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Guild Wars 2 closed beta preview

It’s been nearly seven years since the original Guild Wars first launched, introducing players to the land of Tyria. Back then, the MMO stood apart from its competitors with no monthly fee and gorgeous visuals that still look great today. But as good as Guild Wars still is, Guild Wars 2 feels better in just about every way. We recently got a chance to spend some quality time with the upcoming sequel. So read on for impressions from our early game experiences – and find out why Guild Wars 2’s event system will change the way you think about questing forever.

Even during the character creation department, Guild Wars 2 goes above and beyond. While offering you the ability to tweak the usual cosmetic features for your upcoming adventurer, like character height, body type, various face types, and haircuts, Guild Wars 2 offers many more selections to choose from for each of these. The amounts of sliders to play with for the face alone are overwhelming. While creating our first Charr, we spent a lot of time customizing everything from our warrior’s brow height and iris size to the length of the bridge on his snout. We even adjusted how much ear fat he had, opting for some opulent lobes for our furry fighter.

But the coolest thing about the character creation process is that your choices will also have an impact on your character’s individual storyline. You’ll be asked to provide answers to questions relating to how you deal with conflicts, the father who sired you, which legion you hail from, and more. While your answers won’t completely change your experience, they will have a significant impact on your character’s story, adding some welcomed and personalized flavor to your experience. 

Above: Here we see a group of Engineers posing for battle. On a related note, Flamethrowers are awesome. The Norn on the far left is equipped with a Flamethrower kit

Above: Have a look at the character creation mode for our Charr Warrior, Pawesome

The opening scene for new Charr players doesn’t waste any time, dropping you off in the middle of a large battle as you find yourself fighting with your allies to hold off an assault from an army of ghost warriors. As we press towards the frontlines of battle, Charr fight tooth and nail against the invading army with NPCs calling out commands. The flow of battle naturally leads you to the gates of a crypt, where an assault against Duke Barridan is about to begin. This is our first event, which is Guild Wars 2’s answer to the traditional MMO quest system. With events, there are no traditional quest givers standing proudly with an exclamation mark over their heads waiting for someone to activate them. Instead, events are usually triggered when you come close to an area of conflict. Instead of clicking on a quest giver and reading through a quest log, we look and listen. We can see that the battle’s up ahead. We can hear Charr calling for help, and so we naturally end up at the crypt gates where the event begins.

Once we’ve defended the gates, we move on to join a troop of NPC warriors preparing their attack on Barridan below. As we battle, hacking and slashing through defenders, the event updates, telling us to defeat four waves of fighters before the giant statue of Barridan springs to life. It’s our first boss fight of sorts and the giant stone statue manages to hit us hard.

5 comments

  • winner2 - March 26, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    I'd say this would be a certain buy for me, but I remember how badly GW1 sucked up time when you got addicted.
  • Mooshon - March 26, 2012 5:03 p.m.

    That events system looks borrowed from the 'public quests' of Warhammer online. A truly great mechanic. Be interesting to hear how they handle loot/item drops on these open world quests and if they scale to accommodate the number of players involved.
  • FriendlyFire - March 26, 2012 8:01 p.m.

    They scale and loot drops are instanced for each player. Most small-scale encounters don't involve special loot for completing the event, instead opting for currencies (gold, experience, karma). Large events spawn a chest which has instanced loot for each player who participated in the event. Participation is also factored into the rewards you get.
  • Jackelsburg - March 26, 2012 3:40 p.m.

    im so excited for this! im kind of bummed i didnt get into the beta, but i might as well pre-order it when its available.
  • Fruitbat - March 26, 2012 3:03 p.m.

    I've been following this for a while, so it's good to see it nearing completion.

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