Part of any game’s success plan is to get the word out early about the game to build excitement among players and press. Marketing is key, and while the best way to reach a target audience is debatable, case studies can reveal how successful campaigns designed to draw gamer interest can be.
In the case of Guild Wars 2, developed by ArenaNet, there are five key strategies that create a clever marketing campaign. This campaign is greatly contributing to the hype and energy before Guild Wars 2 even enters closed beta testing, and will undoubtedly lead to a strong surge of sales and account creation on its release. This same strategy is already earning Guild Wars 2 solid praise from the gaming press. So what are these five key strategies?
Frequent updates on game progress. For several months, the Guild Wars 2 team has not only been making the circuit to various gaming conventions, they’ve also been providing updates on an almost weekly basis through their website. This keeps players constantly interested and looking forward to new updates, rather than waiting for weeks to pass between updates.
Providing fans with details about the “little stuff.” The majority of the frequent updates about Guild Wars 2 is information about the small and intricate details that work together to form a world-class MMO. These details include how the designers build a language, how the dye system will work and what shades it will support, how loot will be distributed, and even what kinds of auxiliary actions may be performed out of game through mobile and web applications. These details are low demand, but give players small pieces of a much larger puzzle over an extended period of time.
Slow release of highly demanded game information. Two of the most demanded pieces of game information about MMOs are races and classes. However, ArenaNet has paced this information out slowly. Not only does this strategy protect ArenaNet by revealing the cards in their hand slowly, it also keeps players hooked on each update, waiting anxiously for the next class or race to be revealed in detail. Combining this strategy with the last two, it’s clear that ArenaNet has created an excellent calendar of frequent updates that slowly dole out information to fans, helping maintain sustained interest during a long-term development cycle.
Incorporating player efforts from the original Guild Wars game series into Guild Wars 2. There’s no question that many Guild Wars players will either add Guild Wars 2 to their gaming plans, or migrate to it entirely. To both reward and entice Guild Wars players, ArenaNet has implemented two ways in which their in-game efforts will contribute to Guild Wars 2. The first of these is a live event called War in Kryta, in which players could choose either of two sides of the war and their outcome would determine, to some amount, the lore that shaped the world of Guild Wars 2. The second is the Hall of Monuments, which grants players a personalized trophy hall highlighting their achievements in the Guild Wars game series. This encourages active and inactive Guild Wars players alike to return to the game to experience and accomplish goals while Guild Wars 2 is in development. This also encourages long-term commitment to the Guild Wars series as a whole.
Daring to be different. Massively multi-player online role-playing games have been around for over a decade, and have over time grown formulaic to bank off the familiarity of successful MMOs. ArenaNet has taken the time to look through a hefty list of flaws with the current MMO system, and is seeking to destroy the conventional MMO by redesigning dozens of systems to be more player friendly and, more importantly, more fun. While evidence must wait to be judged until the game’s release, early information indicates that Guild Wars 2 aims to be ambitious and mold-breaking – something that MMO players have pined after for years. With this attitude heartily in place, Guild Wars 2 has already won many hearts – and may be on the way to win awards as well.