I didn’t have a lot of expectations heading into Guild Wars 2. I’d seen it popping up in my feedreader fairly regularly, and it had been recommended to me a couple times during the beta testing stage as something that might interest me, but I haven’t actively been seeking a new game per se. However, late last week I made one of my infamous impulse buys and plunked down some cash. No monthly fee, just buy the box? Sold.
Although there will be quite a few screenshots tucked around in this post, you won’t see one of my first character. I was going to break the mold, I was going to be a rebel, I was not going to roll a healing plate wearer or a ranger. No way, no how. I went for a Sylvari Mesmer, a class that promised spellcasting and sneakery.
What was I thinking?
By the time I had reached level 5, I had discovered that I didn’t need to spam my auto-attack to get the 3 hits… it handled itself quite nicely being an auto attack. But the clone system (see soul shards) that I could never manage to get past 2 were doing horrible things for my blood pressure, and I threw up my hands, called it a day, and completely went with my personal trend: plate-wearing healer incoming.
For the rest of the weekend I went gallivanting around the countryside as a Charr Guardian. Now, I thought they were a cat-like people until my husband felt the need to exclaim “rabbits!” over my shoulder, and now I can’t get back to my initial catty reaction. They do have this funny little nose twitch that just screams “looking for carrots.”
I discovered that each weapon came with it’s own baked in skills, and that additional skills were limited by a combination of skills tests and leveling. I discovered that the crafting system, while easy to get started with is going to be difficult to master. I loved that anything that I could mine, pluck, or chop I could harvest without restriction. And I discovered my passion and I daresay my addiction: exploration.
Exploration points aren’t all just run to the right part of the map and done (although those are there too). To completely discover an area, you meet skill checks, help out residents, and find your way into various nooks and crannies.
The questing experience, frankly, didn’t feel like questing for much of my time spent over the weekend. Sure, you do tasks, sometimes very silly or fun tasks that don’t really have anything to do with world domination or staving off the same.
But there’s no “run to quest-giver, do task, run back to quest-giver, get another task” repetition involved. You get into the area where a task is located, it pops up in your quest log, and when you finish you get mailed some cash and a thank you. You don’t even have to get to a mailbox–you can access your mail anywhere. Same with world events. They just happen in a very Rift-esque manner but without the constant joining and dropping of parties. You just show up, do your job, and move along.
All in all, having finished my 2nd complete map yesterday, I’m thoroughly hooked, and waiting to see what the next zone will bring.