Games for the Casual Gamer: Guild Wars

Being a new year and all that jazz, it's time to do the usual resolution list. Translation: Make a bunch of self-promises whilst drunk, and break them within five days. OK, so I might be exaggeratin

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Being a new year and all that jazz, it’s time to do the usual resolution list. Translation: Make a bunch of self-promises whilst drunk, and break them within five days. OK, so I might be exaggerating a little (drunk? Me?) but hey, it’s a time to cut back on certain stuff, and take on new things. Officially.

Now I would LOVE to say, “Oh my! I spend so much time gaming that I should most certainly give it up!” But alas, such a statement would be untrue. As for gaming, I’m casual. (Yes. This is the girl who lost her RPG virginity like, two years ago. The shame!)

So I guess that’s where I come in handy. I’m the fair maiden here to scour the lands for the best games to suit our rushed little needs.

OK—casual gamers. We of the “I’m too busy!” retaliations. But there’s nothing like a bit of escapism. So where do we begin? I would suggest Solitaire (hey, I know what you office types are like!). Though on a serious note, it’s time to look into something slightly better.

And I’m all for that PC beauty Guild Wars.


Let’s face it: The whole fantasy-based RPG thing is a big hit. Specifically now that World of Warcraft exists, and will continue to exist, being the soul-consuming drug that it is. If any of the casual flock haven’t already found themselves greatly immersed in the world of Azeroth, then think twice: I’m not lying when I say you will never get out alive. Or with your full sanity intact, anyway. It’s such a work of genius that you will never want to leave. Ever.

In any case, whereas Guild Wars will never really match up to the grand enterprise that is WoW, we have to give it some credit here. About two years ago this was the first RPG I played (well, for more than ten minutes) and became instantly hooked. Admittedly, I’ve not yet played Factions, or the newly-released Nightfall, but the actual premise of the original game is still spectacular, and now, I imagine, even more so with the help of more recent expansions.

As you’d probably expect, Guild Wars is a fantasy game (think myths, magic and ample cleavage) set in the fictional world of Tyria. Of course, you get to choose the kind of character you wish to play from a variety of options. Are you a fighter, or more of a spell caster? The choice is yours! You then head off into the distance to begin your adventure.

What’s so compelling about this game initially is, in fact, the graphics. Whereas WoW takes more of a cartoony approach to character design and clothing, Guild Wars is more detailed and, well, “arty,” I guess. In-game buildings and people stand out as more real-looking and provide the player with a beautiful atmosphere. That is, if you actually care about seeing the pretty sights. I for one do, so do excuse me.

Like many games of its kind, the object is mainly to explore the wondrous fantasy world and do as many quests as possible, slaying beasts and recovering stolen property thus “levelling up” your character. Kind of like an in-game career ladder that doesn’t involve years of college and a hefty student debt. But one disadvantage of this is grouping: Whilst you can create guilds and “group up” for certain things, you are unable to whilst questing.

But it’s not all bad. Especially seeing as, in this game, you can teleport. WoW players are used to the walking/riding around until certain flight paths are acquired. Even to the point of cursing the zeppelin when it takes off without you (damn public transport!) Guild Wars allows you a swift teleportation system from place to place, thus saving a lot of time, and many swearwords.

And what about the girly bits? We all love our gear. Despite the various types of tres sexy clothing your characters can wear, sadly, there’s not a lot of variety in this game. However, the ability to dye your clothes is available, though it is advisable to keep colour coded. Orange and purple do NOT go. Honestly, they don’t.

So what’s the big seller of this game? OK, I’ll tell you: the money. If you’re one of the those who isn’t really blessed with that much playtime on your hands, then you’re not going to want to shell out a lot per month, are you? If you’re just stepping into the RPG “movement,” then sampling this beautiful game will do you one hell of a lot of justice.

Basically, you buy the game, install it—and that’s that. No fees.

Which, of course, means you don’t get as many benefits as you would, say, World of Warcraft—but if you’re a casual gamer, it’s not going to matter. I can hear the angels’ chorus now—”Yay! No fees! Hallelujah!” which inevitably, makes Guild Wars a great game for anyone who a) doesn’t want eye strain after playing for entire days in a row, or b) just wants to experience something new and, well, wonderfully medieval.

There we have it. In relation to similar PC games, Guild Wars provides ease, beautiful graphics, and time-saving techniques that would benefit the more casual of players among us. With no “pay to play”regime and fabulous characters (and an equally gorgeous backdrop), you can benefit from playing without spending hours travelling, working on countless skills, or shelling out your gold on a whole new virtual wardrobe….

…well, I didn’t say you couldn’t….

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About the Contributor

From 2007 to 2007

Danielle Symonds-Yemm is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.

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