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Wednesday 10 October 2012 - 19:46

[REDDIT] Critical Review of Guild Wars 2

By: CriticalGamer
Source: click here

Gw2 came out over a month ago and it's already taken the MMO scene by storm, being praised for its "revolutionary" gameplay. So, as an avid fan of MMORPGs I HAD to try this game. And after 3 weeks of playing since its official release, I ended up with 2 lvl 80 characters, both with full exotics, and a few minor characters around lvl 20-30. My second lvl 80 character has 95% world completion (the other 5% hasn't been completed due to some bugs at the time), lvl 400 crafting for weapon smithing, armor smithing and jewel crafting. I have played a ton of World vs World and PvP and sPvP. And after playing this much I have come to certain conclusions about this game:

1. ANet's "Revolutionary" label for combat

Gw2's gameplay has been labelled "revolutionary" countless times. But as an avid fan of MMORPGs, I have played MANY different games in this genre, and because of this, I wouldn't really label Gw2's gameplay as "revolutionary".

The reason why I say this is because many MMORPGs have already done what Gw2 has done, in terms of combat, including aiming spells, dodging/blocking (by block, I mean pull up a shield block. Not just spells, as many spells in many games are considered "blocking") mechanics, etc. The only thing that I haven't seen in other MMORPGs is the "last stand" feature in Gw2 (when you die, you have a few seconds to fight for your life and get back up). I found this to be the ONLY "revolutionary" mechanic in combat.

The reason why I say that dodging/blocking mechanics and aiming spells has already occurred in other MMORPGs is because they HAVE already been implemented in other MMORPGs. 3 games including these features are:

  1. Vindictus
  2. DragonNest
  3. TERA Online
All of which are Asian MMORPGs (there's a reason why I mention that they're Asian, and I'll get to that in a bit. All 3 of these games may actually have more in depth versions of Gw2's combat mechanics. But first off, I'll talk about DragonNest and TERA Online. Both of these games actually have the same exact combat mechanics as Gw2, except for the fact that you can dodge and block more often (as Endurance isn't a factor in allowing you to dodge). This means that you CONSTANTLY have to be on your guard, and testing to see if your opponents will dodge or block your spells.

Now the most action-packed of these 3 is Vindictus. Constantly dodging or blocking your opponents is CRUCIAL to stay alive in this game unlike other MMORPGs. If you don't, you're literally ****. Also, the aiming in this game is ridiculous. It seems like you're playing an action game. Here's footage.

Now please ANet, don't use "revolutionary" to sell your product, as this has already been done in many Asian MMORPGs. The reason why you guys can get away with it is because most Americans/Europeans play Western MMORPGs and haven't experienced or seen most Asian MMORPGs. I have seen SO many Redditers and people in game stating that this game's combat is so revolutionary, and has never been done in any other game... This is completely false.

If by revolutionary, you mean by the combo field and finishers, quests and some other minor details, such as easier crafting than most other games, then yes. It is revolutionary.

2. World vs World vs World

I've played all of the professions in Gw2, and so far I've liked them all. But the one thing I didn't like about the professions (most notably the 3 melee classes) is that they failed to be as useful in WvW. The reason why I say this is because the guardian, warrior and thief heavily rely on their melee spells to be effective. Not to say that they don't have any ranged abilities, but it's the fact that most of their BEST spells are in melee range. Why is this bad?

Well in WvW, people tend to use long range AoE spells more often than their other spells. And for good reason too. Zerg balls are balls of death. To get tokens for killing enemies, you might as well toss a large AoE into that ball of death. Easy tokens right? The 3 melee professions are lacking in long range damage compared to other professions (except maybe the warrior).

Long range AoEs are also used for pushing enemies back into their bases. A sound strategy if you want to push into their base. But while you're throwing out AoEs, so is the other team! This completely destroys the gameplay of melee characters as they are so susceptible to long range attacks.

With that, it's sad to say that melee characters are a bit handicapped in the game's current state. If ANet is thinking of ideas to help these characters out, it'd be great if they could get a map that's smaller in scale for these professions.

