Hi, Gamespotters! I participated in the beta event of Guild Wars 2 this weekend so I came here to share some my experiences with you.
My beta adventure started with several error messages when trying to login. Not surprising considering that everyone who had the launcher was mashing the login button at the same time. So I had to give several tries before I eventually got in. With that all behind me, I was treated to the character creation screen. The two most interesting races (in my opinion): Asura and Sylvari weren't available for this beta weekend so I decided to go with a Charr Ranger who fought for the Ash Legion. I didn't spend as much time in character creation as I normally do because I wanted to check out the content, but I did take the time to go over most of the customisation options for the Charr and I have to say, I was impressed. You could change the special features of the Charr (horns, manes, ...) to make a very unique creature.
After the character creation a cutscene played that showed the new visual style for Guild Wars 2. It felt more like I was watching a dynamic painting come together before my eyes, and it was one beautiful painting. However, these were all things I had already seen in videos so I wanted to experience some gameplay. My character was dropped in the middle of a battle against ghosts and my first objective was to reinforce the forward position, which meant combating some ghost spawn. And here is the first major point I'd like to touch on in this blog. Skills, traits and combat in general has been changed completely. The first 4 skills in your skill bar depend on the weapon you're wielding. Meaning that if you change weapons those 4 skills will change too. but to ease players into these new skills, you had to unlock them by earning experience with those weapons. The other skills on your skill bar can be unlocked in a more classic RPG way, by spending skill points which you get from leveling up. I really liked this new system but I also fear that by giving all players who use the same weapons the same skills you miss a chance for further customisation since a lot of players like to customize their entire skill bar. After only a few minutes of gameplay I ran into my first Boss Enemy to fight and it looked impressive. I had to stay moving to avoid getting killed and it felt like a real boss fight even though it wasn't that hard. It probably had something to do with the size of the thing, because in most MMORPG's I expect to be killing small wolves for the first few hours of gameplay, not a giant animated statue which trying to smash me to pulp.
After the fight I was dropped in the game world where I had my first experience with the questing system in Guild Wars 2. Instead of picking up quest from people in the gameworld, you visit a scout who shows locations on your map of ongoing event in which you can participate. Then you just set out and go help someone until you're done and move on. This really gives a good flow to the questing, there is no need to form groups, talk to questgivers or return quests to claim the reward. The only thing you have to do is to decide where you want to help and go. Sometimes certain quest have follow-ups if you succeeded in your mission but it's also possible that a different follow-up quest is made available when you fail in the original mission. So if there's one thing I experienced, then it was a dynamic world with changing conditions depending on what players were doing.
This is all I have for now but check back after the next beta event in which I'll go deeper into Story Missions and Crafting.