Friday, October 25, 2013

Guild Wars 2: Taking the Leap

callaid-bhròin means "funeral wail" or "elegy"

The world has ended methinks, because the impossible has happened.  I've started playing an MMO.  For years I've sworn that this day would never occur.  I swore off all MMOs, and I've been very good at abiding by my self-imposed ban.  That said, for years I've also toyed with the thought of playing Guild Wars. (Can one silently "rebel" against The Man, when The Man is also yourself?) Guild Wars/ Guild Wars 2 particularly caught my interest because of its approach.  It offers a "solution" for the major issues tend to make MMOs so distasteful to many single player only gamers.
Problem 1: Monthly subscription fees.
Solution 1: They don't have them. 
Problem 2: Other gamers constantly encroach upon your gaming space.  This messes with the experience and ruins suspension of disbelief and/or immersion.
Solution 2: Guild Wars 2 promotes the fact that one can successfully traverse the world in single player without untoward interference from others.  Interaction with others is for the most part voluntary. 
Problem 3: Gamers can spend months and years paying for a subscription based model, only to have the title turn Free to Play (and generally Pay to Win).
Solution 3: There doesn't appear to be any real danger of the Guild Wars series turning F2P since there are no subscription fees to begin with.  You buy the game/expansions and you are done. While there is a system in place where items can be purchased with IRL money (the Gem Store), participation doesn't appear to be necessary for one to fully enjoy the experience.  (That could be different in PvP). This seemingly prevents it from joining the P2W camp.

In the past, I have come this close to purchasing Guild Wars (and subsequently Guild Wars 2). Having been single player for so long though, taking that final step and actually committing to a MMO was a pretty scary concept.  I'm not going to lie. Until I created my first GW2 character and actually started playing, there was a significant amount of anxiety present.  Having shared game worlds with only NPCs, entering a realm where other sentient beings roamed (who can talk to you!) was a weird prospect. After all, I knew that I had developed idiosyncrasies over the years and that I wasn't always the most deft person around ... but did everyone else have to know too?  I'd get laughed right out of Tyria.

Last weekend, a friend unexpectedly gifted me Guild Wars 2.  With a copy in my possession, I had no other choice but to jump in both feet first.  Provided my dinosaur of a computer actually ran it (which it does!) there were really  no excuses left. The end result?  So far .... it's been a pretty darn good ride.

Stay tuned for adventures to come. You can also follow my experience on twitter @photoleia