Monday, November 13, 2006

Guild Wars - A niche market.

Hi guys and gals!

I know this is a little overdue, but I'm reviewing the first Guild Wars. I'm only doing the first one because I don't have extensive experience with the expansions; and they maintain the general game design of the first.

I'd first like to point out that I am a hardcore MMO player, as opposed to the casual 4-6 hours per week type.

The basic premise of Guild Wars is about removing massive grind (PvE) and replacing it with a wide variety of PvP. Although they did keep some PvE in the game, its limited at best; the PvP is not involving enough to warrant playing for 6-8 hours daily. Thus this is not a game for hardcore players. However, due to the lack of a monthly fee, its a very viable option as a "second" game you can play when taking a break from a primary MMO.

On that note, the most enjoyable concept of the game is the skill/PvP system. Each character chooses a primary and secondary class. With the main focus of the stats orientated for the primary, yet gaining the skills of the secondary. Each class has roughly 100 skills, making for a total of 200 skills for each character. These skills must be either purchased from an NPC or stolen from a monster using specific skills/items. The exciting part is that you can only ever bring 8 skills into a PvP match (PvP games are instanced), and you are always warring with a guild or party or random collection of people. Thus coordination, teamwork, and quick wit become very important aspects of the game.

The stat system is unique in that it adds specific bonuses to various aspects of your damage or character abilities; such as an "increase fire damage" stat for a Elementalist. The nice part is that these stats can be modified almost daily, to reduce one, or add to another. This is required as your "build" or "strategy" of skills you bring into battle may change, and thus you may want to increase lightning damage instead of fire damage.

As you can see, the coordination of highly skilled guilds will dominate the GvG scene. And there is many tournaments/rankings in this area to encourage such competition. Also, the PvP comes in a wide variety, from a variation of capture the flag, kill all the other team, various "castle siege" styles. And even surviving onslaughts of NPC's; with I'm sure many more varieties offered in the expansions. They really focused on PvP and made sure it was enjoyable.

The PvE aspect of the game is almost entirely instanced, as you start doing basic "instances" of quests with 4-6 party members. You can hire NPC's if you wish to do it solo, but the party members are generally easy to find. It is in the PvE that you find much of your rare gear and you can "steal" monster's skills. In addition to the instanced PvE, there is an actual "world" also, where you can explore, find monsters, and find gear. It is quite large and has many hidden bosses (big arse dragons), however its not very populated by anything but open space and monsters. And with a level cap, it takes at most 1-2 weeks to reach it through conventional grinding.

I think the game is done brilliantly well, with the only exception being limited PvE, and thus a lack of hardcore players. But with the current business model of zero monthly fees, you just purchase the game, it offers some competitive entertainment for the casual and hardcore player alike. If you like for PvP, this game is your holy grail.


Advice for casual gamer:

Advice for hardcore gamer:
keep it as an option



Anonymous said...

You obviously don't play this game enough, or don't play it at all, because you know nothing about it.

RedFlame said...

Would you care to elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Guild Wars is interesting, and has a nice array of features.

Sadly, most of the people on the Role-Playing Server (PvE) are only there for the PvP Server Unlockable Features (though they have created a few solutions to give PvP lovers a PvE-less experience).

Because of this, I get into a very detailed and immersive world to find myself joining a party with "Mad Skillz88" and "Dropkick Murphy"... not exactly the kind of thing that takes you out of reality.

It's a shame that the only game I've seen with a decent RP aspect is incredibly boring, overrated, and not free-to-play. Of course, I am talking about WoW.

Guild Wars could be better in that respect. I really do find the world interesting, and with Factions and Nightfall, it's all improvements.
The henchmen feature was nice, because I don't like hearing "rez plz" when I'm out on a quest. At least they die in silence. Hopefully, Nightfall's Heroes system will improve the henchmen aspect of the game.

Other than that, I don't mind things like the instanced world. It provides a lot of freedom with quests, since you become the main character (especially in missions).

And this may sound strange, but I don't really enjoy the teleport feature. It makes things easy for Runners, and it makes no sense story-wise.

That's all. Good review.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean by it not being for hardcore players. But thats mostly only the basic stuff. You dont need to be a hardcore player but there are options to do so.

Like geting 15k armour. That can take ALOT of time to do, along with weapons with mad skins and all. Plus there is also titles, I dont know if this isnt for people with just prophecies but some of these take a long time to do. Such as grinding up points by killing monsters (nightfall only), Also missions completing them all With bonue and normal. Stuff like not dieing at all while getting a certain amount of experience. Also for pre-searing.. getting to lvl 20 there.... now that is the biggest grind you will do for a long time.

Also if you get "hardcore" into guild wars PvP then you will probly be needing to play it every day for a long time if your guild because you will need to help your guild gain ranks and becoming top stuff.. or at least come close to it.

As i said, i agree with the casual player, can only spend a few hours on it. But there are options for grinding and playing for a long time.

RedFlame said...

As an update: I do agree with the previous poster AFTER the expansions came out. But at the time of the review (well, the time it was set in), there were no hardcore features.

seanyboyyo said...

I agree. Guild wars is interesting.