Beta 5 had all of the previous beta contents plus it opened up Scarlet Gorge and a new dungeon in that zone - Foul Cascade. This particular beta took place during the week, although it was later extended until Saturday morning due to popular demand. Scarlet Gorge is indeed what its name implies, it's a large gorge with pathways and lifts running up the sides. There are additionally a variety of caves that dot the sides of the gorge.
I was somewhat surprised at the opening of a new zone for levels 27-30 and I was further surprised by the fact that the quests in Scarlet Gorge were really only worth about 1.5 levels. It seemed odd and out-of-place that there was a whole zone for just a couple of levels. The pathways up and down the sides can be somewhat confusing and the design seemed counterintuitive. Several people that I play with remarked they were disappointed. We then started to grind rifts and my perception of the zone changed dramatically.
The Battle for Scarlet Gorge
You see, the zone is divided between the factions - almost right down the middle with Defiant on the southwest side and Guardians on the northeast side. Everybody was trying to grind the rifts and they became a hotbed of PvP activity. Additionally, Foul Cascade is located on the Guardian side of the map and both factions wanted to enter it. The zone reminds me a little of the lakes in Warhammer.
The map made a lot more sense when considered from the viewpoint of a PvP battle map. The gorge is where the quest hubs and mobs are primarily located. Both sides of the gorge have a winding upper path with neutral mobs and sometimes there is no marked path, but you can just go over the hills/mountains to continue through the upper part of the gorge. This means that individuals on PvP servers can choose to avoid all the npc's on their way to attack the opposite faction at the extreme other end of the gorge. It also gives multiple pathways for those who just want to run the instance and don't want to PvP all the way up the gorge.
My favorite PvP experiences of beta occurred during this beta event where I experienced 1v1, small group, and raid-sized PvP. The 1v1 was while I was running around trying to finish leveling to 30 and ran into a couple others doing the same. The raid-sized PvP was based around quest hubs in the center of the gorge where the Guardian side switched over to Defiant side. It raged back and forth between the closest Guardian and Defiant hub to the center. The small group PvP was based around fighting over rifts. My favorite memory was my little group of 3 coming across a full group at a rift. We couldn't kill them, but they couldn't seem to kill us either. Eventually, they just ran away. I couldn't stop laughing.
Trion - it's the Little Things that Count
Trion continues to surprise me with the detail put into this game. Specifically, they've put a puzzle into each zone that when solved rewards a random blue/purple item (yes, purple items are epic in this game). The items scale to your level, so it's probably best to do them at level 30 or 40 in order to finish leveling in style. It's assumed that endgame instances will take care of level 50. Here's an image of the puzzle in Scarlet Gorge.
A Further Look at the Black Garden Warfront
I found this live commentary that shows a rogue sniping from the walls of Black Garden. It shows some of the parts of the garden that you just don't see from a melee viewpoint, so I thought I'd throw it up here. Cheers to the guy that made it.