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3Sep/101

Guild Wars 2: Revolutionary or Evolutionary?

There's a long running topic in the gaming journalism community concerning games being either revolutionary or evolutionary. When a game releases, does it provide brand new concepts or is it simply improving on systems which came before it? It can be difficult to peg which category a game can fit into.  Many times a game will be revolutionary in some areas while evolving in others.

Which leads us to today's topic: From what we've seen so far, is Guild Wars 2 revolutionary or evolutionary?

This article might be a smidge early,  as there are many features which have yet to be announced (so stay tuned for updates!). However, we have seen enough of the game to form opinions towards many critical gameplay, story, and graphical elements.  The blurry picture is starting to come into focus, and we are beginning to see how many important elements will take shape.

Before proceeding I feel it imperative to tell you that the argument between revolutionary and evolutionary isn't necessarily 'good vs bad'. Many times when something is revolutionary, all sorts of negative consequences can spawn. One need only look at World of Warcraft. There were aspects to that game which completely turned the MMO genre on its head, and sparked a revolution in the genre. By introducing elements to MMO games which provided greater simplicity, and accessibility to newcomers it allowed the game to rule atop the mountain. However, it sparked a formula which led many games to adopt way too similar elements and flood the market with clones.

It's put up or shut up time, so I'll simply say that everything we've seen from Guild Wars 2 looks to be evolutionary.

Perhaps you think differently from my summation, and you might passionately disagree (let me know by commenting!).  However, upon watching numerous gamescom videos and taking in a slew of previews I'm not convinced the game will revolutionize any aspect of the MMO genre. However, I do believe it is evolving in a way which will bring many needed improvements to the formula.

One element many might argue in favor of revolution would be the dynamic event system which Arenanet continues to tout as being a replacement to the traditional questing system. They certainly did a grand job of showing off this system by introducing the The Shatterer event. The tip of my jaw was on the floor for the entirety of the Shatterer demo. Once the dust cleared, and I collected my thoughts, it was apparent I had seen this feature before. In Warhammer Online there were areas called 'Public Quests' where players could meet and help each other towards goals which provided rewards to everyone involved. It was extremely lacking in areas, and many times there weren't enough people involved to make it worthwhile. However, the system was still there. Champions Online also had a system similar to this, where events occurred in a specific area and players could band together for shared rewards.

Even though Arenanet might not have established the idea of a shared event system, they seem to be taking it to levels unseen before. As was evident by The Shatterer event. Upon taking all of this information in, it becomes obvious that evolution is just fine.

I find it odd that Guild Wars 2 is evolutionary in my eyes, because I actually consider Guild Wars 1 completely revolutionary. Everything from having a 'no monthly fee', to the heavy GvG and PvP elements which drove most of the title's worth endgame.  Everything about Guild Wars 1 screamed "REVOLUTION!"

The amount of detail being put into the world of Guild Wars 2 is something which many developers have been working towards, with the next slew of MMO's coming out. Bioware's The Old Republic looks to be focusing intently on the story, and setting. Much like what we've seen with Guild Wars 2. I think together, both of these games can show how the environment, story, and characters are all elements which might have been included in MMOs previously but have had low priority. This point can be proven by the novels which Arenanet plans to release prior to the game's release. One of which is already out.

All of these elements I've mentioned have led me to believe Guild Wars 2 won't revolutionize any aspects of the MMO genre. However, it will evolve these elements to places unseen before. I'm definitely ready to see how they do, and am very excited to be a part of the experience.

As I stated above, there are many elements of the game which haven't been unleashed yet. So, I reserve the right to change my opinion as more information releases.

About JohnnyV

Ello' everyone. I'm JohnnyV, one of the site admins for Guild Wars 2 forum. I'm too many things to fit into a simple biographical summary. I'm a gamer, writer, lover of asuran culture, and a highly talented kazoo player.
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  1. At first glance I would be inclined to say being a sequel alone would dictate GW2 to be evolutionary. However, as revolutionary as World of Warcraft was, it could be argued that it was an evolution of Ultima Online.

    I have this feeling though, that there will be some unprecedented experiences to be had in Guild Wars 2. A collective experience that, in the end, could only be defined as revolutionary. And I’ll drink to that.

    Viva la Revolucion!


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