Guild Wars 2 on Mac Will Be Discontinued

by | Jan 12, 2021 | MMORPG

This is a sad day for Mac gaming. ArenaNet, Guild Wars 2’s developer has officially announced they will discontinue the Mac version of the game on February 18, 2021.

And it doesn’t matter whether you like Guild Wars 2 or not, or even MMOs for that matter. It’s a sad day because losing support of a hugely popular game is always bad for Mac gaming as a whole:

Starting February 18, we will be discontinuing support for the Mac OS version of Guild Wars 2. This means the Mac client will no longer work after this date.

You can read ArenaNet’s entire announcement on their blog.


Why are they discontinuing Guild Wars 2 on Mac?

According to ArenaNet’s official announcement, the reasons are mainly technological:

In 2018, Apple ended support for the OpenGL graphics technology that Guild Wars 2 uses on the Mac. They have also stopped actively fixing problems on Mac OS related to OpenGL, including graphics hardware driver issues.

But this sounds more like an excuse than a legitimate issue, mainly for 2 reasons:

1. Resources

Countless developers, both big and small, continue to support their games on macOS. Some even made the move from OpenGL to Metal to future-proof their games. Granted, moving a game to the Metal API requires time and resources, and many developers can easily do it because the engine they use supports Meta out of the box (the Unity engine being the perfect example).

But even if ArenaNet decides it wouldn’t be profitable to spend development hours on Metal, OpenGL is still around and many games continue to use without a problem. As far as we know, OpenGL could stick around for years, so why the rush?

2. Apple Silicon

ArenaNet implies that Apple’s decision to move to ARM-based processors is another insurmountable problem:

The differences in chip hardware will make it very costly and difficult for us to support both the old and new processor designs.

Yet all M1 Macs with ARM processors have access to a tool called Rosetta 2, which automatically translates Intel apps to ARM. And by the way, many games run even better on M1 Macs using Rosetta, than equivalent Intel-based Macs that run the game natively.

PS: We have tested close to 200 games already and 99% of them work flawlessly.

ArenaNet’s decision is obviously a business decision. Their revenue from Mac users isn’t worth the hassle anymore, and they prefer to stop the operation. And that’s ok. . A developer needs to be profitable and they should invest their resources where it makes more sense.

Blaming Apple, though, and using them as an excuse is not the way to go. Their customers deserved more transparency and honesty.

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What it means to you

In any case, their decision has been made, but what does it mean to you? In a nutshell, you will be able to play Guild Wars 2 on Mac until February 18, 2021. At that point, the Mac client will stop working altogether.

To partially protect paying customers, players won’t be able to purchase Gems on the Mac version of the game beginning starting January 19, 2021.

They also shared more details concerning Guild Wars 2 Mac players:

  • We will not close any accounts based on what platform(s) you have played on. All of your characters, progress, purchases, friends, and memories are already accessible via the Windows version of the game.
  • For the time being, Mac users can still play Guild Wars 2 using the Nvidia GeForce Now service.
  • Mac players can request refunds for client or gem store purchases through the customer support portal. We will be able to refund purchases within a 30-day window of the refund request.

And with that, Mac gamers are about to lose one of the best MMOs available on macOS.

Guild Wars 2 Mac version


A troubled past

We’ve covered Guild Wars 2 in the past.

The Mac version of the game has been around since day one but feedback from gamers has always been extremely conflicting: for some, it worked great, for others, it barely worked at all.

When it became free-to-play, we decided it was time to give it a real test and benchmark it on several Macs. To respect the work that went into that review, including contributions from remote testers, you can still find our results below:

‼️ The benchmarks and results below won’t be relevant anymore when the game will be discontinued on February 18, 2021.


The Test

The game was tested on these three machines:

  • iMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014): 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M290X (2GB)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016): 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1.5GB)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013): 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1.5GB)

Each machine was tested using our in-house FPS tool, Count It, while playing the game for about 10 minutes using the settings below:

Guild Wars 2 settings V2

The Results

In spite of the rumors and complaints, Guild Wars 2 ran fine on Mac. Granted, the game was somewhat demanding, as can be seen from our 2013 MacBook Pro results, but that can be expected from an MMO.

