Guild Wars 2's number of active players has more than doubled in the last 3 years

Spooky gun Necromancer.
(Image credit: ArenaNet)

Guild Wars 2's third expansion, End of Dragons, appears to have gone down well with its community. To the extent that, in a giant post detailing what's next for the game, the studio also takes a moment to celebrate the game's popularity of late.

"We're seeing incredible growth in the community," writes ArenaNet. "In fact, the number of active Guild Wars 2 players has more than doubled over the last three years. This growth has helped Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons outsell our previous expansion, Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire."

I asked Guild Wars 2's game director Josh Davis what, specifically, counts as an active player—and whether that increase was driven by alt accounts over regular fresh blood.

"Active players are defined as those who log fully into the game and load into a map," Davis writes. "Our growth over the last three years is largely driven by new players coming to the game and the return of veteran players. A lot of live service games saw significant growth during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We've been able to sustain that growth well into 2022 and see no signs of slowing down, especially with a release on Steam and future expansions on the horizon. Players with alt accounts are a very small percentage of our overall player base."

It's surprising just how much growth the game saw before the expansion's launch—it was a relatively quiet period in terms of new content, although the free Legendary amulet given out on completion of the 'Season of the Dragon'—a series of achievements based around replaying old Living World story—certainly helped drag me back. And, anecdotally, I even persuaded a few friends to join me.

Naturally, End of Dragons' success will also have been good for the game. It's a fun time, bookended by one of the most spectacular final maps in the game's history. It's a strong basis for ArenaNet to build on in future.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.