Guild Wars has the distinction of being the only other major MMO that I have put significant time into. It wasn’t a stretch for me since ArenaNet‘s RPG doesn’t require a subscription, and it was incredibly fun to play with friends. The game had a very distinct art style, and was powered by unique streaming technology that made the original download quite small which made getting started incredibly easy. Guild Wars 2 looks to extend ArenaNet’s unique approach to MMO’s even further. Take a look at their “Manifesto” video to get an idea of just how different of a game they want to make:
Overall, their approach seems to be to try and make the world feel as dynamic, alive, and unique to you as possible. They also want to make the game as easy to play with the people you run across in your world without feeling like you are endlessly questing to kill or collect a certain type of enemy.
So far my experience with this franchise has been one more of respect for their goals, than the effectiveness of their execution. However, if they are able to pull of an easy-to-pick-up, yet, engrossing MMO, I will definitely stick with it over the traditional MMO’s that are on the horizon. Guild Wars 1 established a solid gameplay base and created a great new world to explore, just give me a reason to get lost in Guild Wars 2 that other games haven’t offered, that’s all we are looking for, ArenaNet.
You can also read their design manifesto for a more details.