Editorials

The Unexpected New Players

This last week, Guild Wars 2 has gotten a lot of new players. Newbies have been funnelling into Queensdale, Metrica Province, Caledon Forest, the Wayfarer Foothills and the Plains of Ashford. Some have even been sighted, boosted to level 80, as far as the Silverwastes and the Crystal Oasis. Where did they come from? Why did they choose Tyria? And how do we keep them here forever? In this article I’ll explore what caused this sudden influx of new players and the welcome they received from the Guild Wars 2 community.

What Happened?

It started with the positive exposure given by YouTuber TheLazyPeon in his most recent review, shown below. He spoke as a person who never connected with Guild Wars 2 the other times he had tried, but was finally won over by the current state of the game. In his review, he praises the new mount system, saying, ‘it’s the best implementation of a mount system to an MMORPG I’ve ever seen’. He also highlighted how easy it was to find large fights in the competitive World vs World mode and join semi-organised squads even if you didn’t have a guild or friends to play with. TheLazyPeon is convincing in his argument that those who quit Guild Wars 2, or those who couldn’t get into it the first time, should try it now.

A review like this is always wonderful, but could that alone have resulted in such a mass migration? You see, it’s all about timing. The video was released on the same day as the Bless Online launch for Western territories. Suffice to say, the launch didn’t go well.

Bless Online was eagerly anticipated by many players who have been starved for a new MMORPG to try. Unfortunately, the game’s launch was plagued with performance issues, a dupe bug or two, missing content, bad translations and overall failed expectations. Though it is still in early access, players still hold the developers accountable for these bad experiences as the game has been out in Eastern regions for several years and key issues which were promised to be worked on for the Western release have not been fixed.

A few hours after his Guild Wars 2 review, TheLazyPeon published another video highlighting his disappointment in Bless Online. At the end, he strongly recommends players try Guild Wars 2 instead. He also suggests Elder Scrolls Online and FFXIV.

I had a chat with a returning player whose character was named Gared Kain. They said, ‘Bless [Online] did more for this MMO in terms of advertisement than they ever did for themselves. Everyone has that one friend that plays GW2. And in the frustration of Bless most of us came to see.’

Community Response

Before that chat, I first heard of the surge in new players on reddit and I admit, I was skeptical. It wasn’t until I happened to make a new character and entered Queensdale that I saw the aesthetically-placed banners leading to a someone playing the harp, while mentors answered a crowd of new players’ questions.

For the last few days there have been multiple mentors in every starter map. Some have stayed for hours to answer players’ questions and guide them to fun events around the zone.

While I was there, we failed the final wave of the Awakened Remnants invading Queensdale, but the disappointment didn’t last long as a nearby mentor guided everyone to the swamp, just in time for the Shadow Behemoth. The veteran players organized themselves to spread out during the portal phases so when the encounter was done, we were all awarded with the elusive ‘Dispelling Shadows’ achievement!

The fact that the mentors are around to help certainly makes an impression on the new players.

Mentor Sin of Anubis spends some time helping newbies every Monday, and they have done so even before the recent population rise. When I talked to them, they had already been in Queensdale for four hours; and the previous day, they started at 7pm and only finished at 1am. I had to ask how they managed to keep going for such long stretches. They replied ‘[It’s] because I love this game.’

All mentors were open to questions from players, but a few had some creative ideas too. I saw Mentor Hali Whiteleaf jump from zone to zone and greet new players by gifting them starter sets. There’s a lot of fun to be had with Unbreakable Choir Bells and tonics! I was very impressed with one new player, Snoramynna, who had only been playing a few days but could already play songs with the bell. It’s no wonder they’ve already been talent spotted by a music guild.

Mentor Harkem Heath, from Tarnished Coast Roleplayers [TCRP], came to play his harp in character, while also being the one to guide new players who are interested in joining the roleplaying scene. He showed them the places were like-minded individuals congregate.

These mentors are of course a tiny portion of all those who are putting up their apple tags to help new and returning players.

The welcoming nature of our community extends beyond Tyria. These days r/GuildWars2 is abuzz with positivity, whether it be advice and guides written for new players or the new players themselves writing their first impressions. Here are some examples of helpful threads found on the subreddit:

Useful sites for new GW2 players is as you may guess, a compilation of resources to help any player.

New/Returning Player Resource 3 is a great, short guide which gives answers for the early questions new or returning players may ask. It also points to the GW2 subreddit’s weekly QA threads where more help can be found.

On Twitter, the welcome party continues under #WelcomeToGW2, where players have been posting tips and also running a few giveaways. The most interesting things I’ve seen under this hashtag comes from Guild Wars 2’s official twitter account – the 30% discount on both expansions, standard or deluxe, with the coupon code ‘WelcomeToGW2’ until June 8th at 11:59pm PST.

If you’re interested in buying the expansions, consider using our referral link to help support the content we produce, including our free digital magazines: https://www.guildmag.com/expansion. We also have a referral link if you’re interested in making a free-to-play account: https://www.guildmag.com/f2p.

From what I can see, there are many who have had great first impressions of the game and the community. If you are a veteran player and want to extend your welcome, come and join the fun in the starting zones; maybe even put up an apple tag and help guide new players. Remember, free-to-play accounts can’t use map chat or whisper players they aren’t mutual friends with, so apple tags lets them know where to find you

New players, I sincerely hope you enjoy the rest of your journey through Tyria and decide to stay with us. Welcome to Guild Wars 2!

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