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GDC 2011: ArenaNet unveils new profession and Norn starting area for Guild Wars 2 [Updated]

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Yesterday at GDC, we had the privilege of spending some time with some of the ArenaNet and NCsoft staff. We were promised a look at the new Guild Wars 2 demo, so we were hoping for a look at a new race's starting area or maybe a tour of a few places we hadn't seen before.

ArenaNet delivered that and more: Imagine our surprise when the team casually unveiled the bad girl (and boy) of Guild Wars 2: the Thief. For the next hour, we enjoyed an up close and personal look at the Thief as well as a demo of the Norn starting area of Hoelbrak.

The press release describes the Thief well: "As a master of stealth and surprise, the thief is deadly in single combat – particularly when catching enemies off guard. Thieves compensate for their relatively low armor and health by being quick and evasive. They can travel through the shadows, vanish into thin air, or steal items from their opponents and use them as weapons."

Ree Soesbee made the experience even better by giving some insight into what the Thief is and is not (don't worry, this is definitely not a reskinned Assassin) and chatting about the origins of the class. The grand finale was our very own Shawn Schuster's first hands-on experience with Guild Wars 2 gameplay -- he created a Charr Thief and did some serious dual-pistol damage, helped along by cheers, direction, and encouragement from the ArenaNet and NCsoft staff.

Check out our firsthand look at the Guild Wars 2 demo, insight from Ree Soesbee, and hands-on gameplay in the videos after the jump, and don't miss our in-depth analysis of the Thief in Monday's Flameseeker Chronicles.

Our thanks go out to ArenaNet and NCsoft for their hospitality and for plenty of fun!

[Update: The second video, this one of the demo, is finally uploaded and included after the break. Enjoy!]

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