For those fortunate people who prepurchased Guild Wars 2, there was an open beta weekend event. If you didn’t prepurchase, it was a lottery instead to get in. The official times for the beta weekend were noon Friday PST to midnight Sunday PST – all weekend, basically. Despite this, the beta weekend actually started at about ten or eleven PST on Friday morning – Arenanet was early!
Since Chris is in Austin, I was able to revert to my typical gamer ways and play pretty much nonstop all weekend, with only some small breaks to do chores. Since it’s an open beta, I wanted to write up my thoughts and give you guys some sweet, sweet screenshots.
I tried out three classes and three races – a human Mesmer named Salty McGee, a charr ranger named Rye Pumpernickel, and a nord engineer named Chef Boyardee. What amazed me the most was how each of these races had different stories, and that everyone liked a different story from everyone else for all different reasons. While I adored the rambunctious, glory-seeking backstory of the nord, another person in my guild found the Klingon-like betrayals in the charr story to be the best. There’s truly something for everyone.
Even if you hate MMOs, you’ll love Guild Wars. It doesn’t feel like the typical MMO: get a quest, complete the quest, grind some baddies, level up, move on to the next area, prepare for a raid, literally queue up to complete said raid, etc. The typical MMO is not fun – it’s artificial fun in the same way playing Farmville is artificial fun. You play to maintain your status instead of to achieve new things and to have fun. Guild Wars 2 is totally different. You play to experience events around you, to explore, to dynamically fight in a group, and to have fun. For those of you who don’t know much about Guild Wars 2, let me briefly explain. Fighting enemies is probably the crappiest way to level up – each enemy gives something like 10-20 xp, and if you’re a masochist, you’ll level up by grinding. A better way to level up is to merely explore and wander. Exploring a new area of the world nets you in the hundreds of experience; as does completing a world event. World events trigger as you walk by. Imagine you’re roaming around, trying to trigger those experience points. Then an event triggers, and you realize there are centaur attacking the village! You’ll run over and help, and naturally so will other people, and so grouping up to defeat a boss is totally natural and fluid. These events can go from mundane, like helping to repair a village after the attack, to epic, like fighting a boss ten times your size who is opening portals to the underworld all the while.
The game was incredible. Exploring is my absolute favorite thing, and I think you’ll agree too. Nobody likes a grind, and Guild Wars 2 understands that. They have truly outdone themselves. The beta itself, while definitely a beta, was refined, polished, and awesome. My only regret is that I can’t play until the next beta weekend.
If you haven’t pre-purchased yet, and you think you want this game, PRE-PURCHASE. I am not joking – this is going to be the best MMO ever created. If they released it half-done like it is now, I’d still buy it and play it happily. It is only going to get better, and I already love it so much. Pretty much every conversation I overheard went like this:
- Person 1: Has anyone tried X yet?
- Person 2: I have – it’s incredible.
- Person 1: This entire game is incredible.
- Person 2: Word.
I absolutely cannot wait for the next beta weekend!