If you are a huge fan of MMORPGs, you probably are aware of this little game called Guildwars 2, developed by ArenaNet. Actually, scratch that! Guildwars is a massive game that was released in 2012, and in August it has celebrated its ten year anniversary! The game has often been compared to World of Warcraft, with the only difference between the two games being that Guildwars is free to play and doesn’t require a subscription.
On this ten year anniversary, the guys at ArenaNet have decided to celebrate by launching their beloved game onto the Steam platform on August 23rd! With Guildwars 2 still being free to play, and with its massive lore, and newfound availability on Steam, a lot of gamers are wondering whether they should give the game a go.
Today we are discussing whether Guildwars 2 is still worth playing, even after its Steam release! Is it a good game? Will there be more content released after the 23rd August? And most importantly: if you’re new to the game, would the lore and story be too overwhelming or hard to understand?
First thing first: a bit of history of the game!
History of GW2
Guildwars 2 is a sequel to…congrats, you guessed it: Guildwars, which was released in 2005. Just like its predecessor, Guilwars 2 was subscription-free, although, since its launch in 2012 and up until 2015 a purchase fee was still required to install the game.
Surprisingly, in the first two weeks since its launch the game had managed to sell over two million copies! By 2015, when Guildwars 2 became free-to-play, it had sold over 5 million copies worldwide! When asked about the decision to make the game free, co-founder of ArenaNet, Mike O’Brien has said that no, the quality of the game will not be suffering from the removal of the purchase fee, but rather they just wanted to keep things simple for their fans. With all the new expansion packs they had planned, it just made sense to make the game free and only charge for the expansions.
So what is Guildwars 2?
It is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game that is set in the fantasy world of Tyria. The action happens 250 years after the last Guildwars campaign and the game thrusts you into a Tyria that has now been taken over by large, bad, Elder Dragons and their vast armies of the undead. The five races the game features (asura, charr, human, norn and sylvari) have been pushed back onto their territories and your mission as a player is to re-unite them, defeat the dragons and reclaim the territory. And here’s the good news: designer and writer Ree Soesbee had confirmed upon the game’s release that the players will get to actually fight the dragons! He has said that “primarily the game will focus on one [dragon] in particular, but the others are present in the world. Their activities will have an impact on Tyria, and players will have the opportunity to experience the real danger that all of these creatures present.”
As a character in the game you are tasked with reuniting the members of the disbanded “Destiny’s Edge” guild, which symbolizes the unification of all the five races, and together you need to fight and ultimately defeat Zhaitan, the undead Elder Dragon.
Since its release in 2012, the game released five “Living World” seasons, the last one bearing a different name than the first four (“The Icebrood Saga”), and three expansion packs: Heart Of Thorns (2015), Path of Fire (2017) and End of Dragons (Feb. 2022).
With its rich lore, and over 10 years of developing story arcs, it is understandable why new players, and even older ones who played the game before but then took a break, seem to find it overwhelming to get into! But have no fear, the guys at ArenaNet have got your back!
The future of Guildwars 2
Everything ArenaNet has changed about the game in the past 10 years since the release has been based on the player’s feedback. This is a great thing and has improved player experience massively, while also ensuring that the gamers are motivated to stay loyal to Guildwars 2.
But now, with Steam release and their 10 year anniversary, ArenaNet has also taken into consideration how would a new player feel when they first download the game and create an account.
So ArenaNet has made the decision to bring back Living World season 1, which is said to be one of the best pieces of content Guildwars 2 players had experienced. This move should help new players understand the story better and the old players enjoy this popular season once more! And just to make things even better, the developers have combined the story of Living World Season 1 and weaved it into the five episodes that were set to release this year as it follows:
- Living World season 1 Episode 1: Aetherblade Hideout Challenge Mode (19th April)
- Xunlay Jade Junkyard Challenge Mode (10th May)
- Living world season 1 Episode 2: Kaineng Overlook Challenge Mode, New Legendary Weapon Variant (24th May)
- Dragon Bash Festival , Harvest Temple Challenge Mode (7th June)
- Balance Update, New Legendary Weapon Variant (28th June)
So even if you are new to the game, you should still be able to get into it fairly easy and enjoy all the awesome things Tyria has to offer!
