As we so desperately guessed when ArenaNet confirmed that the final Beta Weekend client and the Release would be the same, Asura and Sylvari have been confirmed as available to play in the final Beta Weekend, which should go live on the 20th of July. For some micro impressions from the Asura and Sylvari opening areas, rife with mini spoilers, dive headlong past the break like it’s not even there.
The Asura are nominally Guild Wars 2’s ‘cute’ race, gnome like in stature and all holier-than-thou in personality, which is hilarious because they’re so small! Just think about it for a second. The thing is, they’re bloody terrifying, with sharp teeth, great big terrifying eyes and bitten and worn ears that look more at home on a rottweiler than anything adorable. It’s a lovely bit of subversive character design by ArenaNet, and totally sells the fact that they could well screw you over in more ways than one, not just with their massive, oversized brains.
As for their starting area, it’s one of the most colourful in the game, with more attention being paid to mucking about with inventions than actually killing anything. But when the inventions are giant robots, experiments gone wrong and weather rods, it’s still pretty exciting. The personal story, too, focuses around you and your mates in a science ‘crew’ trying to win some great big prize for having the best gubbins that whirr and bang. It’s pretty great, all told.
Sylvari, on the other hand, are the leafy elf-types, and they’re much less humorous, aiming instead for sombre spirituality. You get to pick what time of day you were born, which apparently affects your personality, so Dusk Sylvari are more terse and quick to anger than Dawn Sylvari, who are generally optimistic about life.
As for the starting area, it all begins with a dream, which is better than ending one, and there’s giant tree roots everywhere that act as roads, along with the prerequisite oversized bugs and wildlife that so defines fantasy these days. It’s much more entertaining than you might expect sombre spirituality to be, but their personality is much more toned down than a lot of the races. Still, making giant leafy humanoids interesting is a feat of its own.
Update: we've just been informed that the Beta Weekend will also include a new Guild Conquest PvP map and two new cities: Rata Sum and Grove. The Asura and Sylvari will be playable up to level 20.
Just as a reminder, that last beta weekend is only open to those who pre-purchase the game, and not those who preorder. That means if you want to play, you have to pay now, rather than a few days before release.