Before you start complaining „Oh no, not another WoW comparison!”, I want to let you know that the main reason of this post is to start a discussion. I spent a lot of time playing WoW, and I foresee that I’m going to do the same with GW2. I did a comparison to WoW since it is the only MMORPG I played besides GW2. I know that they are two different games, one could say for different type of people, but bear with me. I am not suggesting to change everything that I didn’t like or bothers me about GW2. I am merely putting it out there. Well, here
My opinions are based on my short game-time of 76 hours in the past two months. I only played my Elementalist, which is level 60.
You can skip the first part, it’s about my experience in WoW and why I quit.
A short introduction
I started playing WoW several years ago, during Vanilla, on an US server to play together with a friend (I am from Europe). I quit for 6-7 months during BC (first WoW expansion), then started again on an EU server just before WotLK (second WoW expansion). I quit for good in February, this year. WoW was fun because I played it with some RL friends, and I got to make some new friends while playing. When you spend 12 hours raiding each week with the same people, you get to know them. Not to mention all the time outside the raiding schedule. I quit because all my friends stopped playing, and there wasn’t anything left to do. Playing WoW alone was boring, and being stuck on a low population server was the end of WoW for me.
This is what actually made me write this comparison. I used to play WoW on medium-high settings, and I’m playing GW2 on medium-low settings right now. Considering highest quality settings, both games have great graphics (no, I don’t mind the cartoon-ish graphic in WoW), and some background-worthy scenery and art, but GW2 has the advantage on beauty from my point of view.
My problem with GW2 is that for one you can’t zoom out as much as you want, and second even if you are zoomed in, everything around you seems so small. I don’t understand why. For example, if I want to see the details on a player around me I have to zoom all the way in, and even then it seems small (I hardly can tell players apart from their looks, and I didn’t notice how awesome one of my fellow party members looked until she was in a cutscene. I tried to zoom in after the cutscene ended, but she barely looked the same). I am not sure if this is because of the PoV, but I can’t play other than fully zoomed out. This is part of the problem and a big disappointment for me. I play on a 17” LCD. Do I really need a bigger screen to enjoy the game? Also, the camera. It sucks balls from time to time, especially for my Charr.
In WoW, there was a console command that let you zoom out quite a lot, giving you all the awareness you needed, and you could zoom in as much as you wanted to see the details around you. And although I know that having huge enemies or bosses is unrealistic in some cases (why is an ogre boss 3 times bigger than a normal ogre?), I prefer it that way. Many of the bosses in GW2 are just like any other mob in size. Realism +1, Usefulness -1 (yes, there are huge bosses in GW2 as well, I know, but many don’t stand out at all, besides having a name). You could say “But why aren’t you playing zoomed it?”. Because I can’t play like that. WoW managed to deliver a good ratio of awareness (how much you could see) and details (players, monsters) and for that, if I were to choose between graphics, I would pick WoW. I really hope that some of this problems will be fixed with a FoV change (I hope that the FoV setting that is in beta will fix this).
I’m not going to judge the story, but how it is delivered.
Most of the story from the GW universe I know from the wiki. I read most of it, and I liked it. My personal story is still at level 55-ish, and I have yet to find out the outcome.
I love the Warcraft universe and its lore, and all the drama it has, but after playing so many years WoW, I hardly read any quest stories. It was mostly accept, check objectives, complete quest. Now, the advantage of the quest giver NPCs is that you can read all the story there. In GW2, if you want to find out why you’re killing those bandits (they’re bandits, duh!), you have to walk around and talk with the named NPCs around you. Again, Realism +1. It took me a while until I noticed that I can get extra information from everyone around me, and I found it difficult to do that. I wanted it all summed up at my quest giver NPC. But now that I got used to this system, it seems better, it feels better, helps me immerse. Either you’re not interested and you just do the event, or you want to know the background story and then you don’t mind moving around, finding all the NPCs, exploring.