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Karl W
25 Jun, 2005

Guild Wars Review

PC Review | No monthly fees? Compensating for something perhaps...
MMORPGs have been a popular genre this decade, with some big hits like Final Fantasy XI and the long awaited World of Warcraft. Both of these games like so many other MMORPGs are plagued with so many flaws such as Kill Stealing, Spawn Camping, Loot Stealing, and overall a horrible community. But Guild Wars focuses on these issues and thanks to the nifty Instanced Battlegrounds (Made just for you and your team) none of those horrors exist. Also theres the whole thing when theres no monthly fee but enough of that. Let’s dive into the game itself, shall we?

There are six classes for you to choose from, and they’re all very different in their own ways. You have the staple Warrior class (Up close and personal), the Ranger (Range fighter), the Monk (Healer), the Necromancer (Debuffer, Summons Minions, Blood Magic), the Mesmer (Anti-Mage, Debuffer/Buffer), and the Elementist (Main damage mage). But it doesn’t end there. You may also choose a secondary class for your avatar, further increasing your studies. Your primary class allows you a special attribute to level up, as well as affecting your look. But besides that, a secondary class is almost identical. Yet surprisingly, converse classes are immensely different. A Warrior/Monk, for example, is ten times different that a Monk/Warrior. Why is this? Well, having a Monk as a primary class means you have the unique attribute that makes all your healing spells more effective, so you’ll probably want to be a healer who can hold his own in battle. But having a Warrior as a primary class allows you to up your strength, meaning you can do more damage. This means you’ll probably be a front lines leader with the ability to heal yourself and others. Because of this, the game boasts 30 unique class combos.

Funnily enough that dragon is actually a good guy

Funnily enough that dragon is actually a good guy
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At the start of the game you are given a choice either to create a "PvP Exclusive" character that starts at the level cap of 20 but can only participate in Player vs Player competitions. The other choice is to make a “Full Roleplaying Character" that is a character who can travel anywhere and has to level up their character and collect skills along there journey, lets talk about this selection first. After deciding on your primary profession your thrown into the lush green land of Ascalon with some basic clothing, your primary profession and eight slots for skills. Each of the game's six character classes has 150 unique skills, and each one has its own little icon graphic, description, and purpose these make the combat system a little more than just a hack and slash. So you start off by talking to some NPCs, getting to know people and eventually you acquire your second class. That's when the game really begins. Once you leave the Tutorial land the game really begins.

Fast forward 2 years... Welcome to the wasteland of what used to be the lush green lands of Ascalon, The great searing made sure everyone agreed once and for all the days of peace in Ascalon are over and its your job to find out why this attack happened. You now get the choice to either do quests or missions. Quests aren’t compulsory but if you plan on leveling up quick they are the best option. You'll be hunting in environments such as the Barren Snowy Shiverpeak Mountains, the beautiful but Drake Infested beaches of Kryta or the Everlasting sands of the Crystal Desert. Instead of using mounts to quickly move about these locations you are given a map which allows you to transport to and from where ever you want within the places you have been to.

They're actually forty year old men

They're actually forty year old men
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By now it is obvious that there is something more to this game as nearly everyone is wearing unique capes except you. These capes identify which guild you belong to. Guilds are there for many reasons, to create new friends and to help each other with items, quests and missions. Throughout my journey to level cap I found my self in many tricky situations that couldn’t have overcome without the help of my guild. Also it’s a real pain when your 2 bolts of cloth of making elite armor (crafting is an important aspect of Guild Wars as it’s the only way you can create armor). However it is possible to face missions and quests at the start of the game alone with the help of the NPC henchmen, later however this isn’t possible as the game requires strategy which the henchmen lack. This is when you need to make parties of real players which are created in main server points before entering missions/quests. If this aspect doesn’t tickle your fancy you may be more interested in creating a Player Vs Player character.

The Player vs Player system of Guild Wars really is one of the best Player vs Player systems in any Online RPG I have seen. Combining the elements of skill and strategy, you find yourself in an intense battle, full of obstacles and unknowns. From 4 vs 4 random groups, to 8 versus 8 organized battles, to 8v8v8v8v8v8 massive battles, strategies change with each and every battle. With a worldwide tournament system, you will be pitted against players from all around the world, trying to conquer different regions and advancing up the ladder. Also there is a guild versus guild ladder, where you battle other guilds for rating points and bragging rights.

PVP is intense..

