Guild Wars 2 Is Going Free

Guild Wars 2 is going free. That’s free, not free-to-play. “We’re not using the words free-to-play with Guild Wars 2,” says ArenaNet president and co-founder Mike O’Brien when I talk to him about the changes via email. “We believe in buy to play, and we know that when people describe something as free-to-play that comes with expectations.” Those expectations are that free-to-play games require heavy microtransactions, but O’Brien say that Guild Wars 2 will remain the same as it always was – and the expansion, Heart of Thorns, will still have an entry fee when it releases later this year.

Here’s a trailer announcing the game’s shift to free:

Guild Wars 2 [official site] already has some microtransactions in it, of course, but it seems as if the decision to take Guild Wars 2 free is more likely about keeping player numbers high. Especially, since Heart of Thorns adds a lot of endgame content, in those earlier areas of the game that risk becoming depopulated. Of course, new players coming into Guild Wars 2’s base game also means new potential high-level players who might, down the road, decide to purchase the expansion.

Alongside the announcement of Guild Wars 2 going free, ArenaNet have also announced that the expansion has raids. Here’s a trailer for those:

After pricing plans were announced for Heart of Thorns back in June, ArenaNet took flak from the community for not offering any discounts for players who owned the base game. Perhaps for this reason, O’Brien stresses that Guild Wars 2 going free isn’t about money. “If people are expecting we’re going to go in and heavily monetize free players now, that’s not what this is about,” he writes. “This is about making the base game available for everyone to try because we believe that when people love Guild Wars 2 they’re going to buy Heart of Thorns. We’re not changing the way people purchase cosmetic items or adding a bunch of new items in the store. Guild Wars 2 will remain the same game it always has been.”

Heart of Thorns is due for release on October 23rd. Fancy getting in on the game before that? We’ve a lovely RPS Guild Wars 2 community that can help.

114 Comments

  1. Sepulchrave76 says:

    Bought this a few months back for about £40 and have barely played it. Sucks to be me!

    • wheadna says:

      I don’t know if it’s still do-able, but I heard some people who bought the game just before the announcement of the expansion pack were able to get a refund.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Yes, it is. Until Heart of Thorns comes out. If you pre-purchase the expansion (which is the same price as the normal was when not on sale), you’ll get refunded what you paid for the core game if you bought it after 23rd of January. Or, you can just contact them and ask them to close your account and refund what you paid completely.

    • fish99 says:

      Paid £45 and played it for 1 hour. I dunno, as soon as I got to the combat I lost interest. I still mean to go back to it, but probably never will,

      • Enso says:

        They touted the game as simplifying the skill system but the metagame is all about swapping weapons so in reality they just separated the skills with a separate cool down.

        They got rid of the healer role which diminishes the feeling of teamwork.

        Then what’s left is a game that’s no actually that good.

        • fish99 says:

          None of that stuff really bothered me since I’m not an experienced MMO player. I just wanted the combat to feel more like a single player game and less like an MMO. There’s no impact to anything, no sense of blows connecting, at least not with the class I was playing.

        • Xzi says:

          It is actually that good, but only by MMO standards. Which, granted, set the bar quite a bit lower than anything single-player, but still.

  2. crazyd says:

    So… It’s “Free”, not “Free to play”, but like “Free to play” games, there is no initial charge, but there are microtransactions and additional fees to unlock more content. How exactly is “Free” different than “Free to play”? It sounds exactly the same.

    • Hensler says:

      I thought the comments in the article explained it pretty well.

      • LexW1 says:

        They do and they don’t.

        The big thing is that they’re not changing anything. That’s very distinct from other games which have gone F2P. For example, SWTOR went from a beautiful, generous sub-based game to an utterly mean-spirited game devoted primarily to convincing you to sub again or nickle-and-diming you over the most pathetic and petty things possible, when it went F2P. Even Rift, which has a very generous F2P model, did change and add a ton of stuff to encourage you to sub or buy things.

        So that’s pretty cool.

        However, if you’ve played GW2, you’ve probably noticed that they’ve been monetizing more stuff for a long long time now, particularly with the whole “season” mechanic, and the new expansion is going to cost a significant amount (though you can get for £28 quid right now I think which isn’t too bad).

        On top of that, the in-game-gold to gems ratio slowly gets worse and worse, whilst the native ability to get gold hasn’t improved for a long time. It’s not awful and sometimes it even swings back a bit, but it’s a long way from the situation of a year and a half ago where you could easily earn enough gold to buy the gems to get upgrades to the vault etc.

