Besides being the lucky recipient of a copy of 'Axis & Allies' boardgame for my very recent birthday, I also was given a copy of Guild Wars. This is a graphically full on online mega mega multiplayer mission based game (I hope someone develops a lexicon to talk about these types of things sometime soon).
It has stunning graphics, a feature of the game which will bring back time and again even those who no longer find great meaning in the hunt for treasure and experience points in an eternal quest for more things and levels. Because, at another level, Guild Wars appears a pretty successful attempt at creating the online equivalent of the (old) D&D experience.
The disks you purchase are basically just a 'client' program, the game itself exists in cyberspace hosted by a number of servers. The bonus here is that you don't have to 'patch' (update) the program, because you don't have it. You do also a get a neat package of a couple decent booklets that give you background to the cyberverse you are about to enter, and a decent hardcopy manual to the playing of the game. You also get a poster featuring the enigmatic and vaguely erotic features of a character from the game.
Guild Wars features all sorts of quirky features. For example, each type of character has its own 'dance' command (check out the male necromancer here, and the female ritualist here for my favorites).
The game is episodic when you play its 'adventure' mode (Player v Environment) - it's a vast structured series of missions and quests set in a vast landscape for you and your party. The interactivity seems to arise within these parties, and when you meet and make up parties with other players online in the cities and towns. You leave these places to go into the wilderness. The wilderness adventureland is created new for each group (or individual) each time they leave a city. So your dungeon crawlers won't meet mine on our quest except in the eternal city streets of Ascalon.
Unless we play in the Player v Player mode, when different groups (guilds) of players face off in a tourney like fashion. It is these 'guilds' of players which give the game both its name and its vitality as an ongoing cyberverse.
I've put a link to the portal to the (pretty comprehensive and neat) 'Official' site onto my MMPORG Resource page (link is on the blog roll to left of your screen), so you can get a taste of it.
When I've played it a bit more I'll probably post a further review of the actual gameplay experience.
9 hours ago