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.