PVP is intense..
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One of the outstanding qualities of Guild Wars has to be the graphics. Beautifully rendered models and textures lead to an overall aesthetically appeasing atmosphere. The reflections in the water are most noticeable, and the detail you get to see at the highest levels of graphics are simply to die for. Stepping into the game for the first time, you truly will drop your jaw in marvel and you stare at the impressive background of Guild Wars. Some aspects like some shrubbery and grass could do with some remodeling or fine-tuning, but that is not a major problem at all. The graphics in Guild Wars are some of the top graphics in video games so far, you truly will enjoy looking at these graphics, even if you have the worst of computers.

During the time when I play Guild Wars I prefer to plug in my Ipod as audio is probably the part of the game that requires the most working on. Don't get me wrong, the music selections for this game are great, Jeremy Soule, composer for Guild Wars, has done an excellent job. However, there is a definitely lack of music in this game so far. A lot of times it just feels like I can hear only the sound effects, and no music at all. The sound effects likewise are alright, not the greatest of effects, but not terrible. Perhaps the effects could have some fine-tuning to them as well.

Obviously size isnt everything, we owned him in less than 30 seconds

Obviously size isnt everything, we owned him in less than 30 seconds
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While the game is very fun to play and there will be expansions every 6-9 months, some of the game could get very repetitive after awhile. You can only do the same missions and quests so many times, and participating in Player vs Player for 6 months straight may not be satisfying to everyone out there, so it may get a tad bit boring at times. Especially if you are in a guild or group that cannot compete with some of the better teams out there, you might find yourself losing round after round, and that can be frustrating. However, the upside to all of this is that there is no monthly fee, so you don't have to feel bad if you decide to put this game down for awhile, then just come back when a new expansion comes. Not to mention that since there isn't a huge leveling grind, you can still remain competitive without playing for a month or two.

Overall Guild Wars has stolen my social life and has become one of my favorite games. This game is very well crafted in mechanics, has good graphics, and decent sound. It defies its MMORPG family and goes off to do its own thing. Those who try to apply the same standards to this game as they do to a typical MMORPG will be confused or frustrated by how different things are. If you're looking for something new, this might just be it. It may be not perfect but the great thing is its always getting updated.
The Score
So, to end this little rambling, Guild Wars is a great game that should suit all comers to the genre. New and old. And the best part of it is, it's 100% free to play online. Thanks ArenaNet. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Guild Wars Content

New Guild Wars chapter announced
12 Jan, 2006 And you can try it for free.
Eidos Publishing Star Wars Lego Title
24 Aug, 2004 Eidos Secures Distribution Rights for Lego Star Wars Game
Star Wars Trilogy Announced For GBA
15 Jul, 2004 Ubisoft and Lucasarts bring the epic Star Wars Trilogy to the Game Boy Advance. First screenshots inside.
24 Comments
8 years ago
Nice review. icon_wink.gif

I happen to like Soule's score throughout the game. Each of the pieces serves its purpose very well, and subtly compliments their respective environments - never getting in the way of the action.

I also would have elaborated of a few other flaws, such as the ruthless economy - (the sellback of crafted items is usually around 5% of all the money you spent to create them), as well as the fact that rewards for quests are not class specific like skills, and thus my Elementalist ended up with a dozen bows and hammers before I found a decent wand off a monster by random. And even skills are given to you at random - I'm currently a fire mage, yet I spend time acquiring earth spells I won't plan to use. The system is a tad unorganised, but it mostly works.
8 years ago
Thanks man, I enjoyed writing this one. I might add some more screenshots later icon_razz.gif

Skills arent randomised, you can only get certain skills from certain skill traders or 'bosses', you can choose to buy them or not which is pretty cool (considering in my case, there is so many elements). The fact about drops is pretty annoying I spose, but its good if you have multiple characters.

You mean destroying your good items for materials and the fact you only get 10 gold for each thing you destroy? yeah thats a bit of a pain, but its the only way to get money out of them but it does get better - some materials selling for 3k each! but overall like you said, the game works pretty damn good heh.
8 years ago
Wow, this game actually sounds pretty good. I never thought I'd consider buying a MMORPG before mainly because of those monthly fees, but this game has none whatsoever?! That's a pretty big selling point. Wow, I sound cheap don't I...

