Guild Wars 2: The Big Gets Bigger

Kevin VanOrd looks into Guild Wars 2's future and reminisces about its first successful year.

It was a close election. The ballots were cast in a race that pit a classless business tycoon against a smooth-talking entrepreneur. When the votes were counted and a victor announced, the unexpected consequences descended swiftly. Violence was unleashed, and the world was worse for the wear.

No, this wasn’t an earthly election. These candidates were vying for a spot on Lion’s Arch’s Captain’s Council. Every adventurer in Guild Wars 2 got to cast their vote, and ultimately appointed sky pirate Ellen Kiel to the post. Kiel kept her campaign promises--but there were hidden motives to her candidacy that players weren’t prepared for. What might have happened had they elected Evon Gnashblade instead? We may never know what kind of madness developer ArenaNet planned to visit upon Tyria, though Guild Wars 2 Content Designer Mike Zadorojny tells me the development team was prepared for either scenario. For now, we can only dream of what may have been.

Needless to say, it been a busy year for both ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2’s committed player base. If you take a glance to the left, you get an idea of just how successful the massively multiplayer online game has been since its launch a year ago. Among its many triumphs, Guild Wars 2 is reportedly the fastest-selling online role-playing game in the West of all time, and has surpassed 3.5 million in sales. Not bad for a game angling for share in market dominated by the World of Warcraft juggernaut.

What keeps all these players invested in this world? After all, repeating endgame content can only compel you for so long before you’re ready to move on to something fresh, even when powerful loot is up for grabs. Luckily, ArenaNet’s living world teams--four of them!--have your back. ArenaNet continues to add mini-dungeons called fractals; events like the hourly invasions of Scarlet’s minions keep you on your toes; and episodic story content lands every two weeks, with many of these new narrative arcs bringing new context to older content and bringing back returning characters you may have supposed have left Tyria for good.

But all that is the past. What about the future? It’s fine to celebrate an anniversary, but a strong relationship--even the one between a game and its players--requires lots of ongoing focus and hard work.

ArenaNet is outlining specific plans for the future this weekend at PAX Prime, but I was lucky enough to grab the attention of a few folks on the development team, including Crystal Reid, Ben Newell, and Devon Carver, who spilled some advance information on what you can expect to see from Guild Wars 2 over the next few months. Some of this future content Zadorojny had already hinted at when he told me that the game’s scope would be getting grander and more complex, in the same way Ascalonian Catacombs had. Fortunately, Reid filled in some of the blanks for me. Specifically, the battle against Tequatl the Sunless will require 80 players or more, and the encounter itself will demand more from adventurers facing this undead dragon. You’ll need to watch for more pools of poison on the ground, for instance, and Tequatl will occasionally soar away, giving you the chance to prepare turrets for his return. However, if you fail at your task, the flying lizard will trigger a massive deluge that can drown rambunctious warriors.

More intriguing, however, are ArenaNet’s plans for player-versus-player encounters. Currently, world-versus-world combat doesn’t offer any long-term goal beyond weekly world rankings. Soon, however, WvW combat will be grouped into seasons; European servers will be grouped into three leagues of nine worlds each, while North American servers will be grouped into two of 12 each. Over several weeks, every world will play every other world in their league at least once and awarded points for their performance. At the end of the season, participants will receive awards based on how their world fared in the season standings.

Guild Wars 2 had a big year, but ArenaNet wants the upcoming year to be even bigger. It’s only appropriate, then, that “bigness” is the operative word for what’s to come: bigger bosses, bigger groups, bigger ideas. In the meanwhile, I propose taking a big swig of the beverage of your choice in honor of the ever-evolving Guild Wars 2.

Written By

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

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71 comments
Atheosis
Atheosis

GW2 is terrible.  I can't believe anyone is still playing that crap game.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

VanOrd is right, it had a good run, a few months or so.

Looking to the future and new releases on the horizon. GW2 had some good times for sure.

/sunrise, sunset.

dany-darksid
dany-darksid

GW2 is a great game. No MMO can compare to this new designed friendly game. Haters will hate. #Truth

morderwrath
morderwrath

Still like GW2 may go back to playing it..or ARR the relaunch of the newer FF game..

PacoTaco
PacoTaco

I got waaaaay more content than I deserved for my subscription.  

I bet a lot of the sour grapes come from WOW players weaned on the absurdly easy teat of that game;  Probably brought low by an ettin's smash.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Played GW1 for years and really enjoyed it. Understand that it wasn't to everyone's taste but gathering skills and creating powerful builds was an interesting challenge along with many other things in the game.

