Guild Wars 2 is the newest released game featured in my “Battle of MMOs” review series. This is indeed quite an advantage, but visually I consider it to be the best looking MMO out there, with the in-game vistas begging you to pause to admire the detail and epicness. Like the first Guild Wars, it is just a one time purchase, with no subscription required like RuneScape or World of Warcraft. Sadly as a big fan of the original series, it has introduced a lot of change, and not all of which is an improvement in my opinion. This isn’t to say it’s not enjoyable; there are many positive aspects to the game which they achieved better than its predecessor, and the non subscription means that I’ve kept it installed and can easily return to Tyria whenever I get that urge.
I think having a story in an MMO is important – it gives players something to distract themselves from the expected grindy nature of the genre. In GW2, the plot takes place 250 years after the end of the original series, and features a much changed world having been the victim of the now awakened Elder Dragon’s destruction. The story involves uniting the major (playable) races to put aside their differences, to form a pact to combine all their strength to fight back against these Elder Dragons before it’s too late.
While I don’t find the story as engaging as I found Guild Wars, it’s still interesting. You play an active part on how you wish to proceed with many different paths to choose, something uncommon in MMOs. Perhaps my reason for not being as hooked to the story is how you need to be a certain level to be able to progress. This is fair enough – it’d be silly if you could complete the main story as a noob – but the original series did have a much lower level cap of 20, meaning the story flowed quicker and felt more like you were exploring new areas to fit with the plot, than in the sequel where I found it felt more of a side, instead of the focus.