I talked about this a little in my Where I am Now post, but I wanted to expand upon it a bit. I both love and hate Guild Wars 2. I’ve never encountered a game that kept me so captivated, yet has so many things I don’t like about it. Here is a list of five things I hate about Guild Wars 2.
5: Exploration as a method for leveling
This is one of two things that almost kept me from enjoying Guild Wars 2 (see #1 for the other). Maybe I’m unusual in that I actually kind of enjoy grinding. After all, my first MMO was Runescape, which is basically one giant grindfest with only a few quests (most of which take hours and give no reward worth mentioning) and minigames (faster than quests, proportionately more mediocre rewards) to break up the monotony. Whatever the reason, I kind of miss the World of Warcraft model of leveling: Pick up every quest in sight, go kill 10 rats, then return to be showered with money, gear, and quest text no one will ever read. Also, undiscovered points of interest are incredibly hard to distinguish from the texture of the map, and they don’t look much different when discovered.
4: Dumbed down combat
Again, maybe I’m just weird, but I also enjoy getting new skills every couple of levels. Even if it’s just a situational cooldown, I find great satisfaction in figuring out how to use some new skill to make the game more interesting. Guild Wars 2 has exactly 5 weapon skills, one healing skill (usually self-healing), three swappable slots skills, and one “Elite Skill,” which is usually only useful in boss fights. Yes, this more distilled form of combat makes way for weapon switching and dodging and running around while casting, but I would gladly give that up for three hotbars bursting with skills.
3: No healers
My two favorite classes are usually healers and tanks (or healer-tanks if I can get one). As a healer, all I have to worry about is watching healthbars and keeping everyone alive. As a tank, all I have to worry about is keeping enemies off of the healer (oh, and I guess the glass cannons too if I feel like it). In Guild Wars 2, not only can I not effectively keep everyone alive by myself, but if I’m a tank, I have to worry about keeping myself alive as well. I know the elementalist has the water attunement which has some heal skills, but half of those skills are still DPS-centric.
2: Bland story and storytelling
“Hey guys! Evil ancient elder dragons of evil are appearing randomly to do evil! We should probably stop them. And by we, I mean you.” Oops, should have added a spoiler warning, because that’s basically the extent of the story in Guild Wars 2. Sure, your personal story has a few things to sidetrack you here and there, but they’re mostly to introduce your race’s member of Destiny’s Edge. Maybe I shouldn’t judge just yet, as I’m only a little over half way through the story, but so far I have been thoroughly unimpressed. It doesn’t help that the game’s method of storytelling is so bad. Conversations consist of two characters standing on opposite ends of your screen looking past each other (I’m sure they’re supposed to be looking at each other, but they rarely are) with a background panning back and forth at a pace that’s somewhere between “soothing” and “seasick.” If more than two characters are involved in the conversation, one of them must fade out and switch places with the third character. The voice acting and writing is passable, but not great. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Star Wars: The Old Republic.
1: Unlikable player races
It’s amazing how much I need to like my character in an MMO to actually enjoy it. This is probably why I’m such an altaholic. My character doesn’t have to match my personality exactly, but if my character annoys me even in the slightest, he or she won’t last long. Sadly, I’ve yet to make a character in Guild Wars 2 that I can really enjoy. I have finally settled on some that I can live with, but I haven’t fallen in love with them like I have in past games. This is due mostly to the fact that I don’t like any of the race designs, and partly to the fact that I don’t like the characters’ personalities.
Here’s a summary of the races I once gave a while back in a blog about why I barely played Guild Wars 2 when it first came out:
Humans look like they just stepped out of an anime. I literally had to do a double take when one of the heads appeared to be a female head on a male body. Then I realized it was intentional. I wouldn’t mind a little anime stylization (at least it’s not Blizzard-ripoff stylization), but it’s just so overwhelming.
Norn are just disturbingly disproportionate humans. They’re basically WoW humans on even more steroids. I just said no.
Imagine a cross between Gollum from Lord of the Rings and the Mimigas from Cave Story and you’re not far off from the Asura. The sad thing is that if I could actually choose characters’ individual features I think I could make an Asura I like, but it seems like all of the premade heads had some feature(s) I liked and some feature(s) I couldn’t stand. I finally settled on exactly one head I like, so both of the Asura I made have this same head.
The Sylvari are tree-elves. No, not in the Lothlórien sense, I mean they’re elves made out of trees. It’s a cool concept, but it just started getting a little unnerving after a while. I can’t really explain it. I like that they have a lot of customization options, and the glow they have when you step into dark areas is cool, but I still couldn’t help imagining how creeped out I’d be if I saw my own character walking down the street.
One of the strangest Frankenstein races I’ve ever seen. It looks like a demented combination of the Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, a gazelle, and all of the worst parts of a variety of big jungle cats (or Mac OS X versions, how ever you want to think of that). I think I dislike their personality more than their looks. They’re big, dumb, and obnoxiously aggressive. In other words, they’re Klingon cats.
Once I got over how the characters looked, I also had to get over the way their dialog was written. Asura are constantly bragging about how smart they are, Sylvari are constantly going around being sickeningly noble and wise, and Norn think of nothing buy building their legend. I’d complain about the other races too, but I lost interest in their stories before I got out of the first zone.
So am I too entrenched in the old ways of doing MMOs? Or do other people feel the same way?
Also, don’t worry, the flip side is coming soon; stay tuned for part two, Five Things I Love About Guild Wars 2.