Having finished up a brief, but fruitful stint in Guild Wars 2, I wanted to review a few things I noted while playing. No doubt you will read many blog sites expounding upon combat, adventures, story. etc. I think I want to look at something that GW2 throws out the window.
How you play your MMO.
Something that you will never see in Guild Wars 2 is a full quest log. The flow of adventure as you move from one area to the next seems natural and endearing. You have the typical area in your UI where quests show up...but, you will always only have the MAIN persistent quest. Unlike most MMO's which have you go from place to place filling up your quest log, and trying to tackle them, GW2 will flash your screen where quests appear, and assign duties there. You will normally see a completion bar, and when it fills, you are done with that area. These usually fill up "hearts" and then reward Karma.
Again, you can read game sites, etc, to know more of how this works and what these naming conventions mean.
For myself and the family who MMO's, this felt organic. We just looked at our maps, and decided we should just run around, investigate the areas and let what come work its way to us naturally. Sometimes major events would happen, like in Rift, which would show up in your quest area, and you could see a major rush of people to get to that area. These were major situations, and eventually we would see many people dying.
Speaking of which, lets talk death. The unique system of trying to fight while fallen, and having other players help you back up is incredible. But, more than that, the fact people actually ENJOYED helping you back up...this really led to more "community" like situations. I mean, aren't you going to remember that person who helped you back up, as the fight raged on? But, as well, the reward system for doing this was a nice touch (get some XP, maybe some Karma....that was great).
GW2 is not easy. Period. So, expect to die a lot.
Seems most of the MMO's of late have held our hands way too long. I died more in GW2 than any other MMO of the last few years (and that was just over the weekend). And some of those deaths could have been prevented if I was better at my class. THAT speaks volumes of how the game will play out. The original Guild Wars was never a cake walk, and GW2 carries on that tradition.
Note my words: I could have prevented. The fact I do NOT need to rely on others to heal me, but at the same point, classes have skills that can offer "boons" to others around them with heals, defense, etc...this synergy was in effect so much as I played.
Finally, as we mention synergy, I want to talk about the guilds in Guild Wars 2. What a unique aspect of this game. All of your characters have the right to join the first guild you join...this was cool. BUT, you also did not have to join. The systems in place for upgrades to the guild was really neat. I did not have much time to play with it, but there seems to be a lot we can do, without being forced to be in groups together...everyone contributes. And in regards to groups, the whole "Stay in a party, even if logged out" was a god send. I could leave for a while, come back and log on with my family, and still be in the group with them. Awesome.
GW2 really takes a lot of conventions we're use to in MMO's and really shakes it up. Any hater who says GW2 is the same as any other MMO is just that...trolling for attention. There is just too much to enjoy here, where going back to the old way of MMO's will be hard. We will see when I attempt to go back to Rift after my vacation.
I know Guild Wars 2 may be a way off, but all I know is when it does launch, it will be a ways off before I leave that world.