        The long and the short of it (the TLDR even!) is that GW2 was basically ALREADY set up like a generous/decent F2P game, even though it was technically B2P, so it’s more like they don’t HAVE to do anything, rather than that they are generously choosing not to. That’s the spin they’re putting on it, though.

        • Assirra says:

          That sounds both smart but also incredibly evil.

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          Mungrul says:

          Yeah, it’s such a shame ArenaNet got bit by the monetisation bug with GW2. It’s so far from the spirit of GW1 as to be completely unrecognisable now.

          I gave up playing the game coming up to two years ago now, partly for the focus on grind and achievements, partly because of the obvious switch to milking the userbase for all its worth.

          I spotted very early on that the “economy” was set up to gradually train players to spend money instead of time, and I found it despicable.
          Day by day, week by week, month by month, the balance tips ever further in favour of ArenaNet and NCSoft, millimetre by millimetre so as to soften the blow and pull the wool over players’ eyes.
          And the players they are exploiting the most with this model are their most faithful customers.
          These poor fools will defend the game to the death. After all, they’ve spent so much money on this thing, they can’t be wrong, can they?!

          I will say one good thing about GW2 mind you; it finally killed any attraction I have to modern MMOs completely, and I’m now pretty much immune to their dubious charms.

          It’s just a shame that MMO now means a certain type of game with a certain type of financial model and has lost all its promise and wonder.

          • Ringwraith says:

            The cosmetic tat (and it’s pretty much only cosmetic tat, there’s some experience boosters and stuff, but they hand you a bunch for free randomly/via story quests, and nowadays just give you a bunch of level-up tomes just for logging in) is there to support the servers. Running servers is expensive. This is markedly different from the first game which was entirely instanced except for towns, so they required far fewer servers to run that. It’s what keeps the servers running instead of charging a subscription fee.

          • epeternally says:

            So subscriptions are a bad (and not commercially viable) solution, F2P/P2W is a bad solution, I think that the correct course of action here is to just stop making MMOs and, frankly, I’m baffled that we didn’t already reach the point of that happening half a decade ago.

          • disorder says:

            I guess I’d probably have to say even GW1 ended up so far from the spirit of GW1 so as to be unrecognisable by the time it threw a random mish-mash of stuff into its last expansion and called it done.

            GW2 also committed the grievous sin of giving me a way out though, through rebooting and discarding characters. I bought it, I didn’t at all resent buying it but didn’t really get into playing it at all. Starting from zero sure made me realise how much I hated what the mainstream meaning of MMO’s actually were.

            I’d say thanks anet for that, but that’s probably not what they were going for. I know people of a range of types who like GW2. Notwithstanding any business’ need to make money I never felt it (or GW1) were snowballing money sucks (blizzard) and as far as the formula goes, I guess it’s far into the upper percentile.

            I’ve no mean spirit to excise over this (it’s gone out looking for daily mail readers), GW2 is a game with its art assets (i.e. the expensive parts) paid for, not the usual connotation of F2P at all – and which is a model I won’t touch at all – and I’m prepared to take more or less at face value the dangling of GW2 base as demo for an expansion there’s already a proven market for. And let’s consider, online games require people or they’re no more than empty chessboards.

            Some of this criticism isn’t really fair. Not that, with so many prior cases of F2P offences being entirely fair I expect the difference to lie very clear.

          • AlienMind says:

            There is no ArenaNet. They are owned fully by NCSOFT and Nexon, which is a seller of gambling to children, which is illegal in my country (Germany). Have you ever noticed that after Nexon got on board, everything in this game is a random casino token you had to swap for something more worthy just for the 0.00001% chance you get an even worthier token?

          • LexW1 says:

            @Ringwraith – Sadly, that’s categorically untrue.

            Servers are not expensive to run, in the grand scheme of things. This is why games who have literally 10k subscribers run along just fine. They are still profitable. Further, if you don’t believe this, NCSoft’s own financial statements show it extremely clearly.

            Most of the time GW2 is a very profitable game – only their own development costs have ever made it less than profitable. But it is not the almost-charitable effort you’re describing it as.

        • bleeters says:

          Heart of Thorns is the first time in over a year I spent any money on Guild Wars 2. I’m not sure I entirely understand.

          • vahnn says:

            This. I never spent a dime on the game after my initial purchase. Fun game.

