It doesn't, for example, include the testing of the new Desert Battlegrounds for World vs World, which is By Invitation Only. It also doesn't in any meaningful sense include testing of the Stronghold sPvP map, which, on occasion, has simply been dropped into the live game for all PvP players regardless of any preference they might have had to the contrary.
Similarly, while only pre-purchasers got to drive a Revenant in the recent weekend event, since testing took place on Live maps everyone got to test out what it felt like to fight alongside someone trying to come to grips with a max level class they'd never played before whether they liked it or not.
It's a very odd way to run a business. I can't imagine it going down too well if Microsoft had decided to activate various features of Windows 10 for all users of Windows 8.1 for a few days to see how they worked before switching them back off and fiddling about with them based on how many complaints they got. How would a football team like it if half way through a match a bunch of people charged onto the pitch wearing roller-skates and joined in? That was pretty much how it felt when the Revenants appeared in WvW.
I guess when you don't charge an entrance fee you can get away with these kinds of shenanigans. If I was a paying customer, by now I'd be starting to have some serious issues with the cavalier attitude to the service for which I was paying but since I'm not I guess I just have to put up with it.
|First impressions can be misleading|
As the saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I have paid up front for the expansion, which means that at least next weekend I get to be the one running around on Live maps getting in everyone's way as I struggle to understand a whole load of new Elite skills rather than being the poor schmoe who has to stand back and watch. Go me! I guess.
Like Jeromai I'm fortunate (if that's the word) in that the first of who knows how many beta weekends falls on a long weekend off work. Should I wish to do so I'll be able to give the whole three days over to "testing" the limited content on offer. We'll see how it goes but I'm anticipating the novelty will wear off a lot sooner than that.
My interest and enthusiasm for HoT waxes and wanes depending on what aspect ANet has hyped most recently. Currently it's at a low ebb. The announcement on the proposed changes to Fractals seemed almost beyond parody. As I was reading it I kept hearing Nigel Tufnel's voice saying "These go to 11".
Then there's the
|Don't think much of the view.|
They do seem to be mordantly committed to making things slower, more painful and more tedious. Sorry, sorry. Off message. Of course I mean more challenging, fun and involving. As they put it in the request for focused feedback after next week's test:
"Do you feel the need to use your entire skill bar in battles?
Does teaming up with other players feel more rewarding?
Do you find yourself wanting to change your skills and traits to overcome encounters?
Warning—creatures will be more challenging than in the existing Guild Wars 2 world."
To which I would expect my answers to be
"Why would I want to?
It already did, thanks.
At the risk of repeating myself, why would I want to?
If this is something I'm supposed to enjoy, why do you feel the need to issue a warning about it?"
Oh well. As Jeromai, who has already seen and played the Verdant Brink content that will be available for testing next weekend puts it, "...it felt like more of the same. Which wasn’t -bad-, it was comfortable, familiar, a little bit grindy, but neither was it blow-your-socks-off-spectacular either. It felt like, okay, we’ve had Dry Top, we’ve had Silverwastes, and now Verdant Brink is the next continuation of that. Right. It’s (more or less) playable. I get where you’re going with this. I guess… it’s all right, it’s acceptable".
|And this isn't much better.|
That is very much what I expected and feared. I enjoyed Dry Top and Silverwastes for what they were, but what they are is levels in a video game. I'm not really very interested in that and it certainly doesn't offer much in the way of replayability beyond the specific rewards that have been attached to it. I'm much more interested in immersion in an imaginary world, something I found, and still find, in most of the games original maps.
It's going to be interesting to take a look at what our future holds but I'm not getting my hopes up. Three years after launch I still spend most of the time I'm not in WvW in The Shiverpeaks and Ascalon. After the expansion launches and I've worked my way through the storyline, which probably won't take long, that's almost certainly where I'll end up once more. Assuming I'm still playing at all, that is.
Indeed, from my perspective, perhaps the most important part of next weekend's beta and the best reason I have for giving it a fair trial is the chance to experience and evaluate the proposed incentives for continuing to play in "Old World" maps: the unfortunately-named Map Bonus Reward System. Call me idealistic but I thought the reward came from the pleasure, even joy, of being in that world. What do I know?
I very much hope that a week from now I'm back here, publicly eating both my hat and humble pie, and gosh-wowing about how great it all is and how wrong I was to be so cynical and downbeat. Place your bets now.