ArenaNet announced detailed updates we can expect for the upcoming weekend in Guild Wars 2. Here are some initial thoughts and opinions gathered from the article.
First off the bat is some new content including entering the Catacombs as an explorable area and visiting the Gendarran Fields. The catacombs in explorable mode will showcase new rewards to brave adventurers and no doubt opens a new can of dynamic events from within. For the first time since our visit to PAX East 2011, players will explore the Gendarran Fields, an area outside of Lion's Arch. World vs World has also been expanded to the underground, which sounds to be full of surprises with PvE elements thrown into the mix.
The Mystic Forge sounds interesting too. The forge holds an imprisoned djinn named Zommoroes, who hails from Elona. Players can offer gifts to the forge and receive another random gift in return. This sounds like it could be a regular periodic event, global to all servers.
Combat is said to be vastly improved, giving a greater sense of hitting enemies. Improved timing, sound design and camera shakes will contribute to this experience. Small details like this definitely polish up a game. Hopefully there will be an option to reduce random camera movement for those players who are a little sensitive. At the same, each profession's skills have been organized into 3 tiers suggesting a more focused character progression and more skills to come in the future.
The update is boasting a lot of improved features for the UI including improved chat, ability to bind modifer keys, and a new mini-map replacing the round compass. I'm especially pleased for the return of the mini-map. I had asked Colin Johanson at PAX about it before. Even with a regular compass I relied heavily on the "Mission Map" of classic Guild Wars. I've always felt that the full screen map somewhat takes away from the immersion, reminding you that this is a game, when you lose sight of the actual world around your character. The new mini-map will undoubtedly be easier to ping, draw on, and see what is ahead either by expanding the view or zooming the view.
Update: We have heated debates on whether replaced compass should be called the mini-map or the Mission Map from Guild Wars. To avoid another world war we have come up with Minish Map - because we love Zelda too.
Read the full article from the ArenaNet blog: http://www.arena.net/blog/the-big-beta-weekend-preview
Be sure to tune in during the beta weekend to watch our full 60 hour coverage of the event. Come two hours ahead of the beta weekend to watch the GuildWars2Live Podcast Pre-Show discuss more about these updates and things to come.