Another issue I'd like to point out is the fact that support players are being punished for being support. Support players are VERY useful, healing teammates, removing conditions, etc. But these players get no tokens for doing what they do because being a support means doing no damage. And doing no damage means no kills or assists for tokens. I actually have no solution for this issue...

3. Quests and Lore

The quests in this game are amazing. The quests are just so versatile, allowing you to do many different things per quest. It doesn't get old that quickly.

One key feature that ANet included in their quest mechanics is the fact that you don't have to talk to the NPCs to being quests or complete quests. You simply have to be in the area to do them. While some people may say that this is a great thing, AND IT IS, some people may say this is bad. And here's why:


Yes. The lore. Gw2 has an ENORMOUS lore that's been UNTAPPED by ANet's quest system. The fact that we don't need to talk to NPCs to being quests and end quests leaves players a feeling of "separation" from the world. You don't know why you're farming Joe's cabbages. You don't know why you have to kill these poor Moas. You don't know why you have to kill these bandits! Maybe they were just chilling trying to look cool, who knows.

In all seriousness, this game lacked the presence of its lore. The only time when you have a feeling of being part of something is when you're doing the main quest line after your personal story. With that said, I'd like to add that the personal story doesn't actually affect your storyline after you beat it. It may change some dialogue here and there, but all in all, it doesn't affect your story later on. And hey, maybe that's why ANet called it "personal storyline", so that it ONLY affects you personally. But for me, that just isn't enough. For the Charr, you don't know what happens to your father after completing all of the quests. You don't hear from him at all! He doesn't even congratulate you for beating the crap out of Zhaitan.

In general, you are left with a personal storyline that you can just disregard for the rest of the game after you've completed it. The personal storyline really doesn't mean anything. At all. Except for the huge amounts of EXP you get from them.

4. End Game

Many players have different views about Gw2's end game. Some positive, some negative. I'll give you both starting with the positive:

Positive: The end game is actually non-existent. (How is this good??! wtf?!) It's all about PvP/sPvP and WvW. (Oh okay, phew.)

The game's PvP system is great. Everyone gets put into the same level, so there is no handicap. Also, all the gear is the same. So there is no handicap. It's all about skill skill skill.
So in general, the end game primarily consists of these 3 game modes of PvP.

Negative: The end game is actually non-existent. (wtf?!) Many players aren't avid fans of PvP and just want to experience more PvE. Unfortunately for them, PvE is practically non-existent in Gw2 during end game. This is why many players have actually stopped playing Gw2. And yes, many players have actually stopped playing. Get yourself out of your Gw2 bubble and just admit it. Some people just didn't like end game.

To these players, they wanted more quests and lore to experience after 80. "Oh they should just do the low level quests." Unfortunately, this solution isn't enough. As I am a fan of both PvP and PvE, I'd like to say that going back to lvl 1 and doing another city's quests just doesn't interest me. And yes, as I've said before, I have 95% world map completion, so I HAVE tried it. And suffered through it. The low level quests just aren't appealing.

Many players were left with a lack of purpose when they came to end game: "Why am I getting more gear? It doesn't improve my stats from any other exotic gear, so why should I get it?" It didn't help that the end game lacked PvE because that's when gear actually matters. So why get other gear? Some people say it's just for looks. I completely agree.

With that said, I'd like to mention the dungeons.

5. Dungeons

Oh the dreaded dungeons. People have mixed views about these dungeons. Some loved it, some hated it, some thought they were boring as hell. I'm part of the latter, but I'll give everyone's views out for everyone to see. Although, my view may be a little bit biased because I thought dungeons were boring.. with a *PASSION*.

Loved it:
Dungeons are a new challenge to keep players on their toes. New gear can be obtained for constantly doing these dungeons. The bosses are challenging and the new puzzles can be challenging... This is a fresh new start to end game gameplay.

