Sept, 4 2007
If you're not already a Guild Wars fan, then move along, as there's little reason for you to get started with Guild Wars: Eye of the North. Unlike ArenaNet's previous stand-alone campaigns - which were designed for both new players and seasoned vets - Eye of the North primarily caters to the most ardent Guild Wars fans with beefed up avatars.
Strangers to the series will feel like they walked into a movie halfway over, and won't get all the juicy references to past events, before getting pwned by the game's brutal difficulty level. But if you have any love for the MMO series, there's no question about it. Guild Wars: Eye of the North is your next must-have title.
Eye of the North comes packed with the expected array of new content and sports new quests, areas, dungeons, heroes, PvE skills, and more. But it's the way ArenaNet's development team injected pure unabashed fan love into what could have been a banal throwaway expansion that makes for a refreshing return to Tyria.
After venturing into the underground lair of the Dwarves, you're immediately introduced to the Destroyers, a bloodthirsty race of molten demons bent on destroying all life on the planet. It's the typical Tolkien-esque of tale of banding various fantasy races together to face an overwhelmingly large and evil force, but it works.
Expect to see the return of old faces from previous adventures and lots of blank-filling details for those that dig Guild Wars' deep lore. The elaborate new dungeons are done in the vein of Sorrow's Furnace, and will challenge you and your guild mates with events that take real teamwork and transcend beyond clicking for loot and getting from point A to B. Assaulting a fortress with dinosaur siege engines or avoiding deadly booby traps - that would give Indiana Jones a run for his money - are all in a day's work here.
Three new minigames also add some fun distractions to the otherwise serious setting. Polymock is Guild Wars' answer to Pokemon. You can collect various pieces (or monsters) to battle against others. Dwarven boxing lets you put away your weapons to dish out pain with your knuckles. And the Norn battle arena will pit you against heroes from all the previous Guild Wars campaigns.
In a market filled with WoW-clones after your hard-earned cash with monthly fees, Guild Wars continues to offer best bang for your MMO buck. With its challenging dungeons and fun side-missions, Eye of the North comes just in time for those burnt out on Guild Wars' current PvP and PvE scene. More like a satisfying finale than a cheap hook to lure you into migrating to Guild Wars 2 next year, Eye of the North is a no-brainer for any self-respecting Guild Wars fan.
The game comes with a brief complimentary trial period for Prophecies, Factions, and Nightfall. But MMO fans should sample the original Guild Wars: Prophecies to see if it's heavily instanced take on MMORPGs is their cup of tea before jumping in blind with Eye of the North.