Guild wars 2: Mike O’Brien on Account Security

News from Mike O’Brien from talking about account security.  Good ways to better protect yourself and your GW2 account. Great read and I definitely thank ArenaNet for putting this information out.




Mike O’Brien on Account Security

by Mike O’Brien on September 21, 2012



I’d like to take some time to talk about account security: how you can help keep your account secure, and what we’re doing to help keep your account secure.

If you take one thing from this blog post, it should be this: in today’s security environment, you must use a unique password for any account you care about. If you currently use the same password for Guild Wars 2 that you use anywhere else, immediately change your Guild Wars 2 password to a new, unique password.

How Hackers Steal Accounts

Most of the security advice we’ve all seen through the years has focused on how to choose a strong password. You might therefore think that the primary way hackers break into accounts is by preying on accounts with weak passwords, perhaps scanning every word in the dictionary looking for matches. That’s rarely the case.

The basic truth is this: hackers steal game accounts because they already know the account name and password. They know them because they stole them (via security breaches or spyware) from another game or site where the person used the same account name and password.

So unfortunately, if the lesson you’ve learned from security advice through the years is to pick a single complicated password, memorize it, and then use it everywhere, that’s exactly the wrong lesson for today’s security environment. To keep accounts on different sites secure in today’s environment, you need to use a unique password for each account.

We have some ability at ArenaNet to watch hacking attempts live, and it tells a fascinating story. We watch as hackers use tens of thousands of different IP addresses to scan through millions of attempted account names and passwords, almost all of which are for accounts that don’t even exist in our database, looking for matches. They’re not guessing or brute-forcing passwords; they’re trying a very specific account name and password for each attempt. For example, account name “”, password “alligator101″. If they don’t get a match immediately, they may try a variant like “alligator100″ or “alligator102″, then they quickly move on to the next entry on their list. And it’s interesting to see that the passwords on these lists are mostly quite good passwords. For every one account on the hackers’ lists with a password like “twilight” (real example, ಠ_ಠ), there are dozens of accounts with good strong passwords. So the world at large clearly knows how to pick good passwords; the reason people are still getting hacked is because they use the same passwords on multiple sites.

The security environment has certainly changed. We didn’t see hackers testing these vast lists of stolen account names and passwords when we launched the first Guild Wars. But in recent years, a truly staggering number of game companies and web sites have had their account databases breached. These reports of security breaches — 77 million accounts, 25 million accounts, 24 million accounts, untold millions more — may seem abstract, too big to be real, but they’re obviously not. The information stolen from database breaches is worth a lot of money to hackers, who can take the stolen account credentials and use them to attack each new game that’s released.

So if it ever seemed safe to memorize one strong password and then use it for multiple accounts, it certainly isn’t safe anymore. Today it’s critically important to use a unique password for each account you care about and want to keep.

Email Authentication

We have a feature in place, email authentication, that’s designed to help keep your account secure even if a hacker does know your account name and password.

Here’s how it works. When you first login, we ask you to validate your email address. After that, whenever you attempt to login from a new location, we send email asking you to approve or deny the login attempt.

So keep in mind, if you ever see an unexpected email asking you to validate a login attempt from a location where you’re not playing from, that means a hacker already knows your account name and password! The only thing that’s keeping him from logging in as you is the email authentication system! Change your password immediately.

Unfortunately, even with this system in place, people still get their accounts hacked. Here’s how. First, about a third of players haven’t verified their email address yet. We can’t require email authentication for players with unverified email addresses. Second, in many cases hackers have stolen credentials for the player’s email account too, and thus can access the authentication email message and approve their own login attempt. In particular this happens because people use the same password for their email account as they do for their Guild Wars 2 account and other accounts.

So, to be protected, be sure to verify your email address, and be sure to use a different password for your email account than you use for your game account.

Two-Factor Authentication

With email authentication in place, you can further protect your account by setting up two-factor authentication on your email account. Which, honestly, is a good idea anyway. Using email authentication this way protects your account in a very similar way to typical game implementations of two-factor authentication: the game will challenge any login attempt from a new location in a way that you’ll have to use two-factor authentication to approve.

