Choose My Adventure: Classic Guild Wars just makes me want to play Guild Wars 2


Well I suppose this was a foregone conclusion if people had been following along with this month’s series of Choose My Adventure articles, but I think I can pretty confidently say that the original Guild Wars is just not meant for me, someone who hasn’t really had deeply fond memories of the game at launch and who is arriving to it now after years of technology have pushed the genre forward.

It’s something of an upsetting and repeating pattern with me at this point: Elder statesmen of the genre just end up leaving me disinterested, annoyed, and dissatisfied while also appreciating how good things are now in terms of advancements. I was hoping my newfound enjoyment of the sequel would help me appreciate the original game more, but in fact the opposite has happened.

Now I should qualify what I’m saying here and state that I don’t think GW1 is a bad game. It has some bad design and mechanics, but they can be worked through, and I really think that people who are able to stick it out (or those who have had the years of exposure and experience that I ultimately lack) can find enjoyment out of the game. When it’s not shooting itself in the foot, it does feel pretty good.

Also, I have to once again laud the creativity inherent in its class building system. I really feel like this game is close to a City of Heroes¬†insofar as there feels like a vast well of interesting power combinations to draw from, and that is really interesting to me. Even if I didn’t really dive deep into that ocean, the fact that it’s there and is a possibility is a high point in my book.

Lastly, the Dervish class is a fun time. I know that at the foundational level it’s nothing more than a resource-builder-and-spender kind of playstyle, but there’s something to be said about having a little more of a balancing act between keeping yourself buffed up well and eating those buffs to rip off big damage. I don’t know that there are many classes out there with that kind of mechanic. And no, I don’t mean eating HP; that’s not quite the same thing. Kind of.

Despite all of these great things, I still just found myself wanting to play something else. Anything else. Especially Guild Wars 2.

What the sequel is missing in terms of profession depth and build diversity is made up for in way more interesting combat, and while the world of Tyria in the sequel is still literally a bunch of squares and triangles stitched together by loading gates, it still is a way more interesting world than some of the places I’ve seen in the original, though I contend I hadn’t really gotten very far afield.

But more than that, it’s the sense of independence and self-reliance that I miss the most.

GW1 still requires me to bring along, manage, deal with, and work around pets. Hero or henchman, they’re still pets. I don’t like pets. I don’t want pets. I want to face things on my own and win through my own skill, and while the Dervish kind of let me do that after a fashion, I still feel like I was ultimately being robbed of victory because the pets were the ones helping. I kind of feel similarly about the companions of SWTOR or any of the pets a Mastermind brings in CoH. Sure, they’re tools to my ends, but it still ends up being hands-off.

I will concede that this is a mental issue, and I will further concede that it’s also likely a skill issue; a recent Backseat Streaming episode where MJ and I watched someone control a squad with impressive levels of precision was a sight to behold. I just don’t feel like learning that skill because I would rather win because I won the fight and not because my homies had my back – if and when they do, anyway. A lot of the time they were just around my back.

Conversely, GW2 in general and the Elementalist in specific has me dealing with everything. I’m the one who makes mistakes and corrects them. I’m the one who has to adapt to the situation on the fly. I’m the one who has to plan what I do in combat. I don’t have to consider the x-factor that is old AI.

There are other problems I have with the game, like its aged visuals, its wooden combat, its missions that feel far too long, and its rewards that feel far too meager, but the fact that I don’t have a sense of agency – of control – is the thing that has made me miss my Ele that much more. I don’t want to herd these kittens anymore. I’m done. More power to those who can, but I just can’t be one of them.

I appreciate if this isn’t what anyone wanted to read, but if it’s any consolation I don’t want to write it either. I would love to land in a classic MMO that I really enjoy. And who knows, maybe Global Agenda will be the one.

I haven’t begun my journey through this game quite yet, but I have at least recalled my account details and was indeed able to log back into the game after a bit of wracking my brain to remember years-old data. So we are indeed go for whatever this game has lined up, but since I’ll be starting from zero, we’ve got to tie down which class to play as first. Apparently I had a Medic before, but I recall absolutely nothing about it or the game itself, so help me come to a decision on this front, won’t you?

Which class should I start with in Global Agenda?

  • Medic. Maybe you'll remember things? (20%, 9 Votes)
  • Recon. Sniper time! (28%, 13 Votes)
  • Heavy. Big guns, big armor, big boots. (30%, 14 Votes)
  • Robotics. Plonk down the turrets. (22%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 46

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Polling will once more wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EST this Friday, February 3rd. Until then, I’m going to sit here and feel bad about feeling bad about a game whose boat I missed and can’t bring myself to appreciate more. I truly don’t like feeling like this.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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