I think the real problem is that we're at a point in the cycle right now when everyone's feeling weary of the endless road toward launch. There's no definitive end in sight; maybe this year, maybe next year, who knows. That feeling comes and goes -- it's been a regular part of the hype for a very long time now. Sometimes the fans just go into a lull because they're tired of the whole mess and all they really want is a closed beta window.
I'm hearing quite a bit of that in the community lately and even feeling a little of it myself, but since it's usually followed by a big upswing of excitement among the fans, I'm looking forward to what the coming weeks will bring.
For the time being, though, follow along after the jump and let's look at we learned this week.
Let's hear it for the fansite love!
The NCsoft/ArenaNet PR and marketing people are in what can be a bit of a tough position sometimes. Their job is to spread the gospel of Guild Wars 2 far and wide. People who have never heard of Guild Wars 2 need to learn why it's shaping up to be so great, and they need to read things that make them want to buy it. That is the entire point of having a marketing department.
The best way to do this is to give information and interviews to huge media outlets with big numbers so as many people as possible will read them, but there's a downside to this. Huge media outlets, by their very nature, are less likely to have a staffer who already happens to be a fan. They're often simply too big to be that niche-y, and that leads to mistakes that stem from an unfamiliarity with your subject matter.
This becomes a problem because Guild Wars 2 has a huge, long-running, and incredibly sharp fanbase. When a writer makes these mistakes, a very, very large group of people will collectively point and laugh. These mistakes are invisible to the people that these media outlets are trying to reach -- those who are unfamiliar with Guild Wars 2 -- so the mission is still accomplished, so to speak. But you still cannot ignore your established customer base. They're not going to take it well after a certain point.
For this reason, I was absolutely delighted to see the love given to smaller fansites this week. Czech fansite Guild-Hall.cz talked to Eric Flannum, Jon Peters, Jeff Grubb, Colin Johanson, and Ree Soesbee about all sorts of small aspects of the game. They got new details on dynamic events, bits and pieces on character mechanics like Norn shapeshifting, stealth, and attributes, and some great behind-the-scenes stories. If you missed the interview, it's a must-read for any longtime fan.
Hungarian site Variance scored a similarly exciting interview with Eric Flannum, John Corpening, Egan Hirvela, and Matt Witter. This one was great for the community because it's the most PvP information we've had for quite a while, but there were also little details on things like titles and factions on the PvE side. (Note that is "factions" such as the Vigil and the Durmand Priory rather than "Factions." Sadly, ArenaNet's not letting anything new slip on the fate of Cantha.)
Interviews and reveals like this are much more meaningful to established fans. It's great to get the word out to new fans -- we want Tyria to be as crowded as is humanly possible when we finally get to play this game -- but once someone is a fan, it's important and necessary to not forget him.
Seeing sites like Guild-Hall and Variance rewarded in this way for their hard work and love of the game is fantastic, and I hope to see more of it in the future. Congratulations, guys -- you deserve it!
I want to acknowledge another group of fans this week as well. Last week I neglected to mention an important anniversary: Massively Overpowered's first birthday. The guild turned one on May 1st, and it's been an incredible year. Our first scheduled guild run was May 6th, 2010, and it's only gotten better from there.
The guild started in Pre-Searing with the intention of working through each campaign and Eye of the North as a group via weekly scheduled playtime. That core objective is still going strong. We're nearly finished with Nightfall and looking forward to venturing into the far Shiverpeaks, but it's evolved beyond that in ways I never would have imagined.
The guild became a mix of veteran players and those who purchased the game solely to play with the group, joined a large alliance, and gathered members from every corner of the globe. Now you can log on nearly 24 hours a day and find people logged in and playing.
The only downside is that we wound up with a near-constant waiting list to join the guild and were forced to establish a policy of kicking players who had been inactive for one month. One of my fondest wishes for this game (yes, besides jumping) is the removal of the 100-member guild cap. MVOP has gone way beyond its original plan of once-a-week play, and I couldn't be happier. The people who have joined the guild have made it a better gaming experience for everyone they've played with.
Finally, my promised PvP update. This week I made it into Jade Quarry and jumped in on the Kurzick side. If nothing else, I've established and recognized a pattern in myself of being downright terrible for the first dozen rounds in every PvP arena I enter. I took my Necro in with a Weaken Knees build, with the intention of using it to take out the turtles.
My lack of foresight and advance study made itself known almost immediately. I took out the yellow turtle handily, spent a moment being pleased with myself, then wondered, "So, uh, now what?" All I was designed to do was hurt things that were moving and make myself move faster. I had a bit of degen but nothing fancy, and when an Assassin ran up a moment later, I reverted to my RA strategy of "panicked flailing and running in circles a lot."
I mashed some buttons and hit him with Weaken Knees. Since he wasn't "running" so much as "standing in one spot and stabbing me in the face over and over," it didn't do much. I made a run for it, but since I wasn't familiar with the map I darted up some stairs and into a portal, which promptly spit me out a short distance behind the Assassin. He took out the rest of my HP with a combination of more stabbing and derisive laughter. (OK, that last thing isn't entirely true. He didn't say anything at all, but I imagine he was sitting at his computer wondering why someone let a toddler play Guild Wars.)
The next few rounds were similar: a combination of incompetence and a strange new map and goal left me laughing at my own ineptitude, and eventually I scuttled off to repair my poor ego with a PvE vanquish. I'm nothing if not persistent, though. I'll keep at it this week and hopefully next week I can report some improvement.
Speaking of next week, I'll see you then!
Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at firstname.lastname@example.org.