Guild Wars 2 is the last of the big western MMORPGs that was laid out in the past era when mobile gaming meant games on portable consoles, Team Fortress 2 was sold for money and without caps, and the Free to Play model was something typically Asian, and therefore far and away incomprehensible. However, times are changing. And according to the laws of evolution, the mastodon Guild Wars 2, which had been dormant for more than five years, was supposed to crumble dead, barely born. But the project can save an unconventional approach to the development and implementation of ideas practiced in the American studio ArenaNet.
The first thing to know: the number “2” in the title is a fan service for those who well remember and love all three plot campaigns and one addon of the original Guild Wars. For veterans, there is also a system for receiving bonus items for past merits, called Hall of Monuments. But if you have not heard about the first part or have only seen it briefly, nothing terrible. Bonuses are not really important (the issue of vanity, rather), and the alignment of forces and the situation in the fantasy world of the planet Tyria is quickly explained in the launch videos and dialogues. Moreover, over the past 250 years according to local chronology (if you count from the events of Eye of the North), much has changed.
There are five main races: people about whom, as usual, nothing special can be said; Norns - local Vikings under two meters tall; upright aggressive charr cats; cunning short creators of Azura and, finally, wonderful people-plants sylvari. And everyone has their own problems. For example, people are tired of fighting off the raids of centaur hordes, and in Azur - the revolt of magical golems. The newly created character is initially brewed in a regional cauldron, grows above itself, turns into a hero, gets into big politics and learns that, by and large, one of the awakened ancient dragons is to blame for all the troubles. The boss to which you will come, reaching the 80th (at the moment maximum) level.
In addition to the general history of the world at the same time written and the biography of your character. The choice of the characteristics of his character (strong, valiant, charismatic) or there the choice of a mentor that you make during the generation really work. On this depends, for example, which quest chains will be available. Sometimes the hero is put on a fork right during the game - some tasks have several endings. According to the latest traditions, all story quests are decorated with cut scenes, dialogues and fully voiced.
And here the specific differences of Guild Wars 2 begin to appear - there are quite a lot of them, so the text below will mainly consist not of personal impressions, but of explanations of how and what works. So obviously it will be more useful, because when they ask about whether this game is good, they imply - what has been done differently in it than in other popular MMORPGs? For example, there are very few familiar tasks in it that are issued by NPCs with a distinctive icon above their heads. All of them belong to the same biography of the hero. Basically the quest system works differently.
In most areas of the game world there are key characters waiting for help - on the map they are marked with characteristic hearts. For example, these are warriors in a besieged fort, miners frightened by monsters, or a slightly cowardly ranger with a task to gather magic mushrooms in a cave with spiders ... As soon as your hero runs close enough to the quest zone, the task turns on automatically. Talking to someone and pressing the "Accept" button is not necessary. Moreover, all the players in the vicinity of the heart seem to unite in a game. All their actions go to the overall standings, and the reward in the finals is instantly distributed according to your contribution. Reward is experience, karma (one of the types of in-game currency) and money. As a rule, the NPC characters you have helped write letters of appreciation, putting certain amounts on them.
Quests often consist of several sub-tasks, and you already choose what you want to do. Such a scheme - for example, to help the farmer, you can: a) feed the cattle b) set traps on small rodents c) wet the reptiles who attacked the field, or d) do everything little by little. Each of these activities will replenish the overall progress bar, which shows how much more you need to try to complete the task. Quests are dynamically scaled to the number of players in their zone. That is, if you mess around alone, then success will be counted quickly. If there are many people willing to help the farmer, then the progress bar will be filled slowly.
For each game area sets and the interconnected chains of similar events are provided. Moreover, in the starting zones, the advantage is just in the direction of the usual quests (“hearts”), but gradually their number decreases, and in the zones for the characters there is no maximum level of hearts. Only combinations of dynamic surprises, often, by the way, end in a battle with the bosses.
But at the same time, Guild Wars 2 is not like a high fantasy bravura adventure, but an amusement park. Came in and looked around. Here you can help the hunters, becoming a predatory beast and tracking down prey. Here now - the people are trying to fend off reptiles crawling out of an ominous cave view, so that later this same cave can be bombarded by an explosion (accompanied by an NPC engineer). And here - the beginning of the puzzle-platformer, in which you have to deftly jump on the stones hanging in the air in an attempt to reach the tempting chest. And of course it is assumed that you will not go for a ride on the chosen “attraction” more than once, but as you get bored you will go looking for the next one.
