Reviewing a guide for any MMO is a tricky bit of work. These types of games constantly change and so info in the book quickly becomes outdated. There is also the issue that almost all of these games guide the player along lower level areas while introducing tidbits of the games various mechanics in small chunks, which most commonly happens between levels 1 to 20. What BradyGames has done with their Guild Wars 2 strategy guide is make a textbook for the MMO 101 class.
BradyGames starts this guide out with some lore on the Guild Wars 2 universe, and I enjoyed this greatly as I never fully played the original Guild Wars or any of the subsequent expansions. This portion gave me some history on world events, the races and their trials and tribulations, and how the world got to be so crazy. I actually read this portion twice just because it intrigued me and brought me that much closer to the game world itself.
From there, the strategy guide dives into the basics of multiplayer online games. I am talking these are basics down to what leveling is and slaying monsters works. Anyone that does not know what pulling or kiting is; this is the section to study. For those that this is not their first go-round in an MMO can skip right on by, as there is nothing new or earth shattering covered here.
The guide then moves into each profession, along with what weapons unlock what skills. I strongly recommend looking through this section before embarking into creating a character as this is a decent glimpse into how each profession works and what their roles in group battles are. This actually saved me a bit of time as I was able to see what I wanted to play and what fit my play style best. Each skill includes a blurb on what it does along with any cool down to consider. Do note that cool down times change as this game ages and profession balances drop into place, so do not always expect this info to be 100% accurate.
As with all MMOs, there is plenty to do for people that just want to make in-game items. Sadly, this is where the guide drops the ball with a measly six-page spread dedicated to helping players get their craft on. Sure, making stuff in GW2 is not overly complicated, but in my eyes, it deserves a bit more than this.
The guide then dives into the world and monsters players can encounter while playing. I have to be honest in that I never used this section. NCsoft did a wonderful job of making each area somewhere I just roamed and explored. Outside of some vista points and strategically place points of interest, the game itself encourages players to roam around and participate in quests and world events. I had a hard time trying to stick to some sort of script while I played and so I just closed the book here and immersed myself in the scenery while slaying countless enemies. From a new user point of view, this does provide some insight into how the game works but again, it is just some repetition of what the game already provides through various help screens and tutorials.
BradyGames does their best to enlighten a gamer on how player-vs-player works, but this is something that is only mastered through countless hours of play. The basics of how to conquer a fortress and rudimentary concepts of staying alive on the battlefields flow from page to page. This is a starting point that newcomers should look through, but the master sensei decrees one hour of practice every day to be an necessity on the stage of world dominance.
We finally arrive at one of the most used portions of the guide, and that is the maps of each area. I found myself here more than any other as I worked for the 100% completion bonuses of each area. While the guide does a nice job pointing out Asura Gates, points of interest, and quest hearts, it lacks showing where each vista point is. I do not need a breakdown on how to obtain every vista, but knowing their general location would help. The lack of these on the maps is a letdown and does diminish their value some.
If you are totally new to the world of Guild Wars, or have NEVER touched an MMO before, then theGuild Wars 2strategy guideis going to be of some use to you. However, veterans may find the maps handy but those are also freely available online and some even include videos on how to obtain the harder points of interest and vistas. I found the lore portion to be great and highly entertaining, yet I also found the crafting section to be weak and useless. I recommend that anyone considering this guide to head to their local bookstore and flip through the pages before dropping hard earned money on it as this is made for a very niche audience.