            I think OP spent money on the game and got bored and eventually started to feel like he was ripped off and became upset. Because I can’t think of why he’d think those things.

          • nearly says:

            I bought in with a Deluxe Edition after one of the BWEs, but stopped playing a few months after release. I never spent any more money on the game than buying it the first time.

            My friends who all started playing with me, on the other hand, still play and have spent quite a lot of money on the game. Make of that what you will.

            You certainly don’t need to spend money on the game to have fun, but most of the things “worth” doing happen with much less time investment (though arguably still a lot) if you’ve invested money, from farming to getting “cool” cosmetic items (which was the main incentive to do anything aside from outright enjoyment). Arguably, a lot of the gem related purchases also enable you to outright ignore certain mechanics of the game that are intended to be goldsinks which means money will always mean more gold even if you don’t convert.

          • bleeters says:

            “Arguably, a lot of the gem related purchases also enable you to outright ignore certain mechanics of the game that are intended to be goldsinks which means money will always mean more gold even if you don’t convert”

            Such as? Because I would hardly call buying gathering tools for between twenty copper and four silver a gold sink that makes investing in the couple-hundred-gold worth infinite use variants a sound strategy for making money. Maybe because you’d have to mine around seven hundred thousand times just to break even on the initial cost, and that’s if you’re using the most expensive pick.

        • Ringwraith says:

          The Season 1 story events were time limited large open events that just took place in the world itself. Once they were gone, they were gone, although a couple of the dungeon segments got recycled into their fractal dungeons.
          The Season 2 episodes were free if you had logged in at least once for about a month after each episode was released. You could complete any you missed by buying a bundle in the store, which you use earned gold for.
          They also weren’t very good. Also unskippable cutscenes everywhere, ugh.

        • Menthalion says:

          The ingame exchange rate is based on people playing much can swap their time based currency for gold. With people playing less it might simply be the supply of time based currency drying up which drives the exchange rate for bought currency up.

          If anything Arenanet giving away the base game for free will increase people playing without paying, lowering the exchange rate.

        • Wulfram says:

          Hmm, no. It’s restrictions on free accounts are very similar to those in SW:tOR. Only real difference I can see is that it was already full of micro-transactions

      • crazyd says:

        And I think it sounds like a stupid marketing ploy to confuse people into thinking it’s something it’s not.

      • Anti-Skub says:

        “We’re not changing the way people purchase cosmetic items”

        Yeah, because they are already purchased with real money from an in game store just like a F2P game.

        Basically what they’re saying is “We’re going free to play in the entirely standard way, but we don’t want any of the negative press or expectations that come with that move so we’re going to try and spin it with a press release.”

    • Boozebeard says:

      It sounds like they aren’t adding any micro transactions that weren’t already there, you are basically getting everything that was in the original £40~ base game for free now but if you want the expansion content you have to buy that. I think it’s a fair distinction.

      • crazyd says:

        Except it has microtransactions in addition to the expansion content. Like any other Free To Play game.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Which it has always had instead of charging a subscription so they could keep the running costs ticking over.
          It’s marketing nonsense the specifying of course, although it is a bit different in that you get a limited account unless you buy the old price of entry which gets you some of the expansion stuff. It’s worth noting the expansion is adding a bunch of stuff which anyone can play, like changes to server vs server maps for just one example.

        • Seth_Keta says:

          You mean like any other MMO out there. ESO is the same way. WoW is now the same way. There are a lot of MMOs out there that have subscriptions and cash shops. GW2 has no subscription, but has a cash shop. Are the prices a bit high? Certainly.

    • aircool says:

      ‘Free To Play’ is a business model where the game is free and there are no subscription charges. Money is generally made from microtransactions. Some games practically force you to buy stuff to progress, whilst others, you can play without any disadvantages and never have to buy a thing.

      ‘Free’ is what it sounds like; a game that cost money to buy now costs nothing.

      The obvious reason why GW2 is going to be free is so that they can increase the player base and tempt more people into buying the expansion.

      • crazyd says:

        But it still has microtransactions! In addition to paid expansions! It’s certainly not Free, and it follows the exact model of other “Free To Play” games.

        • epeternally says:

          I could by cosmetic microtransactions being free. I could buy paid expansions being free, especially in a base game that large, but as soon as there’s something affecting the actual experience of the game, it’s not only free to play but pay to win, and that seems to be the case here. You can not have a properly balanced game with microtransactions to alter the game’s balance. As soon as that exists, it is against the developer’s best financial interests to give you a properly balanced title.

