“It’s just so beautiful!” – GW2
As I feared, The Secret World Legends did not manage to hold my attention for long. While I did enjoy the overall lore and the idea behind the game, the complete lack of personality of my protagonist was in the end the deal-breaker for me – not the investigation quests, as I had initially thought they would. Not only is the protagonist not voiced and thus really just the camerawoman instead of a character actually interacting with its surrounding, it quickly annoyed me that you get attacked every two steps of the way. In SWTOR, one quickly gets the hang of how much space you have to have between you and the enemies to not get attacked but in TSW they are so close together that it’s just not possible.
I quickly realized just how much importance it has for me to be able to not only experience a special world and lore but to experience it through the eyes of an actual character and through their personal story. And that is unfortunately not something that TSW can provide. I had hoped the game would hold my attention at least until I reached Egypt (because I have a huge personal interest in Egyptian history and myths) but, well, no.
Instead, I started to get more and more into Guild Wars 2. I played the game back in 2013 but that was before my MMO time and I didn’t get my character further than level 23 or something before I just stopped. It was not that I was really annoyed by the game or had certain reasons, it was just the combination of immersion-breaking MMO and probably a lack of experience so I stopped playing. Now that I am back in the game, I remember the things I already loved back then.
Unlike Anna who has an amazing time and character management and thus various characters of all classes, I am only really able to play one character (and balancing this with my still running SWTOR agent story and Overwatch is… well… challenging and barely possible already).
So, if you’re looking for tipps and tricks, look here.
After some consideration I settled for a human ranger who by now is level 46.
While some of the animations in the cutscenes are more funny than immersive, like the way a character always points towards themselves when they say “I”, I really like the way they introduce you slowly into the story and your personal story arc. There are some NPCs which accompany you through the plot – and amazingly enough they all have a reason why they entrust you with the quests they give you (which is often a problem).
What I loved back in 2013 already was the music and the artwork. I think it’s genius to have the concept art as loading screen for area changes and I never tire to look at them. I in general love the design of the game: the combination of high fantasy and steampunk works perfectly for me. Every artifical, mechanical thing they have is designed so organically that it not once breaks immersion of the game and somehow the game manages to integrate both magic and technology very smoothly into the way they designed the landscape and cities.
Talking of landscape and cities: that is one thing that Guild Wars 2 just excels at. I never before had a game where I had so much fun and joy just to explore. I don’t even have second thoughts about letting my 4yo kids watch me play when I explore – it is diverse, it has a day and night cycle which actually changes the landscape, it has hidden caves and the most beautiful underwater landscapes. There are actually very few animals which attack you as you pass them and unless you are in an area which is officially contested, there are few random attacks, which is why I don’t mind my kids watching me. I love how the maps shows you where you can find new quests or events or spots of interest and the little information icon at the top right of your screen which hints at nearby things to detect.
There are waypoints strewn all over the map, so quicktravel is absolutely manageable and as soon as the area around a waypoint is contested it can no longer be accessed, so you don’t accidentally pop up within a battle or get attacked as soon as you arrive.
And then there is the humor.
The game has its very own and distinct humor, in random conversations you overhear as well as in concrete letters you get (“An apple vendor will contact you.” – yeah. see above.) and what NPCs say to you – even in the way you have to work at some quests. One of the last events I did I spent most of the battle as a huge crab, for example.
So here it is, my game-for-relaxation, the one I don’t mind having on the screen while the kids are in the room and where I can spend a whole evening not thinking about the story much but just explore and enjoy the beauty of the design. And yet, I am already looking forward to the personal story – and even considering to buy the two expansions, if only for the abilities to fly and to have a mount.