On top of bringing back Living World Season 1, ArenaNet had also announced in 2021 that it was working on restructuring and improving the World versus World combat in order to improve player experience.
One of the main things that had set Guildwars 2 apart from other MMOs is the World versus World combat! It is a game mode that encompasses four massive maps and where three worlds (servers) compete at the same time to complete various objectives. This world versus world combat alone makes the game worth trying!
On top of that, ArenaNet had also announced that there will be a fourth expansion pack after the “End of Dragons” expansion. So there is still plenty of content to come in the next few years, which means that as a new player (or a veteran) you will still have plenty of stuff to discover and to do!
So is it worth playing?
The new expansion pack promised by ArenaNet indicates that Guildwars 2 is here to stay for a while! But just the promise of new content might not be enough to convince players to try the game in 2022, especially since it’s a ten year-old game!
So what makes Guildwars 2 so special and why do we think it would be worth playing?
Well here’s what the game has to offer at this point in time:
- Over 50 open Player versus Environment (PvE) areas
- More than 150 story missions
- Numerous bosses and world events that players compete in regularly
- 8 dungeons with 4-5 different paths each
- 20 different fractals with a total of 100 levels of difficulty
- 7 raid wings
- Multiple PvP arenas, seasons and game modes
- World versus world which we mentioned just earlier on.
But if all that is still not enough for you, then we have more!
The combat in the game is probably the biggest strength of Guildwars 2, with many fans praising it to be fast paced, very dynamic and responsive. The best part when it comes to combat, though, is the fact that it is very easy to pick up, even at a beginner’s level! So no matter what your experience as a gamer is, combat won’t feel like some Dark Souls purgatory where you keep dying repeatedly! Also, the game has an action camera mode in combat which you can activate and with which you have to target opponents precisely, bringing more of a challenge for veterans, and those who just like playing on hard mode!
Another cool thing that has made in-game travelling so much easier is the so-called “mounts” which were first introduced in the “Path of Fire” expansion. Mounts are animals that players can interact with and ride from one place to another, and each mount has its own special use: raptors can jump very far, jackals are very fast boys, jumpers can (as their name suggests) jump very high, and, if you don’t feel particularly social one day and want to avoid all the people on the ground, you can use graspings to glide in the air!
And we know that some players might be a bit nervous, especially when starting the game. What if they don’t meet any other players in the starting area to interact with? Well that’s something that you don’t need to worry about! The game incentivises its veterans to return to the starting areas and offers them all sorts of rewards for doing that! So you’ll always see a friendly face around, and who knows? Maybe they’ll show you around and help you with tips and tricks so you can level up faster. Maybe you’ll defeat a few bosses together and through that become best friends for eva’!
Okay, maybe we got a bit carried away with that last part, but the point we’re trying to make is that Guildwars 2 still has a very active player base even after 10 years! At the moment of filming this video, over 240,000 players were online all over the world! And, according to playercounter, Guildwars 2 consistently has an active player base of 460,000.
With the release of the game on steam, so much in game content planned for the future, including a new expansion pack, the return of Living World season 1 and a developing team that has consistently listened to player feedback throughout the years, Guildwars 2 is a game that can definitely satisfy your MMO needs even in 2022!
Plus just look at the aesthetics and the way this game looks! A 10 year-old game to have such beautiful and colourful artwork and still look good after all this time, is very uncommon! The reason why Guildwars 2 still looks this good 10 years after release is explained by former art director Horia Dociu in an interview:
“We work in a style that is interesting, inclusive, expressive, but never puts graphics before art. The ideas and artistic creativity have to take lead if we don’t want our game to look dated after many years of people playing it every day. While we’re always making small graphical improvements and using new tools, we put mood and tone at the forefront of all of our artistic decisions, and that’s what will sustain us going forward too.”
If you join now, you will have plenty of things to do and the freedom to explore at your own pace and enjoy the vast lore and aesthetics the game has to offer! By the time the new expansion comes out, you’ll be a pro! In addition to all that, the base game is free to play which makes it that much easier to join in on the fun.
Guildwars 2 is said to be very similar to World of Warcraft, with many WoW players actually switching games in the past few years in favor of GW 2.
So what are you waiting for? Go download it now and get started on your quests!