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GUILD WARS 2 from ArenaNet is one of the best of the numerous MMO games available for the home computer. It has excellent player and non-player characters, superb terrains, villages, towns and countryside, along with rocky mountain crags. The Quests are akin to the Tasks and Missions of other MMOs but let's face it there can only be so many stories - help her, rescue him, deliver this, collect that, kill him etc.. etc.. etc.. Good, playable characters and interesting adversaries have helped put GW2 high up in the Table of MMOs

Tyria in flames:  Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire™ is the second expansion for the award-winning game, Guild Wars 2. As the balance of magic comes undone, lead your allies in the hunt for the rogue god Balthazar, whose scorched-earth campaign threatens the very existence of Tyria.  

A DIVINE INSURRECTION:  Humanity has worshipped the six gods for centuries, even as their prayers went unanswered. Now the god of fire and war, Balthazar, has made an unexpected return, only to reveal himself as a ruthless manipulator with little regard for mortal life. 
Tyria's heroes thwarted the first stage of his catastrophic plan to destroy the Elder Dragons—but now he's raised a zealous army to cut a path of terror and destruction across the south. You must halt their march before Balthazar sets the foundations of the world ablaze.

The Forgotten Land:  Balthazar threatens the Crystal Desert and adjoining kingdom of Elona with his Forged legions. Explore vast new maps filled with magic-drenched desert plains, ancient temples and ruins, and beautiful oases. Uncover the secrets of Tyria's history, and discover the fate of the Elonian people after years of silence.

 

Catching up with all the other MMOs GW2 has now introduced Mounts to the game to allow players more freedom and quicker journeys around and across the World map.  

Mounts: A New Way to Explore.   WATCH THE VIDEO OVERVIEW 
Mounts are far more than a speed boost—they're a whole new way to explore the world of Tyria. Unlock and train your new companions using the max-level Mastery character progression system, and explore freely by leaping across canyons, bounding up high cliffs, and skimming over quicksand.

 

Elite Specializations     WATCH THE VIDEO OVERVIEW   
Continue to evolve and customize your level-80 character with a new elite specialization for each profession. With a new variety of playstyles, weapon choices, and traits to choose from, there are more options than ever to play your way.

Explore and Play:  Discover and earn treasures as you journey through the Crystal Desert. Outfit your character with new armor sets, skins, and weapons inspired by Elonian culture and the heritage of the desert.

Ultimate  Package:  £69.99  The best value! Save on a hoard of gems

Looking for Heart of Thorns? You can add it during checkout and purchase both expansions together.

 

Your character can do almost everything with just a click or movement of the Mouse or a tap on a key. The WASD or Arrow keys will move him or her, the [Spacebar] will make them jump and [F] allows them to converse and interact. Generally there is no need for physical dexterity of the keyboard, although during fighting you may want to keep one hand ready on the number keys to fire off your special attacks, of course you should always make sure that you are attacking the creatures and not healing them. (joking)

The game has quite wide parameters but if you find you are over-stepping the area where your current quest or task is you will find a note appearing onscreen telling you to get back into the correct area or get booted. I haven't been booted as yet so I am not sure if that means from the game per se or from the current mission - it's a bit harsh if it is from the game!

 

Finding your way around takes a little time, effort and understanding. Some places are clearly marked on the map, others, especially if you are heading there hot-foot, will lead you there by green chevrons, but occasionally your Quest wants you to go somewhere or return to a place you visited a while ago and neither are clearly marked. There is a small arrow like compass (or compass like arrow) that points the way but it doesn't take into account any objects or pitfalls that may be in the way, or whether you have to travel through a Portal, of which there are many, to get there.

Portals are a great way of travelling and only take about 30 seconds of non-playing whilst the section you are entering loads into play. During this period there is a painting that takes up your screen rather than just a blank screen and a whirling icon. Some IT experts will tell you putting the painting there actually slows down the loading, but if it does it can only be by a few seconds and it's better to view something to do with the game than just a blank screen - in my opinion.

 

Some of my screenshots show just how fast the action is. I tried using every possible setting on my camera and still couldn't slow it down enough to get sharp photos of onscreen combat.

  

 
The first is HEART of THORNS (video above).     PATH of FIRE (video above) is the second expansion of the most recent GW2 revival.       

 

 

Cut sequence chatting with Hronk and Kazz about Doxa being transformed into a war-droid-machine-Golem. There are many cut scenes like these shown above where the NPCs talk strategies and make decisions based on what is/has happening/happened. You can skip these scenes if you are in a hurry but it's much better to let them run their course as you might learn something interesting.

 

GW2 base game can be downloaded for free and you have plenty of ground to cover in that game alone. If you want to expand it you can pick up the DLC for both expansions at pretty competitive prices and then play on until the next expansion comes along. Unlike WoW and many other MMOs there is no monthly fee, the game is yours to play once you download it. As you play through the story you will get the opportunity to gain a Mount for your character. I haven't got to them yet but I am led to believe it is a quest based reward (a mount) rather than being able to purchase one when you reach a certain level and obtain riding skills. GW2 also doesn't have specific Healer class player characters, most classes can do a bit of everything quite successfully.

If you are looking for a new MMO or have been thinking of trying one for the first time, GW2 is a really good introduction to the genre, at least for basic Fantasy, and will let you know fairly quickly whether MMOs are for you or not. Certainly it is a game I have no trouble recommending to players who fit the above - new players or experienced players looking to broaden their outlooks.

 

The maps are somewhat prettier to look at than many found in other MMOs and the overhead shots display the types of terrain there are very well - like looking out of an airplane window when flying low(ish) over land. But they quite often don't always give enough detailed information to help you in your current position and task. Pretty is good, helpful would be pretty good!

 
A quick look on Google found these prices. I am not recommending them as I haven't had any personal dealings with these companies but the following may give you an idea of what GW2 may cost you.

Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire PC - Instant Download  £15.99  cdkeys.com

buy.guildwars2.com/Path of Fire
 
Standard Edition  £25.99  Get Max-Level Boost
Deluxe Edition   £47.99   Additional Character Slot
Ultimate Edition  £69.99  Receive 4000 Gems

Digital Download   Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns PC  £9.99

INCLUDES:
* Guild Wars 2 Base Game
* Guild Wars 2: Heart of the Thorns

New adventures await you in the heart of the Maguuma Jungle! Confront the growing hordes of Mordremoth's minions, discover allies from ancient civilizations, and battle new enemies in a vertical world that will have you reaching new heights and hang gliding into the depths of the jungle.

Also Available:
Guild Wars 2: 2000 Gem Points Here!
Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire Here!
Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire Deluxe Edition Here!

HAPPY PLAYING!

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015