Editorials

Beetle Wars Arrives in Tyria

On hilly landscapes around Tyria, players are speeding down slopes and making wicked jumps on their newest mount – the roller beetle. The large, spherical critter was introduced on June 26th with the latest Living World episode, Long Live the Lich, and is obtainable through the completion of three collections. As more of these beetles have been obtained, players of a like mind have congregated together to design and compete in races with what is now the mount with the highest top speed on land. Here’s your introduction to Tyria’s latest beetle races.

The Roller Beetle

Like all of Guild Wars 2’s mounts, the roller beetle comes with its own movement abilities. The first is a boost which can be used when the endurance bar is filled and… it’s fast. Really fast. Its top speed is just shy of the griffon’s but is much easier to reach and maintain if you have the skill. Of course, this speed comes with a cost to maneuverability. You can sacrifice speed and regain some control for tighter turns by using the roller beetle’s second movement ability: drifting. I tell you, nailing that slide and turn while going at high speeds is incredibly satisfying.

That’s not all. Going down a slope with a roller beetle will have you picking up speed even if you’re not using the boost button and going up an incline will have you decrease in speed, but time your boost or have enough momentum and that incline could be a ramp to send you flying into the air.

While in the air, holding down your primary movement button will have your character do tricks on their asuran magitech saddle. If you’ve spent your mastery points on the final tier of the roller beetle mastery track, doing those tricks will regenerate some endurance, so you’ll have that boost ready faster.

And I’m still not finished. If you’re going fast enough, you can skip atop water.

Of course all of this takes practice. With the combination of being a skill-based mount and an incredibly fast one, it’s no surprise beetle racing has become a popular activity.

The Tracks

In the Domain of Kourna, there is an adventure called Roller Beetle Training which essentially works as a single-player track where afterwards you can compare your times with your friends’. This is fun, but beetle racing goes beyond this.

Beetle racing in Guild Wars 2 is a player-made activity where roller beetle enthusiasts have scoured the game’s maps for those slopes, jumps and off-road paths that make up an exhilarating race track ready for sharing with other players.

I spoke to a few who designed such races and asked them what components they had to keep in mind to create a good race. Sunless the Reaper says what’s most important to him in charting a race is the challenge – whether it be through tricky maneuvers or riding through dangerous mobs. He even charted a track through Dragon’s Stand, the madman! That said, he also designs races for beginners and other skill levels to make sure everyone has a fun, yet challenging, experience. Also at play is watching the terrain to make sure the best speeds are maintained, looking for jumps as well as good water-skipping and drifting spots.

StrawhatBuddha has an approach of his own when making tracks. He told me, ‘I know in fact that the community prefers [off-road] tracks with a lot of speed and jumps, giving riding your beetle more of a “Trackmania”-kinda vibe. But there are a lot of “roads” in Tyria. Following them, seeing the scenery, drifting so you stay on the road, etc… that gives riding your beetle more of a “DIRT” or “Flatout2”-kinda vibe. And I love the game for that.’

One example of a track by StrawhatBuddha is situated in Cursed Shore, which we’ve included a video of below.

The Racers

The creativity in making your own beetle racing track is great in itself, but the real fun is in organising a bunch of players to race with you. There have been two guilds that have caught my eye in this regard: Beetle League Racing Team [RACE] from the EU server and Tyria Drift [DRFT] from the NA server.

While the races are of course competitive, they’re hardly ever done for stakes, just pure fun. Sunless the Reaper from Beetle League Racing Team hosts what he calls ‘training runs’ everyday. Different people from his 50+ members show up each time, but there are usually around eight to ten racers present. Training for what exactly? Well, in August he plans to hold a tournament for his guildmates complete with prizes. If you want in and are on the EU megaserver, contact him in-game at Acnologia.6934 for an invite.

Mali, also from Beetle League Racing Team, designed many of the races for his guild. Like Sunless, he revels in creating a challenge and it excites him to see what other players can bring to his tracks. His talented guildies never fail to impress and often surprise him by turning up maneuvers he wasn’t expecting!

Meanwhile, Tyria Drift has an interesting origin story. On the day the roller beetle became available, Ozai called out into the map chat of Lion’s Arch and made a makeshift race. After most had left, a handful of players, previously unknown to each other, joked about forming a guild. Within three days they had over 100 members, including ArenaNet gameplay programmer Joel Helmich, who is amongst those who brought us this amazing new mount. Currently they have plans to hold a Grand Prix event every two weeks as well as their regular scheduled and spontaneous races.

If you’d like to join their growing community and are on the NA megaserver, contact Ecolyne.8470. Below is an amazing video by Tyria Drift where Ozai and Lethe show off all the fun you could be having!

The inclusion of a new mount with a Living World episode was already an awesome surprise. In a behind the scenes video by the devs, it was said that they wanted the roller beetle to make players go back to old maps and look at them differently. It has gone so much beyond that with this new community of racers coming together to organise a new way of enjoying Guild Wars 2 with a unique skill to master. It’s early days, but I have high expectations for Tyria’s beetle racing scene.

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