Fans of the competitive online role-playing game Guild Wars have been waiting for another world championship since 2006. Today, the game’s developer, ArenaNet, tossed its hat back in the esports ring, announcing a $50,000 world championship.
The Guild Wars 2 World Tournament Series (WTS) will afford players in North America, Europe, and China a chance to qualify for the $50,000 event set for December in Beijing, China.
Players will be invited to the World Tournament Series Invitational Qualifier for their region based on their performance in the Tournament of Glory, a Player-versus-Player competition open to all participants where winners receive exclusive armor sets.
Player versus Player, or PvP, has always been an integral part of the Guild Wars franchise. The first game made a name for itself with its structured PvP environment, providing a platform for competitive PvP play never before seen in an MMO.
In 2006, ArenaNet hosted a $100,000 World Championship for their original title.
A similar competition in Guild Wars 2 has been a long time coming. The WTS comes two years after the release of the game, which developers hyped as a new platform for esports. “We looked at sports when we were designing Guild Wars 2 from day one,” systems designer Jonathan Sharp said in a 2012 interview, indicating that ArenaNet believed Guild Wars had an esports future.
ArenaNet has made good on that promise in some ways, like their weekly tournament system for structured PvP. It hosted a $10,000 tournament at PAX last year, and an all-star event at Gamescom this weekend. But it hasn’t provided the kind of esports events that get noticed in a growing landscape filled with competitive games and millions of dollars of prize money.
A $50,000 series probably isn’t what fans of Guild Wars PvP were looking for when the game hit the market in 2012. It’s half the prize purse of a competition the company held in 2006 for their previous title. But it’s a start.