Well, the final Beta Weekend Event has come and gone, and we are just a mere 32 days away from the release date (for those who pre- purchased the game, or just a short 35 days for those who have not).
Man, though, what an experience! The final two races, Asura and Sylvari (above) were opened for the first time, which made the game a lot of fun to play through! The general consensus from participants I talked to was that they loved the stories and the settings for the two newest races, so it made everyone very excited to learn more.
First, lets talk Sylvari.
The Sylvari are a humanoid race of elven-like creatures who are not “born” in the traditional sense. Think more like the Matrix – they just wake up one day. Or, as a friend put it, like the Elves of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world. They are all born of a single parent—the mighty Pale Tree that dominates the Tarnished Coast.
The people have only been on Tyria for about 25 years – a very short span, considering there is 250 years between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. They are bound together with a common origin and a shared dream. No one knows why they have suddenly appeared in Tyria, least of all the Sylvari themselves, and they seek to discover their purpose in the world. Of all the races, they have the greatest appreciation of the danger posed by the Elder Dragons; the sylvari battle the undead minions of Zhaitan on a regular basis.
They seem to share a “group think” – this Dream that all the Sylvari are born within. However, the race is not without it’s own flaws and this leads to an interesting and sometimes challenging personal quest for the Sylvari player.
Okay, that’s not my character REAL face. My Sylvari happened to be a Mesmer, who work in illusions and charms, so she is wearing a mask in this picture.
There is a much better picture of her – Ireth Ancalimë. You can see I learned how to turn off my interface to take screenshots this time around too! (Ctrl+Shift+H, for those who want to know).
You will see that Ireth is pink – different than many other of the Sylvari, to tend to be more greenish – and her hair is leaves. You can also see the outline of leaves on her legs, giving her a plant-like physical nature.
Playwise, they play just like any other humanoid character in the game. They have a more serious feel about them, as the characters don’t seem to have any kind of humor about them.
On the opposite end of the humor spectrum, we have the newly playable Asura.
As you can see, the Asura are quite different than the Sylvari. They are inventors, creators, and masters of knowledge of all things engineering and arcane. They are known for the gollums they build… that don’t always work as intended.
The diminutive Asura are the smartest people in Tyria. Just ask them; they will tell you. Once, they were the undisputed masters of a powerful underground civilization, but were driven to the surface by the Great Destroyer, the herald of the Elder Dragon Primordus.
Asura think of themselves as individuals, each protecting his or her creations jealously, but there are several organizations that bind the race together. The most important of these is the Arcane Council, which is, in theory, a collection of wise asura who enforce the laws of the people. In reality, this group consists of those who are not wise enough to get out of the task, as most asura would rather be pursuing their own creative agendas as opposed to dealing with internal squabbling and bureaucratic rivalries.
This little lady packs one hell of a punch (and she’s ridiculously cute to boot!) Renniw is a necromancer, and makes it look like necromancy is just the sweetest little thing ever!
Also, umm, don’t look at the conversation happening in the background. I just happened to notice it while looking at the screenshot. The downsides to MMORPGS is that some players make you want to throw up a little in your mouth.
But I digress.
Asurans look so funny when they run, jump (and almost trip when they land) and use big words when they talk, making even the average player wonder if the words actually exist.
And have I mentioned how ridiculously cute they are?
Overall, the game play hasn’t changed… like… at all since the first Beta. I know I didn’t blog about the second beta, but it was so similar to the first that I didn’t devote much time to it.
They added in something called a “vista” – an interactive object located in the world which triggers an associated cinematic. It appears as a column of light with a scroll floating near the ground. Interacting with the object will cause the camera to pan across nearby scenery. Vistas are intended to showcase locations and their environment art. Before each Vista usually lies a jumping puzzle players have to overcome to reach it.
I really enjoyed finding these – it gave me something else to focus on achieving, instead of just focusing on game play.
Having to solve the puzzle of how to reach a certain location was enjoyable for me, because those are the kind of puzzles I like. I don’t do well with some of the word puzzles from other kinds of games, or when having to go against a Sicilian when death is on the line… oh wait, wrong kind of media…
Some of the smaller things that have changed, good, bad or otherwise are the shown below:
The feel of the game itself hasn’t changed at all, however, and there is still a buzz about the community of how excited everyone is for the release.
” I love it! It is so beautiful, and I think more fun to play than GW1. I loved the Sylvari world, it’s amazing. And the origins stories/quest line depending on your choices in the character creator are amazing and fun.” – Selendryl (Sylvari)
Finally, a few more parting screenshots to carry us all over until the release. My guild is hoping to play on the Isle of Janthir. See you in game!