Monday, May 02, 2005


Guild Wars Retail, or, How Not To Resist Temptation

So I went to EB at the local mall to see what was new and exciting. Surfing the web just doesn't give me the same feeling, and the internet doesn't have a food court offering the delicious Super Chicken Bowl Combo, or the 50-foot long picture of a woman in underwear that graces the entrance of the upcoming Victoria's Secret store.

I went inside and asked about Guild Wars. "We just sold out 5 minutes ago," the clerk told me.

Of course, now that I couldn't get it, I had to have it. I drove to the local Best Buy, and they had dozens of copies, so I picked one up and made a mental note not to go to EB when I wanted a game (they also didn't cover PSP pre-orders, got my EQ2 DVD version in late and wouldn't give me a CD version instead, charge the highest prices of any store out there, and rip people off on trade-ins).

The game is pretty dry for quite a while. It's only when you're around level 10 or so (the cap is 20) that it starts to get fun. It's a cross between Diablo and Magic: the Gathering. And maybe a little bit of Shadowbane. Like Magic (which I played for a couple months with people at work and enjoyed, wasn't in love with it), it's not very fun until you have a bunch of options at your disposal. You earn powers by doing quests, mostly, and you can swap them out in town for what amounts to an 8-card deck in Magic (except you can use most of these powers over and over instead of discarding them). This system allows you to try out lots of different combinations, and they make a huge difference in how you play your character. That's certainly a refreshing change from MMOs (Guild Wars is a persistent-character online game, but not massively multiplayer.)

Although there is plenty of "co-op" content, it seems like the game is designed for PvP arena battles. I haven't done much of this yet, but what little I did was fun. There's a lot of strategy and teamwork needed to be successful, and fights are always "fair"--that is, both sides are prepared for the fight, and no one is doomed to failure because their stats aren't good enough.

Downsides: the loot system is below par (but this also keeps PvP more competitive), and the levels are restrictive in where they let you go (no jumping, always have to follow obvious paths, no interaction with environment, no hidden places or other secrets, etc.). The environments look very nice, though.

I'll probably post more about this game once I've had a chance to get to level 20 and see how it plays then.

I'm making a comment just to make a comment. Monthy!

I have lubs for Neil!

Thank you for your site, I enjoy your writings immensely!

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