What in the hell just happened?
Out of everything coming out of PAX South this past weekend, the last thing I was expecting to hear was Guild Wars 2 selling itself off the digital shelves. That was literally News from Nowhere. Seriously, everyone who owns a copy of Guild Wars 2 (from before this weekend, or having just picked up the game while it was 75% off January 24th and 25th) please raise your rand. Yeah, that's probably all of us.
It's near impossible to go wrong selling a non-subscription based MMO for two cups of Starbucks coffee. Especially if you do it right when the hype train is literally running full-steam ahead. This little ride is bound to entertain regardless of if we all get off at the End of the Line alive and okay or each passenger-car gets derailed and the game goes down in one final blast of infamy.
Keeping the Love Alive
For better or for worse, Guild Wars 2 just pulled off an incredible feat - particularly in today's MMO landscape which could easily be called a Vanishing Race. Sure Warlords of Draenor raked in mountains of money for Blizzard this past year - but that was going to happen anyway. World of Warcraft is a basically the gateway drug of MMOs. It's casual, accessible, and you rarely have a bad time with it. When a new flavor comes out, long time users are guaranteed to return and at least try it again. With Guild Wars 2, it's a bit More than Natural.
The fact that they were selling copies faster than their keygen machine could get Its Automatic keys created is a feat in and of itself, and is an obvious testament to how ArenaNet greatly overachieved on its sales goals for the weekend special. You know, it really doesn't matter if the majority of people who bought in don't stick around. For a game that relies heavily on its upfront price-tag, GW2 just did everything it needed to do. It just gave itself One More Chance at life.
Somehow, someway people are buying in again, which could be chalked up to Miracles, but hey - it isn't like the game is offering nothing. Whether players stick around or not, all they need people to do is buy the box (and a digital box at that). All the other cash-shop transactions are just icing on the cake (and groundwork for further expansions). Of course only time will tell if this expansion truly lives up to all the hype (which at this point, might be impossible).
Like pretty much any Air Supply song ever written - I expect that this meteoric rise to be followed up by an equally shocking and sudden fall from popularity. ArenaNet is literally Making Love Out of Nothing at All right now. The market is so dry that I can almost feel chalk on my MMO taste buds. After the dismal letdowns of both Wildstar and Elder Scrolls Online, people are looking for just about anything right now. Guild Wars 2 is catching us all on the rebound.
Now Hold On, because that's not to say I won't give it a good try myself. I'm one of the guilty parties who claimed a copy of the game when it went dirt-cheap this past weekend - yet I did so knowing that I'll likely be part of the large group of people who probably won't stick around.
I'm just trying to be totally honest here.
Still, the game is in a great position right now. It's solid, extremely polished, and the art design is totally refreshing from the majority of other titles out there. For $9.99 is was an absolute steal, and I will more than get my money out of it - I can promise you that. I plan on saddling up and riding it out at least a few weeks (probably much longer if some of my equally enamored friends stick around that I can game with).There's Nothing I Can Do but tag along for this ride; so expect Guild Wars 2 to make it into my rotation fairly regularly for the next month or so.
I'm specifically intrigued by the ability to instantly partake in max-level Player vs. Player combat.
That's like taking a car out for a test-drive except that you don't really have to return it to the dealership. All you have to do is keep it Just Between the Lines and never use it to drive to work in. That is so full of win that I can't even wrap my head around it at the moment (particularly because I've been up since Daybreak overy thirty hours ago poking around in the client and finding my way around). I'm not sure what ever led them to embrace such a wild concept, but I'm glad they did - as it definitely serves a particular audience (that audience being casual-time, hardcore-challenge PvP enthusiast like myself).
Either way, even if the game turns out to be everything I thought it was (and lives up to the assumptions that had me ignore spending $40 on the full-price of the game before)... it will still be good for at least a little while and fill up plenty of Empty Pages in this Gravity Well column. If there's even one other player tapping into GW2 for the first time this evening - there will be at least Two Less Lonely People in the World Tonight. (Okay I promise, that was the last Air Supply joke - as I'm All Out of Love... I mean them. I'm all out of Them now. Yes, there we go.)
(Just be thankful I packed all of these references into one article and didn't spread this whole Air Supply / Guild Wars 2 connection into it's own full-blown series! For those who were born after the 80's and have no idea who in the hell Air Supply is or why this article is full of so many italics: You all have so much winning left to do in life. Each of those phrases are one of many epic and forgettable songs from the aforementioned band. Ahh... 80's glam-rock at it's finest!)
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