Guild Wars 2 Game Poster Image

Guild Wars 2

Beautiful fantasy MMO with rich story but violent combat.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn teamwork and collaboration by playing this massively multiplayer online game with others. Kids have to work together in order to defeat some of the harder foes. There are also collaborative (albeit violent) games that kids can participate in. Guild Wars 2 takes kids on a cooperative journey where teamwork is the key to defeating baddies in combat.

Positive messages

Messages are generally positive as quest givers ask players for help to combat evil in the land, albeit in a bloody fashion. Players are the good guys.

Positive role models

Characters in the game are heroes.

Ease of play

The tutorial eases players into the game and actions are quickly learned. However, as players advance, the game gets deeper and the complexity increases.


Players have to kill creatures (fantasy monsters such as griffins, minotaurs, and giant insects) as well as human enemies to advance in this game. They will use magic spells and weapons like swords, firearms, and explosives. Blood can be seen in some underwater scenes where attacks result in blood-clouds, and in some video cutscenes. Enemies killed in melee-style attacks can be seen in death throes and issue sounds of pain.


Players can strip their characters down to their underwear and choose to wear sexy clothing.


There are many voiced cutscenes in the game and the words "ass" and "bastard" are used. This is also an online game, and although there is a profanity filter, it can be bypassed. 


The game has to be purchased, but there isn't a monthly subscription fee to play. Instead, there are cosmetic items available in the cash shop for purchase.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters can enter taverns, and buy and consume alcoholic drinks. When they get drunk, the screen will blur. There is also a drinking mini-game, which ends when the first character passes out or his health meter reaches zero.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Guild Wars 2 is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORG) where combat is required in order to advance. Players will kill humans, humanoids, animals, and monsters controlled by the computer as well as other players, with fantasy, medieval-type weapons as well as magic. The game also has alcohol consumption and a drinking mini-game.

What's it about?

GUILD WARS 2 is a sequel to the original Guild Wars and advances the story of the mythical, fantasy world of Tyria. Set some 250 years after the defeat of the Great Destroyer in the Eye of the North expansion, the various races must unite in order to defeat the elder dragons who are set to take over the world. Guild Wars 2 is a true MMOG with an open and persistent world. Gamers have a personal story and quest line, and they will create a character from a combination of eight races and five professions. The race and profession determines the skills the character has access to and like the previous game, Guild Wars 2 uses a skill-based combat system where players choose the skills they want to bring into combat with them from a wide pool.

Is it any good?


Guild Wars 2 has a fully fleshed out story and players have a personal story line to play through, which is determined at character creation by selection of pieces of story that form the character's background and personality. The game art and animation is second to none and realistic enough to keep immersion high. Voiced cutscenes using the player's character keep players involved as the story unfolds, and dynamic events make the world seem alive. While there were some issues at launch with server stability and the player auction house, the game is fun, immersive, and there's plenty to do (crafting, trading, socializing, exploring, mini-games) outside of combat. The trend of dancing in town squares continues in Guild Wars 2 with the large number of dance animations that are available.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about personal safety while online. What should you not share online? How can you trust someone you just met online?

  • Families can also talk about online etiquette and behavior. What effect does online anonymity have on people's behavior?

Game details

Subjects:Language & Reading: reading
Social Studies: power structures
Skills:Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Responsibility & Ethics: learning from consequences
Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
Available online?Not available online
Release date:September 3, 2012
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:T for Blood, mild language, use of alcohol, violence

This review of Guild Wars 2 was written by

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Parent Written bySophianne Kalinakov July 21, 2013

