Guild Wars 2: Five Things I Love and Hate about the Game

Guild Wars 2, 5 things to love, 5 things to hate, best, worst, top
I love the art in this game.

My 5 Favorite, and 5 Least Favorite, Features of Guild Wars 2

I was definitely a nerd growing up, just not a video game nerd. I remember one Christmas where my brother bought me Animal Crossing by asking a sales clerk for, “a video game for someone who doesn’t play video games.” A few years later, that would all change. My first online game was Guild Wars (GW) back in 2006. The story and community found a forever home in my heart. When ArenaNet, the developers, and NC Soft, the publishers, announced Guild Wars 2 (GW2), I knew I was going to own it, love it. 3 years later, I’ve logged more than 5,000 hours on it (achievement unlocked).

5 of the Best Things in Guild Wars 2

1.     Super Adventure Box

Super Adventure Box created a special place in my heart.

If you have never played Super Adventure Box (SAB), I’m sorry. This was initially released as an April Fool’s Day joke leaving the last day in April of 2013. The idea was to create a 3D 8-bit world inside GW2’s graphically beautiful world. SAB displays heavy Mario and Zelda influences, which only made me love it that much more (even though I wasn’t a major gamer as a kid, I loved watching my brother play the classics).

When the area was closed off in the end of April of 2013, disappointed players took to the forums, begging for them to release more content. In August, we got our wish and SAB returned for their “Super Adventure Box: Back to School” event, where the game introduced Tribulation Mode. Tribulation Mode was intense, to say the least. If you like to die a lot in video games to discover where not to step, you needed to try this.

December 10, 2013 SAB closed its doors for good to allow developers to focus on real game content, or so we were led to believe. March 31, 2016 SAB returned for an April Fool’s Day Festival. ArenaNet announced in their most recent press release that they “dusted off the cobwebs” of SAB and the frustrating and nostalgic 3D 8-Bit world, including the smoothed out Tribulation Mode (which I’m attempting without the use of Dulfy’s Guide) have returned for April Fool’s Fun.

Check out this Speed Run for SAB Tribulation Mode. -- As a reference this took me about 6 hours across 3 days to figure out.

2.     The Game Promotes Helping Others

Group photo after completing Crucible of Eternity.

Have you ever been having fun playing a game when your buddy sends you a private message (PM) asking for your help in a level 1 zone? We’ve all been there, debating on how bad it would be to set your status to offline rather than waste countless hours trying to get them to an area where the creatures actually give experience, or even loot.  GW2 has you covered.

Some team of geniuses at ArenaNet decided that if you’re in a lower level zone, your character should be down-leveled. This (sort of) keeps players from “rofl-stomping” the low level creatures, but mostly it lets you gain a decent amount of experience from events and kills as well as drops that aren’t the absolute worst things ever. Is it better to farm in higher level zones at max level? Absolutely. We’ve also speculated that farming in a party gives better (and more) loot. There’s no definitive confirmation of this, but I will always party when farming, if possible, because I tend to get more drops (besides, it can’t hurt).

Possibly the best display of rewarding in-game cooperation, however, is for world bosses. Rather than one group of people camping a boss for hours then another team swooping in at the last second and stealing the kill, and loot, everyone who participates in a boss’s takedown gets to open a rather large chest. All players who open the chest have a chance to get the crazy rare loot drops, though the chest can only be opened once per day. Personally, I hate griefers, so this is one less way they can try to ruin my day, and I am so very okay with it.

There are even certain combos that can be done with fields and finishers usually requiring multiple players. Take a look at this tutorial on it.

3.     The Customizability of Your Character

Showing off just a few of the customization options for an adorable female asura.

Maybe it’s from my years of playing the Sims, but I doubt it. When I saw the character customizability in this game, I loved it. Not just because you can control exactly how you want the face to look, or your character’s eye, skin, tattoo, and if you’re a Sylvari, glow colors. But there are reasonable limitations to your character. For example, if you’re an Asuran, a rodent-like creature with amazing ears, you can’t make your character 7 feet tall. Human’s can’t have heads bigger than their bodies. These things, although funny, break immersion with the game. Everything I could want for character creation, is here.

