I really like Guild Wars 2. For the first time in a long time, I feel like an adventurer rather than a mercenary. I started playing MMOs with WoW in around 2006. I loved that game back then. I wanted to explore everything, travel the world as my little undead rogue. I’d get lost in jungles and monasteries, I’d debate with my friends on whether I should get a flaming enchantment on a cool sword I’d just found. Everything was new and fresh.
But of course as the game went on, the excitement dulled. I’d look through new areas but I wasn’t exploring anymore, I was looking for loot and quests. The game became about numbers and dps. It’s not entirely the games fault, as time went on, I just learned the system behind the game. It stopped being a world and went back to being a game.
Other games didn’t give the same feeling of exploration, probably because they were too similar to WoW. I’d see everything as “this game’s healer” or “this game’s mage.” I wasn’t an adventurer, I was someone that murdered everything in sight when someone promised me new bracers.
With Guild Wars 2, however, that feeling of exploration is back. It’s not just because the game generously rewards you for exploration although that’s a plus. I just honestly never know what’s coming next and that’s very appealing. The dynamic events system of theirs really works. I just wander from city to city, looking for cool stuff to see and then somebody will yell that undead are attacking a nearby city, so I charge in and fight off a few hordes.
Once I was walking through a swamp and my events signal flashed and told me that “The swamp lies dormant.” I checked back there a few times and eventually there were undead everywhere. As me and a few friends fought them off, a giant shadow monster appeared and everyone within shouting distance came to help until there were a hundred people battling this massive thing.
The game has achieved what few games have. It’s given me a world. Even now, my Mesmer isn’t quite strong enough to do the next story quest. All I need to do is look at my map, choose somewhere new, and walk off in that direction.