My first online game was Guild Wars, and since it was instanced you never saw people outside of your party in the world. I moved from GW to Lord of the Rings: Online as my first real MMO. When I was new to LOTRO I could often try to help people that I saw while I was running around. I was a captain so I could heal them or help attack what they were fighting. Pretty quickly, and to my surprise, I learned that was considered a no no. People thought I was trying to steal their XP, or kill the things they needed for their quest. So instead of helping people, I would usually just run right past them. Sometime I might look and see if they were in big trouble, and if they were I would help then.
Along comes Guild Wars 2 were Anet has promised that it will be possible to help people without hurting them. By that I mean they will still get the kills and XP that they need. Reading about it, and promises are one thing. It is something else to be able to see it yourself. This is sort of a simple example, but it was the moment when I truly realized that everybody can be friends and work together in GW2. There is no PvE competition for kills, XP, or loot drops.
I was in the Norn level 1-15 area just sort of running around exploring. I found a cave with a bunch of Ice Elementals in it. I didn’t have any real reason to go in there other then exploration. There was another person just starting to go into the cave when I got there. Without any discussion or grouping, we both just started to kill the elementals. I was playing a Ranger with Healing Spring, and the Axe/Torch combo. I would occasionally lay down Healing Spring or Bonfire. I cannot remember what class the other person was playing, but we were doing combos off of each others skills and generally helping each other. We cleared out a bunch of Elementals as we moved through the cave. Eventually, we left the cave without talking to each other.
In LOTRO, as in many other MMOs, we would have been in some sort of competition. Who could “tag” the mob first? Who could kill fastest to move on to the next kill? In GW2 we helped each other. I have to say that Anet fulfilled their promises in this instance very well. It does pay to help other people. Everybody gets the quests done, gets loot, and gets XP. If anything you are punished in this game for not working together, and that makes me very happy.