Guild Wars 2 To Get ‘Consistent Free Updates,’ Expansion

By Nathan Grayson on September 18th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Obviously, the first thing they need to address is the glaring lack of screen-filling spell effects.

How much do you think you’ll have to pay for more Guild Wars 2 content? Several hundred thousand dollars? All of your most prized possessions? Your immortal soul? Well then, sheesh, you have clearly never purchased a videogame before. ArenaNet, though, is opting to go below and beyond the typical standard of game content pricing – that is, the part where it, you know, costs money. There will be many free things, and they will arrive often – like home-baked goods from an affectionate, nurturing grandparent, except with more swords and fewer messages supporting uncomfortable social norms from 60 years ago.

After players voiced their concerns about what’s next for Guild Wars 2, game director Colin Johanson took to the forums to reassure them.

“No need to buy them, Gw2 will feature consistent free content updates and in-game events going forward. Our goal is to make it so you get more from Gw2 for free than you get from a game you pay a subscription for. On top of a large amount of free bonus content, we will be expanding on offerings in the Black Lion Trading Company going forward, as well as be doing large-scale expansion content down the road.”

“We do appreciate that you’d like to buy lots of new content, but we’d prefer to give a lot of it to you for free, cause that’s what we think a responsible MMO company does!”

So basically, it’ll be an evolution of the groundwork laid by Guild Wars 1 – which also lacked a subscription fee and still managed to produce free content patches. It’s impressive, though, that ArenaNet has decided to stick to that mentality in a day-and-age when many non-sub MMOs have become a bit too nickel-and-dime-happy. Admittedly, GW2 has a cash shop, but the convenience items are actually, well, convenient – and not giant, writhing chunks of essential gameflesh that have been ripped out to make ponying up a necessity.

So bravo to ArenaNet for that. Here’s hoping the quality of the content will end up matching its quantity. Granted, if the game proper is anything to go on (hint: it is), then I don’t think we’ll have too much to worry about.

 

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75 Comments »

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  1. mipearson says:

    I nominate Nathan Grayson for “Best Lead Paragraph on a Gaming Website” and “Best Lead Paragraph on a Website” and “Best” for this story and the one preceding.

    Second?

    • rawrty says:

      I’ll be honest to say I wasn’t sure about him when he first started writing for RPS. But, his articles have consistently improved over time and I I think he now has nailed the style and tone of what I expect from RPS articles while still keeping it his own. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say best, but I certainly look forward to reading his articles as much as the older hacks on the site. And considering the typical quality of writing on RPS, I think that’s a pretty big compliment.

    • domogrue says:

      Agree. We should totally take him out for beers. Hey Nathan, lets grab some beers. I’ll buy the first round. The alcohol will like the free content patch to your life and we’ll be the Arenanet.

      This is totally going to work guys.

  2. Dominic White says:

    And before anyone starts clamoring about ‘Pay2Win!’… First, the items available are almost all cosmetic and convenience stuff (more bank space, more character slots), and you can buy any cash-shop stuff with in-game money, and it’s actually pretty cheap. A character slot will set you back a couple gold coins depending on the exchange rate at the time.

    • Calneon says:

      Exactly. You can basically ignore the whole real money thing and pretend it was an NPC selling you this stuff for gold.

      • Groove says:

        Question, how reliable is it buying gems for gold? And at what sort of level does it become even vaguely workable?

        I’m playing and loving it, but I have a highest level character of 18 and I’ve done a lot of titting around with alts. It looks like you’ll need to be lv70-80 and do some work to earn enough money to buy a character slot with gems, is that right?

        Although on another note, if they are planning to release free content as well as paid, I’ll be happy to drop £25 or so on 3 more character slots.

        • Dominic White says:

          Given that it’s possible to hit max level in maybe a week of play, and that’s without grinding or repetition, it’s really not that big a deal. You make way more money from the last few zones, though.

          Takes maybe 30-45 minutes of play to earn a gold. So you can earn a character slot in maybe 2 hours of play?

          • TormDK says:

            Please define “A weeks worth of playing” in hours :)

          • Dominic White says:

            If you abuse the ridiculous XP windfalls from crafting? 30-40. Okay, so maybe it’s a pretty intense week. Two weeks.