Say, skill sets (this is what the MMORPG is usually called abilities) depend not only on the class of the character, but also on what weapon he holds (the sword includes some abilities, an ax - others, etc.) . Each class has the ability to heal itself and resurrect a neighbor, and characters can enter several guilds at the same time. There is no need to rush to the ore deposit to dig it faster than a neighbor - all the “collecting” resources are filled for each player individually. Components for crafting at any time allowed in a couple of clicks to ship from inventory to the bank, so the bags are never completely clogged. And in the process of crafting - when you create a pack of the same type of things - each next one is constructed faster than the previous one. Loot can be instantly sold, because access to the auction is not from the capitals, but instant - through the interface. Moreover, this auction is common for all servers in the selected territorial zone (Europe, USA, Asia). Thus, a more or less healthy state of the unified market is maintained, which is followed by an economist specially hired in the development team.
The combat system and options for the development of your character also have their own nuances. For example, in battle, you can not just stand still, pressing the buttons of skills. It is possible and necessary to dodge the blows and arrows and spells flying into the character using strafe and rolls. All classes can change weapons on the fly, and, say, a warrior can first release a pair of arrows from a bow in reptile, then switch to an ax, hryatnuyu into the skull and quickly jump aside. In Guild Wars 2 work and combo attacks, which the developers themselves like to explain as follows: the elementalist (local magician) puts a wall of fire, and the ranger (essentially a hunter from World of Warcraft) shoots a bow through it - the arrows ignite and cause additional damage . In combination, some of the hero’s personal skills are added — you don’t necessarily need a partner, as in the example above.
In addition, the importance of the “holy trinity” is greatly leveled - tank, healer, damage dealer. As already mentioned, all classes are able to heal and resurrect — be it a cunning thief (reminds Rogue of WoW) or an engineer shooting from steampunk rifles. Everyone can also “hold damage” in some measure, just representatives of certain professions because of the availability of heavy armor and some abilities do it better. In other words, these classic “holy” roles have not disappeared, but now it is not necessary to look for a specialized tank and doctor to gather a group in the dungeon. You can somehow figure out the other composition. Characters here can do a lot of things.
The higher the level of the hero, the more “skills” available to him. But only ten of them can be active. So the game leads to the need to make the most appropriate - for your style of play and / or situation - a set of skills (which is especially important in PvP and dungeons). Of course, there are thematic sites where “builds” have already been collected and sorted for various occasions. But looking back at how the first part of Guild Wars has changed and developed, we can assume that ArenaNet will deliberately and regularly shake up the balance and introduce some new features into the mechanics so that players won't “stay out” on one or two of the coolest skill combinations for your class.
For veterans of Azeroth (and some other virtual worlds), the following phrase will sound like blasphemy: in Guild Wars 2, the loot from the dungeons is not very different in characteristics from things of a similar level that you can find in ordinary PvE, buy for "fame" (another kind in-game currency) in PvP-vendors or craft yourself. The main feature is visual. Armor and weapons found in the dungeons, look much more elegant and beautiful than pleasantly heat the ego of their owner. But tsiferki characteristics of them, of course, higher, but not so much better than the casual neighbor, who bought for real money vnutriigrovye crystals and spent them on pathetic uniforms in a special "currency" store.
This, of course, makes life easier for developers in terms of balancing. Well, the players are easier - in Guild Wars 2 you will not hear the refusal of admission to the group, because "... you have a worthless gear." But from the community there are legitimate questions about PvE end-game content, which traditionally consists of hunting for the necessary loot. Eight rather intricate (but not very original, frankly) local dungeons with three modes of difficulty for each give twenty-four instances that they want to overcome, for example, not for loot, but for achivok and out of curiosity in general. But then what?
Then — theoretically — you can return to the old low-level zones to complete some things. Finally find out what is in that underwater cave guarded by evil lizards. Or fill up a huge fire elemental that once burned your very young hero in a couple of seconds. When you return to the starting zones, the characteristics of the character (health, attack power, etc.) and his armor / weapons are reduced, but the set of open skills remains. That is, the advantage of the pumped heroes is there, but to come to the Nuba locations and kill everyone and everything with one blow or shot will not work.