My favorite part though is how customizable the armor is. An endless amount of colors and so many mix and match outfit options. I swear I don’t go 3 months without changing my armor skin, costume, or colors to a new style or something to match my mood. The only thing it’s missing is a decent pair of heels.

The Account Wardrobe – how to customize your look after you’ve created your character was a big deal. ArenaNet even released a trailer about it. I loved it from this video, even before it was implemented, it didn’t disappoint.

4.     Free to Play Without Being Pay to Win

The items in the Gem Store are mostly for looks. Like a backpacks, hats, and armor skins.

August 29, 2015 GW2 went completely Free to Play. However, having a free account does have some limitations, mostly with level caps and communicating with paid players. The complete comparison list between account types can be seen here. I remember when this was first announced there were players who paid for their accounts in 2013 (a one-time fee of about $50 if you bought the basic package) who were outraged that new players were getting a product that they had to pay for.

I however, saw this as a great way to draw in new fans and players to grow the community. If they liked it enough, they’d pay to get the rest of the game’s features unlocked, otherwise it just adds to the players who help in boss fights and make the community feel alive by filling in empty areas in previously barren zones.

Even if it wasn’t 100% free to play, there’s no monthly fee and ArenaNet filled the Gem Store (the ecommerce shop of GW2) with amazing items that serve very little function in the game besides looking awesome and adding to my ability to organize my storage box exactly how I want (or more to the point filling my storage box then buying more places to put my virtual junk).

Check out the official trailer at the launch of GW2 going free to play, but it’s still pretty.

5.     The Jumping Puzzles

A beautiful view right? One wrong step and you’re falling to your death, no pressure.

Easily one of my favorite things in GW2, and many of my friends most dreaded things. I think the reason I love these so much is because one of my favorite things to do in a game is getting somewhere that I’m not supposed to be. These let me feel like I’m going somewhere I shouldn’t with complicated jumps where timing is sometimes everything (like the Mad King’s Clock Tower), but when I get to the end I get loot and an achievement. Not to mention an entirely satisfied feeling after possible hours of (fun?) frustration. Can frustration be fun?

Check out this guy’s flawless run of the Mad King’s Clock Tower. (If he falls, he dies, if he lets the green mist touch him, he dies, if he jumps before the glass breaks, he loses.)

5 of the Worst Things in Guild Wars 2
1.     The Underwater Combat

As underwhelming as the combat is while underwater, it’s still gorgeous.

Underwater combat was great in theory, but terribly executed. I take my badass, level 80, Elemenatlist/Tempest and give her a mask to breathe underwater and she flounders. All of my powerful amazing skills get replaced with useless crowd control (CC) skills and depressingly low damage attacks.

The worst part about underwater combat is how excited I was when it was announced. I wanted it to be good, even going as far as trying to convince my friends and guildies to play it with me. This was by far the biggest letdown in the entire game for me. When they got rid of the underwater arena for Structured Player verses Player (sPvP) matches, I knew I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. Better luck next time.

Even though it’s not my cup of tea, watch how cool this giant undead shark (Megalodon) is as it (almost) kills this Warrior.

2.     Dungeon Farming Nerfs

I always loved this fight, you have to throw rocks at a ghost.

I loved farming dungeons, especially Ascalon Catacombs (AC) for the 1.5 gold awarded to each party member after completing each path. About 5 months ago, in December of 2015, ArenaNet nerfed the dungeon reward system. My friends and I had about perfected our AC runs to where we could do all 3 paths in less than an hour, even with a few random players (we basically were able to duo it). When it got nerfed though, it really wasn’t worth the little time it took to complete, so we ended up abandoning it altogether and sought alternative means of in-game income.