We know customers also want a native implementation of two-factor authentication, and we want it too. This is an area where we should act faster as a company, and we’re going to. We had our own homegrown implementation of smartphone two-factor authenticator in testing, but we’re going to pull it back and instead integrate Guild Wars 2 with Google Authenticator, which already has robust authenticator implementations on most major smartphone platforms. We expect to roll this out in the next two weeks.

Two-factor authentication is a great tool for security-conscious customers to protect their accounts. But we know it will take time to get a significant portion of our customer base to adopt two-factor authentication, and in the meantime people are getting hacked every day by creating accounts with account names and passwords that hackers already know. So we need a solution that can protect everyone, not just the most security-conscious, and do it quickly. Thus we’re rolling out our next initiative, password blacklisting.

Password Blacklisting

Since we’ve been observing hackers constantly scanning accounts that don’t even exist yet, waiting for someone to create those accounts, we obviously want to make sure that if those new customers do join the game, they don’t use the password that the hackers are waiting for. Thus we’re building a blacklist of all the passwords that hackers are scanning for — it’s already at 20 million passwords and growing — and we’re preventing new customers from choosing any of those passwords. (The blacklist contains passwords only, not account names.)

This system has substantially eliminated hackers’ ability to steal new accounts, as all new accounts now cannot possibly match what the hackers have been scanning for. The rate of account hacking was about 1.5% for accounts created before this blacklist was in place, and is about 0.1% for accounts created after.

Because this has been so successful at protecting new accounts, we want to extend it to protect existing accounts too. But it’s harder for us to know whether passwords of existing accounts are known to hackers: it’s difficult to distinguish between a login attempt by the real customer and a login attempt by a hacker. So we’ll take the safe approach and ask all existing customers to change their passwords, and blacklist everyone’s old password in the process.

This all leads to the following request. All existing customers, please change your password. When you change it, the system won’t allow you to pick your previous password, or any password that we’ve seen tested against any existing or non-existent account. Thus, after changing your password, you’ll be confident that your new password is unique within Guild Wars 2. (However, your password only stays unique if you then don’t use it for other games and web sites, so please don’t!)

In the coming weeks we’ll ramp up this call for players to change their passwords, and may require a password change for those users who haven’t already voluntarily changed their passwords.

By the way, if you have trouble thinking of a new unique password, now that millions of possible passwords are blacklisted, we advise you to build a password out of four random words, as shown in this comic strip. Use a password like “correct horse battery staple”. As the comic strip calculates, even if everyone selects their words from the same 2,000 most common words, that’s still 16 trillion possible passwords. We’ll soon introduce a random password generator to suggest passwords like that.

Database Breaches

We’ve seen some players theorize that hacked accounts were due to a Guild Wars database breach. We have very strict blocks in place to keep network attacks from reaching our customer databases, and a team constantly monitoring for any signs of intrusion, and we’re confident that there has been no such breach.

We take security very seriously. Perhaps you can tell from this blog post. And of all the things we protect at ArenaNet, we protect our customers’ data most of all.

Companies like Blizzard and Valve presumably also had a commitment to security, yet they ultimately suffered breaches of their account databases. One day will we become such a target that a hack attempt will finally overwhelm our defenses?

If that ever were to happen, we’d be up-front with you about it, and we’d take immediate steps to ensure that it didn’t lead to widespread account hacking. And here’s something else to think about. Because we’re requiring all Guild Wars 2 players to use unique passwords for Guild Wars 2, there’s actually nothing a hacker can steal from Guild Wars 2 to help attack other games or web sites. Using unique passwords benefits you both ways. In general, making a commitment to use a unique password for each account you care about is the best way to protect yourself, not only from being hacked today, but also from being hacked as the result of any future security breach of any company you deal with.

