[GW2] Year of the Dragon

To rock in the Chinese New Year, ArenaNet has announced that Guild Wars 2 will be released this year. There was much dancing and celebration in the streets. Even though most revelers were celebrating the announcement, they didn’t mind the company of the other Chinese New Year party-goers.

In the blog post, Mike O’Brien then goes on to discuss ArenaNet’s plans for the ongoing beta:

We recently finished our first closed beta test, and we’re now ready to hold progressively larger events. In February we’ll invite select press to participate in beta testing, and in March and April we’ll aggressively ramp up the size of our beta test events so that many of you will have a chance to participate. And of course, this all leads to the release of Guild Wars 2 later this year.

Don’t worry, faithful readers. My firstborn is already shipped well on her way to the ArenaNet studios.

There are a couple of interesting points, though. Press are usually involved in MMO betas at some point, but usually this is one of the last phases of beta. What does ArenaNet intend with having awesome, dedicated bloggers and some real journalists in the beta? Normally, I would assume they would be under a non-disclosure agreement, but it would be really cool if ArenaNet kind of said “we’re so amazing, just come play and tell the world.” It could also be that ArenaNet wants possible “reviewers” to have more time to play so the Metacritic crushing reviews happen all the fast upon release.

Which of course leads to the question, when is release? Certainly nothing would be more epic than it launching on the Guild Wars 7th Anniversary. Yet, many times in the past it seems a good idea for MMOs to shut down beta and give the company a couple weeks to add that last bit of polish. This would lead the launch on the edge of summer, during exam time for students, near vacations, etc. Most MMOs will not launch during summer. Then there is this bit of Nostradamus-ish evidence of ArenaNet soccer jerseys possibly signifying June 28, 2012. My personal best guess is September with a wild card bet of April.

–Ravious

14 thoughts on “[GW2] Year of the Dragon”

    1. I’ve been hoping June (in part because my sweetie’s B-day is towards the end of that month.) Nothing set in stone by this news of course, but it certainly looks promising…

      *snoopy happy dance*

      1. Awful nice of you to calk me sweetie, but my birthday isn’t till the end of July! :P

        as Ravious says: the auspices point towards late June/ early July.

  1. September would mean a six-month beta, which would be kinda old-school. They certainly haven’t shown any signs of being in a hurry until now, though, so I suppose it’s not that out of the question.

    June would be plain weird. People go outdoors in the summer, even MMO players.

    April would assume it’s really pretty much ready to go now and just needs the usual stress-testing and publicity ramp-up.

    I’m just happy it’s going to be this year!

    1. AS happy I am for it to finally be out this year gamescom etc. got me really pumped for a release at the start of the year! so now i have to somehow keep being pumped for another 6 months!! This is going to kill me!

  2. And they left themselves a bit of an out. The post says “this year” but does not say if they mean “2012” or “the year of the dragon.” The latter of course extends into 2013.

  3. If the writers of KTR don’t get a super secret beta invite, I will have lost all faith.

    You guys have been (dare I say) promoting this hallowed game for quite some time; to not see you get in early…

    Well, if the GW2 team want an unvarnished, thorough and enthusiastic (I left out biased) group of testers, you have my vote.

    I don’t get to vote?

    Anyway, I look forward to reading about your non-non disclosure beta review!

    Dare they let you?!

    /popcorn

  4. If we start getting detailed blog posts about all the MIA features – guilds, WvW, revamped traits, ranger overhaul – very soon, then I think we can assume those bits are in place and the game is pretty much ready to go.

    But seeing how we still haven’t heard much of anything (official) about many of those features, I have trouble coming to grips with the idea of GW2 launching in the first half of the year. Just seems like there’s so much work still to do. Although I guess the most time consuming part is really the art and testing for the PvE zones at this stage, since all the capital cities seem to be largely in place – and they’re probably the biggest hogs of unique art assets.