Hated it and thought it was boring as hell:
I'll put these 2 together because they're pretty much the same. Dungeons are tedious. The monsters simply had large amounts of HP and damage. Nothing really new about these monsters, they're just stronger and harder to kill. After grinding through the same dungeon over and over again, puzzles and bosses aren't just tough, they're getting old and tedious.

That last bit was the MAIN reason why I didn't like dungeons at all. In one dungeon, the Inquest one where you have to fight this giant with a club at the end of the dungeon, I literally sat there with my lvl 80 Guardian and spammed my longrange spells. I played with one hand by the way, and almost fell asleep because of how long it took to kill the guy. And yes, I know we're supposed to make him run into the pillars, but still. When he started glitching and stopped falling over because of the pillars, we were forced to attack it with MINIMAL damage.

The worst part of the dungeons is when you start getting the DR. The dreaded DR. Doing the same dungeon to get the gear you want was already a chore, now ANet wanted to make it even longer and more difficult to obtain your rewards. But why? The gear is simply for appearances. For me, I think it's to make end game a bit longer than it is. If we got our gear faster, it would make players play less. I don't know about you guys, but that's just my theory.

6. Boss Battles

This is probably Gw2's weakest point. Ever since the release of the other 3 games I mentioned early, I've found Gw2's boss battles to be lacking in the "revolutionary" department. Gw2's boss mechanics are not even part of this generation's style. It's very 5-10 years old. Some people have commented on this on other reddit posts and have even said

"The bosses are simply large pinatas with a huge amount of HP and attack damage. The only type of strategy needed to kill these behemoths is this: 1. Press dodge when you see a red circle. 2. Spam all spells. That's it. Oh and they have crap drops. So much for the pinata part."

Unfortunately, I find this very true. The combat mechanics of when you can combine combo fields and combo finishers is completely disregarded in these fights. People simply spam spells and don't care at all if their spells went through a combo field. It's VERY unnoticeable. If anyone wants to argue with me on this, by all means, go ahead and give me an example of fighting a dragon and when combo field and finishers are actually "useful". Everyone just mashes spells together and it's a big jumble of messy spells flying everywhere. No real strategy needed to kill these bosses.

A solution to this would be to incorporate some Asian MMORPGs boss mechanics. Just watch some Vindictus or DragonNest boss battles and you'll spot a HUGE difference between their bosses and Gw2 bosses. If you don't see it, here it is: Versatility and mobility.

While some players may think Gw2's bosses are epic (and yes they are when you first see them), others will state that they are too simple. Asian MMORPGs ramp up the difficulty, not by increasing the boss health and damage, but giving them VERSATILE SPELLS and ENORMOUS amount of MOBILITY. This mechanic FORCES players to be on their toes.
It's not just a simple "Oh look a red circle -PushesDodgeButton-" gameplay, it's "OH SHIT IT'S FLYING TOWARDS US RUN THE OTHER WAY YOU ****! RUN RUN RUN RUN RUNN! DODGE, O SHIT YEAH, CUT ITS TAIL OFF! CUT IT OFF! CUT ITS TAIL SO IT CAN'T WHIP US WITH IT! **** YEAHH!"

THAT'S how a boss fight should be. THAT'S what ANet should've done to improve their boss mechanics. Not increase damage and HP. That does nothing for the gameplay. It just forces players to focus on survivability instead of certain attack patterns and strategies.


  1. Gw2 is a great game that needs some improvements to be even greater.
  2. Combat mechanics aren't revolutionary, they just haven't been seen in western MMORPGs.
  3. World vs World is currently punishing melee professions and support players for being what they are.
  4. The great lore of Gw2 is untapped by ANet's quest system. You can only see the tip of the iceberg.
  5. End game is focused on players who like PvP instead of the entire player base including players who still want to have PvE. (PvE is practically non-existent in end game).
  6. Dungeons are long, tedious and difficult due to the monsters' HP and damage, not because of the actual strategies needed to beat the dungeons.
  7. Bosses are too simple (Press dodge when you see a red circle, then spam all spells). ANet should improve on boss mechanics and look at Asian MMORPGs for some influence.

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