Fansite Friday #33
The February Beta Weekend Special Edition
07 January 2005
So, can you tell us why the Beta Weekend Event didn't start precisely at 12:01 a.m.?
Well, I could wiggle out of this one by pointing out that we said "approximately 12:01 a.m." and leave it at that. :) But the truth is, we were pumping in an enormous amount of code Thursday evening, and a bug crept up that needed to be resolved right away. I believe the bug was related to something on the server side, and those sorts of bugs can affect the entire network structure, game security, the whole play experience, and so forth. So it was definitely our prime objective to get it fixed, even though we knew we had a lot of people holding their breaths as 12:01 approached. :)
What is new for the February Beta Weekend Event?
The Beta Weekend Event provides a preview of the following:
- New Kingdom of Ascalon Region: You've seen The Movie, now play the game.;) The Kingdom of Ascalon is the birthplace of all Guild Wars characters. To play this lovely region, simply create a Level 1 character and that's where you will begin. In Ascalon, you can do a little hunting, pursue a few quests, and attain your second profession. As you finish your exploration of this region, you will find out what happened to this glorious kingdom, and why, when you see it next, it is cast in the somber tones of the Ruins of Ascalon.
- New user interface: You saw changes last month, but they were just the start of improvements to the UI that will continue until release. You will have noticed immediately that, once again, the GUI looks quite different. Do be aware that the streamlined version that you see in place during the February BWE has not yet been "artified," so this is not the final look of the interface. However, there are significant improvements in this interface, chief amongst them a large number of customization options, including:
- A scalable UI, where one button revs up the size of all the UI elements, or downsizes them to a tiny scale.
- A new "Menu" button in the lower left, which provides all sorts of good things in one handy place, including buttons connected with the following:
- Customize – This marvelous key allows you to toggle things on or off, and to move just about anything, anywhere. If you want your health bar on the upper right and your experience bar in the center left, go for it. And – hooray! – it remembers where you place things, so you don't need to set your personal placement choices again.
- Map Travel
- Quest Log
- Log Out
- All I can say is, if you're in the current event and you've not played with these options, you're going to love it. Just remember your guild members are counting on you, and don't embarrass yourself by making them say "Hey, pay attention and stop playing with your UI!" ;)
Why was there a character reset last month and none this month?
We only reset when such a thing is absolutely essential. Last month we needed to do one because of the nature of the new content. This month, we did not reset, and our plan is that we will not do any more resets connected with Beta Weekend Events. After the final Beta Weekend Event, we will do one final reset in order to allow every player to start the game on a level playing field. Those who have purchased the Guild Wars Preorder Package will have a short period of "early access" just prior to April 28th -- a day or a few days where the game is live just to them. There will be no reset between the Early Access period and the release of Guild Wars, so the preorder customers who play during the Early Access period will be able to keep all that they attain in that period.
What about that trading interface that you talked about a few weeks ago? I don't really see a change in this month's event.
As you can tell, this goes back to that whole WIP (work in progress) factor, which is always present in each month's Beta Weekend Event. As mentioned above, the UI has been a focus these last several weeks, and with the change to the bag system, there is some awkwardness in the functionality of the trade and purchasing interface. We have a design planned, but have not yet fully implemented it. Look for that soon.
What's coming next month?
I guess it's safe to say that if this month has a bit of a PvE focus, next month may take more of a look towards PvP content. You may have read that we're currently designing opportunities for Guild versus Guild combat. One of these will furnish you with an entirely new way to attack another guild's guild hall. (And the news around the water cooler is that you may see a few exciting changes in the guild halls themselves, too.)
We're adding a number of new maps for GvG combat. The combat settings will cater to different kinds of playing styles, and will serve up a number of objectives. They'll even take place in different regions.
One interesting aspect of GvG battle is that the maps will be randomly chosen and not player selected. So when you issue a guild challenge, you need to be prepared to undertake several different kinds of battle, and not simply choose the one at which your team is best. With this feature, the guilds at the top of the ladder will truly be the best of the best, because they will have proven themselves not as master of one mapset, but as the commander of many.