Guild Wars made sure everyone knew right from the beginning that the game would require no monthly fee. That's a welcome change to gamers everywhere and many wondered what's the catch. There is no catch! All you have to do is but the game at your local retailer.
You can even just download the small client off their website and pay for the key online to save you the trip. All you pay is $50(price can vary) and you can play the game for life.
Now you may wonder if your system can even run the game. Despite the great graphics it is the most smoothest game I've ever played. Here are my system specs:
124mb Nvidia Geforce 4 MX Graphics Card(Crap!)
As you can see I don't have the best system specs. And because of my MX card I cannot run any games that require pixel shading and that is required in most games being released these days. Despite that, this game is runs amazingly well on my computer and so far no lag whatsoever. If you're worried that your computer won't run it, it likely will.
The battle system for Guild Wars is relatively simple although still fun. You click your enemy and you start to automatically attack them, or you have skills/spells in the quickslot at the bottom of the screen that you can just click to use or hit the hotkey(1-8).
The battles in Guild Wars are fast paced, exciting, and fun. If you're getting sick of the typical "Run out, kill stuff, go back to town, repeat" then this might be a refreshing turn for you. You still pretty much do that exact same thing, but the battles make it so that it doesn't feel repetitive at all.
This aspect of the game is one of the key features that makes Guild Wars so addictive. If you get bored with this game then it's you, not the game. You learn a number of skills throughout the game by either buying them or completing quests for them. However, you can only take out 8 different skills into combat.
You can only change the skills in town and only then you have to put the desired spells in your quickslots. This takes care of the annoyance of having fifty spells and getting confused with which ones to use. It also makes you think strategically. Like what will help your team in combat, what skill will best defeat your enemies, what spell will hurt the enemies element the most.
So before you leave town, think of that and rearrange your skills accordingly. Now one key feature of this game is that all battlefields are instanced. Which means when you exit a town you have the entire map all to yourself. This is quite unique but has it's ups and downs. The good part is that you never have to wait a respawn points and never have to wait for a monster to reappear to complete a quest.
The bad part is that you'll never see anyone else on the battlefield except your party and NPC's. This ALSO means that once you return to town all monsters respawn and the quests that you failed in that area start up again. That can be quite frustrating.
You're in luck though because in every battlefield there are way points that bring you back to life and completely heal you and your party if you have one. But as in most games there's a penalty when you die. No they don't take EXP. What they DO is take down your HP and MP by a certain % each time you die.
And that's your MAX HP they take down. Which means if your HP is at 200 and you die it can be taken down to 180. It'll keep decreasing the more you die. There are two ways to fix this. Killing monsters will start to bring your health back o normal. Oh and going back to town, which of course respawns the monsters. ;)
As you can see the battles in this game are very challenging. One of the best aspects of this game is that unlike other games it does not require you to have a team. If you get sick of looking for a good party then you can just have henchmen. You can hire these henchmen in almost every area and the computer will control them in combat.
However, only use henchmen if you just don't want to wait for your friends or if you need a filler to go with your human group. The henchmen are rather stupid and have many flaws. They are completely out of your control. They'll attack enemy's you had no intention of attacking at the time, and they'll pretty much attack anything you attack.
It's much better to get a human team. Unlike most games the Guild Wars community is really good. You'll meet some friendly players that you'll gladly add to your friends list over a small amount of time. During the time I've played I have added a lot of cool people to my list.
This'll help you form parties. But it's also a lot easier to just go into a town and say what quest you're going on and ask who else wants to go along. In about five minutes you'll have a full party of good players. And because of the addictiveness of this game, you won't need to worry about them saying that they gotta go five minutes into a mission.
Overall, the community in Guild Wars is one of the best I've ever seen. No onto Character Creation. The character creation is pretty simple. You pick your class, your stats, your appearance etc. There is a good selection of things to choose from for your appearance but isn't anymore then most of the good MMORPG's to date. But still, you won't see a hundred clones of you walking around.
Your class selections are the Warrior, Monk, Necromancer, Mesmer, Elementalist, and Ranger. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses, mostly to each other, that balance out the game perfectly so it counts on the skill of the player and not just the stuff he's wearing.
One of the best things about this game is that although you are one class at the beginning of the game, you quickly get the option to dual class. Which means you can be two classes instead of one. With the large number of skills in the game, this doubles your destructive potential.
The Guild Wars staff stresses the fact that no combination is better then any other combination which is partly true. It still mostly depends on the skill of the player. However, some combinations, like a Warrior/Monk is considered great because it's the tank. Fighting skills combined with healing magic.
Tip: In the first part of the game find as many skills as you can. Ask an NPC where you can find your next skills and they'll tell you. If you don't get them now they'll cost something later or the quests to get them will be MUCH harder.
The quests in this game are rather simple. You go do this for this person and you get items and EXP. Or you bring this to this person and you get EXP. The quests are still fun and challenging though and you'll often find yourself fighting for your life just to complete one quest that you thought would be so simple.
Tip: You have a map on the upper right corner. Just because you don't see enemies doesn't mean there isn't any. Some enemies come out of the ground. Most missions give you a marker on the map, follow it if you get lost.
Now let's talk graphics. This game is in every way very beautiful. You'll notice this the instant you login. Just walk down a few feet and turn to your right. The water effects in this game are amazing. They reflect EVERYTHING. Everything in the game from landscape to other characters is very richly detailed.
