Guild Wars 2 wins!
Welp. Wow had a hefty early lead, but it was overtaken by Guild Wars 2. Also my sister bought it for me. That tips things considerably. I’ll get around to most of the other games on the list eventually. I’ll also be posting impressions here as I play.The races in GW2 are pretty odd. Demonic dog people (Charr), bigger humans (Norn), E.T. with floppy ears (Asura), plant people (Sylvari), and humans (Duh). I made a plant man ranger.
Character creation started off pretty standard, though the appearance options are deeper than many MMOs, with options for physique, and slider-operated face adjustment. I managed to play with the plant man enough to like the cut of his jib. Bark. Whatever.
Then it started asking me about character stuff in the form of multiple choice questions. What my life’s quest is and whether I was Paragon (Charming), Renegade (Ferocious), or some lame place in the middle (Dignified). This apparently affects some conversational options in quests.I was also asked what kind of pet I wanted, a stupid bird, an inoffensive cat, or, the correct answer, a dog made out of plants. I am a plant man. This is a non-question.
I enter the game, and after killing like five dogs, I fight a dragon made out of trees. Then I wake up, because the only place I can solo a dragon is in my dreams, apparently. Then I’m just sort of… set loose. Here’s a fun fact about Guild Wars 2: it does not have a proper tutorial. Another fun Guild Wars 2 fact: it has been out for a year. If I didn’t have my sister and her friends to answer questions I wouldn’t understand much about the game past what I know from other MMOs, and in a game that strives to be very different from other MMOs, this is a problem. The game does, however, stop to show me the map of the area and say “Here’s some quests you can do. If you want. I don’t know, man. It’s up to you.”
The next objective in my “Personal Story” is basically “Do a quest” any quest, it doesn’t matter. The quests are pretty standard MMO fare, except that you fill a meter by doing a variety of things instead of one specific thing a certain number of times. It’s nicely different, but it also feels kind of unfocused. Almost anything you can interact with in a quest’s area will tick up the quest meter. Kill a thing, click a thing, click a thing then kill the thing that spawns. All of them fill your quest-meter. And the quest just kind of starts when you walk into its area. You don’t talk to anyone to find out why you’re doing these things. You also don’t talk to them for your rewards. They send you a piece of mail (which you don’t go to a mailbox to get, it just appears in your mail panel) saying “Thanks for that thing that you did for me, even though I never actually asked you to do it. Here’s some copper!”
All of these this streamlining saves time, but everything feels kind of loose, disconnected. I don’t feel like I’m on a quest, I feel like I’m crossing off objectives like in any video game. The sense of place and story tied to what I’m doing is very weak. There’s some bad guys around, the Nightmare Court? No one’s ever said anything about them except “It’s the Nightmare Court!” or “We’re under attack by the Nightmare Court!” I long for a bit of exposition.
Also while you’re walking around, you get notifications of nearby “Events”. An escort, a mini-boss, a wave defense mission, all of which start frequently as you move around. Everyone in the area gets credit, no need for groups, so everyone nearby just jumps in and starts participating. It’s pretty neat. Though it might feel better if it were appreciably different from starting a quest, or if they happened a tad less frequently. I’ve repeated some of them 3-4 times just because I’ve come across them while doing other things.
Each weapon type has different skills that you must learn the first time you use one, but you’ll learn all of them fairly quick, so it just feels like a waiting period for each new weapon. Also I have a different weapon for underwater? I haven’t used it yet.
I’m gonna go play some more, and see if I can’t find a guild to go to war for or against.