Eye of the North is the greatest improvement to the Guild Wars franchise. Out with the bad, in with the good.

User Rating: 9.5 | Guild Wars: Eye of the North PC
The first expansion for Guild Wars gives players countless hours of solid, immersive entertainment. It improves on existing gameplay elements, but adds a plethora of additions as well.

Dungeons:

Eye of the North lets players participate in the ultimate dungeon-crawler experience - 18 times! Each unique, massive, multi-level dungeon has the classics: secrets to find, puzzles to solve, traps to avoid, monsters to kill, chests to open, quests to complete, titles to gain, lore to discover, keys to find and doors to unlock. And, like any classical dungeon, there are plenty of powerful bosses, with a final boss at the end of each dungeon to slay and loot.

Dungeons can also be fought over from multiple perspectives - there are no linear paths that the player is forced to follow.

Hall of Monuments:

When the developers announced they were going to create Guild Wars 2, they didn’t want players to feel as if all the experience, armor, weapons, titles, faction, and everything else that they worked so hard for would simply be overwritten (Burning Crusade anyone?). To prevent this, they created the Hall of Monuments.

The Hall of Monuments is where a player’s character can go to get his or her achievements recognized and put on display. When Guild Wars 2 is released, those who have achievements on display in the Hall of Monuments will be rewarded in Guild Wars 2.

Displaying achievements is simple. For example, if you conquered the campaign in Tyria, you can display a statue that recognizes the achievement. If you unlocked certain heroes, you can display statues which will recognize the achievement. The Hall of Monuments lets the player recognize a whole bunch of different achievements such as received armor, weapons, titles and minipets.

Story:

Eye of the North has an interesting story for players to become immersed in. Much like dungeons, the story can be followed by any perspective - there is no linear path that the player is forced to go by. It introduces three new races to the game (Asura, Norn, Charr) which will be playable in Guild Wars 2.

Basically, the story revolves around earthquakes which have been shattering over the land, and how you have been sent to investigate the cause. You discover that the Destroyers are the source – the Destroyers are creatures from the depths that have arisen to the surface to destroy all of mankind. You discover the Asurans, a race forced to the surface because of the destroyers, and you discover the Norns, a race that dwells far in the Northern Shiverpeaks. You are also able to visit the Charr homeland, and discover, you guessed it, the fate of Gwen!

Factions:

Factions play a significant role in the game's story - there are multiple factions, and each race has a faction associated with it. Each faction will give you access to unique consumables, armor, weapons, skills and titles depending on your reputation with them. There are unique ways to raise your reputation with each faction. For example, if you want to become more popular with the Asurans, you can outsmart them by playing Polymock, a minigame which is similar to the classic Pokemon battles. If you want to become more popular with the Dwarves, you can best them in Dwarven Boxing minigame. If you want to become more popular with the Norn, you can prove your worth by defeating challengers in the Fighting Tournaments.

Graphics/Environment:

Graphically, the developers have sure outdone themselves! The artwork of the gameworld, especially of the dungeons, is absolutely breathtaking. The scenery alone makes you glad that you play Guild Wars and feel sorry for those who don't. It makes you feel as if those who aren't playing Guild Wars are really missing out on an awesome and unique experience.

But breathtaking graphics isn't going to save a dull environment that the players cannot interact with - and the developers knew this. They have made a lot of improvements to the environment, making it as fun to play in as possible. For example, you may run up a hill to reach a boss, only to have an enormous boulder roll down and crush your party. Or you may wander into a cave inhabited by a pack of wolves, find their pack leader, and kill it. Heck, there's even a cute little rabbit that lures you into a beautiful garden... only to get ambushed by a whole bunch of ghostly enemies.

Gameplay:

The developers have taken a bunch of steps to ensure that the gameplay is fresh and exciting. Several monsters have their own signature abilities. For example, the Charr have the Gloat ability, which makes them more effective in combat as they kill enemies. The Centaurs have the Trample ability, which does damage to adjacent enemies and knocks them down, and Minotaurs have the Berserk ability, which makes them do extra damage when their health gets low.

The A.I. of the enemies has also been greatly improved. Several enemies fight in formations - and it's really quite exciting to fight them when they do so. They will maneuver around you and your allies in formations, which forces you to think quicker on your feet, and moreso about tactics.

In terms of difficulty, the game is, generally speaking, hard. Although there are a good numbers of parts which can be extremely easy, Eye of the North was designed for veteran players. A lot of areas, especially the dungeons, can be extremely challenging.

Sound:

Another addition to Guild Wars is the Dynamic Music System. When the player is in a town, there will be soft, serene music. When the player is thrown into the combat, the music quickly becomes very loud and fast-paced. When the player is fighting a losing battle, the music becomes emotional and sad. Such a feature adds a great amount of depth into the game, which adds that much of the fun factor to the game.

The voiceovers have also been done very well – this time by real actors. In fact, the voice actor of Vekk (an Asuran) was done by “The Brain” from the classic show “Pinky and the Brain.”

Conclusion:

Eye of the North was designed solely for veteran players and their level 20 characters. Only get it if you have a level 20 character. Eye of the North delivers a whole bunch of improvements and content to the game – what’s not to like? If you like Guild Wars, you’ll like Eye of the North, I promise.
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