Guild Wars 2 May Be The End Of The Franchise

| 5 Mar 2013 20:13
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Hopefully you really like the current state of Guild Wars 2 as developer ArenaNet has no plans to expand the game, and a sequel seems increasingly unlikely.

When the Guild Wars franchise made its debut with 2005's aptly titled Guild Wars, it was hailed as a World of Warcraft killer. Fast forward to the present day and Blizzard's MMO is still king of the heap, while the latest Guild Wars title seems to be stagnating at the very least.

In an as yet unpublished interview with IGN, Guild Wars 2 director Colin Johanson offered grim (if diplomatic) news for those hoping that the game might see an expansion pack in the near future. "Expansions are definitely something that we'll potentially look at in the future," Johanson states. "We don't have a timetable on it. We're open to it, but I think our major focus as a studio is making the living world concept as strong as possibly can for the players that we've got."

Translation: There are no expansions for Guild Wars 2 in development. While this could be a developer attempting to hold his cards close to the vest, his later statements as to the possibility of a sequel color this entire conversation in arguably depressing tones.

"We want to be able to have teams that are literally developing new, innovative features that change the way that you play our game and grow that experience so it literally feels like you don't leave Guild Wars 2; Guild Wars 2 becomes Guild Wars 2.5 or Guild Wars 3 and it continues to grow," Johanson claims.

The overall message of Johanson's words (outside of his annoyingly constant misuse of "literally") largely depends on how cynical you are with regards to the massively multiplayer online gaming genre, but there are undeniable facts here. First, as we stated above, no expansions are currently planned or in development for Guild Wars 2. This stands in stark contrast to the first Guild Wars which saw three expansions prior to the release of its sequel.

Secondly, as Johanson states, ArenaNet has no real plans to make a Guild Wars 3. Instead, it will continue to add content and features to Guild Wars 2. How long that might last is anyone's guess, but we have to assume it isn't the firm's indefinite plan. What happens when the game's engine is so dated that players turn up their nose in disgust at the title? That only takes three or four years in our modern era (especially given the semi-realistic art style of the Guild Wars franchise), and what then? ArenaNet could go the EVE Online route and release aesthetic upgrades for the game, but those are generally huge additions found within expansions for the game, which Johanson already stated were not being planned.

Does this mean Guild Wars 2 is dying? Not necessarily, but it doesn't bode well for the game's future either. Then again, maybe we're just wildly cynical. The free-to-play business model seen in Guild Wars 2 has enabled far too many objectively terrible games to hit the market and at some point it simply must become oversaturated. We've got a soft spot for the Guild Wars franchise and would hate to see it became a victim of the economic realities it helped usher in.

Source: IGN

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Thyunda:

Oh you just inflate my already oversized ego. When I was lv65 I had to rescue my lv80 friend from a load of jungle trolls - in that area where there are sugar pumpkins and an oversized champion troll. But if I'm bossing it with the weakest class. Well.

Baha.

Like I said, they're great at not dying. ;) I had done similiar stuff on my necro, but when I changed to Warrior I really saw the difference in power. On necro I could take a small group of mobs, but it would take a while to kill them. On warrior, I actively piss off as much stuff as I can, spin through them, turn around and hit 2. Everything then dies about instantly. Hundred Blades OP.

Earnest Cavalli:
How long that might last is anyone's guess,

EVE Online uses this model and has lasted 10 years, while there are "expansions" they are effectively large free patches which update or add content. There has been no EVE II or anything and no paid expansions, they continually improve whats already there.

So its plausible Guild Wars could do it too.

Jennacide:

Thyunda:

Duuuude the only class I can't nail in PvP is a damn thief. I play an engineer, and between my tornado assaults (bust the gate open with battering rams and then Elixir X it into the courtyard. Defenders get thrown across the courtyard before they even have a chance to react) and my shield, nobody can take me one on one.

With one exception.

This bastard thief who just materialised behind me every time I killed an opponent. Stabbed in the back, dead. Every goddamn time. He even hung around waiting for my partner to get too far away, then showed up again. DX

Never said Thief was bad in PVP, it's where they are the best. They just generally suck in PVE content, as all melee that aren't Warrior/Guardian tend to get stomped on, meaning they either go boring ass Pistol/Pistol or Shortbows, which are both utility roles instead of dps. In PVP Thief can go Dagger/Pistol, Dagger/Dagger, or Sword/Pistol and completely destroy anyone in a 1v1 fight.