Commerce Security

We’ve seen a very few cases where hackers purchased gems on accounts after hacking them. This is an uncommon type of attack because we do have in-game restrictions in place to prevent wealth from being transferred off an account in a case like this.

We’ve deployed new restrictions to prevent hackers from using stored credit cards on stolen accounts in this way, and we also now provide users the option to delete stored credit cards.

Of course, if any customer finds that a hacker has created unauthorized charges against his credit card, that player can contact our support team to get the charges refunded.

Best Practices

This blog post has focused on hackers using stolen credentials to compromise new accounts, because that’s primarily what we’re seeing today. But the more we solve that problem, the more hackers will turn to other tricks, so it’s important for everyone to remain vigilant in other forms of account security.

  • Phishing – If an email links you to a site that asks you to type in your password, don’t type in your password. It could be a fake site. Go to the real account management site by typing “”, or use a bookmark.
  • Social engineering – If someone claims to work for ArenaNet or NCsoft and asks you for your password, don’t tell them your password. Our customer support team doesn’t need your password.
  • Trojan horses and spyware – Don’t download and run software, or open files attached to emails, from a source you aren’t 100% sure about. Malicious software can install a keylogger on your system to record your passwords and transmit them.
  • Email security – Keep the email address associated with your Guild Wars 2 account secure, just like you keep your Guild Wars 2 account itself secure. Use a strong, unique password there too, which you’ve never used anywhere else.

The Root Cause

Why do hackers work so hard to steal accounts? Because they make money from it.

Real-money trading companies want to sell you gold for cash. To do that, they have to collect the gold, and they have to advertise it. They collect gold by looting it off stolen accounts, and by using stolen accounts for botting. They advertise it by using stolen accounts for spamming.

If people wouldn’t buy gold from these real-money trading companies, the cash incentive to steal accounts would disappear. We’d see almost no account hacking, account looting, organized botting, or spamming ads.

We used to think wistfully about that with the original Guild Wars, and posted challenges to our players to stop supporting the real-money trading companies. But we knew that it was ultimately a lost cause. You can’t stop people from buying something they want to buy.

So with Guild Wars 2, we legitimatized buying gold, but did it in a way that puts the power in the hands of the players, not in the hands of the real-money trading companies. Players who want to buy gold can now do it in the game, in an open market with other players, trading gold for gems, which the receiving players can use to buy any microtransactions they want but can’t convert back to cash. As long as players purchase their gold this way, there isn’t a flow of cash back to the real-money trading companies, and thus there isn’t a profit incentive to hack accounts.

So the roots of our protection go deep into the design of Guild Wars 2, and we’ll leverage that design to keep Guild Wars 2 a safer environment than traditional MMOs.

But nothing is black-or-white. No matter how much we remove profit incentive, the fact remains that Guild Wars 2 is a popular game, and any popular game will attract hackers. So we keep security at the forefront of everything we do. We introduce new features, such as email authentication, two-factor authentication, and password blacklisting, to help keep accounts secure. We maintain an open dialog with our players about what the real threats are, so that players know how to protect themselves. And we have a team of GMs standing by to help those who do get hacked.

Security is all about details, so thank you for reading this far. Please change your password and use the other tips in this post to protect your account. And we’ll maintain our focus on account security, and work tirelessly to protect our customers.

-Mike O’Brien

TIME Techland: Guild Wars 2 Producer: We’d Turn Off Sales to Preserve the Game Experience


Matt Peckham over at TIME Techland has an interview with ArenaNet’s president and co-founder Mike O’Brien. Very interesting article and tells of howGW2 has been since the head-start launch and official launch. I have experienced some hiccups myself but I love the game and it’s been fantastic.


Please enjoy.



Guild Wars 2 Producer: We’d Turn Off Sales to Preserve the Game Experience
By Matt Peckham | @mattpeckham | August 29, 2012 | 21

Read more:

If you’ve had my experience playing Guild Wars 2, you’ve seen few if any in-game hiccups, no random disconnects and no just-trying-to-get-in-the-game server stonewalling. But if you follow online discussion groups, you’ve probably heard at least one or two people complain about stuff like server kicks, problems accessing the game’s guilds, hours-long World vs. World queues and of course the game’s shop-and-swap “Trading Post,” stuck offline since day one.

