Guild Wars 2 – Open Beta #1

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Friday, April 27th marked the opening of the Guild Wars 2 beta to those that pre-purchased the title and/or signed up for beta events. Delivering the impressions of the first open beta for Guild Wars 2 are Linkage Ayexe and The Poid Pipper.

The Poid Pipper

Being a role-play fanatic, I found myself enjoying the open beta on multiple fronts. I will be exposing the truth behind Guild Wars 2 player customization and storyline quests.

One of the most interesting aspects of Guild Wars 2 is player customization. There are a plethora of ways to make your character distinguishable from other players, and one way is strictly based on appearance. Paying homage to the original Guild Wars, players are once again able to colorize their beginning garbs. For experienced players this will not matter, but the initial color swatches sets an initial identity for starting players. Even further detail can be applied by adjusting facial features as well as personal affects of the character’s race and class. For instance, the Charr have horns that can be adjusted according to the user’s liking. My female Charr character happens to be a necromancer, thus allowing me to choose from three available masks that further develop my individualized background story.

Creating a character is a long process that helps you develop a personality for your new character. After you have attained a palatable appearance, you will be asked a series of questions to define your character’s identity. As the questions progress, a choice will be discerned among favoring ferocity, dignity, or charm. When faced with a question about my closest ally, I responded: “Death”. I was aiming to role-play a disease necromancer, so I decided to base my answers using wisdom rather than being blood hungry or seductive. Being a seductive necromancer would be wrong – just wrong…

Moving beyond the creation phase, players will begin at their racial starting areas. As I have created a Charr character, I can tell you first hand about that experience. Charr have maintained and recreated the prosperous city of Ascalon. Mastering technology is the Charr’s strong suit, but even now there is traitors among the ranks of each clan. As I had chosen the Ash Legion, I accepted a quest to spy on a warring clan and deal with them quietly. Needless to say spying was the easy part, and I “forgot” how to be quiet. The most interesting part about this series of quests was that they occurred initially in the open environment then transferred to an instance – similar to original title.

Even thought storyline quests require jumping into instances, dynamic quests can be found in the open environment. While was wondering around killing poor defenseless drakes, I noticed an emanating golden glow from my mini-map. Upon entering this area, I noticed a new quest to defeat an evil summoner. The cool part about entering these type of quests is that your experienced earned is based on the total contribution you have given in the fight. Yes, entering the tail end of a fight will still yield some experience.

Linkage Ayexe

The main thing I want to talk about in these impressions are the World vs. World PvP and the conclusive event that ended the Guild Wars 2 Beta weekend. These were two parts of the Guild Wars 2 experience that I had touched on in more depth during my play-through of the game.

The World vs. World PvP arena in Guild Wars 2 is, from what I can tell, a persistent battleground with three factions vying for control and domination over the other teams. These factions come in three colors, the Blue team, the Red team and the Green team. Each team has it’s own area that it must defend on a massive map while also attacking other teams territories to seize victory over them. Players capture specific keeps and other areas areas of interest across the map in order to seize them from the enemy and to eventually eliminate them. In my playthrough I actually got to see the Blue Team get eliminated from the game.

The typical battle consists of players battling each other over a piece of contested land that is usually from either somebody attacking something or somebody defending something. Generally these battles involve around 10 or so players on each side and this causes a large amount of mayhem on the battlefield. What makes these battles even more epic is when you get some seige weapons going. Players hand in supplies as they progress through the battle and use these to buy siege weapons. These make busting into a keep so much faster than it is without them. Believe me, it takes FOREVER to bust down a gate with just skills.

Overall I found the WvW PvP to be quite enjoyable and it is likely that players will be playing this just as much as the PvE side of the game, if not more. It’s fun, it has scale and you really feel as though you have a purpose. Well done Arenanet.

The second thing I’m talking about is the end of Beta event. This event started in the first area that the Norns go through after they’ve completed their first mission and are now free to explore the world. In the first few minutes, there was much confusion as to what we were supposed to be doing, so we attacked various critters to increase our servers score. Fortunately, someone on our server had an Arenanet contact and was able to guide us through the event slightly and we found our way to a small rabbit that we had to kill. A white one. And nobody had a Holy Hand Grenade. In fact, there were many Monty Python jokes being thrown around at that time.

After that we zerged our way Northward, further into the Shiverpeak Mountains. There we found a small keep with an evil Black Moa bird inside. Players of the Guild Factions campaign will remember this bird being at the end of a very tedious quest. Trying to tame this beast was quite the chore. So what does Arenanet do, they make more of them and they make them strong. Thanks guys, you must really hate the playerbase :P!

After a few hours of hunting critters the servers closed and it was time to go. And that concluded the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend.

Conclusion

All good things must come to a close, and sadly the administrators for the beta closed down the servers leaving us testers with only the opening screen for Guild Wars 2. I was sad to see such an epic night of battling Champion Black Moas and Pigs finally draw to a close. No matter what level you were, people were there to partake in the event to slay champion creatures. I feared that I would die too often when embarking in high leveled areas climbing up the Shiverpeak Mountains, but players were more than gracious to revive one another. And my good friends that is what makes Guild Wars 2 the richest MMO beta I’ve played yet – the community.

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