The Year of the Dragon begins!

The last month has been slow, but today, we got a little tidbit of news.

Well, okay. It’s more than just a little tidbit. It’s actually pretty big.

Mike O’Brien, the president of ArenaNet, made a post in their blog today.

It’s an auspicious omen for all of us at ArenaNet, as we get ready to make this our own Year of the Dragon.

Oooh. Okay, well that could mean a lot of things. Dragons are pretty popular and a large part of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. But as we all know, there could only be one real meaning to that, and if you continue on…you’ll see exactly what it means. Namely, a timeline of sorts. It’s not a set in stone timeline (no release date!), but…now, we know when things are going to start happening.

First and foremost, it seems that they are most definitely planning on releasing the game at some point in 2012. We will be playing Guild Wars 2 this year. The closed beta I mentioned last month has ended; starting next month they will be inviting select press members to start beta testing, and in March and April will greatly increase the number of people playing in the beta.

Now, it says nothing about how people will be chosen; I assume that at least for most of this it will still be a closed beta with the lucky few chosen by the studio; maybe eventually they’ll move on to people applying for the beta. Don’t know yet! Hopefully we’ll get more details soon. However, I really must stress that you do not fill in anything claiming to be a beta signup! So far no such thing exists. Be careful, and don’t fall for any scams!

Biggest question now, then, is when will the game come out. ANet’s always said they want a short beta period; I had been hoping for an April release, to coincide with the anniversary of the first game. If they will still definitely be in beta during April, I don’t really see that happening, sadly. However, I wouldn’t completely dismiss a release in the first half of the year. Even if they continue on to do a brief open beta, it’s still possible that it will be out in May or June.

I can’t wait. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get into the beta early on, and I absolutely cannot wait for the game to release and be able to play it, finally! It seems like it’s been so long (and, well, it has). But I’m fully confident that the final product will have been worth the wait.