Best Ongoing Game 2022: Guild Wars 2

Best Ongoing Game 2022
(Image credit: ArenaNet)

PC Gamer's Best Ongoing Game award celebrates an older game that stood out in 2022 through updates, new content and support. This year, we honour ArenaNet's enduring MMO—celebrating its 10th birthday with a renewed vigour and a heaping of quality updates. We'll be updating our Game of the Year 2022 hub with new awards and personal picks each day through the rest of the month.

Fraser Brown, Online Editor: Phil told me to jump back into Guild Wars 2 many, many times before I finally returned last year, and I wish I'd listened to him sooner. I hadn't played for eight years, so I'm still catching up now. Apart from a whirlwind tour of the new zones and a huge meta-event, I've hardly touched this year's flashy expansion, but it's still the best online romp of 2022. The quest design and combat shits all over most MMOs, and even playing around with stuff that was designed years ago remains a delight. 

This year ArenaNet also brought back Season 1 of its living world. Unlike the proceeding seasons, ArenaNet planned for Season 1 to be fleeting, and after it was gone nobody could experience the story of Scarlet or the destruction of Lion's Arch (which was rebuilt very differently) again. But now you can play the complete story right from the start, instead of jumping in at Season 2 and being perpetually baffled. 

Of course that does mean my already gargantuan list of tasks has grown even larger. GW2 keeps you busy, but I couldn't be happier.

Phil Savage, UK Editor-in-Chief: Before this year, you'd be forgiven for assuming the sparse updates and lack of news around the game meant that Guild Wars 2 was winding down.

In 2022, ArenaNet proved that, actually, it's here to stay. The launch of the End of Dragons expansion helped—bringing an end to the 10-year dragon saga with some of the game's best open world encounter design to-date. The meta event on its final map is fantastic—a grand spectacle that makes completion feel hard earned. And the new selection of Strike Missions—essentially small-scale raids against a single boss—have provided some focus for Guild Wars's expansive, sprawling end game.

Really, though, the success of Guild Wars 2 this year is what happened after the expansion. The reintroduction of Season 1 of the game's Living World—a series of updates that were around for just two weeks at a time when they originally released back in 2013—means that the game's full story is finally available to play in its entirety. The Steam launch was an excuse to go back and add many quality-of-life improvements to core systems—making things smoother and more welcoming to new and old players alike. A new 'Emboldened' training mode for raids helped players take their first steps into the most intimidating of end game activities. And work continued on the new Alliance system planned for World vs World, which will go a long way to make the compulsive forever war between player armies feel more active and competitive.

It hasn't all been plain sailing. A balance patch released earlier in the year sparked anger and controversy. But in response to the backlash, ArenaNet showed a willingness to change. Following the fallout, the studio has retooled its balance process, and spent more time talking to the playerbase—actually listening to concerns and tailoring future patches based on the feedback received.

For all the updates, though, perhaps the biggest thing Guild Wars 2 did this year is let players know it has a future. After End of Dragons' launch, ArenaNet announced new maps and even a fourth expansion—a clear statement that the studio wants to keep Guild Wars 2 alive beyond 2022, for many years to come.

End of Dragons screenshots

(Image credit: ArenaNet)

Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: As Phil says, this has been a particularly good year to call Guild Wars 2 a fantastic ongoing game. But it's been excellent this entire time. What this year underscores is the way that Guild Wars 2 is constantly changing, adding, adapting, and heck sometimes reversing where necessary. 

When it added mounts for the first time years back it did so with serious style and individualised movement that blew other MMO rides out of the water. Over the years it's been committed to endgame and new game simultaneously—adding the Fractals dungeons, strike missions, and raids alongside free accounts, mentor tags, and the LFG tool. That's all old news now, but as ArenaNet has brought back its first living story season, access to the old Lion's Arch map that went with it, and a new expansion in Cantha this year, I'm consistently impressed with the way it always expands in several directions at once.

I've never quite returned to full-time Guild Wars 2 the way Fraser has, but the game and its community have been so consistently lively over the years that I know any time I choose to return will be a good one.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog. 

With contributions from