Guild Wars 2: Pride Of The Black Lion Trading Company

But not one after the other. Even a banker could tell you that's a bad idea for your balance.

It’s Guild Wars 2 Day, and may all the gods combined have mercy on ArenaNet’s servers. I’m working on the WIT at the moment, and you can check out Alec’s early impressions of the game here, but while we battle both foul monsters and bloody overflow server bugs, we’re going to take a look at a couple of specific things of interest. Up first, the Black Lion Trading Company – the Guild Wars 2 item store that’s a little more hooked into the economy than most.

At first glance, it’s honestly off-putting. The basic concept of such a prominent item store still feels like an invasion from the free-to-play world, albeit mitigated by the lack of a monthly subscription. The items being pushed aren’t exactly inspiring either – or in many cases, even apparently from this game. Aviator sunglasses for instance. I know this is a very irreverent fantasy universe where one faction lives in a comedy Borg cube and a third or so of human players canonically regret not being circus performers… but really? This is the top item? There’s no more awesome fantasy stuff to milk before breaking out the cool shades?

Okay, maybe it’s an anomaly. I’m sure the next thing will- BOXING GLOVES?!

Wish that Profane Armor was Profanity Armour instead. That'd be a bloody good deal, and bugger anyone who complains, the bastards!

After that, things start to make a little more sense – a mix of purely cosmetic ‘town’ clothes, like a pirate outfit and a cook costume for some reason, and proper armour sets that don’t have any stats of their own, but can be applied to actual gear you have but want to look a little snazzier. It’s restricted to its type though – a heavy armour set can only apply to heavy armour pieces, so you can’t have your Elementalist running around in full plate even if you pay the toll.

Beyond cosmetics, there’s a fair amount – the bulk of it consumables. There’s the Revive Orb, which you can buy on its own or in packs of 5, special salvage kits to remove upgrades from gear, a one-use instant repair canister to save you a trip back to town if your gear breaks, assorted boosters, and more. These range from a boost that gives you double Karma (currency awarded for doing quests around the world) to the incredibly brief Killstreak Experience Booster which only lasts 30 seconds, but is reset with every kill. Make it count, I guess.

A sizable chunk of what’s on offer is in goody-bag form. The store itself – as a specific purchase – won’t sell you black dye simply because you want it, just a Dye Pack that contains 5 common and 2 uncommon/rare dyes and presumably explodes if you try to take it out of a bank. “Evon Gnashblade’s Box O’ Fun” likewise only promises five minutes of random goodies for you and any allies, including shape-shifting fun. Needless to say, Guild Wars 2 has those bloody crates that can only be opened with special keys. It also has the more unusual “Cow Finisher” for PvP players, which pulls an Earthworm Jim and drops a cow on your defeated enemies.

Price-wise, the minimum gem purchase – in real money – is £8 for 800 gems. Cosmetic items run from around 150 gems for a single piece to 700 for a set, boosters are 75-150 for individual shots, consumables run from 75 to 250, and most services go from 35 to 250.

Hey, it's the Fail Whale! Like Twitter, only involving way more than 140 characters.

Looking through what you get, nothing even approaches the dreaded Pay To Win barrier, with the boosters speeding up your progress but not at anyone else’s expense, and most of the rest being time-saving or cosmetics. Probably the most interesting of the cosmetic side are the Transmutation Stones, which let you apply the look of one armour piece onto the stats of another, saving you being forced to wander Tyria looking like a refugee clown.

I just hope these aren’t artificially scarce, especially now that it’s an increasingly common thing to be able to do in MMOs. The wiki states that higher level ones are only purchasable with gems, while lower level ones will be ‘available through other in-game methods’, though doesn’t offer any details on what those will be – drops, shops, or things that don’t even rhyme.

The only one that really stands out as over-priced is the Additional Character Slot upgrade, which is a whopping 800 gems. For reference, you only get five character slots in the base game, which is one per race. However, there are 8 character classes for alt-a-holics to collect, not to mention the alternate versions of each race’s story for hardcore completionists.

What makes the Black Lion shop interesting though is that it combines real-world and in-game money. You can straight-up buy gems, but you can also convert them into gold, and gold back into gems. The exchange rate changes over time, and you can put any amount in. At the time of writing, 10 silver worked out to 27 gems. As an experiment, I swapped 5 silver for 13 gems, which would have converted back to just a little over 3. Riches indeed.

As for the wider picture, player-to-player transactions use regular gold rather than gems, meaning ArenaNet gets a cut of the virtual funbucks both coming and going regardless of whether players are buying gold or converting their in-game cash to buy premium items. On the purchasing side, it’s only one tiny step away from being a real money auction house. On the selling side though, there’s no way to get money out of the system again.

WARNING: Do not consume keys orally.

Like a lot of Guild Wars 2, I’m as curious to see how the Currency Trading side of this works out as much as anything else – how the exchange rate will vary once people are really going to town on it, and how it’ll change as and when cool new things are added. Handled properly, it’s both a handy profit centre for ArenaNet and a clever way of getting gold out of the economy for the price of a few cool looking bits of tat. I have faith that they’ll avoid the pay-to-win trap.

