If it seems like it?s been years since the announcement of the follow-up to ArenaNet?s massively successful Guild Wars, that?s because it has. Guild Wars 2, originally announced in 2007, has been bucked through nearly five years of development hell, with release dates for the free MMO continually pushed back.

However, it looks like the wait may finally be over ? or, at least, the wait for an actual release window. Mike O?Brien, ArenaNet?s president, issued a public statement on the company?s official blog. In it, he noted that Guild Wars would indeed be coming in 2012, but not before a public beta and some thorough testing.

The beta, which begins in March, will slowly expand in userbase through April until ArenaNet is confident the game is ready for a full retail release. This is certainly good news for the adventure MMORPG, which has been steadily losing subscribers as new games come to market.

Guild Wars 2 will continue the series? tradition of being free to play, but will offer several gameplay improvements including revamped classes, a high level cap at 80 and world PVP. Sadly, current Guild Wars players will not be able to import their characters into Guild Wars 2 ? everyone must start from scratch.

Are you excited to see Guild Wars 2 finally entering beta?

Source: GameSpy