Aug. 27, 2012 at 2:07 PM ET
If you're a fan of massively multiplayer online games, then you're very likely waiting, perhaps not-so-patiently, to jump into "Guild Wars 2" — the highly anticipated online fantasy role-playing game that officially launches Tuesday.
In fact, if you're a big enough fan then you may already be playing "Guild Wars 2" — thanks to an early-access program that opened the gates to the world of Tyria on Saturday for those who pre-purchased the game.
If you are one of the early starters, just how far have you leveled up your character/characters in the past two and a half days? Have you worked your way to level 10 yet? How about level 20? Apparently a French gamer going by the name Surfeuze has become the first player to reach level 80 — which is the highest level you can achieve in "Guild Wars 2."
According to the Massively blog, Surfeuze is a member of the French guild War Legend. The guild says it took him about 32 hours to reach the game's cap while playing as an Elementalist. Apparently he maxed out his character by doing a whole lot of crafting using materials donated by his guild.
But some of the methods Surfueze used won't be available for much longer. Over at Reddit, Mike O'Brien, president of developer ArenaNet, has chimed in with this:
Level 80 is always something to celebrate, but be aware that this was not through normal leveling. A few users have made us aware of unusual ways to level very fast. We're fixing these issues as I type.
UPDATE: O'Brien returned to Reddit to apologize to Surfeuze for the above comment, writing:
I'd like to apologize for writing an earlier comment that cast doubt on his accomplishment. At the same time Surfeuze was racing to level 80, we were tracking and talking with other players who were racing toward 80 as well, using a technique that really shouldn't be that lucrative and that we're making changes to fix. We believed one of those players would be first to 80, and when Surfeuze posted of his accomplishment, I mistakenly thought he was a player who had used that technique.
In fact he wasn't. Surfeuze played normal PvE content to level 60, although obviously racing past everything he could, and then leveled from 60 to 80 through crafting. His secret weapon was his strong team supplying him with crafting materials. That allowed him to jump ahead of everyone else in those last 20 levels. So congratulations to Surfeuze, legitimately the first player to reach level 80.
Still, while I can appreciate the desire to set a record, racing to level 80 in 32 hours doesn't actually sound like much ... fun.
I think Massively commenter yearofshorty summed it up perfectly when they compared leveling this fast to "buying a gourmet steak dinner then putting it into a blender, just so you can consume it as fast as possible."
If you haven't had a chance to play "Guild Wars 2" yet, feed your anticipation with this video from InGame editor Todd Kenreck who takes a look at the game's gorgeous art direction:
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.