Help me redirect my WOW addiction to something useful. Like Guild Wars.
January 9, 2013 10:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm a recovering WOW addict. I'm bored with WOW, but I also miss it. Could Guild Wars 2 be my next big addiction?

Once upon a time I was into heavy endgame raiding with a hunter and a druid, but to be honest, I wasn't very good at it. I enjoyed everything about it except how much I sucked. At the other end of the game, one of the joys of my life was running new, different class/race/gender characters up from level 1-20ish. I liked the sort of mindlessness of it, combined with the quick rewards of leveling up at those early stages - new gear, new toys, new spells, new skills, new mounts, etc.

But the levels between 20 and 85 were soul-killing. At first it was grinding through quest content, then just grinding through the low-level dungeons and raids with the random group finders. Everything in the game feels familiar and boring now - not through any fault of the game, really; it's just overexposure. At this point, not even Panda monks can win me back no matter how freaking adorable they are.

I've heard Guild Wars 2 is really good, and different from WOW in a lot of ways. Has anybody played both extensively? How would you compare the two in terms of interest-grabbing and pretty graphics? Would it be worth it to try GW2 out, or would I just be stuck grinding again with different scenery? How dizzy-fying would you say the GW2 interface is? I do fine with WOW and Rift, but games like Mass Effect 3, Skyrim and Dragon Age made me unpleasantly motion sick.

Bonus: What other MMOs have you played and really enjoyed? I like playing with others around me, without necessarily needing to interact with them for everything.
posted by kythuen to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Star Wars:The Old Republic is quite fun for this sort of thing. The levellling up experience is quite different from WOW because all of the quests have voice-acted cut scenes and dialogue choices that affect your character. I found it a very pleasant alternative to the WOW levelling grind.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:27 AM on January 9, 2013

I end-game raided WoW pre-BC and played 2 toons up to 80 in GW2. Also raided in Rift. There are some UI differences between GW2 and other MMOs, particularly that it's not very customizable. A big difference is comparatively speaking, player skill makes a huge difference in both leveling up and dungeons. GW2 has only 6 skills per weapon set, plus 3-4 utilities that you can change, but are independent of your weapons. The key is different weapon sets have different strengths and bonuses (attack, defense, range versus melee on the fly, etc). I enjoyed leveling up in GW2 a lot more than other games because you don't have traditional quests, but rather make zones happy (which can become repetitive). Interaction with the world leans towards traditional MMOs, so you shouldn't have an issue like with ME & DA.

A strength I find in GW2 is it's very easy to not play for 2 months and pick up again because I can solo everything except dungeons. GW2s graphics also far outstrip WoW.

I found TOR to be much more like WoW than different as compared to GW2. While the quest lines were interesting enough, performing the quests themselves got very grindy & repetitive.
posted by jmd82 at 10:38 AM on January 9, 2013

Full disclosure, I am someone who only made it to mid-30s in WoW before giving up, many years ago. I'm currently playing GW2, fairly casually as well (I'm in the mid 30s here as well but not anywhere close to sick of it like I was with WoW). Basically, I am a very casual MMO player.

So I can't really speak to the end game content of either game, but as far as this:
I like playing with others around me, without necessarily needing to interact with them for everything.

That's me, and GW2 is perfect for this. As jmd82 mentions, it's very easy to take a break and come back to and not feel like you've been left behind by your group. Dungeons and giant raids are not really the focus. The PvE areas are designed so that whatever event is currently occurring, you can fall in with the chaos and contribute without having to get together with a specific group and plot out a strategy. Even the WvW realms can be fun solo, although you'll likely get rolled if you don't fall in with a crowd. Of course, there are team based PvP events as well.

I love it. And there's no monthly fee, so I don't feel bad about not playing for a few weeks and then picking it back up when I feel like it (which I have done a few times).
posted by Roommate at 10:56 AM on January 9, 2013

I'm a veteran MMO slacker, who likes many of the same things you do.

I have no idea what the population is like these days, but you might even want to look at the original Guild Wars. When last I played, circa 2010 or so, it was nearly impossible to grind for levels. Quests carried you to max level 20, and from there the emphasis was on PvP arena battles. The classes were different enough that leveling them up wasn't the same over and over. The graphics are still reasonably pretty, but the maps are a little weird in that you can't walk everywhere you can see. The big downside is that if you play for sweet gear and the like, you're going to be disappointed -- it wasn't really a part of the overall equation.

I'd agree that SWTOR is more like WoW than GW2. There are some nice-feeling low-level carrots (spaceship!) in SWTOR, but GW2 is a little more diverse in its basic quest structures, I think. And, as others have said, GW2 endgame is more like GW1 -- not quite the same endgame as WoW.

I can't think of a WoW style MMORPG that doesn't offer some way of trying it out for free -- which, sadly, says something about how they're doing these days...
posted by gnomeloaf at 11:03 AM on January 9, 2013

I really like RIFT. I mean really, really, really like it, in a way WoW never made me feel, and I played WoW for 3 years on and off.