I do however hope they can resist the siren’s call of the TF2 MannCo catalogue and try to focus on more setting-appropriate stuff than Aviators and boxing gloves when deciding what to flog. It’s a thin line between fun and silly, and I’d rather stick to the other one while the game is still setting out its stall. That said, I guess a little goofiness won’t hurt. If nothing else, surely there’s only so many times they can talk about Krytan armour before doing what has to be done.


  1. gunny1993 says:

    May i just say fuck you Arena net for making 7 boxes drop on me but no keys …. i had to buy them
    (WHY?…. BECAUSE)

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I was given one at the end of the first chunk of the story quest. I’m not using it as a kind of silent protest against this scratchcard madness.

      • Durkonkell says:

        I deleted all of mine out of disgust at this kind of thing… until I discovered that the keys drop as random loot as well.

        • KikiJiki says:

          You also get given one when you 100% an area in my experience.

          • Nick says:

            the 100% completion for areas bonuses are random but keys are one of the possabilities, there is also a chance of getting a key from inside a black lion chest, so one key can turn into many open chests if lucky.

            Basic transmutation stones can be reliably gotten for fully exploring a city, haven’t found another way yet, but there may be one, they transmute items up to level 79 so not too bad there. Also I am pretty sure I got 5 level 80 trans stones from a storyline mission (up to about level 33 in story mode atm) so they are obtainable without gems as well, though probably not as many as basic ones.

          • mivvian194 says:

            Are they tradable? Might be a way to actually get stuff you want without playing the loto.

        • gunny1993 says:

          I think they will be tradable on the AH …. so you just deleted a nice bit of revenue

          • Durkonkell says:

            Except that in other games I’ve played in the past with this system, you’ve had to trade literally dozens of them to make even a small amount of money. Keys dropping randomly might make them more worthwhile, but then… if I’d known that keys dropped randomly I wouldn’t have deleted them in the first place, now would I?

          • gunny1993 says:

            Yes but since GW2 has a all serve wide trading system and a gem to gold exchange with a variable rate, we could logically expect 1 chest to sell for around its value in gems but in gold. I.e if one chest is 20 gems and 20 gems is 50 silver the price on ah should be around 50 silver. ofc this may not translate in practice but it would be plain retarded to sell them for much less

          • Captchist says:

            Unless the keys are rarer than the boxes in which case the boxes will become essentially valueless as the limiting factor becomes the keys.

        • Groove says:

          I was fairly annoyed by this, but finding out that keys drop as loot as well as the zen koan-ish idea of boxes containing keys has calmed me down some.

      • gunny1993 says:

        You only get stuff out of them that you can buy from the store, i only bought the keys because i felt like a gamble.

        Also i have only ever gotten 1 key from a story quest so i don’t know if they drop from mobs, they will however probably be fairly good to sell on the Trading house when it works.

      • f1x says:

        Yep some achievements rewards keys, not only 100% zone completions but also daily kills/gathering and some others I believe

        On the other hand, I don’t thing the gem store will get too crazy, if it goes the same route as GW1 they will release expansions quite often so they are not really dependant on the gem store only for revenues, but time will tell of course

        • Phantoon says:

          I got one of my seven keys from a random kill.

          • Gorf says:

            me too, ive had about 5 or 6 keys so far just from playing the game and i’m only lvl 22

    • Lobotomist says:

      Jeez. I got 3 keys from different drops or rewards. And used them to open chests – while smart thing would be to trade them !!!

      Why why oh why !!! Dumm dumm

    • Lev Astov says:

      The first key I was rewarded in a quest last night opened ALL of my chests, actually. I was rather surprised by that. Perhaps each chest just contained a key randomly and I got really lucky.

      • vee41 says:

        Happened to me too. Seems like 70% of chests contain another key. ANet just does things… correct. :)

        • djbriandamage says:

          I don’t know which is weirder – the concept of a chest with its own key locked inside or the fact that I agree with you that this is a good idea!

          • Brun says:

            Not necessarily its own key – obviously you can’t open the chest containing the key with said key, only subsequent chests. Either that, or Black Lion uses identical locks (and therefore identical keys) for all of their chests.

    • Ajh says:

      Oddly enough I had two keys before i even got 1 box!

    • BluElement says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the chest system they have going. I had 11 boxes. I’m down to 5 now and I haven’t bought a single key. You get one key pretty early on through all story quests, so I got 5 that way. I used one key to basically open 4 chests at once since I kept getting more keys from the chests I was opening. You shouldn’t have been so impatient to get those chests open. :)

  2. Xari says:

    The boxes actually tend to contain a key themselves, I’ve found out. I managed to open 4 boxes in a row with 1 key before I got a bunch of yellow items and nothing else.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Makes me think about those scratch games. It costs you 1 euro, you scratch it, and you win 1 euro. So you take another one. And you lose.

