When is the most likely Guild Wars 2 release date? (Note – not 2011!)

We’re all salivating for Guild Wars 2, currently the most promising MMO to break the deathgrip of WoW on the market and inject some new ideas. But when will the GW2 release date arrive? Well, I’ll tell you right up front we don’t know for certain – no-one does, including developers Arenanet – but we can make some pretty good guesses. So, hold on as we head down the Guild Wars 2 release date rabbit hole…

Why no-one has a precise date

Arenanet have devoted several lengthy blog posts to discussion of exactly why it’s impossible for them to say when Guild Wars 2 will release. Here’s the most recent and longest post, entitled “When It’s Ready“.

In short, they’re using an iterative development process, where they attempt to start testing each and every feature for the game as early as possible, test it so that they can see what’s working and what isn’t, and then if necessary redevelop bits of the feature until it’s very polished. This is an excellent way of developing really high-quality software, but it’s not fast, and it’s very hard to predict how long anything will take to develop using this system.

Currently, they say that they have some features up to the standard where they’re willing to talk about them – including some professions/classes and the races – but other major systems, such as crafting, guilds and even PvP, are still works in progress.

Since they don’t know when they’ll be finished, they can’t tell us! And hence, no firm release date.

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The Best Guess for a Guildwars 2 release date

Despite all that, it’s possible for us to make some intelligent guesses. They might be wildly wrong, but we do have some good information to go on.

For starters, we know that beta tests of Guild Wars 2 are likely to start in the second half of this year (2011). That means that it’s very unlikely for the game to ship in 2011 – there’s simply too much testing for a major release like this, and unlike some games, this closed beta test is actually a full part of the testing phase, rather than a disguised demo. (They have also mentioned that they’ll have a short open beta, which will essentially be a demo of the game.)

We also know that they won’t want to clash strongly with the Star Wars The Old Republic release date. Since that’s almost certainly in Q4 of 2011, there’s no way they’ll also aim for that date.

Publisher NCSoft have, however, mentioned in conference calls that they expect GW2 to ship in 2012. So we’re not talking a wait of more than a year.

Added to that, we have to consider the other possible competition – WoW. After the last 3 expansions, it’s almost certain that Q3/Q4 2012 will see a new WoW expansion – and attempting to go head to head with that will likely be death for any new MMO. Guild Wars will want to hit the lull when WoW players are really starting to tire of their old game – and probably avoid the honeymoon period for Star Wars: The Old Republic too.

Given all that, I think it’s reasonable to say that the likely release date for Guild Wars 2 is Q2, 2012 – between April and June 2012.

What do you think? Are we way off in our guess? Do you have better information? Post below!

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