Rift might not everyone's cup of tea, as PVP isn't huge in it, but I find the random rift events just popping up does lead to nice sense of co-operation and they have so many different ways to level up you don't have to grind unless you want to and if you want to get to end game content fast they have a sort of instant adventure feature where you run around with a group of people at mad speed killing all sorts of things and leveling fast. Though honestly a few major rift events and you can kill of a couple of levels in an evening. Or if you just like playing different styles and faffing around it's a great game for that with a really interesting talent mechanic where every class can be pretty much anything it wants, which sounds strange but it works really well.

The fun part about it is you can work with people, then a Rift event is over and you all go your own way, so if you want to play a support class you can feel useful without having to be in a guild or doing dungeon runs only.

The new expansion stuff is amazing and pretty much doubled the content and you get fun player housing you can edit and make your own buildings etc in. You can get a copy of Rift Lite to trial it free to level 20 too to see if you like the game, and you can try all the major mechanics of the game you just don't get access to all the zones.

Oh and did I mention player housing. So much fun.
posted by wwax at 11:04 AM on January 9, 2013

I've been thinking about starting an MMO, all I've played in the past is EVE, which is not what you're looking for.

From everything I've read about Lord of the Rings Online, it's something you might be interested in. It's partly free, and with the free part you can run up several characters to the free cap. Also, apparently all the starting stories weave together - so there is an added benefit of "running up" several characters. I'm going to try it out after work tonight.
posted by thylacine at 11:13 AM on January 9, 2013

I tried Guildwars 2 for a few weeks and just couldn't continue with it. It really is a very pretty game and it's geared more towards being casual and not so much gear dependent or grind demanding, but it felt like it was missing something to me. I think what bothered me so much about it, is it felt like there's no point to leveling or doing dungeons. I kept asking myself why I was bothering at all when there was no payout at the end.

In WoW you want gear so you can be better. You level fast and hard so you can do raids and join a raiding guild. But there's none (or wasn't when I played) of that in Guildwars2. I think for casual players or people who just want to PvP, it can be a great game. But for those of us who love loot, grinding, raiding and well...being the best damn player won't do much to satisfy those urges for you.

I keep telling myself and my husband i'll give it another try, but I just can't. It feels pointless to me to level a character to 80 just to go pvp or do it all over again. I need and want a payout a the awesome gear and bragging rights. Guildwars2 didn't have that for me.

I give it a 3 out of 5 stars. 1 point for being pleasing on the eyes. 1 points for trying to make a casual game everyone can enjoy. 1 point for not having amonthly fee. I will most likely never play again and I wish I could have my $60 back.
posted by Sweetmag at 11:15 AM on January 9, 2013

I played WoW a very long time ago, and quit around Burning Crusade, so I have no idea what the game is like nowadays. I also played SWTOR for a couple months and got bored of it quickly (although the voice acting and personal stories are much stronger than in GW2).

I enjoy GW2 a lot. It's gorgeous, even with graphics cranked down to 1. There's a lot to explore in the world--I have a friend who has 100% map completion who is still finding new and interesting spots in it. You can spend time exploring or crafting, or you can max-level fairly quickly and get into sPvP, WvW, or dungeon running if you're into that.

The thing I like most about the game is that I don't feel like I'm competing against other players, like I did in WoW or SWTOR. I don't have to be the asshole who harvests a gathering node out from under another player because everybody can harvest from it, or kill-steal a mob because everybody who attacks the thing gets credit for the quest. The dynamic events are nice, because they allow cooperative group effort without actually grouping.

On occasion ArenaNet does do free trial/invite a friend weekends, but the last one was in November. They do, however, have a generous refund policy if you buy the game through their site, so you can try it fairly easily.

(Any more questions? Feel free to MeMail me.)
posted by calistasm at 11:25 AM on January 9, 2013

Ok I totally just saw your comment about Rift in your original question so please ignore what I wrote, I will just go off here in the corner and be all embarrassed now.
posted by wwax at 11:28 AM on January 9, 2013

I have played both. GW2 is less of a grind than WoW, but I find the content repetitive and I find the level progression to be slow. But it is easy to play alone, and it's a great-looking game.

Questing takes some getting used to -- you sort of go to places and dive in, instead of going to specific quest-givers first. I have a nagging feeling that the questing system means I'm missing content that I haven't been able to find, but that might be because I'm used to MMOs where you have ten or twenty quests at a time in your log.

Other people I know really like the map exploration and completion aspects of the game, but I haven't been able to get into that. There seem to be a lot of jumping puzzles.

Gameplay can be complicated because your abilities change depending on the type of weapon you equip, and some classes can use many different weapons (like Guardian can use nine). The caster classes are very complex. There isn't a dedicated healing class; every class has some healing abilities.

PvP is available at low levels, but others have told me that it's not very worthwhile until level 80.
posted by neushoorn at 11:29 AM on January 9, 2013

PvP is available at low levels, but others have told me that it's not very worthwhile until level 80.

