If you thought you'd have to wait till next year before you got your first hands-on glimpse of Guild Wars 2's next expansion, End of Dragons, you were mistaken. The first beta is being held later this month, starting on August 17th (that's next week) and will features character specializations to check out.
Whilst End of Dragons itself won't release until early next year, ArenaNet are eager to get players in to start testing some of the new features coming with the expansion, namely the new character elite specializations. As such, the first beta test will happen this month, coming on August 17th and running until August 21st. The test itself is available to anyone, including those on a free-to-play account.
The specializations included in this test are the Guardian's Willbender, which sees these characters given a multi-strike bonus to off-hand sword damage, as well as physical utilities. The Mesmer's Virtuoso sees the class blend the telekinesis and "Canthan martial traditions of the blade into a wholly new style of fast and active combat." And the Necromancer's Harbinger reminds one of an old-West sharpshooter, bringing what ArenaNet calls a "fast-paced, frenetic combat style."
You can actually check out the beta in action ahead of time by tuning in tomorrow, August 13th, to the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel as the developers will be livestreaming a gameplay showcase of the beta itself. This won't be the only beta as well, with more to come in the future. In fact, ArenaNet have already set the date for the second, coming on September 21st, while the third will run between October 26th-30th.