If I Were In Guild Wars 2 Beta – Jono Mozza’s Story

[As promised here is the blog post of the second runner-up in our very first GWOnline Blog Extravaganza – Jono Mozza! This concludes the front page posts for this time, but do make sure to check out the rest of the contestants, as well as other bloggers, over at our Community Blog section.]

The first rule of the Guild Wars 2 beta is: you do not talk about the Guild Wars 2 beta.
The second rule of the Guild Wars 2 beta is: you DO NOT talk about the Guild Wars 2 beta.

That isn’t just me trying to slip in a Fight Club reference, I’m serious. The Non Disclosure Agreement makes sure of that. So I guess I’ll get my coat… Oh, well, okay, I’ll tell you what I’d do. But if I do get in, I won’t actually tell you what I did. Or even that I got in.

The Long Wait Soon at an End

After a five year wait since Guild Wars 2 was announced, we’re finally near the point where we can get a (hopefully) lengthy hands-on playtest. It’s incredible to think that originally we were told to expect a beta in 2008. Back then, we knew very little about what to expect.

Some assumed it would be simply a more advanced version of the original concept of Guild Wars hence a relative short turnaround for a beta. The more pessimistic among us expected a longer wait, or even thought that GW2 was merely vapourware.

As time went on and ANet decided to truly create something grand, we were treated to some great updates to tide us over: Zaishen dailies, 7 heroes, War in Kryta, Hearts of the North and of course the now complete Winds of Change have all been added to the game (and for free, too!). But here we are after 5 lengthy years with a game that has morphed into something far greater, as shown by the one million people who all want a place in the beta.

Guild Wars 2 Concept art - fortress

Calling it now - this game is gonna win all the "best art" awards for 2012. It simply has to.

Priming For Beta By Being a Blank Slate

In the build up to the beta and all the information released, many are keen to get into the beta and test all the new features. Gather up information on skills, maps and events. Begin to master the new dodging feature, or learn the most effective skill combinations. Start to plan out the characters they’ll make and what skills they’ll take come launch day.

But what would I do? Simply, to play. While many are planning out their characters and trying to become educate themselves on all the skills, traits and racial abilities, I’ve tried to hold back and leave things relatively unknown. “Why”, you may ask? Because I want to be able to join into the beta and have that sense of discovery there, that magical sensation that hasn’t been there in great amounts since the Eye of the North release.

I want to see how all the dynamic events flow together, to see if it’s truly a “next-gen MMO” experience. I want to have that newbie experience of learning what the skills and abilities do first hand rather than basing ideas off theory-crafts of the most optimal setups. I want to be able to stumble upon new features without having knowing they existed, rather than knowing as much as possible ahead of time.

Savour The Newbieness, It Only Happens Once

Essentially, I want to head into the unknown and get a glimpse of the world that ANet have spent the last five years creating, the world that has millions of people interested, and I want to enter it without any preconceptions on what I should do or must find out to be “ready” for when the game launches.

They’ve teased us recently with all the videos and artwork, and I’d love just to be free to explore and play the game. In another five years, when we’re all jaded vets complaining about the latest skill balance or update, it’ll be nice to have fond memories of being in the beta and have that newbie feeling of a complete sensory overload from all the things to see and do. I think that in essence, everyone wants that same feeling in varying degrees. It’s something that only ever will happen during those first few weeks with a game like Guild Wars 2, and I want to make the most of it.

GW2 Warrior and Guardian

The classic method for making important decisions: Heads of Tails?

Then, Playing The Game

So, if I were in the beta, I’d be waiting eagerly to login as soon as the servers go live. I think I’d pick a human to start off, to have some level of familiarity. Class? I’d leave it up to a coin toss. Heads for Warrior, tails for Guardian. From there, I would set off into the unknown, similar to the hero. Not knowing what I’d find. I might go off the beaten track and explore that suspicious cave.

I’d play around with the myriad of weapons (the mace looks particularly fun). Maybe advance the personal story. Try my hand at World vs World. Who knows, perhaps there’s some hilarious mini-game I’d get addicted to. Oh, and I’d report any bugs I’d find. But you’d expect me to say that, right? Last, but not least, I’d love to get to see more of that art.

And Now We Wait..

In summary, I’d love to have the privilege of getting an early look at Guild Wars 2 through the beta. I’d love to be able to play around and really get a feel for a flow of the game and see how it all works together. I’d love to see some of the world that ANet have been busy crafting. I’d love to be able to help out a little too in terms of bugs or suggestions.

Now all that’s left is to cross my fingers and hope I get picked out of that one million person hat. If you’re in the hat too, then good luck, and remember the first and second rules of the Guild Wars 2 beta.

The original post can be found here.