On April 28, 2005, the Guild Wars franchise was born with the release of the original campaign, Guild Wars Prophecies. In the two years since that date, the game's developer, ArenaNet, and publisher, NCsoft, have launched two additional stand-alone games, Guild Wars Factions and Guild Wars Nightfall. In total, the Guild Wars series has sold more than 3.5 million copies, making it one of the most successful online roleplaying games ever.
Much of the success of Guild Wars can be attributed to the challenge that ArenaNet made to the traditional MMO business model when it offered its games without a subscription fee, yet also provided robust content, a compelling story, breathtaking art, exciting game mechanics, and a commitment to significant game improvements and updates. These factors helped create and foster an extremely devoted and loyal player base.
Guild Wars players, who will celebrate the franchise's two-year anniversary this weekend, have found even more to be excited about in recent weeks. In early April, character storage was quadrupled. Last week, the studio introduced exciting new options for veteran players with Guild Wars Hard Mode, which provides players with greater challenges that offer rich and unique rewards. Looking toward the future, ArenaNet is gearing up to release its first expansion pack-Guild Wars: Eye of the North-in the third quarter of this year, and it has announced the start of development for Guild Wars 2, which is scheduled to go into public beta in the second half of 2008.
"In just two years, we've made three games and reached millions of players around the world," said Mike O'Brien, one of the founders of ArenaNet. "We have a lot to celebrate on our second anniversary, and we will endeavor to continue to deliver great, free content to our fans into the foreseeable future."
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