"Return to Asccalon"
If you ever played the original Guild Wars, you know it was definitely a different type of MMORPG because it was open world and a game which did not have a monthly subscription. Seven years later the sequel, Guild Wars 2, has come stomping on to the scene even better than the first. ArenaNet has changed the game just enough to make it seem somewhat different, but they definitely kept it similar enough that longtime gamers will know what they are doing.
One of the first things I noticed in Guild Wars 2 was that the Charr are no longer the bad guys. They are in fact, one of the playable races this time around. There are five total with human, Asura, Sylvari, and Norn. Each race has advantages and disadvantages if you choose them. For these races, there are eight professions from which to choose that, depending on your race, have different weapons and specialties they can utilize. You can choose to be a Mesmer, Necromancer, Guardian, Ranger, Elementalist, Warrior, Thief, or Engineer. None of these classes is a healing class, all are a fighter in one way or another. Instead, all classes have a way to heal themselves and heal others who die, so that group play does not suffer from a lack of healer in the group.
Gone from Guild Wars 2 are also the NPC pickup characters to form a group. At first, this was upsetting, but I think it's actually a better way to go. It can make it difficult for someone not in a guild or who doesn't have friends online to play with, but the NPCs didn't help much in Guild Wars, and occasionally they caused you to die easily.
One thing which I think is really great about Guild Wars 2 is how the environment and NPCs you interact with will change depending on how you play. This makes the game truly unique for each gamer. It also will mean that you never have the same game twice, even with the same playable character creation. Something which is new (or at least from what I remember of the original game) is that your character starts out in the "home world" for that race. There is a small story to get you out of your world and into the rest of the game, which was kind of like a tutorial, although you don't have much fighting capability just yet. Each character also has a story to follow (or ignore), so that you can raise your level to compete better in the World vs. World battles.
The story does not have to be followed to play Guild Wars 2. Instead, you can go about checking out the different areas and completing the tasks in each one if you prefer. This is also nice to do if you get stuck on a specific mission of your story since that must be done in order. I admit I have yet to find out if you can bring other actual players to help with your storyline missions.
If you have seen some of the screenshots and don't believe they are real, let me tell you they are. The graphics are absolutely breathtaking in Guild Wars 2. Part of the gameplay has you find locations that are viewable only. These are always up high and sometimes very difficult to get too. They are all gorgeous, and I have several screen captures of my game from these points of view.
For those who normally play PC MMORPG games, the movement is standard; you use certain keys to move around and fight, or you can use the mouse to click on your skill of choice while in combat instead of the numbers. For someone who loved the point-and-click mouse movement from Guild Wars, this has a learning curve. Unfortunately, I still have issues getting under the water to explore, unless I "accidentally" jump into the water and sink.
I can't give this game enough praise. If you like MMORPG's and don't want to pay a monthly subscription, Guild Wars 2 is definitely for you. If you were a fan of the first game, this will blow your mind. So come and join the fun, just make sure you and your friends pick the same server to play, or you will be paying later to switch.
GameDynamo's Score for Guild Wars 2 (PC)
I have been gaming since I was in high school, before it was acceptable for a girl to do it. I have been a writer for even longer. It's only natural the two would combine. I prefer RPGs, action/adventure, and strategy games, but I also play dancing, sports titles, and shooters.
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