Guild Wars – The Single Player Experience

Guild WarsOne of the original ideas I had for was a review site. As I settled on the idea of a gaming blog, the review idea sorta got shelved. Well, I did review NCAA 2005 a while a go, but that’s been the only review so far. With that in mind, I’d like to review some games. I’ve added a new category and everything. So, I present my review of the single player aspects of Guild Wars.

The review is after the jump.

This Guild Wars game, it’s an enigma. The more I play it the more it engages me, the more fun it becomes, and the more I want to play it.

It takes every MMORPG element that I thought was essential and that I enjoy and eschews them for something better. It succeeds everytime. I’ve listed a few of these elements as examples of how Guild Wars does things better.

Leveling. I have long had an odd relationship with leveling. I don’t like level caps. Even in Diablo 2, where the closest I ever got to the level cap (99 levels!) was 86 with my Spark Sorceress (lots and lots of charged bolts!), I still resented the level cap. Designing a game with a cap that prevents me from getting more powerful isn’t my thing. Guild Wars caps you at level 20. You know, what? It doesn’t bother me. Before, I always thought if I want to attain that level 100 and that means I have to earn 94-billion more experience points, let me. If I want to grind that badly, it’s my choice and your game shouldn’t stop me. But Guild Wars says, “Relax. There’s no reason for all that grinding. No need to waste time mindlessly farming for experience. Just trust us. Twenty levels are plenty. Who knows, maybe we’ll let you get twenty-five some time. But for now, twenty will be just fine.” Even reaching that level 20 isn’t the end game. You still earn experience and are able gain more skill points. But your progression has stopped. And I couldn’t be happier. (This is done with the end game in mind, which I will talk about at a later date)

Crafting. I love crafting in games. Even though I only played Everquest for a few months, I loved its crafting system. Crafting in Neocron was the best I’ve personally experienced in a game. I was a pretty high level constructor and nothing was more enjoyable than sticking a blue print and the necessary weapon parts into the constructor and pop out a 6-slot high damage weapon. Crafting is definitely my bag.

In Guild Wars, crafting is done by the NPCs. The first time I heard that, I groaned. I want crafting! As a player, we get salvage kits. Reminds me of a “Recycler” from Neocron. No one played as recyclers in Neocron because it was boring. But Guild Wars get is right. It’s exciting to salvage a rare crafting item like a fur square from a bit of loot you find. Or a major rune from a piece of armor. Salvaging replaces crafting for me. It’s another way Guild Wars takes somethng that used to be a grind and grinds it right out of existence.

Loot. What would a role playing game be without loot? While I still haven’t figured out how Guild Wars doles out the loot, I love it when see that something has been “reserved” for me. However that works, it works great. There’s not a huge variety of loot available, but with the ability to modify weapons and enhance armor, there’s enough loot to go around. And while most games restrict what kind of equipment your character, Guild Wars throws caution to the wind and lets your Necromancer equip a sword and shield and your Warrior can run around with a staff. Silly looking, but if you want to, who’s Guild Wars to stop you? Loot abounds and there’s always the allure to kill one more monster, just in case he drops the next big thing. And so far I haven’t seen the Uber-weapon yet. It may be out there, but I haven’t seen it.

There’s also the talk of whether Guild Wars is actually a MMOG in its purest sense. With everything being instanced, the argument can be made that this isn’t really all that Massive of a Multiplayer game. I argue that it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to have to fight over the good monster spawns. And with such a huge world, persistence makes travel a bore. Go ask a Final Fantasy XI player. Guild Wars does it right, again. Instant travel and instances fix both problems, giving way for a great gaming experience.

And that is exactly what Guild Wars is — a great gaming experience. It has everything a great game should have – beautiful landscapes and environments, a huge, sprawling map and fun character classes. With all the skills that each class can obtain, there’s no limit to the variety and strategy that can be employed. And to top it all off, it’s got an engaging story. The quests you go complete work to build a story. You aren’t simply a monster hunter looking for loot. You are actually part of the story. There’s even talk of quests affecting the story and other quests. Say you’re tasked with helping a group of soldiers secure an area. If, during the course of the quest two of the soldiers die. Some time down the road, you have to help the same group of soldiers accomplish something else. Only now, they’re down 2 men. I haven’t experienced this myself, but it sounds quite ambitious.

That’s not to say everything is perfect. It isn’t. One of my biggest hangups is the pathing. It is, in a word, bad. The camera also can add to the frustration as it swings wildly around, trying to find the perfect view, all while you’re getting stuck behind a tree, turning into a pin cushion for the bad guys arrows.

