by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
A Year to Remember
The year 2005 was an awe inspiring one for the European MMORPG scene. World of Warcraft was released in February of that year, and only two months later, Guild Wars saw the light of day. Although initially a WoW player myself, I soon got tired of spending 75% of my playtime running around doing random drop quests with such low drop rates that one would be more likely to find a half digested electric guitar in a wild boar than a Zhevra hoof on a dead Zhevra. I also felt that, with having a full-time job and training to be a pilot in my free time, I simply didn’t play the game enough to justify paying a monthly fee for it. Still, I wanted to play an MMO with my friends, many of whom didn’t live in Iceland. Guild Wars was exactly what I was looking for.
The Good and the Bad
I bought the game, registered an account, and started playing. No monthly payments, no waiting to reach level 20 to enter an arena, and best of all: No ranking. There was just one problem and it was a big one. Most of the friends I made playing WoW, I made during quests. I would see a helpless little troll who had wandered into an area of too high a difficulty level, and he would be struggling to stay alive, trying to sneak past all the creatures unnoticed and get out. I’d then run straight at him, killing everything in my wake, carving out a nice path for him to run out of. We are still friends to this day. I’ve never met the man, but he’s as much a friend to me as any other. This was not an option in Guild Wars.
Cities and towns were hubs where every player on the server was in the same place. You could see people socializing, bantering, and trying to persuade others to join forces and attempt a quest together, but as soon as you left the town gate, you were alone. If you were lucky, you would manage to snag someone with you, but you and your party were the only players in the vast open world of Tyria. Loneliness is not a feeling one would expect from an MMO. However, when I heard that Guild Wars 2 was in the making, and that they would be following the same business model, I couldn’t help but get excited. After seeing the game in action at this year’s GamesCom, that excitement has been quadrupled.
Choose Your Skin
There are five playable races in the game. The Sylvari are a race of humanoid beings birthed by a tree. They are very naturalistic, but neither they, nor anyone else, knows their purpose in the land if Tyria. The Norn are a race of barbarous humanoids that live in a mountain stronghold. They are shape-shifters and are brutally strong, with a temper to match. The Charr were an enemy race in the first Guild Wars, but return this time around as a playable race. They are brutally strong felines whose mastery of industry and engineering has made them the dominant race in Tyria. They are, however, plagued by the ghosts of their fallen enemies, and division amongst themselves. The Asura are probably the cutest little creatures in all Tyria. Previously a subterranean race, these super intelligent little beings have been forced to the surface by the fire dragon’s minions. They study the art of magical engineering and use their knowledge to make up for every single one of their physical shortcomings. Which of these races will dominate Tyria? That’s up to you.
The character customisation in is pretty standard for modern RPGs, except for one thing. When you create your character, you are given the option of picking three dye colours for your starting outfit. Whenever you pick up a new set of armour, the look of your armour will change, but the colours will match your initial choice. This means that not every player is running around wearing exactly the same armour until they can afford a vial of dye.