Publisher NCsoft and developer ArenaNet said on Friday that Guild Wars 2 has become the all-time fastest-selling MMORPG in Europe and North America. Territorial sales topped more than 3 million units in the first nine months of availability, and even more rapid growth is expected to come once the game lands in China, as the country's player base will have the potential to exceed that of the West.
"After triangulating against multiple data sources, it’s clear that Guild Wars 2 is the fastest-selling Western MMO of all time based on the first nine months of availability," said analyst David Cole of DFC Intelligence. "This puts Guild Wars 2 in an impressive position when they release in China, where we’ve seen similar franchises really take off."
Guild Wars 2 launched in August 2012, and is based on a heavily-modified version of the engine ArenaNet developed for the original Guild Wars. It provides an open, persistent world containing zoned areas, allowing players to interact with other random gamers while exploring, much like World of Warcraft and EverQuest 2. This is different than the original game which merely provides persistent, player-populated staging zones in the form of towns and outposts where players can embark on quests on their own with NPC-based mercenaries, or team up with other players to exclusively explore areas and dungeons, or tackle missions.
However, unlike many other MMORPGs on the market, Guild Wars 2 does not require a subscription fee, but it's not exactly free-to-play either; customers are required to pay for the game itself. The two companies make their extra revenue thanks to the in-game Gem Store which provides gear that can be bought using "gems." As an example, the Aetherblade Heavy Armor Skin retails for 800 Gems, or around $10 USD. A fuzzy bear hat costs 200 Gems, or $2.50 USD.
On Friday ArenaNet said that a free trial of Guild Wars 2 will be made available on August 23 (Friday) to August 25 (Monday). Potential players can create an account now by heading here. Currently, the Digital Edition of the game retails for $49.99 USD, and there's also a Digital Deluxe Edition for $69.99 which adds five in-game items: the Summon Mistfire Wolf Elite Skill, a miniature Rytlock, a Golem banker, a Chalice of Glory and a Tomb of Influence.
Just recently, NCsoft spilled a few details about the upcoming Queen's Speech update, reporting that it will hand out birthday gifts to all characters that were created at the launch of Guild Wars 2 (woot). New features will include World vs. World Trebuchet Mastery, removing the limit to the number of characters players can see on the screen in The End of Culling PvE, an increased World XP rate in World vs. World XP and Point adjustments, and more.
For more information about Guild Wars 2, head here. The company's "fastest selling" claim is based on information provided by DFC Intelligence, a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment.