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My recent return to Guild Wars 1 and some reflections


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Recently I embarked on a fairly epic journey back to Guild Wars 1, which I had in my youth played sporadically, but never made any real headway on. I wanted the Fellblade sword from the HoM rewards, and spent a week solely playing Guild Wars, to get 23/30 (which I achieved last night).

Returning to Guild Wars 2, I excitedly hustled to the Eye of the North to collect my spoils, and took a moment to ogle my new skin. Then, shortly afterward, a sad feeling came over me, as I realised that actually, I had been enjoying my time in the original Guild Wars far more than my time playing Guild Wars 2 (which I do still love).

There were a few things on my mind, as I thought about why...

The world, the lore, the atmosphereOne thing was that in Guild Wars 1, the world felt quite serious, and was in very good taste. In general, things "made sense", and everything felt in place, it made the world feel real and natural, even though the game is more dated. Guild Wars 2 on the other hand, feels more like a "Guild Wars 1 Theme Park with Gift Shop". In Guild Wars 1, you go to fight Abaddon in this nightmarish void, and in Guild Wars 2 he's a glider skin. It just feels "goofy" and hurts the atmosphere. Whereas Guild Wars 1 has this incredible sense of place. After going into GW2, I honestly just didn't really feel like I was in the same world (even taking into account the quarter of a millennium which had passed).

Creature designA lot of the creatures and monsters in Guild Wars 1 are pretty freaky looking and very original. Going into the realm of torment was actually pretty scary, with all kinds of demons with peeled-back flesh kind of aesthetic, and the dark foreboding landscape. Perhaps it also helped that even trash mobs could be dangerous in large numbers. Also, when I met up with Palawa Joko and saw some of the truly creepy NPCs hanging out in his outpost, I was surprised how "Scooby-Doo" the current iteration feels. Overall, I preferred the darker creature design of GW1.

The struggleThe challenge, the distances traversed, the nearly-exhausting missions and challenges. Maybe it wasn't the best for casual play, but damn it was cool being challenged like that. GW1 is a hardcore game. I travelled an HOUR of real time just to get some candles from Ascalon. It was strange and eerie crossing the Shiverpeaks, and seeing the land slowly transform into the burning darkness of seared Ascalon. Or when I attempted some end-game quests, I really felt like I was dealing with an entire army (White Mantle).

The musicIt fit so well everywhere you went. Whether you were in Elona or Cantha. The sparse and strange music of Factions especially stood out:

I did get similar feelings to this in Heart of Thorns, which had some really great and fitting music, so credit is due there.

There were other things I loved too, but I know these things wouldn't be applicable in GW2. Things such as strong class fantasy (because armor was tied to professions - I was a Ritualist and I looked and felt like it, was the strongest class immersion I have ever experienced). Obviously the incredible and superior skill system, and of course Heroes too.

I still love Guild Wars 2, but god damn, replaying the original Guild Wars really puts things into perspective.

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There are some of us that find GW1 so much more fascinating and enjoyable than GW2. Even from day 1....i spent two weeks from launch day trying to get into the feel of GW2. I stopped playing for a few months but came back a tried again but it was never something that really felt like it suited me, that made me feel as a GW1 player for 7 years that i fit in. I constantly tried to enjoy the game but the harder i tried the more I ended hating it and thinking about loading back into GW1 or other games to fill my time. For me it was an easy decision... I went back to GW1. while the game is kinda dead and the community is rather small. There is a strong gathering there still doing stuff together. The only thing i enjoy about GW2 is the trade post. I dont do anything else in GW2 but TP when im on.

Im mainly a PvP player that enjoys a little PvE once in a while but what do you do when a good 80-90% of the game is mainly PvE orientated?

TP is the only thing about GW2 that keeps me entertained.

The general lore of GW1 was always a heart stealer for me. GW1 was my first mmorpg and as a serious fps player back then, GW1 really stole my heart and absolutely mesmerised me.

GW2 had no such effect and i got bored. All i do is log in once a while to play some TP then log off and go do other stuff.