(MORE: Guild Wars 2: It’s the Pinball Machine of MMOs)

What’s the story from developer ArenaNet’s standpoint? I took the game’s pulse with company president and co-founder Mike O’Brien as it launched on Tuesday. Here’s what he told me.

What’s it been like the past three or four days?

Obviously the whole team is on a high and exhausted at the same time. We poured five years of our lives into getting ready for this launch, so it’s fantastic to see all the players filling up the world. When we can, we’re playing with them and having a lot of fun just doing that. We’re reading all about the experiences players are having, and as you might imagine, it’s a dream come true to be able to ship a game like this and see the fantastic player reaction. That’s thrilling.

At the same time, there’s also a scramble of, “Oh my god, there’s so many players and they’re playing so many hours a day,” and making sure that we’re able to handle that kind of demand.

What’s going on behind the scenes right now?

We’ve stress-tested every system in the game, but no stress test will get you to the point our servers are at right now with launch, so we’re monitoring every part of the game. It’s a big game, and — you’ve played it, so you know — there are so many moving pieces to it. There’s the game itself, the guilds, parties and friends lists, the trading post, web services and tons more.

It’s like you’ve tried to cram as much stuff as other MMOs-that-shall-not-be-named – that have had years post-launch to glom on content — into this single point of release.

It’s an absolutely enormous undertaking to make a game of this magnitude. We know that the other games people are playing weren’t released yesterday. Players have high expectations, and they deserve to have high expectations. They’re playing games that have had years of polish. We wanted to make sure we took Guild Wars 2 to a very high level of polish out of the gate. We want it to be the best experience players have ever had in an online world.

It’s an incredible challenge, because online worlds are so comprehensive compared to any other kind of game, and Guild Wars 2 is on the high end of that scale. I mean, there are so many things we have to get right. We have to make sure every one of those systems can handle the number of users coming into the game.

But a lot of it is going really well. In areas where we run into capacity constraints, then obviously we focus the programming team on “Why are we experiencing a capacity constraint here?” and “What do we need to do in order to address the issues players are having?”
You’ve been playing the game all weekend, right?

I have, but I’m an intentionally slow player, so — this is embarrassing — my guy’s only level 17. I was going to ask you about these players starting to pop up claiming they’ve already hit level 80. I can’t play games like that. It feels…not wrong exactly, but like missing the point.

I’m actually more like you. I like to take the time — I call it “take the time to smell the roses” — in the game. We really tried to build Guild Wars 2 so that it’s not supposed to be a race. It’s not a race to level 80; it’s a world, so I think you’re doing things right, you know, by enjoying the world.

How’s server stability at this point?

In general the game has been holding up very well and the servers are running great, even under launch stress. We did have to take some things down, like the Trading Post, which as you know has been offline for a while. That’s because, as players started hitting it, we had capacity issues, and we wanted to make sure it’s in really good shape, because it’s such an important part of the game — it needs to work well. Behind the scenes, we’ve got a lot of brilliant people working on that software, and they’ve identified where players ran into capacity constraints, and we’re testing and testing and testing to make sure we get that fixed.

I’ve had no problems to speak of so far, and I know that’s anecdotal, but I was listening to a pretty popular Guild Wars 2 podcast earlier, and all they talked about was how surprised they’ve been that the servers aren’t underwater.

Demand has just been off the charts. We can’t believe the sales volume so far — it’s been way beyond our expectations. We’ve had concurrent users pushing the 400,000 number, and that’s before the game was even on store shelves. This is why none of us have had any sleep for days. And I do think those numbers will only go up now that the game is on store shelves.
We scheduled the headstart [three- and one-day early launch access] so we’d have a chance with pre-purchasers to discover and fix any problems, and we’ve already discovered and fixed several. I think demand is crazy and it’s only going to go up, but I think we’ll keep things running smoothly.

