The Wars of the Guilds

Mar 1, 2013

I’m using my AoE skills in PvE to deal DoT to enemies and ress my party for exp. Oh shit what have I done.

There’s a reason I don’t play MMORPGs, apart from them being black holes for wallets: They’re filled to the brim with shit requiring a graduate course before you can even understand what the hell anything means. It’s an immensely popular genre though, and with games like World of Warcraft having the ability to attract many non-gamers, it would perhaps be a shame to completely ignore it, even though I’m around eight years late (in true Per Mortensen fashion).

Being too much of a cheapskate to pay $15/month for a game in a genre I don’t care for, I’ve only dabbled a bit with free-to-play MMOs like Flyff, which was alright … for a free game. The thing is, MMOs are expensive to the publishers and developers; servers need a lot of power and software needs a lot of updates. For a free MMO this means to either aggressively try to reel in money from micro-transactions or leak money and die, so this usually results in a noticeably limited experience for those playing without paying.

A few friends went along with my new-found interest in trying out free MMOs, but after looking at several shaky options we found Guild Wars 2, which is not free, but requires nothing more than an initial purchase for a lifelong license to play. How nicely familiar!

I tried to do my research on Guild Wars 2 before starting and stumbled upon the term role-playing (or “RP”). Wondering how some servers are supposedly more RP than others, one of my MMO-savvy friends explained it to me. Apparently, some players take the game very seriously – always speaking like a medieval nobleman and in extreme cases doing sexual role-play, whispering dirty talk over the in-game chat – and this is both amusing and very frightening to me.

Very casual play for me, please! If I get too involved with the game I’m worried I might become one of those people. I mean, getting immersed in a game world is one of the best things about this medium, but fucking Christ, if I ever get to this point, put me down like an old sick dog because that is some freaky shit.

Zertinan Balfonheim This is what I ended up with.

Anyway, I started the game. After several hours in character creation, I present to you: Zertinan Balfonheim, master thief and devilishly handsome manly man.

The name is a combination of two locations from Final Fantasy XII (a favorite of mine) and I think it fits nicely with the theme. I originally wanted Ogir Yensa (another one) but some equally clever unimaginative soul had already claimed it.

With the company of the sylvari ranger Putridus Holus (Google Translate it) and the human necromancer Lecter Coldingston, Zertinan Balfonheim seeks to find out what happened while he was blacked out at a party. Yes, your character’s story is determined by the choices made in character creation, and when faced with the three possible norn backstories – a long-standing rivalry, a lost heirloom, and a forgotten night of drunkenness – I think the choice was obvious.

Wait, it’s getting too RP in here. Let me go draw some dicks on the world map.

Okay, we’re good.

exploration The red areas mark the places I’ve been to so far.

What I enjoy most about open world games is the exploration. Traveling from one end of the world map to the other, seeing the sights as you go, noticing the transitions between various environments … that’s probably what I look forward to the most in Guild Wars, especially when it’s now with people I know. The combat, the quests, the constant inventory management (to make absolutely sure you equip the weapon superior by a single point), that’s all very well, but if the world is boring, so will most everything happening in it.

So far GW2 hasn’t disappointed in that regard, but then I have only really seen my own starting area and a neighboring city, as marked on that nice map over there. The game states my playtime as approximately 16 hours at the time of writing, so it’s going to take forever to explore everything. But I guess “it’s going to take forever” is a good description of the genre overall.

Now, to the sylvari lands of Caledon Forest!

brb, drawing dicks on map.

That’s better.