Similar branches also feature in the Grove, the home of Guild Wars 2’s new race of advanced plants, the Sylvari. They live inside a giant tree, moulding it into an approximation of the fiction’s older races’ homes. Vast leaves obscure doorways, gangplanks grow out of roots, and everywhere twinkling seeds fall gently to the ground. Movement around the Grove is possible thanks to giant, seemingly tame seed pods that ferry passengers between points. Like Rata Sum, it’s beautiful, and it invites exploration.
Tyria feels relentlessly designed. If MMOG spaces are often perfunctory expanses studded with quests, Guild Wars 2’s capital cities and the spaces around them are rich with imagination. The curious will find pirate ships and mines, and while many exist to provide homes for later questlines, others are there simply to discover. The game’s Vista system codifies the joy of exploration: dotted around each area are map icons, and if you make your way to one of these and press F, you’re treated to a panoramic sweep of the surrounding scenery. This is both pretty – thanks to Guild Wars’ colourful, sumptuous art style – and useful in planning your next move.
The world is huge, but the problems of transit around it have been solved. Uncover a waypoint in an area and you can warp to it from anywhere in Tyria for a nominal fee. Those who aren’t too curious will find themselves sticking to their starting zones until around level 30 if they stick slavishly to the story, but there’s little to stop players from poking their noses around the other races’ homelands sooner.
Yet even when your network of waypoints is extensive, it’s often more fun to walk. A jaunt through an unexplored area is like a stroll through a pet shop, with any number of things making puppy-dog eyes in your direction so you’ll go over to play with them. The aforementioned Vistas are located in hard-to-reach places that necessitate some mild jumping, while skill point challenges task you with beating a tough enemy, and pay out in tokens you can put towards learning secondary abilities for use guild wars 2 gold. But perhaps most important of all – and similarly spotted by skirting close enough to see them – are Guild Wars 2’s dynamic quests and events.
Rather than forcing you to badger NPCs for odd jobs, Guild Wars 2 has them standing out in the open, screaming their predicament for all to hear. Hearts appear on the game’s map; initially hollow, you can fill them by performing certain tasks for their owner without you ever having to click through a single dialogue box. On your Tyrian travels, you’ll also spot various symbols of battle, supported by text in the top-right of the screen. Move close to the source and you can collaborate with nearby players to complete a quest – guard a submarine from underwater saboteurs, kill waves of centaurs, and so on.