Guild Wars 2 beta will include new PvP map, live gem store, and more

Guild Wars 2

We've already told you that you can play as the Asura and Sylvari in the upcoming Guild Wars 2 beta weekend, but the fun doesn't stop there! Along with a chance to meet the last two races, characters will have access to a brand-new map for characters in the 17 to 20 level range. The new map, the Brisbane Wildlands, borders the areas of the Asura, Sylvari, and humans, with a heaping helping of Skritt thrown in for good measure. There's trouble in paradise, though, according to Game Designer Kim Kirsch. "The Inquest, Nightmare Court, and human bandits now flood the area, preying on skritt and disrupting lab operations. Worse still, each of these groups seem to have their own dark intentions -- plots that could be catastrophic if left unchecked."

If you're torn between keeping your existing beta characters or rolling anew as an Asura or Sylvari, ArenaNet has made your choice a great deal easier. All existing beta information (characters, items, and likely server selection) will be deleted. You'll keep your contact list, but that's about it! This wipe will happen both before and after the upcoming beta weekend, so you'll have a clean slate for the last test and then again for the headstart weekend or launch proper. In addition, transactions in the in-game gem store will require actual credit card or PayPal purchases. While items bought in the store this weekend will be wiped, a record will be kept of how many gems were purchased, and those gems will be waiting for you after Guild Wars 2 launches.

A new PvP map, Legacy of the Foefire, will also debut this weekend. While the map's main mechanic is still the familiar Conquest format, Legacy of the Foefire will include guild lords and NPC guard teams. In addition, the map is supposed to be reminiscent of Guild Wars maps, making this the "nostalgic" PvP map that was hinted at. Solo objectives have been added for WvW players. Sentries now dot the map, and while they're not exactly target dummies, the sentries are made for single players to be able to take down for points.

The infamous Norn minigame, Keg Brawl, will be included in the upcoming beta weekend. Head to the Brewer NPC in the northwest corner of Hoelbrak if you're interested in tackling, pummeling, kicking, and roughing up other plays while trying to wrestle a keg across a frozen lake. And what would be the point of all this new beauty without a new way to appreciate it? The vista mechanic will be implemented to ensure that you can savor every last, lovely view.