Just a little over a week ago, the first publicly available Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event was at an end. A painful reminder for people suffering from withdrawal, such as myself. Before the beta weekend had started, we here – at overly secretive GuildMag headquarters – started a thread where we had to decide what to write about once the floodgates open and thousands of people – us as tiny specks among them – rushed to experience Guild Wars 2 for the first time. A cursory glance at the press world is enough to realise how difficult it is to single out a particular highlight of the weekend. Kotaku sung songs about Tyria’s fantastical beauty, PC Gamer teasingly offered World versus World footage before the event, Rock Paper Shotgun extensively covered PvE, and GuildMag offered a first timer’s take on the game. Many opted to take the easy way out and simply stream the game live – a picture is worth a thousand words, after all. I initially had no bloody clue what to write about. Not until I’ve spent my first sleepless night with Guild Wars 2.
The epiphany came whilst I was exploring near the smaller of the two dams that flanked either side of Divinity’s Reach. I had abandoned hunting Renown hearts and decided to explore. The sizeable lake that sat at the foot of the eastern dam proved to be a good chance to delve deeper – cough – into the intricacies of subaquatic encounters. I nimbly swam about, trying my best to avoid attacks, sending ominous pink-coloured musical notes at my foes. I must admit, the mesmer wasn’t agreeing with me, and not just because music was his weapon of choice under water. Eventually, I was the one who was overwhelmed, ultimately meeting my defeat. The beauty of the game’s difficulty is that I personally found it nowhere near as discouragingly punishing as in the original Guild Wars. I wanted to win. I was going to, I told myself.
The nearest waypoint was some distance to the south, situated in a woodcutters’ outpost. Once there, I stubbornly began my journey back, following the road leading out and into the nearby Queen’s Forest. But then I saw a ranger having trouble with a particularly annoying wasp. Kill-stealing is impossible in Guild Wars 2, encouraging you to help others as you share experience points. In truth, however, what was going through my head was something along the lines of, “God, I hate wasps