First Thoughts: Guild Wars II beta!

-Jovan St. Lawrence
First of all, let me just say the Guild Wars 2 is going to be quite a spectacle of an MMO. I recently participated in the July 20-22 weekend beta, which is also GW2’s last open beta test before launch. This year, we’ve already gotten a major increase for triple A titles in the genre of Massively Multiplayer Online games. In late December 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic finally reared its beautiful head onto store shelves and digital downloads. Although, SWTOR has lost nearly half a million subscribers since March-April, these new, upcoming patches boast positive changes for the game, according to BioWare. In May, we were blessed with TERA Online, an MMO by En Masse Entertainment, and it surprised all of us MMO gamers with its brilliant combat system, and its ability to run on virtually any machine. And just three weeks ago, Funcom’s The Secret World was released. I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, however, its not being well recieved by everyone. Many technical hiccups occured in the beta when I played it. This year, we’ve already had our fill of MMO gaming and to add to that, the next WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria was just announced for a September 25 release.

The Basics: Now on to Guild Wars 2. I’ve got to say how detailed the world is for this game, I didn’t have it running on the highest of settings and I was still amazed by the attention to detail that ArenaNet put into making this massive universe. There are five playable races: the charr, norn, asura, human, & sylvari. There is a great amount of customization to your character at the start. From the height, hairstyle, hair color, physique, and even armor dyes, and so on. Lots of options right from the start makes for a promising experience. The eight classes/professions are divided into three categories: Soldiers, Adventurers, and Scholars. Guardian & Warrior classes are in the Soldier category; Ranger, Engineer, & Thief are part of the Adventurer category; and the Elementalist, Mesmer, & Necromancer are part of the Scholars. And the best part is, any of the five playable races can be any of the eight professions!

Skills, Skills, Skills: Now I chose to be a Charr Ranger among others, but I’m gonna talk about my Charr Ranger for this. Now I am able to tame wild animals on the go and have them fight alongside me, which is a great effect to have. Another amazing thing is you can switch between 4 pets at any time and you don’t have to re-tame others once you’ve already tamed them. Pets have a variety of different abilities and debuffs, some even have stealth. Rangers have a variety of weapons in their arsenal: 2H Greatsword, 2H Longbow, & 2H Shortbow. A main hand 1H Sword, main hand 1H Axe, a off hand axe, off-hand dagger and a few miscellaneous others. For a while, Rangers were even considered the most over powered class as far as PvP was concerned as well. Your longbow has five dedicated skills, your sword has three skills, shortbows have five skills, and off hand weapons carry their own sets of dedicated skills. It is an understatement say the Guild Wars 2 has an incredible amount of skills for everything, racial skills, class skills, and weapon skills. 

My Personal Feelings: Now although I only mentioned one class in this, I do wanna point out that the Elementalist, and Thief classes are very well done. The Thief class is very good for PvP in fact. I also want to mention the Guild Wars 2 will not have a monthly subscription fee. You pay for the game, you play if for life. The voice talent is also exceptional in this. Some of my favorite voice actors such as Steve Blum, Troy Baker, Kari Whalgren, & Felicia Day all lend their voices to the game. That being said, I’m very excited for the release of Guild Wars 2. A massive open world with so much to do, so much to earn, and playing with friends is going to be a blast. Guild Wars 2 releases exclusively on PC August 28th. However, if you pre-order right now, you gain early access to the game on August 25th. 
Were you lucky enough to get into the GWII beta?