Guild Wars 2 is not a perfect game, but then again, no MMORPG is. I’ve had a pull-and-push relationship with the game since its launch, going through periods of being attracted to its casual-friendly nature and periods of being repulsed by the generally forgettable stories and the hard turn into raiding.
I suppose it’s a matter of opinion on this, but for me, this game has one of the best UIs I’ve experienced in an MMO. It’s not only functional without being intrusive, but it went the extra step of looking like an extension of the game’s art style. Not many MMOs go to that length, and the little touches of the fading paint off to the right or the right amount of shiny bursts of light to mark accomplishments endear themselves to me.
I know, I know, gliding is so old hat for many Guild Wars 2 players. But here’s the thing: I didn’t unlock it myself until a couple of weeks ago. So I’m just a babe in the sky, appreciating this feather fall spell while taking in the sights. This system is so slick and effortless that it easily trumps the somewhat clumsy mount system that was later added, and I have a blast climbing up to tall areas and throwing myself off with wild abandon.
This game throws a whole lot of loot your way, and while it’s debatable whether any of it is useful to the average, non-legendary crafting player, at least it can be translated into cash money. I absolutely love the fact that you can click one button and send all of your mats in your bags straight to the material storage bank page without needing to go anywhere special. It’s incredibly convenient and appreciated on my part.
This is a very small detail that’s been around since launch, but I want to point out how great Guild Wars 2 is about having your character’s feet adjust for different elevations. If you’re on a slope, you’ll actually stand as a human does in real life instead of the normal MMO way of clipping your shoes through the ground or standing on the same plane in a very unnatural way. The animations of many attacks also involve subtle but believable footwork, which is really cool when you notice it.
I really love me a good MMO map. There’s a huge range of usability and aesthetics out there in the genre, with Guild Wars 2 being somewhere at the top of the heap. The transition in and out of them is smooth, and can we get some applause for how you can easily zoom in and out (and out to the world level)? It’s usually very easy to see where events are happening and what my next objective or point of interest should be.
Guild Wars 2 launched with an astounding soundtrack — and it’s only gotten better from there! I’m constantly impressed how much quality music has been added for all of the episodes, expansions, and events, as well as how ArenaNet makes this music publicly available to those of us who are VGM fans.
I saw a thing in the news this past week about how World of Warcraft’s NPCs are finally going to turn their head to look at you when you draw near, but of course, this sort of things has been around for a long while in other games. GW2’s characters not only shift their bodies to look at their target but often will run up to players passing by and attempt to engage them in a mission. I find it charming, even if I do tend to ignore them.
Super Adventure Box culture
Super Adventure Box could have been just a silly (though detailed) one-off joke, but seeing as how the game-within-a-game resonated with the community, ArenaNet embraced it and nurtured it (to a point). Not many MMOs have a cult following for an activity within their own boundaries, but Guild Wars 2 does.
Respecs on the fly
If I want to swap out my weapons, train up some hero skills, or tinker with my build, I don’t have to go out of my way to find a certain NPC. As long as I’m out of combat in the game, I’m free to change up these things without any penalty or difficulty. It’s a quality-of-life feature that I have come to appreciate in light of other games that make this a chore.
Apart from WildStar, Guild Wars 2 might just have the best roster of fascinating and memorable races in the MMORPG field. From the creepy/cute Choya to the cute/cute Quaggan, each of these races have been well-thought out and developed. Now, it’s a total shame we can’t roll up most of these as playable characters (make me a Kodan already!), but encountering them helps make this world all that much more interesting to me.