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March 18-20 Beta Weekend Event Diary

Reed Hubbard Posted:
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Day 1 – March 18, 2005

The last time I played Guild Wars was in October at the World Preview Event. Since then so much has happened and I’ve had other priorities and I just haven’t gotten around to pre-ordering the game and getting in on the beta weekend events.

So I got off my duff and rectified that. Best Buy loves me.

Tonight I logged into Guild Wars and it was like hearing a really good remake of a favorite old song – you recognize the tune and all that made it good, but the new performer gives it a great new twist. Such is the case with Guild Wars. The basic game is the same from last time, but there are enough changes to keep you guessing. It’s the same game, but it ain’t even close to the same game.

The pre-order package includes your access code, a CD with some screenshots, a poster (sweet!), and a quick strategy guide. Conspicuously absent is the actual game, which might fill a lot of people with a sense of dread in anticipation of long downloads. However, Arenanet has developed a brilliant method of content delivery. The client is very light and content is downloaded upon the first visit to a new area. From the time I downloaded the client to the time I was logged in was about 10 minutes. No joke.

Character creation has changed a bit. Instead of picking two professions at the outset, you choose one and then learn the second a couple of levels later. Before that even, you can choose to start at level one and work your way up, or play a top level character that is for PVP only. Once again, Arenanet wows me with their brilliance. Giving those who live for PVP battles an option to start out maxed out is a fantastic idea. I haven’t tried that option yet, but I’m anxious to.

I started out as a warrior and added on mesmer as a second profession. It was a really weird choice. I don’t know why I chose those two, but I’m paying the price in regular death. I’m sure someone who has better skills than me could make it work, and I’m only 5 levels in, so I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet, but I’m regularly getting my butt branded by level 3 stone elementals. Even with a couple of henchmen or players at my side, I’m taking a heavy loss.

Tonight I didn’t get to play nearly as much as I would like to have, but never fear. I’m digging in deeply for the next couple of days and I’ll have more for you here. Just let me say that Guild Wars continues to impress me. It needs a lot of polish, especially in the quest area, and the client isn’t 100% stable (it locked my computer up tighter than Dick’s hatband at one point), but the game is outstanding overall and I can’t wait to play it again tomorrow.

Right now I’m going to bed to gather my strength, for tomorrow, I kick some severe stone elemental hiney.

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Reed Hubbard