I came very late to Guild Wars – I started playing through prophecies in the summer of 2009. I’ve played very sporadically since, and mainly only duo the game now with my partner.
In this sense it represents exactly the same game experience as Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale or any similar multiplayer CRPG. The fact that it is online is largely irrelevant. The lack of monthly fee is a major advantage as it fits well into my stable of secondary games that I play as and when I fancy something different.
Guild Wars has a few major flaws due to its age, the lack of jumping and highly pathed nature (at least in Prophecies) is irritating. Also the chaotic nature of fights can be annoying, tanking seems pretty useless – most fights degenerate into a desperate DPS race to keep the henchman healer alive. Yet it is challenging content that we can play together at our own pace. We can watch the dialogues and read the quests without the ‘gogogogo’ of MMO PUGs since we can fill our party with henchmen/heroes. We can run missions without the gear-up pressure of WoW instances and heroics as the crafted gear at our level (12) is the best available already.
With Guild Wars 2 slowly nearing release I find myself more interested in making that game a major part of my gaming schedule. The open world will I hope be a positive improvement. The events (public quests) could be great if well implemented allowing for ‘a la carte interaction’ with other players. If fights can be made to be more controlled, and they give more movement freedom I’m sure it could be a real contender for my time. I am keen to experience the PVE endgame of GW1 before the sequel is released. I have read much about it being superior to other games as there is a lot of content at cap and gear is not a major decisive factor. The flexibility of builds / limited number of skills available is a very interesting core mechanic. Lets hope that GW2 can keep the good aspects of the first game while bringing a ‘next gen’ MMO feeling as well.