            Most normal players will take 70-80 hours. Same as a standard RPG.

          • Groove says:

            Okay, that sounds kinda like I expected. It sounds like a good idea when I do get to the top level, but I really won’t be doing it in a week.

            I’ve spent a lot of time following and talking to NPCs. Have you ever met the Jotun in the Hoelbrak? He spawns at the main zone entrance and walks slowly towards the great lodge. I followed him all the way, then he talks to a guy, then he sets up and starts telling you about the entire history of the Jotun as a people. Apart from this guy all I’d seen of the Jotun were as a minor enemy in one corner of one zone. Now I know how the gods abandoned them and unlike the Norn they didn’t have the animal spirits to connect support them. So now they’re losing all tradition and basically becoming feral.

            I also ran an event in a mine, then the mine foreman took all the ore we’d mined back to a settlement, saying he was going to sell it, but the main reason he went was to the flirt with the female blacksmith. It didn’t lead to an event, and it wasn’t signposted. He just said he was going to town, went flirting, then went back to the mine.

            I also met a random guy in a hunting lodge who told me about how the spirit of owl was destroyed saving the Norn from Jormmag, and then he told me a lewd joke.

            What were we talking about? Oh yeah, it’ll be a while before I hit 80.

          • Randomer says:

            Crafting is an insanely slow and unfulfilling process (at least at level 17, where I am).

            Example:
            I’ve got tons of copper and wood and string and leather. Sweet, let’s go make myself some useful armor! Or barring that, I’ll just level up crafting a bunch. Oh wait, I can’t do either of those until I go out and grind for dozens of vials of bat blood. Oh well, so much for crafting.

          • TormDK says:

            Wait till you need 8 mob drops per combine to make one item (Needed to make level 20 bronze weapons/armour)

            It goes on like that for each metal tier btw. So it doesn’t get better :) Crafting as a solo person without support is going to cost alot of coin on the Trading post, or alot of time farming mats.

          • Squirrelfanatic says:

            I’ve bought bank expansion slots worth 1800 gems during the first two weeks, with a total cost of ~3,75 gold. The exchange rate might have been a bit better than it is now, but buying gems in reasonable amounts hardly necessitates reaching level 80 and/or grinding. The money mostly came from not buying stuff on the Trading Post, completing zones and doing a bit of WvWvW.

          • aepervius says:

            About crafting : initallly I crafted only item i had in my list of recipe. It was insanely hard to go to a next tier. But i found out the way to easily craft to the next tier :
            1) make ingredient first , tons of them
            2) make the “+might” insignia second and other type of insignia
            3) for every type of items in my list, craft the ingredient but rather than add the default third ingredient (mob gatherable) I add a new insignia.

            initially I spent 500 wood about for not much, but my last 200 wood with this new method I went from nearly 30 in crafting to 55. In one hour.

            I have no idea if the trend continue but finding new recipe seems to give *more* xp crafting than making the known recipe.

          • AngoraFish says:

            re: crafting.

            I love crafting. GW2 crafting is, IMHO, a complete crock of shit. There is no chance of ever crafting anything useful to your level from normal gameplay. You either have to buy gold and pick up mats from the AH or wait to the endgame and do same. Crafting seems to be GW2’s answer to ‘end game’. I’ve got 4 professions over 100, but I’m now giving up. Just managing your inventory takes longer than playing the game itself. Pro-tip – there is a ‘collectables’ tab in the bank that takes stacks. Dump all mats in there there craft away when you finally hit 80. Overall, a real disappointment.

          • Vorphalack says:

            ”There is no chance of ever crafting anything useful to your level from normal gameplay. ”

            I’ve made my blue and green toughness / vitality set at every level of Armoursmithing up to steel with no more than 1 hours diversion to gather some extra scales. All sets were completed on or just before the level where I was able to equip the items. I even made 2 gold just selling the trophies I didn’t plan on using. I don’t know what you are doing wrong, but you are doing it wrong.

          • Groove says:

            I had huge problems until I realised what to do with insignias. Especially since insignia-crafted gear (at least my level) creates stuff at different levels from standard list gear.