I have another minor problem with Guild Wars — They said without the guilt of the monthly fees, Guild Wars would be the first MMORPG that you could play a little and not worry if your don’t play every day. This is a dirty little lie. This game is a lot of fun and can be addicting. It is most worthy of a serious button mashing.

I haven’t even mentioned the aspects of grouping with other people, which is usually a mixed bag at best. Luckily I have a friend to run around with to quest and loot with so I can avoid most of the smacktards. I’ve also avoided the PvP and GuildvGuild end game because, frankly, I haven’t given it a try yet. But I will! And you’ll be hearing more from me on that very topic, in the future.

Update: If you’ve arrived at this page looking for hints, help, or Guild Wars information, check out this page with some more Guild Wars links.


  1. Gotta be quick here as I am late to a game of Guild Wars. It is a fun game.

  2. Cool. Nice article. I suppose it makes me think guildwars might not be that bad after all…doesn’t sound like such a waste of time that most mmorpgs is.

  3. Jake – Yeah, since it’s free you don’t feel “obligated” to play since you’re not paying through the nose for it. But it’s still addictive, so you’ll be tempted to play it a lot!

  4. Great article, caught the game very well, i would add one more thing there are less noob bashing as a result of the game being more of what you want to make of it then a mad leveling rush.

  5. Biggley, yeah it is a noob-friendly game. With only 20 levels, the level rush is definitely non-existent. Glad you’re enjoying it. It’s been a while since I played so I’ll have to jump back in soon.

  6. I hate you all

  7. derr – why the hate, man?

  8. Guild Wars rules. What makes it even more fun is getting cheats from site like htt:// and then playing 😉

  9. just so u know lvl 20 isnt the highest anymore its up to lvl 30 and u never know if they will go any higher…..good article though

  10. Guild wars is an awesome game, i have found that it is very hard to earn gold in this game, so i have figured out there are websites that sell this currency ! I was amazed, something that takes me 10 hours to aquire, i could just buy the currency , and still have a life lol. Guild wars gold is definetly very hard to get, but there are sites out there that can hook us up, so if you need it go to

  11. The level cap is most certainly NOT 30, liar Mc Lie Burger, And now Guild wars: factions is out! Even greater fun capabilities woohah! I reccomend IT deffinatly.

  12. hhhmmm, guild wars and factions look great on the surface.
    Underneath you find: developers that you can NEVER contact should you have a problem.
    constant in game scammers, spammers(i mean non stop).
    Players that make a career out of leaving 3/4 way through missions, considering most missions take 30 minutes to 45 minutes(in guild wars missions can run 2 hours or more).
    A storage account that spans across all your characters(all use the same storage box)that has maybe 12 boxes for holding items??????????????????
    You have a “aggro circle” that is displayed on your mini map, anything that is touched by your agg circle will attack you, unless the game decides that it wants to drag environment bots from 2 miles away to kill you and your party???????game sucks bad tbh:)

  13. Hey if u got a burning titan mini pet i’ll trade for a temple gardian and a axe worth 30k

  14. Hey im new to the whole guild wars sean a m8t on the net said it was a realy good game, and since im stuck with diablo 2 right now i need a new type of rpg i havint bought the game just yet but im just wondering weather i shuld like is it worth it and how does it differ from other rpgs like diablo 2 and WoW

  15. Good post. If you want, you can check out my site for Guild Wars Cheats, Dupes, Exploits and Hacks
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  16. yes i love guild wars its an awesome game becuase it not like RUNESCAPE where the lvl cap is 126 and is really impossible….i like 20 makes you feel good like your the best player 🙂

  17. You’ve helped me decide wether or not to buy this game, although I’m still not sure wether it’s really possible to play by youself? Do you have to play online?

  18. knightt – sorry for the late reply, but I’m pretty sure this game has to be played online, regardless if you play it single player or not.

  19. Relic Of Narakan says

    The lvl cap is 20 to avoid being like other games and to eliminate grinding.

    They want players to be equal and fast, not like WoW where OMG LVL 70 WITH GOOD ARMOR WINS.

    GW is based on skill, if your used to just building up yourself with armor and tanking lvl then this is not a game for you.

    If you are a hardcore gamer this game is for you.

  20. flamingsquirrel says

    is there any kind of free trial? I wanna try the game before I buy it. Also, if I buy a used copy, can I still play?

  21. @Relic – I would say that the “hardcore” are the level 70 WoW players. What I’m not saying is that hardcore players != “good players”

    @FS – They don’t offer trial versions of this game anymore, but I’m not sure if you could play a used copy or not.

  22. flamingsquirrel says

    wow, fast reply for an old topic…
    I think He would just gimmie his username and password, I’ll email the guy, this game has perked my interest. Looks like it could be really fun. I have an MMO bug. Been trying the free ones, Turf Battles, Dungeon Runners, Silk Road etc. None of them have even been comparable to the WOW 14 day trail I had earlier. Now I’m downloading the Rappez trail.