I might just head down to EB while they've got that sale on. And If I don't like it, I could always use their 7 day return policy. Mwuhahahahaaa. icon_twisted.gif
8 years ago
^ I always wanted WoW and FFXI but it ends up being so expensive. Guild Wars costs 70 for life - good stuff hey icon_razz.gif

Plus theres the whole thing with credit cards..
8 years ago
Cap: EB's policy doesn't apply to MMO games... they even ask if you understand that you can't bring it back...

i do recommend you get it though, especially if you haven't played an MMO before... like Karl said, it only cost $70 and it's pretty similar to a few normal RPGs out there initially... so even if you don't get into it in terms of playing with other Real World people, it doesn't really matter... you should get your moneys worth...

that said, i have quite a few issues with the structure of this game... i've ranted about them elsewhere so i won't regurgitate them again here... it's a great introduction to MMOs, but is not my kind of MMO in the long run...

one thing you should have mentioned is that those 6-9 month expansions are NOT free, you have to buy them... but you don't need them to continue playing

that didn't make much sense icon_confused.gif... hangon i'll try explain it again...
the expansions are optional, you don't need them to continue playing, so you can shell out $70-100 (depending on where you shop) and get the game and that's it... no more to pay, play as long as you like...

but every now and then, an expansion (or "chapter" as they are known) will be released containing new dungeons, spells, skills, races, enemies, classes... whatever... but in order to access this new content, you'll need to pay for them...

if you decide not to buy this stuff, you'll still be able to play... and even be able to play with people who have the new chapters, you just won't be able to go everywhere they can, or cast everything they can...

also, it's ArenaNet, not Areananet...
8 years ago
CerebralAssassin wrote
Nice review. icon_wink.gif

I happen to like Soule's score throughout the game. Each of the pieces serves its purpose very well, and subtly compliments their respective environments - never getting in the way of the action.

I also would have elaborated of a few other flaws, such as the ruthless economy - (the sellback of crafted items is usually around 5% of all the money you spent to create them), as well as the fact that rewards for quests are not class specific like skills, and thus my Elementalist ended up with a dozen bows and hammers before I found a decent wand off a monster by random. And even skills are given to you at random - I'm currently a fire mage, yet I spend time acquiring earth spells I won't plan to use. The system is a tad unorganised, but it mostly works.
Sure you may think that those skills you recieve for other elemental powers are a waste (in your case earth, water, air) but trust me as you progress in the game and into PvP, your party will request certain skills of you and you will end up rearranging your whole Hero Attribute List to suit the party and the skills required. I currently have 95 skills on my character (E/Mo) and I have used (I think) all of the elementalist skills succesfully and at least half of my monk skills for all different types of parties that require what it is that i have to offer.
8 years ago
ObsoletE wrote
also, it's ArenaNet, not Areananet...
Typo, fixed - thanks dude.

I knew I would get a decent comment from you about this review icon_razz.gif The expansions you have to pay for yes. But the regular updates which they hinted will contain new content will be free. I guarantee you there will be more free stuff coming soon.

BTW Im using my Mez powers finally Npie icon_razz.gif
8 years ago
Karl wrote
ObsoletE wrote
also, it's ArenaNet, not Areananet...
Typo, fixed - thanks dude.

I knew I would get a decent comment from you about this review icon_razz.gif The expansions you have to pay for yes. But the regular updates which they hinted will contain new content will be free. I guarantee you there will be more free stuff coming soon.

BTW Im using my Mez powers finally Npie icon_razz.gif
Haha at least you are using your second profession now. The only skill i use currently from my monk profession is Rebirth.
8 years ago
^ I really wish I had some heal powers for my Elementist...
8 years ago
Uh, you got a "There" where you should be using a "Their", under one of the screenshots icon_razz.gif

Its a nice review, but your view of a free MMO is blurred when you play an MMO you have to pay a monthly fee for icon_razz.gif
8 years ago
Npie wrote
Sure you may think that those skills you recieve for other elemental powers are a waste (in your case earth, water, air) but trust me as you progress in the game and into PvP, your party will request certain skills of you and you will end up rearranging your whole Hero Attribute List to suit the party and the skills required. I currently have 95 skills on my character (E/Mo) and I have used (I think) all of the elementalist skills succesfully and at least half of my monk skills for all different types of parties that require what it is that i have to offer.
Actually, it's just the earth spells I find useless. I intend to branch out to air/water after I hit level 20, since fire has more potent AoE for PvE.
Karl wrote
BTW Im using my Mez powers finally Npie icon_razz.gif
Oh, backfire is a lovely, lovely spell. icon_razz.gif
8 years ago
Quinsisdos wrote
Uh, you got a "There" where you should be using a "Their", under one of the screenshots icon_razz.gif
Fixed icon_razz.gif
(to "they're" icon_razz.gif)

And yes, Backfire owns. icon_lol.gif
8 years ago
I fail at Grammar.