    • Gusj says:

      This have been largely my experience as well. I’ve had a “key-streak” going for quite a while now, so I’m not really worried about ArenaNet nickel-and-diming me yet.

      • Ateius says:

        And you could always just, you know, not open the box. I’ve got seven of them sitting in my bank awaiting the next naturally-awarded key, and feel zero urge to go spend real monies to get inside.

  3. Gnoupi says:

    I have nothing against the idea of cosmetic items being sold like this, but if only they could respect the theme.

    For people pre-ordering, there was a baseball cap, available for free in this shop. A baseball cap!

    They have an amazing style, everything else is nicely coherent, I don’t get the idea behind such items.

    • katinkabot says:

      Yeah. It’s not like I’m against wacky, silly items. I’m all for them – like that pirate costume makes you look totally crazy but it works with the world. I think tthe more modern items would fit in WoW fairly well – but it never took itself too seriously. For some reason, I’m just kind of bothered by these in this setting. I think it’s the fact that the game is presented as being immersive, so you’re running around kind of getting into your character and then – cool guy#1 runs by with aviators and boxing gloves on. It’s a little jarring.

    • Paper Milk Bag says:

      That baseball cap looks horrible on a sylvari. Trust me, I know, I’m playing one.

    • Fincher says:

      It would be such a shame too seeing as they placed a lot of importance on the aesthetic in the portfolio trailer.

      It wouldn’t be the first time silly cosmetic items ruined a world’s aesthetic, just look at TF2.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        I was thinking of TF2 as well, not because I think the TF2 items ruined the look of the game, but because the items actually look like TF2 items. TF2 items in a GW2 game. The looks just don’t mix.

    • Arglebargle says:

      This is the saddest thing I have heard about GW2, so far. Their art direction, design choices, and play variants have all seemed very nice. And then they go out and do this ‘Nyuk, Nyuk’ stuff.

      Worse, they could have done renaissance or steampunk style spectacles and still been totally inside their own themes. Baseball cap, boxing gloves, aviator shades. Tsk. Someone on the Arenanet team is falling down on the job.

  4. CommanderZx2 says:

    There were sunglasses of various styles in Guild Wars: Eye of the North. I recall specifically crafting one with the Asura crafters.

  5. Pheeze says:

    I got a key from a random drop, and a crate as a area completion reward (I think.) Inside the chest was another key!

    • Koshinator says:

      yeah, i’ve got 2 as drops now… and 1 from a story segment….

      • Gnoupi says:

        The one from the story segment comes after a segment rewarding you a chest.

        I believe that this is the “first one is free”, to get you addicted :)

  6. Skhalt says:

    “Karma (currency awarded for doing ‘heart’ quests around the world)”

    Karma is awarded for participating in dynamic events, not heart quests. However, when you complete a heart quest, you can buy stuff with karma at its associated NPC.

    “while lower level ones will be ‘available through other in-game methods’, though doesn’t offer any details on what those will be”

    I came across those transmutations stones as storyline quest rewards, map completion rewards and achievement completion rewards (some achievements are daily or monthly ones).

    • tyren says:

      I’ve been getting them as map completion rewards as well. Most notably, I’ve been getting 3 for completing a capital city on every new character I make, suggesting an easy way to get plenty of the 1-79 transmutation stones without touching the cash shop.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Aren’t they given as reward for completing the heart quests as well? I though I saw some purple in all those numbers

      • Skhalt says:

        My googling skills seem to unearth surprising results – heart quests (their True Names being renown quests, apparently) do indeed give a bit of karma at completion.
        I honestly never noticed it so the reward must be quite negligible compared to what you get in a dynamic event (plus it’s a one-time thing, contrary to events). Then again most of the time I completed renown quests because of a dynamic event in the area and not because I was actively doing it, so that might have helped bluring the line.

        • Phantoon says:

          It’s easily comparable to events, just it’s one time.

          You won’t notice as you level up, but suddenly you’ll have a few thousand.

  7. CommanderZx2 says:

    So far I’ve found about 10 crates and maybe 5 keys all from random drops / quest rewards. Just dump crates into your free bank until you get a key for it.

  8. Cooper says:

    Here’s hoping the Goon lot get into the game and screw the economy.

    They’ve had great success in playing with EVE’s economy. Which has largely been accepted, even encouraged by CCP (bar the odd bit of exploit-exploiting).

    Something like GW2 which links in-game economy with real world monies so closely is asking for a bit of engineering and market cornering…

    • frightlever says:

      Never say never, but I doubt the GS could have any material effect on GW2’s economy, given that it’s not a closed loop system and is fully under the control of Arenanet.

      • Acidictadpole says:

        Not only that, but GW2 is multi-sharded. It’s worth it in EVE because they can disrupt the entire game’s economy in a single effort.

    • Phantoon says:

      I doubt they could do that to the same degree.

      They’re apparently rolling on my server, though. No idea why.

