Now Playing: Guild Wars

Last weekend I picked up a copy of Guild Wars, and I’ve put several hours into it since then. GW is a Role Playing Game (RPG) like Dungeons and Dragons, but on the computer. The character creation process is very quick and easy. To get started, you really only need to pick a profession (Warrior, Ranger, Monk, etc…), pick a look, and name your character. After playing for a while you can choose a second profession, and customize your character by learning skills, and buying armor and weapons.

Guild Wars is similar to a MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online RPG), but really isn’t. MMORPGs have a persistent world that continues evolving and changing even when you’re not playing. You’ll typically run into other players in the same world that you’re in. Typically there is as subscription fee of $10-15 per month. Guild Wars on the other hand provides a slightly different multi-player experience. When you’re in a common area like a city, you will be able to see other players that are in that city. This is cool because it means there’s almost always someone there to ask for help or team up with. Once you step out of the common area though, you’re playing in your own copy of the world called an instance. You can team up with your friends or strangers and play is a group instance. I think they’ve struck a great balance between features and price.

The scenery itself is quite stunning. Check out a few screen shots to see for yourself. The only complaint I have about the graphics is that they didn’t create more looks for the characters themselves. It’s a little strange to see a bunch of copies of yourself running around. The sound and music does a good job of setting the mood, but staying in the background. I haven’t explored the whole map, but it seems to be a respectable size. I don’t think it’s as big as Morrowind, but it’s probably big enough.

From what I’ve read, it sounds like the creators of Guild Wars will be publishing expansion packs to give you more missions to do, and more space to explore. I haven’t really tried the Player vs. Player game mode. Some people say it’s the best part of GW, but PvP doesn’t hold much attraction for me.