Preview: Guild Wars 2 Weekend Beta Event Was SO AWESOME!!!!1!!!
As you may know, April 27-29 was the first weekend beta event for those who pre-purchased Guild Wars 2, including Yours Truly. It was pretty much Awesome Sauce.
I tried out the Charr race this time around. If you aren’t already familiar with the Guild Wars lore, the Charr are a race of cat-cow humanoids with violent tendencies. Their capital looks like a giant scrap heap held together with rust and duct tape, and it’s kind of confusing to get around, but it looks pretty cool.
I got to choose from eight different classes, of which I tried the Guardian and Ranger. After I chose my class, I got to customize my character’s body-type, skin pattern and color, and face and head. Then I answered a few questions that determine the details and arcs of my character’s story, and off I went.
The Guardian class wasn’t what I expected. I had envisioned more of a stand-out-of-harm’s-way-and-heal-my-party-members type of experience. What the Guardian class actually ended up being is more of a go-up-and-hit-things-and-die-a-lot type of experience. Dodging is a new mechanic in GW2, and it’s a must for melee classes. I didn’t know that, hence the dying a lot. All classes have a personal healing ability, but the weird thing is that the Guardian doesn’t start with any group or party member healing spells. It apparently gets them later, but at level five I still hadn’t gotten any and decided to try another class.
The Ranger was a lot more like what I had envisioned. I got a pet and an axe and went on my merry way. My starter pet was a fire-breathing lizard that looked bad-ass. Unfortunately, Charmander got its ass handed to it by every mob I fought (and some I didn’t want to fight) and I had to resurrect it every couple of minutes. It was killed by a deer. A DEER.
Besides the pet being a waste of a class mechanic, the Ranger has some cool abilities. It’s got AOE (area-of-effect) attacks, knock-backs, and can use and switch between many different weapon types. You can do other things with your pet besides using them to fight. One ability allows you to send your pet out to revive fallen allies nearby, although it didn’t seem to work all that well. The Ranger also has a lot easier time staying alive than the Guardian because it can keep mobs at a distance.
As far as abilities go, depending on your class and the kind of weapon you have equipped, the attacks you have available to you will change. The more you use a weapon, the more attacks you’ll unlock with it. This lends a lot to the customization of your play-style. (I recommend the not-dying-style, myself.)
Dying isn’t just dying, either. When your health runs out, you fall but can still save yourself by using special abilities that are only available at that time. For the hunter, one of the choices is to call your pet to have them revive you. If the mob that killed you dies while you’re trying to save yourself, you “rally” and immediately get back up. Everyone can revive everyone, and you even get XP for doing so, providing some incentive for other players to, you know, not be a dick.
Something else that’s pretty cool about Guild Wars 2 is that you don’t really get “quests.” There aren’t NPCs just standing around telling everyone to go get them 20 zhevra hooves (and you’re lucky if you get one fucking hoof from a four-hooved fucking zhevra) for some potion to save their sick relative or something. There is a little bit of that, but more prominent are the personal story quests–determined by the details you chose when creating your character–and public events. Even better, you don’t have to make sure your whole party has certain quests to go do to be able to play together. You can just play together and walk around doing public events. You can also join in on other people’s story quests.
Over-all my friends and I had a lot of fun over the weekend, especially during the last hour when a huge public event called The Great Critter Hunt took place. This was basically a mass killing-spree in one of the racial zones. After all the players on the server had swept through the region in a huge group, killing everything in their path, a cute, murderous rabbit appeared at the top of a mountain for us to slaughter. Once the rabbit was defeated, everyone took to killing critters again. Some were normal mobs, some were ravenous tougher-than-normal mobs, and some were elite mobs with tentacles and AOEs and other scariness. There was also a dragon at some point.
Pre-purchasing the game will guarantee you a spot in the next beta weekend. Personally, I can’t wait to see the progress they’ve made. Until the next beta event, feel free to peruse these screenshots captured for your enjoyment :)