    I dunno. Beta seems to be progressing rapidly, so maybe they’re closer to being done than we’ve thought. So many questions… We don’t even know if it’s a WoW style beta where people are being told “test human areas through level 20” (while other zones are still unfinished), or if everything is done and they’re just letting people loose to test while content is polished…

    Does anyone remember when press got early access to the SW:TOR beta? I recall that being 3-5 months before launch, for what it’s worth…

  5. Even though I would love for a release somewhere from april to june, i need time for my exams A-net XD if they put it out too fast i’m gonna be throwing money at them and not getting a job XD … well either way, awesome news and I hope it comes out as polished as they say they want it, … and considering they always said they’d do the beta close to the release of the game, i say may-june. :)

  6. I think that its worth to take into account that because of this “when its ready” approach, alot of non hardcore MMO gamers have put this game off the rader because it has no release day yet. I think ArenaNet is aware that it require some ekstra work to catch up with the ones lost because of that.
    The press entering the beta early could be part off that.

  7. I think the basic game dynamics, skills, crafting, quests, etc. have already been pretty thoroughly tested by all of the iterative process and the closed beta. Normally the big issue a MMO has to deal with is stress testing. The only way to do that is via a big open beta. Let’s not forget, they’re shooting for the stars on numbers here and they don’t want queues, lag and delays coming out of the gate to spread bad word of mouth. They have to spend a bit of time to make sure the game works right under heavy volume and load.

    While you need big pools of players, you don’t need lengthy events. Stress testing doesn’t have to take terribly long. It can be a few weekends. GW1 did it on six weekends over six months, but that was because it was a totally new game with a new approach.

    The instances in GW2 will be relatively few and far between by comparison. Those should be old hat by now and, since they’re limited to five players now (no 12-character elite missions – yet) they should work like a charm. No, they’ll need to stress test big world events and, of course, PvP tournaments and large-enrollment contests.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and speculate that there will be the following:

    1) A cape-guild PvP weekend. Every guild that legitimately earned a cape edging in GW1 (or maybe combo of cape and Hero rank) gets an invite to do tournaments all weekend.

    2) A PvE weekend. Every player that got 50/50 in HOM gets an invite to try world events for an entire weekend. World events will probably be short-circuited in some fashion so they spawn after minimal requirements are met or on a timer basis rather than quest completion basis (thereby preserving some mysteries for the main release). Similar to demos from PAX etc.

    3) A jam-packed jam weekend. Both prior groups are invited to attend a single major town and crowd in, playing, dancing, emoting, chatting, hawking stuff, etc. This will test sheer volume of players and communications by compressing them into one locale. Some kind of entertainment will be needed to keep peoples’ attention, so perhaps a mini-game like rollerbeetle racing will run or maybe there will be (hopefully improved) fireworks.

    4) Open beta weekend. Everyone who wants to download the demo can get in and try to crush the servers.

    Each of these will need time afterward to digest the results. I don’t see the results being studied, comprehended, and systems adjusted and tested accordingly in less than three weeks and there is need for at least a week of setup, prep and testing before each beta. Absolute minimum beta testing time, therefore, would be four (4) months.

    I don’t think any of that will begin until after the Canthan New Year, which should be next weekend (Celestial Dragons!!!) and the release of the last chapter of Winds of Change, so I’d say beta begins March and goes at least until June. The game might be released in July, but they’ve probably built a month of safety into it, so Labor day, end of August / beginning of September is my guess.

  8. I’m still guessing for a june/july release, unless something in the béta goes horribly wrong. I don’t think anything GW1 related is going to slow the process down either, like WoC part 3, since it’s handled by the live team.

    My guess is that WoC part 3 is releasing after Canthan New Year, to keep us busy while the press gets to play GW2 in February. March-April will feature GW1 like béta phases (posted by Martin somewhere I believe). Depending on how it goes, I’m pretty sure it will be end July max for a release.

    …My charr plushy agrees >.>

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