It’s been 5 years since we first heard concrete confirmation that we would not be receiving another Guild Wars expansion, and would instead have Guild Wars 2 to look forward to. And half a decade on here we are – still waiting eager eyed and slavering at the mouth, but not for much longer.
Rather frustratingly, the 5 year development of Guild Wars 2 has been somewhat “atomic”. Not just in its explosive rise to one of the most anticipated games of the new decade which we’ve seen over the past year or so; but also in its composition – vast amount of wide update-less space punctuated by the occasional proton of news or neutron of a blog-post.
My life is drastically different to what it was like 5 years ago. I was in the final year of my undergraduate degree – studying hard... *cough* no, REALLY! I was living in a flat in Durham with a couple of friends, watching daytime TV and playing Guild Wars while sitting on a purple plastic chair with a broken back. Unfortunately, the announcement of Guild Wars 2 and, with it, Eye of the North coincided with the most intense part of my dissertation write-up (“Under the Eye of St Cuthbert: Surveillance and Self-Surveillance in Durham Cathedral” 72 points – first degree honours. * breathes on nails, polishes on shirt* ah-thank you). The fact is I didn’t have quite the time to squee as much as I’d have liked, but the excitement was still palpable at Guru when I visited (back when the community was at least tolerable).
It seems I didn’t miss a whole lot though, from what I could tell at the time all we’d been told was “it’s coming” and not much else.
The years that followed are what I fondly refer to as the “When it’s ready” years. Three years of pretty much nothing: the occasional scrap of information, meagre sustenance for hungry Guild Wars players who were squeezing every inch of playtime out of the game they’ve loved for years but of which they were slowly growing tired. We were assured that behind the shroud ANet were harnessing the power of lightning to reincarnate the flesh of the long dead; building time machines, teleportation devices and rocket-boots; they were growing ears on the backs of rats. The game was coming, and while ANet tinkered, we waited.
I waited and filled my Hall of Monuments. I waited and got GWAMM. I waited and played new games. I waited and got a job, a house, bills and responsibilities. I did all those things, but ultimately I was, underneath it all, still waiting.
The most common thing I’ve heard since the start of August has been “I can’t believe it”. Whether its “I can’t believe it’s almost time” or “I can’t believe I’m going to get to play it as much as I want in just a few weeks” or even just “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”, disbelief is totally understandable – things which are this long coming have a nasty habit of fading away into nothing. There was the ever-present fear of the game becoming vapourware, ArenaNet going out of business or NCSoft pulling the plug. Now, with release just on the horizon, it’s up to us as supporters and players in conjunction with ANet to make sure the game stands up to the new challenges every game faces in the current market. With SWTOR, Rift, DC Universe etc all struggling in the current mire, there is a real threat that Guild Wars 2 will get caught in the intergalactic pull of the MMO black-hole. We, as players, can only really do a few things to keep the game running – keep playing, promoting, blogging, vlogging and building a community which welcomes new players and supports the game over the next few years. If we do this effectively, if we ensure that our stoic patience has not been in vain, we might see Guild Wars 2 love a life as long and as fruitful as the Guild Wars 1.