Played GW2 for a couple of weeks and just didn't find anything compelling about it. People didn't seem to group much, the content was okay but nothing special, the skill management was simplified and uninteresting compared to GW1. GW2 isn't a bad a game but not a very interesting one.

Sky_Stifler
Sky_Stifler

Pity such a great game became a crappy grind fest where you are only doing same shit over and over, with no purpose might I add

DOW161
DOW161

Yea! (Drinks to GW2) I love playing that game, and I hope next year they make the living story more story and less festivals lol. It is the one complaint I have with a massive great game.  

kartelas
kartelas

How about covering an MMO that just came out recently like FF14?Not a single preview,not a single lets play.

tafusoy
tafusoy

It's a solid game for what it is but it needs some polish.  The PvP isn't anywhere near as good as GW1's let alone "esport" quality.  The team cohesion is lacking because they made a big marketing ploy about the "trinity" and as a result the team-based PvE(i.e. instances) isn't very deep.  It's much more about individual play and keeping one's self afloat than any mmo I've played prior.  That said, the solo PvE stuff is pretty outstanding because players are self reliant.  There's also a myriad of solo content in the persistent world.  The verdict is still out on this game's legacy.

Bahamut50
Bahamut50

I really loved this game. I admit, i haven't been playing it for a while, but god was it entertaining. Gave me a ton of fun and isn't that all games should do? Oh well. 

kresa3333
kresa3333

I played this game for more then half a year and not in a casual way , i understand why ppl complain about the "no endgame" BUT i also played many other mmo's and in every one of them it ended up doing raids ( any other features being cleared really fast  -  talking pve wise).
I wont say that i am still playing this game as much as i did before but honestly i give Anet a big PLUS for trying to break the "raiding endgame"  that pretty much all of the big mmo's giving every year over and over again!
And Raiding gets boring after a while ( or after getting the gear ^^ ) and then you wait for expension, lvl up again go raid again dunno... i just dont think it that fun for the long run.
I wont say its perfect but its a great start and it opens up the road for better and improved ideas! by GW2 and other mmo's to come.
I dont think anyone would like to do the same old raid mechanics year after year.
And for the casual player i think GW2 is a pure heaven ^^.
P.S - ITS A ONE TIME BUY GAME !!!
I would have said something about pvp as well but it gets 2 long so thats it .

drybones41
drybones41

Good amount of sales, but i got bored after a 2/3 months. Not maxed IIRC, but i haven't picked it up in ages. Was it a good purchase? Yes.

Was it a great game... Maybe? It got pretty stale after a while but i had fun playing GW2.

Did i get my monies worth? Yes.

Will i pick it up again? No, unless something interesting to me gets added.

tiamut_88
tiamut_88

To all players who have stopped playing gw2 and non-players. 

If the game does not seem to be successful well you people are wrong. 

Why you say? Is it because you like the HOLY TRINITY concept pls. move along the game invites people with capacity to improve and enhance their skill in playing from what I have seen no more running away when when the two of the three are gone.

No endgame content there is a year worth of new additional content and more. To those who have said WoW its still no.1 is because of the 7.7 slave subscription who paid more than they should and still to this day pay more for a game who has the shittiest community and fan boys who can't let go of the game is bec. the have wasted 10 years in game of fantasy who only looks out for no.1.

Apologize to those I have offended and get off your high horse you winy little brat you don't like to be challenged fine! 

Spout your shit in the other direction because you can't live knowing your whole life is a joke comparing a game with no common sense of being challenged.

mucking_foron
mucking_foron

460k+ players on at any one time....is a lie. That was probably a most ever peak number from back in Nov/Dec '12.

wexorian
wexorian

This is Fan written article we know kevin that you are Big Fan of Gw , 3.5 million sold but how many are playng it ? It's overhyped overrated game.

LikeReD
LikeReD

I like the lightness of this game. No matter how long you've been away, you still can jump right in with old gears. Living world content makes game so much fresh which makes me come back every two weeks! Next patch is scheduled on Tuesday with new ascended weapons and super fun adventure box. I just can't wait.

bhmg
bhmg

great game but without endgame =/

mucking_foron
mucking_foron

@Atheosis It's not crap. It's just uninspired and does give the player his money's worth. just nothing too memorable

Bastion00
Bastion00

@PacoTaco Stop playing games on easy and then complaining about how easy they are.  Second.  Both mentioned games are trash.  Have a nice day and don't look back as the bandwagon carries you away.

morderwrath
morderwrath

@drybones41 Sums it up pretty well, I think about getting back in it.The prob being the level up thing all over.I got attached to my Charr..O well either this or FF xV1 soon.