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@"ProverbsofHell.2307" said:The world, the lore, the atmosphereOne thing was that in Guild Wars 1, the world felt quite serious, and was in very good taste. In general, things "made sense", and everything felt in place, it made the world feel real and natural, even though the game is more dated. Guild Wars 2 on the other hand, feels more like a "Guild Wars 1 Theme Park with Gift Shop". In Guild Wars 1, you go to fight Abaddon in this nightmarish void, and in Guild Wars 2 he's a glider skin. It just feels "goofy" and hurts the atmosphere. Whereas Guild Wars 1 has this incredible sense of place. After going into GW2, I honestly just didn't really feel like I was in the same world (even taking into account the quarter of a millennium which had passed).[...]

I couldn't agree more.

[...]There were other things I loved too, but I know these things wouldn't be applicable in GW2. Things such as strong class fantasy (because armor was tied to professions - I was a Ritualist and I looked and felt like it, was the strongest class immersion I have ever experienced). Obviously the incredible and superior skill system, and of course Heroes too.

Miss those aspects as well.

I still love Guild Wars 2, but god kitten, replaying the original Guild Wars really puts things into perspective.

On release day, I was so excited to get to play a supposedly improved GW1, only to discover that they were two completely different games. It angered and frustrated me enough to quit GW2 after only a week or two...

It took me over three years to get enough distance between me and GW1 to give its sequel a second chance, so I would stop comparing the two. It's also the reason I can't touch GW1 again - it would start the whole mental cycle of disappointment all over again.

(And there really isn't much left for me to do in GW1 anyway, since I played through all the content several times. I would love to get "God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals", but alas, I can't bring myself to go back even for that, though I am only 2 max titles away from it. My Guild Hall is maxed out anyway, so I am content with the "Champion of the Gods" title, which was quite an endeavor to get and I am proud I achieved that.)

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GW1 had flow due to the structured, instanced content that scaled to player progression by introducing more complicated enemy builds and mob compositions rather than just giving more health to starter monsters and throwing them around maps with no direction to them outside of obfuscated meta tracks, obtrusive "go here" stars, or living story map markers that just end up being ham-fisted instances anyway.GW1 PvP content was structured around small-scale, team-based skirmishes rather than one-man, self-buffing monsters who inflict thousands of damage and walk through field hazards with no real support.GW1 player progression was quick to max and ridiculously versatile with the attribute system. GW2 stats are mostly an insult considering how they are more like forced gateways to the same content that players have already encountered rather than a new sort of content unto themselves; and they're incredibly restrictive to change compared to the baseline effectiveness of any given 1.5k armor in GW1.The franchise's direction really just took a fat stumble backwards probably somewhere around 2009 or so. I would imagine that it takes at least a couple of years to utterly destroy and reverse what was otherwise one of the most forward-thinking MMO designs to emerge from the mid-2000s.

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I'm glad the OP is enjoying GW1, especially since GW2 seems so disappointing to them so often. For me, GW2 is to GW1 what GW1 is to GW1/pre-Searing. As much as I loved pre-Searing, I liked the rest of the game more. And as much as I enjoyed that game (and even preferred some of its features), I find GW2 much more fun.

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When GW2’s focus is all about ridiculous updates ( really, a dog whistle? is that what they have been working on for few months?), fashion skins to sugarcoat the game and trying be all cutesy with these quaggan quotes and merchandise, you know this game is in a terrible state.

I do really wish we could customize the skill bar instead of having it locked into a set, and lore needs to be taken seriously. The predecessor of this game is crying in disbelief

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@googel.3278 said:( really, a dog whistle? is that what they have been working on for few months?)Really, no. They have a gem shop team that works on stuff that goes into the gem shop, which ultimately helps fund everything else. It's a small team working on the shop. Most of the work is devoted to the rest of the game, which has had all sort of other updates (you might remember a dragon, a lich, and a wardrobe).

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@ProverbsofHell.2307 said:I still love Guild Wars 2, but god kitten, replaying the original Guild Wars really puts things into perspective.

This. I'm midway through Nightfall (Elona) and getting so immersed I forget I'm not actually playing GW2. It's that good.

The background lore, the community, the combat ... all enjoyable and refreshing, without diminishing at all what I like about GW2. Really glad I took the time to go back.

