O/T: Anyone else try guild wars? Before I begin, yes I know there's a better place to post this, but the sp forum is my favourite place for a discussion My friends suckered me into buying guild wars this friday after a bit of convincing. I have a long and not so positive past with mmorpgs, for the most part I don't like them at all because they're incredibly boring with the monotous "treadmill" style of game play coupled with extremely boring combat. I've tried tons of them, and rarely play longer then a month, the longest time I've played an mmorpg was with UO for a total of 5 months after going on and off because it offered so many distractions besides poorly done combat. So back to GW, here's my initial impressions: To start off, GW is full of little features that'll soon become the norm for all MMORGP's to follow. There's no "realms", everyone plays together on the same big server that is divided up in districts. You can message your friends over districts, and meet up in any of them. Districts just divide up the towns to avoid overcrowding that every mmorpg is plagued with. Towns are still packed with people to interact with, but not to the point where the game drops down to a grinding halt due to hardware constraints. Messaging people is simple, there's a little message window you can resize (in fact, every window can be resized and moved around, the interface is completely customizable) and you can switch between team, guild, public, friend and other chat modes simply by pressing the appropriate tag. It includes a friends list as well, like your own in-game messenger, very, very handy. Travel is done entirely by foot, there are no mounts. Luckily, there is absolutely no need for mounts thanks to the map system. As you discover new towns they become highlighted on your map and clicking them lets you travel to them instantly as well as choose the district if you want to. The map system is neat, you have a mini map up in the corner that shows a topographical view of the world around you. NPC's, monsters, yourself, party members, everything shows up on it in different colors so it's easy to distinguish between them all. There's even a "field" around your character; any monster that's within that field will attack you if it's hostile. This is incredibly useful for avoiding a pack of tough critters. You can even draw on the mini map, just like a football commentator, making it incredibly easy to issue orders to people in your party. Finally, when you're questing, there's a handy green arrow that'll point you to wherever you need to go. As far as actualy combat goes, this is one of the low points for me at least. I suppose it's better then most mmorpgs out there, but that's still no good enough for me. You click a critter then proceed to automatically attack it until one of you dies. While attacking you can use 8 skills (hotkeyed 1-8) that you load into your skill bar in town between quests. You can scroll through targets with various different keys, tab for closest, and I forget the others, space bar initiates the attack. It's a little bugged, sometimes you won't target the closest beasty, instead you'll go running in a random direction toward a monster that's way off out of your vision even if one is currently standing nexting to while it thumps you over the head with a club. You can queue up attacks, and they will initiate in order so it's easy to string together a deadly combo. Combat is still boring as hell though, you stand still and press 1,2,3 over and over and over again. Since this game is designed primarily for pvp, the character stat design had to be "dumbed down" to keep everything as balanced as possible. As such, all skills have pretty much the same effectiveness, no skill is better then any other, they shine in different situations. Still, despite having 150 different skills for each class, all the skills seem to the be the same, and finding new ones is something hard to be excited about since they're all slight variations of each other. There are no stats at all, HP is based on level, and no one has any MP, that's granted by equipment. Really wierd, I've played 3 classes and they all have exactly the same amount of MP. Another strange feature is that you're eventually forced to dual class your character, but do not have to spend a single skill point in that class. Skills aren't "leveled up" individually; they all belong under a group and each class has 4 or 5 groups. 1 of those groups is class specific and can only be leveled if that group is in your primary class. By putting points into a skill group, all skills under that group, are powered up slightly; spells might last a second longer, or do an extra point of damage. Fairly boring really, you can't add much of a personal touch to your character. You can reassign points if you want too. Bit by bit over time you can reassign every point eventually so there's never a need to remake a character if you made a mistake, or simply want to try something new. The game is balanced so that you can be a generalist and use all 8 or 9 skills from both classes, or specialize in only 3. The whole item system is fairly annoying, you're forced to collect materials, scavenge items that critters drop for materials then visit various vendors to get all the ingredients for a certain piece of equipment before you can actually purchase a new item. All told, it's a headache, and you don't actually craft any unique items yourself, everyone else will get exactly the same stuff. Think of it this way, instead of only 1 currency to buy stuff with, you need several. Items have very basic boring modifiers (I think 3: defense, regeneration, and +mana) and all look the same, but you can change the colour of equipment with dyes. I tried "personalizing" an item, but that only gave me an insignificant bonus (+1 damage yippee!) and made it so that I could no longer trade or sell that item. Each item when equipped makes a visible difference to your character which is a nice touch. As far as graphics go, this game is drop dead gorgeous. I've played all the pretty game, half life 2, doom 3, dungeon siege 2, and this game competes with them all handily because of the use of all those fancy features that go mostly unused on our video cards. It uses a lot of stuff I don't know about (triple somethin AA? pixel shading? techo wizardry anyone?) all I know is that the end result is very impressive, and it runs perfectly on my out of date gaming rig on maximum settings at the highest resolution. The graphics themselves aren't what makes this game so pretty, it's the art that went into designing every detail. Every leaf on a tree moves in the wind and casts its own shadow, breath taking views are everywhere. Every 5 steps in the catacombs at the beginning of the game kept throwing another breath taking view at me that I had to stop and look at. Character models are insanely detailed and very well animated. This game lacks in the sound department, it holds it own, but the sound and music simply don't match up with the visual splendor. In the end, think of this game as an easily accessible mmorpg for the masses that has been dumbed down so everyone can pick it up, make a new character and jump in right away. In fact, you can make a lvl 20 pvp character right off the bat (complete with end game equipment) and start cracking skulls without fighing a single monster. GW scores majoy points for fixing lots of the crappy parts in other mmorpgs; there's no spawn camping, no pking, you make a group, grab a quest and complete it in your own version of the game world with no one else to bother you. The death penalty is great, you respawn nearby and simply suffer a temporary negative to skills that wears off as you gain experience. Think of guild wars as a hot blonde, but like the stereo type, it turns out that she's dumb and incredibly boring once you get to know her I want to hear from other people who've played!