I hope you’ve made all the necessary — ahem — arrangements at work, school or home for an uninterrupted weekend of Guild Wars 2 beta goodness on June 8!
Sylvari and Asura will still not be playable, but ArenaNet has reportedly fixed or improved party movement into overflow servers, chat functionality, key bindings, server stability, performance, among other things.
Beta Weekend Event 1 and Stress Test veterans will definitely look forward to the fixes, but if this is your first BWE, then we’d like to extend a BIG WELCOME to you!
In anticipation of BWE2, we’ve put together a cheat sheet to highlight things that may not be immediately apparent to newbies, or even grizzled vets.
1. Make sure you’ve got the latest game client
If you’re chomping at the bit to check out Tyria, the worst thing that can happen is waiting for that download bar to fill up while your friends are facing down a giant frost wurm or earth elemental.
Download the client early here, and fire it up just before the servers go live so that you’ll have the latest build. Updating the client is crucial, as the devs will keep pushing changes right up to the start of the beta event.
You may also want to try logging in early; the servers were open before the officially scheduled time in the first BWE.
2. Check your mail often for rewards and stuff
Quest rewards are often dropped straight into your in-game mailbox, which is accessible anywhere from the UI. How convenient!
In the first BWE, I was always running low on coin because I overlooked the cash rewards in the thank-you notes from grateful NPCs.
3. Check the vendors and upgrade your gear frequently with Karma
While we’re on the subject of rewards, you’ll want to visit your heart NPCs regularly, spend your Karma and get your gear upgrades.
This will ensure that your power stays in line with the mobs you are fighting, since the “get quest, do quest, get reward” runaround in traditional MMOs has been condensed to the “participate, buy stuff with Karma earned” mission structure in GW2.
Remember: You will accumulate Karma quickly and you get no interest from banking it. Earn it and spend it!
4. Participate in ALL dynamic events
While the leveling curve of GW2 is pretty flat, a casual run-through of a zone will not yield you enough experience for the next zone or the next stage in your personal story. You are expected to spend some time in each zone and to participate in several, if not most, of the dynamic events and heart tasks before you move forward.
Some players have complained about the need to “grind” because of this. We’ll see if ArenaNet has tweaked the leveling curve to make gear or level checks across different zones less harsh.
I didn’t face this problem myself; I always felt that there was something else to see or do in a zone, despite completing all the obvious tasks.
By the way, you can’t “out-level” a zone in GW2. The game will dynamically scale your level downwards, so the rat-dog you killed 10 levels ago can still kick your butt now. The rewards, however, remain relevant to your actual level.
This removes the age-old annoyance of level disparity, that has discouraged friends from playing together since the advent of online RPGs.
5. Go invisible
Sometimes you just want to play alone. There’s an option on the login screen and the friends list (press “Y”) to go Invisible, just like your favorite instant messaging client. You’ll appear offline to everyone else, but be warned that you can still run into your pesky friends in the game world.
You can add people from other servers; just enter their name and all their toons will be added. You can even form parties with friends from other servers, but you can’t play with them unless you transfer to their server, or use the guest mode (which wasn’t available in BWE1).
6. Spend those free gems
Go to the Gem Store (press “O”) and click “Buy more gems”. You may be asked for your credit card information, but you shouldn’t be charged for the 500 gems that will magically appear in your account.
Cash them in for gold to fund your crafting, or get a trading business going. You can also spend them on stuff in the gem store, but you don’t get to keep purchased items after launch, obviously.
7. Take ‘em on in PvP
That Charr warrior lumbering towards you looks all badass and powerful, but chances are it’s piloted by a player who’s just as new to the game as you are, and probably not as good (you’re already doing better because you’re reading this!).
Try out all your PvP moves. Take note of what works well in practice and which tactics are better left on paper. There’s no better way to improve in PvP, than to … PvP!
8. Learn to dodge
This is probably a perennial tip in any GW2 guide: Know when to dodge, kite, or simply flee!
Mobs hit hard in GW2; they can two to three-shot you if you don’t avoid their attacks. Unlike other MMOs, you can’t “tank” mobs while standing rooted to a spot. You can activate most of your abilities on the move in GW2.
You can dodge by double-tapping a movement key (WASD), but I’d recommend assigning a separate key for greater precision. Many use the left Shift key. Hitting the Dodge key alone will cause you to roll backwards. Use it together with the usual movement keys to control the direction you dodge.
9. Experiment, experiment, experiment
It’s beta, so it’s the perfect time to get off the leveling treadmill, mess around and experiment. You’ll never know what’s going to work until you try it. Who knows, you may discover new secret locations, tricks (please let us know if you do, we love secrets and tricks), or even crazy glitches!
The last thing you want to do this weekend is to become fixated on power-leveling and burn yourself out.
If you’ve made your mind up about which profession to play at launch, have a go at the others so that you get a good idea of what to expect in group play or PvP. For the power gamers among us, you might want to spend some time planning and trying out builds in the Mists for your eventual main.
If you’re still undecided, check out our profession guides now, so that you’ll be ready to give the ones you like a spin over the weekend.
10. Check out our other guides while you’re waiting
Find out how to join your friends in other cities and discover that exploring has its rewards here: 10 things to do this Stress Test: Explore and be rewarded!
Try out the various group events scattered all over Tyria: Top 10 Things To Do in the Beta Weekend Event
Forget what you think you know about MMORPGs, we explain just how different GW2 is: Beta Weekend Event Survival Guide
Have you got more tips to share? Hit us up in the forums!