Case study: Building the Guild Wars 2 Game Launch Site
Client Name: QV Software
Solution: eCommerce site
Target Audience: Guild Wars gamers
Communication Channel: B2C
QV Software (QVS) is a privately-owned leading independent software and accessories distributor, operating across Australia and New Zealand for over ten years. QVS distributes quality, innovative interactive software titles and accessories from a wide range of publishers for a variety of demographics including lifestyle, office, productivity, education and games.
QVS is the Australian and New Zealand distributor of Guild Wars 2, the most highly anticipated massively multiplayer online (MMO) game of 2012. The company needed a Guild Wars 2-specific website to provide fans with news and, more importantly, as a platform on which to launch the pre-purchase program for the game.
ArenaNet, the creator of the game, is aiming to launch the full version of the game later in 2012. In order to test the game and get feedback from fans, it has held – and will continue to hold – beta testing events. These events allow fans who have pre-purchased to take a look at the game, test its functionality, and provide feedback before the full release.
MMO gamers immerse themselves in an online world that features real-time 3D environments, striking graphics and animations, and impressive software that creates realistic playing dynamics. In essence, they are a highly technologically literate audience accustomed to high-performance online experiences.
Not only did we need to build a site that met very high expectations, it also had to be able to cope with sudden, large amounts of traffic purchasing and preloading the game.
The first thing you notice upon arriving at the site is the stunning design – a background that revolves through stills from the game. Icons and menus throughout the site seamlessly incorporate the critically-acclaimed artwork in a way that is balanced, creating an impact without overwhelming the visitor.
This design is consistent with international branding whilst maintaining an individuality, allowing QVS to promote the product in a distinctive way that will appeal to an Australian audience.
The primary goal of the site was to provide a portal from which players can pre-purchase and pre-load the game. Not only would pre-purchase ensure they can begin playing as soon as it launches, it also allows access to pre-launch events in which the game is tested and previewed.
In order to purchase a copy, players must create an account on the website. On their account dashboard they can view past purchase data, access the serial codes needed for events, and review their recent game-related activity. The sign-up process and payment gateway is fast and easy to use, allowing site visitors to complete transactions quickly.
Along with providing a pre-launch purchase facility, the site needed to feature a hub for news on products and events. A content management system was used for the news area, making it easy for the client to upload news stories and pictures as needed.
Forum and Competition area:
MMO games, by their nature, encourage socialising and discussion online. The online forum allows players to share and discuss issues with others. Although other game-related forums exist on the web, this allows QVS to see what players are saying about the game – providing crucially important feedback – and allows them to provide official responses to questions.
Being able to offer competitions also helps maintain interest in the game in the lead up to the full launch as well as encouraging activity on the site.
Media sharing area:
The game’s critically-acclaimed artwork is one of the features that has made it so popular. As such, screenshots, videos, wallpapers, concept art and more are available for download from the media area of the site. This section also features a content management system, allowing QVS to update and add images as desired.
In the month from 22 April to 22 May, pages on the site were viewed a total of 33,442 times. The pages within the purchase funnel and the news section were the top viewed pages on the site, indicating that the website was easy to navigate and clearly achieved its primary goals.