Is there a change in Anet’s PR strategy?

The last big information release by Anet was about the fifth profession: the Guardian. Although Anet once again failed at disappointing us with another amazing profession, this time the reveal followed a completely different procedure, let’s take a look at what happened…

We are used not to get any bit of information about any new aspect of GW2 from any other source but the official Guild Wars 2 website, yet much of the information about the Guardian had been “leaked” all over the web… or had it not?

21st January, PCgamer.com Link

This article was the spark that ignited the explosion: soon after the community got its hand on it, a huge thread on gw2guru started and created so much noise that Anet CM Regina Buenaobra had a post in it assuring everyone that the information was real and that the official release was being planned for the 27th of January.

27th January (before official release), Gw2italia.it Link

The crew from gw2italia got those two screenshots before everyone else, and a few minutes later there was another thread on  Guru…those screenshots were pretty good, we could see a longsword and a shield skill. We could also see a Charr Guardian: from here the Charrdian meme started off  (Charrzooka…Charrdian…this race is really big in the community!!!)

27th January (before official release) Eurogamer.net Link

This article was the real leak: a partial interview with Eric Flannum where he shares some information about the Guardian explaining how they came up with it, what are his weapon choices, his mechanics…it was almost as informative as a full release.

27th January (before official release) Eurogamer.net Link

Info is never enough: Eurogamer published all the skill videos that we are used to watch on gw2.com. The leak is now complete!
We now have profession information, details about weapons and mechanics, screenshots and skill videos…

27th January (before official release) Onlinewelten.com Link

A little Q&A with Jon Peters, Lead Designer of Guild Wars 2: in this article more information is leaked, the interviewer obviously knew something more than the rest of the community (since he was asking specific questions about the timing of a skill, as he already knew how the skill worked)

Official Release

 

What’s this all about? Has Arenanet started a new policy to let everyone get a slice of the pie of the huge amount of page refreshing fans that can make a site reach it’s peak on profession reveal day? Are they trying to share the hype with other websites? Was it planned? Was it a leak?

Hey! Pssst.........new profession reveal!!!!

Hey! Pssst.........new profession reveal!!!!

Of the 5 “leaks”we had, one of them was confirmed to be Anet approved, another two featured an interview with an Anet figure (hard to leak that, it must have bee planned and done with a two-sided approval) and the skill video was related to one of those… I feel like there were no leaks at all (I guess we could investigate a little more about those two screenshots…but they were a minor thing anyway).

Are we seeing a change in Anet’s PR strategy?
Giving away information to other websites could be a strategy to improve the relation with them: if the community start thinking that some gw2 information might be revealed on certain websites before the official release on the Gw2 website, the traffic on those places would certainly grow.
We do have a precedent with PC gamer though, (here you can read a thread on GwGuru about that) only that was on paper, and the hype was not as high as it is nowadays.

There might be pros and cons about this new strategy but to me it’s far worse than the old one we are used to, here’s why.

First of all if people start thinking that news is not going to be published on gw2.com before everywhere else,  the site will lose some of its traffic. Second, in a business that relies so much about the community, it’s imperative not to lose the good reputation: even if we had assurance of the permission from Anet to divulge the information, the “leak” feeling is still there and it still smells bad and not professional. It doesn’t feel well planned to have sensible data like a profession reveal being broadcasted by others, even more-so if even the date of the announcement is made public by a third party website.

In conclusion, are we going to see the next profession reveals from external websites like we did for the Guardian? Is all the information going to be “leaked” to various sites days before the official release or will it be as it always had, no information until… it’s ready?

Reader: what are your thoughts about this unusual profession reveal? Do you see a new strategy approach or was it a major leak?

About the author:  Ubi Maior is a student from Italy, long time GW player and fan. He found in TT a place where he can contribute to the community by sharing his ideas and opinions, and he hopes you enjoy his thoughts! He’d love to hear yours. He can also be found on twitter.

Further reading:

  • Izari

    I thought about this, too, and it made me wonder. There’s a lot of discussion going on questioning whether or not the leaks were intended by Anet or not.

    It does seem sloppy from a fan perspective but I can see where it makes sense from a marketing point of view. Have the release spread out over fansites: media on one, info on another, interviews on another, etc. and then round them up back at the official site.

    It helps them connect with their supporting sites and gives fans a sort of scavenger hunt to run around and piece things together.

    If this WAS intended, I see where they are going and with some polishing it could work well.

  • Jexx

    I personally know that the PCGamer leak was intended. I can’t really reveal my reasoning for this, but trust me. I know. I can’t speak on behalf of the other pre-releases however. Infact, at the time of the articles being revealed and the Guardian reveal, I was shoveling snow. So to me, they all came out at the same time. 😛

    • CeleOOKIE

      I agree on the PCGamer reveal. I find it very unprofessional and not in keeping with the spirit behind GW’s usual PR. I’m almost sure that the EU releases were under an embargo and were revealed slightly ahead of the official posting unintentionally. I do like the idea of them giving different information to each of the community sites, it makes some the tweets to advertise a reveal article worth reading.

      • Jexx

        When I said the PCGamer leak was intended, I mean it was approved. Not that PCGamer intended to leak it without permission. Just so ya know.

  • draxynnic

    I don’t think the PCGamer leak was really that much of a leak. Generally, we’ve had pretty good ideas what profession was going to be next up before it went live, even if only just before, whether through someone at ANet dropping hints or, in the necromancer’s case, because it was already being shown off at a convention. The PCGamer release was one part “well, duh” (we pretty much knew Logan was the second soldier already) and one part giving us a heads-up on what’s next. It’s possible that PCGamer was just unlucky with when they timed their article, and ANet decided to let them have SOMETHING that was new.

    Regarding the rest – if I recall correctly, they were all still within an hour of the official release. I’d guess the press had been told to hold back until the 27th, but not WHEN on the 27th they could reveal. It was a pretty early reveal in the day (in Australia, I’m not used to seeing these things until the morning after…) so it could be that ANet was intending to get it up before those interviews were due for release, but had teething troubles getting it up that delayed them a little. There were certainly signs of teething problems when the official release arrived – the videos for Hammer of Judgement and Zealot’s Defense were swapped, and Leap of Faith is STILL labelled as Faithful Strike.

    Mind you, this could also have been a sign that ANet was caught flatfooted by the European articles releasing earlier than expected (maybe someone miscalculated a timezone?) and had to put the official release up earlier than expected to catch up.

    Either way, I don’t think this is part of an official policy of leaking, although I guess we’ll see when the next major information release arrives.

  • I think the minor differences in release times worldwide are due to little mishaps, and not intentional.

    In my opinion, the PC Gamer was a tiny little wake up call for the fans. Nothing more. The wider public don’t know or care about the name of the fifth class in an image caption. So it was just a message to say “Incoming!” and get fans chattering for a few days.