Bastion00
Bastion00

@tiamut_88  Do you just lurk on here and say stupid things all day?  Please stop, just stop it.  Go play Guild Wars 2, you don't NEED to defend it.  And stop blaming people's dislike of the game on their being "spoiled by the holy trinity.".  Guild wars 2 took away the holy trinity and didn't even replace it with anything substantial, leaving groups feeling bland and uniform.  "Oh you're whining because I took away your porridge and gave you nothing in return because you're spoiled by porridge."  Does that sound smart to you?


Second.  Subscription fees encourage elitism?  Have you played free to play games lately?  MMO communities are terrible at base, without a filter you get communities like the ones in TERA or SWTOR.  A huge bulk of mouth breathers without any semblance of manners or consideration for their fellow player, ruining the experience for others and being otherwise unruly in groups.  If you don't believe anything I say, and it would not surprise me at all, you're probably one of them.  There is no high horse here.  I am an extremely generous, considerate and sacrificing player in any MMO community I join and you're accusing me of being elitist for preferring a subscription fee;  this means I know you're 100% wrong.  I'm unfollowing this comment section so I cease to see your garbage, so muster up whatever essay of garbled trash to your heart's content, I will not see it.


"PS" Get a life.

wallydog63
wallydog63

@tiamut_88   Hey there whiner girl.  There are pills you can take for stupidity and pms.  You should try them.  Might make you sound less of a child.

mucking_foron
mucking_foron

@tiamut_88 You apologize to people you've offended then proceed to insult them further. Somehow I don't think that was a sincere apology. I can tell you that I've played the game for a month (played it til it got boring for me) so I have every right to express my feelings on the subject. If all you want is a big fanboy powow, go to the website

ED0511
ED0511

@mucking_foron Please read carefully, its 460k+ players at one time. We can assume that is the highest amount of players since launch. This doesn't mean the game has 460k+ players at any time.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@wexorian Oh no I like a game! What a horrible thing!

ED0511
ED0511

@wexorian Well, you statement can be used on any MMO in the market.

Peets83
Peets83

@bhmg Without endgame? I think you missed half of the game then. I am playing endgame for four months now and still not done everything.
 And it has more endgame then GW 1 had in his first year.

Atheosis
Atheosis

@mucking_foron @Atheosis I made the mistake of buying GW2 (partly because of all the misleading positive reviews like VanOrd's) and I played it a solid 50 hours.  Now while some might say that I got my money's worth because of how long I played it, I will argue that since I didn't really enjoy any of that time, and only played it that long because I had friends who I wanted to play with, I got ripped off.  GW2 is a bad game.  It has nice graphics and presentation, but the nuts and bolts of the game is rubbish.  The combat is shallow and extremely repetitive.  The lack of player roles in parties makes every dungeon run an unbearable mess.  Character build variety is almost entirely non-existant.  The main combat abilities you use in the game are the same from a few minutes in to the game until you are grinding for shiny gear in the end game.  And the shiny end game gear is nothing but shiny, with little to no actual benefit to your character beyond appearance.  I could go on and on with this.

GW2 is crap.  I stand by that position 100%.

dany-darksid
dany-darksid

@Bastion00 @PacoTacoYou're a dumb ass. GW2 is the best MMO ever created. Secondly, you think you're so BIG sitting on your fat ass complaining about how bad this game is when a lot of you don't even understand the purpose of this game. If you have something bad to say, DON'T PLAY THE GOD DAMN GAME! Have a nice day. 

tiamut_88
tiamut_88

@Bastion00 @tiamut_88 Maybe you don't get what I said do you. Paying sub. fee in this economy.  Who wants to play WoW?

 Your saying to me that Im bashing on WoW is actually using your general GS achieve news which tell anuall tally of players playing the game if you don't know that try searching right now.

The reason I used WoW because as an example because of its financial record not for its community, gameplay mechanics, etc. The points is there more ways to play an MMO w/o spending that much money on a game that plays like the rest of traditional MMO. Its like playing a deck of cards w/ diff. pictures at the back. If your gonna ask where do i get experience from saying this things e.g. first Ragnarok, lineage 2, counter-strike, R.F online and so many more so if you think your privileged status in life will stop me who has more common sense than your whole body could sum up from me making people enjoy the game while being practical about it you've got it wrong buddy.