My priority — our priority — is ultimately making sure that players have a great experience. We spent five years working on Guild Wars 2, and we’re going to spend years and years supporting it. If we got to a point where sales continued to be off the charts, and it threatened the experience that players are having with the game, then we’d just turn off sales.

Turn off sales?

To clarify what I mean by that, we sell the game on our website and we also sell the game at retail. And we know how many boxes we’ve created, so we know how many copies can possibly sell through retail. If it gets to the point where sales are so high that it would be unwise of us to keep selling on our website because it wouldn’t leave enough slots for all the people who’ve already bought and all the people we know are going to buy, then we’d just turn off sales.

That would be a shocking thing to do, obviously — not something that you ever see in the games industry — but for me it’s an easy decision, because for me, Guild Wars 2 is a long-term project. I want players to keep having a great experience, and I know if we had to turn off sales temporarily, it’d be okay.

Barring that, this whole “server overflow” concept seems to be working pretty well. I’ve run into a few glitches where sometimes you can’t join another character unless you log out and back in, but aside from little stuff like that, it seems to work amazingly well. I’m used to sitting in queues with other MMOs, where if you leave or get knocked off, it’s back to the end of the line. Here, from launch to actually in-game, it’s about 15 seconds.

We have amazing programmers — that’s what it boils down to. Our team was able to do some fantastic stuff, and on the backend we have some technology that allows us to do things you haven’t seen in similar games. That’s been an amazing release valve for us. It means people aren’t stuck waiting in queues.

That said, there’s still a certain number of total player slots available in the data center, and that’s what I’m going to protect, so that we don’t sell so many copies of the game in the coming weeks that servers start slowing down.

Read more:

Guild Wars 2: Console ports, subscription models, and making sure it works on launch day (interview) August 9, 2012 12:58 PM Sebastian Haley

Over at Venturebeat, Sebastian Haley took some time with ArenaNet content designer Mike Zadorojny and had a great interview on what is happening at ArenaNet before GW2 launch date. A great read and I hope you all enjoy!



Thank you Sebastian Haley and for having this up for all the GW2 fans to read.


Guild Wars 2: Console ports, subscription models, and making sure it works on launch day (interview) August 9, 2012 12:58 PM Sebastian Haley

Guild Wars 2, the much-anticipated PC MMO, draws ever closer to its August 28 release. GamesBeat sat down with ArenaNet content designer Mike Zadorojny to discuss the final days before launch, console ports of MMOs, and the future of MMO subscription models. You can also check out our previous interviewwith studio president Mike O’Brien on Guild Wars 2’s approach to monetization.

GamesBeat: Can you give us an idea of what the development team does in the final weeks leading to launch on Guild Wars 2?

Mike Zadorojny: Right now, most of my team is playing the game. We spent all this time building it, and now we’re making sure that it’s pitched right and polished. We do these daily play sessions where we’ll pick a dungeon on a map and we’ll spend a couple of hours in the dungeon playing through in groups and going through the content. We give feedback to the dungeon guys. And for the rest of the day, we spend it playing one of these maps. We go through, and we look for things that are broken, things that don’t feel right, things that players might run into problems with. And we continue to give feedback to each other. We’re trying to make sure that this game is going to be the best possible thing that can it be when we launch it. We’re just spending a lot of time in the game. Playing it. Looking at balance. Making sure the events are working. Things like that.

GamesBeat: What does someone like a concept artist do at this point during development? Where do you put staff members that don’t necessarily have an ongoing responsibility right now?

Zadorojny: Well, it’s the same thing. They’re helping us make sure that the game is accessible to anybody. There are some projects that we’re already looking toward postlaunch, too. We know we’re going to be working on live content. We have a live team already getting situated. So some of those guys are already looking at that. But at the same time, they’re also helping us make sure the game is polished.

GamesBeat: For quite a few years now, even as far back as the PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox, a lot of major PC MMOs have promised a console version. But only a couple have actually delivered. From your perspective, why you think that keeps happening?