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Everything alrdy said. Just one more thing. GW2 just doesnt feel like an MMO. It feels like a single player game with alot of NPCs runnging arround.Yeah true. Their is not a real teamwork. Someone tags up everyone runs behind that tag and is doing autoattacks. Heroes of gw1 or the mob behind the commander tag it feels the same.

Gw1 (if we dont count Heroes in gw1 nowadays) was a team based game where u needed a team with builds and voice communication optimazied. ANd it felt like u were playing with others rather then playing with named Npcs.

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GW1 is one of my favorite games of all time. Creating team builds for my whole party is so unique, I don’t see any other game replacing it. I really wish Anet didn’t abandon GW1. I think PVE skills makes all professions viable when played by the player, but this still leaves many heroes useless. It would be awesome if heroes can use PVE skills, too. I would nerf Save Yourselves to 50 armor, though.

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@"Ashantara.8731" said:(And there really isn't much left for me to do in GW1 anyway, since I played through all the content several times. I would love to get "God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals", but alas, I can't bring myself to go back even for that, though I am only 2 max titles away from it. My Guild Hall is maxed out anyway, so I am content with the "Champion of the Gods" title, which was quite an endeavor to get and I am proud I achieved that.)

That is extremely impressive! I personally think you should definitely return to finish your titles, if only just to have it in GW2.

@Illconceived Was Na.9781 said:I'm glad the OP is enjoying GW1, especially since GW2 seems so disappointing to them so often. For me, GW2 is to GW1 what GW1 is to GW1/pre-Searing. As much as I loved pre-Searing, I liked the rest of the game more. And as much as I enjoyed that game (and even preferred some of its features), I find GW2 much more fun.

I'm not sure where you got that idea, Illconceived. Actually, I really like Guild Wars 2, I think it's a great game - I just think the original Guild Wars is a masterpiece if you were to compare them. I have criticisms and suggestions for this game, but they're only born out of me actually enjoying and caring for the game to begin with.

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GW1 worked because it wasn't trying so hard to be something great. it achieved great gameplay and attracted and touched the hearts of so many of us gamers back then (many of us first for an MMO) because of its simplicity and by sticking to the basic MMO trinity (healer tank caster) engine for gameplay which is fantastic in my opinion and lends itself to more creativity and choices. I have great memories of when I first started Guild Wars 1 way back in 2005. It was so much fun, and most of all I enjoyed how easy it was to get teammates in towns so you could all do missions together (and the option of a henchman or 2 if needed).

My first and only PvE character for the first instalment is a Monk/Ele. I played all the other professions but mostly in PvP. When they announced Guild Wars 2, I decided straight away that I would choose a mesmer as my story character just to do something completely different to monk. I followed the early artwork that was released also and was excited about the Sylvari. When I realised they had scrapped the Monk profession I was a bit confused, but kept the faith as I am a fan. I had no idea the engine/combat mechanics (specifically the removal of the magic bar/mana) would be altered so much to what they are now.

I started GW2 about 2/3 years ago, and I was impressed with the beautiful and rich graphics on entering the game - and creating my Sylvari character. I chose a mesmer as I had planned many years earlier. However when I got into the actual game and started fighting enemies I was very confused. There was no magic bar, and the mesmer spells of GW1 were now a set of skills which seemed extremely limited. I realised I could make clones, which was interesting, but it wasn't the mesmer I was used to playing in GW1. There was also just a tiny amount of elite skills, most of which in my opinion are completely useless. My point is that the 'fun factor' I was used to in the first game was not there, and I had to get used to something new, and more combat-oriented. I stuck with the mesmer anyhow, and levelled her up to level 80, completing the main story, before going into the path of thorns storyline. Then I got bored and quit for more than a year, and now i'm back, mostly because I'm taking a break from another game I've been playing, and also because I don't know what else to play...... I feel like i'm stuck with GW2 because I have no choice. The days of GW1 and all the fun I had (with other players) are over, but I wish it wasn't. I wish GW2 was actually a development of GW1, without all the unecessary extras and changes.

