It’s been popping up more and more in conversations I’ve been having/witnessing and blogs I’ve been reading that the balance between excitement and exasperation for Guild Wars 2’s progress has shifted for the worse. It’s not that we’re not already in love with the game — we are (Royal We) — or that we don’t want it to succeed — we do (universal we) — but that it’s starting to feel like ArenaNet’s biggest problem is being launch-shy.
“Unfortunately, one of the old school problems ArenaNet is having is getting to market. One of my caveats for the game was that it might not ship in 2011. If I were writing a 2012 MMO Outlook… and I just might… I would probably say the same thing, since it seems possible that it might not ship in 2012.”
I agree; I’ve been saying so for a while now. At the pace ArenaNet is going, it just doesn’t feel like we’re tracking toward release so much as poking around at great ideas every so often. I mean, wasn’t there supposed to be a Guild Wars 2 beta started by the end of the year? One month to go for that, devs, but I’m not going to hold out hope.
I mean, what do I know. ArenaNet is as tight-lidded with its info and internal development as any other big-name developer I’ve seen, so they could totally be on the cusp of beta/launch and are just not letting us know until the moment of their choosing. But… I don’t think so. I don’t think beta is going to happen next month any more than I think we’ll see launch next spring… or summer… or even fall. And again, I have no idea how much is left to be done, but I wonder just how much ArenaNet’s dragging its feet due to being too perfectionist and too afraid to pull the trigger.
It’s easy to understand why. ArenaNet’s been hyping itself up to such an incredible degree about how GW2 is going to buck the trend and do MMOs the right way, but there’s always the danger of overtalking what one can deliver. Plus it’s a sequel to Guild Wars, which carries with it a tremendous amount of expectations (and an established community as well). Plus plus, even though it’s not a direct competitor for most MMOs’ business models, it is going to compete for play time nevertheless — and if it doesn’t release at the right time, it could feel the ramifications for years to come. While a great success and a terrific game, Guild Wars was nevertheless overshadowed by releasing too close to World of Warcraft. Is ArenaNet adopting a “wait and see” approach with SWTOR and the fallout there? I can imagine a scenario where a mostly finished game is being held back until marketers and accountants and analysts can identify when the SWTOR tsunami wave finally breaks to allow other titles into the market without being overwhelmed.
Of course, this is just speculation and brain-dibble, but the fact is that that’s all I have to go on since ANet isn’t really being that forthcoming about what the heck it’s doing. Considering just how many gamers’ hopes are riding on GW2 living up to its promises, it’s a disconcerting feeling.