          • Farsi Murdle says:

            Which items in the gem store alter the game’s balance? Any? I can’t think of any.

    • sg1969 says:

      It used to be a paid game, with some micro transactions.
      It will become a free game, with the same micro transactions.

      Is it really that hard to read?

  3. Lobotomist says:

    GAME OVER

    • gou says:

      free accounts cannot use map/local chat, mails, trading, join guilds or level beyond 15.
      In the simplest terms it really is just “free to demo”

      • wahwah says:

        you can join guilds, there is no level restriction either
        link to help.guildwars2.com

      • Lobotomist says:

        There is no level restriction. I think aside from chat limitations its pretty much the same game.

        • JosiahXIII says:

          Which is quite smart as this prevents a lot of potential RMT spam.

      • KevinLew says:

        I don’t know why people are saying that they aren’t allowing free accounts to trade, because they certainly can. I am predicting that GW2 is going to get invaded by hundreds of thousands of bot accounts as a result, because any trade means room to exploit a system.

        • Ringwraith says:

          They cannot mail items or money or receive them. They have some trading post (player marketplace) functionality, but that’s it. Not allowed to withdraw things from guild banks either.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Even if this were true, since it bizzarely had no demo before but some timed events, it would still be an improvement since at least now you can find out if you like it before putting money down (which you now do on the expansion rather than the base game).

  4. Thirdrail says:

    I wish they actually cared about their customers at all. I actually tried that game, and thought it was fun, but they didn’t tell you when you made your account that your account name would be visible to everyone, not just your character name, so then suddenly I’m displaying my real (as opposed to satellite) email address to everyone I’m playing with. Not cool! It made me extremely uncomfortable, as it did many people, but the only way to fix it was to rebuy the whole stupid game and start a new account, because the devs refused to give us an option for changing our account names. Now I guess if it’s free I could start over, but after the first experience, it seems best to just avoid everything these devs do forever, since I already know how little they care about the people who pay for their products. Fool me twice and all that…

    • CaesarBritannicus says:

      Did you ever contact support? They don’t have an automated account name change, but that doesn’t mean its impossible. In fact, Anet specifically allows for account name changes if it reveals personal information.

    • LexW1 says:

      As Caesar says, they SPECIFICALLY say they will fix that, for free, so you just need to contact support. That’s all you need to do, not create a new account or whatever.

  5. SaintAn says:

    It wasn’t good enough to be P2P and it failed as even B2P so now it’s a full on F2P. That’s just sad. Though the game feels like it was made for children so it’s no surprise. Like the first way better, but it’s just co-op.

    “Guild Wars 2 will remain the same game it always has been.”

    Until you decide to start going crazy with the microtransactions just like they all do.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Nice.

    • LexW1 says:

      It’s already set up like one of the nicer F2P games, so I don’t think they’ll change anything. They don’t need to. They already have all the things an F2P game could want in the shop, and most of the potentially-offensive ones have been there from literally day 1 (XP gain boosters etc.).

      As for “feels like it was made for children”, honestly there isn’t a single MMO made after 2004 you couldn’t say that about, to a greater or lesser degree. Anything that is aimed at a broad audience is going to catch that kind of petit-elitist flak.

    • Minglefingler says:

      It’s been out for three years as an MMO with no subscription charges, if they’re changing their business model after so long it hardly reeks of failure, especially when this makes sense as a way to market the expansion. I’ve not played it in ages and I’m certainly not a fan of any microtransaction system that requires you to buy in-game currency in set amounts rather than allow you to buy what you want for the price it costs in real money but to claim that they’re going to go crazy with microtransactions when they’ve explicitly said that’s not the case is extremely cynical.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Yeah, buying gems with actual money is only done in set amounts, but you can trade your earned gold into gems of any amount. Or vice versa (though it’s obviously taxed, which helps to stop people manipulating the exchange rate).
        So that offsets it a bit at least.
        Only a bit though.
        I just buy any gems with spare gold, not like I buy much else with it. The ‘endgame’ is mostly working towards fancy skins for weapons/armour anyway instead of a loot treadmill.

    • wheadna says:

      Over 5 million sales is ‘failed’ now? Do you work for Square Enix?

  6. Holysheep says:

    that’s what you get for making shitty games.
    I loved the original guild wars so much, I felt scammed with this one.
    That’s also what you get when the guy who designs the gameplay admits having never played the actual first game!

