As a long standing loyal Guild Wars fan since 2005, definitely considered hardcore with 46/50 points at the time of HoM release, more than 200 farming guides on youtube and a loyal following, along with countless guides as i contributed to the development of a great community that is MARA i am now looking back and realising how huge a mistake the staggered beta testing for GW2 was...for me!
Up until beta began i stuck it out with GW1 (with a little Minecraft and Aion when it went free mixed in toward the end) and it remained my regular evening and weekend form of entertainment. And then the long awaited beta began. I loved it, any concerns were diminished and my next game for the next x years was confirmed. There was no point getting into another MMO too heavily when i intended to drop it after GW2 release.
So whats the problem?
Now stuck in no mans land that was the beta, no point getting heavily into any other game and little point going back to GW1 when i had nothing left to achieve and no need for the new skins of the new update content (which i didn't really enjoy anyway), i took the opportunity to pursue some of my other hobbies and interests.
My hobbies and interests will of course differ to yours, scuba diving, astronomy, my ancestral research and history being the main. I now find myself actively seeking to advance in scuba, complete my PADI courses and add some dive hours. I have bought my first beginner telescope 1400/150 and find myself constantly watching Stellarium and the sky to clear of the clouds. My family tree is now upto 3000+ members as far back as the 15th century, a tree doesn't tell you much so much additional research is needed to put a story to names/faces, researching being something i enjoy doing but very time consuming yet rewarding. This naturally expanded out into gaining an interest in my local area as my bloodline so far has not had any outside influence outside of England (some have emigrated to other countries but no foreign influence into it) and much of it has remained within a 25 mile radius of where i was born and bred for the last 2-300 years at the least. My local church being the first stone church built after the Norman invasion in about 1100 at a similar time to Pontefract castle a few miles away and a Priory of Monks (still there) down the road shortly after when the Pope stepped in helped spur my local interest. I now find myself researching Queen Cartimandua of the Brigante tribe (the only true successful queen at the time of the Roman invasion, Boudica was never a queen or intended to be) along with the Harrowing of the North, and the impact of the War of the Roses and Cromwell's Civil War on my area along with the various industrial revolutions. I've purchased countless documentaries on space, science, nature and history and even started reading books and bought an ebook which i actually enjoy (yes i'm getting old). And we're just scratching the surface, yes i can call myself a nerd, rare in such a hard working class area, only now i'm currently much less of a gaming nerd.
These things have always been of interest to me, along with ancient history and evolution in general. I'm a truth seeker rather than conspiracy wannabe. But i blame/thank the beta system used for GW2 for giving me that push i needed.
I still love GW2, i think its an awesome game the industry needed. But i do believe the way the beta was carried out was wrong, and the time its taking to push guild related stuff such as guild halls, guesting etc is a mistake and damaging as a whole. I have no intention of looking elsewhere for a home for my game or guild of choice (MARA rocks whether your hardcore or casual). But now i've been given the push needed i'm really not sure there's any turning back anytime soon. I've never been interested in PvP so where our server stands in the WvW ranking is of zero consequence to me personally, so i now find myself for the first time in a lot of years more than content to be casual.
Am i alone? Has anyone else experienced a similar impact to their social and gaming time that they can attribute to the beta? I'm not complaining, i'm greatful.