Guild Wars 2–What I Lament The Most #GW2
I’ve spent the weekend in Guild Wars 2, and I’ve seen a lot of people talking about a lot of the same things: overflow, learning skills, grouping (or the removal of the need), etc. By and large, I agree with a lot of the consensus on these points, but the one thing I haven’t seen anyone talking about is how Guild Wars 2 could easily put the RPG back in MMORPG.
The environments in the game are beautiful. Not TERA beautiful, but knock you on your ass beautiful for two reasons. First, they are graphically attractive, which in and of itself should make anyone “oooh” and “ahhh” whenever they turn a corner for the first time. The second is that the world design is about showing you the world, not hiding the places you can’t reach by making buildings overly tall or smack-dab together.
During my personal story, I was asked to go in the Salma District, the home of the humans in Divinity’s Reach. As with other locations in the world, there were points of interest to visit and unlock, and the one closest to the district entrance was an orphanage.
I entered the gate, and found myself in a small courtyard. To the right was a children’s see-saw, carved as a friendly dragon, and painted in a non-threatening, carnival style. Inside the building, I found two small rocking horses, carved in the shape of tiny boars. There was a classroom filled with bookcases and two pot-bellied stoves like schoolhouses of the 1800s. In a back room, there was a stick-puppet theater.
Now, a lot of people will have to visit this place because it’s a point of interest, and because it factors into a personal storyline, but when I found these elements, I felt sad. The intro to the game tells us that humanity has been herded into Kryta as their enemies have pushed them back over hundreds of years. With Divinity’s Reach being the only human city left, there’s the looming specter of catastrophe hanging over the remnants of the human race: they’re overwhelmed, and as a species, their days are numbered. We, as human heroes, fight on, but if legions of humans couldn’t stem the tide over the centuries, what chance do we have.
But here in this orphanage, that doom doesn’t exists. The toys are crafted to make the children happy, with friendly designs and bright colors. The trials that the heroes endure aren’t relevant here, except that as heroes, these are the people we’re fighting for.
Guild Wars 2 offers so many locations for role-playing that I am sad to think that a lot of the environment was lovingly crafted, but will end up unfairly abandoned. People may visit these locations once, but never again because there’s no loot to be had or anything to kill. People just aren’t in a role-playing mood in MMOs these days, which is a tragedy because this is the game for role-players.
Now, if NCSoft would consider a player-made story tool, I can die happy.