Here are the things I do not like in GW2:

-All professions feel exactly the same to play - only difference is specializations, many of them even use the same elite skills/skill effects: I believe all professions have skills which cause the same conditions as every other profession.

-There is no 'real' sense of magic, because every profession: whether you are a warrior, assassin or elementalist, feels exactly the same.

-Every profession has an equal skillset, and the graphics from the skills look the same: if there is any sense of magic, every single skill no matter what profession you choose makes you feel like you are an elementalist or mage because of the effects. I was shocked when I decided to create a ranger and a warrior, and then a revenant just to see what it felt like, and it was no different to playing my mesmer. This did not happen in GW1: there, every profession was unique (up to assassin and ritualist: the dervish and paragon in my opinion were redundant and this was the beginning of the excess in development direction which led to what we see now with all the races and professions which imo add nothing to the genre: GW2 Engineer idea is a great concept, but unfortunately it feels just like being an elementalist, or the same as everything else because of the game mechanics which I mentioned above. The GW2 Necromancer is WAY too dark in my opinion: I actually felt uncomfortable playing it and ended up deleting it after just a few minutes. The spells and descriptions of the skills are way too serious and edgy for my tastes. GW1 never took itself seriously with any of its fantasy elements, and playing a necromancer with a blood drinker spell didn't make me feel uncomfortable, or that I was summoning demonic spirits in real life.

-The map is too big. I appreciate that the developers want to give players as much content for years to come as possible. However, I feel like this can be done on a much smaller scale. I find it difficult to find my way around the map, especially now with all the different expansions and game worlds (pvp wvw guildhall etc), I often have to ask other players in game for a waypoint which I already have. The nice thing about GW1's map was that you found yourself memorising routes and regions. It felt like it was part of your world because of this.

-Too many races and too much going on. Again, just like in my comment above: I get confused when there is so much to do and so much to look at. With a game of a hundred different races (and many other minor or mentioned ones) how can a player develop a connection to the fantasy element, in a way which gives you fond memories of interacting with npc characters? This isn't a criticism of any race in particular, but sometimes it feels like there are so many ideas that it's difficult to see what the game is trying to do or where it's going: I think it would have been better to start the game with just 2 races: Human, Sylvari. And maybe then only half the current map would have been available. Then the other races, including a playable Hylek race could have come in later storylines and expansions. This would make more sense to me. I have to admit, seeing creatures like Wales swimming in the water makes me even more confused, because it just doesn't fit with the lore of the game, but what is the lore of GW2 exactly? it seems to be a mixture of anything and everything all rolled into one? Is this to keep as many people as possible interested?

-Crafting: I like the idea of this, but again it seems to be added to the game just as 'something to do', without providing any real sense of accomplishment. I crafted 2 items when I first started playing, and haven't crafted anything since. Most items you craft are actually useless, just like the junk loot and items you receive as rewards unless you enjoy doing the same thing over and over for hundreds and hundreds of hours (which is not my idea of fulfilling gameplay).

-GW2 has nothing that connects players in regular co-op or teamplay.

-GW2 has too many stat screens, and the Guild panel is overwhelming and confusing. it took me a long time to discover just how to accept a guild invitation. This is even worse in the PvP world, which is buzzing with different screen, stats and information - is it all really necessary? Do players need all that information? GW1 was so simple in so many ways. I only recently discovered (after 2-3 years) that I could even set runes etc before going into a pvp match for free. Why was this? Because I was so overwhelmed by the PvP dialogues and mechanics that I had no clue I could even do this or that it was an option. I'm still very confused by some of the dialogues when you enter the PvP match, for example with the heroes I think they're called: Basically what I'm saying is that a lot of what I'm fed I don't find intuitive.

-GW2 has too many professions, and everything about the way they move/behave/skillset activations looks and feels the same.

-Elite Skills are terrible and most make no sense.

-Most skills are terrible and far too limited: you can spend 2 minutes or less killing a moderately difficult enemy (alone - as expected) and press 150 buttons to activate skills repeatedly: this is not my idea of decent combat design: this is more like wasting my time. Why not design a combat system that is more effective, where skills actually feel different and have an impact on enemies without the need for doing combos 'all the time' and relying on specializations and a crappy elite skill which takes 180 seconds to recharge (and what exactly is being recharged as there is no mana....?)

