Every so often you get a game developer that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Rare we know, in a sea of loot boxes and excessive monetisation, but ArenaNET has released a pretty impressive new graphical overhaul for the original Guild Wars, its subscription-less MMORPG that released over 13 years ago.

The list of changes is actually quite impressive, taking advantage of the fact that modern PC hardware can play Guild Wars without breaking a sweat. First of all, there’s a new 8x MSAA anti-aliasing option for ultra-crisp image quality, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, and new Advanced graphics options. Graphical culling has also practically been done away with - the max draw distance has been doubled, and now models and terrain will display at the highest possible Level of Detail regardless of how far away they are.

As always with Guild Wars, it’s a free patch, and also comes with a bunch of other nice quality of life changes such as a doubling of max friends u to 200, boosts the number of minipets allowed active, adds windowed fullscreen support, and squashed a couple of bugs. Not bad support for a game that launched the month after YouTube arrived in the world, and especially impressive when ArenaNET is actively trying to support Guild Wars 2 with new expansions.

You can see the visual changes for yourself in a new comparison video below.  

Guild Wars May 9 Update Release Notes

General

  • Increased the maximum number of active minipets allowed in outposts.

Graphics improvements

  • Added windowed Fullscreen support.
  • Added a new 8X MSAA anti-aliasing option.
  • The “Use best texture filtering” option will now take advantage of 16x Anisotropic filtering.
  • A new “Advanced” option checkbox has been added to the Graphics options panel. This will replace the “-lodfull” command line option that was added recently.
  • Model LODs will always use the highest available LOD (Level Of Detail), regardless of distance, including the disabling of “imposter” models.
  • The max draw distance will be doubled. Ground cover vegetation draw distance will be pushed out even further.
  • Terrain LODs will almost always draw in highest.
  • Note: Full changes won’t take effect until changing maps.

Chat

  • A new option has been added to suppress Whisper messages from players that don’t meet the following criteria:
  • Party member, friend, active trade partner, or recent party/team member.
  • You may now /report directly in the whisper chat window without needing to type the character name.
  • Reporting players is still restricted to the same district that you’re in.
  • Custom chat filters are now possible. To use this feature, you must create a ChatFilter.ini file. The file will be placed in the “C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Guild Wars” folder. The file layout is as follows:
  • [ChatFilter]
  • userFilter1=Censor
  • userFilter2=Suppress

Friends list

  • The maximum number of friends and ignored players has been doubled to 100 and 20 respectively.

Party search

  • Added a Report button to the party search dialog.

Bug fixes

  • Fixed an issue where your character’s LOD drops when zooming out the camera.
  • Fixed an issue where the game client becomes unresponsive when it gets minimized or sent to the background.