I had limited leisure time this weekend just gone, so I didn’t get to explore the final Guild Wars 2 beta as much as I would have liked. I managed to check out the Sylvari race and had to pass on the Asura. However I was not disappointed by my choice, finding the backstory to this race and their depiction within the game very interesting. The interactive story elelment of any MMO is always a major selling point for me. Their starter area was beautifully designed and the GUI seemed to have been refined further from the last event. The amount of buttons for things such as pets seemed to have been reduced, but with positive results.
I finally got to try the cross world PVP and was greatly surprised by how entertaining it was. I particularly liked the tactical element of the game and the fact that it wasn’t just a pure brawl. The use of weapons within captured fortifications added an extra dimension to the proceeding and encouraged a positive group dynamic. This aspect of the game is something I will happily explore further after launch, as it has certainly altered a lot of my erroneous misconceptions about PVP. I’m sure it will still have a percentage of “problematic” players, but the way the game mechanics have been implemented seems to reduce a lot of opportunities for griefing.
I fully recognise that I have not played as much of Guild Wars 2 as some other players, but I certainly feel I have gained sufficient insight into the game to state the following. ArenaNet have produced an extremely polished game that has a good balance between innovation and traditional game mechanics. Hardcore players will be able to level and attain gear via the world events. There seems to be a lot of scope to provide them with the challenges and rewards that they need. The more casual player (which I think I may be for this game) will be able to come and go with out penalty. Certain activities will temporarily raise a players level to accommodate their involvement. For those that like to collect and explore there is plenty to keep you busy. The size of the land mass itself offers a wealth of opportunities. The level scaling system also means that grouping with friends will never be a issue.
Finally the way the developers and fans are interacting is also very impressive and bodes very well for the future. Bugs get fixed, opinions are considered and acted upon accordingly. So far this has been a model process that other companies could well benefit from adopting. Of course it would be foolish to draw a definitive conclusion about Guild wars 2 now. There still a month to go and work to be done. Yet it has been a while since I have felt this genuinely positive about a game, even after I have tempered that view with measured criticism. I like many other gamers eagerly await the games launch on the 28th August.