MMOHut’s Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Recap
By, Vincent Heylen
So, as most of you are aware, the Guild Wars 2 beta was a few weekends ago. ArenaNet announced a beta weekend for people that had pre-ordered the game.
The world of Tyria (the setting where Guild Wars 2 takes place) is massive, and it doesn’t wait for you to do anything nor does it tell you where you have to go. Freedom is a big part in Guild Wars 2 and this is something that has been pressed on many times in a lot of other articles. The only backbone to this feature is the personal story, but I’ll get more into that later. How does ArenaNet hand over this freedom to you? Well, they give you the option to do whichever quest you wish to do (without losing a certain chain) and even give you the ability to go into higher level zones. Your level will be scaled to the zone you are in, depending what the level range of that zone is. For instance, if I would be a level 10 character, and I want to meet up with some friends to take down a world boss which is level 20, my character will be getting that side-level of 20 and all stats will be upped to that. The question that most people are curious about, is how they manage to compensate this with the progression system that we are so used of? The answer is simple; they don’t. You can still gather up gear for a stat-boost and what not, but in the long run that doesn’t matter. As mentioned, they give you the power to choose for yourself.
They really want you to explore whatever is out there, and boy, is there a lot. You aren’t bound to a particular questing chain. There are hearts -which serve as this games version of a quest question mark- all over the map, which you have to discover on your own pace or go with the easy route and ask someone to explain everything to you for that certain area, this person is highlighted with a telescope. Most are probably aware that they have taken out the idea of mounts in the game, so traveling is done by good ol fashion walking and in teleport fashion, via the use of waypoints on the map.
Since the economy is somewhat broken due to beta-state, it’s kinda annoying to always have to pay for travel, while in the meantime you don’t have that much income. You also have to pay for repairs and both can get expensive and lead into you suffering if you overdo it on traveling or die a lot. Now speaking about dieing, what happens then? You get in a downed state and get a timer, as well as a downed skill set. With this, you are able to fight for survival and get back up or wait for a revival. If you happen to fall to your death, you are given the option to return to a waypoint.
Now that we’ve covered dying, let’s talk a bit about the upside of Guild Wars 2 (not to say that their dying system is bad, but it can work on your nerves at time). Dynamic Events is Guild Wars 2′s pride, at least that’s what Arenanet claims. This system allows a bad situation to turn into a very bad situation. For instance, when you are out there gathering fruit on a farm while defending it from wasps, a horde of centaurs might come at you and overrun you if you aren’t able to hold ground.
This is where their grouping system comes into play. You don’t have the typical locked party system, as people automatically join an invisible group. That way, you will instantly fight for the same objective. Rift has a similar system like this where you still join a locked party system, and it seems like Guild Wars 2 has improved this. It might also sound familiar to Rift, with their Rift-system. Now if you manage to hold ground, then it’s like nothing has ever happened. If you fail at it, then you might have to fight even more centaurs then initially to retake the place and have to end that certain event with a boss fight. The bosses in Guild Wars 2 can get very huge. A friendly advice would be to not just stand there and at least move around a little. The bosses aren’t very forgiving on that aspect. You better use that dodge ability they give you and read the description under the mob-names to see what they do. That’s right. You can completely ignore damage if you manage to either dodge it or crowd control enemies.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the combat system. There isn’t a typical archetype system in Guild Wars 2. You get your class name, and that’s it. That class still gets a certain weapon set though and this is where things get interesting. There is still the typical hotkey-pressing and tabbing or selecting of enemies in order to attack them, however, this is combined with more free movement in combat. Your first 5 skills of each weapon represent their active abilities. You read that correctly. Each weapon has their own unique skill-set. There isn’t a skill-tree that you have to theorycraft beforehand and be sorry you choose that one if you messed it up. There are main weapons and off-hand weapons. Even two handers can be combined with an off-hand. The way you unlock skills on them is by the use of the main attack and move on until you unlocked all 5. Each class also gets a healing skill which is your 6th ability. Arenanet has completely removed the use of an archetype preset and given the player more control through their system.
Now for the third set of skills, you will get utility skills. These skills are unique to each class. You can unlock them by spending points. The way you can obtain these utility points is by leveling up or doing skill-challenges which are scattered around the map. These skill-challenges are separate quest-styled objectives and have a ton of variety to them. The last ability is an Elite skill, which I didn’t get to in the beta unfortunately. As you can see, there is tons of customization options and there is still a lot of freedom in the skill-system as well.
Guild Wars 2 Beta weekend has been a blast. Arenanet has proven that taking the typical progression from MMORPG’s away really works. They present it to you in a unique way. There is a lot to cover, as you might have guessed by this wall of text, but in the end, it’s something to experience for yourself. This has been my first impression and I’ll see you all at launch.