ArenaNet outlines future plans for Guild Wars 2; 4th expansion, Steam release, and more
Today ArenaNet has outlined current and future plans for MMORPG Guild Wars 2 in a lengthy blog post.
Key points of the post are as follows, as shared by ArenaNet.
- The number of active Guild Wars 2 players has more than doubled over the last two years.
- This growth has helped Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons outsell our previous expansion, Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire.
Some big news
- This year, much of Living World Season 1 will be making a permanent return to Guild Wars 2 for the first time since 2013. The team will be combining the key story moments and experiences of Living World Season 1 into five episodes that will be released throughout 2022.
- ArenaNet confirms work on the next story update for Guild Wars 2, including a new map set in the Cantha region.
- ArenaNet confirms there will be a fourth expansion for Guild Wars 2
Priorities moving forward
- Delivering consistent updates for players - continuing to tell compelling stories that expand the world of Tyria while providing a better experience for those who enjoy game modes such as World vs. World, Player vs. Player, and endgame group content.
- Maintaining a healthy work/life balance for employees - work on this front will largely be invisible to players and will mostly focus on improving our planning and day-to-day development processes.
- Getting Guild Wars 2 ready for Steam release - introducing the world of Tyria to an entirely new audience of gamers.
- Working on getting DirectX11 ready to exit beta - making it the default graphics setting for new users.
Moving forward, ArenaNet will be publishing a regular "State of the Game" blog post to keep everyone informed on the latest development news, address top concerns within the game and the community, and give everyone an inside look into the development of Guild Wars 2.
We've shared the key details of the blog post below. You can find the full post here.
2022 and Beyond
Hi, all, Josh and Amy here. We're SO excited to talk about what's on the horizon for Guild Wars 2. Grab a snack, get comfortable, and settle in for a long one.
When we set out to build our plans for 2022 and beyond, we spent considerable time looking back on the last ten years of the game's history, taking stock of where we succeeded and where we fell short. We reviewed player and press feedback, spoke to those at the studio who were here for the highs and lows, and dug into the mountains of data covering the span of the game's operation. At the end of the process, it was clear that there were two key areas we knew we needed to address as part of our plans.
First, we need to prioritize delivering consistent updates for our players. The release of End of Dragons and the resolution of a story arc that was 10 years in the making feels like a fitting time to reevaluate the overall Guild Wars 2 experience specifically, how we provide regular content updates to our players and what those updates contain. This means continuing to tell compelling stories that expand the world of Tyria while providing a better experience for those who enjoy game modes such as World vs. World, Player vs. Player, and endgame group content.
Second, it's important that our plans allow our team to maintain a healthy work/life balance. We've always believed that our top priority is the health and well-being of our employees, and we're more committed to that now than ever. This will help ensure that the exceptional team behind the End of Dragons expansion will continue to be happy at ArenaNet for years to come. Our work on this front will largely be invisible to you and will mostly focus on improving our planning and day-to-day development processes.
Now, let's shift gears and talk about what the future holds.
Full Steam Ahead
The Guild Wars 2 community has grown quite a bit over the last few years, but it could be even bigger. Now that End of Dragons is released, one of our top priorities as a studio is getting Guild Wars 2 ready for release on Steam and introducing the world of Tyria to an entirely new audience of gamers.
You only get to launch on Steam once, and we want to make sure we do it right. Over the coming months we'll be wrapping up work on the Steam integration, cleaning up some aspects of the early game experience, and ensuring that the game and the studio are operationally ready for a new platform launch. We're also working on getting DirectX11 ready to exit beta and making it the default graphics setting for new users.
We're not ready to commit to a hard date for Steam quite yet, but our hearts are set on launching this year. We'll keep you updated as things progress.
Living World Season 1 Returns
One of the most frequent pieces of feedback we hear about the new player experience is that it's hard to get into the Elder Dragon storyline without the context of what happened in Living World Season 1—content that was only available for a brief time in the earliest years of Guild Wars 2.
This year, much of Living World Season 1 (“Scarlet’s War”) will be making a permanent return to Guild Wars 2 through the Story Journal. We'll be combining the key story moments and experiences of Living World Season 1 into five episodes that will be released throughout 2022. Our goal is to provide a cohesive bridge between the personal story and Living World Season 2 and give players the opportunity to earn many of the legacy achievements and rewards that have been unavailable all these years. The first episode, "Flame and Frost," will release on April 19. The season will conclude with the return of "Battle for Lion's Arch," which will include a new Strike Mission and Challenge Mode.
We're excited for veteran players to be able to revisit the key moments of Living World Season 1 for the first time in nearly nine years and to give new players a better narrative introduction into the expansion and Living World content that follows it. Living World Season 1 will be a free addition to the base game for all players (including free accounts), forever.
End of Dragons, Continued
This month, the team is focused on polishing up End of Dragons by addressing content balance issues, exploits, and bug fixes. Your feedback has been immensely helpful in this regard and we're continuing to watch conversations around rewards, meta difficulty, elite specializations, and others. Please continue to share your thoughts with us and keep an eye on the forums and our social media channels for updates.
We're also working on finalizing the four Strike Mission Challenge Modes, the first of which is slated to release on April 19. We've already heard a lot of positive feedback about the design of these encounters, and we're excited to see the community tackle these epic encounters over the next few months.
The first new variant for the generation 3 legendary weapons for all weapon types will drop on May 24—themed after the fearsome Elder Dragon Zhaitan. Details on how to unlock these variants will become available closer to their release. Any guesses as to what second variant will be in June?
Finally, we're happy to confirm that we're working on the next story update for Guild Wars 2, including a new map set in the Cantha region. The story (and how we tell it) can go in so many interesting directions now that the Elder Dragon threat is addressed!
Spring 2022 Roadmap
Here's a look at our major release dates for the next three months.
- March 15 End of Dragons Polish Build
- March 29 Super Adventure Festival, End of Dragons Polish Build
- April 19 Living World Season 1 Episode 1, Aetherblade Hideout Challenge Mode
- May 10 Xunlai Jade Junkyard Challenge Mode
- May 24 Living World Season 1 Episode 2, Kaineng Overlook Challenge Mode, New Legendary Weapon Variant
- June 7 Dragon Bash Festival, Harvest Temple Challenge Mode
- June 28 Balance Update, New Legendary Weapon Variant
WvW betas and bonus events will be announced once their dates are locked in.
We've made some significant strides over the last year when it comes to communicating with all of you studio update blogs, livestreams, roadmaps, postmortems, and more. It's been very gratifying to see our efforts on this front received so positively by the community, but we want to do more.
Moving forward, we'll be publishing a regular "State of the Game" blog post to keep you informed on the latest development news, address top concerns within the game and the community, and give you an inside look into the studio and the development of Guild Wars 2. The content of these posts will change with each iteration, but we hope that they become something you look forward to reading and discussing. There's still plenty left for us to discuss.
The Future, Confirmed
One last update before we go: we're happy to confirm that there will be a fourth expansion for Guild Wars 2! We mean it when we say we're focused on the long-term. This is a very early confirmation (the earliest we've ever done this, in fact), so don't expect news anytime soon. Expansions take a very long time to develop. Plus, there's plenty of cool things to look forward to between now and then.
On behalf of the entire ArenaNet team, thank you for your continued support. We sincerely believe that our best years as a studio are ahead of us a new beginning that starts with End of Dragons.