    I thought I found a GW demo, but it was just the client. So now I can play, if I had an account. how lame.

  23. I’ve been frustrated by the level cap, especially now that I have reached level 20. I got spoiled in Lineage II, getting up to lev 68, and feeling like I was kicking some– well you know. I’m hoping that the new release brings the level cap up some. Also wish I could get 2 healers in 1 party from the NPC’s–comes in handy sometimes.

  24. I must say I simply *love* the absence of levels in Guild Wars.
    (actually “levels” are only for the tutorial!)

    I noticed after I went in the more difficult ares of the game, the previous one were simpler for me: my character stays always as the same level… but *I* learn how to play, *I* become stronger, *I* go to a next level!

    For people like me that don’t feel to be a “social reward” to show a number by grinding and fighting mobs ever at your level, but instead do like *the challenge*, and like gain the respect of other people because of own skill, the absence of levels in GuidWars was a great & lovely innovation.

    I know most gamers prefer the “nerdish way”, and sometime, *if it is fast*, it can be fun (diablo) but I hope there will be always a “guildwars” for the others ^^”

  25. @CMC – I strongly doubt they’ll ever increase the level cap. It’s just a design decision they’ve made which they seem to be sticking by rather adamantly.

    @Araquiel – That’s a good way to look at it, something I hadn’t considered before.

  26. stone baboon < game name says

    this game is a very fun addictive game and all who hate it go blow yourselves. and all who like it look me up on the game my name is

    (stone baboon)

  27. I think its good for the level cap just because wow walking along minding your business then a level 70 shows up your dead if your a smaller level. There just making it fair 20 vs 20 level and see how good u are.

  28. Yea Guild Wars is a great MMO. Just waiting on the second

  29. flamingsquirrel says

    Well, I’m quite a few years late to the party, but had a black friday sale, and Guild Wars was only $5, and the Eye of the North Expansion was only $5, so I convinced two friends, and all three of us should have Guild Wars within the week!

    I’m still looking forward to it, actually. I’ve been interested in the game for a long time, but never felt like dropping any money on it. But $10 for the game and one expansion was just too good of a deal to pass up. Plus, I can always purchase the other two campaigns, and eventually Guild Wars 2.

  30. Hey, funny you should mention it, I just got an email from NCSoft about a new golem you can get if you have all the expansions. Enjoy GW!

  31. wowza, Im gonna buy this game! I thought lvl 20 cap was shit and that u couldnt do anything after that, but its awesome to hear that you continue to gain experience and become more powerful beyond the level cap. level 20 doesnt sound awesome, but I can get past that.

    Hopefully they bump it up to 50 but still allow you to get better beyond that level like they have done.

    Games like WoW where you reach the level cap and then wait for the new expansion to get your character powered upagain to the max are annoying, and once you reach the level cap you go to battleground and raid and group and then battlegrounds again :/ if I missed anythig else please tell me.

    Looks like this game is going to be interesting 🙂

  32. I am in love in love in love with this game. =)

    Let’s just say that on quitting WoW after 3 years, I didn’t feel exactly cheated by the time I spent on it, but I did quit from simply being tired of the same old stuff in the same old treadmill in a genre I thought I’d seen it all done in.

    But I didn’t feel cheated.

    One month ago I bought all 3 chapters of GuildWars. And now I feel cheated. For not playing GW instead of WoW for those 3 years. Lol.

    Also, I think Araquiel pointed out one of the things I really love about GW. _I_ level. Not my toon. 😉

  33. i love it i am level 20

  34. i just opened up my first guild wars account. I know, I’m a little late to join, but whatever, it seemed like a good idea. Thus far my only qualms with the game are the pathing, and the fact that I cant’t jump! Coming off of DDO, which has IMO the BEST fighting system of any MMOG out there, the lack of movement options is disconcerting. No jumping, no real time evasion, and no rolling around on the ground to my hearts content, kind of saddening. But I am really enjoying the gameplay in Guild Wars so far and will keep mashing my mouse until I can get a few capped toons.

  35. flamingsquirrel says

    Funnily enough, I haven’t played Guild Wars in forever and half, but just started playing DDO

  36. i just got into guild wars and it is very fun. not quite as fun as world of warcraft in my opinion,but its ok for a free to play game. it has an original cost, but after that its free i mean. the game would be so much better if a jumping feature was added. just being able to jump expands the game so much and adds levels of exitement. many parts of the game could be sped up or made more perilous by having the ability to fall off edges as well. when the game gives you boundaries like this it feels less open and free. for a free to play game though, its ok i guess.


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