser beams from a freaking greatsword. As you’re watching this video, understand that my Halfling is wielding a sword that is the size of a claymore and using it as a magical wand to shoot magical illusionary spells out of it.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/uWjZklvaDfM]

Okay, so now that you’ve see that, let me break it down for you. Each class has a variety of weapons that they can use. Each weapon combination has a total of five skills (if dual wielding, that’s 3 for the primary and 2 for the secondary) that you learn as you ease your way into the weapon for the first time. I’ve also found that each race can have their own differences in how these skills are implemented as well. But regardless, Guild Wars 2 made combat look great by building amazing looking combat animations into each weapon skill. If you’re wondering about the other 5 skills, those are class specific skills that you choose as you level up.

One element I really appreciate, though, is the dodge mechanic. Many MMOs have tried the dodge mechanic, and most have failed. I’ve found that in most other implementations, the dodge is finicky and unpredictable. My expectation is that if I hit a dodge key combination, the character will immediately move out of the way and miss any attack coming in his direction. There should not be any moments when you get hit 6 feet away because the dodge didn’t work in time. There should be no moments where the dodge happens 5 seconds after you hit the key. This is exactly how it works in Guild Wars 2. All you have to do is double tap a direction key and you will roll or jump in that direction. If you do so before the enemy’s attack hits, you will not get hit. Since a lot of enemies in Guild Wars 2 telegraph their moves either with a flashing red circle or a quick flash of light and a raising arm, this dodge mechanic is key to staying alive. However, you can’t just run around dodging all day. You’ve got a set amount of energy that you can use for dodging. Although it does regenerate during a battle, you will run into moments when you need to dodge three times in a row, but can’t, and so just have to deal with getting hit.

Also, you see me running around while my character keeps firing her sword? That’s because of a stellar auto-targeting system. If you start attacking, your character will auto-attack with his or her primary weapon skill until you tell him or her to stop. You can also right click on that primary skill and disable auto-attack, but for your hands sake, I recommend keeping it on. And yes, I did say auto-targeting. You do not have to click on every enemy you want to attack, thankfully. Because damn the battles in this game get insane with enemies. Come on, how arduous would warfare be in real life if you had to stand up and point at your target before firing a weapon? It would be stupid right? Sometimes spray and pray is a good tactic, especially when doing so does not result in friendly fire. Well, in Guild Wars 2, if you are looking in the general direction of an enemy and start attacking, it will target that enemy and send all attacks his way. Now, if you don’t click on that enemy (this kind of locks in the target) and turn around towards another enemy, your attacks will start going towards this guy instead. This becomes really handy as battles get intense and you get attacked from behind. The ability to change targets on the fly is something that I haven’t really seen in anything but shooter games, and I’m super glad it’s here.

Fighting…Underwater

Now for the part that truly blew me away the first time I saw it. Underwater combat. Yes underwater combat has been done before. But I don’t remember being blown away with how beautiful and vast the underwater environments are in any MMORPG. I’ve never been treated to truly wonderful underwater combat that’s anything but a terrible rendition of land-based combat. Before I talk about it, I just want to show you my video of underwater combat with my Ranger character. In this video, I try to show you the splendor of jumping into the ocean, show you a couple of combat encounters, and then show you how awesome the water based group area quests can be. Just watch it and be amazed. Yes I have a jellyfish following me called Zoidberg.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/eV7iE_DiYZ8]

Okay, notice anything different from the land based combat? How about everything? Now, I know you haven’t seen my ranger fighting on land, but rest assured that it is a standard bow and arrow build with a secondary weapon set of a sword and a horn (don’t ask, the horn is actually really good in this game). When I pop into the water, my weapon combination changes to a harpoon gun and a spear. Yes, ArenaNet actually build different weapon sets for the ground as for the sea. Why? Because you can’t wield a friggin giant sword in the ocean, you nut job. You certainly can’t shoot an arrow in the ocean. But, since this game has a vaguely steampunk-like world, there are guns, and there are submarines, and there are gas-powered harpoon guns. Just like before, each class has a few different underwater weapons they can use and each class has a different implementation of each weapon and different combat animations. As you can see in the video above, my Sylvari Ranger’s spear skills channel the power of sea based animals (thrusting forward like a shark, overwhelming attack of an octopus) or use things like an ink based escape or harpoons designed to attack piranhas. It’s all very clever and it makes combat look interesting, even after playing the game for 80 hours or so.

