Leaderboard: Does Guild Wars 2 need another expansion?

If you’ve followed NCsoft’s quarterly investor reports for the last many years, you’ve probably seen dozens graphs of Guild Wars 2’s revenues and the impact of expansions and other content on the game. There was one floating around when the layoffs hit too, demonstrating that 2018 hadn’t been the title’s worst year by far. Now there’s another, as Redditor KimimotoLP compiled all of NCsoft’s revenue reports since the game’s launch to concoct a single (shiny new rainbow) chart to remind folks how the game has waxed and waned through its last seven years.

I was interested in Guild Wars 2’s earnings since release and put the numbers into a chart (numbers from NCSoft’s financial reports) from Guildwars2

(For clarity’s sake, know that the Y axis here represents millions of Korean won.)

I thought it would be worthwhile to embed this so we could revisit the numbers too. Apart from the 2012 launch, which one could argue was the height of the MMORPG genre as well as an exceptionally hyped and huge release, there are a few other notable peaks: most specifically, the quarters around retail expansions Heart of Thorns (2015) and Path of Fire (2017). While Path of Fire didn’t sell quite as well as Heart of Thorns did, it maintained significantly higher revenue for the year immediately afterward and has only in the last three quarters started to trend toward the lower numbers seen in the two years after HOT.

The Reddit thread has some hyperbole from folks saying the game is clearly in maintenance mode. It is clearly not in maintenance mode, with another full season (saga) on the way and what is very obviously renewed studio interest in supporting it, now that the other games it was working on are canceled. But the question of an expansion keeps coming up repeatedly, both because players want it and because the devs have now said they won’t rule it out. There’s a sense that an expansion is something a high-end, top-five MMORPG should be getting on a regular basis – World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV get them every other year, for example, while Elder Scrolls Online puts up a chapter and three DLC between its every birthday. Expansions generate hype, money, and more than anything, confidence the game belongs in that top tier and has a strong future in front of it.

But when confronted with the raw numbers, some folks in the community are arguing that maybe an expansion isn’t in the game’s best interests. Sure, it’s usually a solid spike for a quarter or two and several more quarters of solid numbers afterward, but if it costs a whole lot to actually build, is it actually worth it? If something relatively inexpensive – like another season or two – can hold numbers steady riding on a cash shop, should ArenaNet keep reinvesting in pricey new expansions?

What do you think? Is an expansion actually in the game’s financial interests? Should Guild Wars 2 focus on another expansion in the future?

Leaderboard: Should Guild Wars 2 focus on another expansion in the future? (Choose up to three.)

  • Yes, it needs the revenue. (14%, 151 Votes)
  • Yes, it needs to restore player confidence. (28%, 309 Votes)
  • Maybe, if it's actually going to be good. An expansion that devalues the rest of the game or pits playerbases against each other won't cut it. (17%, 186 Votes)
  • No, it's not worth the financial investment or resources taken off other projects. (1%, 15 Votes)
  • No, I don't like the way Guild Wars 2's expansions usually work out for the game. (1%, 14 Votes)
  • I just want expansion-level content (like elite specs) and don't care how it's packaged. (18%, 203 Votes)
  • I would rather see better or faster seasonal content. (5%, 55 Votes)
  • I would rather see Guild Wars 3 or other games. (11%, 121 Votes)
  • I don't want to pay for an expansion. (1%, 8 Votes)
  • I don't care about Guild Wars 2 or expansions but I really wanted to click on something. (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments). (1%, 12 Votes)
  • No response / view tally / quaggan butts. (2%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 655

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Ben Stone

GW2 needs a combat and dungeon revamp.

Jim Bergevin Jr

I suppose this was kind of inevitable with the direction they went with GW2. They kind of shot themselves in the foot by abandoning the game that put them on the map right at its height.

While the new campaign every six months model was never going to be sustainable, adding one more continent and then going the route they did with EotN and GW Beyond would have kept a steady flow going.

Marty Woods

I am torn between it needing a new expansion and Guild Wars 3 .

I guess ultimately either or both .


GW2 Quite possibly needs it to restore player faith, which drives cash shop sales… but we also have to make sure another HoT doesn’t happen. In terms of what I’ve like to see from them and not just for GW2… New GW1 expansion and GW3 since I think GW2 is pretty much too set in its ways, and if you don’t like it now, you probably won’t like the next expansion. If you do like it, then that expansion may help liven things up.

I’d even accept the same GW2 Graphics / Maps that are somewhat altered, with the gameplay and other things changing for a GW3 type of game. With different directions taken than GW2 ended up doing.

