While looking at Amazon, wanting to preorder the game, I decided to write a review. Before I knew what had happened, I had completely gone over the top in raving about the game. Here is my review, and I encourage you to link it if you want to explain to a friend why they should buy this game!
To name all of the things that make me enjoy this game would take too long. Why? Because it is a lot of little, quality of life things that make the game a fun experience. Here are just some of the things that I love about what I’ve seen in my 13 months in Beta.
1. The devs listen. They actually take feedback really well, negative or positive. You play this game, and you will have responsive, communicative people making a great game that they love making.
2. Roads speed up travel. Novel idea.
3. Paths (settler, scientist, explorer, soldier) add another layer of content and enjoyment, plus a few handy-dandy skills. Don’t think that it will drastically change up what you are used to, but it will increase enjoyment. Be warned, you will probably love a certain path, hate a different path, and be “meh” about the other 2. That is the nature of gamer personalities and why it works so well. The skills are useful in everyday leveling and MMO life: explorers have a temporary teleport beacon (so they can reset a jumping puzzle, for example), Scientists get a group rally teleport, Settlers can basically build a small town in the wilderness with a mailbox, campfire, crafting table, abilities kiosk, etc, and Soldiers can call in an airdrop of weapons or heal to full outside of combat (and PvP).
4. The telegraphed (ground AoE) targeting system is a big part of why this game is so fun! That does mean that, if you hate this style of combat, you will probably hate this game. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but it is a lot of fun for those who like it!
5. Crafting is extremely well-done. In my opinion, a good crafting system is not one that brings non-crafters in (though this does do that by making it easy to get good results), but rather a good crafting system makes crafters have a legitimate playstyle. There are slots of gear that the best in slot pieces will come from crafting. Architects not only build things for houses (see below), but also build equipment for use in 40v40 Warplots (see below). Crafting also takes a unique approach to progression, making so you don’t have to craft 100 iron axes to level up your skills.
6. HOUSING! OMG the housing is amazing. You get a house, you can put anything anywhere at any size or rotation in your house (full free-placement), you can place things outside your house in the same way, you also have plugs in your housing plot, meaning you can surround your house with mini-instances, mining areas, forests for harvesting wood and skins, a garden that can produce things for cooking and other professions, a raid portal (with buffs), and of course the whole gamut of cosmetic options, from a helipad, to giant Eldan statues (that also have buffs), etc.
7. Warplots are basically housing, but instead of flower boxes and garden gnomes, you place turrets and acid pits, and then you fight them against other Warparties and their customized Warplots. These are 40v40 fights where you load up your Warplot with Orbital Lasers (for big strikes), guardposts, rez stations, etc. and you protect your Warplots generators and attack theirs, while battling for resources in the middle. This is a huge battle with complex strategies, because if you lose a feature on your plot (because they can be destroyed), they stay destroyed and have to be repaired. This is a hardcore and deep system that allows for a lot of meta-game thought and strategies. Also, did you beat a boss in the 40-man raid (see below)? Well awesome, you might just get a token from them that you can use to attach him to your warplot and unleash him on your enemies. Boss on a rope, anyone?
8. The return of the 40-man raids has a lot of people excited for the hardcore PvE aspects of this game. There are 20-man raids as well, but the hardest content in the game is in the 40-man. Not only will the raids be changing weekly, so as to keep people on their toes and prevent burnout, but there will also not be a LFR feature because they are THAT HARD. This ain’t your grandma’s raid end game (unless your grandma is a pro-player, then good for freakin’ her!).
9. The questing and story is not anything revolutionary, although the questing is designed to keep you moving, and not back and forth from the quest hub to the field, but rather from field to field. It is, however, infused with a sort of morbid humor, juxtaposing the humorous and ridiculous with the deadly dangers of the planet Nexus. I laugh out loud a lot!
10. PvP battlegrounds and arenas are in from day one, and EVERYTHING is cross-server. Rated BGs, Arenas, and Warplots start at level cap.
11. PvE is not limited to raids. You have dungeons with standard modes about every 10 levels while leveling, plus veteran modes at level 50. You have adventures, which are like dungeons in difficulty, but they are more thematic, reminiscent of games like League of Legends, Oregon Trail, and murder mysteries. These are also every ten levels, but are offset, meaning you have a new PvE SOMETHING to do every 5 levels. They also have veteran modes at level 50. You have shiphand missions, which are very episodic in nature, taking you on a ship into space, facing something like you would see from a Star Trek episode, such as a mysterious plague that has killed everyone on a ship, or other such sci-fi tropes. These missions scale with respect to group size and can be done solo. Finally, you have the solo endgame that is promised frequent updates (which they have received extensive training on from GW2 and ArenaNet). Their tools are build for fast content updates, and they created entire housing mini-instances sometimes in one day (they call these their “Game Jams,” they take place on Saturdays, and sometimes team members will switch roles to become multitalented and trained).
This game is a combination of all the mechanics of games you love, with some new innovative ideas, and the themes are very Star Trek meets Firefly meets Indiana Jones. A great combination for a great game.