Adding to the splendor is just how vast and beautiful these underwater landscapes are. They are dotted with vast caverns and canyons, beautiful coral reefs, the explorable ruins of ancient civilizations, the husks of ships, and although not truly captured in this video, these oceans are teeming with life. I’ve seen fish, mammals, clams, crabs, freaking everything. To me, its awe inspiring to fight above ground and witness all these mountains and canyons and caves and grasslands and waterfalls and then jump in the water and see another world that is just as big. However, don’t think that I’m talking about the quality of the 3D visuals. While the game engine is stunning, it doesn’t hold a candle to something like Crysis or Skyrim. But the visuals, animations and background are used intelligently. They look wonderful on their own, but each visual element seems to have a purpose to it, and the purpose of this game is immersion. When you jump off of an airship and witness an underwater world with the scope of an ocean, it is so much easier to immerse yourself in such a world. When your character dances with flying blades, whirls around her arms while casting beautiful swirls of magic, or fluidly somersaults backwards to miss the swing of an axe, you will be encouraged to fight over and over again. When you first climb up a mountain to pick up a vista point and are rewarded with a vast and varied landscape before you, you will want to continue to explore this world. The greatest achievement of ArenaNet’s intelligent use of visuals is that everything remains completely fluid. There is never a time when I feel that the immersion is broken. While there are loading screens, they tend to be in very obvious places in which you cross from one major region to the next. But the combat, movement, ambient background action, AI movements, and even the transition from land to water is completely fluid (ok, pun slightly intended).

So yeah, play it

There are so many things I haven’t touched in this article that this game does well. And of course, there are the flaws as well. But since this is my website, and this is my opinion, all I have to say is that the things I’ve mentioned above should be enough to entice you into experiencing the rest and ignoring the flaws. There’s no such thing as a perfect game. But occasionally there are games that are predicated on looking at the state of the gaming industry and saying, “Why is this the way things are? I can make that better.” I believe this is one of those games that truly strove to improve the entire nature of the MMO. It strove to challenge the status quo of high competition and dared to force mutual cooperation. And it shows, because this game is fun and I don’t feel ashamed for saying that I love playing it.

I want to leave you with one more thing, an element of possibility. That this game not only brings people together and makes combat fun at last, but also gives you the ability to express yourself through your incredible characters. I will show you an image of my rather ridiculously colorful but slightly cute Asura Mesmer (illusionist) named Lokita Polymock, along with the ludicrous amounts of dye I’ve collected (there’s much more out there), and the knowledge that every piece of clothing is craftible and customizable. I’ve grown to really like this character, as I like my level 80 Ranger, or my Nord Necromancer, or my Human Engineer, or my Charr Guardian. Each one has personality and each one seems to retain an element of myself. Every player’s character that I see as I run around the world is different, and yet on the battlefield, we all come together and fight, die, and help each other as one. It’s a kind of optimistic social commentary that’s rarely seen in video games today, and I hope I can share the same optimism with you. 

Want it now? Of courses you do! Buy it on Amazon.com:

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    – k2 seo tips

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    • Thank you for your suggestion! I’m currently waiting to get listed in dmoz and just added it to Bing, so that should help. I’ve seen a lot of other suggestions for getting backlinks, but I also don’t want to push this site through trollish means (this site is intended as a counter to negative internet culture), so I’ve been very careful about my means for backlinks.

      So, I’m working on it, but the site is relatively new in it’s recent incarnation. Thanks for the suggestions though, comments are always welcome! 🙂

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