Also keep in mind that Engineer is widely agreed on to be the weakest class by a fairly large margin right now. Necro being not far behind, as both only really excel at one thing, not dying quickly. (Which is why you should still win 1v1 on both, except against Thieves)

Oh you just inflate my already oversized ego. When I was lv65 I had to rescue my lv80 friend from a load of jungle trolls - in that area where there are sugar pumpkins and an oversized champion troll. But if I'm bossing it with the weakest class. Well.

Baha.

Thyunda:

Duuuude the only class I can't nail in PvP is a damn thief. I play an engineer, and between my tornado assaults (bust the gate open with battering rams and then Elixir X it into the courtyard. Defenders get thrown across the courtyard before they even have a chance to react) and my shield, nobody can take me one on one.

With one exception.

This bastard thief who just materialised behind me every time I killed an opponent. Stabbed in the back, dead. Every goddamn time. He even hung around waiting for my partner to get too far away, then showed up again. DX

Never said Thief was bad in PVP, it's where they are the best. They just generally suck in PVE content, as all melee that aren't Warrior/Guardian tend to get stomped on, meaning they either go boring ass Pistol/Pistol or Shortbows, which are both utility roles instead of dps. In PVP Thief can go Dagger/Pistol, Dagger/Dagger, or Sword/Pistol and completely destroy anyone in a 1v1 fight.

Also keep in mind that Engineer is widely agreed on to be the weakest class by a fairly large margin right now. Necro being not far behind, as both only really excel at one thing, not dying quickly. (Which is why you should still win 1v1 on both, except against Thieves)

Serrenitei summed up quite nicely what I would've liked to say, of course, I'm at work at the moment so I couldn't devote any amount of time to typing up a well-thought-out and well-constructed response so bravo Serrenitei.

LiveSpartan235:
Read the article wow I have to agree with just about everyone else here that article was terrible and sensationalist.

Welcome to The Escapist.

Jennacide:

rofltehcat:
Something remotely related: They once let slip that they had only 1 or 2 people work on class balance after release... so yeah, was pretty obvious.
Though that may have been an elaborately crafted fake for all I know... they actually seem to have started making actual class changes again.

I'd believe it, as Necro and Mesmer are poorly balanced for anything outside PVP, condition builds are worthless outside of PVP due to the retardedly low 25 condition cap, and Warrior is so OP as to be stupifying. I recently went back to playing with some friends and made a warrior, by lv50 I've face tanked every champion I've come across, and soloed most of them. A task neither my Necro or Thief are even remotely capable of.

As for expansions, they better put something out there against this statement. Knowing that there may not be any more content coming is the fastest way for me to no longer want to play, seeing as Living Story is kinda suck, even they admit that. FoTM was a good idea, but desperately needs more floor types added in before I'm willing to climb it more.

Duuuude the only class I can't nail in PvP is a damn thief. I play an engineer, and between my tornado assaults (bust the gate open with battering rams and then Elixir X it into the courtyard. Defenders get thrown across the courtyard before they even have a chance to react) and my shield, nobody can take me one on one.

With one exception.

This bastard thief who just materialised behind me every time I killed an opponent. Stabbed in the back, dead. Every goddamn time. He even hung around waiting for my partner to get too far away, then showed up again. DX

shintakie10:

DTWolfwood:

shintakie10:
I kind of applaud that idea, but I'm horribly confused how that can remotely be economically feasible. They don't charge for patches, they don't charge for actual content, they don't have any sub fee of any kind, they dont plan on expansions, so the only income is the box fee for Guild Wars 2?

How can that possibly sustain them in the long term?

Is there somethin I'm missin here?

Same way any multiplayer game sustains it self. Continual sales of the game until no one is interested in buying it or it becomes more expenses to run the game then to sell, then they shut it down.

Multiplayer games in the past on PC never charged for patches, y is that suddenly a strange thing in this day and age?

Also micro transactions.

There's quite a large cost difference between an MMO and your average CoD game.

How about real F2P MMOs? They don't charge for patches, or new content, and they don't even carry a box cost. The fact Guild Wars 2 makes you buy the game means they have an extra revenue stream.

If they can't sustain the game, they simply shut it down. Its not complicated is all I'm eluding to.

Again micro transactions.

Read the article wow I have to agree with just about everyone else here that article was terrible and sensationalist.

