The final Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event is nearly here. From Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22, hundreds of thousands of players from Europe and North America will experience the beta version of Guild Wars 2 one last time before the game launches on August 28.
As you can imagine, this is an exciting time for everyone here at the studio. Guild Wars 2 launches in a matter of weeks, and with playable asura and sylvari characters and a lot of other cool content, this last Beta Weekend Event will be our biggest yet. Let’s take a look at what we’re all so excited about.
Create an Asura or Sylvari Character
Beta players will be able to create asura and sylvari characters for the first time this weekend, exploring each race’s fantastical home region, and experiencing the unique storyline options available to these races.
Lore and Continuity Writer Ree Soesbee, who was intimately involved with the creation of the sylvari, has high hopes for the debut of Tyria’s enigmatic race of humanoid plants.
“I hope players come away from this weekend with a better sense of the sylvari as a race—their personalities, quirks, interests, and setting,” Ree says. “I hope they’ll love the sylvari voices—the PC ones, in particular, are amazing!—and getting to see the Grove and soak in all its wonders. Personally, I look forward to hearing how players respond to the somewhat inhuman visual choices available for sylvari PCs—something that our artists worked very hard to create. It’s difficult to balance beautiful and not-quite-human!”
Players will also be able to create asuran characters for the first time this beta weekend.
Matt Barrett, the concept artist largely responsible for creating the asuran architecture, is confident that beta players will enjoy exploring Metrica Province and monolithic Rata Sum or matching wits with the treacherous Inquest. “Making the visually and culturally distinctive world of the asura was a huge, complex job, and I think players will be as intrigued by the asura as I was,” Matt says. “My challenge for beta players is to really explore the breadth and depth of their unique civilization and make the most of your chance to uncover the secrets of the asura.”
Brand-New Map – Brisban Wildlands
This brand-new map, recommended for players level 17-20, makes its debut this weekend.
- “Brisban Wildlands is a remote jungle adjacent to the lands of the asura, sylvari, and humans. For decades the only inhabitants have been a few asura labs too secretive or volatile to occupy space near Rata Sum, and an ever-multiplying population of skritt. Protected by the secluded jungle, the skritt built the city of Skrittsburgh, and have attained an order of civility little seen in other areas of Tyria.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before outlaws began taking advantage of Brisban’s isolated location. The Inquest, Nightmare Court, and human bandits now flood the area, preying on skritt and disrupting lab operations. Worse still, each of these groups seem to have their own dark intentions—plots that could be catastrophic if left unchecked.
“The need for heroes is so great that many sylvari have been led to the jungle on their wyld hunts. Recognizing their common goals, the Peacemakers, wyld hunt valiants, and Seraph have pooled their resources in an attempt to keep Brisban Wildlands from falling to criminals.”
-Kim Kirsch, Game Designer
Get Ready to Keg Brawl!
Introducing the first minigame activity playable in a beta weekend—the wildly popular, incredibly macho norn pastime known as Keg Brawl!
Activities like Keg Brawl are fun minigames that are available in many Tyrian cities. In the great norn settlement of Hoelbrak, players can speak to the Brewer NPC in the northwest corner to begin the game.
In Keg Brawl, two teams attempt to score points by toting a full keg of ale across an icy lake and turning it in to the Ale Collector that belongs to their team. Participants are free to tackle, pummel, kick, and otherwise rough up competing players in order to seize control of the keg.
Keg Brawl—you’ll never look at a keg of ale the same way again!
Kick Back and Enjoy the Vista
There’s so much to see in Tyria that sometimes you just want to pull over to the side of the proverbial road and admire the view. For this Beta Weekend Event, we’re introducing vistas, a new feature for sightseers, explorers, and those who just enjoy drinking in the view.
- “Many of you have already spent some time exploring the world of Tyria battling through bandits, ghosts, and even other players. But how often did you get the chance to just sit back and look at the handcrafted beauty of the game? In the upcoming beta weekend, you’ll have the chance to do just that with our new vista feature.
“Vistas are a new addition to our map completion progress. We’ve placed visual cues of these hidden locations throughout the world. Once you have located and navigated to the vista, simply interact with it to activate a sweeping panoramic cinematic of the area.
“But don’t take my word for it; check out this vista from Hoelbrak below. Enjoy!”
-Crystal Reid, Level Designer
New PvP Map – Legacy of the Foefire
We’re introducing a brand-new player-versus-player map this weekend that we call “Legacy of the Foefire,” which draws some inspiration from the lore and design of the original Guild Wars. As with all PvP maps, players will battle over three capture points, but this new map includes NPC guards and team “guild lords,” powerful NPCs that are worth a lot of points… if you can manage to kill them.
“I think fans of Guild Wars will particularly appreciate the background of Foefire,” Game Designer Jonathan Sharp says. “And I think they’ll find the map layout reminiscent of some classic Guild Wars maps.”
More World vs. World
WvW isn’t just about spectacular sieges or brutal clashes between armies of players; there’s plenty for the small team or single player to do.
This beta weekend we’re introducing objectives for solo players called sentries. As you can imagine from the name, sentries are solitary NPC guards located on a capture point that are worth points if you can take them out. But be warned—sentries are no pushovers!
Reminder: Beta Info Will Be Deleted
Before this final Beta Weekend Event (and before Guild Wars 2 launches on August 28) we’ll delete all existing beta information. Every beta character and all information or items associated with them will be deleted. However, we will be preserving your beta account’s contact list so you can easily connect with your fellow beta gamers during Headstart Access or after launch.
Gem Store is Open for Business!
As we mentioned earlier, we’re wiping all our beta data before launch—including items purchased this weekend—but we’ll keep a record of how many gems you’ve purchased during beta events. When Guild Wars 2 launches on August 28, you’ll receive those gems back on your account.
Guild Wars 2 Beta Livestream on Twitch TV
Throughout the beta weekend, ArenaNet devs will be livestreaming GW2 gameplay on Twitch TV. From combat tips to PvP match commentary, our developers will give you a deeper insight into the game and will take your questions in the chat channel during each stream.
For more information, check out Twitch TV’s Guild Wars 2 channel.