To elaborate, I created a level-80 boosted elementalist a few days ago (which i'm actually enjoying playing, merely because despite all my grievances with GW2 the graphics and leftover lore from GW1 and the love I have for that instalment keeps me coming back), and elementalists are supposed to be known for their area spells which do huge amounts of damage to enemies, but have very weak armor. There is no such thing in GW2. So you have the name 'elementalist' which comes with the lore, but the actual gameplay is more of a combat character with an elementalist-style skillset which all do small to medium amounts of damage, and have to be used in combo with the correct armor/runes/glyphs/traits/while dodging and rolling and all that before anything worthy of GW2 is seen. I learned this with my mesmer, and I have gotten used to it, but I don't prefer it to the GW1 style.

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The atmosphere of the first game is darker overall, think GW2 changed this to cater to more people.I'd say the music in both games in nothing to talk about, apart from Crystal Desert, Nightfall trailer music and pre-searing music (which I kitten hate) can't remember any music from GW1, as for GW2 can only think about one or two aswell. But even with both games music being "meh" and forgetful I'd say the current composer is leaps ahead of Jeremy Soule.The difficulty of the first game was way higher than GW2 till heroes came. I remember I was one week doing the Thunderhead Keep with pugs multiple times a day and failed every time.Even one of the first post-searing quests (Altheas' Ashes) was difficult as kitten.On some other missions getting masters was a pita, The Eternal Grove comes to mind.And agreed with Cedric, every profession, heck, every weapon skill, feels the same on GW2. On the first game, you had to think and act according to what the foe was doing, in this one just do the same thing over and over again. ANet couldn't dumb it down more.

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@Cedric Ambidexter.9174 said:

@"Stand The Wall.6987" said:guild wars 1 was before the profit first model, that's why those two head developer dudes left.

Care to expand?

no nvm that's not completely accurate. for some reason I thought the first release of gw1 was solely by anet and ncsoft hadn't acquired them yet. anet was formed in 2000 and ncsoft bought em 2 years later, then gw1 came out in 2005. still that's a fair bit of time without any corporate overlords. if jeff and pat hadn't left to go to ncsoft and stuck with gw2 all the way, I think this game would be entirely different, for the better. not to beat up on ol mo, this game is still the best out there in the mmo category as far as im concerned. some newer releases might take the cake tho.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArenaNet

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I agree with your points OP. I do play GW2 nowadays but more as a casual, just bumming around and getting some cool skins and ascended gear. I don't need that gear but it's just something to do. I do play GW1 for a bit every year as well and I still love the atmosphere so much more there. I think the reason I don't stick is because I've got trouble finding people who enjoy doing the content in the way it was intended let's say. Most people there just like to do speed runs it seems and they do them with small groups with gimmick builds focused around PvE only skills mostly and I don't really care for that. I prefer going in with a full group that plays their classes and just has fun doing the dungeons or areas without speeding through it and skipping most of it. But who knows, maybe next time I go back to GW1 and might be luckier.

GW2 does have it's good sides but yeah it's too goofy and though beautifully crafted it lacks the compelling atmosphere that GW1 has. I just can't take GW2 serious enough to really get engaged fully. Since there's no sub I can jump in and out whenever I want without it being much of a choice or commitment. GW2 also has gotten better as the story is less childish and they basically have been adding a lot of GW1 stuff into the game. I find that ironic in a way because they so did their best to make GW2 as far away from GW1 as possible. Anyways, GW1 is still the superior game to me because I actually cared about the story and what happened to my characters and discovering new lands. There was a lot of variety in PvP formats and the PvE world was also varied with story missions, challenging zones, etc. GW2 does have some things that GW1 didn't have like crafting and WvWvW but to be honest, considering what they did with that I could live without those quite easily. I happily spent money on unlocking mercenaries and character slots and such. In GW2 I rethink every purchase 10 times because even when I want something, it rarely feels like I get my money's worth.

