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Guild Wars 2 entered the beta testing stage in December 2011. There are several types of beta events:

  • Closed beta — These are invitation-only tests; discussion of their content is protected by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
  • Beta weekend events — All players that pre-purchased Guild Wars 2 may participate. Players may share media and impressions from these events.
  • Stress tests — These are not true events, but are really just short testing sessions usually lasting a few hours to test the performance of game servers. NDAs are selectively applied to this type of beta event.

Closed beta

CBT1 — December 16, 2011

ArenaNet announced on the 14th of December, 2011, that closed beta testing would start on that Friday, the 16th. Aside from the date, nothing else was known about this first closed beta event. [1]

CBT2 — February 17–19, 2012

The test in February was the first widely-publicized closed beta; various members of the media were invited to take part.[2] While the non-disclosure agreement surrounding was not lifted[3], select members of the press were allowed to talk about their experiences with the beta starting on Monday, February 20. The following is a partial list of their reports:

Closed beta registration

On the 22nd of February, ArenaNet offered players the opportunity to register to participate in future beta events; they received over 1 million applications in a little over 48 hours.[4] Registration has since closed; invitees to future closed beta tests will be chosen from the original pool.

CBT3 — March 23—25, 2012

The third closed beta event included selected members of the press and a large number of players selected from the registration pool above. Testing followed a similar pattern to the second. Although invited players were covered by the NDA, individual publications were cleared to release relevant media beginning on March 26.

This event concluded with an Asura invasion of Divinities Reach.

Beta weekend events (BWEs)

For access to the client or for troubleshooting common issues with installing or running the client, refer to Getting Started.

Beta weekend events run between noon Pacific time on the designated Friday and end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific on the following Sunday. Participation in all public beta events is guaranteed to those who pre-purchase Guild Wars 2.[5] Additionally, ArenaNet may selectively invite additional players who registered for beta testing for one or more such beta events. The beta testing registration was announced on February 22, 2012 and was opened for 48 hours.[6]

Beta weekend events are not restricted by non-disclosure agreements; players are free to share their experiences.

BWE1 — April 27–29, 2012

The first Beta Weekend Event began on Friday, April 27, at noon PDT (UTC-7) (start time for other timezones) and ended on Sunday, April 29, at 11:59 p.m. PDT (UTC-7) (end time for other timezones).

Special codes were handed out to visitors of PAX East 2012. These were handed out on cards that contained three codes saying "One for you, and two for your buddies." These codes allowed access into the first Beta Weekend Event only.

See also:

BWE2 — June 8-10, 2012

The second Beta Weekend Event began on Friday, June 8, at noon PDT (UTC-7) (start time for other timezones) and ended on Sunday, June 10, at 11:59 p.m. PDT (UTC-7) (end time for other timezones). A list of known issues was posted before the event.

Notable features & changes

  • Notable changes:
    • Characters created during the first BWE were still available for this event, allowing players to continue through to higher level areas. Like the previous BWE, only charr, human and norn races were available for character creation.
    • Transfers between worlds were free until halfway through the event (June 10, 6PM PDT). For the second half, transfers required payment of 1800 Gem.png and could only be made once.
    • Every account received 500 Gem.png for free and each was offered an additional 2,000 Gem.png for providing a valid credit card. (Unspent gems from the original BWE did not carry forward).[8][9]
    • Updated the PvP reward system for Structured PvP and added automated 5v5 tournaments.
    • Several junk items were removed and replaced with the Deleted Item object.
    • The feature where dye seeds were taken to an NPC to grow for 24 hours has been removed. Players could now double-click on the item to gain its benefits.
    • Added tiers to both utility skills and elite skills as well as the trait system. Players were required to re-assign their points in these areas from the last BWE.
    • The Black Lion Trading Company out of Lion’s Arch officially took over operations of the Gem Store, Currency Exchange, and Trading Post.
    • Other systems such as combat, chat, key-binding and the user interface also saw notable changes.
  • Additional content:
  • Servers/connectivity:
    • Doubled the number of available home worlds to 96 from 48; several European-based servers were designated as French or German.
    • Updated the overflow system to reduce the likelihood of ending up in an overflow shard and to make it easier for groups to stay together.

The Beta Weekend finale took place on June 10, 11:20pm PST, where the branded minions of Kralkatorrik invaded the Plains of Ashford. If a player was killed by one of the branded, they would turn into one themselves. Subsequently, characters would receive a set of five skills to use and had their affinity changed to hostile, allowing them to attack unaffected characters.


ArenaNet announced on June 28, 2012 that the third and final Beta Weekend Event would take place from Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22.[10]

Stress tests

Stress tests are minor beta tests that run for a limited time (less than 24 hours). They focus on collecting data about server performance and testing improvements to the game's infrastructure. Public stress tests are open to all players who have pre-purchased a copy of Guild Wars 2.

  • An invitation-only, closed stress test took place on 13th of April, 2012.[11]
  • The first public stress test was on the 14th of May, 2012 from 11 AM - 6 PM PDT (-7 GMT).[12]
  • The second public stress test was on the 27th of June, 2012, originally scheduled from 10 AM - 2 PM PDT (-7 GMT)[13] but extended to 10 AM - 3 PM PDT (-7 GMT).[14]


  • Documentation efforts (based on the BWEs) are ongoing and can be found here.
  • ArenaNet sometimes refer to their non-closed beta events as public beta events, indicating that it is open to the general public who pre-purchased the game.

See also


  1. ^ AMA about professions, on Reddit
  2. ^ Guild Wars 2 Limited Beta Test Begins Today! by Martin Kerstein, ArenaNet blog
  3. ^ Forum post regarding the press beta dates, GW2Guru
  4. ^ Innovative Guild Wars 2 Gameplay Piques Gamers' Interest NCSoft press release
  5. ^ Forum post noting pre-purchase benefit by Martin Kerstein, GW2Guru
  6. ^ Beta testing registration announcement
  7. ^ Choosing and Transferring Worlds in Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet Blog
  8. ^ AMA question on gem balances, reddit
  9. ^ The Big Beta Weekend Preview, ArenaNet blog
  10. ^ Blog post announcing release date and final beta, on
  11. ^ Official tweet on the first stress test
  12. ^ Stress test announcement on Facebook
  13. ^ Help Us Stress Our Servers on June 27
  14. ^ Official tweet