More Excited About Guild Wars 2 After the Beta Weekend Event
July 23, 2012 | ~7 mins read time.

So, in my initial post the other day about the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event, I said that I'd be posting more today about it. There are so many things that I want to write about that I am not sure where to start without this turning into the longest post I’ve ever written. I think I’ll start with the overall feel of the game.  Be warned, while there are quite a few pictures in this post, it's still a long one!

Some have said that Guild Wars 2 looks just like World of Warcraft (WoW). There may be some similarities like there are in all modern video games in terms of rendering, but I didn’t even have that thought. Others have said it was sort of cartoonish, but I didn’t see that, either.  There were two things that reminded me a lot of WoW, but they had to do with the open world play (WoW is not the only game that does this, of course) and the crafting (which appeared to be quite similar to the WoW crafting system).

There wasn’t that aspect of crisp anime-like lines in the scenery that WoW sometimes has. I felt like the environment was familiar, because it was a video game, but other than that, it was its own game. I couldn’t successfully compare the overall look and feel to anything else in terms of the environment. Here are several screenshots from the game (click on each for higher resolution):

Lion's Arch Seascape
Standing on a bank in Lion's Arch overlooking a cliff, a ship, and the harbour.
Lion's Arch Asura Gate scene.
Standing in Lion's Arch on one of the walkways overlooking some Asura Gates.
City garden shot. I can't recall off-hand where I was in-game.  (**Edit — this is the courtyard in Divinity's Reach.  One of my friends just let me know.  He's been playing the beta for ages and recognizes some of these places right away now.  Soon, I shall too!)  There was a lot of Asura Gate hopping going on for the sake of checking the world out.
Underwater Scene
Underwater in the Sylvari lands.

For comparison, check out some of Blizzard's World of Warcraft Screens. You may see a strong, striking resemblance, but I did not.

However, there were a few instances where I felt like certain sci-fi elements from other popular series were heavily drawn upon. For instance, the Asura gates reminded me so much of Stargate that I wanted to start watching the movies and the various TV series all of a sudden. It was irritating when I was dead tired and pushing to play as much as I could, but my irritation was born out of the fact that when I’m tired like that, I have “Ooh! Shiny!” moments.

Those moments always involve me losing focus because something that I would otherwise recognize as reminding me of something else becomes a tangent in and of itself which causes me to focus on it instead of what it is I’m supposed to be doing — in this case, playing Guild Wars 2. I did have some fun with it, though. In the Black Citadel, the Charr headquarters, I was struck at how much it looked like the Death Star from Star Wars on the outside.

Once inside, I discovered this den for the Charr intelligence people and, as I said to a friend that I was playing with at the time over TeamSpeak, I felt like it was the Death Star with a steam punk vibe but built by Klingons, even if the Charr are slightly better looking than Klingons are. Then I had a good laugh when I saw a Charr steam punk-inspired Batmobile:

Steam punk Batmobile.

There were some other similarities to other worlds that I was loving. When I decided to try an Asura character, on a whim I made her into a Thief. That's her on the right. I saw the resemblance to Altaïr's outfit in the original Assassin's Creed straight off and went about colouring it as close to it as I could. I mean, look at her. If that isn't a midget version of Altaïr with pointy ears, I don't know what is.

I showed my husband and he said, "Looks more like Ezio." I said, "No, no. Ezio had red here and there on the clothes, Altaïr's were almost entirely white and shades of grey with just that single red sash, for the most part." Though, he had a point — the belt is certainly more Ezio than Altaïr. The hood, coat, pants, and boots reminded me more of Altaïr. So, my little Asura thief was named after him. Also, I couldn't figure out how to feminize Ezio's name at the time. Either way, anyone who's played Assassin's Creed will likely see why I saw a resemblance and I was loving every second of it. I absolutely love the Assassin's Creed world and having the ability to play a character in another game I'm fixing to adore was a serious bonus for me. There was another thing in Guild Wars 2 that reminded me of the Assassin's Creed games: the Vista Points.

Worst Vista Point ever.

Again, anyone who's played Assassin's Creed will be familiar with the View Points that are scattered throughout the world in each game that help unlock the maps and different areas of each region while setting off events and such. Well, the Vista Points are practically identical, including offering puzzles on how to get up to the top of some of them. One of them made me extremely angry at one point, but I finally managed to get it.

In one of the cities, the Vista Point on the right looked super simple. You drop down to the walkway from another a short, tower-like structure and then it spirals around while gradually becoming mostly straight as you see there. However, the lag was so bad that walking forward was sometimes interpreted by the server as being a double-tap, which means vaulting forward in a bit of a somersault. Right off the edge.

Good times. I finally did it, but it was aggravating. I commented to the person I was playing with at the time that it was exactly like one of the areas in one of the Assassin's Creed games and it was more suited to console controller play than keyboard play. There were a few other areas where I felt that way, too. The game has waypoints that allow a person to travel for a few coins. Local travel within a city is free, but outside of that area and the further away you want to go, it costs some coin. This is somewhat reminiscent of the waypoints in the Diablo world, and despite the coin cost, they work exactly the same way.

I'm glad they're there. That was the only thing I absolutely hated about Guild Wars. You'd be in the middle of a battle somewhere and you might have found the need to head back to a city, maybe to offload some inventory items or something, only to find that you'd have to hoof it all the way back to where you happened to come from. Waypoints make it easier to go back. They're less time-consuming, especially if you were super-far from the city in question. If only they'd have borrowed a feature like Diablo's Town Portal, but we can't have everything.

All of these inspired similarities weren't to a point where I felt like the game wasn't original. It's Guild Wars through and through. I was recommending the game to people who were looking for an MMO that wasn't Star Wars, Star Trek, WoW, or Skyrim-related and one that doesn't have a monthly fee associated with it. Guild Wars 2 fits the bill nicely. That was just based on what the game looked like it was going to be. After having played it and enjoying every second, despite it being beta play, it's a definite recommendation.

More to come in the following week(s), including a guest post tomorrow, character creation walkthrough, and possibly another guest post.