The Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event is now behind us and a lot of people have been left craving more. For the first time players were allowed to step foot into the new Tyria and were given 60 hours to do whatever it is that they wanted to do. Unfortunately there was far more than 60 hours of content to see and with the opportunity to create multiple characters with eight different classes and three of the five races and multiple different personal stories there was absolutely no way anyone could have crammed everything into the weekend that we were given.
If you looked at the world map while in game and saw how big the entire world was and how insignificant the parts of the world that we were given looked you would realize how big Tyria is. Guild Wars 2 has already established itself as an absolutely gigantic game. Despite the lack of endgame content there is an amazing amount of “current content”. Guild Wars 2 scales your character down to the level of the area. At first I thought that this would be really lame. After playing games like WoW since release the idea of going back to somewhere like Durotar and struggling with the scorpions there made me cringe. In reality it made the game feel continuous. As I leveled up and gained access to skills I was still able to use those skills in the lower level areas but I didn’t have the stats of a higher level character. This made those enemies that I had faced a few levels ago still feel like they were enemies and not just something that was beneath me. When asked, a fellow player came up with a rather apt answer to why we were scaled down: “A wolf is still a wolf no matter where you are”.
The PvE content within the game felt fresh and while you may have been to an area once and finished the event taking place at that time in reality there are multiple problems each area goes through over the course of it’s life. When you first start your adventure as a human there is a farm just to your right. Most players will have seen bandits trying to attack the farm and most groups would have taken these down quickly and finished the event. Many people thought that was it and moved on. In reality there is far more to each area than meets the eye. What if no heroes are there to stop the bandits? As I was arriving at the farm for my second time I saw hay bails on fire with people throwing buckets of water on them. A much different sight. At other times there would be little wurms in the farm that needed to be killed and once I saw a giant wurm there. Most players wouldn’t have even bothered to stay around to see the other events but each band of heroes traveling through the area will have to deal with different problems.
In all honesty they are just “kill 10 rats” and “collect 10 apples” quests hidden in the guise of things actually happening around you but they are so well hidden that it doesn’t ever feel like you’re just there to kill 10 rats and move on. Each place has it’s own NPCs with their own stories, lives and conversations that they will have. Watching Wozmack the Magnificent’s show in Divinity’s Reach will not help you level in any way but it makes for an entertaining sight. That’s the difference between the traditional MMO and Guild Wars 2. The NPCs that are in the cities aren’t just vendors and guards. The world feels alive. You get level appropriate rewards when you kill something or help somebody out meaning that if you genuinely like somebody or a place you’re not punished with terrible rewards for helping out. Explore the world and find those people and places.
I spent a lot of my time last weekend in The Mists. The Mists are essentially the PvP lobby of Guild Wars 2. When you go there you get instantly boosted to level 80(the level cap) and get to freely experiment with weapons and skill configurations. From there you can either go to World vs World or Structured PvP. Structured PvP is essentially a domination game type where you have to hold points to accrue points and the first team to hit the point cap wins. It sounds simple but with people running around trying to take the points from you along with the secondary mechanics the whole experience can be extremely exciting. I found that the secondary mechanics weren’t too well explained but this could be attributed to the game still being in beta. While fighting on one of the maps my squad came across a random mob that started attacking it and when it was dead we all had a buff. It struck me there and then that it was meant to be the “Baron Nasher”, “Kongor” or “Roshan” of the map, for all of you that play MOBA games.
I found myself spending a lot of that time in World vs World. I don’t think words can actually explain why so suffice to say it was awesome. I felt like I was a soldier in a real war. I went in thinking “oh I’ll just take this supply camp” as there were no players guarding it. For those of you that are used to playing Alterac Valley and taking down NPCs in one hit you are going to be surprised. The supply camp was only guarded by a few NPCs and they made short work of me and the few I had with me. Later I managed to meet up with a load of other players who were defending a keep from a load of enemies. I quickly helped organize the defense and had people repairing the gates to prevent the enemy from getting in but we’d run out of supply. Supply is the name of the resource used for just about anything and everything in World vs World. Repairing gates, repairing walls, building siege engines, anything and is produced by supply camps then sent towards nearby towers and buildings on the backs of the loveable Dolyaks. Enemies may then intercept the Dolyaks and prevent supply from ever getting to you meaning that when you’re under siege it becomes extremely difficult to receive supply.
I’m not going to blindly praise the game. While there are a lot of things ArenaNet has done right with Guild Wars 2 there are some things that definitely need work but it’s also rather important to remember that this game is still in beta and I think a lot of players have gotten caught up in the moment and think that the way the game is now is how it is going to be upon release. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As we saw with Guild Wars a lot of features that made it to release weren’t even in the beta versions and there’s no reason to think that ArenaNet won’t do the same with Guild Wars 2. They’re taking all of the feedback that they receive seriously and have already mentioned a number of changes that are going to come in the next beta version that is set to be arriving later this month. If you have any questions about the beta then feel free to ask in the comment section below.