Guild Wars 2 is an MMORPG by ArenaNet. It’s one of the most consistent games in the genre, with over 500K daily players joining its servers. Should you play it as well?
Six years after its debut, GW2 is still relevant. GW2 sits as one of the best casual MMOs you can play right now.
Release Date and Platform
The game debuted in 2012 for Windows, and it’s only available for Windows and macOS.
As Guild Wars 2 is an old game, you don’t need powerful hardware to play it. However, the requirements vary slightly on Windows and macOS.
Windows Minimum System Requirements
- OS :Windows 10 64-bit
- CPU :Intel i3 2.8 GHz / AMD Phenom II 2.8 GHz
- RAM :6GB
- GPU :Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 / AMD Radeon HD 5770 / Intel Iris 600 series
- Storage :55GB HDD
- Directx :9.0 Version
- Broadband internet connection
The recommended system requirements ask for 24GB RAM and Windows 10.
MacOS system requirements
- OS :Mac OS®X 10.9.X or later
- CPU :Intel Core i5
- RAM : 6GB
- GPU :NVIDIA GeForce 320M / ATI Radeon HD 6630M / Intel HD 3000 or better
- Storage :50GB HDD
- Broadband internet connection
The Free Bundle
Guild Wars 2 has been free since 2015. You can download the title, make an account, and play it at no charge.
However, only the core game is free. On top of the core game, there’re two expansions you can buy, plus an upcoming DLC.
The two expansions are Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire. There’s a bundle that sells the DLCs, a Max-Level boots, gems, an outfit, a season pass, and a character slot for the price of a AAA new-gen game.
The next expansion, End of Dragons, is debuting in February 2021.
What is Guild Wars 2?
Guild Wars 2 is a casual MMORPG with a unique responsive system.
First, I have to explain the world. The fantasy setting is Tyria, a land full of creatures inspired by Lovecraftian stories.
The world is persistent, and your story progresses through instanced environments. In other words, the main quest often revolves around individualized instances where you experience the plot via dialogue, combat, and cinematic cuts.
Here’s where it gets more interesting. Dynamic events replace classic questing to deliver “consequences” to your actions and choices. In other words, the main quest is unique to you, as it changes according to your decisions.
Overall, the storyline is the defining feature of the game. You can play it solo or at a party, and it’s the best content the MMO has to offer. It’s why most consider Guild Wars 2 to have the main plot worthy of a true RPG.
Other than that, the rest of the systems are friendly and easy to grasp. You create a character and grow steadily by questing and activities.
Every player has a “Personal Story.” This is a unique campaign for each user. The experience changes as you make choices within the main storyline. Similarly, the Personal Story presents character-specific instances.
Other players can help you during the main story, but they can’t make any choices. However, they can accept the outcome on their own.
That said, character-specific instances scale in challenges depending on the number of layers in the party.
Personal stories come in eight chapters. Each chapter has ten levels, which you can consider as “quests.”
Every chapter is quite different from the next, so the whole story feels unique and full of original set pieces. Moreover, early chapters depend on the character’s race and biography, whereas the last chapters depend on choices.
According to How Long To Beat, the main quest in Guild Wars 2 takes about 86 hours. That’s considering the base game only. The additional expansions may take 10 hours more each.
The Dynamic System
The dynamic system allows players to experience different storylines by joining other parties as well.
There’re no penalties for fighting in groups or getting helps. Quite the contrary: the game increases experience and loot and distributes the prices equally between all party members.
The other side of the system is how dynamic events can bring stories to every area in Tyria. That’s because the system responds to your presence and creates stories and challenges. The system may even modify areas and instances according to your actions.
In particular, NPCs follow time schedules. Then,they may present unmarked quests, so by hearing a conversation, you may find an opportunity to deal with bandits, find a treasure, or fall into a trap.
Some of these events may be part of the larger story. However, these are randomized events and don’t make up for the chapters of acts in the main storyline.
Guild Wars 2 is a high fantasy game that mixes Lovecraftian elements. The plot happens 250 years after the original game, where the player character defeats the Great Destroyer.
The plot is about defeating the five Elder Dragons. These beasts are spreading corruption and destruction all over Tyria.
The core main quest ends when defeating Elder Dragon Zhaitan. The Personal Story continues in the Living World seasonal update.
Living World DLC System
Living World is a seasonal update system included in the core game (it’s free).
Developers add updates in the form of permanent episodes, and these episodes come in Seasons.
The Seasons tell a story of defeating one of the Elder dragons and the broader story of Tyria’s evolution. They often include new enemies, gear, areas, quests, features, balance changes, upgrades, and special events.
Overall, Living World is the ongoing storyline that fills the in-between gap expansions. As of Season 2, the episodes are permanent, and players can engage them at any time.
Living World is currently on its fifth season. Here’s a trailer as an example:
Classes and Races
Guild Wars 2 starts with a hefty character creation panel. You pick one of the five races and choose among one of the eight professions.
