on 26 June 2012
It may be because I don't play games much these days, but Guild Wars got boring fast. Initially I was quite addicted, for a few weeks at the beginning of this year when I finally first got it (late to the party, me), but I haven't loaded it up once since then (5 months ago). I remember a game called Asheron's Call, for which the servers are still live 11 years since I played it. The graphics weren't as good as those in Guild Wars, but then again how often do you find a good-looking game that also plays well. If you spend too much money trying to make a game look good, then you'll be eating into the budget that other games developers spend on making their games fun to play.
I loved Asheron's Call but I only played it for two months because I left for university. I vowed to go back to it one day, but never did. I decided to buy Guild Wars instead, as that is where all the players are at now. I never tried World Of Warcraft but I remember being very bored watching my older brother play it a few years ago.
I think what I don't like about Guild Wars is the fact that other people only exist in the towns. They can join you in the town in order to go questing together, but that's not as cool as randomly meeting someone in the middle of nowhere, outside a dungeon and deciding to go questing together in an unofficial way. When you go questing in Guild Wars there will usually be one person senior to the other. Either way it's bad, so I preferred to go questing alone, which then means it's like an offline RPG. Played plenty of those already, they're fun enough but I didn't want that when I bought Guild Wars.
You probably want to know why one person being senior is bad. Some will disagree and that's fine. Sometimes it works well for people because what I see as bad they might actually enjoy. What I enjoy they might hate. That's what makes the world go round. When you begin, probably your first taste of team-questing will involve going around with somebody who completed the game long ago, has been everywhere and seen everything. Now all they do is wait around in towns and use the game as a chat room in which to chat to their pals, occasionally going questing with newbies who come along. If you are the junior partner, you may feel that you are somehow holding them back, making them do quests way below their level. They'll never admit that's true, and that's probably because it's what they like to do, (running around, showing somebody how to play the game). Nevertheless, I could never shake off the feeling that they were doing me a favour I could never repay, and that I was holding them back from doing something far more interesting than holding my hand. The longer the questing went on, the greater the guilt. On the flip-side, when you are the senior member of a quest party and you still have your own thing to do, the last thing you'll want to do is repeat something you did on your own yesterday. I can't even remember if I ever teamed up with a junior partner, but I imagine that's what it must be like. The best arrangement must be when you have two or more players at the same part of the game, at very similar levels, but with totally different character skills. That's when questing could be best, but I suspect the opportunity for that might be rare.
I used to start playing late in the evening, intending to play a couple hours, finishing before midnight. But I'd usually still be online at 3am. It's easier to come offline when you are questing alone. It's much harder to end your session when you have a friend. They spent the last three hours helping me out, but now I'm gonna leave them now that I've got what I wanted. It doesn't seem like it's the right thing to do. With Asheron's Call, questing partners came and went. There was no sense of having to stay with anyone for longer than a dungeon or two. With Guild Wars, you enter the out-of-town area and stay with your friend until you enter the next town. At that point you can break-up, but not before.
It looks nice and it plays well, and there's a nice big population of people to chat to, but I just don't like it. I probably stopped playing just because I wasn't getting anything out of it. I don't know what I'm supposed to get. A sense of achievement maybe. What do I get out of other games? What did I get out of Asheron's Call? My style of play turned Guild Wars into a single player RPG with a chat-room. I'm sure the developers didn't intend for me to do that. That's probably why it isn't much fun for me.
One other thing. I have said it looks great, but I think it could look a lot better. I imagined being able to see beautiful vistas of the world. All I could see was the near distance. After that, everything goes foggy and blurry. Oh, how I would love to turn a corner and see a breath-takingly gorgeous mountain range before me. It must be possible, even with a mid-noughties graphics card like mine. I seem to remember Assassin's Creed being quite beautiful on my computer, even with buggy graphics that forced me to stop playing until I upgrade my hardware. Also, I noticed the maps on Guild Wars don't give you much freedom to explore. You might want to know what happens when you get to the edge of the map. Answer is, you can't. The path takes you around in a big circle, with a near-vertical face on either side of the path preventing you from going off-map.
In summary, it's okay but I wanted more. It's very popular because it's free to play, after you have bought the game of course. I sometimes wonder if it would be better if I had chosen an MMORPG with a subscription fee. They say, you get what you pay for. Guild Wars popularity probably has more to do with it being subscription-free, not because of how good it is. Any MMORPGs with similar popularity, but requiring a subscription can only be popular because they are good.