Does Guild Wars 2 Appeal To The Better Angels of Our Online Roleplaying Nature?

The release and early success of Guild Wars 2 has made quite a splash in the world of online gaming. What’s going on in there? Let’s find out: Tom Chick emerges once a week to bring you tales from inside the world of ArenaNet’s iconoclastic MMO.


I’ve never been in a cult, although I did just get an iPad. (It’s hard to proselytize when you’re the last guy on the bandwagon. If there’s anyone out there who doesn’t have an iPad, please contact me so I can tell you all about it.) But I do get that cult feeling with how much I want to tell people about Guild Wars 2, and specifically the remarkable way people act when they’re playing. I feel the urge to corner innocent bystanders to hold forth. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do to you right now. Can I come in? Mind if I sit down? I have a bota bag with enough delicious Kool-Aid for both of us.

I understand you’re busy. Maybe you’re on the verge of playing something that’s adding panda bears and Pokemons. Maybe you’re playing something that just got a rocket launcher. Maybe you’re playing something that finally added more side missions to Gotham and Metropolis. Maybe you’re mere weeks from Rohan at last. Those are all good and well, and there but for the grace of ArenaNet go I. Every single one of those games, each of which I’ve variously played and enjoyed and told myself “I’ll be back” when I stopped playing, has lost a bit of luster for me.

It’s not just Guild Wars 2 forgoing the subscription fee, as well as the traditional free-to-play nags and limitations. It’s not just the slick and varied combat, with different classes that play in different ways. It’s not just the character development, which lets me freely rejigger my character, like in Diablo 3, but without sacrificing any sense of investment and customization. It’s not just a world brimming with dynamic events that replace the traditional quest log. It’s not just the gratifying collectibles. It’s not just the economy. It’s not just the various money sinks, none of which is a mount or runspeed boost. It’s not just the epic player-versus-player battles. It’s not just the amazing graphics.