Guild Wars Updates 2018-06-07
Recently there have been some updates to the original Guild Wars game, and I'll admit that I am a little surprised. I have been bitching for years that Guild Wars is still the best MMO I have seen and that it has been abandoned by the people who made it and who host it.
The best MMO?
Yes. The best MMO.
For those who prefer to call it an RPG or COOPRPG or blah blah blah, feel free to point out which part(s) of massive, multiplayer, and online it doesn't fit. For those who don't think it is "best"... click here. What makes Guild Wars kickass is the fact that it has such low caps on player level, armour, weapons, and even skills. Combine this with a maximum of eight skills that can be equipped at a time and you have a game that requires players to figure shit out. Not just how to mash the keyboard, but how to design a strategy for a given task. Not just how to get to the next waypoint, but how to most efficiently perform a particular task. The game is essentially about BUILDS instead of being about GEAR, and that rocks.
One example is the 55 Monk build which uses a carefully pieced together set of equipment and skills that allow a monk to solo some areas. Many other games just don't have the same skill balance, skill chaining, and complexity of play. It isn't just solo builds though. Guild Wars also has much more social activities such as caravan vanquishing that require a group to go on long fighting missions that can span multiple days in some cases.
I have been worried for some time now that one day the GW servers will simply be turned off and the players who still like the game will be left to pound sand the way they were when Dungeon Runners died. There are no private servers, no way to get the source, and no giveashitery at NCSoft/Arenanet. Then... something happened. After five hundred and twenty six days, an update was pushed out. Now this update just apparently fixed some crash bugs and disabled the Xunlai Tournament House, but it was something. March and April were mostly uneventful updates, but May had some graphics updates and chat/party interaction changes. Then yesterday there were some pretty significant graphis changes, CPU usage improvements, and even more chat interface changes.
The new "field of view" changes are pretty nice and make the game seem almost even more immersive. The CPU changes are barely noticable to me, but I understand there were a number of people bitching about it. In general, it seems like there are actual improvements going on here. Not only that, but the client still runs on XP/SP3 with no interpretive dependencies like VS runtimes, Java, Python, .NET, and on and on. I even found this fancy-pants YouTube video of a couple of fellahs prattlin' on about how awesome the guys who are doing the work are. Frankly, I am inclined to agree with them. Don't get me wrong, I still think the overall quality of software has been steadily declining over the last decade and a half, but these guys do deserve a pat on the back for not only "not fucking up this game", but also making it better when the remaining playerbase are mostly worrying about how much time they have left.