I’ve been fortunate enough to get to play Guild Wars 2 (GW2) multiple times at trade-shows so when ArenaNet & NCsoft started a pre-purchase beta invite program not putting the money down to get in wasn’t even up for consideration. The first of an undetermined number of beta weekend events for pre-purchasers like myself is starting up on Friday, April 27th. I have some ideas of how I want to approach this period, consisting of the following activities:
Trying out races and classes that I wouldn’t normally play.
Given that anything achieved in the betas will be wiped from existence there’s no real use getting too attached to any characters created. I am particularly drawn to the ranger, mesmer, and thief professions and imagine I will be playing those at launch so I’d like to play as some of the ones I would otherwise steer clear of, notably the warrior and guardian classes. Throw some furry charr action in there and I should be getting a very different taste than what I’d prefer to invest in.
Playing through the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon.
Coming into MMOs with a strong affinity for Diablo and Phantasy Star Online, dungeons and instances for small 4-5 player teams are my bread and butter for PvE content and I’ll be really curious to see just how well ArenaNet did with their design. If the dungeons don’t work or fall flat as a feature this could be a real detriment in how long I’d keep playing GW2 after getting a max-level character.
Getting into the World vs. World 3-server PvP action.
PvP in every other MMO I’ve played has been terrible because of being under-geared and under-leveled compared to most other players, which distorts the ability for one to determine how well they are actually playing. Getting kicked right up to level 80 with all the skills and items unlocked will make participating in sieges of castles and keeps, capturing of towers, and disruption of supply lines easy to try out and test without having to grind and dump all kinds of time and effort into a profession that may or may not be fun to play at its apex of power and ability.
Playing around with the in-game store and guild functionality (if available).
If these are available for testing, I’d like to see how management and progression of guilds are handled. If smaller-sized guilds aren’t capable of unlocking skills and abilities at a good pace I don’t think I’ll even bother trying to get one off the ground and instead just find some big dumb one to latch onto. I’d also enjoy buying some of the in-game store crap with funny-money just to see how bad it could potentially be in terms of abuse and the alternative time-grind.
This kind of stuff is typically not glamorous enough for the press and other testers to really explore in-depth, so it’s the kind of thing I imagine I’d have to do myself.
Playing on servers in different time-zones (if available) to get a feel for lag and how it will affect the game.
This should be pretty self-explanatory, especially as most of the people that I know playing will either be in my local time-zone, EST, or even further ahead of me. While judging on lag conditions would be premature, if the servers are at least playable latency-wise this would be incredibly promising.
Two and a half days of playtime sounds like a good amount, but I’m sure it won’t be enough to get to everything that I can think of. If I can at least hit those points I’ll feel like I had a productive time. Additionally if anyone wants me to check something out or get some footage of, let me know and I’d be happy to give it my best shot.