  9. apocraphyn says:

    “The wiki states that higher level ones are only purchasable with gems, while lower level ones will be ‘available through other in-game methods’, though doesn’t offer any details on what those will be – drops, shops, or things that don’t even rhyme.”

    The wiki lies! I got some of the level 80 Transmutation Stones from a Black Lion Chest.

  10. ElvisNeedsBoats says:

    “like a pirate outfit and a cook costume for some reason”

    Well there is a pretty demanding cooking skill. If people are dedicated, they may wish to dress as one.

  11. Nyorai says:

    What annoys me the most, is the random dyes. I despise this kind of thing with passion. You want a specific color? Play a lottery. Just why… I will never buy something like this just because you can end up with colors you have no interest in and even end up with the same ones. I’m fine with this being an option with something like a little more for a specific color.

    • Paper Milk Bag says:

      How do you feel about having to recollect dyes if you plan on rolling an (several) alt(s)?

      • KikiJiki says:

        You don’t have to, you can mark them as a favourite and they are available for all your characters.

        • Paper Milk Bag says:

          Ooh, learn something new every day. Thank god there’s a workaround for that ridiculous limitation. And thank you!

    • CommanderZx2 says:

      In my time of playing I’ve found maybe 20 dyes and when you use a dye it is bound to your character. So that you can use it as many times as you want without cost forever. I’ve gotten 3 rare dyes including black, which was the rarest in guild wars 1. It’s not hard to come across the colours you want, just play the game.

      Unlike guild wars 1 dyes are no longer one use item, you can just keep using them forever.

      • Nyorai says:

        Are they tradable? Might be a way to actually get stuff you want without playing the loto.

        • Paper Milk Bag says:

          They are tradeable. Once the trading post goes back up, you can pick those you prefer at the trading post from other players.

    • katinkabot says:

      Since Friday I’ve had about 8 unique dye drops on my character by just questing(I’m level 17). I’m not saying they are not RARE, but they drop often enough that I wouldn’t consider buying them – unlike the stupid chest keys. I hear what you are saying though – if you’re purchasing them with REAL money you should be able to choose. Though, on the other side of that argument, since you resell these items it would make sense to keep the rare items rare so the economy remains stable.

      • gunny1993 says:

        Remember there are uncommon dyes and rare dyes as well (you know white is going to be fucking epic rare)

        • Ajh says:

          I saw a man in Divinity’s reach all in white. It looked…odd.

      • wccrawford says:

        As a counterpoint, in the same 17 levels, I’ve found exactly 1 dye, and it was common.

        You’re lucky. I’m unlucky. Either way, some people are going to be frustrated at it.

        • BluElement says:

          Your situation seems incredibly improbable. It sucks that it happened to you, but 1 dye in 17 levels? I and everyone I know seems to have found at least 20 or 30 by that time. I find at least 1 every time I play.

      • vee41 says:

        I’m level 17 as well; got 1 dye which was this common pinkish thing (really usefull for my charr..) and 3 keys. Luck of the draw I guess. :)

      • kharnedge says:

        I got half my bank full of dyes before I decided on a main. I’ve gotten 3 or 4 black lion keys so far and I can safely say they don’t matter all that much. The chance of getting something good is minimal, and most of the rewards I’ve just trashed anyway because I don’t want to take up the bank space. As far as I can tell they aren’t nearly good enough to justify actually buying keys, so I’ll just take ’em as I get ’em.

    • tyren says:

      Since you can buy and sell specific dye colors for gold on the trading post (if they ever get it working…) I personally don’t have a problem with it.

  12. Paper Milk Bag says:

    I hope the trading post is repaired following this patch. I can’t go an hour playing without hearing someone complaining about its downtime in guild chat. That said, the more they use that quaggan image for stuff like this, the more I hate quaggans.

  13. Commander Gun says:

    Any news on how the servers are holding?
    Looking forward to play when i come home from work, but so do thousands and thousands of fellow europeans me think :)

    • Paper Milk Bag says:

      I can’t log in. The login servers seem to be overloaded again, as is usual following every patch.

      Edit to clarify: There’s just been a new patch, and since it’s a tiny one, everyone’s trying to log on at the same time again. Which leads to some lucky ones getting in and everyone else e42. By the time you get home, me thinks it’ll be alright again. Besides that, guild bugs are everywhere (dunno if they’re patched since I can’t log in), and combat lag is very, very noticeable at times. Been like that since yesterday.

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        Yeah, I’m locked out at the moment. Irksome.

      • x-jay says:

        Haven’t noticed any combat lag, in fact any real lag at all, its principally the same as it was 3 weeks ago, except i’ve found 2 quests that worked in beta that don’t now. Play SWTOR.. now that had combat lag. :)

        With a bit of luck this patch will fix the trading post and party/guild bugs.

      • Moraven says:

        So is Error Code 7xxxx the new Error 73?

        • Paper Milk Bag says:

          Nah. This game hasn’t sold enough to allow that to happen.

