Guild Wars 2 is one of the best MMORPGs playable today, but it may be a little on the casual side for people who like to grind levels as a competition. As far as virtual worlds go, Guild Wars was one of the boring ones, but it had a very nice payment plan: pay only once. Of course, there were microtransactions for a few account privileges and outfits, but the game was a nice, casual MMORPG experience. Guild Wars 2 is also a somewhat casual experience compared to most MMORPGs. Leveling up characters is slower than you may be used to, and you do not stand around grinding experience from animals. You have to do quests, accomplish tasks, find secrets, and help your guild progress through world-vs-world and player-vs-player leaderboards. if you are not into those kinds of activities and all you want are the level grinding activities, player-vs-enemy options are vast and will be well worth the $60 entrance fee.
Non-combat, crafting skills are also in a fair abundance. You have cook, huntsman, leatherworker, armorsmith, weaponsmith, tailor, jeweler and artificer. Every character can choose 2 skills to progress in at any given time. However, in order to switch to other skills, you have to sacrifice some of the experience from the skills you are giving up. This limitation promotes teamwork, because you need at least 2 people in a party to really take advantage of enough skills to profit from all the materials you find. That said, you do not level in these skills in the same way you level in RuneScape. It is similar to Skyrim in the sense that you make items to get better at making items, but in order to gain experience, you have to make items which are within your skill level. You cannot just keep making the same leather leggings over and over and expect to learn how to make the top tier clothing. Guild Wars 2 is very much anti-grind, and I personally enjoy the lack of grinding.
Loot is in abundance and is a lot of fun to find. You get plenty of loot from enemies alone, but yes, you can get loot from quest rewards and crafting and other means. Loot can be fun to seek out, because you are constantly challenged by the enemies in the game, and you need to continually improve your stats and abilities. Your equipment can be the most important decision you make in the game aside from realtime combat decisions, like dodging and reacting fast to the battlefield.
Your abilities are broken down into three categories, weapon-based skills, point-based skills, and traits. Weapon-based skills are determined based on what weapon(s) you are wielding and how much experience you have with the equipped items. Point-based skills are skills you attribute points toward and unlock manually. Traits, introduced much later in the game, are like point-based skills except they use different points and are counted toward stats and boons. Boons, by the way, are another word for buffs. Once you apply enough trait points to a pair of stats and buffs, you gain additional skills which are automatically unlocked. The trait-based skills are not controlled directly by the player. Instead, the player character automatically uses these traits when needed. For example, the engineer can gain a trait that drops a bomb wherever and whenever the character dodges.
Guild Wars 2 also offers platformer elements, meaning you can jump around and find different paths to places. The jumping has been adapted well to solving maze-like puzzles which require the player to jump from platform to platform and avoid falling. These jumping puzzles are extremely frustrating sometimes, but they offer good rewards and are sometimes a lot of fun for racing your guild mates. Overall, the jumping adds a sense of freedom to the game that can only be found in a select few other MMORPGs, and it also gives some of us a nice diversion from the rest of the game.
Another thing to look for when browsing PC games is the system requirements. There are really 4 things you need to worry about: RAM or memory, processor, video card, and finally, the hard drive space. Memory can be upgraded fairly easily, and it shouldn't cost much. We recommend having at least 1GB memory, 2GB if possible. Your processor needs to be fairly modern, and a Pentium 4 probably won't cut it. We recommend a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo or better. Your video card should support DirectX 9 (or higher) and have a minimum of 256mb memory attached to it. We recommend 512mb or greater. Hard drive space is subjective, but we recommend having a fairly large amount of space. You could settle for as little as 40gb and be able to play most games, but we recommend having 80gb or more space to make sure you have room for multiple games at once. Most PC games don't run straight from their disc. They usually require an install process, and most modern games require around 8gb of free space to install.
PCs are the ultimate game console, because they can be upgraded, and they will never go out of style. PCs can also play most old game systems through emulators, so if you lose your Playstation, you can just play your games on your PC. You can also play classic arcade titles and have infinite coins!
A lot of people complain about having to use a mouse and keyboard to play PC games. This isn't a requirement, fortunately, and we have what we call gamepads or joypads. Yes, we can use game controllers! We can even use Xbox controllers! That said, it's not as plug-and-play as a game console, and some games simply will not work with your joypad. Fortunately, Steam tells you if games support controllers, and if your favorite game doesn't support them, you can map the controllers to keyboard and mouse controls.
Just be careful when buying PC games. Read reviews carefully. If a game gets a 1/5, don't buy it. If your PC is a cheapie, don't expect modern 3d games to work. Read the system requirements very carefully. If you don't know anything about your system, you can find help in the PC Stuff forum.