Saturday, May 26, 2012

Could Guild Wars Hurt Itself?

There's an underlying question that has been brewing in my mind for quite some time.  Is the original Guild Wars hurting or helping its sequel?  If ArenaNet would have started a new universe, could they hope to gain a larger fan-base?  I think no one can reasonably debate the fact that without the financial success of the first game, the very existence of Guild Wars 2 would be threatened. However, what if ArenaNet decided to take what they learned and planned for Guild Wars 2, and instead made a completely separate world? Is Guild Wars, in effect, hurting itself?

I'll start with the more prevalent opinion, that no, the sequel has gained substantial support from the first Guild Wars, and the original continues to promote the sequel's development.  Not only has the world already  been created and the lore established for the developers, but the game draws from the original fan-base as well. The first game sold in the rough vicinity of 7 million units (expansions included), and Guild Wars 2 will be able to utilize the existing fan base to bolster success.  The sequel has also created a sense of excitement for the current fan-base to explore how much has changed in the world of Tyria, and continues to foster a greater sense of community for players.

However, what if ArenaNet made a mistake? Pursuing through the forums and talking to MMO players, I'm still seeing questions and assumptions that the GW2 will be no different from the original.  Is the world instanced?  Is the game primarily for PvP players?  If you browse some of the major gaming hubs of the internet, it's almost impossible to not see these questions.  Many times these questions are answered, but you have to realize that many MMO players do not read the forums that often or ever.  While I think word of mouth is spreading and will continue to spread, it may hurt the initial box sales.  I speculate that eventually, some time after release the playerbase will grow substantially as myths are debunked, but that will inevitably take time. If ArenaNet had decided to use a different universe, would they have received any less support from the existing fan base?  My assumption is that the answer would be no.  If and when Blizzard creates "Titan", their next MMO project, whether it is within the existing universe of WoW or not, I think that most of their current players will switch to Titan.  This leads towards the possibility of a third opinion.

That it makes no difference.  I'm tempted to place my vote here, because I don't necessarily agree that initial box sales are all that important.  I believe that the long-term growth and expansion of an MMO dictates its success or failure. Thus, whether Guild Wars 2 is able to sell two million copies on launch day or five-hundred thousand may not matter, as long as the playerbase eventually reaches the same height.

Whether the existing IP will have any impact on the "success" of Guild Wars 2 is rather debatable, but I think it is worthy of some discussion in the community.


  1. First, you can't fix stupid. If a player decides that the game just doesn't suit them because they've looked at the information on the official website, or seen actual gameplay vidoes, etc, then that's one thing...
    but, if they are passing the game by because they foolishly, and erroneously think that it's "all instanced" because some Troll on a forum said it, then that's just their own stupidity, and there's not much to be done about it.

    Accurate information is out there (in the correct spots) for any and all who are the least bit curious, and have synaptic activity somewhere above that of a snail...

    I believe that the game will have an "avalanche" effect, picking up momentum and mass as it goes, but quite honestly, at this point I really could not care less one way or the other. I would rather play the "unfinished" beta-state of the game than any of the so called "finished" MMOs currently available, and I'll enjoy the launched game for quite awhile regardless of it's popularity or lack there of.

    Regarding the effect the first game is having on the second;
    I am not a player of the first game, and never will be (I don't care for the game's mechanics) but I definitely appreaciate the lore and setting from the first game, and especially like that it's carrying over to the second game with the addition of time having passed.

    Then sense of history, and the greater feeling of a living, breathing world that is brought to GW2 by the original game is simply fantastic. It's one thing to come across ruins in a MMO setting, and quite another thing to do so knowing that those are actual "ruins" and other players once stood there when they were NOT ruins.
    You can tell me till you're blue in the face that this location is ancient and full of history... travel around any MMO for any significant amount of time and you'll come across such locales... however, it carries a much greater depth of immerssive feeling when you *know* that fellow players once stood there - 250 years in the past.

    I've only read lore articles and seen screenshots and a few gameplay videos from the first game, and it's impressive to me... what it must be like for players who've actually played the first game and are now able to walk around the same lands in the second game after two and half centuries of elapsed time... it must be mind-boggling.

    The presence of the original GW must surely help GW2 with all players except for the most myopic and mentally deficient.

  2. They could have made a new product, and people would still make assumptions based on Guild Wars because it's still ANet. Some people even have preconceived notions about GW2 based on other games released by NCSoft despite NCSoft only being the publisher and not the developer. People even hold any MMO against GW2 regardless of publisher or developer simply by virtue of it being an MMO. Basically, you're going to encounter ignorance no matter what so there's nothing to lose and everything to gain by name recognition. As long as people bother to ask, that means they are interested. A lot of those people asking are the MMO players who normally don't bother to read forums, and it's only because of curiosity that they showed up. The most casual MMO players are the ones least likely to have preconceived notions. Either it will appeal to them or it won't regardless of whether it's a sequel or something new.

    I just wonder if ANet is going to do TV spots or not, because that's what they need to do if they want to reach those casual players. Then again, GW sold a lot of units for a game I don't remember seeing marketed all that heavily as someone who never really followed games prior to GW2 either, so word of mouth may be more than enough.

    Ultimately, I think the launch will be large enough, and that it's actually a good thing if other people don't show up until later based on word of mouth vs. everyone showing up at once, although I suspect ANet is going to have a good handle on server population once the game goes live. Still, the initial zergs are likely inevitable and not the best representation of normal game play.

    1. On a related side note, when I started looking into other MMOs out of curiosity, GW1 caught me I, especially the mesmer...but I didn't like the fact that their armor was green and for some reason I was under the impression, it always would be. Fortunately I eventually got around to trying it out since green or not, the armor looked pretty and I was thrilled to find out about dyes.

      So yeah, there was a time I almost dismissed GW2 strictly because of the armor, and because I thought it was just people hanging around on islands with guilds fighting against each other. I think the GW2 website does a better job selling the game than the original's website did, even to someone as oblivious now as I was then.

      Me then would have been sold by the profession videos and screen shots alone without reservation.

  3. I am drawn to GW2 because I played GW. Having seen how good they made that first game, I have faith that this game will be even better. Anet seems to have learned from their mistakes and weakness of the first game.

    Now, some people might might not want to look at the game at first because of GW, but I think that will be a small enough number of people to not hurt sales at first.