So I have been playing guild wars for a while and I thought I would do a comparison between it and Warcraft. I won't be reviewing the PvP aspect because I havent participated in it, nor do I intend to. The areas I will focus on will be presentation, system, PvE content, crafting, lasting appeal, and polish. I'll rate each and give an overall rating at the end.
Warcraft - You either love Wow's graphics or hate them. The character models are slightly cartoony, shoulders are huge and there are some crazy looking weapons. There is enough variety that even a given 2 starting type characters won't look the same. There are a ton of different "looks" of item sets. I personally love the presentation, my only gripe is a personal one (*cough* Blood Elf facial hair *cough*). I personally prefer the Wow style to a more realistic looking game, but again, thats a personal preferrence, but the quality is definately there.
Guild Wars - Guild wars is an example of a more realistic game. The graphics are executed well, the character models are defined and the environments are good. Where guild wars falls short is in variety. There are different facial models, they all generally look the same. No real racial choices and no facial hair. Also the armor models are extrememely limited. The ones they have are done well (although I prefer the big shoulder pieces), I would just like a bigger variety and more mixing and matching besides just the ability to dye pieces (which is cool, but of limited utility).
Advantage: Warcraft - Variety takes the crown here. Warcraft just has a lot more options and ways to make your character look unique.
Warcraft - Despite numberous changes for "balance" the basic system remains the same. You pick your class, and you have talent trees which determine the abilities your class has in addition to basic class abilities. It gives you some room for customization and proper talent selection is basically a requirement for endgame content.
Guild Wars - This is the area that Guild wars really shines in. Each character has a primary class which determines armor and has a unique ability, and a secondary profession to select from. This gives a total of about 90 different combinations, and almost infinite variation when you take into account skills actually equipped on the character. It allows a surprising amount of variation, and from a role playing perspective you just have to think outside the box a little. My character is a warrior/monk. The monk skills that I took are smiting (holy damage) and protection, so I really think of him as a prot paladin. I could have gone straight warrior, or warrior/necromancer and gotten more of a deathknight type character.
Advantage: Guild Wars - Variety for the win. Seriously, this is the area where guild wars really shines. If you can't figure out a character to play, give up RPG's. You could make a Ranger/Necromancer combo if you wanted to. How does that go together? I have no idea, but it's possible.
Warcraft - The bulk of Warcraft's PvE content are Quests and Instances/Raids. I have mixed feelings about Warcraft's PvE content. Raids are going to be inaccessible for most casual players and most of the quests are of the "kill 10 rats" variety and difficult and/or very frustrating to do with other people around. On the other hand, the instances are very well designed and fun. From old content through expansion, there are a lot of them, and they are enjoyable and provide a healthy dose of lore.
Guild Wars - Guild Wars has a feature that I LOVE. All the content outside of cities is instanced. If I am solo questing, it is only me killing mobs. I don't have to worry about ganking, I can quest at my own pace, its just amazing.
Advantage: Guild Wars - Purely on the strength of the instanced solo content. While I think Warcraft has excellent instances, the solo content in Guild Wars is perfect for a player like me who wants to solo and be left alone.
Warcraft - Warcraft has an extremely deep and varied crafting system. Call it a money sink, time sink, not efficient, whatever you want, its there. I will be the first to admit its not perfect, but again, it offers a lot of options, and players can skip it completely by double gathering.
Guild Wars - Well, to be honest, I am underwelmed with Guild wars' crafting. It has promise, but the execution is rather lackluster. All "crafting" is done by NPC's. You get materials (either raw materials or item enhancements), pay them a fee, and they give you back an item. Its a useful system, but it just doesnt feel like crafting. And breaking items down into component parts with the use of salvage kits, while a good idea, just isnt that enjoyable.
Advantage: Warcraft - For all the faults of the wow crafting system (which is mainly just gear takes a long time to make, is expensive and not as good as drop gear), its leaps and bounds better than guild wars.
Warcraft - Well, I played it for a year and a half and didnt see everything. Although expansions are infrequent, they do always provide interesting new content.
Guild wars - undecided, probably low. The expansions don't raise the level cap, and although they provide new classes and campaigns there's nothing that jumps out at me and makes me want to pick them up.
Advantage - Undecided - I'm giving Guild Wars the benefit of the doubt here. I am anticipating it will hold my interest for about a month, so the advantage would seem to rest strongly on Warcraft, but I can't say that for sure.
Warcract - Warcraft has had continual improvements and polish is one of the areas where it shines compared to any game. They have really made attempts to make sure the everything functions at a high level and there are tons of features there for player convenience.
Guild Wars - Not so much. Its not that the game is rough per se. Its just the equivalent to comparing a high end diamond to one you bought at Walmart. Yeah they're both diamonds, but its the little things that make the difference.
Advantage - Warcraft - End of discussion.
Overall: Warcraft 3-2 - While Guild Wars has a lot going for it, and I think it will be a good way to occupy my time for a month or so, it isnt on the same level as Warcraft. It is definately a worthwhile game, and for $20 with no monthly fee, I would encourage anyone to pick it up. However, as is usually the case, you get what you pay for, the options and polish of Warcraft are lacking in Guild Wars in every area except class selection.
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