Guild Wars 2 is totally set for launch in China. It’s got the optional pre-level 1 tutorial and hint system ArenaNet wanted for it, it’s got the same one-time-fee business model, and it’s got a local manager with a fantastic first name.
“Given the game's high quality and beautiful design, compared with free-to-play and time-based pay-to-play games, this business model has the highest chance to appeal to the broadest base of players in China,” said Atlantis Lai.
On March 11, Guild Wars 2 will enter a closed beta period in China - the game’s first release anywhere in Asia.
“Chinese players will get the same premium MMO gaming experience that Guild Wars 2 players in North America and Europe enjoy, with consistent and timely content updates,” said ArenaNet monarch Mike O’Brien.
Guild Wars 2’s Chinese release will be “synchronised” with its international version, as far as its update schedule is concerned.
It’ll be published with the help of KongZhong Corporation; Chinese law dictates that Western developers work with local companies to adapt their games for the Chinese market (and to the lawmakers’ credit, those developers often seem to need the assistance).
Mr Lai believes Chinese players will “recognise Guild Wars 2’s globally renowned quality”. The country’s certainly had a very large MMO market in the past - but WoW’s slipping subscription numbers have been attributed in large part to movement in China, where players have instead redirected their money hoses at Tencent - owners of League of Legends.
Between that genre shift and the recent lifting of a longstanding ban on foreign games consoles, it’s tricky to predict the level of success of any MMO in China at the moment - but hey, Guild Wars 2 is great, right?