It’s almost here—the second Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event begins this Friday! For three days, players from all over the world will experience the wonders and dangers of Tyria—and a ton of cool new content!
Or create new human, norn, or charr characters and start a whole new story. Since players will be able to play with their existing characters from the first Beta Weekend Event, they can experience some of the new higher level content.
Enter the Catacombs (Explorable Mode)
Looking for a real challenge? Try out the explorable mode of the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon for groups of ambitious level 35+ players. The tough explorable mode of the Catacombs presents a party with three different paths through the dungeon, each with its own dangers and rewards. Enter if you dare!
We’ve opened up a new map, Gendarran Fields, for players to explore. A level 25 to 35 map just outside Lion’s Arch, Gendarran Fields is a picturesque area of pine trees and rolling hills, teeming with wild beasts and bandit gangs.
Unlock the Mysteries of the Mystic Forge
On a less dangerous note, the Mystic Forge has arrived in Lion’s Arch. This strange forge actually holds the imprisoned djinn Zommoros, who hails from distant Elona. If you offer the Mystic Forge gifts (like unneeded items and weapons), you will receive a gift in return. Got a pair of pistols that you don’t need? Drop them in the Mystic Forge and see what Zommoros gives you in exchange!
Expanded World vs. World
Once again, the Mists will echo with the sound of combat as we open up World vs. World for the weekend. As usual, massive armies of players from different servers will battle for supremacy on four huge maps, but this time we’ve added a couple of interesting new twists.
Players can now take their WvW battle underground in a new “mini dungeon” beneath the central map. This brand-new subterranean level is full of tricks and traps that can be used against enemy players, and is home to the aptly named Dark Room, which players will have to see (or not) to believe.
We’ve also added skill challenges, dynamic events, and even jump puzzles to the WvW maps. Why are these PvE elements being integrated into WvW gameplay? “We want to make the transition from PvE to World vs. World easy and natural for players,” says developer Matt Witter. “We always wanted additional meaningful content on the WvW maps so that players will always have something to do, even if the frontline of battle is far away.”
New Automated Player vs. Player Tournaments and More
For this beta, we’re introducing Automated PvP Tournaments. Each tournament pits eight teams of five players against each other. Teams that excel during the three-round, single-elimination tournament are rewarded with tournament chests full of valuable loot.
The PvP reward system has also been greatly improved with the creation of a two-tier reward structure that involves Glory and Rank. Put simply, Glory is a currency that players can spend to unlock reward chests stuffed with useful loot, while Rank is a measurement of your success in PvP. You’ll receive valuable reward chests as you climb in Rank.
Combat in Guild Wars 2 is more visceral than ever. We’re constantly making improvements to the entire combat experience—better timing, enhanced sound design, subtle camera shakes—to enhance what designer Jon Peters likes to call “the sense of hitting.”
Improved Overflow Servers
We listened to a lot of the input we received from players regarding their experience with overflow servers in the first Beta Weekend Event, and we’ve implemented a new party UI that tells you when party members are on a different overflow world. We’ve also given party members the ability to fast travel to overflow worlds where other members of their party are located, and we’ve made it easier to keep party members together when moving between maps. It’s all designed to give you as smooth an experience as possible.
Communication in general has been greatly improved, as well. We’re adding the much-requested chat bubbles, as well as map chat and an updated local chat function, both of which make it easier to communicate with other players.
New Key-Binding Feature
This is one of our most requested features. For those who want to customize their gameplay experience, we’re introducing a new, easy-to-use key-binding interface, which now allows you to bind modifier keys.
MMO players are often very particular about their user interface, and we’re no exception. We’ve listened to your feedback and have refined our UI to make it even easier to use. We’ve revamped the mini-map in the bottom-right corner of the screen. The formerly round mini-map is now square and can easily be resized for better navigation.
UI Art Lead Vicki Ebberts says, “Little adjustments, like making the map resizable or wrapping the dodge meter around the top of the health bubble, may not seem like a big deal at first, but over the course of many hours spent playing a game, you start to appreciate a well-designed interface.”
We’ve organized each profession’s elite and utility skills into three different tiers, or levels. When you get enough skills in one tier, you unlock the next level of skills. Why the change from the previous model, which let players choose from all the available skills at once?
“The tier system gives players both a sense of progression and accomplishment,” says Lead Designer Eric Flannum. “It encourages them to experiment with different skills as they increase in power, and it avoids overwhelming new players with a huge list of skills to choose from.”
“Plus,” Flannum adds, “the tier system is more scalable and expandable. We can more easily add new skills in the future with this system.”
The Gem Store is under New Management
The Black Lion Trading Company out of Lion’s Arch has officially taken over operation of the Gem Store, Currency Exchange, and Trading Post. Its new owner’s first action was to completely overhaul the Gem Store.
As a result, the all-new Gem Store is easier to use and has a greater variety of items, from the decorative—like dye packs and costumes—to the whimsical—like the Box o’ Fun, which spawns a chest that applies random crazy effects to everyone who touches it. Each beta player will receive 500 free gems on their account, so do a little shopping on us!
There’s no shortage of things to see and do during our second Beta Weekend Event, and this is just a small sample of what awaits you when you log in.
We’ll see you in-game from Friday, June 8th, at noon PDT (GMT-7) until Sunday, June 10th, at 11:59 p.m. PDT (GMT-7).