Guild Wars 2: What future does this MMO hold?

Is Guild Wars 2 starting to wrap up and wind down?

Honestly, I would never have thought so. I still don’t, not really. Guild Wars 2 continues to be a popular and populated game that makes a decent amount of cash for ArenaNet and NCsoft (although not as much as some of NCsoft’s eastern titles). It’s been getting a content update every few months and an expansion every other year. If you were to rank the top 10 healthiest and actively discussed MMOs right now, I’m pretty sure that GW2 would be in the top 5. To me, it seems that this MMO is firmly in its middle years where it’s found its groove and pattern, and we should be in for that for a while barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Yet. Yet I’ve heard rumblings. Massively OP’s Tina, who knows this game better than anyone else I’ve met, mentioned on the podcast a growing concern among the community — a perception — that GW2 may be preparing to end. The issue here, she explained, is one of story: The game has already done pretty much all it can with its 2,487 named dragons of lore that it can. It may be done with major threats and story beats.

Personally, I found this kind of ridiculous. There are always more villains, because writers can make them up. Same thing with story. Virtual history goes on, and so it could conceivably indefinitely for Guild Wars 2.

But Tina’s concern isn’t the only time I’ve heard this as of late. Some players are actively speculating that the tight-lipped ArenaNet is working on other projects — other titles or a Guild Wars 3 — instead of pushing hard for a continued future for GW2. It could be that GW2 is simply not making enough money for NCsoft, and we all know how that tends to fare for this company (then again, look how long they kept the underperforming WildStar running).

Some players seem absolutely calm about the prospect of GW2 going into maintenance mode as a so-far-unannounced Guild Wars 3 ramps up.  It’s no secret that ArenaNet banked hard on PvP (and WvW) becoming a Major Thing, including an esports franchise, and the cold, hard fact that it didn’t had to hurt future prospects. The lack of communication by the studio as of late and the slow pace of content rollout has a lot of people thinking… and talking.

Personally, I think it’s far too early to proclaim the death of Guild Wars 2 — or even its semi-retirement in the vein of Guild Wars 1. ArenaNet is still making bank on it, still enjoying a healthy dose of popularity, and still has a core game around which it can stick on new expansions. That has to be a much more easy way to make money than, you know, building an entirely new MMO from scratch.

I wouldn’t even blame ArenaNet if it decided to keep milking GW2 while it branched out into other franchises. The entire history of that studio has been that of a single franchise, and that must be getting a little stale for creative types.

What do you think? Any validity to these community predictions, or is it some wishful thinking and doomsaying?

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7 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2: What future does this MMO hold?

  1. Marathal October 30, 2018 / 9:48 am

    NCSoft is hurting a bit from Wildstars loss. Certainly they are still profitable, but they really need a good new title to keep them going.

  2. bhagpuss October 30, 2018 / 10:18 am

    I think about this quite often and I’ve written about it occasionally, too. My gut feeling is that yes, ArenaNet does have a team working on a new project of some kind. They have a lot of employees by most accounts we hear and it’s hard to believe they are all occupied on the relatively small amount of content we see, so they must be doing something else. What that something is, though, is anyone’s guess.

    Firstly, they absolutely have to be working on either another expansion, a new product or both. They did say, quite assertively, at the start of GW2 that they planned to run the company purely on that game and that game alone, for the foreseeable future. They said they were not planning on making any more games, just continually developing this one. However, they also said at that time that they would never produce any expansions for GW2 and that all content would come through the Living Story/World, which at that time they were intending to pump out bi-weekly.

    That’s not what happened. Eventually they had to cave to commercial demands and start producing paid-for expansions. They also had to radically reduce their plans for LW content and revise it so it could also be packaged and sold. On top of that, as you say, they expected to spin PvP into a major eSports franchise and run WvW as the endgame activity for everyone else. Neither of those things happened and both PvP and WvW (especially the latter) are now effectively small sideshows of interest to a niche audience only.

    The upshot of all of this would seem to be that ANet is now a fairly large company with a large wage bill, reliant, except for one mothballed game that almost no-one plays, on income from one successful but ageing MMO. As we all know, it becomes increasingly hard to attract either publicity or new players as your MMO ages and GW2 is already at the point of being seen by the market as an old product. Releasing expansions helps but there will be diminishing returns even there as the years roll on.

    Basicaly, they *have* to come up with something new. So far the only thing they have ever produced is Guild Wars. They have no other IPs. The choice is either GW3 or a leap in the dark. Announcing GW3 would both revatilize GW2 (GW1 saw a huge benefit from the cleverly managed Hall of Monuments bonuses) and gain a huge amount of pub,licity for the franchise as a whole. More so, I believe, than an unrelated brand-new project from ArenaNet could.

    Even if they are working on GW3, though, I wouldn’t expect to see it until maybe 2022 at the earliest. I would guess another expansion will be announced in Spring 2019 for release in late summer of that year and we’ll live with that for another 12-18 months after it arrives before they finally reveal plans for the next sequel in the franchise – whiich for want of a better working title we’ll all call Guild Wars 3.

  3. DonV October 30, 2018 / 10:37 pm

    not something that grabbed me right off launch. Anyhow that character style just doesn’t fit me, just too cutsie for me. I am an old fart in my character taste, cute just doesn’t do it for me. I did like the original guild wars and was my very first mmo I played beta, after launch was not the same.

  4. Jeromai October 31, 2018 / 12:34 am

    Given that ArenaNet has had devs bail from it to go to a -new- project at Amazon (New World or otherwise), it seems unlikely that there’s a seriously new project under wraps, especially if the existing management is still in place – who have proven quite content to rest on their laurels and preserve their older projects.

    I think it’s far more likely that they’ll try to continue with what has worked before. A new expansion following HoT and PoF pacing and so on.

  5. Redbeard November 1, 2018 / 8:51 am

    Given that Blizzard manages to pull new enemies out of thin air for the Alliance and Horde to fight every 2-3 years, I think the “lack of villains” argument to be pretty much a head scratcher.

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