Here I am taking a look at the third and final beta event. I am discussing the new sylvari and asura races as well as if the game will be ready for launch.
I started the beta event with a sylvari character and during character creation I noticed a few things. First, the number of hair and face styles for the sylvari and asura are a bit lacking. The sylvari offer a number of different skin colors that you can choose from including a white/silver, bluish, purplish, as well as many shades of green which allows for pretty diverse character options. The asura skin tones on the other hand are almost stuck to some shade of gray which makes them one of the least varied since they also have so few face and hair options. To make your asuran character unique you can use different ear styles and other attributes to change your character up.
I played the first 10 levels of the sylvari starting area and personal story and I have to say that the starting zone is gorgeous. The plant structures along with plant people everywhere gives their zone a really unique look and feel. I also felt that the leveling was quite easy in the starter zone as I didn’t need to complete every heart quest to continue to higher levels. The personal story(The White Stag) had some fun twists and by the end of it I was pulled into the story and wanted to continue with it. The theme was very different than the asura that I played afterward.
I played the first 8 levels of the asura and I have to say it offers a very different experience from that of the sylvari. My favorite thing about the asura is their charming personality and how they animate. The way they walk and almost trip when you stop walking just makes them the cutest race. The personal story was a little less engaging and leveling in the starter zone felt more like a chore. I had to complete almost all heart quests to be able to move forward and still felt like I was behind in levels. The zone is beautiful in a separate unique way from that of the Sylvari, the area is loaded with technology cubes and things floating in the sky as well as golems broken down throughout the map.
I also played the charr this beta for the first time.I reached level 8 and must say that the personal story(Iron Legion) is the least exciting story of all the ones I have played so far. The zone gives you that Ascalon feel with the ruined walls not far off and shows the control the iron legion has with all the metal throughout the area. I played the norn in the first beta and I played the human race in the second beta.
Here are some commonly asked questions regarding launch and the game.
Q. Will the game be ready for launch on August 28th?
A. The game has improved quite a bit since the first beta and during this beta I felt it was almost ready so I have no worries about a launch next month. The one area that was having a lot of issues was the gem store, it was messing up on buying and selling gems as well as not giving or taking the right amount. I believe they can fix that before launch.
Q. How much will things cost in the gem store?
A. No prices have been finalized yet but you can purchase 800 gems for $10.00. There is no quantity discount so you need only buy gems as you want them. During the second beta, they had character slots at 800 gems which would be similar to how they were in the original Guild Wars.
Q. Are the new Vista’s fun to reach?
A.The new vista feature is something I enjoy. You complete mini jumping puzzles or just go to a place that looks really cool and get a vista cut-scene. Some people have complained that they don’t enjoy them but now have to complete them to get 100% map completion. You will either enjoy them as a fun side project or find them to be an annoyance.
Q. Which races personal story is the best?
A. I have only played through the first of three questions in the personal story so I cannot answer that completely. From what I have played I enjoyed the human, norn and sylvari stories the most. The charr story I chose(Iron Legion) was the least interesting of the three options so I am still excited for the others(Blood and Ash Legion).
Q. What is the current status of WvW?
A. I am looking forward to WvW and think it will be pretty polished by release. That aspect of the game has undergone possibly the most changes over the course of the beta. In the first beta there was not much to do other than mob the keeps. Since then they have added side jobs to work on and dynamic events to make it easier to introduce PvE players into WvW. Stability has improved a lot during the last beta(after they took WvW down for some time) and you may see it fixed during head-start access as it is much more difficult to test WvW with the 200+ employees at ArenaNet.