It is a great boon to a blogger to be blogging about whatever the latest hotness is. Right now, that’s Guild Wars 2, and I’m watching a ton of videos on it while trying not to spoil myself too badly. But I haven’t had much to say on it that’s not being said elsewhere. I am still excited about it, and plan to be pre-ordering it next week. But many of the videos make it look kind of conventional, and I suspect I will need to actually play — and not in beta — to see how the actual play dynamic, with the dynamic events and without the Unholy Trinity, works in practice.
I have not, in fact, been invited to the GW2 beta, which on the one hand is unfortunate and on the other may be kind of a blessing, since I played in both the Rift and SWTOR betas and left them feeling like I’d seen all I needed to see. GW2 is a game I hope to get a lot of play out of, and maybe if I avoid the beta I’ll feel it’s fresher when it launches. Of course, that’s totally a rationalization; if I get a beta invite of course I’ll play it.
From a blogger’s perspective GW2 is fun to write about because it’s full of unknowns. No one has a GW2 “comfort zone” yet. I’ve observed this because right now I am playing Vanguard more or less exclusively, a game that has a lot of unknowns concerning its future direction and the switch to freemium, but which I have always felt at home in.
The big event today was hitting level 10 on my Bard, along with 100 in both Harvesting skills and level 4 in Diplomacy. So training for harvesting and new Bard skills and then going to Tawar Galan for a mount and Tanvu for the IoD Diplomacy trinket took a lot of running around even using the Riftway. He’s about 10 hours played at the moment, but I haven’t done any crafting with him yet; he’s destined to be a leatherworker and I have a beefy stockpile of mats intended for that. That’s probably next on the itinerary.
With The Secret World, Guild Wars 2 and probably the WoW expansion also launching this summer, I hope that Vanguard’s move to free to play won’t get completely lost in the shuffle. We don’t have dates for three of the four yet, so it’s a worry. But given that, what would be the right time for the Vanguard launch?
I’m inclined to say that both GW2 and TSW are legitimately new and shiney, and the five year old Vanguard isn’t likely to grab much of that audience. The aging WoW, crowd, on the other hand, is a different story. If Vanguard can be pitched as “old school” not in the context of EQ but of WoW, then I think there’s opportunity there. And I think such a pitch has solid ground to stand on. In that sense, the ideal launch date might be four to six weeks after Mists of Pandaria hits shelves, which by my reckoning will be about three to five weeks after the loudest mouths are tired of it.