    • djbriandamage says:

      The official Twitter feed (@guildwars2) mentioned that the EU servers are currently having login issues.

    • kharnedge says:

      The only combat lag so far has been in the first 2 or 3 charr areas because everybody is playing charr. I have yet to have issues with logging in, and I started playing midnight of the head start.

  14. vee41 says:

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but those mentioned items are your ‘civilian gear’ or whatever, entirely different from your standard armor set. While wearing that set you can’t use any abilities or anything so you wouldn’t see a boxer with aviator glasses running at you in wvwvw.

    Again, correct me if I am wrong :)

    • Paper Milk Bag says:

      Yes, those are town clothes and do not function in combat. Cash shop town clothes have the same limitation. There is, however, armor skins in the cash shop which you can buy and transmute onto your current armor to get that /look/.

    • x-jay says:

      Correct, you have ‘armour’ and a ‘town set’.

  15. x-jay says:

    Transmutation Stones are awarded by discovering all area’s on a map. This includes POI’s, Vistas’s and Asura waypoints.

  16. Aquarion says:

    I’ve found I’ve got transmutation stones at lower levels for completing the daily quest/monster/craft “quests”.

  17. Katar says:

    My copy hasn’t turned up yet, Damn Bank Holiday.

    How expensive is a new bank slot? I played GW1 with all the expansions and the only thing I ever thought I could of done with is more bank space. I assume you start off with bugger all bank space just as you did in Prophecies.

    • x-jay says:

      I saw that earlier… maybe 1000 or 2000 gems? it was there with the digital deluxe upgrade. I cant really remember XD

      • x-jay says:

        Sorry read ‘bank slots’ as ‘character slots’.

        retard me.

        • Paper Milk Bag says:

          You weren’t that far off. Bank expacs and inventory expacs (four slots open, three slots locked it was) were grouped together with additional character slots once upon a time under the Upgrades tab.
          Now, you have to double-click on a barely-visible gray padlock to pay for it. I preferred the former, personally. At least that doesn’t strain my eyes.

    • Paper Milk Bag says:

      You open a new section of the bank (which is uhh, 24 slots?) with 600 gems. In-game, that rounds up to around 37*6 = 2g 82s (in current trading post prices). Or £6.

      You start off with 24 slots or so (one section open). It’s a ripoff.

    • wccrawford says:

      Bag slots (inventory) are 400 gems and let you put a bag in them. Bank slots are 600 gems and are always the same size, which is the same as the original bank size. So the first upgrade doubles your bank size.

  18. frightlever says:

    I realise there’s no need to engage in real money purchases but having the option there is going to be hard to ignore. I never spent anything on the RMAH but I played D3 for about 3-4 weeks max. If I was playing a game for months at a time I could see my resistance getting worn down.

    Inventory/bag space is going to be hard to pass up.

    • x-jay says:

      ^ this.

      Like me, you won’t be spending your hard earned cash on boxing gloves and pirate underwear either then lol.

  19. Edski says:

    Being asked for my credit card details by the first merchant I encountered after giving $88 of my cash-money to some guy in an EB games store a couple of hours before has really turned me off.

    • x-jay says:

      What merchant did you go to?

      Did it not occur to you that the transaction was for gems and you didn’t have any? Or are you frequently paying american dollars for wine in France?

    • Unaco says:

      Eesh. Reminds me of the DLC that Bioware tried to sell in game for Dragon Age.

      • Dominic White says:

        The alternative, of course, is the MMO standard – they don’t let you play the game at all until you’ve provided credit card details. I’ve not seen any such prompts after about 14 hours of play, so I can only assume it pops up if you’ve tried to buy something with gems that you don’t have.

        • Bhazor says:

          Or theres the Guild Wars 1 approach of not having it at all.

          • Nick says:

            GW1 has an item store now actually.

          • X_kot says:

            Or Everquest, by that line of thinking.

          • Dominic White says:

            GW1 was a very heavily instanced game set in a world that was primarily made out of generic heightmaps. Upkeep costs for something like that are very low. GW2 is probably the most inherently multiplayer MMO outside of Eve Online, and crams huge numbers of players into each area. Server costs are vastly higher.

    • CommanderZx2 says:

      There’s no merchants in game that ask for money or gems, so I think you must be imaging things. Or perhaps you are thinking about Karma? You cannot buy that.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        What a shame. I’d never shave if I could buy karma to compensate for looking like a savage.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Surely, he must be delusional. Or, alternatively, you could trust him to be telling the truth as far as he’s aware.

    • Gorf says:

      you where trying to buy gems for cash at black lion

  20. Jenks says:

    I can’t get interested in any MMO with a cash shop, it ruins any immersion which is the only reason I even play them. The fact that people are running around in boxing gloves and baseball caps seals the deal.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’ve played up to the level 30-40 range, and haven’t seen any boxing gloves. I’ve seen a lot of silly people in their underwear, dancing on whatever piece of scenery looks most impressive, but that’s the same in any MMO and if that doesn’t ruin your precious immersion, you should be okay.