GW1 has elite armour sets that are inferior graphically to GW2 but superior in design. I would get multiple sets for my characters as I enjoyed collecting them. In GW2 I really have to try my best to find a look that I really like for each of my characters. Just one for each is a challenge already. That has to do with a variety of factors like the character models themselves but the truth is that, at least for me, I cared a lot more about what happened in that game and that's something that GW2 never achieved for me in great measure. I only do the story on one character and for the rest I'm just farming a bit and completing maps, joining in some world bosses and events left and right. It's good enough to play, but not good enough to be really involved in for me. And I think that what you describe are definitely part of the reasons why GW2 just doesn't engage me nearly as much as GW1 has over the years.

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I have said it many times before but it's worth repeating. GW1 and GW2 are completely different games, only related by the names of places used in game and some lore.I like both and still play both, but any hope that GW2 would actually BE GW2 went out the window after a few weeks of playing. Things I miss:

Missions where you had to avoid all combat as much as possible instead of brute forcing it.Dual professions.Elite skill captures.Customization of builds and skill bars. Some really incredible builds could be created for specific purposes. (Invinci-monk comes to mind)

I had hoped GW2 would be GW1 with better graphics, jumping and under water combat, sadly it's not even close to the original. I am not saying GW2 is bad and in fact I love playing it, but it simply does not feel like a sequel to GW1 at all, but a stand alone completely different game.

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It lefts just a bad taste in my mouth, when i work for my legendary armor or legendary weapon skin for months, and the gemstore items look just better then any item i could gain through effort ingame beside farming gold.

Even when the graphics are better in gw2. We were paid with a beautiful skin for our efforts in gw1. ANd the barbiehouse effect was a proud when i showed of my fully builded up charcter. "nobody" cares about thouse flashy effects in gw2 all arround ur ntire character if u just flip ur credit card and buy it instanly. Ihave tons of legendary items. But it just doesnt feel like my first obsidian armor in gw1. Because i use the gemstore skins.

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@"ProverbsofHell.2307" said:The world, the lore, the atmosphereOne thing was that in Guild Wars 1, the world felt quite serious, and was in very good taste. In general, things "made sense", and everything felt in place, it made the world feel real and natural, even though the game is more dated. Guild Wars 2 on the other hand, feels more like a "Guild Wars 1 Theme Park with Gift Shop". In Guild Wars 1, you go to fight Abaddon in this nightmarish void, and in Guild Wars 2 he's a glider skin. It just feels "goofy" and hurts the atmosphere.

Both had their moments from my perspective. It was Guild Wars 1 where you had Drakes on a Plain, for example.

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@Boysenberry.1869 said:30 years from now if I look back at the games I played in the past I know I will have much fonder memories of GW1 than GW2.

I immersed myself in GW1. I just play GW2.

So much this. But, I hate it when someone starts a thread such as this, because it brings back so many fond, nostalgic memories of a game that I wholeheartedly loved and wish GW2 was so much like. Don't get me wrong, I do love GW2, and have played since beta with a recent year or two break to try out a Korean made MMO (which I won't name), but from that experience and from what I've seen, in my opinion, nothing compares to GW2, except GW1. GW1 was my first semi-MMOish game on PC, or any game in the genre for that matter, and I quickly fell in love and became immersed with all aspects of the game. If I were to log back in to GW1 and /age, I would have tons more time logged in that game than GW2...but again, that doesn't mean I dislike GW2. I just loved GW1 much more. I know most everyone was tired of GW1 and ready for something new, myself included, but.....I have said so many times to my friends from GW1 who also play GW2, I wish they would have just remade GW1 with the new GW2 engine. Updated graphics, jumping, dodging, open world MMO, etc. They could have deleted redundant skills added from each expansion and revamped original skills. Start with Prophecies again and release each expansion as before, but with the new engine, maybe even finishing Utopia this time. I can only imagine playing any of the PVP modes in GW1 and being able to dodge...or playing WvW with two professions and the unique skill bar possibilities that could come from that (until a meta is determined, of course). I know this isn't everyone's opinion/view, and I'm not far from everyone that loves GW2...I do too. But it's my hope that one day ANET remakes GW1 with the new engine/features that makes us love GW2 so much, because in my opinion, GW1>GW2.

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