A GW1 expansion might get a lot of positive buzz and reporting since we’re going back to the whole vanilla versions of games lately. People coming back along with those who are curious and never played it. Maybe even a way to tie the games together and have side by side stories of what happened / happening where you see the opposing side if you play the other game. Though that would involve some time stuff.


I don’t know that it needs an expansion, per-se. Living World Season 4’s story and content were superior to the original personal story in every way, save the branching choices – and those were gone by the end of the personal story in any case. :)

It’s not even funny to compare the fight to deal with Kralkatorrik to the fight against Zhaitan. The story wasn’t bad, but the gameplay supporting it wasn’t there. It is now, and they didn’t need to do an expansion to deliver it.

I do think expansions are good for PR, good for getting people to give the game another look, and good for delivering a substantial chunk of new stuff all at once. I would love to see GW2 go to Cantha, but I don’t know that they can really do it justice as part of a Living World Saga/Season/Epic/Cycle/whathaveyou.

So I don’t expect to see Cantha unless we get an expansion – and I’d very much like to return to Cantha. So I’d like to see an expansion so they’d do my favorite GW1 Campaign setting justice. But I don’t think they need one to deliver a compelling game going forward.

Castagere Shaikura

I would rather the game be sold and new owners take the game back to its original idea for what it was going to be instead of caving to the Wow fanboys as they did.

Hikari Kenzaki

What sets GW2 apart is the story. As long as they keep the story rolling, that’s what is important. The Living World is probably more of a selling point than the actual expansions. The expansions were more how you got TO the Living World.

I said over and over that TSW would have stayed prominent for much longer if they’d just release 1 mission every month. Not an Issue. Not a quest pack. One mission.

Expansions bring in new players and bring back old ones. Does that matter to GW2 as one of the largest MMORPGs out there? I don’t think it does. As long as they can keep their existing players coming back and occasionally bring in a few people to offset churn, they should be okay.

With the changes at ANet/NCSoft, they’ve put an increased focus on the cash shop. For better or worse, this means that those loyal but infrequent players can snag items that they may have missed out on because they were only available for 3 weeks. So, if you can get those people logging in every month or two and buying a new outfit or what have you (they don’t call it Fashion Wars because it’s a 24/7 hardcore grind), that’s probably enough to keep the story rolling on a 7 year old game.

Bruno Brito

Quaggan Butts.

But really, what GW2 needs is a revamp of several core systems that have issues across the game. The Boon/Condition system. The new talent system being shallow. The overfocus on raiding. Mobility and Power creep, making movement and damage over the top, even on full-defense characters. A revamp of the Elite spec system ( Really. All classes should be able to wield all weapons, and have their usage tied to class fantasy. The elite spec system should improve upon a specific weapon and allow you to have choices between weaponskills and utility skills. ).

Several classes also need a revamp of their core mechanic because they’re iffy or counter-intuitive on how the game works ( Necro’s Shroud being subpar when you want to build a support necrobuild, yet can’t heal yourself, or more specifically, Engineer’s mechanic being the toolbelt, but Kits being the most important part of their entire skillset ).

While i do think a xpac is important, sure, to keep attention on the game, and deliver more content, keeping the game on the damaged state is in, core-systemwise, is bad. If every xpac is a new powercreep wall, this game will suffer way more.

Kickstarter Donor

ArenaNet should take a step back and look at what they did great in GW1 and GW2 and build on that with GW3.


Simple answer is of course they do. Cantha would breath new life into the population. No need to read further if you aren’t interested in an opinion on Guildwars future.

So many deeper issues need to be resolved at ArenaNet that an expansion isn’t going to fix for the Guildwars franchise. A new direction in management that begins (and could end) at the top. They have or had the talent. They need a more focused sense of direction in new leadership and at this point, even though I’m not a fan, I would be okay with NCSoft stepping in to make it happen.

A new optimization friendly game engine where the focus is on flexible updating, mod friendly support and if need be, segrated PvE/PvP networking capabilities to assure that the game could handle the large crowds of focuses on. The combat mechanics are top tier in the MMORPG genre and just need tuning. I would be okay paying a subscription at this point if I knew the game and it’s community were getting the same consistency ESO and WoW are recieving.

I could elaborate more but in a nutshell, this game needs a fresh direction that can’t be provided by its current management/owner and game infrastructure.

Bruno Brito

Content-wise, new PvP modes would be cheap to do, and breathe some life into the game. WvW would be more complex, but i do think it would benefit from more attention. I really dislike their Raid focus, after the game being sold as a non-raid product.