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The Beta Wait is Almost Over

David North Posted:
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Remember a few years ago when ArenaNet announced that they were working on Guild Wars 2?  I sure do.  I jumped around with excitement, told everyone I knew, and fantasized about how the game would turn out.  Over the past couple years, bits and pieces of information were let out.  Sometimes it was some info about the game’s features, or ideas that ArenaNet planned to implement to change the way MMOs are played.  All the information has been building up, and it’s made us want to play even more.  Well, from the information we received last week, our chance to finally get into the new Tyria is right around the corner.  That’s right folks, last week it was announced that a series of beta events would take place starting next month.

Now for some, you may be thinking these beta events will allow players to explore the entire world of the game, all at once.  Well that would be nice, but that’s what they call an open beta.  This is not what they have announced.  So what does that actually mean?  Well, it means that players that are in beta will have a certain amount of time to experience a specific part of the game.  It seems like the plan is to do a series of these beta events starting next month, letting beta testing start with a small select group of the press.  As time goes on, the beta events will be larger, probably meaning that the area the players will get to experience will grow larger to accommodate the growing number of public players.

I was super happy to hear that the beta is just around the corner!

Some of you may still be confused.  How can a beta only take place at a specific part of the game?  Here is one way I see them doing this.  It is possible that they will let you experience a certain area of land, and only level up to a certain level.  As for time allotted, they can make this beta available for a weekend, an entire week, or even just a day.  This is like the versions of the game they had available at the different game conventions; they have complete control over what we will be able to play.  Since they plan on doing a series of events, they may have each one take place in a very different part of the world, allowing you to try out different types of quests, fight new types of enemies, and see how the type of land can affect the dynamic events you can participate in.

We love it when the flood gates of information on Guild Wars 2 are opened. We just wished it happened more often.

If you have ever tried out a game demo on Xbox Live, or PSN, you notice that you are thrown into a very small part of the game.  Now demos are used more for getting feedback from the players.  This beta testing will be used in that same manner, but the areas they choose to put the players in could be linked to which areas have more issues or glitches.  We may even see “PvP Only” beta testing to check for any balance or performance issues.  Right now it’s hard to tell, but this is my best guess.

Beta testing sounds great.  You finally get a chance to play the game, but what about the actual launch?  I’m sure many of you are thinking that, and the answer is, I don’t know.  My guess would be during the Fall.  The reason I say this is from experience working on games.  Beta testing is a great way for a game developer to see some last moment bugs and glitches, as well as any balance issues that may have been missed by the in house testing team.  If you let a lot of players in, you get a lot of results.  When the testing is over, you take the results, and start fixing things.  ArenaNet has made sure they had plenty of time to get the game to a true finished status.  I doubt they would rush through the last bits of fixing, so spring and summer are out of the picture to me.  Looking at it from this angle, I would say mid to late fall will be the time of release… but that doesn’t mean I don’t hope for sooner!

Since the announcement, I myself have had lots of questions thrown at me, and from the looks of the forums out there, others are not 100 percent sure what the info means either.  So just remember, they didn’t use the words open beta.  This means the beta will happen in a specific part of the game, for a limited amount of time, and they will be doing a series of these in the span of a few months.  We don’t have an official release date, but we should be happy that ArenaNet has finally stated Guild Wars 2 will be out before the end of the year.  That sounds like some good news to me.

I wonder what my Charr Necromancer will end up looking like.

Ready for the Guild Wars 2 beta?  Any specific area or level you would like to experience in the beta?  Share your thoughts below.


David North