DTWolfwood:

shintakie10:
I kind of applaud that idea, but I'm horribly confused how that can remotely be economically feasible. They don't charge for patches, they don't charge for actual content, they don't have any sub fee of any kind, they dont plan on expansions, so the only income is the box fee for Guild Wars 2?

How can that possibly sustain them in the long term?

Is there somethin I'm missin here?

Same way any multiplayer game sustains it self. Continual sales of the game until no one is interested in buying it or it becomes more expenses to run the game then to sell, then they shut it down.

Multiplayer games in the past on PC never charged for patches, y is that suddenly a strange thing in this day and age?

Also micro transactions.

There's quite a large cost difference between an MMO and your average CoD game.

shintakie10:
I kind of applaud that idea, but I'm horribly confused how that can remotely be economically feasible. They don't charge for patches, they don't charge for actual content, they don't have any sub fee of any kind, they dont plan on expansions, so the only income is the box fee for Guild Wars 2?

How can that possibly sustain them in the long term?

Is there somethin I'm missin here?

Same way any multiplayer game sustains it self. Continual sales of the game until no one is interested in buying it or it becomes more expenses to run the game then to sell, then they shut it down.

Multiplayer games in the past on PC never charged for patches, y is that suddenly a strange thing in this day and age?

Also micro transactions.

snekadid:
Wow, what a poorly written article. Obvious axe to grind along with petty gripes makes it difficult to take anything stated seriously, especially when the article itself is based around conjecture about a simple statement that expansions aren't in production yet after only over half a year.

This is what I took away from the article as well. Really not up to escapist standards.
Also, cheap shot at a flooded F2P market? You do realize that GW2 has an upfront box cost, right?

I think there's a couple faulty assumptions in this article, and the comments following it.
1) The author doesn't seem to have a solid understanding of the Guild Wars 2 business model. While as many others have pointed out, GW2 uses a Buy-to-Play model, which has a dollar figure barrier to entry to play the game at all unlike a true Free-to-Play title which does not have a monetary barrier to entry in the game. Additionally, Guild Wars 2 uses a cash shop to continue to make money. Real Money can be converted to gems, which can be used to purchase special in-game items or it can be converted into gold to use anywhere in the game. It should be noted that gold can also be converted into gems, but cannot be converted further into real world money.

The game makes it's money on the sale of gems. While many have said that it's easy to make money in the end-game, I think they need to remember that by virtual of being engaged on forums like this, that they and those in their immediate gaming circles are pre-disposed towards a certain game style. The majority of gamers do not peruse forums, and based on the numbers from NCSoft's quarterly financial statements, are spending a significant amount of money. In Q4, NCSoft as a whole saw a 24% rise in revenue over the previous year. Guild Wars 2 made up 45% of the revenue boost in sales, which also increased their net income by 31% year over year. So while individuals might anecdotally claim no one purchases gems, the numbers clearly indicate otherwise. (http://global.ncsoft.com/global/ir/earnings.aspx)

Personal side note: I enjoy the game, and make it a point to buy about $10 USD worth of gems a month to continue to support the game.

2) The author seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding about the MMO industry and the way content is pushed out. I don't think there has been a single MMO that has announced an expansion or intents of an expansion so soon after a launch. GW2 window to release a expansion and still be "On Par" still extends another 12-18months. In the case of the aforementioned DDO online released an expansion some years into it's life cycle. Rift and Trion didn't announce their first expansion until approximately 9 months into their game, and then didn't release until just shy of their 2 year mark.

MMOs are not like single player games that can announce an expansion virtually immediately after launch, or a sequel several months after launch. These games have shelf-lives measured in years, not months. It's not reasonable to expect something as complicated as a hugely interactive world, with thousands of simultaneous players be able to be 1) completely flawless from the get go, and 2) ripe for expansion without significant time put into polishing the existing experience.

Beyond that, the author would do well to note that the GW2 has been releasing new content steadily since launch free of charge. That has included opening new zones, tweaking balances, extending the story, new play-styles -- many of the characteristics found in a traditional expansion. Where traditional MMOs follow the WoW model of releasing new Raids every 6 months and a new expansion every 12-18 months, Guild Wars 2 is attempting a different model of content release, which is releasing smaller bits of content more frequently. The Secret World follows a similar model of smaller bits of content more frequently to keep people engaged. Both games now use a Buy-to-Play model, meaning there's a small barrier to entry, and then beyond that the game continually gives reasons to come back to the game. The existing WoW model shows a surge in subscriptions at an expansion release, almost immediately followed a massive slump until the next content release 3-6 months down the line.

