Developed by ArenaNet, Guild Wars 2 is an MMORPG in fantasy setting with approximately 1.5 million active users.
The story takes place in Tyria, a fantasy world endangered by the rise of the Elder Dragons. This Lovecraftian species, who took over complete control over Tyria in the original Guild Wars, urge a long disbanded guild to come back together. Known as Destiny’s Edge, this newly rallied resistance seek to push back the imposing progression of the Elder Dragons’ power over their homeland.
Guild Wars 2 features dynamic questing - the storyline is regularly updated according to player actions, which offers a rich experience, rarely present in multiplayer games. Moreover, the level cap is now at an impressive level 80, compared to the previous level 20 set in the first Guild Wars. The player versus environment (PVE) mode uses a smart stats scaling system, which re-adjusts your attributes based on the level of monsters you encounter. The dynamic adjustment of your character stats makes the environment ever-challenging, which breaks away from the traditional “grinding” system most MMORPGs employ.
The player versus player (PVP) system in Guild Wars 2 sets all players on equal grounds: every character joining the combat is at max level, and has access to most items and skills available. This emphasizes players’ skills, as everyone is on the same level on the battlefield. Additionally, you can join a more massive battleground, known as “World versus World,” where two factions face off in a world independent from Tyria, and players can build siege weapons to annihilate their enemies. The rewards you can get are dependent on how successful you were for your team on the battleground.
The combat system in Guild Wars 2 emphasizes the player’s chosen professions, skills, and environment. Depending on the area you are in, you can use your surroundings to fight off your enemies, in combination with unique abilities obtained through the synergy of your race and your professions. It is worth noting that skills are progressively unlocked as you progress through the storyline and level up.
As mentioned before, the combat mechanism relies heavily on your choice of race and profession. You can choose from five different races upon starting the game, and select two professions from the available eight. If at some point you feel that you would have been better off with another choice, you can swap for any other profession, against a fee. For any profession you choose, there are basic recipes already available - as you progress and gather more ingredients from drops, loot, and your environment, you can experiment with different combinations with the possibility of discovering new recipes.
The combat system also encourages players to strategize their build as you can only select up to 10 active skills and spells at a time. One unique aspect of this system is the predefined role for each skill slot:
According to the game developers, this mechanism was developed to balance the difficulty of the game throughout a player’s gameplay. Hence, the various game modes available seem to emphasize the quality of your character's skills, rather than the quantity. Good to know: You are not able to import your characters from the original Guild Wars (if you had any). Any achievement and honor gathered will earn you special points towards unlocking exclusive bonuses in Guild Wars 2.
Overall, Guild Wars 2 offers a robust and rich gaming experience for anyone up for the challenge. Moving to a free-to-play model was undoubtedly a wise move as the population has surged. Moreover, the generous reward system and graphically exquisite environment encourage players to explore Tyria continually.