          • aliksy says:

            I don’t know what you people are doing, but I consistently get my crafting to a point where I’m making stuff above my level.

            You have to make discoveries. If you make the same (final) item more than once (or twice for rings/earrings) you are doing it wrong

          • roy7 says:

            Agree that people seem to be doing crafting wrong. If you want to level crafting, discover things. If you are short on mats to make inscriptions, don’t farm them o rbuy them. Buy the inscriptions themselves. Much cheaper than buying the raw mats. Heck, you can sell the mats, buy the inscriptions, and make a profit doing so while still leveling crafting. So if you need to level up to the next teir of items, buy 6 inscriptions of Might (for example) and combine it with each item you can make. Repeat with the other inscriptions until you have leveled enough for a new teir of items.

            Every 5 levels I re-outfit my Guardian (armorsmithing) and my Ranger (leatherworking, huntsman) with new gear that is significantly better than any drops I’ve found. Then I throw some Runes of Life on there too. I find crafting fun, rather painless to level, and the items are always upgrades.

            But remember it’s often much cheaper to buy intermediate items from TP and sell your raw ore. People must grind intermediate items and dump them on TP, when things like glove linings you need to discovery items are only 4c each.

          • mnem says:

            @groove

            You must find the singing Skritt! Its in the mine where there is a bunch of drunk skritt, sadly I forgot which map.

            Also this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9ibJM1oPvY

            A quaggan organ (music instrument )

        • TormDK says:

          My highest level is 38, and I have about 2g to my name.

          I craft alot though, and don’t sell stuff on the Trading post, so your milage may vary.

          I have however purchased 4000 gems for Cash, because I wanted more bank Space and more character slots NAOW!

          But I like the idea that those of us with no patience can help support the game financially, while those with more time on their hands and/or patience can get the same benefits if they Invest the time on it.

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          jrodman says:

          Well they seem to be running the gold/gem interface as a currency exchange, so the value of gems for gold and vice versa may change as the player base enters different phases of its lifespan.

          I suspect gems will become valued higher as related to gold, but i’m frequently wrong about estimating future values in MMOs, so don’t listen to me overmuch.

          The main point is the value points may move, but currently it’s not very much effort to buy up the conveniences. Keeping yourself in the gem-consumables could difficult if you wanted to use them all the time, but I’m not sure if that would even feel fun.

          • Phantoon says:

            No, you’re right. It doesn’t take an economist to note that as the gold amount in the market rises, the gems that hold a real money value will increase in gold transfer value.

            It’s just gonna take some time. I decided I didn’t want to wait so I cashed my gems out into bank slots and bag slots, and even an extra character slot. (Gems I all bought with gold).

            Now I have 400 left but my main has full bag slots, so I’m not sure what to do with it.

        • cyrenic says:

          I bought a 6th character slot with in game gold before I hit lvl 20 (or right around there, can’t remember exactly what level I was). It cost about 2 gold. Way easier to get with in game gold than I thought it would be.

        • Brun says:

          Tailoring has been a pain in the ass to level because it requires you to farm mobs (for cloth and leather drops to salvage). I gave up on trying to level it as I leveled up because I outleveled the mobs that drop entry-level cloth (Jute).

    • frightlever says:

      Important point that. So long as you can buy anything on the store using Gems bought with gold I have no complaints about it.

      Loving the game still and I’m just crafting and PvE levelling, slowly. I’m trying to max out maps before I move on but with all the broken events it’s getting harder and harder.

      I did dabble in WvWvW, while shit-faced. Not much fun, but likely to be more fun once I max level and don’t need the artificial bounce.

    • SpiderLoot says:

      Honestly, anyone who shouts pay2win hasn’t actually played the game. I’ve gotten a ton of cashshop items for free from in-game drops and rewards itself, and find myself forgetting to use them due to their ineffectual feeling. The only one that really feels like it has long term is the PvP glory booster, which I’ve also got without spending a thing in the shop.

  3. Zanchito says:

    These guys understand what I want!

    • SelfEsteemFund says:

      They understand what I want & I don’t even play MMOs! I’m seriously tempted to pick this up just to support them as they seem like very awesome & talented devs. Maybe I can hope for a free weekend at some point

  4. Yosharian says:

    I stopped playing GW2… bored of it. Shrug,

    • Toberoth says:

      Shrug.

