I have been playing MMORPGs for almost 10 years now. I actually started with the launch of Lord of the Rings online back in 2007, switched to World of Warcraft shortly thereafter thanks to the coaxing of some real life friends who were pretty dedicated Horde players.
The timing for the switch was both good and bad depending on you’re perspective. I was a freshman in college, which meant I had quite a bit of time to play, but also had to be careful not to let it take over since I was just getting used to the way college worked. Thankfully I managed to not lose my life to the game and managed to balance it with school, but pretty much every Friday and Saturday was spent sitting in a friends bedroom at a folding card table on laptops playing WoW. I played through the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, even waiting outside best buy in the freezing cold with my guildies to get the collector’s edition at the midnight release.
However after about 3 years I found that I had sort of burned out on the game. I stopped playing before Cataclysm came out, and took a bit of a break from other MMOs for awhile. I dabbled a bit in the original Guild Wars, but didn’t play another MMO regularly until the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Having played Knights of the Old Republic, I was very excited for SW:TOR. It was one of the big games at my first PAX East, which just got me more hyped for the launch. I liked how it was more story based then WoW but found it had some of the same MMO foibles. You still had to grind through the quest log and go back and forth from quest givers. After about 3 months I found myself a bit more burned out and decided to stop paying for the subscription.
I went back to the original Guild Wars, partially because I found myself more interested in the story based MMOs, partially due to its lack of subscription fee, and partially from spending time in real life with people who played. The hype for Guild wars 2 was just starting to grow, and the first demos were showing up at PAXs. I waited in the longest PAX line I have ever braved to play the demo and was instantly ready for the game and by the time it launched I was as hyped for it as I had been for SW:TOR if not a bit more.
Guild Wars 2 didn’t follow the normal MMO formula. They decided to take out the quest log and quest givers, and instead developed events and “hearts” throughout the world, which just become available as you enter areas. The way that you stumbled into these events and tasks took out a lot of the grinding feel to leveling. Plus there is nothing quite like stumbling across a giant world event, with a boss that takes more than 25 players to take down and having the other people in the zone just come together in a impromptu group to actually defeat it.
At this point Guild Wars 2 has been out for almost 4 years, and I have logged more hours in it than any MMO to date, and feel like I have barely scratched the surface as to all the gameplay that it has to offer. I haven’t tried the raids they have launched since the expansion., and have barely touched the PvP. They have kept the game interesting and provided a big and interesting world to explore. I have rolled multiple characters, and have 3 that are at max level. I’ve played through the story of almost all of the available races (only Sylvari left!) and still find myself going back in to the game for more. It’s hard to imagine another MMO coming in to pull me away from Tyria, but I do know that it is unlikely that I will ever stop running around in these ever growing game worlds.