Guild Wars 2: Ding Level 80 PvE Review

From the moment World vs World was announced my interest in Guild Wars 2 PvE dropped to zero. During the beta’s I spent maybe 30 minutes to an hour in PvE, just to try it out, which didn’t impress me, and the rest of my time in WvW. However due to the massive WvW queue times after launch I was basically forced into PvE. At first I was a bit upset, but assumed the queue times would diminish after a few days or perhaps weeks, but almost two months after launch, I still find myself sitting in the WvsW queues.

I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly on PvP, as a new dad, I just don’t have the time to sit in queue for 1-2 hrs, then spend another 1-2 in WvsW. So my attention turned to PvE, which not only grew on me surprisingly quickly, but is probably the best PvE I’ve every played in a MMORPG.

To understand where I’m coming from, let me give you some background; I hate questing, can’t stand it. I hate running to NPC quest hubs and having to run back; I hate the mindless quest grind; I hate that everything is marked on the map and there’s absolutely no challenge, exploring or surprises. I also hate that quests hubs turn MMORPG into linear games, which they were never meant to be. While I’m not saying Guild Wars 2 solves all that, I am saying that is how horrible the last decade of PvE games have been.

Guild Wars 2 does away with NPC quest hubs, marking all the quests on the map and while there’s no exploring to find them, you are not told where to go once you get there, although most of the time it’s very obvious.  The quests (hearts) are probably the worst part of GW2 quest system, my favorite would definitely be the vista jumping game, not because I like jumping games, I don’t, but because they’re challenging and require exploration.

Speaking of exploring, it’s back in a big way in Guild Wars 2 as there are secret chests scattered throughout the game. My favorite event of any type was when I found the secret pirate cave in Lion’s Arch, which is about a 10-15 mins journey to the other side filled with puzzles and traps. I haven’t found anything near as good since, so if you know of anything, definitely let me know. I’d like to see more exploring incentives given to players, maybe a hidden chest counter so they can see for themselves how many of Tyria’s secrets they’ve discovered.

Moving on to the personal story-line, I’m about 90% through, but I’ve skipped every bit of dialog I could, so I can’t report back whether the story is good or not. I just don’t care about the story, sorry.

I’ve yet to try out a dungeon, but that’s next on my list and I’ll speak about that when I get to my endgame review for GW2 probably in another month or so.

“Dynamic events”, as every MMO development team loves to claim they have, are once again not dynamic at all, but scripted events that happen randomly or are triggered. Guild Wars 2 takes the path of making every event public, allowing players to join in at any given time and collect the rewards.

Some might argue that his is catering to the solo-players and destroys some of the social aspect of grouping, which I agree somewhat, but the counter argument is that I’ve grouped with more players in GW2 then I have in any other MMORPG ever. From skill challenges to heart quests to dynamic and world events, I find myself constantly grouping with other players without having to spend the time to find groups. I absolutely love it. Without even trying I’ve been part of 4 world events along side 30-40 other players, so I have to give it up to ArenaNet, they’ve accomplished what everyone has been trying to do since Warhammer Online introduced public quests 4 years ago.

As far as skill and traits go, I love having only 10 skills to pick from. SWTOR really burnt me out by having 40-50 skills in my hotbars which is just ridiculous. It seems Arenanet is taking a page out of the League of Legends play book and limiting skills, yet still allowing lots of customization from traits and weapon swapping.

Now time to get to World vs World, which really deserves a separate review all together. Since I plan on doing such a review, I’ll keep this short. Right now, I have a love/hate relationship with World vs World. I hate the queues and the fact that the servers are mostly unbalanced, due to free transfers. There seems to be one server that decimates the other two every round, which isn’t fun for the two losing servers. Communication needs work, there needs to be some sort of notification system that the commander can use to tell people what to attack and where to go. Zerg tactics rule right now in WvW, so the map sizes need to be much, much bigger to break them up. Large scale combat is great, but I find the smaller fights are the most fun.

I’d also like to see the role of guilds in WvsW be expanded where they can hold and control more structures. Maybe even add some structures that don’t pertain to the score, but give individual guilds perks or rewards for holding them. It would be nice if taking over towers and forts wasn’t the only thing to do in WvW.

For those of you who like a review score, I’ll give Guild Wars 2 a score of 93. It’s the best theme-park MMORPG I’ve ever played, it didn’t make me feel I was ever grinding, it’s free and its World vs World PvP system has the potential to be one of the best PvP systems around. This is definitely no two-monther.


  1. ‘It seems Arenanet is taking a page out of the League of Legends play book and limiting skills..’.

    That comment gave me cancer.

  2. That jumping puzzle in LA is a good one. But there are tons of those in the game. At least one per zone (?). 3 in LA alone. Also there is one in each of the WvW zones as well. The borderlands ones being copies of course. The one in the eternal battelgrounds even has switches for the traps you can deliberately activate. The intention being to knock other players off the ledges, etc. It is a PvP zone after all.

    I also love/hate WvW. Being part of the zerg is no fun at all too me. But when you are part of a small 5 man group that works in an organized fashion it is a LOT of fun. Once I get the gear with the stat mix I want, I’ll probably start looking for a more WvW focused guild.

  3. I like what you’re saying here. PvE in GW2 isn’t perfect but rather it shows just how horrific the quest hub model has become.

    I’d actually rate GW2’s PvE as the bare minimum that mature gamers should expect to derive entertainment from.

    It works to level characters efficiently with a minimum of grinding, although let’s be frank: there’s still grinding that needs to be done to level. There are some memorable storylines, though most of the events have, well, limited narrative appeal. PvE provides sufficient gear to attain max level, although the gear choices are not often inspiring visually or stat-wise.

    The fact that GW2’s model is considered to be so wildly successful isn’t, in my opinion, because it’s so g0od; rather, the “kill ten foozles for their skins then oops! go kill ten more foozles for their claws of which only one in three will have a claw” is utterly morally bankrupt.

  4. ‘It seems Arenanet is taking a page out of the League of Legends play book and limiting skills..’.
    That comment gave me cancer.

    I feel you, bro.

    How can you do a review to GW2 and not know that they simply did what they did in GW1? :/

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