This initial opacity is an unintended side effect of Guild Wars 2’sthesis: The reason people play MMOs is to explore. Hand-holding is minimized, and every act of exploration is rewarded, from harvesting a field of vegetables to reaching a high cliff after a perilous climb. As you uncover regions of the game’s 20-plus zones, the map fills out with dozens of symbols pulling you in every direction. Once you learn to read the map, goals accumulate quickly, and every zone can be scoured from corner to corner for hours.
Guild Wars 2’s replacement for traditional questing keeps the journey open-ended. Where most MMOs tunnel players through a linear series of quest-givers, in Guild Wars 2 you’re rarely required to talk to anyone outside of brief story quests. Each zone has ten to fifteen quest areas, each of which adds a quest tracker. Some areas task you with defeating enemies, but many suggest non-combat goals, such as repairing broken machinery, stomping spider eggs, or delivering baskets of fruit. When you finish, your reward is doled out via in-game mail, limiting downtime.
In its greatest addition to the MMO genre, Guild Wars 2 perfects the dynamic event system that has popped up previously in games such as Warhammer Online and Rift. As you explore, your UI will alert you to nearby dynamic events that you can choose to take part in or ignore at your leisure. These events give huge experience point and gold rewards, pushing players to team up and help each other on the fly, even when they’re technically not grouped.
Success or failure will lead into subsequent events, reshaping a zone’s landscape based on your actions. Guild Wars 2 changes the difficulty and frequency of dynamic events based off the number of players nearby; in forty-plus hours played across a wide variety of zones with varying populations, I have yet to hit an event that I couldn’t complete because other players weren’t around.
Though it comes loaded with a high level cap of 80, Guild Wars 2 encourages players to take their time with a mostly flat and speedy leveling curve. Even if you rush to level up,gw2 gold automatically bumps players down to match the level of the area they’re currently adventuring in, guaranteeing that every zone will always provide a little bit of challenge. Some players will miss being able to tornado through low-level zones destroying everything in their path, but Guild Wars 2’s content demands engagement regardless of level, and that’s an impressive feat.