Guild Wars: Eye of the North Review

Odds are that you know whether or not you want Guild Wars: Eye of the North already. Unlike Factions and Nightfall, the second and third installments (campaigns) in the Guild Wars series, GWEN requires you to own at least one of the three Guild Wars campaigns. It’s clearly geared towards higher-end players and doesn’t really add new content in the way you might think an expansion would. Instead, GWEN just gives you more of the same, which may or may not be a good thing.

This is the same underlying game you’ve been playing for years now — the engine and gameplay are still the same as when Prophecies first released. That means a heavy emphasis on teamwork and complimenting others in your party with a wide range of skills that cover all the bases. This taps into something that a lot of MMORPGs lack, which is what has kept Guild Wars so playable and so much fun after all this time. But, that also means you have to deal without other things that serve to make your overall experience much better. There’s still no auction house, no jump key, and no open environments (you’re still stuck on linear paths). But any Guild Wars fan will tell you that none of that matters in the long run, as the game offers a level of depth that can be achieved without devoting your entire life to the game. But, there’s also a lot to be found for those who decide to go that route, as well.


Guild Wars - Asura and Golem


Enough about what you already know. As I said, GWEN adds more of the same — unlike Factions and Nightfall, which introduced new gameplay mechanics like the NPC heroes, the only new mechanic is the Hall of Monuments. And that doesn’t even impact gameplay in any way.

You’ll explore the Northern Shiverpeaks, the area north of where the Prophecies campaign took place. Once again we’ve got a clichéd story about an immensely powerful enemy that threatens to destroy everyone. Does that sound run-of-the-mill enough for ya? Guild Wars has never been one for intricate storylines, and GWEN is no exception; it’s there if you want to care about it and learn more about the lore, but skipping it won’t hurt your experience one bit.

There are no new professions to be found in GWEN, and only 10 new skills per profession. These are easily attainable at a skill merchant, and are perhaps the only item that players only interested in PvP will care about.

The story itself is extremely short when compared with the previous games, which is really surprising given the $40 pricetag, just $10 less than a Guild Wars campaign. A solid weekend of playtime will see you through to the end, although the ride, short as it may be, is more entertaining than previous campaigns thanks to its focus on dungeons instead of missions. Early on, the story will split into three different paths as you choose to help three different races, two of which are brand new: the Norn and the Asura. They both look like the prototypical race you’d expect to find in a fantasy game, and really are just a tease for what lies in store with Guild Wars 2. Your choice of storyline to follow first is ultimately irrelevant, as you’ll eventually complete all three races’ quest offerings, leading into a final showdown.

Extending the length of the game are the various minigames and side tasks you can choose to take part in. Minigames include a few different distractions from the main game and include a Pokémon-like game, duels, and boxing. The side tasks are a major deviation from previous Guild Wars in that they heavily promote the concept of grinding your character. Before, GW was always accessible thanks to its low level cap and focus on strategy and preparedness – not amount of time played. While this hasn’t changed, you’ll need to invest a lot of time to complete all of these quests.


Guild Wars Eye of the North - Jora vs Yeti


It’s nice to include that for those who are interested, but my biggest issue with GWEN lies within the new side quests; you need to complete tons of them to allow yourself the privilege of using the Hall of Monuments. The Hall is a way of transferring things (weapons, Heroes, armor, titles) from the original Guild Wars titles to Guild Wars 2. It’s a nice feature for series vets that I was really looking forward to, and it was, in fact, the selling point of GWEN to me. But it’s disappointing due to the requirements to actually make use of it. You’ll have to complete the aforementioned grinding quests if you’re interested in storing your stuff. Perhaps even worse than that is the fact that only GWEN weapons and elite armor can be transferred using the Hall. What the hell? The entire way the Hall works seems to contradict what the series has stood for. All of a sudden grinding is not only encouraged but required to make use of a core feature.

Justifying a purchase will come down to two things: are you ready for more Guild Wars action? Any of the three campaigns would be the better pickup right now, as they’ll offer a lot more gameplay than GWEN does. The other factor is, if you’re looking to use the Hall and take advantage of everything GWEN offers, can you deal with grinding? Ask yourself that before you drop the money on this expansion. For the Guild Wars lovers out there, it’s a must have and you’ll undoubtedly get your money’s worth out of it. But for the casual fan who might not even achieve the higher-end gear to send into Guild Wars 2, you’re better off picking up one of the campaigns.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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