Guild Wars 2 Is Accessible, But Still Very Scalable
Guild Wars 2 looks good, even at its lowest detail settings. And it runs smoothly at 1920x1080 on a $40 Radeon HD 6450 using that entry-level preset. Only Nvidia's GeForce 210 can't handle such a combination. Stepping up to the Balanced detail preset, the GeForce GTX 550 Ti and Radeon HD 7750 are both well-suited to smooth performance 1920x1080.
Switching on the Best Appearance option is smooth enough if you're using a Radeon HD 7770 or GeForce GTX 560 at 1920x1080. If you game at 2560x1600, however, you need at least a Radeon HD 7870 or GeForce GTX 580 to achieve a minimum of 30 FPS.
We think all of that is great news for gaming enthusiasts ready to enjoy countless hours in Guild Wars 2 without being forced into an expensive hardware upgrade. We can't help but love games that scale well on a wide range of graphics hardware, giving everyone the chance to play, and then rewarding the folks with high-end machines to push the details even higher.
A Sandy Bridge-based Core i5 is all you need for the best possible experience. However, a Core i3 or Pentium processor will also perform well. Clock rate is particularly important if you're using an FX-based chip from AMD. Take full advantage of those unlocked multipliers to push 3.5 GHz or higher with the FX-8000 and -6000 CPUs, and over 4 GHz with the FX-4000 series if possible. The Llano-based APUs struggle more with this game, presumably because they lack L3 cache. If you have an A8-3870K, the only unlocked model, try to get up above 3.5 GHz with it.
Our time spent playing Guild Wars 2 before the beta closed was far too brief, unfortunately. But the game left us with a favorable impression, and a great sense of anticipation. The dynamic event aspect is engaging, and will likely be very popular with casual gamers.
One concern we do have is whether the title's free-form structure proves detrimental when it comes time to connect with other players. An MMO's strength lies in its ability to bring people together in lasting relationships. However, a dynamic events system like the one in Guild Wars 2 may marginalize its relationship-building capability.
ArenaNet may have a great solution to this potential drawback that we may not know about yet. The good news is that, like its predecessor seven years ago, Guild Wars 2 requires no monthly fee, and our experience with it thus far suggests it'll be worth its purchase price.
Radeon HD 6450 512 MB GDDR5
Radeon HD 6670 512 MB DDR3
Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 7870 2 GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 7970 3 GB GDDR5
where's the 6850 in the graphs ? There's a 6870 instead ...
Anyone know? at stock speed and at 3.8 O.C....
Great review as always! Really appreciate it
Duh, we want to know this stuff.
Although it's probably a typo, there's probably no need to use the 6850 as well since the 7770 should perform similar