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Guild Wars 2 Official Release Date Announced! http://www.arena.net...s-2-launch-date Typically in a written setting, an opening paragraph will appear to give the links following it some context and solidified meaning. This is not one of those settings. With the 6/27 stress test behind us, and a comfortably numb demeanor about the game's delay setting in to reduce the magnitude of late release anxiety attacks, the A(net)-bomb was dropped this morning by Mike O'Brien, the President of ArenaNet, announcing the official release date for Guild Wars 2. Given the project's monolithic nature and glorious purpose, ArenaNet opted to completely shrug off any and all constraints pertaining to an official release date until now. Some predicted September, late October, maybe even a Thanksgiving release due to the apparent amount of unfinished content that was presented in the Open Beta Weekends, but August? You can officially, with a royal seal of the queen, slap my backside and call my skippy, because I did not see that coming. Every indicator leading up to the official release date, the unfinished Asuran and Sylvari classes in Closed Beta, the unspoiled and untouched bonus PvP maps, and ArenaNet's general attitude about shrugging off any unnecessary project restraints that would inhibit the games development, led just about everyone to believe that the game would truly "Be finished when it's finished" with very few exceptions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=was2lsa1fsg&feature=player_embedded Brain splitting shock aside, Mike also announced with the release date the date of the final Beta Weekend preceding the games subsequent 3 day head start, July 20-22. Somehow, anticipation just doesn't quite cover it. Will ArenaNet meet the almost insurmountable challenges ahead of them, breaking convention entirely in the MMO genre? Will they be able to polish a game that is both tailored to the casual weekend warrior and eSports fanatic alike? And moreover, who will take Guild Wars 2 under it's wing as the second competitive MMO in the history of eSports since World of Warcraft? MLG? IPL? ESEA? In a giant cloud of uncertainty, one thing is apparent: The communities of both casual and competitive gaming have been united, and they are currently backing Guild Wars 2 development entirely. Has this ever truly happened in an MMO in the past? Be honest with yourself. MMO's in the past have tilted to one side or the other, sacrificing content and letting the grease drip into the competitive side, while trying to make it look like intuitive content was produced for both. But crashing the traditional corporate feel of MMO development into the ground entirely and creating a free form dynamic environment molded to the players decisions, whilst implementing the desired provisions required for success in a standalone tournament scene? Pinch me. I could go on for days, but I'll allow all of this information to wash over the masses as we take a single massive step towards the release of what is sure to be one of the greatest pieces of game development ever seen. Keep your pants on for the time being, until release that is, and as always, fight for the user.
I thought it was time that we had a formal academy system in vVv Gaming. We have done such a good job of this developing players and teams informally, our size requires a system to take good players and teams and help them become great. Let me first start by saying that being in the academy is preparation for being a sponsored player. It is skill based. Eight-five percent of what gets you onto the academy is skill. You must be able to attend major LAN events. The goal of academy players and teams is to be a sponsored team, not be vVv Gaming’s “second team.” To be clear, there is no second team. With that being said, not all game titles will have academy teams or players. Just like not all games may have sponsored players at a certain time. The academy will focus on performance and results. If you don’t have the results to be our sponsored team or a sponsored player, you get dropped as a sponsored player and have the option to try out for the academy. Players and teams must apply to the academy. Sponsored players and teams will be required to assist academy players or teams on a monthly basis. Development from good to great is the central focus of the academy, and requires teams and players to perform, as their position will be challenged every month. Our academy system will work on monthly challenges. The first Sunday of every month (we can change the day if needed), we will hold best-of-5 matches that divisional managers, sponsored players and myself observe. We use these matches to make decisions about if the current academy team stays or gets replaced. As you can imagine, our divisional mangers will be busy people, and may need assistance. For example, our Starcraft division has Sweep running the Academy. Let me give you an example of how the system works. Sponsored player A is dropped as a sponsored player. That player has an option to try for the academy the next month. The same holds true for teams. A sponsored team may be dropped, and those players (or those who remain and reform a new team) have the option to try out for the academy. As a note, all of our contracts will have a performance clause in them, so players who do not perform are no longer sponsored. Next, let’s talk about how academy players or teams can move to being sponsored. First, we must have a vacancy for a sponsored player or team. Second, you have successfully defended your position in the academy twice (so you have been in the academy for at least 90 days). At this time, you may be moved up as a player or team. This is based on recommendations from divisional mangers and the community. I reserve the right to make any final decision that I see fit. Academy teams and players are highly encouraged to attend LAN events. In fact, your ability to remain on the academy is dependent on it. If you miss 2 major LANS in a row, we have the option to drop you from the academy. Major LANS are defined as MLG, WCG, ESEA, NASL, Dreamhack, ESL, IEM, and equivalent. Finally, what I have written here is not a legal document, not hard, fast rules. It is a framework for something new. It may change and adapt. It’s focus is developing players, monitoring results and seeing players transition to being sponsored. It is also about never resting on your laurels.