A Somewhat Religious Experience

/cheer! (wallpaper sized)

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.

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11 Responses to A Somewhat Religious Experience

  1. Verene says:

    And there I am, just sort of standing off to the side in that screenshot…XD

    The release date was basically the first thing I saw this morning when I woke up. And I just sort of stopped. And stared. And then proceeded to tell my boyfriend with a great deal of excited profanity. Luckily I calmed down slightly by the time I opened twitter😛

    But, ahhhh, so excited, our wait is nearly over!

  2. Congratulations on your release date!

    But WOW! — That photo!! — it’s totally the bomb!!

    • Thanks! The emotes in GW2 all seem really expressive. They’re a bit exaggerated (in a way that works well) and lots of them are voiced. GW2 will have tons of great screenshot potential.:)

  3. Hi Optimus! You’ve done so much fantastic photography!

    And, I have a proposition for you!
    on my blog:

    We’ve decided to launch a new feature focusing on the power of images. It’s kind of a “365 Days” or “Photo a Day” project, but with some adjustments.

    In our version, it doesn’t have to be every single day, and it doesn’t have to be a self-portrait, but it should be a picture you took today (ish) We’d like to have a handful of people from around the globe participate, including virtual worlds, including Guild Wars, and we have a featured section on iRez where you can see today’s snapshot of life on planet earth. So on the days you post something, it’d be one image, and if you can a sentence or two as a caption.

    What do you think?

    Keep up the wonderful work!

    • Sure! That sounds pretty cool. For now I only have my backlog to rely on, but once the game launches I’ll be taking tons of screenshots.:) Let me know more!

      • Your backlog is quite impressive!:)

        But I think to be true to the “Today” (ish) concept, we should try to use new images.

        Are you waiting for an expansion, but could still pop in to the existing world and snap a photo? Or is it off-line?

        Either way, let’s go for it, there’s nothing at all about Guild Wars on iRez, so it’ll be a really great addition.

        I’ll invite you to join iRez as an author. Obviously you already know how to take great pix and post them on WordPress, so whenever you’re ready I can give you info on tagging, and you can post at will!

      • Unfortunately all I’ll be able to get screenshots of in Guild Wars 2 (at least until launch) is the login screen. But, I do take pictures of stuff and screenshots in other games, so I’ll see what I can come up with between now and august.:)

      • kk, whatever you want to do will be great. August is pretty soon after all. (unless you’re, like, counting the days — hahaha!

        You’re totally not limited to GW2, although it is kind of nice to have a “representative” there… we have a lot of Second Life peeps since that’s where I grew up… we actually only have 1 WoW person, but she keeps us connected and we did a field trip there so we’ve got like a dozen WoW posts.

        So I guess we’ll just list you as “Guild Wars 2” – but you can post pix from anything you like… other games… RL… whatever… sound good?

  4. Pingback: This week in Guild Wars 2 | GuildMag - Guild Wars 2 Fansite: Magazine, Podcast, Editorials and more

  5. SlothBear says:

    I didn’t believe it at first but yay announce date!

    The only appeal another BWE would have for me is if we get to play with Asura and Sylvari character creation.:)

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