Guild Wars 2, Expansions, the Mayan Calendar and the End of Everything

So today ArenaNet announced that Guild Wars 2 will, indeed, be released in 2012.

Excuse me for a second while I glee like a 14 year old girl.


Ahem. Well, sorry about that. Anyway, there is one thing that made me think about dates:

Mike O’Brien, in that post, said that the open beta will start in February and ramp up in March and April. So one can hope that the release will happen in May or June (my bets are in May due the speed ArenaNet is going from beta to beta, but I’m not counting the time to print boxes for the brick-and-mortar stores).

Still nothing fancy there. But then we must remember that ArenaNet had a schedule of one expansion every 6 months. And that’s where things get interesting.

If they release Guild Wars 2 in June and then go work in the next expansion, Guild Wars 2.1 will appear in December. I will let you digest that for a second. Yes, you got it right: December. 2012. The end of the Mayan calendar! The end of the world! Or, as some nicer people say, the end of an era and the start of a new one. Could this mean that Guild Wars 2.1 will be the bringer of a better (or worse) future?

Not only that, but apparently Rubi from Massively snapped a curious picture of jerseys saying 28/06/2012 (June 26, 2012). If the open beta ends in April, June 28 gives plenty of time for making boxes and sending them to brick-and-mortar stores. If you count again 6 months, first expansion will land in December 28. 3 days after Christmas? That doesn’t make sense! But, if they manage to cut a single week in their plans, first expansion will be available in… 21 December 2012! 21.12.2012!

See? SEE? The Mayans knew!

I’m so excited for the first Guild Wars 2 expansion now!

The Long Road to Guild Wars 2

Next week, ArenaNet will do an Asura Week, with a full week of articles about the Asura, with videos, pictures and lore.

Some people may think it means release is really close (or, at least, the open beta), as Asura is the last race to not have a full week yet and, after next week, all races will have their spotlight week. Also, you must know that ArenaNet never talks about stuff that isn’t done.

Except we are forgetting there are still stuff to be talked about.

  • Unknown Profession: There is one last profession to be announced, and to have a full week of discussion.
  • The Dungeons: So far, there was the announcement (and related week, with the Fan Open House week) of a single dungeon, Ascalonian Catacombs, but we know there will be more. There will be, at least, Sorrow’s Embrace. Guild Wars 2 lists 8 known dungeons. And you can guess they will do one week for each.
  • Disciplines: “Disciplines” is what other MMOs call “Professions”. There are 8 disciplines but I don’t think you can fill a whole week with a single discipline, so let’s imagine that it will take a full week just for disciplines, although I think they will split in 3 weeks (gathering disciplines, armor professions and everything else — just ’cause there is no way to split into gathering, crafting and services, like in WoW).
  • Traits: We know a bit about traits, which let you change your skills behaviour (increasing effect time, damage or whatever related to it), but we know that they are doing some rework on it. So one can expect that there will be a “Traits Week” once they finalize the rework.

If ArenaNet makes a week for each of these points and then take a week of let things rest, we have at least 22 weeks till everything is considered “finalized”, which, following the order I put there, will make Traits Week on the week of 30 of January, at which point they will probably go into open beta.

Now I wish I’m completely wrong.

Star Wars Old Republic a push for 2011, says Rift dev

Star Wars Old Republic a push for 2011, says Rift dev

Sure, sure, it could just be some picking on future competitors but some things he points seem true, although not all of them.

For example, the fact that Star Wars Old Republic is somewhat a disappointment for having a standard action-bar combat. That market is already saturated with World of Warcraft and Rift itself, so SWOR will have to fight only in the merits of the series, nothing new with the game itself (well, maybe the whole “everything will have a voice acting”). Not only they will go head to head with the behemot WoW is, but also against Rift itself, which already managed to capture those who got tired of WoW, shrinking the niche SWOR will try to get in.

On the other hand, Guild Wars 2 may be being pushed to a 2011 release (actually, a lot of games are being pushed to a release still this year) but it have a position of trying to bring a complete new concept for the MMO genre, which keeps a continuous flow of hype into the game — some people will not like it, some people will love it but most will surely try it just to see if it holds any water — and that’s exactly the way Arena.Net profits.

E3 2011: Torchlight II Interview (PC)

E3 2011: Torchlight II Interview (PC)

The really news there is that there is some sort of “release date”: “Fall, early winter”. Which means around 6 months till Torchlight II. Which completely wipes my fears that they would rush it into July.

The bad news, though, is that, in my speculation about times, it will go head-to-head with Diablo 3 (either a few months earlier or just in the same month).

Opinion: Torchlight II Won’t Will Be Out In July (Neither It Should)

E3 is over, the guys at Runic are still high with their 5 “Best of E3” nominations, but there very few news about Torchlight II around.

So far, there are a couple of screenshots floating around with completely emtpy action bars (although we know from the previous game that you can bind an attack to your mouse left and right buttons), the announcement of the Berzerker class, which will use hand weapons and use animals as spells (a dragon head to burn enemies, a pack of wolfs) and only video so far was taken with a camera, with not much resolution and a lot of noise.

And in one interview in the last day of E3, Max Schaefer said that they had to redo the whole inventory thing, ‘cause it wasn’t feeling right.

Let me just stop a second here and say how excited I was when the month of July was approaching and that would mean Torchlight II would be around. It may sound weird that I’m making it all in the past, but let me say why I don’t think the July deadline won’t be met:

First, there is very little information floating around about the game. Sure, everyone was excited in E3, but for a game that will be distributed in digital form initially, there is very little information in their website, which should be the main source of information, even for the already confirmed classes, which gives kinda the impression that even those aren’t totally finished.

Second, very little information is being distributed around. You get some flaky screenshots, a bad quality video and… that’s it.

Third, that interview of things being changed recently.

Now, let me stop again to say that Runic is not a bunch of amateurs. Those are the guys behind the two Diablos and they have Torchlight (the first version) under their belt. They know how to finish a product and that “it’s done when it’s done”. But my fears are that, at this point, the game should be going into full Q&A, not having a class still to be defined, skills rearranged and inventories being rebuilt.

Which brings two other thoughts: The first is that the game will be launched in July with some content broken (not intentionally, but known to be buggy) and they hope they could deliver a fix easily since it’s a downloadable content, which is bad in itself ‘cause early people will find those bugs and complain loudly about it. So, the proper answer would be not release in July, but maybe later, with an assured quality.

Second, it’s that the July deadline is actually imposed by investors, which a very tricky situation. In one hand you have your objective of just release when it’s done, in the other hand you have a bunch of guys with lots of money demanding that you should release at that time.

Honestly, this is all guesswork. I don’t work for Runic neither know anyone at Runic. And I really enjoyed the first Torchlight (even if I have only 116 hours played) but the silence from Runic is worrying.