Guild Wars 2 is Coming

Guild Wars 2 is launching on August 28. That’s two months from today.

It’s been quite a journey. I started working at ArenaNet in 2008, a year after we’d announced development on Guild Wars 2 in 2007. This is unusual, as most companies never announce that they’re working on a new game until it’s ready to show off. However, given the fact that we would no longer be working on the orginal Guild Wars and would be shifting development to Guild Wars 2, we owed it to the fans to let them know why we were “going dark” for a few years. In 2010, we unveiled the Guild Wars 2 design manifesto. Since then, we’ve been releasing loads of information and showing off the game regularly through interviews, videosconvention appearances, and blog posts. I’ve been privileged to work at a company that has been this open during a game’s development and the fans have been with us through this whole process. We’re almost there.

I think this is going to be the shortest and longest two months I’ve ever experienced, and I can’t wait.

One Million Sign-Ups to Guild Wars 2 Beta in Two Days

I didn’t plan on this space being one where I simply repeated company news, but last week a notable event happened, so I wanted to record it here.

Last week, we reached an incredible milestone. On 22 February, we published our webpage on which gamers could sign up for a chance to be in an upcoming Guild Wars 2 beta event. In a little over 48 hours, we had reached one million sign-ups. That’s a huge response from gamers everywhere and it was quite an exciting moment for ArenaNet as well. Our parent company issued a press release with some information.

From the community management and social media management perspective, those two days were incredibly energising but also exhausting. My team went above and beyond on Facebook and Twitter to provide fans, old and new, with information, clarity, and updates about the beta sign-up process. I’m proud to say that we received a lot of compliments from fans, from fellow community managers and social media managers, and from other game development professionals regarding our social media presence and responsiveness during the critical ~48 hour sign-up period. I shared the milestone moment via Twitter through live tweets and photos.

Beyond my activity on Twitter and Facebook, I additionally helped support this beta sign-up period by organising another AMA on reddit. It was a timely Q&A on our World vs. World competitive format, starring one of our systems designers. The subject was quite topical as earlier that week, the game type received a lot of press and fan attention following a recent closed beta test in which members of the media participated. This event was complemented by a blog post by the same developer which cleared up fan questions about World vs. World after an initial blog post on the same topic had been published earlier in the month. The reddit AMA was again well received by our various fan communities, and in particular our fan community on reddit. As usual, the developers participating had a blast answering fan questions.

This huge and enthusiastic response about Guild Wars 2 beta events from gamers and even other games professionals is encouraging and exciting.

Year of the Dragon

This year is going to be huge for my company. A few days ago, we made a big announcement:

Guild Wars 2 has captured the imagination of gamers and media all over the world with its action-oriented combat, its living world full of dynamic events, its highly personalized role-playing experience, and the handcrafted artistry that suffuses every element of the game. Last year, thousands of you joined us at shows and events all over the world to try Guild Wars 2 for yourself. This year, you’ll finally be able to immerse yourself in the vast, diverse world of Tyria.

It’s been a fantastic learning experience developing and managing a pre-launch game community that is as passionate as the Guild Wars 2 community. It has been a rewarding professional experience to help craft community and social media strategy for Guild Wars 2 and to help build the social media networks for Guild Wars 2 from the ground up. I’m particularly proud of my role in cultivating the Guild Wars 2 community on Facebook, whose core are some of the most friendly, welcoming, and awesome people around. It’s been amazing to see this massive ecosystem of Guild Wars 2 fan communities sprout up around us over the past several years. The sheer diversity of creativity out there—from blogs, fan forums, video casts, podcasts—is fantastic, and it’s been fantastic to play a role in encouraging those communities to grow and collaborate.

At ArenaNet, I am surrounded by a great group of smart, talented, hardworking, and fun professionals. My colleagues on the ArenaNet Community Team are amongst the best in the business. I’m looking forward to the next steps in the life cycle of this game—beta, launch, and post-launch—and thrilled to be a small part of bringing Guild Wars 2 to gamers everywhere.

This year is going to rock.