Trueish. A [good or bad] thing is toons <80 can join WvW and be "bumped up" to level 80, so you're all playing in one giant battleground. Of course, being low leveled also means your gear will suck in comparison and will be gimped.
posted by jmd82 at 11:44 AM on January 9, 2013

I think you'll find the GW2 is a great change from the WoW-style grind; it's as if the developers asked themselves what annoyed them most about WoW and other MMOs, and set out to avoid putting those things in their own game. That doesn't mean that GW2 lacks any grind, but it really doesn't have anything like the gear treadmill we've become used to in MMOs. That in turn means that you can easily take a break from the game for a couple weeks or a few months, and not fall woefully behind everyone else in gear progression. Did anyone mention yet there's no subscription fee?

GW2 is, like most reviews point out, probably the first MMO in which you're happy to see other players adventuring in the same area, without worrying about them "stealing" your mob kills or resource nodes. Even if you aren't partied with other players, you can be surrounded by them, and all focused on one goal, be it a world boss or a dynamic event. It's also a gorgeous, gorgeous game, with wonderful environments and atmospherics. The UI is attractive, and not at all busy; just keep in mind that you also can't modify it extensively – and GW2 does not allow WoW-style addons.

FWIW, this past Saturday I spent the bulk of the day defending my world's borderland in world-v-world-v-world (GW2) then after dinner hopped on to my holy paladin to raid Mogu'shan Vaults for the first time with my guild (Stone Guard finally downed after 3 hours of wipes, then raid called for the night). I split my time fairly evenly between both, usually a couple days straight in one, then the other. I've tried other MMOs as well (mainly while waiting for GW2 to be released): EVE's learning curve was a bit steep – I didn't get out of the tutorial; RIFT was nice, but ultimately the combat drove me crazy with how long it took to kill a mob; LOTRO was OK for a F2P, but the graphics style did not appeal to me at all; and the negative buzz around SWTOR a month or two after its release convinced me not to try it.

I've rambled enough already – finally an askme topic I can speak informedly to! – but I hope I've helped give some perspective.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 12:23 PM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've played WoW - raided over maybe 5 years and all expansions except Pandas. I've been involved in several server first kills. Like you, I got bored of it, and simply cannot muster the energy to do it all over again.

Guild Wars 2 is nothing at like WoW. I knew this before I started because I played Guild Wars 1 extensively as well, but I still played (and loved) Guild Wars 2 - for 2 months. Like Sweetmag above: it's a great game, but I played it for just two months, hit the level cap and maxed out all my equipment, and then just realised there wasn't anything I wanted to do in the game. I uninstalled it and never looked back. Don't get me wrong, Guild Wars 2 is a brilliant game and worth playing, but there isn't a gear grind attached to it, and I think fundamentally what WoW players liked about WoW was actually the gear grind - getting incrementally stronger, 0.5% crit chance at a time.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is basically a faithful clone of WoW, except with 100% voiced dialogue and extremely strong personal storylines. It's also the most expensive video game ever made in history, and it's free to play, though I'd still recommend paying the monthly sub for it. In SWTOR there's a dual set of stories being presented - the "area" story, and also your "personal" story, which depends on your class and what choices you've made - it's a full fledged RPG except with no save points, so your decisions (do I kill this NPC in my story or spare him) are final, and their conclusions very satisfying - I feel it is very important to give players choice in games, and never force them to do things they wouldn't feel comfortable doing. For example, I could be playing a Sith, because my guild rolled on the Empire, but I could be a good hearted and compassionate Sith, which is perversely funny. In WoW there were only "area" stories, which made replayability very limited, since you had to redo them every time you made a new character. The raiding end game in SWTOR was pretty good, comparable to what WoW had. I raided and PVPed my heart out in SWTOR and got my max level gear and had a blast, then quit after 5 months when Diablo 3 came out. I think SWTOR is a game changer for me in some ways, because any other MMO I've tried afterwards, I come away thinking "why aren't these NPCs speaking to me???" and "where does my moral / ethical choice come in???" Also, SWTOR has the most entertaining dungeons I've ever played, because of the dialogue system, everyone picks an option and the game randomly selects one person, which can make for hugely entertaining situations when your decision (good/evil) contradicts the rest of the group. Also the most customizable character clothing system - the "skins" and "stats" of the equipment are completely interchangable and modifable, so you could literally look like anything you liked and still have your end-game raiding gear stats.

Unfortunately, I think there just isn't anything like WoW now. It's that or bust. I even thought for awhile that Diablo 3 might be fun, but the gear grind was beyond terrible because of the introduction of the RMAH system. SWTOR has more or less died, and so all these people are going to go back and play Mists of Pandaria. Guild Wars is going to hold the same niche of people as they had 8 years ago, which doesn't compete with WoW. I'd still recommend you play both GW2 and SWTOR though, if nothing else, they will provide you a few solid months of entertainment, and open your mind to what other MMORPGS can offer.
posted by xdvesper at 2:35 PM on January 9, 2013

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