Before I begin, let me make it clear. I clocked over 1000+ hours across 5 toons in this game. I state this upfront, so you know that I am not just some idiot who played for 10 mins. and then logged off, to write a review of the game. I said it so, you know I am someone who actually played the game and liked it, at least for awhile.
I am not going to into the little details such as builds I used, weapons and armor I possesssed across those toons, however, I will try to make what I experienced within the game as clear as reasonably possible.
Before I ran out and plunked my $60.00 down to buy the game, I did a little research on the game. I liked what I read about it from their official pages. Dynamic events, no quest npcs to visit, character auto leveling to match the map level, a max lvl for gear stats, personal story apart from the rest of the game, no sub fees. All these things could be read on various sites. They were posted on their official website and the official wiki. It looked to be a MMO starting off in the right direction, and they seemed to be doing some good things for the genre, in general.
Liking what I read, I reserved a copy at a local store and of course, downloaded the game early because of my reserving it, thus I managed to play the game before you could buy it in the store. In the beginning, everything looked to be as promised. Nearly all the dynamic events worked, the absence of quest npcs seemed to work nicely. In general, everything worked as advertised except the TP but with a new game, you expect a few bugs and that seemed to be the only major one.
However, as time passed and I progressed in the game, a few things I became aware of. The way the game had been created really limited any real customization of the characters once they were created. You could change a characters build buy spending in-game money to reset their traits and thus change the build but the limited amount of skills each character had, really boxed you in to some degree. Having every character be all classes at once meant, a more generic playstyle for everyone. This was further aggravated by the real lack of social interactivity. There was no need to interact with anyone because you were able to jump right in and out of dynamic events at leisure. Every Dynamic event was more akin to a zerg, and in fact, you had players just running from one dynamic event to another.
While this may have seemed like a fine way to spend your time, what soon became apparent was that there were just too many ways for players to get experience. From dynamic events and reknown hearts, to crafting, personal storyline and even cooking. Literally everything you did in the game, gave you experience, in multiple ways. Thus within only a couple of weeks we were already seeing some people hit max level of 80. I was not one of those people. I tried to take my time and savor what the game had to offer. While doing so I discovered there seemed to a a few points along that journey where the area you were in was too many levels above or below you. Neither is a good thing. Too many levels above you and you die alot. Too many levels below you and it takes forever to the experience needed to level. The maps were not put together in way that easily presented you with alternate routes of leveling.
At any rate, it was not long before I did reach max level. On that path I landed in Orr. I have no idea what the designers were even thinking when they designed this end game area. If I had to make a guess at what they had in mind when they designed this endgame area, it was that they wanted players to leave the game. There were no reknown hearts(thus no goals), all three maps looked nearly identical, and every enemy npc/monster was overly aggressive. So aggressive that it was nearly impossible to travel any map without companions. Keep in mind, most players had been playing alone up until these maps because there never was any need for another players assistance. Now all of a sudden we were supposed to change how we played. Yet, most comically, the developer seemed to have forgotten the one feature that might be needed for finding a group to play with…the “Looking for group” feature that is fairly standard in nearly every mmo now. Like I previously stated, either these maps were designed with the idea of getting players to quit or they were not completely built.
However, I somehow managed to get to level 80 and after many attempts, managed to find my way to the last map. Along the way I learned the requirements for the max gear. I was rather surprised to find out that the only way to really achieve getting any of it would require grind. Lots of grind! However, since it did not take that long to get to max level I figured, lets go ahead and grind out some max gear and work on leveling another toon. That way if the grind got boring, I could switch to the other toon for awhile. Thus my 2nd toon was created of a different race, so I could experience a different storyline, while grinding out with my first toon, the exotic armor. Besides, the exotic armor was supposed to have the max stats you would ever need for the game, so a grind for it should have been worth the time and effort.
By the time I did manage to grind out that exotic armor, my 2nd toon had also reached lvl 80 and thus the grind began again, as I worked toward leveling up a 3rd toon. I never did manage to get that 3rd toon to level 80 though. There are a number of reasons why this occured. One of them was I began to really notice just how limited the monstors/npcs were that I was killing. You would think that perhaps this would have been noticed sooner, but I was concentrating on storylines and doing the various dynamic events the first couple of toons. I spent alot of time just exploring the maps and every enemy was just something in my way. By that 3rd toon, I had seen a lot of the world and storylines.I’d experienced alot of the dynamic events and the similiarities of everything began to creep in. So I created a 4th and fifth toon. Looking for something different, looking for a major shift in gameplay but never really found one. Certainly every character class plays slightly different but what difference there is, does not make up for the fact, that half of the maps you fight mostly centaurs and the other half of the maps you fight mostly risen undead.
But I did manage to get my 2nd toon outfitted with the best statted armor and with an appearence that I liked. I was beginning to really strive for getting a 3rd toom to max level and gear when Anet(developer)decided they needed to change everything. They needed to make all their loyal players mad by introducing another level of gear. Besides making their loyal players mad because they lied, they also left all of players in a conumdrum. Those players were left without an endgame goal. You could work toward the exotic gear, as you had been, but that would be totally pointless. It was no longer the best gear in the game and the new gear named “Ascended” was not all released yet.
Only a couple of ascended items were released and the only way to get those was through a gated dungeon. So your choise was either rush in and play this incredibly hard dungeon that almost never dropped the new gear and never dropped anything at early levels, or to quit the game hoping someday they would change this so the regular player had a goal again. For me there was no other choice. I did not manage to get past the first level of the dungeon and got left behind the gate. I got tired of spending in-game money to repair my armor and not get anything back for the money and time I spent, in that dungeon. Furthermore, with players all concentrating on this dungeon alone, many of maps are nearly void of players, during the daytime. I discvovered this while trying to level my last toon.
Knowing that more and more ascended gear will be released and that the time I spent grinding out the exotic gear was a complete and utter waste of my time, I decided the time had come for me to set aside the world of Guild Wars 2 until the developers get a clue. I realize this may never happen. Since the release of ascended gear many players have left the game. From the looks of the price, for converting in-game gold to gems which is constantly rising, I would say the players that left were buying the lion share of gems from Anet. In turn the players who were not buying gems are left with a huge cost for converting their in-game gold into gems. Thus they also will not be able to afford buying anything from the gem shop.
With no endgame goal to acheive, and the means accomplish some of the other things in the game having been stripped away by people leaving, and the rise of gold to gem conversion. Playing the game at this moment in time is completely pointless. You can not really earn enough in-game gold to accomplish anything and there is no endgame at all to strive for. The chances of Anet fixing the Ascended gear issue and players coming back, and being willing to once more spend money on this game, are next to nil.
Still I do not feel as though I was completely ripped off. I did enjoy some of those 1000+ hours of play. However, now knowing I wasted my time grinding out exotic gear and that the game will probably never be the same, I am saddened. Thank you Anet for the time you did give me and fuck you for screwing up a perfectly decent game.