Race and profession determine your skills and open up combat gameplay.
The professions are:
- Mesmer :They can use weapons and magic. Mesmers also have powerful debuffs.
- Guardian :It’s the classic tank. Moreover, they can empower allies.
- Necromancer :They can use obscure magics by channeling life forces. They can also summon minions and heal themselves.
- Ranger :They are the classic ranged warriors, high on DPS and critical hits. They can also use traps.
- Elementalist :They use fire, air, water, and earth spells. They can deal massive AoE damage.
- Warrior :These rely on weapons, speed, strength, and durability.
- Thief :They are stealth masters, and they come with multiple dodge mechanics. They are also key on PvP modes revolving around stealing and stealth.
- Engineer :They can create and use explosives and gadgets. Also, they can support allies with alchemy.
- Revenant :It’s a heavy-armored warrior that can use otherworldly magic. It’s only available on the expansions.
Combat gameplay is a mix of classic MMORPG action and third-person action-adventure gameplay.
Most of your abilities have an area-of-effect, so you need to manually select them from your action bar and target. For example, almost all melee attacks can cleave multiple enemies.
You use ranged attacks by targeting a zone or an enemy. Defenders can dodge the projectile, hide behind objects, or run. However, area attacks can hit targets around the corner and through walls.
Moreover, there’s a cooldown system for every skill. Every weapon has an auto-attack, which is what you’d use to fill the gap. These auto-attacks may work as a chain, a combo increases damage and debuffs per hit.
You can also explore and combat underwater. Submerged battles change how most abilities work, thus making your character weaker.
Other mechanics include damage-over-time, stuns, debuffs, and Boons (aura buffs). Most skills add a debuff to your opponents.
Mostly, debuffs work as “control effects” you can place on others. Some mobs come with an additional blue bar that determines their defense against control effects. You can drain it by using multiple debuffs.
Lastly, some professions can add a Unique Effect to your character. These are permanent buffs you can’t pass to others.
The combat gameplay feels fun, fresh, and unique. Its various systems work together to deliver a versatile combat system. You have elemental or debuff combos, AOE, debuffs, defensive bars, stuns, stun breaks, spell interruption effects, and much more. It sounds tough at first, but the game will slowly show you these systems all the way to the end.
I don’t know how the combat system could be better. So, I believe it’s perfect.
Mobility resorts to run, walk, side walking, and side running, jumping, and dodge-rolls. Each dodge uses an Endurance Bar, and every character comes with two base bars.
With these movement skills, players often “kite” against other players and monsters. This means using the terrain to your advantage through hit & run tactics.
Learning how to use mobility skills is key to traveling the world. The game is full of fun jumping puzzles that ask you to jump and roll to reach the goal.
Aside from the core experience (PvE), the game also offers PvP instances, raids, and more. PvP is not necessary by any means. It’s just for the fun and the freedom, as there’re no penalties for losing. However, there’re rewards for winning.
Moreover, the PvP has automatic balance systems that make the experience more accessible for all players.
Particularly, every season introduces multiple events weekly. These events mix PvE, PvP, and PvPvE experiences for a vast array of challenges and rewards.
Various game modes enable different PvP experiences. Mostly, you’ll play on 1v1, 2v2, or 5v5 arenas or instances. These may include additional features like bosses, items to steals, or areas to protect.
Overall, the PvP system is cute, fun but not part of the main game. That doesn’t mean it’s pointless.
Also, the game includes a fair crafting system. Crafting in Guild Wars 2 is quite simple. It’s about getting recipes from an NPC, gathering the materials from loot and trade, and crafting gear on a crafting station.
This allows you to play Guild Wars 2 in a hardcore way. You can lose yourself in the wild for hours to gather wood, metals, and other materials.
However, the game works with a horizontal progression design. That means no gear is better than others: you can simply upgrade the one you like until it reaches its highest tier. A feature like this relieves players from the power-creep pressure.
The core Guild Wars 2 game is absolutely worth it. It’s free, full of content, and features a wide array of perfected systems.
First, it has a full-blown RPG plot that reacts to player choice. It’s like a single-player high-fantasy RPG, where you can experience multiple scenarios and outcomes by joining others.
Then, there’s the combat system. It’s fun, smooth, easy to learn, but deliciously hard to master.
Then, there’s the PvP. It’s not a significant part of the core game, but it keeps the title fun by adding no penalties, multiple game modes, and many maps.
Also, there’s the crafting system. Even if you’re not a casual gamer, you can still spend hours in GW2, simply gathering resources. The game is nice to look at and hear, so you’ll have a nice time.
Last but not least, there’s the community. It’s generally nice, ready to help newcomers, and healthy.
Overall, we greatly recommend Guild Wars 2. If you like the core game, the expansions add more content to your Personal Story, profession, and gear.
RPG, MMO, or MMORPG fans should play Guild Wars 2.