It was Guild Wars 1 that made me play MMOs and it was Guild Wars 1 that forever gave me a love of minions. Summoning a horde of bone fiends to do your bidding, fresh from each corpse ... ah. That first time you ventured out of town and knew you had to kill something to get the spiky steamroller of death moving - that fear of even the lowest Skale.
Until you had the power, summoned from the grave and a veritable army, all clacking and chittering and devouring every warm morsel of flesh they came upon ... it was brilliant. You really were a dark Necromancer.
And I loved the patterns in Guild Wars 1 of skills and building your own decks as it blended collectible card games with a more involved fantasy experience. It reminded me of playing M:TG and V:TES in my studying days and of how we spent hours and days pouring over decks and combinations. Small surprise that my favourite decks were Green / White heavy and littered with creatures both great and small. Craw Wurms and Forces of Nature. Ah, the Force of Nature ... 8/8 trample and the bane of most of my foes.
But wait Tan? Weren't you going to talk about engineers?
I was, I was. And I am. Enter Guild Wars 2.
I've tried a Guardian, this gigantic hammer wielding Valkyrie that seems to take inordinate glee in smashing everything she sees into little bits. No wonder there are no Ice Giants left if she's modelled after Odin's decendants. I've tried a Necromancer and have even named her after my former one, but this game. Well. It's different. You don't build skill decks anymore, not like before. You now have weapons and your weapons determine the skills you have - except for four (Five?) that you choose yourself. I struggled to get over this as you have essentially unlocked the play-style for your class before you hit level 10 and it initially felt to me as if I'd lost the skill and enjoyment that came with deck building.
Of course, that was until I met my Charr kitty cat engineer. The Charr has this rusty, mechanical almost steampunk Iron Legion type of thing going for them. It's brilliant setting and because you start off in the ruins of old Ascalon, it feels so familiar. You recognise the tombs where many necromancers went to get their first skills. And you can see the familiar autumnal forests rising out of the rubble. It brings back pleasant memories and tears of nostalgia as you see places you loved destroyed and burnt. Well played Arenanet, well played.
But more than that. I think with their brilliant auto adjusting level system (It downscales you for earlier content) and the removal of the deck building they've shifted the focus. You don't need to work on skill decks, but focus on the skill to play the decks you're given. I'm trying to switch between double pistols to a grenade kit to a flame thrower kit to leverage condition damage, mobility and my greater range. Then a well timed dodge, coupled with a timed charge and I can make many things go badda boom.
I'm enjoying the game a great deal.