In a little under 3 weeks, on Tuesday August 28th, the moment many many gamers have been waiting for, Guild Wars 2 will open to the world. I am excited as hell. To me, having Guild Wars 2‘s servers open and stay open is the most exciting MMO launch since…. since… World of Warcraft? No, I believe it even trumps WoW.
No pun intended, but… Wow!
For all the MMO’s that have opened since World of Warcraft, including such gems as Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, Star Trek Online, and others, I think the excitement for the launch of Guild Wars 2 surpasses them all.
Now, some could say this excitement is completely fabricated and that it’s been way over-hyped. I see where these complaints are coming from, but I don’t agree. Guild Wars 2 has a record breaking amount of hype attached to it, but it feels pure and my own personal history with the title should hopefully explain why.
I found Guild Wars when I was browsing a newly opened Gamestop on my lunch break. The Gamestop was brand-spanking new, such that you could still smell the paint and drywall. It smelled clean and fresh, as good construction does. At the time I picked it up, I was still a thrall of World of Warcraft, but I had become a little bored with it, and the thought of an MMO with no sub fee intrigued me. What could be the harm? I’d still play WoW as I was paying and didn’t want to waste the sub, but this game would also give me the online fix, but not cost me anything extra. So, I could essentially play two MMOs at the same time!
I didn’t get far in the first couple times. Being a secondary game, I simply did not give the game the time it deserved, and looking back… I regret it. The game’s high focus on story, on skills rather than loot, and hired henchmen to make up for holes in groups made it far from being just another clone. After stopping WoW and subbing to Lord of the Rings Online, I still kept Guild Wars as my secondary backup game.
Only recently, however, did I finally get my first character to Level 20 and started to make some progress. Sadly, I stopped that progress because… well… Why can’t a Paragon just wear some pants?! As powerful as I was becoming, the virtual breeze I kept feeling was slowly getting to me. I once again stopped, but not for lack of love of the game, just the thought of starting over with another character wasn’t something I wanted to jump back into. I’m not the biggest fan of repeating content, especially content I JUST completed.
But with the opening of Guild Wars 2 comes, in my mind, a chance to make up for my past regrets. A new Guild Wars, and being there in the opening month, where I know the game will hold my attention. Now being released in a mostly Free-To-Play atmosphere, the Guild Wars franchise isn’t playing second fiddle anymore. It’s primed to take the main stage.
Every little bit of nugget that ArenaNet released was solid. They weren’t just throwing out “Eh, maybe we’ll include this” type stuff. If they said it, it was already going to be included in-game. Then, they started making Guild Wars easier to play, they increased the number of heroes, they added the ability to let your other characters join you in your fights. Essentially, ArenaNet was saying: Get ready.
Adding completion perks from Guild Wars is just a stroke of genius. As the sale of Gamecube games increased after the Wii came out, I believe there will be a surge of Guild Wars players post-GW2 release. Players who find that they love Guild Wars 2 will pick up Guild Wars just to get all the perks!
I know I won’t play Guild Wars 2 forever, as that’s just not how I roll, but by turning GW essentially into a fully soloable game, I see no reason to stop playing the original either. The draw of GW2 incentives will still be very strong, and aren’t disappearing anytime soon. My primary game will be from ArenaNet, and until I fill up that Hall of Monuments in the future, an ArenaNet game will be a backup, too.
ArenaNet seems to know the market and how players think better than most companies out there, and that shows in their products.
Now, ArenaNet, stop teasing us with these stress test samplers! We don’t want 6 hours! We want the main course.
Bring it on!
P.S. – Looking for some good reading on Guild Wars 2? Here are a few posts from other’s around the gaming scene that are well worth taking a look at: