The original Guild Wars was the first massively multiplayer game I played, and was also one of the most addictive games I had ever played. Its intriguing mix of combat and stunning visuals made it very hard to stop questing and looting for hours on end. Guild Wars was unique in that most players reached the maximum level very quickly, and therefore were soon on a level playing field, and the only way to differentiate oneself from enemies and other players was superior strategy.

The followup, Guild Wars 2, promises to maintain the skill-based gameplay of Guild Wars, but also build upon it with more innovative elements that are making this Guild Wars fan incredibly excited.

Dynamic Combat:
While the combat in Guild Wars was very strategic, it was only strategic on the superficial level, the strategy was in how one picked skills before the fight. Guild Wars 2 promises to make combat itself a very skill-based game, with the introduction of a dodging mechanic, the emphasis on timing of attacks, and the general frenetic pace of combat. The result is combat that requires thought beforehand to decide on one’s “loadout”, but then the ability to improvise and react in fast-paced, action-packed combat.

Dynamic Quests:
While some are concerned that the introduction of the dynamic events system in Guild Wars 2 inhibits exploration, it is a big improvement over the original. In Guild Wars, exploration was rarely rewarded, with little to find in the environments other than mobs. With the dynamic events system, players can conceivably stumble upon quests or events through exploration, and even though they may be marked on the map, they show that there is much more to do in the environments of Guild Wars 2 than there ever was in the original.

Gigantic Multiplayer Battles:
One of the best parts of Guild Wars was the intense, entirely skill-based, multiplayer. Unfortunately, this multiplayer was on a very small scale, with the maximum player count in one game being 32. Guild Wars 2 maintains this small-scale multiplayer while introducing World vs. World, a multiplayer mode an enormous scale, with the potential for battles over castles involving hundreds of players. This massive scale combat looks very promising for an already-proven multiplayer game.

Guild Wars 2 is certainly my most anticipated MMO of the year, and when it is released on August 28th we will find out if it truly outshines its superb predecessor.

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