First Impressions: Guild Wars 2

Unless you follow me on Facebook you probably didn’t know I gout Guild Wars 2 on Thursday.

Unlike most of the people I’ve seen talking about this game on various websites, when I played the first 30 minutes I didn’t compare it to the MMO King World of Warcraft. As I said in my previous blog my time in Azeroth ends for good on August 19 when my prepaid time expires. In lieu of that I knew the next MMO I bought was going to be a game that didn’t have a monthly subscription and a game that (which all the rest have) and once bought wouldn’t ask for me to pay more money to get the most of out it (See: Free to Play Versions of SW:TOR, DCU Online and Everquest/Everquest II).

Due to my internet problems this week I ended up having to wait almost two days to play GW2 on my Desktop. From the moment I put my character together I was thoroughly impressed. During the character creation process it was clear to me GW2 takes it way further than WoW does in terms of personal storytelling.  Unlike when you start in WoW you’re not just a random new <Insert Class Here>. You’re someone who wants to go somewhere and show the world what you can do. The attention to detail is pretty hard to ignore. I created a Human Guardian and from the moment the opening cinematic played I couldn’t help but think to myself “If a comopany with a significantly smaller budget than Blizzard can do this and not require a subscription to enjoy the full game, why won’t Blizzard raise their game?” Then I remembered the makeup of Blizzard’s playerbase and replied to my unsaid question “We could’ve had this.” At least I didn’t see that. Unlike WoW I didn’t feel like it was assumed I knew key aspects of Tyria’s Lore before I started.

Also unlike WoW GW2 does have microtransactions and more directly, the ability to buy virtual currency with real cash.

This is the sole feature that separates WoW from the rest. It is the only MMO that doesn’t allow its playerbase to buy currency (not including unauthorized Gold Sellers who usually spam the chat channels). With in-game transactions being beta tested in WoW that may come to an end but only time will tell. As for GW2 I don’t mind spending money for in-game items if the price is right. After all, there is no subscription. I know some people strongly feel being able to buy currency or pay your way to the level cap gives players who go that route an unfair advantage but I’ve seen no proof of that. in ANY of the MMOs I’ve played or tried up to now.

Honestly, the asking prices for many of the items and skills in WoW are beyond the price range of the majority of players. The crafting professions are a Gold Sink. The Auction House’s listings are often overpriced. The endgame currency (Valor and Justice Points) you get is meager compared to the price of gear prices using said currency. The differences between new players and those with experience is made obvioius the moment you step foot in Orgrimmar/Stormwind for the first time. Even so, there continued to be stiff resistence from the Elitists who are raging about features that don’t directly effect them specifically. There are widespread reports of players who purchased one of the three new Transmog Helms from the Blizzard Store released this week from LFD and LFR simply for having the helms.

I’ll be blunt: The hate comes from the idea players are being asked to pay real currency for in-game stuff. The hate’s been there from the beginning with the first item, the Celestial Steed Mount (which I bought). Since then Blizzard has been very careful to assure the Elitists (for now at least) you won’t be able to buy Gold or other in-game currency. The reported reactions to the Transmog helms are a turning point and Blizzard is going to have to make a statement at least.

Like it or not microtransactions are coming to WoW. And I would happily welcome it. In fact, it would probably be the only thing other than friends that would bring me back a few years down the road. While I doubt Blizzard will ask for Cash to finish Cooldowns on Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp I’d be ok with being able to buy Gold, EXP, REP and Heirlooms with my Credit Card. I probably won’t come back until at least two of them have happened.

In regards to GW2 I’m already going to have to pay to move my character to my friend’s server. I just started the game so as far as I’m concerned this is an opportunity for me to make use of Microtransactions in a game with monthly subscription.

Now don’t get the wrong idea I have nothing but love and respect for those who continue play WoW. I’m not like alot of people who feel it’s wrong to enjoy more than one thing or are simply unable to for whatever reason. As I outlined in my previous blog post, I need a change of pace. Not spending $180 a year  ($15 times 12 months) on subscriptions is a nice incentive as well.

 

 

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