Today is a big deal. Some stuff happened in the real world and that’s important too, but this is a gaming blog. We have a release date. It’s safe to say that my friends won’t see me for awhile once August 28, 2012 rolls around. The wait isn’t over–but we know exactly how long we’ll be waiting. The burning question that everyone has–and only superfans knew not to ask–finally has an answer.
You guys. Guild Wars 2 has a release date. It really bears repeating.
Of course, this morning I was in a meeting and I didn’t have twitter turned on, so I was a little late on seeing the news. My first exposure to the launch date was this tweet at around 10AM local time: “For those of you with limited access at the moment:
#GW2 is coming 8-28-12! Yeah! #GW2iscoming ~RB2″ To say I was dumbstruck is a grave understatement.
It’s not that I didn’t believe it–a tweet from @GuildWars2 is exactly how I expected to find out about the launch date–but for a moment time stopped. Did that really just happen? Am I so desparate that I’m hallucinating tweets, or do I now live in a universe where GW2, a game I’ve been avidly following for 5 years, has a release date? The first two rules of being a GW2 fan are “do not ask about the release date.” My mind and my world were briefly shattered–in the best way possible. I quickly found the announcement blog post with Mike O’Brien’s big smiling face on it, laying it all out for me. The game is launching on August 28th–with headstart access beginning on Saturday August 25th–and there will be one last beta event on the weekend of July 20th.
What I felt during those few minutes must be what some would describe as a religious experience.
My brain has rallied since then, so I’ve been able to think about what this all means to me. This is probably–no, certainly–the most affecting gaming news I’ve ever heard. Despite my fanatical devotion to the game, I was feeling weary of the beta events and wondering how much more doomed progress I would sink into them. Now I know for certain–I couldn’t make it to yesterday’s stress test and I can’t make it to the next beta weekend, so the next time I play GW2 will be for real. This is exactly the news I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it, but I didn’t dare expect to hear it. It’s what I wanted to hear, and it’s what I was expecting to hear–I had pegged the launch somewhere in “late summer.”
Now we can start winding down the hype machine and moving forward–picking our characters’ names and races and professions, choosing a home server and getting your friends to follow you, founding and joining guilds, saying goodbye to our real-world friends, and coming up with excuses to shirk responsibilities around launch week. (I’m kidding about those last two. Or am I?) Guild Wars 2–not the blog, the convention demo, the beta weekends, the art book, the Charr plushie, or even the friendly developers, but the real game–will soon be upon us.
Thank you ArenaNet for letting the fans be such a huge part of the most enjoyable development phase of a game I’ve ever followed. It’s been a lot of things–it’s been interesting, pleasantly surprising, downright delightful, and even emotional–but it’s all been crazy fun. More than once, you’ve invited groups of not just press, but elite superfans to visit you to play the game and give them swag. Who else does that? At the end of the day, you guys and gals rock. You’ve been doing it right every step of the way. I owe every single one of you a beer–I hope we can meet at a convention sometime and I can make good on that promise.
No matter how great this has been, this phase of Guild Wars 2′s life is nearing its end. August 28th is when the true story begins.