You can also offer crafting, which is based on constant experiments with mixing different ingredients / ingredients - as you invent new recipes. Well, or watch the ready-made schemes on the wiki - for maximum efficiency, and then bustle of things in the so-called Mystic Forge - a special unpredictable "variation" of especially cool things. Of course, there are dozens of various multi-stage achievements, ranging from simple daily achievements to epic tasks for those who do not have a personal and social life.
Ok, this is really the case. Guild Wars 2 is a fun game. The pumping is interesting here and goes completely smoothly and unnoticed, but to just run around all the zones, see most of the dynamic events and climb into all the dungeons will need - according to general calculations - at least 150+ hours (data from crazy geeks who played continuously for two weeks in a row). That is, those 60 dollars worth this game, do not mind. The fillings in it are decent.
But the traditional question for the genre “what to do after you stop at the level cap?” - there is still no clear answer. I hope the schedule for adding new content, about which the ArenaNet employees spoke in different interviews, will be quite tight - once, and the first supplements will not keep you waiting - two. By the way, the long break between the launch of the game and the first really significant update was partly ruined by Star Wars: The Old Republic - the community just ran away. Although, unlike Star Wars, the subscription fee Guild Wars 2 does not ask. You only pay for the box / key, and then play as long as you want.
However, if you like PvP, then questions about end-game content can disappear by themselves. First, there are quick PvP matches on small maps, where the gameplay is based on capturing and holding control points. And in order to make this mode more interesting, siege weapons and key NPCs were added to the maps. The first can be used to surprise the enemy team with a fiery stone from the sky, the second are walking bonus points. Kill such a character - immediately get a plus to the winning points. Only these NPCs are distinguished by increased survivability and it is better to hunt for them two or three together, which means that some control points may remain unguarded.
This separate game mode is called structured PvP (or sPvP) and you can get into it through the menu at any time. At the same time, your character immediately rises in the characteristics up to level 80, gets access to absolutely all skills, and can also dress up in a specialized sPvP garment for free (which can cause a short attack of vertigo from the abundance of possibilities). In sPvP, battles take place in small teams, or else you can take part in five-for-five-person tournaments organized on the fly. Of course, official tournaments are also held.
sPvP turned out good. It is fast (in half an hour you can play two or three very intense matches), hard, with cleverly and cleverly crafted cards. It has an internal ranking system and specific loot that allows you to rivet the pathetic PvP items. In principle, ArenaNet may eventually release sPvP as a separate game, as EA did, making a Wrath of Heroes clipping from Warhammer Online.
Another competitive mode is more global, which suggests its ridiculously long name World vs World vs World (abbreviated WvW or World PvP). It pushes the heads of players from three different servers in a two-week battle. The action takes place on huge maps with different defensive structures like towers and forts. Here and there, camps for procurement of supplies are scattered, along the roads there are caravans with resources - they are needed for the repair and modernization of buildings, for the construction of ballist, catapults and other "war machines".
World PvP attracts by the scale (about 5,000 people can be present on the maps at once) and by the fact that everyone can find suitable roles in it. Lonely players can, for example, attack caravans, and small groups can fight off resource extraction sites and capture guard towers. For large PvP guilds, the question of winning in a battle between servers is a matter of principle. Especially the shirts of desperate Russian guys, who, in their desire to seize the championship in a classic way, quarreled among themselves, are tearing at their shirts.
Guild Wars 2 can be beautiful at all - it's easy to buy into it. With a cursory acquaintance, it seems that here it is - a really fresh stream in the stagnant swamp of the genre. But, to be honest, this game is not at all as original as they are talking about it. Yes, and reeling it while - the server or auction happens to fall, there are errors in the quest system, the balance is ruled on the fly.
It’s critically good: for once, a very large and expensive MMORPG doesn’t try to follow the World of Warcraft schemes and doesn’t climb into a niche like The Secret World. Instead, Guild Wars 2 tries to balance between a wild Asian grind and comfortable power-wise western projects - and it works. For someone who is looking for a sparkling pop product with a poor taste, this is an excellent choice.