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The future of NCSoft, ArenaNet, and Guild Wars 1 & 2.

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#1 hippiechic


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:22 AM

This is more intended for ArenaNet employees to read. I know they read these forums and I'm hoping they will see this, think about it, and maybe even respond to it. It is also open for discussion from you guys as it's equally important that they hear what the community as a whole has to say on this topic. This was originally an e-mail sent through guildwars2.com support page but it seems more likely to be read by people that can do something about it if posted here. The e-mail was originally written in response to a lot of talk in Guild Wars 1 that is going on, and talk on other forums about Guild Wars 2, various press releases from gaming websites concerning the Guild Wars games, and this particular disturbing article that is one of many on its topic: http://www.nowgamer....inal_hours.html

Please keep in mind that the focus of this e-mail is on Guild Wars 1, but directly pertains to Guild Wars 2, NCSoft, and ArenaNet in general, as well.

The e-mail was written as follows:

I have been playing Guild Wars 1 since about a month after the release. I got a copy of Guild Wars 2 about two days after its release. I now own a total of six Guild Wars 1 accounts that I play on daily. Some do not have all of the expansions, some are in need of more storage panes and extra character slots. I have been reluctant to purchase anything further since the release of Guild Wars 2, due to the suspicion that the Guild Wars 1 servers would soon be offlined permanently.

There is a lot of speculation in-game that ArenaNet may shut down Guild Wars 1 servers soon. This makes sense seeing as the model for the game is not conducive to running it long term after the initial revenue is collected, due to a lack of monthly fee or other sort of forced recurrence of income. I have held on though, in hopes that things may stabilize long enough to show that it is worth me putting more money into your company.

I was recently made aware that the game City of Heroes was owned by NCSoft, your parent company. They even went so far as to sell new items and upgrades as late as this past August 2012, then announced somewhere around late August to early September that the servers would be going offline permanently. I read about the outrage it caused, and as I read it I could fully understand how they felt. If I had just been lead to believe that a game was alive and well, spent more money on it, then quickly notified that I would never be able to play it again starting in 3 months, I would be very agitated, and rightfully so.

Now I know Koreans probably don't give two shits about American and European consumers as long as we keep pumping money into their company. It makes sense that they will just keep rolling out a new game of the month in hopes they can nickel and dime the world until people realize what's up and they are forced to chapter and make a new company to do it all over again. I mean, I get that. If I was a big time CEO in their position I may look at it the same way.

So here is my question:
Does either ArenaNet or NCSoft plan at any point to put out any sort of statement in writing guaranteeing a specific amount of uptime for the Guild Wars 1 servers?

Guild Wars 1 is a great game. You guys have taken the concepts of what makes Magic: the Gathering and Barbie so enjoyable and figured out how to roll them into one product with a nice GUI and made it competitive enough for hardcore players but easy enough for casual players. You guys figured out how to do what you set out to do upon leaving Blizzard, which I believe was to create a game equally good or better than WoW that did not have to charge a monthly fee and addressed a lot of the problems WoW had.

Guild Wars 2 is another story. It seems you guys may feel you have failed in that respect stated earlier, and decided to basically make WoW2 with a Guild Wars branding, yet still charge no monthly fee. The RMT thing makes sense, CCP has been doing it for years, a lot of newer games are beginning to do it as well. Blizzard screwed it up pretty badly with Diablo 3, but you guys did not make the same mistake in the same respect that they did. The gem store seems to be a decent way of implementing RMT without giving players too much of an advantage. I think Guild Wars 2 has moved away from what made Guild Wars 1 so great, though. Many people agree. But, the numbers show that the WoW platform is simply more profitable, so I get it. Go where the money is.

I understand there are a lot of problems in GW2 right now with exploits and botting and people are ranting about it. They seem to forget that GW1 had the same issues in its infancy as well though, and you guys did a pretty decent job of hashing those issues out. It does concern me a bit that you guys blew smoke for 5 years before finally releasing what many see as beta software, but I am a developer myself and I understand that real life happens and some things simply can't be avoided. If GW2 does not perform as well as you guys hope or need it to, it seems almost certain that GW1 will be the first to suffer from that downfall, though.

What reason should I, or any other player for that matter, have to spend more money on GW1 when we have already recently seen how NCSoft treats their customers? Is this what big business has come to? There is a saying, 'don't shit where you sleep'. It means simply, don't go around screwing things up that are required for your continued existence and health. If NCSoft continues to treat customers poorly, eventually customers will just go elsewhere. Seeing as you guys are part of NCSoft now, that means you will lose as well. The difference being, they are going to cut off subsidies (i.e. ArenaNet) before they themselves go down.

My suggestion is to show something to the community of players you guys have built, that we can trust ArenaNet. Most people I talk to, and not by a marginal amount, do not trust you guys very much at all. You guys almost lost it when you first implemented 6-man Hall of Heroes and so many people left. If not for Nightfall release and the accompanying heroes, I believe you would have had to fold. Nightfall alone has kept you guys going for quite some time, it's simply too good and offers too much to be able to ignore the expansion. Give us, the players, some reason to trust you. An expansion worth buying, a formal public statement guaranteeing a specified time frame of server uptime, add a monthly fee, something, anything, to show you plan to continue forward. At least something to show you plan to take Blizzard's approach to Diablo 2, and figure out a way to bank roll Guild Wars 1 indefinitely even though it could obviously no longer pay for itself.

I hope someone that cares and has the ability to do something about it reads this. I wish you guys the best and hope you get Guild Wars 2 working as desired and it all works out for you. If you cannot, then I will understand and will simply go back to giving my money to CCP. I like Guild Wars better though, and it means a lot to me, and many others, to see you guys succeed. Thanks for your time.
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