      I have seen a couple of people in pirate costumes, though. They look pretty snazzy. Not what I’d pay real money for, though.

      • Nick says:

        indeed, my friends and I like to stand in a row dancing in white dyed town clothes, looking like the beegees.

  21. Moraven says:

    Since character slots and bank space are limited, why is this just not F2P?

    This is set up like DDO but requires a fee(purchase of content) to begin to play. Once you are in, you are already have limits on your purchase. It kinda takes away form the purchase once, have the full game forever deal.

    • KikiJiki says:


      I must have missed the part where content was locked out to me without paying additional fees.

    • Brun says:

      Who defines what is “the full game”? Perhaps the baseline that you get from purchasing the game up-front is considered the “full game” and anything you purchase with microtransactions is an “extra.”

      I’ve always found this “not getting the full game” mentality a strange one, whether applied to microtransactions or DLC – I can’t figure out why people keep thinking they’re getting an incomplete product that they then must spend additional funds to complete, rather than a complete product that they then can spend additional funds to expand. The only answer I keep coming back to is that people just don’t like the idea of microtransactions or DLC in the first place, and if that’s the case, why try to make excuses about the game being incomplete? Just say you don’t like it and be done with it.

      • mmalove says:

        I’m curious, of those playing: how does the gems for bag slots thing feel? I’m not currently playing and on the fence about buying this – does it feel like a convenience or a necessity?

        • Brun says:

          I haven’t bought one yet although I do seem to run out of bag space a lot – primarily because I forget to “Deposit Collectibles” often enough (that’s an option on your inventory page that sends things like crafting materials directly to your “collection,” which is kind of like a second bank). I’ve only got the basic 8-slot bags though, so once I level up some more and can make the larger, higher-level bags I don’t think inventory space will be particularly problematic.

        • Malk_Content says:

          So far not a problem. As mentioned above you can instantly wisk away and crafting materials to a bottomless pit and for me most things either get equipped, salvaged or saved for salvage when I can afford a better starter kit. The only time I’ve run out of space is before I filled up the empty bag slots with bags. You can also craft bigger bags.

          The bank size seems fine to me. Currently I’ve got 8 or so things in it, but only 3 or them do I actually require (items with sigils in them that I can’t get out yet) and everything else I would happily delete or just consume (xp buffs.)

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        That’s strange, you must have an odd conception of what ‘full’, ‘whole’ or ‘entire’ mean. ;o)

    • CommanderZx2 says:

      The biggest bags you can craft have 20 slots, meaning you will have more space than you will ever need if you spend time in crafting.

      • Dominic White says:

        Yeah, I’m only using 8-slot bags, and I don’t think I’ve ever completely filled my inventory. Just remember to click the ‘deposit collectibles’ button every event or two to automatically dump smaller items into your bank.

        I really don’t see myself needing expanded bank/storage slots, unless I decide that I really need to max out several crafting professions.

  22. Arcshift says:

    You guys are unbelievable, you don’t have to spend a dime on those keys. I didn’t spend any money for those keys and i managed to opened all 10 of my chest, from one chest an other key dropped

  23. Bhazor says:

    So it’s a F2P mmo. With a cover charge?

    I guess it’s not too bad at least it doesn’t deny key feat-

    Paying for alt characters?

    Oh fuck that. That is a dick move however you slice it.

    • Paper Milk Bag says:

      You’ve got five character slots by default. For most people who aren’t alt-a-holics, that shouldn’t deter you from buying this game.

    • Nick says:

      And… again for the hard of reading, you can BUY THE CURRENCY WITH IN GAME MONEY.

      • Brun says:

        This is really a hugely important point. You can theoretically buy anything that costs gems with gold – it’s even in the first screenshot of the article (“Trade Gold for Gems”), not sure why so many of the gripers have missed it. It may take you a while due to the exchange rate, but eventually you’d get there.

      • Moraven says:

        So its a money sink not related to anything in game. And the exchange rate which is determined by the developers. They can use it to fight inflation/deflation, but they can also use it for gold purchasing with $ more expensive.

        Or they simply could you know, give you 10 slots. Would I not rather be using that gold in the player economy instead? Taking all that money out will make player trade rather expensive since gold can easily be dumped (and lost) into non game related items.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        That might probably be the game’s saving grace for me with those microtransactions in place. If it weren’t possible to trade gold for gems then I probably wouldn’t get it. I’ll wait and see if that is a viable way to go about my business, though (either by converting gold to gems or by just not using the cash shop).

        But I’d rather they’d give more bag slots, bank space and character slots considering they charge a lot for the game as it is. Seems a bit greedy from Anet to charge paying customers for such essential things.

      • BluElement says:

        Not to mention they are incredibly generous with the gems. That may change as it fluctuates, but as of last night, I could get 100-something gems for about 30 silver. That’s at level 15. At level 30 or so, that’ll be nothing.