More Detailed Review and Suggested Update to Ratings

Positive Messages: This game encourages cooperation. The heroes are those who help others, who defend the weak and help those in need, and who do what is best even when it is not in their own best interest. There is a lot of positive emphasis on education, preserving and respecting the environment and honoring military service. There is also emphasis on how each of us has a part to play to use our talents to the best of our ability to do what we can to make the world a better place. Positive Role Models: The characters who are held up to be revered and respected are those who serve and protect their community. They value honesty, honor, hard work and personal sacrifice in the service of the common good. They believe in using your gifts and talents for the good of others and not merely for your own selfish gain. Ease of play: The complexity doesn't really increase as your level increases - once you've opened up all all 10 skill slots across the bottom of the screen, that's all of the buttons that you have to press. What is complex is choosing trait lines and gear to optimize your stats - but this is a level of detail that the casual player does not really need to delve into in order to enjoy the game. If someone did want to tailor their character to this level of complexity, the game does have a wiki, and there are plenty of community-based guides. In addition to this, because it is a cooperative community, as opposed to competitive, there is plenty of help from other players. Violence: You do fight in this game - that is pretty standard in any story-line that includes a battle of good vs. evil. There is no gore. When a character is defeated, they collapse the ground as if unconscious and then disappear. There are quests that are fantasy exaggerations of acts most would consider acceptable in "real life" such at those to save dogs from spiders, to put grub repellent on grubs in gardens and to save people from swarms of mosquitoes around lamp posts. There are also elements of the game that are not related to fighting, like crafting and puzzles. Most of the fighting is done against NPCs (non-player characters that are part of the game's construction), but there are designated realms to fight against other players. Because there is no gore, and because the bulk of the fighting is defensive or in defense of others, I would give less weight to this violence rating. It could probably be lower. Sex: There is no sexual activity in this game. The player does not engage in romantic relationships with NPCs. There is no nudity. The player's armor/clothing can be stripped down to the equivalent of a modest bathing suit. Language: The review cites language used, but I've never seen it. I did some research to try to find where it was in the game to see if they had edited the dialog in an update, but I was unable to find any reference to it other than reviews saying it is there. Before seeing the reviews I would have said there was no profanity at all, so it is obviously not pervasive in the dialog. As for profanity or coarse language from the community at large, is option in the settings to add a profanity filter to the chat in order to filter out profanity from other players. You can also filter the chat by layers. For example, I usually turn off the Map level chat and leave only my Guild and Party chat. This way, I can see what my friends are saying without having to see a bunch of chatter from strangers. This rating should be lower. Consumerism: There is no subscription fee. After the initial purchase of the game, you do not need to invest any "real money" into the game. There is a working economy within the game through an in-game trading network. You can buy cosmetic items and upgrades, and you can, but do not need to use real money to purchase them. Currency is earned by helping others and completing missions. Players can also earn other types of currency (tokens, badges, karma, laurels, etc.) from dungeons daily completion and that function as currency with special vendors. There is also a bank where you can store the money that you earn on each character. The economy within the game provides an opportunity for children to learn about managing money - saving, buying and selling. The trading network also tracks the comparative price between gems and gold coins which is a great introduction to the concept of currency exchange. This is a learning opportunity that was not identified and given adequate weight. A lesson on how to save up for the things that you want is very important in today's debt-laden society. Drinking, drugs & smoking: This rating is too high. It is an element to be aware of if alcoholism is a sensitive topic on your family or if drinking is something that you feel very strongly about, but this game is not teaching children that it is a good to go out and get drunk. There is a drinking mini-game, and your character can drink alcohol, but it is not a central part of the game. It is not necessary to the story-line or to any quest, and your character is never forced to drink alcohol. There are instances of NPCs drinking in this game; however, drunkenness is presented in a negative light. Your character can break pirates' rum bottles to keep them from drinking more, wake up passed out patrons, and talk down drunken patrons to stop a fight. None of these tasks are required to complete the achievement (they are just elements along with other possible tasks). While some parents might choose to avoid this content, this can also be a teaching opportunity. This is a point in the game where your character is a good role model trying to help people in trouble, and there's nothing glamorous about a Norn passed out in the snow. Privacy & Safety: This rating should be lower. You use an account character name (not your real name) and your real-life information is in no way ever displayed to the gaming community. Being part of a guild is encouraged as part of the social and cooperative play aspect of the game, but it is not required. When a player is part of a guild, they are not required to reveal any personal information. The guild members see your account character name (not your real name) and the name, profession and level of your character currently or last logged in. There is no sanctioned forced exchange of players' personal information within the game. Voice communication within guilds is done using third-party software that is not part of Guild Wars 2. The game gives the player every opportunity to maintain their privacy and safety. Whether or not your privacy is maintained is completely up to you.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 12, 14, 17, and 18+ year old Written byMatthew, Parent January 24, 2013

I Can No Longer Trust CSM

No. Just no. I have played the game myself and I can positively say that the game is 100% gore-less and the humanoids you "kill" are knocked out when you kill them. If you say this is 14 and up than you must say that any Pokemon game is 14 and up. In Pokemon and in Guild Wars 2 you 1. Attack other people and animals with lights, sparkles and special effects and 2. Knock other players and humans out to defeat them. The combat is in no way violent enough to get an age rating higher than 7 much less a ridiculous 13. There are one or 2 times where you compete in a drinking game, however this hardly endorses alcohol and certainly does not constitute a level 4 of the Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking section. Sadly, I can no longer trust Common Sense Media due to this review and will have to find another source for safe, sensible media choices for my children.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byFezesAreCool January 27, 2013

Best MMO currently available, 11+

This is definitely the best MMO available at the moment. Fun combat that is 1000 times better than World Of Warcraft's (see my review). The only inappropriate stuff is a tiny bit of unrealistic blood and stuff people say in chat but there's a profanity filter (I think). This game has some learning potential because unlike some MMO's (like World Of Warcraft) it encourages teamwork because everyone who helps to kill a boss or complete a quest gets the SAME amount of XP, this eliminates the petty squabbles I got into in World Of Warcraft with other players because one of us "stole" the other ones XP by finishing off the monster. The final thing I want to say is that there is NO SUBSCRIPTION FEE (another thing I hated about World Of Warcraft)! I highly recommend this game to anyone 11 or over. I can't stress how much I recommend this amazing game over the piece of s**t that is World Of Warcraft.
What other families should know
Too much violence