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"World of Warcraft" vs "Guild Wars 2": Which Is Better?

Alisha Adkins is an author, gamer, and zombie enthusiast. She is currently pursuing her dream of writing and quietly starving to death.

Between "World of Warcraft" and "Guild Wars 2," which game do you think would win in a face-off?

Between "World of Warcraft" and "Guild Wars 2," which game do you think would win in a face-off?

As a long-time player of World of Warcraft (WoW), I tend to judge other MMORPGs with this game as my central point of reference.

I started playing Guild Wars 2 (GW2) after looking for something new that has similar elements to WoW. Since there are quite a few other gamers out there who have experience playing WoW and wonder how other games stack up against it, I thought that a comparison of these two games might prove helpful.

So, without further ado, here is a side-by-side analysis of WoW vs GW2.

Character Creation

Character creation has become a fairly standard experience from one role-playing game to another. Nonetheless, there is some variation between these two games.

Races and Classes

WoW is way ahead in terms of playable races. It has 13 races, 7 of which are available to each faction. GW2, on the other hand, has only 5 races, although more could be added in the future.

The playing field is a bit more even when it comes to classes. WoW has 11 playable classes, although not all classes can be played by all races. GW2 has eight playable classes which are available to all races.

Customization

While not revolutionary, Guild Wars 2's character creation system does offer a lot of ways to customize your character's look, from body size and girth to the angle and length of facial features. Comparatively, Warcraft's options are quite simplistic. For each race, there are a limited number of skin tones, faces, hairstyles, hair colors, and one other feature that varies depending upon race (such as markings, piercings, etc.).

Winner: Guild Wars 2

Combat System

Both games utilize key-bound skills.

The skills your character has in WoW are based upon core class abilities, specialization skills, and chosen talents (as well as some profession-specific skills).

In GW2, combat skills are based upon class "slot skills", weapon-specific skills, and, to a lesser extent, your character's race.

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Although GW2's weapon-specific skills are an interesting twist, they don't necessarily make the system better. Fundamentally, the style of gameplay remains the same.

Winner: Tie

"World of Warcraft" Talents

"World of Warcraft" Talents

Talents or Traits?

WoW uses a class talent system. Talents have evolved a great deal over the years. In their current incarnation, the talent system consists of a choice between three class-specific talents that become available every 15 levels.

In GW2, players acquire traits instead of talents. Characters receive their first trait point at level 11 and then earn 1 additional point each level, for a total of 70 trait points at level 80. Players spend these trait points into trait lines; these points increase the attributes associated with the line, enhance character skills, and unlock the line's minor and major traits.

The traits system of GW2 simply offers more depth. In a stand-off with WoW's current talent system, it wins. However, it is worth mentioning that RIFT (#3 in this MMORPG race) has a deeper, more interesting talent system than either game.

Winner: Guild Wars 2

Professions

Here is a rundown of how professions differ between the two games. Please keep in mind that these are my initial impressions; I have not yet reached the maximum level with any GW2 profession.

Gathering and Crafting

In WoW, gathering is a profession. However, in GW2, it is not—all toons have the ability to chop wood, mine ore, and harvest plants, and salvage materials, which is a nice convenience. All you need is to have the appropriate gathering tools. Unfortunately, these tools are consumable items that come in stacks. Further complicating things, different types of tool are required for different difficulty levels of gathering. This seems unnecessarily complicated. WoW's approach, requiring a single tool (such as a mining pick) in the backpack, is far less of a headache.

Like WoW, in GW2, characters can have two professions. There are eight to choose from: Armorsmith, Artificer (creating staffs and scepters), Chef (unlike in WoW, where Cooking is a skill all characters can use), Huntsman (creating bows, guns, and war horns), Jeweler, Leatherworking, Tailoring, and Weaponsmith. There is a lot of overlap with WoW's eight crafting professions.

The most notable difference here is in the secondary skills that are made available to all characters. While GW2's gathering skills are essentially secondary skills, Warcraft offers some of more depth. WoW's secondary skills are Cooking, First Aid (admittedly, this one is pretty useless), Archaeology, and Fishing. Archaeology provides background story and unique vanity items, and fishing is essentially its own mini-game.

Experience, Discoveries, and Location Requirements

WoW does award some experience for gathering (although it didn't always), and GW2 does as well. However, GW2 also rewards experience for items you craft, and depending upon the item, the amount of experience rewarded can be quite substantial. It is possible to gain quite a few levels for your alts, simply by using materials you have gathered on your main to craft.

WoW has begun to dabble with the idea of recipe discovery, particularly in alchemy, but it is still a small part of the crafting experience. GW2 allows you to combine ingredients to discover loads of new recipes. This fun little extra element is practically a mini-game in itself.

Since WoW's addition of the thermal anvil, crafting of all but a very few rare recipes can be performed pretty much anywhere. In GW2, you must be at a crafting station in order to perform crafting. However, the ability to teleport from anywhere somewhat mitigates this inconvenience.

Despite the glaring absence of fishing, GW2 still has the best profession system.

Winner: Guild Wars 2

World Events

Traditionally, WoW has had a pretty static game world. Sure, which faction holds a PvP zone may change every few hours, but fundamentally, the game remains the same. The three exceptions to this rule are:

  1. Introduction of New Content: When unlocking a new raid (such as the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj) or zone (typically introduced via patch), content changes as realm progress is made. This content frequently takes the form of dailies, which may change with each new stage.
  2. World Bosses: In the past, world bosses required full guilds to defeat, so they were essentially just first-come, first-served raids. However, more recently, bosses such as the Sha of Anger have become lootable by any one of the winning faction who participates in the kill, thus inviting cooperation among players who are unacquainted with one another.
  3. Seasonal Events: WoW celebrates a good number of in-game holidays and events, such as Hallow's End and the monthly Darkmoon Faire. Unfortunately, for veteran players, these events can feel stale since they change very little from year to year.

World events are at the heart of the GW2 experience. These events fall into one of three different categories:

  1. Dynamic Events: Taking the place of standard quests, which can have negative repercussions such as spawn camping and kill stealing, dynamic events are unique to specific areas and occur as a result of player interaction. These events have multiple possible outcomes and can trigger additional events. For example, a successful centaur invasion may then lead to centaurs occupying a nearby fort, triggering a new event in which that fort could then be taken by players. Dynamic e