Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What are my memories from five years of waiting?

This is an article submitted for the Blog Carnival at GuildMag. The deadline is August 9th so be sure to submit your entry too!

What are my memories from 5 years of waiting for Guild Wars 2?

Well to start to answer the question, I have to admit a personal failure. I never played the original Guild Wars, and I’m pretty sure that I never will. <insert gasp> Yes, I confess, I am not an original Guild Wars fan.  Thus, I arrived pretty late to the party, roughly two years ago.

I actually found out about Guild Wars 2 after a sort of falling out with World of Warcraft.  (I know, first I say I’m not a Guild Wars fan and now I’m telling you I am a past-WoW player.   Maybe I should be entering this carnival as an anonymous author, eh?) I was tired of the repetitive gear grind at the top, whether in PvP or PvE, and worst of all, I was bored.  I tried changing classes and even switching to a healing role, but that only delayed my inevitable leave of absence from WoW.  The world was no longer new and interesting, and frankly, there was no incentive to even leave the main city hubs.

When I first played WoW, I fell in love with the world.  And for me at least, this is what sets the MMO genre apart from many other games.  The world is really a world, that is so much bigger than myself.  I am just a small cog in the greater machinery of the system, and I loved the feeling of exploration.  But to my dismay, that “world” in World of Warcraft was just an illusion of something far greater.  And the more I played, the more I came to realize this.

World of Warcraft had been my MMO for several years, and for the first time I did not know what game I would be playing in a year’s time.  I started looking around the internet, and to my dismay I really couldn’t find a game that was offering a fresh approach.  It was the age of the WoW clones, and I was pretty disheartened with the genre as a whole.

 Only out of curiosity and a bit of luck and perhaps destiny, I stumbled upon ArenaNet’s manifesto video for Guild Wars 2.  That video changed everything.

There was a company daring to innovate.  Not only that, but they sounded like they wanted to world to actually feel alive.  The NPC’s and mobs would no longer be static, and would be actively working towards their own agenda.   My choices would matter and have an impact on my story, and for the first time, I could see myself becoming interested in the world around me.

I then began to educate myself on both ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2.  Without fully realizing it, I started checking daily for any new information or interviews about the game, I began reading the forums of Guru, or watching the gameplay videos at some of the conventions. 

Before I even knew what had happened, I was a full blown Guild Wars 2 fanboy. Hell, I reckon I did even more advertising for Guild Wars 2 than ArenaNet did at the time.  I’ve single-handedly convinced my brother and five friends (four of which are/were actively involved in WoW, and one complete noob to the MMO genre).  For most of them, it took a fair amount of convincing to even take a look at the game, but one at a time, each slowly fell victim to my seductive whisperings of a golden land without pandas.

I hadn’t even played the game, and somehow I had fallen hard for it.  Suddenly I cared about the development of the game, and not only that but ArenaNet actually listened to our criticism.  That isn’t to say that other game companies do no respond to their communities, but ArenaNet worked so transparently and collaboratively with us over the last several years.

Because of this, I began to feel like I could make a difference.  I’ve always had an interest in writing, and Guild Wars 2 gave me a chance to attempt to be something more than just a fan or player. For the first time, I wanted to become part of the community.

I opened up my very first blog, Divinity’s Reach several months ago.  The support of the community has been overwhelming, and I have never looked back.   And now, the game is launching this month. (…that still feels very strange to say.) I can’t wait to see the game release, and I’m mostly looking forward to playing WvW and exploring Tyria.  Zhaitan will fall beneath the weight of my mighty Asura thief.

In five years, I hope the Blog Carnival is still around, because I’m entirely sure that Guild Wars 2 will be.  (In fact, I actually have some money down on that…)Perhaps, the question five years from now will be “What are your memories from 5 years of playing Guild Wars 2?”  I look forward to answering that one.

Lead Author of Divinity’s Reach


  1. I'm going to say something really controversial and shocking, but here it goes: WoW wasn't all bad. Sometimes I think the biggest mistake subsequent MMOs made wasn't being too much like WoW, but too much like WoW in the wrong ways and not in the right. Sometimes GW2 reminds me of WoW, but in all the right ways.

    For all its faults, theW world of WoW was immersive. It felt alive. Most subsequent releases lacked that je ne se qua that kept so many players committed to WoW or coming back for more.

    GW2 has it in spades. It's also very different in terms of content and mechanics. It's the whole package.

    1. I agree completely Aly. WoW was fantastic for it s time. However,I kept expecting Blizzard to innovate the game and improve the world. However, it often amounted to nothing more than marketing hype. Instead, the end game stayed exactly how it has always been and many would argue it actually got worse. By Cataclysm, the problems were pretty severe. When 95% of your playerbase is constantly in the city waiting for queues, the world no longer feels alive. Large scale PvP was a joke in both Wintergrasp and Tol Barad, and I think Blizzard really disappointed the community.

      What I'm really trying to say, is that it was a great game, but over time, the 'magic' was lost by lack of innovation,poor design decisions, and greed.

  2. ooohhh man the classic days of WoW how i miss them, most of my friends say the vanilla era was the best but i always thought it was in TBC that WoW achieved its perfection, after WotLK i started playing more on and off, other games grabbed my attention and while i did return to WoW it was always for less and less time.
    After catacl was released i returned for one final go, i played through the new content tried to get back into the arena, battlegrounds and even the new raids, but it just wasnt the same, after i quit at the beginning of this year (never to return) i had a long think about all of this and eventually i arrived at a answer that satisfied me atleast, WoW was more polished and had more content now than ever before yes, but the game as it is now is very wide yet with very little depth, it had become little more than a facade, no soul to it, that was my conclusion that i share here, my two isk.

  3. I agree with you when you say that the community's support is overwhelming! This community is so awesome, makes me proud to be part of it! Thanks for sharing your story with us, Entombed!