So, Guild Wars 2 just turned a year old, and as that landmark passes, it’s neat to reflect on the game, how it’s changed, and how it’s changed me as I play it.
I started as, frankly, a very casual player of MMOs. My interests lie more in the direction of action/adventure than… well… bothering with other people. I’d dabbled in WoW and TOR with friends, but there were a great many issues with the very core of the gameplay that kept the genre from really grabbing me. However, the very little bit (only a few days really) of Guild Wars that I had played felt different, different enough for me to take interest in the prospect of Guild Wars 2.
As the game loomed closer, I planned out my characters. My main would be an Elementalist asura named Zott who primarily used lightning, and I would try a norn Ranger. A charr Warrior and a sylvari Necromancer would follow. I decided to add a human, in the interest of rounding out the races, and figured this throwaway character without a planned name would be a Thief.
Headstart opened, I furiously created all my characters to secure their names, and that unassuming Thief got an old standby, Rhys, and a spur-of-the-moment surname, Elmbrier. He’d be something to turn to when I wanted a break from the ones I actually cared about. Just to play around and relax.
Long story short, 12 months later Rhys is my only level 80, and that first asura, norn, and sylvari are no more.
My girlfriend told me to join her guild, which I was fine with being a part of as long as I didn’t have to interact with the other guild members. I’m not very social, and with my prior MMO experiences I had no intention of dealing with a bunch of jerkish, game-obsessed twits.
Yeah, that changed too. She coaxed me onto Vent with them, and after my initial shyness, I consider my guildmates some of my best friends. Meeting up with a bunch of them at PAX East this year was an amazing experience, and it sounds really sappy when I say it like this, but Guild Wars 2 did in fact change my life.
For the game itself, I wasn’t sure what to expect at the outset, but previous experience suggested a massive world with things of interest stretched out a great distance from each other. GW2 quickly showed me I was wrong on that count: It was in fact a massive world with things of interest so densely packed that it’s a wonder the zones weren’t bursting at the seams. Every crossroad, every hill, every half-hidden cave entrance promised – and delivered – something new, interesting, and rewarding to find. I fell in love with exploring Tyria, and even with my dedication to discovery, I only achieved map completion a couple weeks ago.
Of course, map completion was part of the greatest lunacy I’ve committed in this game: The forging of a Legendary weapon. Me, a casual player who despised grind, slowly but surely working toward creating an item that takes hours and hours of dedicated effort and so many hundreds of bits of defeated animals. I’ve got a long way to go – apparently I’m about 27% done – but I will have my Quip eventually.
And how has the game itself fared? In my opinion, it’s only gotten better and better. Southsun was a good idea with imperfect execution, but now that the living story updates are chugging along reliably, Clockwork Chaos is my favorite event to date. The world really does feel alive, and it really does feel like we players are affecting it. Tyria is huge, but I only want more. I’m looking at you, Deldrimor Front…
As someone who didn’t know what to expect a year ago, and was blown away by what I found, I can only say that I’m eagerly looking forward to what will come from the second year of Guild Wars 2.