Guild Wars Review
|Release Date:||April 29, 2005|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
Finally an MMORPG with a hook, no online fees, It's something that we MMO fanatics have been dreaming of. Guild Wars has arrived. Apart from the lack of subscription fees what else does Guild Wars have to offer? After all we should expect something special from a game that had several team members who were involved in Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo and Blizzard's Battle.net network.
Let's not beat around the bush here. This game is gorgeous. The backgrounds are immensely detailed and I often found myself just sitting on my chair admiring them. It is hands down the nicest MMORPG I have ever seen, in fact I would put it up there with Doom 3 and Half Life 2 for it's visuals. Player spell affects are quite flashy and are often a joy to watch. Especially when there are tonnes of simultaneous ones happening all around you during a PvP Battle (just remember you’re there to kill and destroy not sit back and be dazzled). Despite the fantastic visuals, the game runs quite well on older machines. (Something that my FX5200 knows all too well!) It is obvious NC Soft set out to “wow” players with fantastic visuals, they pretty much succeeded.
The musical score, composed by Jeremy Soule, fit’s the game perfectly. Though it’s not necessarily that prominent in the game as the players attention is more focused on what is happening on screen.
Each of your characters abilities is accompanied by it’s own sound effect. While these are a nice feature they are completely surpassed by the visual effects. The voice acting is also pretty good, each cutscene is accompanied by either a voice over or dialogue between characters. These do help immerse the gamer in the storyline that is unfolding as they quest. (Though because I quested in a party a lot of my team-mates were impatient and skipped these!) Overall the sound in this game cannot be slighted, I just think it shows that it wasn’t ArenaNet’s main focus while developing this game.
NC Soft must be commended for their innovation. Instead of characters living on multiple servers, they all live in one seamless world. This means that you are not limited to what friends you can play with. That really was good foresight on NC Soft’s part.
Guild Wars starts off with character creation and clearly from the beginning the player can see they’re in for something special. The player has the choice to choose one profession (Warrior, Necromancer, Mesmer etc.) and later in the game can choose another secondary profession of they so choose. This class system works well and adds a lot of depth to characters.
When creating your character, the player can choose what their character will be used for. PvP (Player versus Player) or Roleplaying. If PvP is chosen then your character starts off all kitted out and ready for some action. This is where Guild Wars shines, in it’s PvP battles. There are 4 different modes. Survival, Annihilation, Capture The Relic and King of The Hill. In Survival you and your team must fight hordes of oncoming enemies until the next stage begins. Annihilation, has human teams battling it out for supremacy (This was my favourite one) When playing Capture The Relic pits two human teams against each other. Each team has to collect their enemies relics, the winning team is the one that has the most relics after the time has elapsed. King of The Hill, is the game most of us have come to love through various FPS’. In this MMORPG iteration one team must control the altar when the time runs out, and again this is fought between two human teams.
For those people (me included) who like a bit of story to get there teeth into then Roleplaying is their option. In this mode your character starts out at level 1, and it is your quest to level up. The story is kicked off straight away with you being called to various NPC’s (Non-Player Characters) who fill you in on what is going on in Tyria (the world Guild Wars is set in). The story is enough to reel in any avid fantasy fans, and even the casual gamers. Unlike it’s peers and predecessors levelling up in Guild Wars is not a chore. I found that by just doing quests I levelled up quite fast and did not really have to do the normal “grinding” associated with the genre.
Though while playing I did notice a lack of a community sense in the game. Most MMORPG’s are known for their large player-base and bustling communities. In Guild Wars this seems to be lacking. For instance, when you go into a mission and leave a main town you and your party are transported to their own “instance”. A version of the world that only their characters exist in. I found this quite inconvenient, as in other games you can usually yell for help if you’re in trouble but in Guild Wars I often spent a lot of time getting killed (now maybe I’m just bad at these games, but it still irked me). But at least when I died the game didn’t punish me like other games have. Guild Wars is player-friendly and when, inevitably, your character dies he/she is not punished. If you die during a mission you can be resurrected by your team mates, though this will incur a Death Penalty. This lowers your Health and Energy but can be worked off by killing monsters or entering a main town.
Another feature of Guild Wars is that characters can only carry, a maximum, of 8 skills into their mission/battle. This requires the player to think tactically as their character can learn over 100 skills, This forces them to think ahead and think about what their role in the party is. I think this system works quite well and I enjoyed testing my skills, to see which ones worked the best and when.
Guild play, as suggested by the title is a big part of the game. When a Guild is formed each player receives the Guild Tabard. The Guild is also entitled to their own Guild Hall, a place where only the members may enter. This in itself is it’s own instance. Usually the guilds are formed for the PvP section of the game but if many members share the same level they also have the option to go on quests with each other.
One major flaw in the game that I noticed is your characters inability to climb the smallest ledge. You can not even make your character jump, apart from the /jump command. This seems to be a blunder on NC Soft’s part as it severely limit’s the places a players character can go.
So in this world of World of Warcraft and Dark Age of Camelot, can Guild Wars muscle it’s way in with the big boys. In this journalists opinion, yes it can. In time it should bring in the players, as that lure of no monthly fees is a strong one. But NC Soft have said that they will be bringing out expansions to the game and of course these won't be free, Now this could be a problem for some players but NC Soft have also said that players are in no way obligated to buy these expansions and their games will not be affected if they choose not to purchase them.
- Innovative Class system
- Immediate high level action for those players with no patience.
- Good Quest system
- Gorgeous Visuals
- No Monthly Fees
- Great Music
- No need for horrible level grinding
- Great PvP mode
Not so good stuff
- Doesn’t really offer anything new to the genre
- Lack of community sense
- Lack of interactivity with the landscape
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