Day by day the viral campaign for Guild Wars and believably its 5th Anniversary is bringing life to the Guild Wars community. Almost every weekday it seems some small piece of the puzzle drops even if its an image that just becomes slightly less blurred. I can barely keep up with it, and I definitely seem unable to tell the story here. But, other people can. Neo Nugget and Borx at Guild Wars 2 Guru forum have put together an excellent recap walking all late-comers step by step through what we have found in the viral marketing campaign. The thread covers everything from the webpages that were discovered to the Facebook status updates for each faction.
I am certainly having fun following the campaign even though I have been far behind the discovery curve. Unlike the recent Portal viral campaign that seemed to drop all at once. ArenaNet is going with a drip method. I think this is okay as long as the drip is constant or if benchmarks need to be met (e.g., Facebook page fans) then there should be strong hints. Overall ArenaNet is doing a great job walking the line between excitement and frustration that really carries a viral campaign. What really interested me was that the Guild Wars 2 community was leading the charge. I asked Dan (JR), who heads up the GuildWarsGuru and GuildWars2Guru communities, why the Guild Wars 2 community are responding more strongly than the Guild Wars 1 community. He had this to say:
The GuildWarsGuru community is five years old now, so they’ve seen many changes and additions come and go. Generally they are concerned with game’s current state and how that impacts their enjoyment on a day to day basis rather than looking to the future. The important things are trading, achievements, farming, titles, skill balance – and those interests have replaced the importance of a narrative.
Conversely, the GuildWars2Guru community revolves entirely around looking to the future (for now, at least). Obviously it’s a much younger community too, and thus more open minded and excitable. So despite this being a Guild Wars event they still find a great interest in how it helps set the scene for the sequel and develops the narrative.
Looking at it from a community management POV, this is a pretty bold illustration of the life-span of dedicated online game communities and how the common attitude shifts over time. Particularly so if you’ve sat through all five years of it, and observed the ups and downs in real-time.