It’s finally here. I’m going to say that again, just to get the tingles that accompany it: it’s finally here. We have a concrete release date for GW2. No longer will we have to speculate, dissect every piece of information, and feel like we are taking shots in the dark. It’s finally here. I just can’t stop saying it. We’ve come a really long way together as a community. We’ve seen huge swings in information, excitement, and numbers throughout the past 5 years. Just thinking about the history of GW and GW2 combined is staggering. A total of 7 years, 4 months, and a few days separated the release of GW1 and GW2. For those of you still in primary/secondary school, that is over half the time you will spend in your pre-college years. For those who are/were in university, that’s almost 2 full degrees worth. To put it in terms for those of us die-hard GW1-ers, we’ve been waiting for GW2 for almost three times as long as new content was being released for GW1. And our wait is finally coming to an end. I’m just going to take another minute to let this feeling sink in.
Whew, ok, still coming down…
Alright. I’d like to take a second to look at where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. Get a whole view of the last 7 years. In the beginning, there was a terrible looking game. That game was the Guild Wars Alpha.
That was the state of “our” game back in Alpha. Most of you have probably seen these pictures; they are often toted out whenever people want to make a point about graphics optimizations and how far they can come in a short period of time. Regardless, that was around the time that they hired a lead concept artist, who I believe was Daniel Dociu. He did some vast re-working and gave the team a vision of something that didn’t quite look so much like WoW. Not too long after, pre-release trailers started showing up.
I still get some shivers watching that. Of course, CG trailers never have really shown you the real graphics of the game, but they definitely had improved!
Six months later, ANet delivered a great free content update in the form of Sorrow’s Furnace. Effectively a mini dungeon/quest set, this was the first of many changes we saw in Tyria. One year after the release of Prophecies, we got our first expansion, Guild Wars Factions.
Factions introduced some really great mechanics, new classes, and some gorgeous new scenery (especially the Jade Sea). Alliance Battles, Alliances between Guilds, Jade Quarry/Fort Aspenwood PvP, along with a full new campaign (even though it’s shorter). Further, they broke yet another convention and didn’t raise the level cap. This was fantastic in the eyes of most GW players because it meant their old characters were still just as valid. Just six months after Factions we saw the release of yet another game/campaign, Guild Wars Nightfall.
Six months after that, our dreams of a continued GW1 experience vanished, and our new fanaticism developed; Guild Wars 2 had been announced (along with Eye of the North). Six more months (give or take), we received GW:EN and then silence.
Originally, GW2 was scheduled to go into beta a mere 1-2 years after the announcement (2008), but that time came and went. Most of 2009 went by without a word. A community still existed somewhat, and Guild Wars 2 Guru started up in the latter half of the year (I believe), but at that point, all there was to talk about was rumor and speculation. Finally, Gamescom rolled around, and the world was surprised and overjoyed to see the first GW2 trailer.
At this point, most of us in the community really thought this game was just around the corner. Beta testing was thought to be coming soon. All this hype had to be going somewhere right? Right? I’m sure most of you remember that feeling, and the crushing weight that started to fall on all of us. Podcasts rose and fell, blogs were created and fell into disrepair. No news was really on the horizon. Many thought the game was coming out in 2011 due to some investor calls. 2011 came and went, and the news got more and more sparse. Finally, at the beginning of 2012, Mike O’Brien announced that this was the year of the dragon. GW2 was officially set to come out this year. Some time. In April, the pre-purchase was announced and went live. Having put down full payments toward the game, many assumed that it would release some time in the next 2-3 months. Tensions have slowly built since then as the date was feeling farther and farther away. The community, in many ways, either started to lay low and rest or bicker constantly. Then, today, June 28, it happened.
And on this day, we finally know. The community no longer needs to speculate. A great feeling of unity has spread across. Most of us are giddy with joy and can’t contain ourselves. It’s finally here.