You’ve probably heard by now, but the next GW2 beta event will not be this coming weekend. The reason they gave for this is they want to deploy more hardware to increase server capacity which makes a lot of sense to me given the various login problems, instance creation errors, and other load-related issues that many people experienced. I bet everyone ran into at least one of those issues during the first BWE or the following stress test, so it’s a reason everyone can relate to for the delay.
If I would ever get around to updating my about page, you’d know that I’m a software developer in real life. Since games are ultimately an expression of art through the medium of software, I feel like my job gives me a (very) limited capacity to speculate on what ArenaNet’s doing. I’m not a prophet or an insider, so don’t take any of this as gospel. The stated reason of deploying more servers will keep the ops team busy while buying a bunch of other teams–artists, writers, programmers, designers, QA–some more time to do their respective things for at least another week.
Having filed 7 bug reports myself, I know programming and QA have their work cut out for them with figuring out how to reproduce these bugs (trust me, it’s way harder than you think) before fixing them. More features like the all important server guesting ability are still being worked on too. The designers will be looking through the piles of feedback that players gave via the little blue widgets, tweaking balance, events, and other content as they see fit. These changes might call for new art assets or code changes, putting more work on those teams’ queues. If the feedback indicated a character was boring or uninteresting or a story element was unclear, the writers have an opportunity to revise that writing and maybe even get the voice talent into the studio to (re)record it.
What does all of this shop talk mean for you? The more work that ArenaNet fits in before their next build deadline, the better the next beta event will be. Maybe you were really hoping to log in this weekend, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the wait will be worth it.
Just to throw my personal opinion in, I think the original promise of one beta event a month may be a little too often for my tastes as a player. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast playing the game despite any issues I encountered, but because I know a character wipe is coming there’s an air of futility accompanying all the progress I make. I can still play and it’s still enjoyable, but I won’t get to keep my accomplishments. This didn’t bother me during the Diablo III beta since the content only went up to the first miniboss, but the GW2 beta lets you experience a huge amount of the game, so you can get really far with one character if you’re dedicated. I guess in future betas I will focus on trying out different race/class combinations in the starter areas, which I will inevitably play over and over after launch anyway.
Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that this coming Monday is Memorial Day in the US, so it’s a safe bet that many would-be beta players and developers alike already had vacation/family plans to occupy their long weekend. I know I’ll be out of town.