These are our results running the game natively on macOS Mojave:

Guild Wars 2 benchmark export
As a reminder, this is how we describe the different levels of performance:

  • Below 20 FPS: Unplayable: Laggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.
  • 20-30 FPS: Borderline: Can be OK in slow-paced games. Still, not optimal.
  • 30-45 FPS: Playable: Acceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).
  • 45-60 FPS: Smooth: Fluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.
  • 60+ FPS: Very Smooth: For hardcore and professional players, a luxury for most.

We usually aim for 30 FPS, because 30 FPS is enough to guarantee a smooth and fluid experience for most.

Guild Wars 2 MacBook Pro


Top Guild Wars 2 alternatives

If you too are disappointed about the news and are desperately looking for a replacement, you’re in luck. Few genres have as many excellent macOS games as MMORPGs.

The obvious choices are the following:

  •  World of Warcraft: Its developer, Blizzard, is fully committed to macOS. In fact, this is one of the only few games that have native versions for M1 Macs.
  • Final Fantasy 14: In spite of issues in the past, Final Fantasy 14 offers great Mac support. And when things go south, its developer isn’t afraid to be open and transparent about the issues.

Are you sad to see Guild Wars 2 go? Have you decided what will be your next go-to MMO on Mac?

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26 Comments
  1. ikir

    Yeah but it is still a bugged, slow cider port.

    Reply
    • Camilo López Cristoffanini

      A long lasting discussion!
      In my mac it works perfectly =P!

      Reply
      • ikir

        But not for most since he forum was flooded by bugs and upset users, they even offered refounds.

        Reply
        • Camilo López Cristoffanini

          Of course you’ll find more people saying that it did not work than it did, because people without problems won’t look at that part of the forum!
          But I admit that is divided!

          Reply
          • ikir

            Sure i work in a support center and users just whine and blame. But anyway the forums was filled with rants, all my friends had problems we were about 6 players all quitted for bugs. Sometimes Arena net support replied that they haven’t any Mac to test the game on…. and cider files were configured badly… for example the gam ran better in Crossover!!!! THIS IS NO SENSE.

      • Mac Gamer Ric

        @ikir:disqus @cami_lopezcr:disqus What GFX card do you guys have?

        Reply
        • Chris Tallant

          650GT. 2012 MBP. Works without issue.

          Reply
        • Camilo López Cristoffanini

          An Intel HD 4000 graphics card, ZERO problems!

          Reply
        • Mac Gamer Ric

          That leaves you @ikir:disqus, what brand is yours?

          Reply
  2. Camilo López Cristoffanini

    Awesomeeeeeeeeeee!!! Great news, I have downloaded it already and hope this weekend immerse myself several hours on it!

    Reply
      • Camilo López Cristoffanini

        It plays greatly with my Intel HD 4000 graphics card!

        Reply
        • Mac Gamer Ric

          Good to know! I know someone is working on the gamplay video but always nice to hear that even slightly older Macs can handle it.

          Reply
  3. ikir

    Tried it yesterday, the game is more polished, they did a good job lately but the performance are not optimal. With high settings my Mac Pro drops frames… which is a joke considering i can run all other games to max setting like Bioshock Infinite. The gameplay is awesome like i remembered… but seeing still the “mac beta” icon on their client when they did not release a single OS X patch in years… Probably i will end buying Elder Scrolls Online 😀

    Reply
    • Mac Gamer Ric

      OMG, coming from you these are good news indeed 😉 (the fact that performance went from awful to good)
      I do agree that their Mac support is sad, after 2-3 years nothing has been done. And I guess you’re right, better give your money to a developer that cares more about their Mac port (like Blizzard!).

      Reply
  4. mikelyons

    This is welcome news but as others have mentioned the means by which is was ported remains an issue for at least some related to performance. When I tried it previously, performance was abysmal even on low settings and resolution on mid-2011 27″ iMac with 12 GIGs RAM, 3.2 i5 CPU and the then top of the line Radeon 6970m GPU.

    Reply
    • Mac Gamer Ric

      I can’t really vouch for this port as I haven’t tried it lately (last time was over 2 years ago). Many keep telling me that the game runs great on their Mac so I can only conclude that it depends on the graphics card.
      Anyway, we’ll see now that the game is free, more Mac gamers will try it and report if it’s better, worse or the same.

