It wouldn’t be a launch without a catastrophic failure and a lack of communication from the developers. But for most of Guild Wars 2′s first evening, ArenaNet decided to play it a little differently. The game launched exactly at the announced time, it was easy to get onto servers that weren’t listed as full, and the game ran smoothly for the most part. Other than being dropped a few times, which just meant quickly logging back on to find my character patiently waiting in the same place, the Guild Wars 2′s launch was a thing of beauty for how utterly unremarkable it was. It was the sort of launch that didn’t even seem like a launch. And you almost never see a launch like that.
For about seven hours, anyway.
At about 4am Saturday morning, the game basically shut down. The only error message implied that it was my router’s fault that I couldn’t get online. For a couple of hours, the only server status message from ArenaNet was that they were experiencing heavy volume and they are “monitoring the situation”. Now I can’t even get to the launcher.
But boy was it nice while it lasted. At a certain point, there was just too much to do, too many things to see, too many things to progress, too many places to go. I had to get away. So I ducked into the world vs. world to wander around and see what I could do as a solo player. Not much, of course. But I ran across someone else who had the same idea. We dove into the ocean to enlist the help of some little fish people. They’re like a cross between a seal and an otter and a Gungan. If you grind a bit for them, driving evil sea snakes out of their temple and gathering pearls, they’ll waddle out of the water. On land, they can summon a storm that heals your faction and randomly throws lightning bolts at enemy factions. Unfortunately, Guild Wars 2 shut down before I could see them in action. They better still be there when I get back.