Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blizzard's Response to Guild Wars

A few weeks back, I predicted that Blizzard would start the public testing of World of Warcraft's patch 5.0 around the August 28th launch of Guild Wars 2.  This seemed like a good bet given Blizzard's responses to Rift in 2010 and Warhammer in 2008.  For once, however, Blizzard actually moved faster than I expected.  Public testing went live last week, and the expansion now has a September 25th release date.  Working backwards, an August 21st launch date for patch 5.0, placing the new expansion's talent revamp and other features in players' hands before Guild Wars 2 can roll out (along with expansions in LOTRO and Rift), looks reasonably likely. 

I had a conversation with Spinks and Suicidal Zebra via Twitter about the release possibilities a few weeks ago.  I wonder if Blizzard felt they had to get the expansion out with non-zero time remaining in the annual passes of players (like myself) who signed up when the thing was first offered.  They never committed to doing so, but having a month of pre-expansion launch event and a month after the expansion arrives within that one-year window is a bit of a difference, since many of us would have paid for that time anyway.  Then again, perhaps the portion of the populace who are not annual pass subscribers - most likely the majority despite the surprisingly large number of annual subscribers - are the biggest flight risk.

Other than my lack of interest in Guild Wars 2, I suppose I'd be the kind of relatively inactive annual pass player that they might be targeting with this launch window.  I don't know that I would have changed plans based on the date, but I'll definitely to see how my characters fare with the new talent system.  As long as I have some Cataclysm-era stuff to wrap up anyway, there's no reason not to wait and combine that with test driving the new systems. 


Anjin said...

I've been feeling that my annual pass has been a terrible waste for me since I haven't been playing WoW and I have barely touched Diablo III. If I get into the expansion, it might be just enough to redeem my decision.

dimli said...

I havn't been super looking forward to GW2 but just this week was thinking I would probably pick it up just to try something new while not having a whole lot else going on. This release schedule pretty much means I won't be picking it up, Bliz's plan worked for at least one user.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I noticed that my annual pass would still have time on it when they made this announcement. It does make it marginally more likely that I will buy the expansion.

While I have not been diligent about playing WoW, I have gone back to it enough times to justify the annual pass on that basis alone. I make sure, for example, to do Darkmoon Faire every month to boost my neglected trade skills on a few of my characters. Getting, and playing, D3 made the whole deal pretty reasonable for me.

Anonymous said...

I've signed up for GW2 and I also have a Wow annual pass. Due to the different payment models (GW2 = 1-off pay to play, WOW = Subs model) I don't think there is less concern with competition as there would be between two subs model games. I'm planning on playing both. The biggest concern for Blizzard is that that GW2 is so good that people drop Wow all together. With any luck this should just make them aim higher.

Helistar said...

My bet is on the annual pass. As Anonymous just above correctly says, the completely different model of GW2 and WoW does not make them direct competitors.