Guild Wars does a lot of things right for me as a player and as a game designer.
Firstly and foremostly, there are no subscription fees. I cannot stress this enough as a player with a very constrained gaming schedule.
Secondly, the tech spec requirements aren’t cutting edge. I appreciate not having to buy a new gaming rig just to play the game.
Thirdly, I can solo the game. As near as I can tell, the whole thing. Henchmen and Heroes are absolutely brilliant. There are few things that bother me more about online gaming than forced grouping or design that all but requires grouping. I don’t mind playing with groups sometimes, but if you as a designer force me to group, I will not be a happy camper.
Fourth, it looks fantastic. The art direction is impressive and interesting. I greatly appreciate the subtle colors. I’m generally a desaturated kind of guy, so the naturalistic color palette at use in GW makes me happy.
Fifth, I can move around the UI pretty much however I durn well please, and it’s an option in the game, not something I have to turn to modders for. Why this isn’t a standard I’ll never know.
Sixth, click to move is nice. I can’t believe this, since it originally put me off of the game (yes, I know it’s optional), but after playing Atlantica Online, I appreciate it more. I can hold a sick sleeping baby in one hand and still actually play the game.
Seventh, the class system is interesting and dual classing is awesome. I’ve loved dual classing since my D&D days, and the implementation here is brilliant. It’s all about options and choice, and I love that.
Eighth, designing a guild cloak is cool. I made my own guild (of one), and making the cloak was the highlight. I probably spend a good half hour tinkering with it. Yes, it’s kind of a lame little thing, but honestly, in a game where there are hundreds if not thousands of people who look just like you, it’s a very cool thing to be able to take a relatively large visual element of the avatar and customize it so fully. Customization is king in the MMO sphere (Puzzle Pirates makes good money with it), and to see it as well implemented as it is here makes me happy.
Ninth, dye. See Eighth. I like being able to color my clothes. It’s just one more touch of individuality I can bring to the game. I actually wish dye were as customizable as the cloaks, but I can see that it might be tricky. Still, being able to make my own dye and mix and match colors would be a great little minigame/crafting outlet. (Hint, hint, Blizzard. Next crafting skill? Dyemaker. Yes, it would be yet another herbalism/mineralogy secondary… and maybe would use both for source material, but man, would it be sweet. Maybe I’ll make a whole post on that someday.)
Tenth, minimap quest tooltips. Some consider this sort of thing handholding, but dangit, with my constrained time, I deeply appreciate knowing where I’m headed to find the Foozle of Death or the random NPC in the wilds. Even as an Explorer, I love knowing where I’m headed. (I can, and do, wander around when I’m not on the Quest clock.)
…and that’s it for today. I may revisit this sometime, but for now, I’m happy. Yes, there are things that I’m not so happy with in the game, too, but for now, I’m being positive.