The Guild Wars 2 expansion Path of Fire that was announced last week will take players to the Crystal Desert region south of Ascalon, a location that veterans of the original Guild Wars will likely find familiar—that's where it was first seen. You can read all about it here, and soon you'll have the opportunity to dive in and experience it yourself during a free "preview weekend" that runs from August 11-13.
The event will be open to everyone, with no catches: Sign up here if you're not already a Guild Wars 2 player, then log in during the appropriate time and have at it. "You’ll be able to play the first part of the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire story, which will kick off your journey to the Crystal Desert," developer ArenaNet explained. "Once you arrive, the Amnoon Oasis map is yours to explore. Take in the sights, unlock the raptor mount, and have fun with other players!"
As we noted in our Path of Fire preview, being a desert doesn't make the Crystal Desert an uninteresting place. "There's still a ton of variety, a ton of really interesting pockets of sub-biomes. Every type of desert you can dream of is in this game: crystal stuff, toxic stuff, branded whatever," art director Horia Dociu explained. "The level of detail and fidelity—just the mature art team combined with the mature toolkit—to do something this big at our most detailed level is something that I'm shocked by."
There's also apparently another preview event coming next weekend: ArenaNet said players will "be able to experience the new elite specializations for the first time in PvP and WvW" during the weekend of August 18-20. The Path of Fire expansion is set to launch on September 22, and you can find out more about what's coming at guildwars2.com.