More recently, I've returned to give it another try, this time with a friend of mine. Surprisingly, I couldn't be more pleased with the experience. So far, we've begun new Charr characters and have completely explored the Plains of Ashford. I could be somewhere between level 15 and 17, but it isn't something I'm concerned about because we've been more focused on map exploration, capturing every vista, heart, point of interest and waypoint on our beginning map.
And as you can see from the upper left corner, while we've achieved 100% completion of the Ashford map, we've only seen 4% of the world map. And that makes me smile.
I had the same feeling a long time ago, playing WoW. I had just finished the Wetlands on one of my first characters - tore it to shreds, knocked out every quest from Whelgar's excavation to retrieving that old satchel from the slime up by the crypt, and loving every minute of it.
I was just heading across the Thandol Span into Arathi, and I thought to myself, "Across that bridge, I've got a whole new zone to explore, new stories to experience, new characters to meet. This isn't finished -- I'm just getting started."
That was exactly the feeling I had today.
It's All TrueI was reading Belghast's inaugural Blaugust post, where he was singing the praises of the community on his Final Fantasy XIV server and knew a little of the joy he was trying to communicate. I experienced many of the things that are said about how Guild Wars changed the landscape when it came to player interaction. The subtle shift in your attitude toward your fellow players is noticeable when they let you gather that herb before them, when they join you in a dynamic event and lighten the load for you, when they pause along their way to rez your fallen carcass and fight off whatever it was that ate you.
I'm not eyeing my fellow players warily, anymore. In fact, I'm actually doing the same for them. I'm not worrying about whether I'll steal their kill, or if they think I'm going to ninja their node, or look down upon them because they "needed my help." In fact, the atmosphere encourages a little more experimentation, a little more risk taking, a little more freedom.
I'm looking forward to it.