Guild Wars

Guild Wars cover art

Guild Wars is the poor man’s World of Warcraft.

It is a unfortunate consequence that every massively multiplayer online role playing game that comes out has to be compared to World of Warcraft but that is just the case. Even if I were to talk about Guild Wars and the great things it has going for it, people would compare it to World of Warcraft. So, let us just get that out of the way. It plays like WoW with controls and game mechanics, like taking quests being very similar, however it does a couple of things very different.

Every time you are in a battlefield, you are by yourself or with your party. Each area is inclusive to you and your allies only. This makes the areas seem bigger but breaks the massively muliplayer narrative by secluding you in an area until you return or finish your quest. The organic growth of players helping or hurting other players on the battlefield is limited in this game.

There are invisible walls. Within the environment of a battlefield there are walls that are invisible that stop you from harming yourself using the environment. For example, you cannot walk off a cliff or jump off of a waterfall, the game stops you. I found this disconcerting and felt it removed the player from the choice, and the fear, of interacting with their environment the way they want. If you are walking up a mountain and walk too close to the edge, you should be fearful that you could fall to your death and not just know that should you get too close an invisible wall will protect you.

Online play is free. That is right, it does not charge you for your play Online. That is the major selling point of this game. It’s free. Your costs will be one time to buy the game, or it’s expansions, but that will be the only cost associated with playing. For a game that is fairly expansive, not including the multiple expansions, being to play Online with others for no additional cost lowers the entry cost for many people.

So, ultimately how does it stack up against the giant that is World of Warcraft? Well, it is not as massive. Considerable less people play this game and than WoW. It also lacks that organic growth that is reinforced by having all players be in the same world, although not the same server, at the same time. However, it is massively cheaper in the short term. WoW uses the subscription model for users to pay for the service on a monthly basis but Guild Wars is free. To put it bluntly, if you are looking for a new massively multiplayer online role playing game in a fantasy setting but have little money to throw at it, go with Guild Wars. Just be aware however that Guild Wars has a finite end.

Screenshots:

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7 thoughts on “Guild Wars

  1. That is the major selling point for me. I cannot afford a monthly subscription to any game at the moment, so a one time fee is the killer feature for me. I enjoy the game but I haven’t played it in a while due to Operating Systems last semester and now I’m into Anarchy Online. But I agree with your review and maybe sometime we can play it together.

  2. I actually find I prefer instanced zones to persistant zones now. I played EQ1 way back in the day, and I’ve also played Anarchy Online, as well as several other free to play MMORPGs. It is nice not to have to worry about someone not picking up their loot, and it making lag for everyone. (That’s another *VERY* nice thing, there is no ninja looting in Guild Wars.) You also don’t have to worry about jerks who love to see how many they can slaughter by aggroing every mob in the zone and pulling the train over other players minding their own business. (Or newbies too stupid to not train others.) I notice that you left out that Guild Wars has much better graphics than WoW, and much nicer animations. The video on YouTube “Guild Wars Vs. World of Warcraft” by Zack will show what I mean. We might not have as large a player base, but we have nice players, who don’t spoil the plot for new players by revealing the storyline. Also, the customer service for the game is quite good in my experience. They care about their players, and it shows.

  3. Oh my, I see that perhaps all you did was the “first chapter” otherwise known as “Pre-Searing Ascalon”? You can’t judge the game’s content based solely on that! No wonder you hardly encountered everyone! Most people are in “Post-Searing Ascalon” for Prophecies, or in the other lands adventuring. Once you finish/leave the first chapter, you cannot go back.

  4. Ah, and to be clear, Prophecies has two “chapters” Pre and Post Searing. If you own Prophecies you get access to both. guildwiki.org is a good reference site, also, by the way. *smile*

  5. @katkmeanders:
    While it is true I only played the first section of the game, the “first chapter”, I only played it for two hours. That is my hook for reviewing games, two hours of play.

    There are a number of points that can be said for instanced zones, which you mentioned, but I feel it breaks the massively multiplayer narrative. Most of the gameplay is taking place in areas where you are alone or with a small group and not coexisting with many others. I totally agree with you that this eliminates the jerk-factor but it feels more like extended single-player play to me.

    I actually like this game. Just because I’m critical of things does not mean I don’t like it. I’ve even considered buying it, and expansions, but do not have the time to invest in this game right now.

  6. Well, if you are in a guild community that you like, you aren’t alone as you do a quest or mission with your group. *wink* You have guild chat. And there are various holidays that require people to be in specific towns and outposts in order to recieve the goodies. Look up Canthan New Year on guildwiki.org as an example. Wintersday is another one, as is Halloween, when Mad King Thorn comes to demand the tribute that is his due, and give out goodies to those loyal to him that please him. These various Holiday Goodies aren’t entirely pointless. The sweets can help you attain the various stages of the “Sweet Tooth” title track, and there are Lucky, Unlucky, Party Animal and Drunkard title tracks as well. The more title tracks a character completes the closer they get to earning the favor of the Gods and the ultimate title “God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals”. Titles can also be earned by completing a mission and getting the bonus (or Mastering it depending on the land) in Normal and Hard mode. Currently there are six points to be earned on that track, all the missions of three lands. I’ll comment below with a link to the Title article because I’m not sure I am making sense.

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