    • JustAPigeon says:

      I’m still playing GW2… not bored of it. Shrug,

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      I shrugged off a bore.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Shrug.

      Hey guys, I said SHRUG.

      GUYS!

      SHRUG!

      No-one’s looking… I…

      SHRUG!

    • Davee says:

      I haven’t played GW2 to a great extent since launch. I don’t want to rush through it all at once and then get bored. Shrug.

      • Yosharian says:

        I just don’t feel compelled to play it at all. The multiplayer aspect is far outclassed by other games (not MMOs) and the questing experience just doesn’t excite me.

        It’s just my opinion, guys. No need to nerd rage.

        • f1x says:

          Well you expressed your opinion expecting feedback,
          In this internet world, feedback comes usually quite nerd-raged

          Or did you expect to go to a GW2 article to say GW is boring and get people to venerate you as a prophet or something?

        • DiamondDog says:

          Yes all this nerd-rage manifesting itself as a gentle mocking.

          No, I just thought it was funny that you said ‘shrug’. If my feelings about a game amounted to a shrug, I’d probably skip over an article about it. I mean, if I really fucking hated it I’d rant for hours, but a shrug? Surely you can’t call a shrug an opinion?

          • Yosharian says:

            I wrote Shrug because I’m not entirely sure why the game doesn’t maintain my interest. All the ingredients are there, it just doesn’t do it for me.

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            Sarigs says:

            I’ve also noticed that is the word Shrug is written enough times in a close enough proximity it starts looking weird…like it’s mispelled or something….

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          AlwaysRight says:

          ‘Shrug’ is the new ‘meh’

          Your comment was like one of those phone-ins off of the radio:
          “do you a) agree with this new proposal b) disagree or c) don’t care either way”

          Why bother phoning in if you don’t give a shit!?

          why bother indeed…

        • Phantoon says:

          You’re the one missing out, so I don’t really see the need to complain at you.

          It’s not like you came in here and started a flame war about this game and That Other Game.

    • razgon says:

      Perhaps a newsletter with this information would be something I could subscribe to?

      Anyways, Arenanet are pretty cool! Good on them for going this route. I just hope they make enough money so that this can become an industry standard instead of this very very annoying Subscription MMO comes out, people whine they want it for free, Subscription MMO goes down under in flames due to low subscribers. Such a shame!

  5. Njordsk says:

    I think YAY is appropriated.

    So YAY.

    Thank ANet

  6. Davee says:

    ANet just overtook a position in my “Favorite Dev Studios” top 5 list. Again.

  7. Zepp says:

    It’s not a bad game but it’s not a good one either. I bought *sigh* Pandaland as the last chance to get hooked into an mmo. If it fails to be *fun* then I’m too old for gaming. :P

    • Yosharian says:

      I feel that in some critical aspects GW2 still fails to better WOW. GW2 is still the better game, though, because it at least tries to avoid the skinner box somewhat.

    • f1x says:

      Well if you dont like GW2, I dont know what you are expecting to find in Mists of Pandaria,

      pet battles?

      Im not a wow hater, actually Mists will be the first WoW expansion I dont intend to buy, when you check the website, developer comments, videos, features, you get bored just by reading that

      PD: Never too old for gaming!, just try a different thing, perhaps not an MMO, not online, not rpg, whatever

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        You can expect:

        Challenging, engaging raid encounters (if you want to deal with the hassle of being part of a raid group)
        Nice zone environments (though gw2 has these)

        Okay, I’m out of positives.

  8. ghling says:

    As good as this sounds (hey, free content), it also raises my concern that the item shop will stay as cosmetic as it is now. The thing is: ArenaNet is a company as every other developer / publisher, so they need a constant income to pay their employees, bills, server costs and so on. If they now say that all new content will be free of charge, that also means they rely on the cash shop to generate enough income. But for that, IMO they need to get the people to buy more and more gems (more than they can acquire with ingame-gold) for always newer and better items. And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how people will buy the 20th costume set (which is all you can buy besides the collectibles and upgrades you own one day).
    Comparing to GW1, there were many addons you had to buy (Factions, Nightfall, Eye of the North) and which raised additional money for ArenaNet. I don’t want to say that the model with the cosmetic cash shop won’t work at all, but I’m very concerned they will face the temptation to get more money by selling non-cosmetic items one day.