    • Moraven says:

      Don’t forget buying bank slots with gems also!

      In a way its the same as buying bank space in WoW with gold. But then gems are based on an exchange rate, which can change. And people can buy gems with $, basically allowing gold buying from the developer.

  24. President Weasel says:

    I am pretty sure I got Transmutation Stones from 100%ing the first two maps (which were called Frosty Norn Steppes and Snowy Snow Snow Snow respectively, if I remember right).
    Either that or I got one from a jumping puzzle in that cave – not that “do some jumping to get to a place” is really a puzzle.

    Also you get 5 character slots; other free to plays give you two or three unless you upgrade to some kind of premium membership. Seriously, stop hating on them for trying to make some money.
    In other MMOs you have to pay a monthly fee to get ANY characters, let alone alts.

  25. Carra says:

    The main thing that annoys me is the 5 character slot maximum. I want to spend an hour or two with each class before picking one to stick with. And deleting characters is just no-no.

    At least in WoW I could create more than ten alts on other servers if I wanted to, that’s not even possible in this game.

    • kharnedge says:

      But in WoW you would have to pay $30 for two months, and in Guild Wars you pay $30 for that last 3 character slots. I know it’s a bit of a silly comparison but I’m sure you get the point. Personally, I’d rather have this than a subscription. As someone who played the first game it’s a bit hard for me to justify it because I’m biased by the fact that I expected to buy character slots anyway.
      In the first game there were 10 professions (classes) and you got 4 slots + 2 for factions + 2 for nightfall + 1 for the nightfall pre-release bonus pack thing, and any extras were $10 each just like in GW2.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Or, you could trade for Gems. The average price right now seems to 36 silver for 1 gem. 288 gold coin and you bought yourself an extra character slot.

        • Dominic White says:

          Erm, I think you might be just a little bit off there. 2 gems come to under 1 silver right now.

        • kharnedge says:

          The prices for the gems is per 100 gems, and the excahange rate started at 40s/100, and was at 35 this morning, so a character slot would be 2g 80s. Problem is most people don’t have that at this point, and the gold -> gems conversion will likely skyrocket as people level up.

          • BluElement says:

            A friend of mine just sold one rare dye for 2 gold, and it sold within about 3 seconds. So people definitely have that right now.

  26. kharnedge says:

    Hey RPS, get your facts straight, the overflow issues were patched yesterday morning.

    By the way, a small bug that makes it slightly more difficult to get into the same overflow as your friends isn’t “the biggest design flaw of any MMO” like you claimed in the last article, because it’s a fucking bug.

  27. CommanderZx2 says:

    So many people knocking the game due to misinformation is pretty sad.

    • Brun says:

      It is, but I feel like part of that is legitimately ArenaNet’s fault. The game throws A LOT of information at you very quickly at the beginning, and then doesn’t go on to explain some of its more intricate systems clearly down the road. The tutorial system in the game could have definitely benefitted from some additional polishing.

      • BluElement says:

        Eh, it all just takes some patience and common sense. I’m not saying they couldn’t have given us the answers, but it’s not necessary. All I had to do was enter in an amount of silver into the exchange system to see what the exchange rate is compared to what I have.

        If you’re really curious, why wouldn’t you experiment? It’s not rocket science.

  28. stupid_mcgee says:

    I just hope [Transmutation Stones] aren’t artificially scarce, especially now that it’s an increasingly common thing to be able to do in MMOs. The wiki states that higher level ones are only purchasable with gems, while lower level ones will be ‘available through other in-game methods’, though doesn’t offer any details on what those will be – drops, shops, or things that don’t even rhyme.

    I think they might be slightly scarce. I got a pack of 3 low-level ones when I 100% explored the Black Citadel.

    It’s also worth noting that, while you can buy Gems for real-world money, you can also buy them using gold. Likewise, you can seem to buy everything using Gems. So, while an extra character slot costs 800 Gems (£8/$10), you could always just collect or trade for gems and buy it using in-game currency. You can even do this for the Digital Deluxe Upgrade (2,000 Gems).

    • kharnedge says:

      You get plenty, I’m up to 18 of them at lvl 30.

    • BluElement says:

      They aren’t scarce at all. That’s three per main city, which is 15 per character. You get 5 characters right off the bat. That means you can get 75 stones if you really want them, and that’s not including what you might get from chests and other quests/exploration rewards. And “low-level” transmutation stones work up until level 79. You only need higher-level stones for level 80.

  29. Azhrarn says:

    There are also bag slots and bank slots for Gems. But rather than buying these from the store, you get them directly from the inventory and bank screen respectively.

    Bank slots are 600 gems for a new set of 30 slots.
    (the collection tab for resources has no expansion options, but it has plenty of capacity)
    Not sure on the bag slot costs though.

    • kharnedge says:

      Not sure if bank slots are worth it when you can get another character slot for 800 just to use as a bank character. Even with just the low-level 8-slot bags (tailoring or leatherworking) a bank character can hold 52 slots of items. So for 200 extra gems you get way more space, but you have to switch to the character to grab the stuff.

