No longer in beta.
With its third and final beta event all wrapped up, Guild Wars 2 is shaping up to be one of the biggest and most entertaining releases this year. With servers nearly overflowing and players enjoying every class in the game, it's safe to say that August 28th somehow seems too far away.
For the final beta weekend, I decided to try a new race and a new class, a Norn Necromancer. My character, named Beared and consequently, built like a bear, took quickly to his ax and off-hand horn. With my ax I could do melee damage and string together attacks. WIth my off-hand horn I could summon a swarm of locusts to poison my enemies and give myself a speed boost. In the thick of battle, I would lay down my cloud of poison effect and brutalize my enemies with my ax.
This played perfectly with what's perhaps my favorite part of Guild Wars 2, something I'm calling a living quest environment. Wandering around the world, you'll naturally stumble upon new areas, new NPCs, and a whole bunch of shit to do. This varies from out-and-out combat, to exploration, and back to combat.
My favorite sidequests in the Norn territories had enemy factions flooding into specific areas, only to be met with strong resistance. With ArenaNet allowing for special instances like the one we saw this weekend, there's a strong suggestion that Tyria will be malleable and organic.
The beauty of Guild Wars 2, perhaps the "true" evolution in MMORPGs it offers, is the way you'll never have to look for another player to complete your squad. You'll definitely want to group up for higher-level quests and dungeons, but the small, organic events openly welcome and scale to meet the population in the area.
A group of 20 players came together to defend farmland outside the Norn capital. My Necromancer summoned a well of blood to heal the group while another Norn buffed our defenses. The entire time we were slaying and slaughtering the attacking faction.
I can't keep myself from adding that Guild Wars 2 is one of the best-looking games I've played in quite some time, and that's saying something for an MMO. Characters and environments look great, but I think the UI really sells the experience.
My necromancer slashed and cut through enemy lines. When I'd score a particularly powerful hit, the damage counter would be splashed with blood for emphasis. The game's map is massive and beautifully illustrated. Even the icons are colorful, attractive items, just begging to be clicked upon.
There's a lot to do and see and, well, kill in Guild Wars 2, but we'll have to wait patiently for the game's full release on August 28th.
Check out our other Guild Wars 2 coverage, including a trip to the ArenaNet studio!
You Will Love Thy Neighbor In Guild Wars 2
Roll A Thief In Guild Wars 2
Let's Tour Guild Wars 2 Developer ArenaNet's Office!