    • Zanchito says:

      This worked for Guild Wars 1. They have the experience and a proven previous implementation. I see no cause for concern or mistrust.

    • Snakejuice says:

      I’m sure ArenaNet will release “lots” of paid for expansions for GW2 just as with GW1 and make a lot of dosh that way.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      But the statement quoted in the article doesn’t say that all future content will be free. It’s just that there will be some free content, which doesn’t rule out the possibility for paid-for expansions, like in GW1. At least this is what I hope will happen (I’d never have thought that I’d be happy to pay more than I need to, but here I am).

    • Premium User Badge

      Naum says:

      Neither Colin nor this article say everything will be free. The third sentence of Colin’s statement specifically mentions that there will be micro transactions and (paid-for) expansions in addition to the promised free content.

      Apart from that, I’ll definitely stay vigilant as well. ArenaNet has a bit of a history of using the friendliest possible words for their plans — they’re never strictly wrong, but occasionally tend to cause higher expectations than would be justified. (Or that’s just me not being used to American PR speak.)

    • malkav11 says:

      My guess is that we will see some additional content for this continent for free, but unlocking Cantha and Elona will be full price retail releases.

    • Arglebargle says:

      I think you underestimate the number of people who will fork over cash for costumery. Certainly, Anet should know, after their long tenure with GW1.

      I personally find it tempting. If they just weren’t under the NCSoft umbrella….

  9. SpiderLoot says:

    GW2 is pretty much the only time I’ve ever played an MMO and actually had a good time. The entire aspect of it’s exploration, following the narratives of it’s events and just getting lost in the world. It’s fantastic. Alone, it’s beautiful to just take your time and follow the goings on in the map, just being pulled along by the events and movements of players. With others, the synergy of other players through support and cross combination is immensely satisfying. Also if it’s with people you know that exploration is all the more rewarding.

    It’s also massively flawed in some areas, and quite frustrating. But despite those flaws it;s one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    I see ArenaNet have just announced an OSX beta client for GW2
    https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/announcing-guild-wars-2-for-mac-beta/

    I just hope I can copy over the game content from my Windows install and avoid downloading all 20Gb again…

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      I have a vague suspicion they will support this for their own internal testing/development sanity.

  11. Blackcompany says:

    I really want a trial. And controller support, since its action combat. But that I can map. I am just loathe to drop $50 on another game right now. Burned too often of late.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      One expects the trial will come once the load drops.

      Controller mapping will probably work?
      There’s a fair amount of abilities that you have to click and then place (set the point of this aoe attack) which might be hard with a controller as compared to a mouse. And in the end there’s a fair amount of binds. 1-5 attackish things, 1-4 utility things, and 1-4 special actions for the utility things. So I guess 13 buttons.

      The *feel* seems like it should translate to controllers, at least.

      If you want I could loan you my login, for a couple days.

  12. aircool says:

    I’ve already paid £16 for some in game stuff (like extra bank slots), so I bloody hope there’ll be free content. Of course, I spent quite a bit on GW as for extra character slots and the like.

    Champions Online seemed to get things just about right with the free content and microtransactions. I’m pretty confident that GW2 will get the balance right.

    What does this mean for other games though? With PS2 looking to offer microtransactions and the like, most of my money is going to go on extras for my favourite games (like GW2 and PS2 for example). Apart from pre-ordering XCOM, I don’t think I’ve actually spent any money on video games this year unless BF3 was released this year. I can’t remember ‘cos it was a bit shit and I didn’t play it for long :)

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      jrodman says:

      Is PS2 now Planetside 2, after being playstation and personal system (IBM)?

  13. Shooop says:

    They need to fix the “personal” story quests fast. They are absolutely bullshit on a level I haven’t seen since Super Mario Frustration. Whose idea of fun is it to give you 2 absolutely useless NPCs and then throw waves of 20 or more enemies who all cause poison and cripple at you? Have that person committed now.