Courtesy ArenaNet

My wife and I haven’t been doing much in the way of MMOs over the last year. We’ve tried a couple since parting ways with World of Warcraft but none have really hit that “sweet spot” for either of us, the sort of feeling we were expecting that would keep us playing for a long time. But there is one poised to hit that exact spot, and it’s called Guild Wars 2.

I never played the original Guild Wars and, as I understand it, I missed out. As such, I can’t comment on how this game is looking to improve upon or innovate in light of its predecessor. Instead, I’ll point out why I’m eager to get started playing when it’s released some time next year.

The first choice you make in character creation is your character’s race, so let’s talk about those first.

Both the Charr and the Norn appeared in the first Guild Wars, and as I understand it, one or both of them were antagonists. Rather than pulling their cultures out of the aether, however, ArenaNet did a very smart thing in taking notes from our own history. The Charr have their roots planted in the fertile soil of imperial Rome, while the Norn seem to hail from the lands of the ancient Norse, if not Marvel’s Asgard. They’re fleshed out in Guild Wars 2 and while their cultures are different from those of humans, they’re not so alien as to be unappealing; in my case, quite the opposite.

The new races are the Asura and the Sylvari. I’m not a big fan of small races, as much as I love the goblins of Warcraft, but the Asura’s thirst for knowledge, love of artifice and esoteric designs have me curious. The Sylvari, on the other hand, were appealing to me from the start. Their society is based on Arthurian legend and folklore, they have disparate but linked attitudes and personalities that bind them together, and gender is largely a non-issue when it comes to relationships and romance. I am so there.

The humans in Guild Wars 2 seem similar to those in other MMOs, but the strata of their society and the history inherent in having an entire previous game gives them just as much weight as the others. I love the idea of creating a character that will be part of a society that has equal parts familiarity and uniqueness, and every single one here fits that bill. It’s pretty much sold the game to me on that basis alone.

Next up? Classes.