Guild Wars & Expansions Review
Guild Wars is an Massively Multiplayer RPG by developer Arena Net who is owned by NCSoft. If World of Warcraft is the gold standard Guild Wars is holding the silver standard title. Guild wars has 3 expansions, two of witch are stand alone, meaning you don’t need to buy the original to play.
The original Guild Wars is known as the Prophecies Campaign which starts in the kingdom of Ascalon. Guild Wars has sections that begins at different periods of time. When first starting out you are in Ascalon’s prime with its cities being large and powerful. This part of the story is used as a tutorial and once the event the “searing” happens you are thrown into the future where the once proud cities are now ruins. The story is very engaging, especially for a MMORPG. For me when i first started playing the story was a very big motivation for playing. The game has cutscenes(rare for a MMORPG) as well as characters that evolve. I really like that the game is story driven because like in World of Warcraft that lacks a main coherent story, it is very easy to let the story bring you into the world.
Guild Wars will have you traveling across the continent following the story. There are plenty of quests and instances to complete but in order to defeat them you need to master combat. Combat is very simplistic and easy to understand. Players have a basic attack who speed is dependent on the type but the speed of a specific type of weapon is the same no matter what. One weapon of the same type will not be faster or slower than another. Combat is mostly controlled by the player skills. Players can equip up to 8 skills at a time and can change them at will when inside cities, but are unable to do so outside of cities. Skills are class specific and range from useful to not. There are no “upgraded” version of skills, with each skill being unique. But wait your probably thinking, then how would a skill early on be useful compared to later skills? Well how powerful skills are is based on Skill Attributes. Each of your skills fall under a certain type of skill.
Some attributes do things like increase the effectiveness of certain weapons or things of that affect while others just affect skills. Each level you are given Attributes points to use to raise the attributes level. The higher the level the more attribute points you need. After a certain point you will need to save up for a level or two to meet the requirements. You can take away points but this is limited to a certain amount of times per level. Some quests will give you access to skills but you can also buy skills. To buy skills you need skill points(gained at every level) as well as money. Skills are dependent at the area so only certain areas will give you certain skills. There is also the ability to capture skills. These require special skill capturing, well skills and only certain monsters have skills that can be captured. Many of the more powerful skills have to be captured.
I think i went on a tangent with the skills so lets talk about classes now(Since i have to talk about sub classes and how those affect skills). In Prophecies there are 6 classes. These classes include the Warrior(melee/tank), Ranger(ranged), Monk(Healer), Elementalist(Mage), Necromancer(Minion/hex support), and Mesmer(debuffer). These classes all play in different ways but all relying on energy. Energy is needed to perform most skills however warriors also rely on adrenaline for certain techniques. Adrenaline is gained after attacks hits and go down when these skills are used.
No matter what class you choose you can choose any of the other 5 as a sub class. Sub classes allow you access to skills of other classes Along with the skills you gain access to the other classes attributes, except for the “Main Attribute”. Main attributes are class specific and cannot be used as sub classes. There are many combinations of classes and sub classes, some useful while others pretty useless, but no matter what you choose 99.9% of your skills will be from your main class, with maybe 1 or 2 from your sub class to supplement your main.
Quests aren’t that hard and don’t test your skills that much, that is where Missions come in. Missions are like instances where you and your party go through an area with a specific story driven purpose. Missions also have sub missions and when completed net you more experience points.
Now would be a good time to point out that your party doesn’t have to be full of other players. Guild Wars allows you to add NPCs to your party. There is 1 NPC for every class and use basic skill sets. The NPCs work well but they don’t match human players. The level of the NPCS depend on the area and these NPCs can be found at every major town.
Guild Wars is a very PvP(Player Vs Player) driven game. When creating a character you actually choose whether or not it will be a PVE(Player Versus Environment) or PvP character. PvP characters start at the max level of 20 but can only be used in the PvP arenas. The skills that these PvP characters use can be bought or unlocked via a PvE character. PvP takes place in arena settings. There are basic PvP arenas through the world but where pvp really shines is in the Guild Wars(Hence the name). Players can join a guild, get a guild cape and finally buy a guild hall. from here you can fight other guilds in these halls in capture the flag or kill the boss modes.
Guild Wars sports a realistic approach with one playable race, being humans. The characters are pretty detailed for a 3 year old game and the graphics quality still holds up pretty well. The voice acting is solid but nothing special. Sound effects and music are also solid
Guild Wars is an exceptional game and a standout in the MMORPG genre. It has it flaws with killing monsters almost a mute point but the well thought out skill system and pvp works extremely well. Add the fact that there is no monthly fee and trying out this game is a no brainer.
Guild Wars: Factions
Factions add two new classes to the mix. The new classes are the assassin, the second melee driven class(weaker defensively than the warrior but deals more damage) and the ritualist(a summoner of sorts). Aside from the new professions Factions makes it easier to level up. A decently skilled player will make it to 20 or close to it before leaving the tutorial area. Whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the individual.
Factions have been added to the game(Thus the name Guild Wars: Factions). These factions include the Kurzick and the Luxon. Guilds can align themselves with either faction and compete for towns to control.
Guild Wars: Factions is more of the same. The new classes are what makes this expansion worth it but other than that you can just play the original. But then there’s the beauty of this expansion, it is stand alone, you don’t need the original to play so buying this allows you to get the full experience minus the original cost. The story isn’t as good as Prophecies but it still holds up.