We’re excited to announce that our third and final Beta Weekend Event will be taking place starting at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7) on Friday, October 2, and running until midnight Pacific Time (UTC-7) on Sunday, October 4.
These Beta Weekend Events are your opportunity to help shape the development process and the experience you’ll have when Guild Wars 2 is completed. These are real beta tests, and you have a real opportunity to make our expansion better with your feedback.
As a reminder, we’re not going to show everything from the expansion in beta weekends. We want to keep a strong sense of discovery and not spoil huge parts of the story ahead of time. We’re going to test enough to help us broadly understand how everything works and apply those lessons to the parts of the game we won’t be showing during beta weekends as well. For example, we’ll only ever be showing the first story chapter and parts of the first map of the expansion during beta weekends to ensure an entire world of discovery and excitement awaits you on launch day when you venture deeper into the jungle. After all, Guild Wars 2 is the game where the journey is the goal!
Players who have pre-purchased the expansion will see a new button appear on the character-creation screen that allows them to create and play a fully geared, level 80 beta character of any race for the duration of the weekend. You’ll have access to four beta character slots to use. Due to large back-end changes to core systems that have corrupted some of the beta data, your characters from previous beta weekends will not be available for BWE3—everyone will be starting with fresh beta characters.
Players who have pre-purchased will be able to use their beta character slots to create our new profession, the revenant, using the full selection of core specializations, weapons, and legends. You’ll also be able to play with our new elite specialization system that grows your character professions into new elite specs. You’ll be able to try out all nine of the elite specializations: chronomancer, dragonhunter, reaper, tempest, berserker, daredevil, and herald, as well as the newly announced scrapper and our final elite specialization, the druid.
Beta characters will begin by playing through a brief shared battle in the Silverwastes that leads into the expansion jungle region, followed by the intro story step of the expansion. From there, they’ll land in Verdant Brink, the first map of the expansion. For our third beta weekend test, you’ll be landing in the same location that the second beta weekend took place in. We’ve expanded the nighttime events a bit to allow you to explore both the floor and jungle canopy in this part of Verdant Brink—and you’ll encounter new bosses who await you high above the jungle at night. You’ll be able to train your masteries in the jungle region as you play through the story and event content available in Verdant Brink.
We’ll also be opening up raiding in Guild Wars 2 for the very first time. You’ll find a brand-new portal in Verdant Brink right next to where you arrive in the map; this portal is a temporary entrance to our first raid! You’ll be able to form parties of 10 and enter the first raid wing, Spirit Vale, where you’ll go in search of a missing squad of Pact soldiers who disappeared while scouting an area north of the jungle. Here you’ll be able to take on the first encounter of our first raid wing as you search for the missing soldiers. This is the first of four total encounters in Spirit Vale—we’ll save the other three for when we activate the first wing in the live game so we don’t give away too many surprises.
Not only will you be able to take your characters to the jungle, but you can take them into the existing game world as well! Player vs. Player, PvE, or WvW—feel free to try out the new profession or elite specializations in Central Tyria with all your friends and guildies. To go along with this, we’ll have our map bonus reward system on for beta characters only to help players get a feel for how we’ll be helping keep the core game world relevant and rewarding with the release of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.
We’ll also be turning on our new Stronghold PvP game mode for all players for the duration of the weekend, along with the new Mist Champion selection system. Players who pre-purchase Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will have all the currently revealed Mist Champions automatically unlocked for them to use for the duration of the weekend.
So what kind of feedback are we looking for?
We’d love to get your thoughts on the revenant and all the elite specializations. We’d like your comments on the two new elite specializations, as well as the balance changes and updates we’ve made to the ones we’ve shown before. Were they fun to play? Did they change the way you play your profession in a meaningful way?
Did you enjoy the amount of vertical space available to play in for this part of the map? Are the new bosses fun to fight against? Do they add more to the night experience? Did you enjoy your time in general in Verdant Brink?
We want your feedback on what it feels like to play raids. Does raiding prove to be the true PvE challenge you were hoping for? Did you have to refine your build, discuss with your friends what builds they were running, and together define a strategy to overcome our first raid encounter? Did you fail the encounter multiple times until you eventually devised a strategy to learn how to overcome it? And most importantly, did you have fun?
We’re continuing to look for feedback on what it’s like to progress and earn Masteries over the course of multiple days of gameplay in the jungle and how it feels to use those Mastery abilities in the area provided. We’ve sped up the rate at which you earn Masteries deeper into the Mastery lines. Does the Mastery system feel like a system that works to provide meaningful progression? Does it make you care about experience points and Mastery points? Does it provide a framework you think we could add to regularly in live updates?
See You Soon!
Beta Weekend Events are a large milestone in the development of our expansion, and we can’t wait to play the game with you over the weekend and to continue down the path that brings Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns to release. After this beta weekend has completed, we’ll be just 19 days from the launch of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns!
I want to extend a huge thank-you to everyone who has helped us beta test so far; the entire expansion (including the huge volume of stuff you haven’t seen!) is infinitely better because of it. This final beta weekend will help us identify the last refinements we need to address to make the experience even better, so thank you ahead of time to all of you who make it in. And remember—please make sure to share your feedback; it’s incredibly important to us!