If that is all you wanted to know, yes, Guild Wars 2 could run right now on an Ultrabook that had 4GB of RAM and a 2nd-generation Intel Core Processor. I did it on an ENVY 14 Spectre, and I’ll show you the proof in this post in a few. Now, if you wanted more details like… “What’s the big deal about Guild Wars 2, anyway?” and “What are some recommended configurations for when you set it up on your machine?” then keep reading.
“What’s the big deal about Guild Wars 2, anyway?” This title has been on PC gamer’s lips for a couple years now. If you’ve been following its development like I have, you already know the deal. Feel free to skip ahead to the next big question.
Guild Wars 2 has been a hotly anticipated title from all the major gaming publications like, say, PC Gamer and Game Informer. It’s garnered a lot of awards just from previews. Now, as of this week, you’re able to play it. It is an MMO – a Massively Multiplayer Online game. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. It’s a huge world with lots of things happening and your story is uniquely yours. It’s not like you’re walking through some online theme park waiting for your turn to slay “Monster X.” More important, once you buy the game, that’s it. You don’t get socked with monthly fees or nickel-and-dimed to buy more after the fact.
It’s a dynamically changing world with lots to explore….heck, you’re not coming here for some slobbering product review. You can go to any number of gaming outlets for that. One thing I can tell you, though, is that the game has a unique art style. Team members have described it as, “painterly,” but I’d say that it has a unique graphic novel feel. It stands apart from everything else I’ve seen and played lately.
Best of all, it’s a great, scalable game that’ll look good on just about any machine. Seriously.
“What are some recommended configurations for when you set it up on your machine?”
Let me start by illustrating this with a screenshot. This first shot is what the game will look like (if you’re playing as an Asura Engineer) on an ENVY 14 Spectre. In this case, the game was running at the native resolution of 1600 x 900. On an Ultrabook. Honestly, it was a pleasant surprise that I was able to get the game running at all, but 15 frames per second isn’t optimal. So I dropped the resolution down to 1280 by 720 and got it to around 28 frames per second. Looks pretty good, right?
By comparison, just below is how the same game area would look if I were playing it on an HP Phoenix gaming-grade desktop. Obviously, this second shot is going to look a lot better with all the settings cranked up and running at a 1920 by 1080 resolution (at close to 60 frames per second on my rig). What to notice here: How the art style will make it look similar to what you find on an Ultrabook. The differences are in the details. All the added visual effects you'd spot while playing can make a difference.
You’ve got to love a game that, because of its unique art style, will look good on just about any machine you decide to play it upon. As you can see, that is exactly the case with Guild Wars 2. You also have to love the fact that you’ve got a game that will run even if you have modest hardware on-hand. Here are the recommended system specs that the developer, ArenaNet, lists:
Windows XP Service Pack 2 or better
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz, Core i3 OR AMD Athlon 64 X2, or better
2 GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 7800, ATI X1800, Intel HD 3000, or better (256 MB of video RAM and shader model 3.0 or better)
25 GB available HDD space
Check out that above list of specs! The RAM requirements, the fact that they specifically call out Intel HD 3000 graphics (what’s found in a first-generation Ultrabook) – that’s all I needed to see. The only thing that worried me here is the hard drive space. You see, my Ultrabook comes with a 128GB SSD. So it is fast, sure, but it can also potentially take up a bunch of space on my laptop. Just something to keep in mind.
All right, so here is how I set up the game settings on the Spectre.
(And bear in mind that newer Ultrabook models like the ENVY 4, ENVY 6…anything that feature the 3rd-generation Intel Core processors are going to perform even better. After all, the latest Core processors mobos offer better 3D graphics performance.)
Some of their findings were really heartening for someone (like me) that wants the ability to play games anywhere – and everywhere.
“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.” In this particular case, with the HD3000 graphics on the Spectre, I was able to squeeze out 28 frames per second.
“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.”
“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 particularly important if you're using an FX-based chip from AMD….”
You want to learn more? Head over to Tom’s Hardware for more info.
What are some of the PC games that you’re looking forward to playing on a PC this fall? I'm also curious what you're planning to play those games on? A little laptop? A hardcore gaming rig? Something in-between?