So there’s this question that I keep seeing new GW2 players ask, and it’s “will Guild Wars 2 download in the background?” Here’s the answer to this question.
One of the more annoying things with starting a new game in the modern era is downloading it. When games, especially MMOs are pushing 50+ GB in file sizes, that download takes forever. And if you’re stuck on unstable or slow internet, that’s a big problem. Some games can even push 100 GB in size. Who wants to spend days downloading that new game?
And with MMORPGs, players want to level with their friends, and getting left behind because of a slow download sucks. So some developers have started to find ways around the problem. One of the new ones being added by big names in the MMO scene is instanced downloads. by breaking up the download into chunks, players get content in batches. This not only allows the download to be continued later, but also, it gets delivered in a certain order. This change allowed MMO players to get their games to a “playable” state much faster.
This was a revolutionary change when World of Warcraft and other MMOs started introducing it. The idea was that the server would deliver the opening zones to players first, with the zones they would reach later being pushed further into the download queue. This means that the first 20 or so levels of content can be accessed in just a few hours of downloading at worst, assuming you have very slow broadband.
So yes, the Guild Wars 2 download in the background is a thing. That means you can experience the base game without much waiting around.
When the game first launched, this was not the case. ArenaNet originally didn’t have support for content streaming and the infrastructure to enable it. The feature was added later as the game grew. Over the months since launch, the constant stream of content made it so that new players were having to download 20+ gigabytes of data before they could even get into the game.