This is quite surprising considering how fast the game installs and loads. If you've heard that it installs and loads quickly, people are not lying. It can take at most 5 minutes to install, only 2 minutes to make an account, and about 5 SECONDS to login and start playing.
There are load times as you move into certain areas. But it takes at least 3-5 seconds to load between each area. In this game you'll never have to wait long to really get playing. So no more trips to the bathroom or the kitchen between load times.
In a lot of games these days, once you enter a crowded town your frame rate can take a nose dive. In this game you will rarely, if ever, experience that. The design team did an amazing job with the graphics and were still able to make your framerate soar!
How do they take care of lag you ask? Each town or outpost is divided up into districts. Each district has other players that you cannot see. It saves on a bunch of lag.
Now lets move onto the PVP. Unlike most games that either let you PK like crazy (Lineage 2) or have different ways to kill people (Ragnarok Online, Dark Age of Camelot) Guild Wars has a completely unique and fun way of PVP. When you first create a character you have a choice of making a one for the roleplay part or the PVP part.
With the PVP part you get the opportunity to create a high level character with the best stats that you can choose, and a range of abilities. You can jump into PVP almost immediately after that. However, to use most of the abilities for PVP, you need to unlock them in the Roleplay mode. Modifications to your weapons can also be unlocked in Roleplay mode by use of identification and salvage kits.
Once you enter PVP you will see people gathered around the area and you can jump right into PVP by clicking the Enter Mission button at the right of your screen. It will give you a countdown and then bring you right into a battle. It will not launch you into combat that has already begun. It will always put you into the match 30sec to a minute before it begins so you can see your team members and notice your strengths and weaknesses.
When the battle begins the gate will open and the entire area is your battlefield. Despite all of the people on the screen battling at once, the framerate is still very damn good and you'll never feel any lag. The PVP in this game is what truly stands out and the GW staff specifically stated that this game was built with PVP in mind.
That being said, PVP was their main focus and it is one of the best aspects of the game. It's literally Players vs Player. I think most MMORPG's fail to realize what that means. It means that your skill with games will determine whether you win or lose. In other MMORPG's it depends mostly on items and level.
I never used to PVP. And I mean never. But I really got into the PVP in Guild Wars. It's always fun and people are mostly always a good sport whether they win or lose. If you get Guild Wars, you just have to play the PVP.
Now that you've heard the good stuff, let's go into some of the bad stuff.
(1)Most of the items you get in the game need to be crafted because you'll rarely find what you want on the ground. You'll NEVER find armor on the ground.
(2)The only way to get armor is to craft it. There is two ways to get the materials. Go out and hunt for it. Or buy it. There is a bad thing to buying it. You can only buy materials in bulks of ten! Lets say you needed two clothe and 4 scales. Buying those two things in bulks of ten can range from 150gp-200gp. That's a lot of money. However, you can buy them from other people for a set amount. You just have to find them.
(3)For some gamers this game can be too hard because they're too used to games out there that practically hand them experience, gold, and items. This game does not do that nearly as frequently. Only play this game if you're willing to devote a long streatch of time.
(4)Sometimes towns can be filled with a lot of chatter. Especially people trading stuff. It can be difficult for you and others to talk because messages are flying by so quickly!
(5)The henchmen are glitchy. There are some instances when you and your henchmen die, and when that henchmen is ressurected at a waypoint then they will go straight back to where they died. They don't really give a damn what's in their way. Meaning they will litterally walk through mountains and over huge cliffs to get back to where they died. Only to die again and you being one henchman short. They also sometimes stand on stuff like levers or in certain spots that block you from completing your objective.
(6)The exp gain in this game can be really messed up. You could fight literally thousands of monsters and only get halfway to your next level. That happened with me when I tried to get from level 9 to 10. They are making quests way to mandatory.
(7)Most of the simplest of monsters are just too damn overpowered. You'll find yourself fighting groups of monsters that you should be able to kill easily but all they need to do is have one skill to screw up you and your party and they can obliterate you in just a few seconds. It makes getting from point a to point b ALWAYS hard. You just really don't catch a breath in this game.
(8)You'll find yourself constantly frustrated with your character. Sometimes you'll just want to start a new one, which is fine because you can have up to four different characters at any time, but you will face most of the same quests as before. The battles always feel different but it gives you little surprise and even more frustration as you're hounded by the same problems you had before, except in different ways.
That's all of the problems I found in this game. Overall, Guild Wars is an exciting game that is ranked even above World of Warcraft at www.mmorpg.com. Some wouldn't consider that a major achievement. But WoW took that long to stay at the top, and in less then a month Guild Wars obliterated it. The first WEEK it was ranked higher then WoW.
Just about anyone will find Guild Wars to be an exciting and fun experience that will last a very long time, whether in Roleplay mode or in PVP. You'll be playing this game for a very long time and without the monthly fee most common in MMORPG's today, plus the one time cost of the game, as well as the long time gameplay that seeps from it. You really have nothing to lose getting this game.
If you're an avid gamer, or just someone looking for a fun time between work and/or classes. This game will definitely fill that need. If someone else has told you the game sucks, don't listen to them. Found out for yourself and get the game. There is still so much more about this game to talk about, but I reccomend you buy it and see for yourself.
Palin Garrde (Level 10 Elementalist/Monk)
Have fun everyone!