P.S. subscription fee only fuels elitism which i will never support plus people make the game good not the size of their wallet.

tiamut_88
tiamut_88

@wallydog63 @tiamut_88 The point of my comment this don't look down on Gw2 that try new things if can't see that your loss. Hope that you find traditional mmo to your liking with the same old concept with updated graphics to your taste.

P.S. My first comment was sarcastic remark to all who underestimate Gw2 that what it is. If you see it as whining maybe your the one who is whining because it didn't meet your standard mmo experience. 

tiamut_88
tiamut_88

@mucking_foron Its a sarcastic remark you burn through the content fast and your blaming the Gw2 for being boring maybe you should ask yourself why do you level up so fast? It's because so that could join the game.

           Even in early level you could WvW, the game was made like marathon you never get bored as long as you have good company. too bad you didn't take your time to ponder on my first comment look at it as whole. You saw what wanted see not what it is a game that approach differently rather play the standard click and spam game.

mucking_foron
mucking_foron

@ED0511 @mucking_foron haha what? 460 thousand players ONLINE AT ONE TIME. What does that mean to you? Do you know what that ONE TIME is? It's a statement written to make one believe that there are about half a million players on at one time ALL THE TIME.

wallydog63
wallydog63

@ED0511 @wexorian Exactly.  Which means those numbers only show a small portion of the truth.  The article is fan written and influenced.  It's written to make it sound as good as possible without any of the actual downsides.

wallydog63
wallydog63

@Peets83 Obviously not everyone agrees with you, but that's ok.  We know sheep can't think for the selves.  You say you've been playing the endgame for four months now.  Gee, have you ever considered that you're just slow.  Do you read the last chapter of a book for months as well?

Bastion00
Bastion00

@dany-darksid @Bastion00 @PacoTaco "As he complains about World of Warcraft"  Way to foot to mouth.  Really.  I applaud you.  Holy damn.  You're too good.


Was cleaning out my emails and saw this gold.


And I'm apparently fat now.  I am very glad that he was able to assess this through the anonymity of an internet comment section, because I surely could not; mirrors and scales lie.

wallydog63
wallydog63

@dany-darksid  Wow....  I couldn't have said it better.  "This over rated game".  Absolutely perfect.

wallydog63
wallydog63

@tiamut_88 Look.  In all honesty I wish I didn't look down on them but how can one help it.  The best example I can think to give is to look at the game as a restaurant you've been going to for years.  Suddenly they've changed the recipe and the food you love is suddenly bitter and tastes all wrong.  Who would be happy saying "well at least they tried something new".  No one.  You would be upset that they ruined something that  you used to really enjoy.  They took out everything I loved about the game and put raw onions in.  Now some people love raw onions but I sure don't.  They've made it less friendly to the solo player.  Used every around you to try and make you join up with others.  Yeah, you can solo it but it just feels wrong.

There are a lot of others that feel the same way and are going back to gw1.  I talk to new people about it all the time now that I'm replaying 1.  No.  I wish I could forgive them for what they've done but 2 just leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth, and that will never change.  I don't hold anything against the players for liking it.   I wish I did.  But I do hold a grudge with NC for changing it sooooo much that to me it's not even a guild wars game.

Sorry for being rude earlier.  Emotions got the better of me.

wallydog63
wallydog63

@Peets83 See, now this is what I like.  "To show people that they are wrong".  How can you show someone they are wrong when they've played the game and just don't like it?  It's all opinion.  What makes yours right and ours wrong.  Go back to GW1 and ask them.  A lot of them have tried it and don't like it.  What makes them wrong?  Because you don't agree?  This whole feedback thing isn't to change someone's mind.  It's to express your opinion.

I guess I really need to step back and apologize.  When I first started writing my comments, it wasn't to be insulting or abusive.  I guess my emotions got the better of me because I pre bought the game and was hoping for something I would really enjoy only to be terribly disappointed.   It is only opinion, and I have mine and you have yours.  I will never enjoy the game, but I'm glad you do.  I just wish they hadn't deviated from the way gw1 played so much.  Oh well.  Again, I apologize. 

Peets83
Peets83

@wallydog63 @Peets83 Slow? No, I play the game as it is supposed to. And every new content that comes every two weeks is endgame. There are a lot of people who do not agree with you but they are busy enjoying the game. Actually, I wonder why I waste my time here trying to show people that they are wrong since they all live with flaps around their eyes and only want the see what their small mind tells them.