      Also, the collectables tab can hold 250 of each item. In the case of iron, 3 ore makes a bar, so the equivalent of 1000 ore can be stored (250 ore + 250 bars). If you exceed this limit, you can just use normal bank space for the extra.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I just played one char in the first game and did indeed use my alt slots as mules. It worked fine.

        It’s also worth noting, if my memory serves, that you got an extra slot when you got an expansion. So for me that bought Nightfall first and then Prophesies and GWEN for cheaps I ended up with a ton of slots.

  30. Pardoz says:

    “The basic concept of such a prominent item store still feels like an invasion from the free-to-play world”

    You’ve got it the wrong way ’round: the up-front box price is an invasion *of* an otherwise only moderately toxic implementation of the egregiously misnamed “free-to-play” model.

    • Brun says:

      The box price is what allows that cash shop implementation to be, as you put it, only “moderately toxic.” If the box didn’t cost something you could bet that they’d be significantly more aggressive with their in-game monetization.

  31. aircool says:

    I’m quite happy to part with some cash to transmute items. In fact it’s essential if you find yourself stuck with an ein/zweihander with great stats; they look bloody awful :)

    • Kaiji says:

      “they look bloody awful” for a reason.

    • BluElement says:

      Why would you spend money on transmutation stones right now? Take 20 minutes and explore one of the main cities and you get 3 of the stones right off the bat.

  32. roy7 says:

    I must totally misunderstand the market data history chart. I thought it was saying the cost was around 27 silver per 1 gem at the moment. 10 silver = 27 gems boggles my mind how I could be so off.

    Edit: The graph is the price for 100 games. Now I understand. :)

  33. Lumilicious says:

    What is missing in this article, and what I feel is the worst of all, are the Bank and Inventoryextensions.

    The Bank is already really small and if you are about to collect some shiney armors/weapons then you’ll end up buying the bankextension for 400gems (it’s on the bankpage btw, the locksymbol on the bottom right corner. Same symbol is on the left of your inventory right below the bags. So you can add aditional bags.).

    This is the only things which bugs me. It makes it look like a Perfect World F2P game which all of them have barely any bankspace.

    • BluElement says:

      I’ve been doing fine with the amount of bank space I have. I’ve never been one to save items needlessly, though. Why keep shinies in my bank that I won’t use? Sell them or salvage them and they’ll actually be useful.

  34. stirfry says:

    Not only are there sunglasses, there are automated turrets, transporters, tanks, exoskeletons, and flamethrowers. Boxing gloves and sunglasses aren’t even the most advanced products in the setting. Some of the races live with only crude technology but the Charr are straight up fully industrialized.

    GW2 takes place hundreds of years after GW1 and I appreciate the fact the technology has evolved radically. In most fantasy settings very crude guns are the most advanced technology that’s ever invented no matter how much time passes. At least some of Tyria is entering their version of the late modern era in this game. I realize not everyone likes steampunk and similar settings, just know that’s it not a wink-nudge thing at all. Advanced technology is a fact of life in Tyria and exists alongside magic. You’re going to see leather clad dudes with swords right alongside mad scientists with rockets and goggles.

  35. Roshin says:

    How are you lot getting to the Black Lion stuff? For me, it’s been “down for maintenance” all weekend and it still is (I just checked).

    • Gorf says:

      no the AH is down for maintenance, the rest of BLT has been functional, you can buy gems for cash and gold and get the items you want.

  36. Kitsuninc says:

    I’m wondering if there are ‘Infinite’ places to get keys without spending money. From what I’ve seen they only show up as a reward for finishing an area and probably just once as a story quest reward. I guess you can get them from your daily achievements, but I’m unsure how much that counts. Unfortunately from what I’m seeing it’s not possible to get as many freebie keys as you can get chests, as of now (One level 15 character, one level 10) I have opened two chests and have four in the bank.
    Still, it doesn’t really seem to -quite- be gambling as it appears you always get something worth considerably more than the key. My first chest gave me FIVE Fine transmutation stones, which is worth practically double the amount of the key on its own, as well as some pig tonics and an armor booster.

    Still, I’m a bit worried, the gold/gem exchange rate seems too low for it to be at all feasible to get the more necessary items without putting your money in. At least I consider crate keys (Because I’m being manipulated by ANet) necessary since otherwise the crates just sit around. And transmutation stones, since without them you don’t get to wear your favorite armor since you’ll just wind up with a set with better stats.

  37. BluElement says:

    I have 15 transmutation stones right now, and that’s just from completing the exploration for the main cities for each of my five characters. You get three per city, and I bet you can explore each main city with each character. So if I really needed more, I could get up to 75 of them. And the basic stones work up to level 79, so you only need the higher stones for level 80, and that’s it. I also got 5 fine transmutation stones that work for any level from a chest that I opened with a key that I got from doing my story quest. So yeah, they’re pretty easy to get.