Betting is fun. It has been going on for thousands of years. I have always said that if you put a group of guys in a room with booze, within about thirty minutes some form of game starts. About ten minutes later someone will be say the phrase “let’s bet on it.” That is kind of how the world goes. So I was thinking today on something to bet on for 2011. It’s not weight loss or some dumb reality show. It is whether or not Guild Wars 2 will launch in 2011. The game that was announced three years ago, that shook the very foundations of MMOs this past season, will it see the launch before the end of the year?
Being the first real week of the new decade I thought it would be fun to discuss the chances of Guild Wars 2 launching in 2011. Looking at the facts and trying to make some kind of bet. A theoretical bet mind you, I stopped officially betting in 1996 during a trip to Atlantic City. So as betting goes, or at least sports betting, there are two things we can do: Create a spread, but that only applies if another game is coming out and we can compare how many players we think it would get, now, creating this bet with Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic would be great fun. We’ll save that for another article when the time gets closer.
The other thing we can do is create an under/over. This is a number of points you expect to be scored in a game by both teams. So for Guild Wars 2 we can set the under/over at maybe December 2011. Then you decide when the game will launch from there. Under December 2011 would be any time before that date. Over December 2011 would basically be any time into 2012. So should we narrow it down into dates? I think so. I am going to say December 8th 2011 Guild Wars 2 will launch. There, the under/over has been set. Place your bets. Before we do that let’s look at some facts.
ArenaNet now has the luxury of saying that the game will be launched when it’s ready. There is only one other company on the planet with that luxury, Blizzard. If you compare the two, Blizzard announces games about three to four years out. Hence, the recent Star Craft 2 launch and the Diablo 3 announcements. For ArenaNet Guild Wars 2 was announced a while ago, March 27, 2007 to be exact. So it has been a little over three years in development. This past year the game has been shown to the public and has gotten some great praise from critics and fans alike. The demos ran smoothly and the product looks very polished. We have seen maps and worlds built out and also some of the demos were running on a live server which had ArenaNet workers logged in from the offices as well. This is another test for the company. Not only are they doing a demo, they are testing the zones. All of these are good signs for a completed project.
NCSoft is also a factor here. As the publisher they do want to launch a new game this year. Aion saw very strong success and City of Heroes continues to do well with its fans. Even Guild Wars has been going steady with the added benefits coming with Guild Wars 2. For NCSoft this game would mean a solid hit in 2011 and some great carry over into 2012. If the hype is any indication strong numbers would come from a launch in a very competitive time for the market.
IGN has Guild Wars 2 listed at November 2, 2011. I do not want to factor this into our own under/over for the launch of the game but this is a good reference point. We can say that IGN has taken the under on our bet for now. There are always last minute things to do in MMO development. Many games keep a window of about two months for launch. I still say the best time to launch an MMO in North America is the winter season. Most folks are inside anyway and playing games by the fire side waiting for spring. You also can factor in the holidays and shopping times of November, December as a major buying period. All of these add up to what appears to be a great launch in 2011.
Remember, the official statement from ArenaNet is the game will launch when it is ready. I personally think it will be ready for the launch times expected. They do have an amazing team at ArenaNet who are working very hard. I think all of us are excited to see the game shown off at all the shows this year and hopefully you will get out there to play the demos and chat with the team. They are great about talking to fans, another good sign for the game. So, under/over of December 8th, place your bets! Now about that GW2/TOR spread…anybody wanna throw out some numbers? Should we call Vegas early?