Zadorojny: Console is a hard thing to do. You wind up in situations where, whenever you’re doing an update…with an MMO, we need to be really flexible. If there’s a common game-breaking bug, something like that, we need to be able to patch the game relatively quickly. When you work on consoles, you start having to deal with publishers and having to go through checks and balances with them as far as making sure they’re okay with the executable that you’re pushing up. And there are costs associated with it as well. It’s much easier to reflexively adapt to situations on the PC than it is with console.

GamesBeat: With that said, because that does seem to be a pretty common answer from Blizzard and everyone else, as far as why games like that can’t be done, what would you like to see from the next generation of consoles in order to better facilitate the types of games ArenaNet makes?

Zadorojny: It’s going to come down to relationships. It’s going to come down to everyone realizing that we’re on the same team here, and when we’re trying to push things out through a console development, the publisher needs to be able to work with us. NCSoft has been fantastic with us as far as everything we’ve needed to do. They’ve given us the creative direction to take the game wherever we want. We need to be able to build working relationships like that with other publishers.

GamesBeat: Would you ever consider a watered-down, streamlined version of one of your IPs to accommodate the limitations of consoles? Such as something along the lines of what Nexon did with Dungeon Fighter?

NCsoft PR: You know, we’re looking at different things and different opportunities to get out there. We really have nothing to discuss on that score at this time. Right now, as a publisher, we’re focused on…. Over in Korea we just launched Blade & Soul. We’re focused on owning that and making that the best PC gaming experience over in Korea. Over here we’re focused on Guild Wars 2 and making it the best PC game available right now. There’s always talk about a variety of other avenues and platforms to explore. But right now our main focus is pushing Guild Wars 2 out to be the best PC game available.

Zadorojny: From the developer side, I don’t know that we would ever want to do a “watered-down version” of something. For us it’s always about pushing the boundaries and being able to create something that can stand the test of time. We want to make sure we put our full effort into something.

GamesBeat: Did anything about Microsoft Surface or SmartGlass intrigue you in regard to what the future may hold for what you can do with your games or MMOs in general?

Zadorojny: Well, I think technology in general…the rate at which it’s been iterated upon more recently has been exciting to watch. Obviously, we’re always looking at new opportunities and things that we can do, but we don’t really know what that is or where that’s going to take us yet.

GamesBeat: A lot of major MMOs still attempt to come out at full price and then stack a monthly subscription on top of it. Inevitably, they go free-to-play after a lackluster launch. Do you think either freemium titles or models like Guild Wars’ one-time purchase with a subscription should become the standard for MMOs in general?

Zadorojny: Well, I don’t know if there is any standard for games. You need to look, when you’re developing a game and you’re creating something, at what works for that game. For us, this was the model that we wanted, and it matches well with our design philosophy. It matches with how we want to take our mission forward. But I don’t know, necessarily, that I can say that this is what every company out there should do.

GamesBeat: The Asura and the Sylvari races, arguably two of the most interesting in the game, seemed like they were mostly kept a secret and locked out of the betas up until the very last minute. Was that for any particular reason?

Zadorojny: The content was ready to go at that point. A lot of the stuff that we do is based on what is ready, what we think is polished, and what we can show. We’ve always been working on those guys behind the scenes. The various maps just weren’t where we wanted them to be to show to players yet.

GamesBeat: These seem like two pretty big things to not have where you want them so close to launch. Would you say now that version 1.0 of Guild Wars 2 is exactly where you want it to be?

Zadorojny: Well, we’re perfectionists. We always want to keep pushing the boundaries. You give us another week and we’ll keep working with that, but then we’ll ask for something more. We are where our content, when we launch Guild Wars 2 on day one, it’s going to be a playable, successful experience and enjoyable for players who get their hands on the game. It wasn’t a matter of being concerned that it wasn’t ready to show. It was more like…our internal quality bar, where we want things to be, it just wasn’t ready for that time frame.

