Guild Wars 2 is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) for Mac and PC. The player must save the mythical land of Tyria from the clutches of the undead Elder Dragon by reuniting the members of a once powerful guild of adventurers. As players travel across the various regions of the world working toward their main objective, their choices — what they do and how they do it — affect future events and interactions. The game is rated Teen due to the presence, however infrequent, of suggestive themes, alcohol and tobacco use, and its ever-present fantasy violence. Additionally, the online nature of the game adds the element of the unknown that comes from interacting with other players. That being said, Guild Wars 2 is widely recognized for the quality of its quality community compared to other popular MMORPGs — fewer nonsense character names, less chat spam, and generally more community-minded people. With an engaging story, rich cast of characters, and unique gaming experience, Guild Wars 2 is recommended to players 13 and older.
Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.
As with most role-playing games, planning in Guild Wars 2 begins at the character creation screen. Players are faced with an array of choices, from their desired fighting style to the background of their character. These choices will impact their experience and determine their success and enjoyment in the game. Are they better suited to staying back and taking things slow as a ranged character with less armor and more firepower? Or do they rush headlong into danger like a battle tank with lots of armor but slower movements and less powerful abilities? What do they look like? Where do they come from? Far from shallow details, these choices will determine the point of view a player takes in conversations, the opportunities they are afforded, and how they are treated by non-player characters (NPCs). Because Guild Wars 2 features a “ripple” element to gameplay, meaning choices made from the first quest determine the path taken in the game, decisions cannot be taken lightly. Clicking madly through conversations and and the choices presented within them will not only deprive a player of important story details, it can seal their fate for the entirety of the game.
Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings and empathizing with others.
As with any game played with others, Guild Wars 2 offers many opportunities for thinking about one’s own choices and thought processes and attempting to understand the points of view and preferences of others. Whether playing solo and interacting only with NPC or teaming up with other players to take on tougher quests and bigger challenges, self-awareness is a skill that is constantly practiced. Do you understand why that NPC feels the way they do about another in-game culture? Why they prefer stealth and intelligence over force? Do you understand why another player might not want to take on a certain quest quite yet? Why they prefer crafting for a while over taking on a dungeon instance? Empathy is as important as self-understanding when it comes to playing a game like Guild Wars 2.
Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.
Guild Wars 2 provides copious working memory exercise as well. First of all, the reading involved (addressed in detail below) is powerful working memory practice. Then consider that remembering where one needs to go, what to do once there -- and why -- are all key elements to in-game progress. While they are no substitute for the player’s own memory, maps and quest logs will help, and even serve to boost a player’s remembering power. Additionally, certain quests require gathering or attacking a specific number of things for the quest-giver, and the countdown can be great practice for working memory. And when it comes to quest rewards and drops (items received from looting), keeping in mind the kind of weapons, armor, and accessories usable by one’s class, and what level and which attributes one needs, are essential to making sure a player is as protected and prepared as possible for whatever they encounter.
Reading plays a large role in most MMORPGs, and Guild Wars 2 is no exception. That being said, the game is perfect for hesitant readers or those who need practice due to the fact that most text is also spoken, preventing them from being discouraged by large amounts of text while giving them the opportunity to read along.
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