Guild Wars 2 review
[Continued] Page 2
Enter crafting, which is an entirely different beast altogether. Everything from cooking, to making armor, weapons, jewelry and accessories — you can take up two professions that you can level up 400 separate levels. The best part is that each new thing created (given it's not grayed out) will add experience to your level as well, allowing you to level up through crafting alone!
Crafting isn't predicated by recipes only; a lot of it has to do through discovering recipes yourself, through experimentation. Putting various items together will yield different results, and if the recipe is successful, it will also give you a huge boost to your crafting and character level. To say crafting is absolutely worth it is an understatement.
The map is huge and the environments are varied. Both big pluses
The PVE portion is heavily tied to exploration. As you quest through the various areas of Tyria, each map has a certain amount of Tasks, Waypoints (which allow you to quickly teleport long distances), Vistas, Points of Interest, and Skill Challenges. Finding and completing these is easily half the fun of Guild Wars 2. Vistas and Skill Challenges are especially fun, as they aren't always straight forward. Vistas almost always require some form of platforming to reach, as they're nested atop a high platform, and Skill Challenges task players with taking down powerful enemies. The feeling you get for getting 100% area completion is always extremely satisfying, not to mention you get some great items and a bunch of XP.
The thing that ties together this constant "just one more thing to do" mentality is the Achievement system. There are achievements for everything you do in the game — kill 500 of these, craft a certain number of these, complete story quests, etc. Though the two that will have you obsessively coming back every day are the daily and monthly achievements, which always net you a good amount of XP and rewards. Achievements might not be new to the MMO genre, but ArenaNet sure did a great job with making them feel absolutely necessary.
Tequatl the Sunless is a level 65 world boss. Hint: You're going to need a lot of people to take him down
So you're thinking, what happens at level 80? I'm happy to say that besides allowing you to access higher level areas, levels are almost inconsequential. Let me clarify. Let's say you get to level 60, only exploring the lands tied to your race, and you want to venture to another race's starting area, your level will then be scaled to match that area's level. I know it sounds strange in theory, but in practice, it's completely genius. Not only does it allow you to experience the entirety of the game without one-shotting everything you come across, it also allows you to help lower level friends without making it extremely easy, in turn ruining their experience.
That brings me to combat. ArenaNet did a great job with the combat mechanics. It's fast, aggressive, and feels more action-packed than other hotkey reliant MMOs. It's no TERA, but it still manages to keep you on your toes, actively dodge, and retaliate with some great looking attacks. Two or more players can even form combo attacks, such as dropping down a fire AoE attack that imbues the Ranger's arrows as it passes through. It allows for experimentation with what classes work wonders together to maximize damage. Lose all your hit points and you'll have a chance to resurrect by killing an enemy, much like Borderlands' mechanic. If you're down for good, you still have the option to be resurrected by another player.
Burn baby, burn!
So where do you take all of this battle proficiency? You have two choices — structured PVP, which pits two teams against each other in various maps in control of certain points, or the epic World vs. World event, which has literally hundreds of players fighting from your server and two other servers.
Let's talk about World vs. World, since it's a more integrated experience, unlike Structured. What I mean by this is that you take your armor and skills to a giant map where each server gets their own island, with a fourth island housing the largest keep and has all three servers duking it out for control of it.
Taking down other players is both satisfying and rewarding
World vs. World can definitely be daunting at first. Whether it's taking over encampments, collecting supplies, sieging castles, protecting or taking down supply caravans and killing other players, there is a ton to do, and it's all brutally fun. You can participate in WvW as soon as you hit level 10, and doing so will immediately ascend you to level 80. Sure you might not have the greatest gear fitted to survive, but you can still contribute. The key to having the most fun is to queue up with friends or guild members. You can find other groups to join, but it's much more enjoyable to roam the islands with a group of guildies.
Structured PVP is almost like a completely separate game, as it gives you completely different gear and has you accumulating separate XP. Whatever you attain in Structured PVP remains there. Finding loot that isn't for your class isn't a big deal either, as you can store these items in your communal locker and have other characters on your account use them. As the name implies, it's less chaotic, and more... well, structured. Much like WvW, I found that solo-queueing into a match wasn't nearly as fun as queueing up with multiple people from your guild, especially since you already know one another's playstyle, and therefore, work together better when capturing points.