GamesBeat: A couple of major titles, like the Battlefield series and, infamously, Diablo III, have had some pretty substantial launch issues. These are games that have been in development for years, they have some of the biggest companies behind them, and things still went wrong. How does ArenaNet work to ensure that everything does work when the switch is finally flipped on?

Zadorojny: There’s a lot of testing going on with the game. We’ve already done various stress tests. The beta weekend events have really helped us get numbers of players in to help test the hardware. Our iteration time is extremely low. We were running through 20 or 30 builds in any given day. So if there’s a problem we can adapt really quickly and get a fix out in, say, 5 to 15 minutes, postlaunch. It’s about being agile. It’s about making sure that you have the right people ready at the right time in case something does blow up.

ArenaNet Founder Mike O’Brien Discusses Guild Wars 2 MMO Launch On August 28


Everyone is so excited to have a launch date for Guild Wars 2! Can’t you feel the excitement in the air? I know I sure do!


ArenaNet Founder Mike O’Brien Discusses Guild Wars 2 MMO Launch On August 28

The wait is almost over for MMO fans who have been reading about NCsoft and ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2, and playing the public beta weekends. After taking E3 2012 off to focus on polishing the game, the developer has finally revealed when Tyria will be open for exploration.
“Guild Wars 2 and gaming fans have been asking us since our announcement that we were working on the game when they will be able to jump in and experience the game that will define this and future generations of games, and today we are thrilled we can give them what they’ve been asking for, the release date – August 28, 2012,” said Mike O’Brien, head of ArenaNet and executive producer of Guild Wars 2. “And only in a matter of months, after years of development, they will have that opportunity to do what they have been waiting for.”

But just because the game launches doesn’t mean the work stops at the Bellevue, WA development studio.
“We always want to pioneer, we’re not going to stop,” said O’Brien. “We’re building the genesis of a world that has a foundation resting on the importance of community and innovation. We’re going to continue to try to break through boundaries and exceed expectations.”

With millions of fans who have been waiting over five years for the release of Guild Wars 2, it’s still too early for the founder to think about defining success.

Success is when you reach critical mass and there’s so much interest in the game and you continue to ride that momentum up the mountain in terms of how many people are in the world,” said O’Brien. “We’re doing everything we can to meet and exceed expectations, but the world only starts when we go live. We need to have a critical mass of people who care about what we’re doing and that will propel us forward. We’re confident about the work we do because we do have a support network for our community. The key to success is making this world special.”

The development team has been working with that community over the past five years of development, most recently asking them to participate in stress tests and open beta weekends. Once the game launches August 28, that community will continue to help evolve the game.

“One reason I came to the online world building business from the console business is because of the creative power and iterative power it brings to game development,” said Chris Chung, CEO, NC West. “It’s not easy to make these kinds of games, but if you have the infrastructure and tools to get feedback regularly, it becomes a powerful tool. We have a very passionate fan base and when there are things that become clear that need to be addressed, we’ll fix it and make things better. We value their opinions.”

Colin Johanson, who leads the development team that is responsible for building the content for Guild Wars 2, believes one of the keys to the game’s success after launch will be the depth of choice for game players.



“Guild Wars 2 offers a personal story that has diverse changes and branches as you play and a dynamic event system filled with mini-quests to go and do,” said Johanson. “In World vs. World you can level from 1 to 80 and never play the story. It’s up to the player what they want to do in the game world. We want to offer a top-of-the-line RPG experience that they can enjoy with friends, but the entire game is available to those who don’t want to play story. And for those who do, one of our core design decisions was to kill the mandatory text and allow people to be visually drawn into events and participate, rather than having to read about things in a giant block of text.”

Come August 28, gamers around the world will be drawn into Guild Wars 2.


Posted By Bella Stratics GW2 Content Editor

Announcing the Guild Wars 2 Launch Date

This is what we are looking to avoid!

Get ready because here it comes!!!!

Original Announcement.


