Feb 23, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Beta

If you're reading this blog you're most likely a die-hard fan of Guild Wars 2 who is eagerly awaiting its release. You also jumped at the opportunity to sign up for a chance to get into the beta test yesterday.
I also signed up and hope that I get into a beta event.

Months ago, I wanted to play the game primarily to see if it was going to live up to the hype. However, after watching a lot of the videos being released from the Press CBT, I don't have any worries about the game being good or being something that I'll enjoy. I already know that it will be.
From the beta FAQ and the videos, a couple more things are abundantly clear. First, the FAQ tells us that all data will be wiped after each event so there will be no head start advantage or name reservation ability for those lucky enough to get into the beta. Secondly, if you've watched any if the press play-through videos you'll know that playing in the beta probably won't afford you much of an advantage when the game releases. There's a very well done balance between letting the player explore and gently nudging you to the next point of interest. The amount of content in the game also seems ridiculously huge, so it's unlikely that you'll spoil much of the story.
So if there is no doubt about the game's awesomeness and there's little advantage to be had, why do I so desperately want to play in a beta event?
The selfish reason is that I want to try out as many professions as possible to see which ones I like and which ones I don't (although I think it'll all just be degrees from "like" to "love"). But I'm hoping that I can use a beta event to help decide on a main profession to play as upon release.
That said though, I do have another, equally (if not more) important reason: I want to contribute to making the game the best it can be. These beta events offer us a rare chance to provide feedback that the developers will use to tweak the game. Whether its simply registering my vote that "yes, this was fun - stop tweaking it" or more constructive feedback along the lines of "this works, but if you could add/tweak X, it'd be that much better", I want to help.
This opportunity is one to test the game, not just play it early. This is a chance to try stupid stuff you wouldn't think of doing after the game ships (like spending half an hour trying to jump into the hole in Divinity's Reach like one of the press did).
The most important thing is not to take the opportunity for granted. In some of the videos from the press event I've seen feedback forms pop-up on screen, only to be instantly dismissed! Seeing this pains me because it means that somebody is squandering their opportunity to help refine the game. Heck, given how much people (fans and developers alike) have invested into the game, I would consider it a duty and obligation to pause for a minute and provide (meaningful) feedback to ArenaNet.
So, for those who have applied to the beta program: Good Luck!
For those lucky people who get chosen to participate: make the most of it by providing as much feedback as possible. Don't waste this chance to contribute.
And whatever you do, don't breach the terms of the NDA! ArenaNet has worked extremely hard on the game, please show them the respect they deserve.

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