In short, the author shows a certain ignorance of not only the MMO business as a whole, but also of NCSoft's content strategy. Information on both of these things are easily researched on the internet. While this might be an opinion-esque piece, the author's opinion is much more likely to be taken seriously if he can show an understanding of the MMO industry that extends beyond the anecdotal.

Gotta agree with the others who are saying this is a really poorly-written article that has little to no research behind it. Not up to The Escapist's standards at all. The news from the GW2 devs about a month ago was that they've had higher numbers of players than they'd anticipated and that their daily users have been stable, with sales continuing and slowly increasing their numbers. Even with this they've said that they're focusing on their monthly updates and want to focus on those for now, and while there are no current plans for expansions they're likely to come some time in the future after they've taken care of their current plans.

I can understand that, given an utter lack of knowledge of the actual state of the game, one would apply their general knowledge of MMO trends to an isolated quote that's taken out of context. But...well, that's not really good investigation or journalism on your part, and it's definitely not what I expect from The Escapist.

Wait what? What's with this extremely depressing and slanted article?
I read this story first on PC gamer, and it's not like the franchise is dying -_-
The game has been out for 6 months! It's good that they are still focusing on updating GW2 as opposed to launching expansions already, you get more bang for your buck. If you've been keeping an eye on GW2, there have been a lot of major updates.
As for GW1 having 3 expansions, over how many years eh? Just because ArenaNet isn't planning an expansion currently doesn't say much about what's down the pipeline.
As for there being no GW3... it isn't the death of the franchise, rather he is saying that currently they are focusing all their efforts on GW2 and want it to continually expand and grow.

Jesus, way to turn "we are really devoted to this game and are currently planning to make it stronger and better before going anywhere else" to "OMG GUILD WARS 2 IS THE DEATH OF THE FRANCHISE".

Wenseph:
< Snip >

I couldn't agree with this post more if I tried.

Why does it matter if GW2 doesn't go down the same route as basically every other MMO and rely on selling expansions? They've been regularly introducing new content for free, and while I don't entirely understand how they're making enough money to make their methods profitable, I'm not exactly going to kick a gift horse in the mouth.

They do have the Gem Store to make money, and while some people would argue it is ineffective, clearly they're doing something right as I'm aware of a fair number of people who spent in excess of 300 in the Gem Store purely in the first few weeks/months of its release.

As a news reporter, I think this article's writer takes a lot of liberties with how he/she is interpreting the statements made here. Just because Arenanet's not currently planning expansion packs doesn't prove it's never going to. Neither does the fact they plan to continue to update the current game suggest the franchise is stagnating. Granted the writer has a point about the graphics drivers and such, but a solution may be possible (perhaps something akin to an HD re-release that carries over all the character data?). Overall, I think this is really jumping the gun, since the game's not even reached its one-year anniversary yet. I mean jeeze, you're saying the developers are letting the game stagnate by actually giving players time to explore the game world? It's bad enough that many mmo's development and plot pacing is dictated by the obsessive grind-style players, now the media's encouraging it too.

Earnest Cavalli:

Hopefully you really like the current state of Guild Wars 2 as developer ArenaNet has no plans to expand the game, and a sequel seems increasingly unlikely.

Now that's just plain wrong. Just because they don't sell expansions like in GW1, that doesn't mean they don't add new content.
In fact, there has been alot of new stuff, including new areas, missions, and dungeons, all for free.

New stuff is still being added, and it's far from stagnant.

The writer of the article can always dream i guess.

The game has been out for 7 months, how many layoffs from arenanet have there been? There is also the fact they have said the game sold well beyond expectations, including the earnings call predictions for NCSoft!

They're not focusing on expansions because they're focusing on the base game for now.

That's all that needs to be said really :P

snekadid:
Wow, what a poorly written article. Obvious axe to grind along with petty gripes makes it difficult to take anything stated seriously, especially when the article itself is based around conjecture about a simple statement that expansions aren't in production yet after only over half a year.

Indeed. The article was horribly biased.

As far as I can tell, GW2 has been constantly bringing players more content, with the one-time serverwide events that change the whole game-world as well as with the new PvP-maps and general improvement of the UI, queuing-system and whatnot.
In my honest opinion, this doesn't to me at least, spell giving up and poor future. Bleh!

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