Announcing the Guild Wars 2 Launch Date BY MIKE O’BRIEN JUNE 28TH, 2012

Earlier this year I told you that 2012 would be the Year of the Dragon, and that the next few betas would help us nail down our actual launch date. Well, after the results of our latest stress test, I’m happy to announce that we’re ready to nail down that date.
Guild Wars 2 will officially launch on Tuesday, August 28th.

This is an incredibly momentous day for the studio and for me personally. This journey began in 2007 when we first announced that we were beginning work onGuild Wars 2 and that you wouldn’t be hearing from us for a while. Then in 2010 we unveiled our manifesto for Guild Wars 2: a living breathing online world that challenges convention, that’s designed for fun instead of grind, and that brings social interaction to a new level in an online world.

Through all the long hours and hard decisions, we were bolstered by the knowledge that we were not in this alone. All along you’ve been there for us, cheering us on, supporting us when we needed it, testing early versions of the game, and above all, giving us your honest feedback every step of the way. Guild Wars 2 is a better game for all of the work that our community has put in.

Now that we’re just two months away from launch, we’ll spend our remaining time optimizing, polishing, and balancing the game, to ensure that we provide you with the best launch-day experience we possibly can. To this end, I’m excited to announce that our next and final Beta Weekend Event is planned for July 20-22. These are exciting times; we’re on the cusp of a new era in online roleplaying games, and we’re glad you’re on this journey with us.
We’ll see you in-game.



Posted By Bella,  Stratics  GW2 Content Editor

ArenaNet Announces Timeline for GW2 Beta’s!

Shroud of the Avatar Fighter

Posted today on the Guild Wars 2 site a blog posted by Mike O’Brien gave us some needed updated information on the closed and open betas and how they will work. This may disappoint fans that wanted it out sooner but this game is huge and ArenaNet wants to have it tested and right on release.

Still good news for all us Guild Wars 2 fans with an informative projected timeline. Let’s all rejoice and celebrate for 2012 will be the year us GW2 fans will be adventuring in the new Tyria! Good luck to all the lucky ones that will get to do beta! The next generation of MMO’s will begin!

Thank you ArenaNet for posting the blog and especially to Mike O’Brien for keeping us updated!

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon – ArenaNet Blog


For the click link impaired!
Welcome to the Year of the Dragon By Mike O’BrienJanuary 23rd, 2012

Today is Lunar New Year’s Day, and according to the Asian zodiac system, the first day of the Year of the Dragon. It’s an auspicious omen for all of us at ArenaNet, as we get ready to make this our own Year of the Dragon.

According to tradition, the dragon embodies passion, independence, and ambition. We think it’s a perfect analogy for what we’re trying to accomplish with Guild Wars 2. We’re a company full of MMO and RPG fans, and we’ve set out to fundamentally rethink how you deliver an RPG experience online. So this year, the Year of the Dragon, let’s usher out old thinking – the tired old quest model, stiff repetitive combat, and monthly fees – and usher in the new.

Guild Wars 2 has captured the imagination of gamers and media all over the world with its action-oriented combat, its living world full of dynamic events, its highly personalized role-playing experience, and the handcrafted artistry that suffuses every element of the game. Last year, thousands of you joined us at shows and events all over the world to try Guild Wars 2 for yourself. This year, you’ll finally be able to immerse yourself in the vast, diverse world of Tyria.

We recently finished our first closed beta test, and we’re now ready to hold progressively larger events. In February we’ll invite select press to participate in beta testing, and in March and April we’ll aggressively ramp up the size of our beta test events so that many of you will have a chance to participate. And of course, this all leads to the release of Guild Wars 2 later this year.

So stay tuned to our official Guild Wars 2 website, our Facebook page, and this blog for more information about how to participate in an upcoming beta event.

It’s been an incredible adventure over the past five years, working with our community and our team of dedicated artists, designers, and programmers to realize this vision. This year, the seeds of that work come to fruition. We can’t wait to play the game with you. So welcome to the Year of the Dragon – the year of Guild Wars 2.

-Mike O’Brien ArenaNet Founder and President