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Game Over Online ~ Guild Wars (c) NCsoft

Guild Wars (c) NCsoft

Published: Wednesday, November 10th, 2004 at 06:00 PM
Written By: Jason McMaster

Guild Wars is one of those games that came out of nowhere and has garnered a whole lot of attention. Letting people play it for free every few months certainly hasnít hurt its popularity. Well, that and the fact that itís a really fun game running on amazing technology that will surely cause some sort of uprising in the way MMO games are made.

First of all, Guild Wars is one of the most amazing looking games on any system. The game actually runs well on lower end systems and STILL looks good. On higher end systems it looks amazing. This is quite a trick, surely, but whatís even better is that all of the information for each part of the game is streamed onto your local PC via the Internet as you go along. I believe that this is accomplished by an army of small trolls that ride really fast mopeds and carry bags of diskettes back and forth between your computer and the magical realm that hosts the server. Donít quote me on that. So, not only is the game fantastically scalable in respects to hardware requirements, but itís also streamlined onto your pc via trolls. In fact, the install program starts at a point that it could almost fit on a floppy disk. If this were the 1700ís, someone would be getting burned for this.

Other than the magic that is the technology for Guild Wars, the game itself is surprisingly fun. I mean, not to say that when you buy a game you expect it to be a chore, but itís more fun than a lot of games Iíve played lately and all I do is play games. I also toy with emotions, but you know.

Guild Wars is rather similar to Diablo 2 in concept except in a real 3D environment that can be scaled back and forth from third to first person and an ďonline onlyĒ bent that encourages more interaction with society and a rich sense of team play. Each mission area can be tried alone, but itís almost always better to invite other people to play with you if you donít enjoy having your keyster invaded by a thousand foreign feet. If you do, I have a number you can call.

Each mission is laid out in a way that almost requires a group. Every different place has a primary objective and a secondary objective, but only the primary is required to pass. The secondary objectives will give your character bonuses and the such, so itís always a nice idea to try and do them. Once inside the mission, you and your group are alone other than NPCs. Most people who will be interested in Guild Wars are already familiar with the idea of an instanced dungeon, but in the case of the few who arenít: an instanced dungeon is an area created only for the player or players that no one else can enter. These were first made popular by Anarchy Online and then adopted by quite a few of the large MMO players as to ease the extreme camping of hard to get or useful items. Most of Guild Wars is run off of instanced dungeons, and therefore lets players move at their own pace and also controls lag in a very interesting and realistic way.

The characters are really customizable and there are quite a few options to choose from. Well, the actual character is, not so much on the looks. Like Diablo, there are skills that can be purchased but not in a tree form per se. Each character has two different classes depending on individual play styles that range from healing to straight fighting and anything in-between. Of course, each character type has different types of skills based on what theyíve chosen to do. There are quite a few different builds that people can play with in the initial offering and who knows how many more later on.

Equipment is also handled in an interesting fashion in Guild Wars. Items can be customized to allow for a better bonus but canít be traded once done so. Other than just customizing weapons or trading/selling them, thereís also salvage. If you find a piece of equipment you donít want, there are certain vendors that sell salvage kits that allow you to tear an item down to its base elements to be used in the games fairly deep crafting system. Salvage is also an easy way to keep inventory under control.

With a game system thatís easy to jump into and play a little while as well as just totally get immersed in, when all is said and done, Guild Wars is shaping up to be quite the addictive experience. Whether you were or are a Diablo junky or just like playing online games, this one deserves a close look. CATCH GUILD WARS FEVER! Sounds like something the CDC should send out a warning about. Thank God I have my cooties shot.

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