I Find it hard to believe considering how much I’ve played lately that I have only seen about a quarter of the world so far (Map completion is sitting at 19%). There is just so much to explore and see that it boggles the mind and is a little overwhelming at times. I am an absolute completionist and like to finish of the zones I have started and that has me seeing some amazing sights.
One thing I will say though is that many of the environments feel very similar in a way, I can’t really describe it well but going from say Queensdale to Gendarran fields,is that both environments have that same overarching feel of hilly green pastures, many of the Snowy mountain regions do this as well. Some of these zones can take a decent chunk of time to accomplish and when the environment barely seems to change from one moment to the next it leaves you feeling like you have been there and done that. I can understand they want the world to feel cohesive and more grounded in reality, for each area to have a certain flow to it but it just lacks some diversity.
The secret world really did this brilliantly as I touched on in a previous article, as they still had an overarching feel to the 3 zones but there were many different sections that had slight changes that made it feel new and exciting (Egypt was a bit bland though). It made you want to keep exploring every nook and cranny to see what was out there and apart from wanting get 100% in an area I really haven’t had that feeling in GW2. I have barely scratched the surface yet though and have many more zones to explore, I guess because there really is so many zones for each level rage that in the end this is easily remedied by just porting around to the place that suits your mood.
What Guild Wars does do very right is providing a wonderful sense of scale to their environment and backdrops, the world feels absolutely huge as well as inviting. While most games I have seen only tend to have handful of epic set pieces the environments in Guild Wars are absolutely littered with them. They have such a grand feel to them, inviting players from the distance to come over and marvel at the spectical and you can quite often explore inside these grand structures with many containing little jumping puzzles for the bored or partially insane and easily frustrated (like myself).
There has been a few statements floating around so far about the flow of questing and how well events can get you from place to place, I actually think this does a lot more for the questing flow in a zone than any of the Events ever could. Seeing these large and often intimidating structures off in the distance draws your attention that way and I often find myself slowly gravitating towards them while weaving a path of destruction through the wildlife. They contain so much wonderful detail that is even visible from affair, it naturally brings out our inquisitive side to venture onwards and once you get there you find a few points of interest, complete that heart, and maybe even platform up to the Vista. After all that’s done and your thoroughly bored of this place “Oh Look, whats that new fancy thing on the horizon” so you strap on your hiking shoes once more and venture onwards.
While the lands may stretch on into infinity it is these guiding structures I truly adore, I often wonder how long some of these amazing pieces would have taken to go from the concept page and into being. They actually make you feel rather small in comparison and rather than some all powerful god, just the adventure which I think is far more enjoyable to play. They really are a marvel and flesh out the world beautifully and adding the vistas so as to showcase these was a touch of brilliance.
Anyway here’s a Slideshow of some of my favourites.