Just came across a surprisingly pretty place in Guild Wars. Although it was a part of a quest (you had to find something which turned out to be in this crypt), coming across it felt very random and surprising. It was almost like we were just running through the catacombs, and suddenly – there’s this incredible room.
This brought two thoughts into my mind. First of all, it’s really fantastic what ArenaNet have achieved with relatively limited details. Guild Wars isn’t very graphically advanced (anymore, at least), but the art is all beautiful. It’s a bit like World of Warcraft, though since I’m still in the starter area, I haven’t seen nearly as much environmental variety in GW yet as I did during my four months in WoW.
Secondly, the main attraction of MMOG’s for me, if not games in general, is exploration. These are massive worlds, taking the typical open world design of RPG’s one step further. It must be a lot of fun to design the world of an MMOG, cramming anything you can think of in there to keep the player interested. I always love just idly wandering through a virtual world and then coming across something fantastic like the crypt above. World of Warcraft has a lot of this, but it looks like Guild Wars may have even more. We’ll see how long that will keep me playing.