GW2: Still fun a year later

My PC is about five years old and is trying its best to keep up with the games I play. Just about every game I download now politely sets itself to the lowest possible setting to accommodate it. It still plays them well enough, but it’s not as pretty as it could be, load times are slow and, especially in some MMOs, lag becomes a huge issue.

Rescuer: Homer are you still holding onto the can?
Homer: Your point being?

On top of that, as games increase in size, my poor PC just doesn’t have enough space to house all my goodies. Or rather, it would be okay if I hadn’t been clinging so desperately to all my Bioware games, like Homer Simpson with his hand stuck in the candy machine. The other day, it pained me dearly, but I let go of Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3, both Dragon Age games as well as SWTOR. But I didn’t cry, because there will be a new computer for Christmas (her name will be Meredith) and I’ll load those games right back on and I know Bioware will forgive me, just as I forgive them.

One of the games I didn’t delete though in my quest for gigabytes is Guild Wars 2. In fact, despite not playing it much, I’ve kept it more or less updated and occasionally hop on to check out the content which they continue to keep updating regularly with fun little adventures. This month, Queen Jennah has been celebrating the game’s first anniversary and everyone in Tyria is invited. I hopped on, thinking I’d spend a few minutes seeing the sights. I ended up spending the entire evening raking in the goodies and having a grand old time in the massive full map events spawning all over Tyria (and admiring all the pretty outfits).

Returning after a long break certainly helps renew the fun of the game, as does the fact that its is so easily accessible and welcoming. I continue to appreciate its community nature where everyone must work together to achieve their goals. And I love the way it works for a casual player.

In a world now saturated by free-to-play MMOs, I continue to be amazed by ArenaNet for continuing to provide all this content, well, for free. While other games will nickel and dime to the point where I’ll stupidly subscribe just to make them shut up or, more wisely, quit completely, GW2 still seems to get it right. I paid my $60 for the initial game (the price has gone down since), so I don’t feel guilty for not adding any further cash it a year later. But I’m both surprised and impressed that, with all this content they maintain, ANet hasn’t asked for anything more. Sure you can spend money on the goodies they offer, but none of them are essential to game play and success. If you want truly game enhancing equipment, then you still have to work for it. And with the limited time of the events, I can see it still being a pretty strong draw for the elite crowd, while not alienating the lower level people (new content/areas often scale up player levels, for a limited time).

I’m still waiting for the expansion packs, for which I will happily give them my money. I know you are out there, Elona and Cantha! But for now, I’m content to continue to enjoy an MMO that truly seems to understands my casual MMO needs.

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