We had no intention whatsoever of taking part in this weekend's Test Drive A Revenant event. After ANet caved in the face of people-power and bundled in a character slot we decided to pre-purchase Heart of Thorns on each of what I suppose we must now call our "main" accounts but as yet we'd done nothing about it.
I hadn't paid much, or indeed any, attention to this latest iteration of ArenaNet's singularly idiosyncratic take on how to run a beta but when Revenants began popping up like mushrooms on just about every Live map it became kind of hard to ignore. (Hmm. Where did that image come from? Oh, wait, just look at the class icon).
The prevalence of Revenants did at least spur me on to investigate the options. Naturally there is no genuine HoT-in-a-Box as yet. We'll probably at least need a release date before we'll see any of those. There is, however, a
Well, it's a box. All I wanted was a box. We briefly discussed the idea of paying the extra delivery charge to have the codes before the test ended but again neither of us was that interested so we just went for free delivery even though it would take a week. I ordered two copies late on Friday night with an expected delivery window from next Thursday to Saturday and forgot about it.
They arrived an hour ago. Makes you wonder what, exactly, the point of paying the extra for fast delivery might be, doesn't it? Anyway, nice service. Would use again.
So, since the beta was still up I thought I'd at least take a look. Applying the codes was extremely quick and easy (/wave Squenix). Other than a confirmation window on the registration page the only evidence anything had happened was a tiny "Create(Beta)" button on the bottom right of the character select screen.
I clicked it and a Revenant appeared. Only one choice of race: human. Either gender. All the appearance options. Pick a blindfold. Choose a name. Done.
Other than the three blindfolds (none of which anyone other than roleplayers will ever wear again after they ding level three or, more realistically, finish clicking on their stack of Tomes) the beta neatly sidesteps all the story elements that I railed against so pointlessly and petulantly back at the start of the original beta more than three years ago.
I doubt it means ANet have had second thoughts. More likely no-one's written the Revenant Personal Story yet. Or they have and they want to keep it a secret for a while longer. Or forever. As Wooden Potatoes observes, it's going to be a pig to fit it into continuity.
Your new Revenant, sans past, sans future, appears, somewhat unhelpfully, in Lion's Arch. He or she comes with map completion on all waypoints, however, so it's a swift trip to wherever you care to go to test those skills. I went to Diessa Plateau because I like Diessa Plateau.
My exhaustive and extensive testing of the Revenant, her
Demon and Dwarf Legends, her Traits, Skills and all the rest took about five minutes. I killed several wurms, a couple of warthogs and a passing crow.
I used the hammer, which is what my Revenant woke up holding. It seemed satisfyingly bangy. There was a propensity for laying down massive markers on the ground that I was already very used to from the countless revenants at World Bosses and zerg jousts all weekend. I foresee the one that looks like twenty yards of good road being very popular at Claw of Jormag, Tequatl and everywhere else with too much fear.
From listening to map chat and scanning feedback on the forum, reaction ranges from unimpressed to hostile. I thought it seemed okay as a class, bearing in mind it's clearly only about half-finished and that half will be tweaked a lot before launch. Presenting a key element of the expansion in this unfinished state is offering up yet another hostage to fortune, of course, but by and large I'd say they got away with it.
My own main interest was playability. The official hype seems to want to paint the Revenant as some kind of complex, advanced class, which is not what I want out of GW2 at all. On the briefest of acquaintance I'm pleased to say the Revenant feels pretty much the same as the rest. It reminded me, structurally, of the Elementalist, with no weapon swapping and stances where the Ele has attunements. I can do that.
There's bound to be more to it than we've seen but it put my mind at rest. If I can muddle through 80 levels as an Engineer the Revenant should be well within my limited grasp. As for the traits and the rest of the fine print that can wait. Not much point trying to get to grips with it now when it might be a month before we get a second go. I'll have forgotten it all long before then.
So there we have it. The Revenant. It's a class. It's half-finished. A lot of people aren't impressed. It'll do for me.