    • wheadna says:

      The gameplay is totally different, and it would be ridiculous to demand that designers have to be veterans of the first game.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Plus the original game is still running!
        They don’t update it anymore, but it’s still there.

    • Farsi Murdle says:

      Which designer are you referring to? Most of the prominent ones also worked on the first game…

  7. Severian says:

    Lot of negativity in the comments here, so I’ll chip in and say that I bought Guild Wars II on release-day and played well over 100 hours. I think it’s a fantastic game, and probably one of the most “newb” (non-MMO veteran) friendly MMO’s out there. The art style and fluid combat are worth the price of admission alone. If you do try, I encourage you to go Thief since that I found the combat for that class the most exciting (lots of movement, rolling, dodging, etc. – not just mashing an auto-attack). But really, a fun, fun game with tons of content and a unique world to explore.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      I’ve personally always mained Elementalist in Guild Wars and the class in GW2 is very unusual and fun: yes, you’re a caster, but you’re extremely mobile and can use some unconventional weaponry (double daggers is a ton of fun), on top of having quite a big skill ceiling with the four attunements and cooldown management.

      I’ve put almost 200 hours into the game, with well over half that in the first two weeks of release. I have had far, far more than my money’s worth, and I encourage anyone who’d like a new MMO with far less boring grind to give it a shot, especially when it goes free.

      Contrarily to the cynics here, nah, you don’t really need to buy anything. I know I didn’t.

      • aircool says:

        You don’t have to buy anything. As far as I can remember, nothing in the shop is of any benefit in combat.

      • Minglefingler says:

        I tried an elementalist for my first character, didn’t really enjoy the game and a few months later I started again with a thief who I max levelled. Each to their own I suppose. Cliches aside I really liked how the game didn’t have the “killer takes all” element when it comes to slaughter.

        • Ringwraith says:

          No?
          Anyone who did at least some damage to something earns credit for the kill, getting the full amount of experience and rolls on any drops.

          • Ringwraith says:

            I meant to say, yes, it’s great. Can’t type, too late. Plus I rely too much on the ability to edit minor errors like this after posting as I always miss something.
            It’s a game where you’re always happy to see other players.

  8. aircool says:

    Sounds good to me. It’s a great game, but as you have to pay for the expansion (which requires GW2), I doubt it would attract many new players if they had to buy both GW2 and the expansion in one go.

    I’ve bought a ton of stuff from the online shop, but none of it is of any benefit in the game, except perhaps the infini-miner tools which never wear out. Other than that, it’s just cosmetic items.

    • Ringwraith says:

      The expansion ‘includes’ a copy of the base game.
      It’s the only thing you can buy now. Buying the base game by itself doesn’t exist anymore, and the expansion is at the same standard price the base game was at, excepting sales.
      They bungled this originally, as they said you’d need the base game to play the expansion, then quietly retracted it when the actual pre-purchases opened up. People weren’t happy, and rightly so. Took them a lot of back-pedalling to make up for it.

  9. Kitsunin says:

    This is one of those cases where it really is a win-win. Still, it seems more like a demo version, since you lose some pretty darn important features for going anywhere beyond the early game. Free is an exaggeration.

  10. Laurentius says:

    It’s not a bad game and I have good time playing it for quite some time but leveling is grindy and story and especially story mission are boring and I simply can not stop griping how this game ditched all great ideas of GW1, ie.building deck skill combat, flat leveling, no grind for armor only for cosmetic, missions, FoW/UW. Where I played and bought all GW1 expansions and to be honest I think GW:Nightfall still rules design wise, I won’t be coming to GW2 and buying Heart of Thorns as this game is pretty generic, run of the mill MMO with slightly bettter and fluid combat.

    • wheadna says:

      Err, almost none of those ideas have been ditched. The first 20 levels or so are fast, but after that it takes around an hour per level (usually less), the deck building is reduced but still there, and you can get a full set of 2nd-tier equipment for next to nothing (and nothing requires the top-tier). There are still missions, and the end-game equivalents of FoW/UW are coming with the expansion.

      • malkav11 says:

        I would describe the deckbuilding as “vestigial”, since the number of available skills is far lower and you only have three of your ten slots that you can freely assign.I mean, sure, there’s still some fun to be had in mixing the mandatory five-skill weapon sets (or three and two, with the one handers), the mandatory healing skill slot, the mandatory epic skill slot and those three free slots into some sort of build, but it’s a far cry from being the freeform system found in the original (or, say, Diablo III or The Secret World).