In other news:

After getting fustrated with the "Frost Gate" mission, I decided to walk to Lion's Arch. I arrived at the Gates of Kryta mission with a 57% death penalty. That was fun icon_biggrin.gif
8 years ago
CerebralAssassin wrote
Npie wrote
Sure you may think that those skills you recieve for other elemental powers are a waste (in your case earth, water, air) but trust me as you progress in the game and into PvP, your party will request certain skills of you and you will end up rearranging your whole Hero Attribute List to suit the party and the skills required. I currently have 95 skills on my character (E/Mo) and I have used (I think) all of the elementalist skills succesfully and at least half of my monk skills for all different types of parties that require what it is that i have to offer.
Actually, it's just the earth spells I find useless. I intend to branch out to air/water after I hit level 20, since fire has more potent AoE for PvE.
Earth magic actually has some of the most used wards in the game, eg. Ward Against Melee (most people want this on an ele later in the game) and Ward against the Elements i think it's called. Both these skills are sought after by parties in such later areas as the Underworld.
8 years ago
Man my English sucks XD thanks for fixing.

Earth eles seem to be more defensive as they use protection skills like Npie said. For attack its kinda bad with only one good skill, Earthquake. Air is best for PVP and Fire is best for RPG, I dont know how water comes into it all lol

I walked through the Crystal Deserts once Quin, do I get a medal? icon_lol.gif

EDIT: BTW only skill I use on my mez side is Conjure Phantasm, mmm slow death
8 years ago
Well, I wasn't expecting to actually get there for a start icon_razz.gif
8 years ago
Karl wrote
EDIT: BTW only skill I use on my mez side is Conjure Phantasm, mmm slow death
No Backfire/Empathy? You fail! icon_razz.gif Nice review though. icon_biggrin.gif
8 years ago
^ cheers icon_razz.gif

Whats so great about Backfire anyway? It only does 35-140 damage, I do 112 everytime my Meteor storm hits hehehe
8 years ago
Backfire absolutely roots spellcasters and is great for PvP, when your opponents are smart enough to get out of a meteor storm. Unless they want to chip away at their own health, it forces them onto their normal attacks, which are more often than not weak (It also hits for 35-140 regardless, Meteor Storm seldom hits for full damage due to elemental resistance, etc.)

Likewise, a high level Empathy can force melee attackers onto their secondary class, which is usually weaker. However Empathy only deals a fraction of the damage as backfire (18 versus 77 for me)

And you can't fire off a Meteor Storm as often as Backfire. The Exhaustion caused by MS also impairs you for a short while.
8 years ago
Backfire can be avoided aswell though, if backfire is cast on you and you're a caster then you can just stop casting and (if your on somthing such as TS or Vent) get a monk to use a prayer that stops backfire.
8 years ago
What if you cast it on a Monk. icon_razz.gif That's when it's at it's best.
8 years ago
Considering that monks arn't mass damage dealers i don't think that it would make too much difference. All that monks do is heal (or use protection prayers) and backfire only backfires attacks aimed at an enemy (as far as i know).
8 years ago
Npie wrote
Considering that monks arn't mass damage dealers i don't think that it would make too much difference. All that monks do is heal (or use protection prayers) and backfire only backfires attacks aimed at an enemy (as far as i know).
Thats Empathy, Backfire deals large amount of damage if you cast a spell. Which is why its so lethal on spell spamming Monks.
8 years ago
Quinsisdos wrote
Npie wrote
Considering that monks arn't mass damage dealers i don't think that it would make too much difference. All that monks do is heal (or use protection prayers) and backfire only backfires attacks aimed at an enemy (as far as i know).
Thats Empathy, Backfire deals large amount of damage if you cast a spell. Which is why its so lethal on spell spamming Monks.
That's not what he meant Quin. icon_razz.gif

It does affect any spell cast, Npie, which is why it's so useful for fighting those damn Crown of Thorns, and Grawl Ulodytes.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  NCSoft
Developer:
  ArenaNet

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