Guild Wars 2 hands-on demo planned at Gamescom and PAX Prime

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Mike O’Brien, one of the founders of ArenaNet, wrote up a nice blog post detailing where Guild Wars 2 has been, and where it is going. The team at ArenaNet has been plenty vocal about their dedication to breaking the current MMO formula and it’s “Holy Trinity” of class balance. Now, O’Brien wants to make a real statement by taking the game on the road and offering hands-on demos at Gamescom in Cologne and PAX Prime in Seattle.

If you’re so lucky as to score some time with the game, you’ll have to option of starting as a level 1 Human, or a level 47 Charr. O’Brien suggests the former, as the starting experience has been thoroughly tailored to provide that personal story we’ve heard so much about. Experience the active combat system and cross-profession combos as you band together with your brethren to push back hordes of violent centaurs. As far as we know, the demo will allow for unlimited exploration, and the persistent world will make for fewer load screens and more time spent bashing faces. For the first time, players will be able to see the last stronghold of humanity, Divinity’s Reach, firsthand. Like a single-player RPG, exploring every nook and cranny can be unexpectedly rewarding; the developers built this city brick-by-brick, in hopes of fleshing out the most vibrant and dynamic player hub in any MMO to date.

Once you’ve played your human to satisfaction and have a grasp of the gameplay, you should move on to the pre-leveled Charr character, where you may tinker with advanced skill sets and items. O’Brien notes that this part of the demo is independent from the actual Charr storyline, so as to avoid the spoilers that would be present in a level 4o+ area.

Don’t expect to be killing rats or boars, either. Be ready for something more along the lines of gigantic, rageful earth elementals, and a terrifying breed of dragon known as The Shatterer (pictured above). As a special treat, O’Brien and the ArenaNet team will login to the game themselves and play live with Gamescom and PAX attendees. I can’t think of a better group to have at your back when you face legions of corrupted dragon minions.

Check out O’Brien’s entire post here.