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This weekend, ArenaNet gave select members of the press a chance to see the current beta of Guild Wars 2. We had the opportunity to create Human, Charr, and Norn characters of any class, and play through each race's level 1-30 zones. Additionally, we had access to the Ascalon Catacombs, a level-30 dungeon, as well as the opportunity to play on all of the Player vs. Player battlegrounds and try out the World vs. World vs. World PvP.
I could use this preview to go into detail on the various systems (how combat works, what the classes are like, character creation, etc.), but you can find accurate information on most of those topics on ArenaNet's website. What I found most fascinating about my time with Guild Wars 2 is how different it feels from any other MMO I've played before, while still keeping most of the elements of the genre intact.
Guild Wars 2 (PC)
After creating my first character of seven, a Charr Warrior, I began in the Charr tutorial area. My first glance at the screen suggested there wasn't much new going on. I saw an NPC with a glowing green star above its head standing in front of me, some combat skills down in my hotbar, and quest details in the upper right corner. After completing the area and slaughtering a giant possessed statue with the help of about ten other players, I started to see what made the game unique.
I tend to be a loner in MMOs; in World of Warcraft, I usually just quest by myself. I made it to level 85 with a Paladin, and I think I did maybe two instances. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, I did one Flashpoint and then spent the rest of the game completely by myself. In Guild Wars 2, I found myself working consistently with other players, and for the first time, I didn't mind.
While, as I mentioned earlier, there are still quest givers and floating green stars, that mechanic is only used for your Story Quests -- a quest chain that is personal ...