Oh the glory days. Watching this AC Speed Run makes me want to go back even though the gold return is sad.

3.     “Stack” Wars 2 is too Apt a Nickname for Player verses Environment (PvE)

The Shatterer looks tough, but he’s an easier fight than you’d think.

For those of you who love dungeons as much as I do, or did, you understand my pain if I were to say: “Stack here. No what are you doing.? Put your pet on passive. Don’t fear the boss.” During dungeons, there are things called “stack points” where all of the players in the group stand when fighting a boss or a mob. This causes the creature(s) to stand in one spot while the party can drop Area of Effect (AoE) skills and use melee attacks without worrying that the creature(s) will run out of them and take less, or no, damage. If a ranger’s pet, or necromancer’s minions run to the boss, there’s a chance the creature(s) won’t ever move to the stack.

To explain my earlier statement, if a creature is feared, making them run away from the group, it won’t get damaged by AoE or the Melee attacks. The worst part? It works on world bosses like Shatterer (pictured above). There should never be an “easy button” on a major game boss where players can stand still, spam attack skills, and kill win without getting hit once. Too easy.

Throughout this video tutorial of Cliffside (a fractal – end game PvE Content) you can clearly see the party stacking pull enemies and kill them quickly.

4.     The “Grind” for Masteries

One of the mastery tracks lets you jump on these mushrooms, they fling you pretty high.

Well, it’s not the worst grind in a video game, but after dungeons were nerfed, I spend most of my time in sPvP where I’m not leveling up my Masteries. I’m pretty sure everyone who’s ever played a video game agrees that grinding levels does not make for harder content, just longer content. In response to players complaints that GW2 is too easy, ArenaNet added a new feature called “Mastery Points” in their Heart of Thorns expansion. This allows players to use their experience gained after they reach level 80 in order to continue progressing and growing their characters.

The catch? It takes a ton of experience to level up certain mastery tracks, which leads me, and many other players, to feel they have to grind the experience, a very popular experience farm was the Citadel of Flame (CoF) dungeon. Poor ArenaNet can’t win though. People complain the game is too easy, so they try to make it more challenging. When they do, people complain it’s too hard and that they lie when they claim to make games for all skill levels.

Although the grind for masteries is tedious, the masteries themselves are pretty epic. Once you’ve mastered your masteries you can glide through the jungle like this guy.

5.     The Pact Mentor Tag

There are so many. It annoys me how easy it is to make yourself an annoying apple on everyone’s map.

I’m not 100% sure what bothers me so much about this. I think it’s because it’s basically a “poor man’s Commander Tag” but it has extra features, like a permanent speed buff when used in cities. Like the Commander Tag, the Pact mentor Tag can be displayed over your character’s head and will appear on the map so that everyone there (except enemies) can see your location.

I really don’t even use my commander tag very often, but I spent 100 gold on it back when I was poor so that I could be the queen of Mad King’s Labyrinth (at least that’s how I felt I was). This past Halloween, when I was having fun with my loyal followers, knocking down doors and trick-or-treating until our inventory was full of loot, some brat with a Pact Mentor Tag, decided to try to steal my not-so-loyal followers, successfully splitting the party (even though most of them stayed with me). It still caused enough of a disturbance to frustrate me and put itself in the top 5 of my least favorite things in the game.

The most useful place in the game outside of holiday events is World verses World, where 3 servers are pitted against each other. This commander (and his followers) must have been bored following a lone roamer around, but it made for an amusing watch.

Did you like this? You might also like reading these articles.

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Gamer | Writer | Artist | Jeweler
Currently Playing: Don't Starve, Guild Wars 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Guild Wars 2, Don't Starve, Portal 2
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tnobody 1 year 7 months ago

Shatter fight is no longer a afkable fight, hasnt been for a while, Dungeons have had their rewards incressed recently and the mentor tag is not better than the commander tag. that speed buff is just a higher mastery than mentor tag, you do not have to wear it to get it. mentor tags can not create squads either.