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Guild Wars 2 launches first beta for End of Dragons characters

Before Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons launches next year, take a first look at the Willbender, Harbinger, and Virtuoso.

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A major component of what's coming to Guild Wars 2 with the upcoming End of Dragons expansion is new elite specializations for the game's various professions. No matter what class you play, a new elite version of that profession awaits upon hitting the level 80 cap. On Tuesday, Guild Wars 2 kicked off the first of three betas, which will test out some of these elite professions, starting with the Willbender, the Harbinger, and the Virtuoso.

The Guadian's elite specialization is the Willbender. The Willbender focuses heavily on offense, able to carry a sword in their off hand, which grants them new abilities and powerful new attacks. Necromancer players can hit level 80 and become the Harbinger, which powers itself up with Blight and wields a deadly pistol capable of shooting corrosive bullets. Lastly, the Mesmer will become the Virtuoso. The Virtuoso will take the Mesmer's illusions to the next level, able to create psionic blades that can be fired directly at foes for heavy damage.

This first beta grants players three new character slots on the Character Select screen, which is enough to give each of these elite specializations a try. The Willbender, Harbinger, and Virtuoso can be taken into PvE (which includes previous expansions), PvP, and WvW. You can check out more details on each of these classes, as well as what's coming with the latest update, over on the Guild Wars 2 forums.

The elite specializations are just scratching the surface in regards to what's coming to Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons. Players can also look forward to revisiting the Cantha region for the first time in 15 years, as well as new story instances, Strike Missions, mounts (including co-op mounts), and much more. All of that, of course, meant that the expansion needed to be delayed to 2022, but ArenaNet and NCSoft are aiming to have everything ready for the expansion's new launch date.

The first elite specialization beta is currently underway and will run until Saturday, August 21. Two more betas will run in September and October for the remaining Guild Wars 2 professions. We'll have more to say about Guild Wars 2 and the upcoming End of Dragons expansion in the months ahead, so keep it on Shacknews for the latest updates.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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