Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire™ was released a little over week ago, and since then…
1. The World of Tyria is Your Oyster (Guild Wars 2)
PLEASE NOTE: SOME OF THE LINKS BELOW MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS.
It’s been over five months since the launch of Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet’s MMORPG that was hyped as the pivotal shift in MMO gaming. If you’ve played it, you’ve likely already formed a strong opinion on whether or not they succeeded. If you haven’t played it, let me pull the curtain back for you a little bit…
I’m not going to try to compare GW2 with WoW or SWTOR or FF or any other MMO. A player of an MMO plays their game of choice for many reasons, including the company of their fellow players. There are plenty of articles out there that put apples beside oranges and try to help you decide between games. I’m going to concentrate on GW2 and what it IS, and what it ISN’T.
There will be a number of smaller articles in a series for this discussion, because I really couldn’t condense the game into one article without feeling like I glossed over a wealth of detail. In this first installment, I’m going to talk about the big picture.
Guild Wars 2 takes place in a world called Tyria, about 250 years after the original series, during a time when the entire world is in danger of being enslaved by the elder dragons. At this point you may be saying “ok, really? Dragons? Isn’t that played out?”, but honestly it doesn’t really matter what Big Bad Guy you are going to put in their place. The end boss doesn’t make the game.
What DOES make the game, is the world you drop the player into. The people at ArenaNet have managed to create a world that feels alive, that feels like it goes on without you after you sign off. When your character is walking through Lion’s Arch, you hear the hawkers and the locals having conversations around you, people shout at you and children run through the streets. It’s ALIVE.
It also has a history. The graffiti of GW2 is a touch that only enriches the world and deepens the feeling of immersion. One such place is the broken Great Northern Wall in the Charr lands. The wall is a massive landmark, imposing and stark against the landscape, eroded by time. The player can climb on it, is blocked by it in most places, and occasionally finds messages scratched into it by the Charr victors. It’s a silent testament to the story behind the land and the races that fight for it.
There are also tons of references to the original game. In part of the human lands of Kryta you even find a graveyard with the memorials of the NPCs from the GW1 series. You find references to things that happened in the first games, and leftovers of the deeds of the heroes of that time.
One of the most inspiring places, from the perspective of someone who played the first series, is the Hall of Monuments. This is a “town” in the original series. It’s a place you went to display your achievements and it was the gateway of the north. It was a hub of civilization in a wasteland of snow. In GW2 it is a ruin.
You walk into the Hall, and it’s filled with the ghosts of the NPCs who lived there. Stepping into the hall the first time, I was filled with awe and sadness. It was a tomb of memories. These memories aren’t restricted to the Hall of Monuments, however. They are scattered all across Tyria, carved into statues, scribbled on walls, and lying forgotten in ruins.
When I come back, we’ll talk about the story of GW2 and how it pulls the player into the game and changes the way they look at their character.
Continue onto Part 2 of our Guild Wars 2 extended review.