When I was younger I have never been a gamer. I played some games that I liked but I quickly got bored with them. In the old days I spent some time playing Settlers II and Heroes of Might & Magic II. And then long, long nothing. Then I tried Heroes of Might & Magic V and liked it very much. But that was it.
Later my friend told me about Diablo III which was about to be released soon. He was really hyped about it and convinced me to buy it so that we could play together. But as release was delayed he found Drakensang Online as a temporary fix.
DSO was the first multiplayer online game I ever played. I spent hours in it. I really liked this game but soon I discovered that it was getting really expensive to play it. And there were issues with unbalanced PvP and so on. That meant Drakensang and I had to say goodbye.
Diablo III finally came out but I regretted buying it. It was fun for couple of days but in the end I felt it wasn’t worth the money I paid. Great graphics and dark atmosphere couldn’t make up for a shallow story and repeatable gameplay.
But at that time I was really into gaming. I looked for something for me. And I found Aion.
Aion is a korean fantasy MMORPG. It has been released a while ago – in 2009 but it has a very nice graphics, huge world and incredible character customization. In Europe released as Free to Play – who could resist.
I spent hours, days, months, years in Aion. I really loved the story, mythology, relative freedom of exploration and soundtrack. But in the end… I got bored with it. Also I was frustrated with unbalanced PvP in which stronger players got only stronger and less experienced players had to die from one hit.
Tired with Aion I took break from gaming but not for long. Soon I looked at some other options.
TERA Rising – nice big world, interesting combat mechanics… but something didn’t click. Graphics looked… blurry, compared to Aion’s sharpness. Story was uninteresting. World was big but not worthy of exploring.
Neverwinter Online – nice graphics, nice combat mechanics, ok story. But it was really repetitive. I mean from one dungeon to the other. Nothing to explore. Boring.
Rift – I really liked this one. Interesting concepts with mixing and matching trees of skills. Live open world events. Yet the world again seemed not worthy of exploring and the story was… was there any story?
Then I found something better. Guild Wars 2. All the problems with previous MMOs were fixed in GW2.
Large, detailed, worth exploring world? Check. They even give you xp for uncovering maps, points of interest, vistas, etc.
Nice graphics, world design and character design? Check.
Fair rewarding for your activity? Check. You are not competing for loot and resources, you are encouraged to help, not to grab shinies before others.
Buy to Play which means you have access to all features without monthly fee or expensive micropayments that make Free to Play sound like a cruel joke? Check. You can spend real money for skins and boosters but you don’t have to.
Great community of players willing to help you? Check.
The only complain I have that the personal story and lore are a bit generic. Maybe the problem is that as players we don’t really spend that much time immersed in the story, the characters come and go without us having time to like them and care about them.
Anyway, so far the game is solid fun. I feel I got my money’s worth.
But I am on a lookout for Archeage which is currently in a beta stage. It really looks promising.