I really enjoyed my evening with Guild Wars 2: Beta Week Event 2. (In case other people on your RSS feed are talking about GW2 BWE2, that’s what it stands for. You’re welcome. We love you, too.) I was moving through settled territory, so it was not exactly testing the cutting edge, but it was nice to see how some items had changed since BWE1; “Dat Effin’ Shaman” was retooled, although “Dat Effin’ Effigy” was carving a path through the soloers until it reached a concentration of players.
I was not playing with anyone, but I was rarely alone. I participated in at least a dozen events and hearts over the course of a couple of hours, just wandering around the Plains of Ashford. I may start using Wandering as a term for the low-key version of Exploring. Doot dee doo, there’s a piece of the map I haven’t explored, a heart I haven’t filled. Let’s go over there. Oh, there’s a monster type I haven’t killed this weekend, let’s get one of those. Hey, event, why not? I completed perhaps a third of the zone and gained a few levels. I noticed that my effective level changed as I moved about, which could be a bit more visible, but you just operate on the principle that the content will always be relevant-level instead of ROFLstomp.
For those not playing, you may have read that your skills are weapon-based. Change weapons, and you change skills (for your first five). I was playing an elementalist, so I could wield a staff (2h), scepter (main hand), focus (off hand), and/or dagger (either or both hands). That gives me five combinations of fifteen skills, plus another five using a trident underwater. You unlock them through use, so kill X things with weapon Y to open all your options. But wait, there’s more! The elementalist’s special feature is having four elements, so you can swap between them. Each element has its own set of skills, so the elementalist has 80 skills rather than 20. You can see how you can spend an evening just flipping between weapons, unlocking skills, experimenting, and occasionally making intelligent use of the ones you like. Event with 10 people around? Hello AE skills!
There have been quite a few improvements to the game’s functionality, and one or more of us will post about those in the coming days.