I play GW1 outside of Steam, but I have over 1,500 hours logged, which pretty much makes it my most played game ever. I played it off/on since it was in beta, and it was remarkable for the time. A AAA quality MMO with no monthly subscription fee was unheard of when it was released, and although it's not technically classified as a MMORPG because of its instanced-based areas, it certainly feels like one since it IS massive, multiplayer, online, and a role-playing game.
In fact, in many ways, GW1 was more social than other MMOs I've played. The population has died down hugely since GW2 was released, but the towns and outposts used to be full of life. People dancing, goofing around, participating in events, etc. In the original Prophecies campaign (my favorite) you ran most missions with full parties because it was too difficult to complete many on your own. It forced you to rely on others, and everyone in the party was important. Trading was even quite social, since there was no auction house. You had to advertise your item and then actually have a conversation with the buyer, which often resulted in some bartering and light chat.
Like many I have moved on to Guild Wars 2 and have no intention of going back, but GW1 will always have a special place in my nerdy gaming heart. Here are some fond memories I have:
- Roaming the beautiful introductory area for each newly created character (for those of you who haven't played, if I gave you the name everyone calls this intro it would be a bit of a spoiler).
- Receiving my obsidian armor (the highest armor achievement in the game).
- Soloing Underworld with my SoS rit. Drunk.
- Mad King Says events, and 30+ instances of Lion's Arch at full player capacity.
- The snowy, solitary Shiverpeaks.
- Traveling long distances and not knowing where you'll end up, because the map doesn't tell you everything.
- Buying runs to Drok's Forge. Virtual player taxis!
- Synchronized dance parties. The annual candy corn dance was always a sight to see.
- Playing hide n' seek with my guildies, where all the outposts in the entire world were game.
- Getting fed up with all the horrible typers and creating my own guild "Legendary Defenders of Grammar".
- All the amazing capes.
- Having to type /jump in order to...well, jump.
- Witnessing Factions' god awful voice acting for the first time.
I could go on, but suffice it to say, GW was an incredible and memorable experience. I'm not sure how much new players will enjoy it now, as its graphics and many of its mechanics are quite dated, but if you can get past all that it would definitely be a worthwhile purchase. The gameplay is certainly more complex than most MMOs in this genre, including Guild Wars 2, and has quite a big learning curve with its extensive, highly customizable skill system. It's especially worth a look if you're a GW2 player and want to see the beginnings of this rich game universe, or want to earn some of those cool rewards and titles associated with the Hall of Monuments. Just keep in mind, some of those could take a very long time.