      Regarding the future of cider, only time will tell. Hope that Nvidia will see an interest there and at least keep it alive (ports aren’t the best, but I prefer a decent port than no port at all).

      Reply
  5. Mike Swat

    I just downloaded GW2 onto my iMac 24″ (mid 2007) 3GB ram, 2,4 Core2Duo, ATI 2600Pro 256MB and GW2 is very playable under MacOS El Captain. Settings are all on LOW but nothing other expected on this aged beauty ! a “new” iMac does not mean in the same time that it is better at gaming. like the ATI 2600 Pro got a better “GFX score” as the Geforce 9400 (who was build into iMac´s 2009 and Macbook´s 2013).

    Reply
    • Mac Gamer Ric

      For a 2007 iMac, that sounds like a very good result 😉
      Glad to hear a slightly aging iMac can still kick some ass!

      Reply
  6. Bioneye

    iMac 2017, i5 3800 Mhz, 40 GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580 8192 MB
    2560 x 1440
    Low quality – 75 FPS
    Medium quality – 44 FPS
    High quality – 27 – 30 FPS

    5120 x 2880
    Low quality – 55 FPS
    Medium quality – 21 FPS
    High quality – 27 – 15 FPS

    Reply
    • star-affinity

      That is… Pretty horrible for that hardware. 🙁

      Reply
  7. ikir

    They must have redone the port, before it was a cider port, buggy and slow, and no it was not only my case since I was playing with 5-6 friends and we all quit for this reason. Support was non existence and their Mac forums was full of complains. Happy to read they have fixed this, i’m quite sure but not tried yet, it is still a cider/crossover/wine/virtual programming port not native. If this is the case I wouldn’t call it a quality port, maybe only in the case Codeweavers done it.

    Reply
  8. Todd Jordan

    Not sure about other folks with slightly newer Macs but mine is handling it great.
    Running fullscreen 2560×1440.
    I let it default settings in for me.
    27 ” late 2015
    3.2 GHz i5
    8 GB ram
    ADM Radeon R9 M380 2048 MB

    Reply
  9. star-affinity

    I find it a bit funny that people say ”it works perfectly” when we don’t have any reference as to what that means. 🙂
    For me ”perfectly” in a game means all settings maxed out using native display resolution at a minimum of 60 frames per second.

    Guild Wars 2 has always ran like crap in OS X/MacOS for me while it runs ”perfectly” in Windows on the same hardware.

    So, I just tried again yesterday on the hardware and software below:

    -Mac Pro (Mid 2010) with 3.33 GHz six-core Intel Xeon processor
    -32 GB RAM
    -GTX 1070 graphics with 8 GB VRAM
    -Display at 1920 x 1200 pixels
    -MacOS High Sierra 10.13.6
    -Nvidia Web Driver 387.10.10.10.40.113

    Just as bad as always: I do get at most 55 fps when using Settings Preset ”Best Performance”, but even then I get hiccups and drops below 25 fps at times.

    Maybe something is wrong with the game on this setup, which I know isn’t an official setup from Apple with that 1070 graphics card.

    I do have a new 13″ 2018 MacBook Pro (Intel Iris Plus 655 graphics) that I could try the game on and see if it fares any better.

    Reply
  10. Kim Stahn

    Ric,
    First off, let me say thank you for all you have done to help Mac gaming. I just signed up for LUG, does that make me 18 again???
    Anyway, joking aside, I wanted to point out that your Free | Official Site takes me to Humble Bundle and not Arena Net. IF I was after the Heart of Thorns expansion, HB would be where I would go. As an owner of the GW2 Collector’s Edition for PC, I was never able to get the rest of my group to move to GW2. We still stalk the lands of GW for hours on end. Oh, WTH, I guess I’ll get the expansion anyway and stop. spending hours with Civ V.
    Thanks again!!

    Reply
  11. Meow

    With the same hardwares, Guild Wars 2 always runs worse on macOS, with lower FPS and crappy graphics. As ArenaNet does not really want to solve the problems and develop the Metal version, I would not recommend GW2 players running on macOS.

    Reply
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