        There’s also a huge difference between GW1’s “you hit level cap before you even get out of the newbie zone” and subsequent entirely level-flat world, and GW2’s heavily level-gated world that takes dozens of hours per character to fully access. (Yes, it’s all scaled so that more advanced players can play in lower level zones, but the same is mostly not true in reverse.) And GW1’s gear was nearly entirely cosmetic – they had minor traits and you might spend a little time mixing things up to achieve optimal status there, but largely it didn’t much impact what you were doing. In GW2, sure, the very tippy-topmost gear is largely just cosmetically shinier than the next tier down, but until that point gear is hugely stat and performance relevant and acquiring it is not actually as trivial as you portray.

        I like GW2 well enough, although I don’t find it has much staying power as a solo player, but it really doesn’t run with the ideas that made the original Guild Wars so unique, and I think that’s too bad.

        • Ringwraith says:

          They also added in log-in rewards, which throw out the level-up consumable books fairly generously.
          As well as the story quests throw timed experience boosters at you every now and again, and they recently changed those to be much more beneficial than they were.

  11. LionsPhil says:

    Hmm. Maybe I’m stupid, but when you hit the big red “play for free” button, it takes you to a sign-up form that expects a serial number, and the “where do I get one” link still thinks it’s a paid-for-game you’ll have a reciept for.

    • wheadna says:

      That’s not what I’m seeing… have you ctrl-F5’d it?

      • LionsPhil says:

        Oh. They dynamically hide it when you allow scripts from arena.net.

        Yeah, I remember their website being an absolute mess of excitingly broken behaviour from when they did a sale some time back. Fun! But fixed.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Their Ts&Cs have got some great snippets in:

          You warrant and represent that You understand the Game sets forth a virtual world and not the real world, that You understand the distinction between a virtual world and the real world;

          • quietone says:

            I wish Portal had that info as well. Would have saved me a surgery for a broken nose and having to repaint my wall.

  12. Challenger2uk says:

    They want a bigger player base, put it on steam?

  13. Koinzellgaming says:

    So I’ll just put my 2 cents here.

    I personally bought the game a long time ago (Like 3 years ago, a couple of months after the release.).. I got my character to level 38 and stopped because I felt that there’s almost no direction with the questing and the story itself was extremely bad as well (Presentation was good, but nothing that got you interested in it after the “Look for your parents” thing. After that it just turned into “go there and fight”.)
    The questing was good, combat felt impactful. And to be honest it felt like a high quality MMO with design that I couldn’t get into.

    The issue that I have with this is first of all, I paid money for it and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten bang for the buck. Especially that there was already a cash shop in the game when I started. That was a huge slap in my face when I found that out. I felt that the amount of money I spent was already “Not the whole package” (Because it had a way and pace of playing that I didn’t have access to for example with xp boosters or whatnot unless I spent money.). So the microtransactions played a huge part why I stopped playing this and now that it is going F2P, I feel like the money I spent wasn’t worth anything. (I know B2P is often said to be similar to F2P but better.. But with GW2 that just isn’t the case, it’s just a simple f2p micro transaction system.)

    Secondly – I am annoyed at the fact that this decision, after all they have done, is just a business decision with nothing but profits in mind. Yes that’s simply what companies are for, but going back onto the first point. What benefit does a person who bought the game have? Early access (Not sure that’s worth too much money.)? Because like the GW2 exec said, it will just remove the entrance fee that a lot of people paid for. It is a simple “We have milked all people who would pay for the game, lets make it F2P now and charge full price for the expansion”. Seeing everything with the profit numbers just annoys the hell out of me. What was my purchase for if I may ask again? If I liked the game I could have bought an expansion, but after the initial purchase having to pay for extra bag space because you made sure as hell that my bank is limited and filled it with the cash shop junk that I had drop on me or got given every now and then and I couldn’t fill the bank with things that I actually liked without paying.

    I think both the first and second “Points” are just plain rants about the micro transactions in the game no matter how I try to format it. But that’s exactly the thing. I bought the game with expectations that it’s a paid MMO but it was rather a F2P mmo in the coat of a paid one and now it finally shed its skin. I would rather pay a subscription fee for a MMO I really like then have to suffer through a faker.

    • drewski says:

      “I got my character to level 38

      I paid money for it and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten bang for the buck.”

      The expectations of the modern gamer.

      • Koinzellgaming says:

        Well I meant it in the way of Microtransactions. If you read through my wall of text then you should’ve noticed that I stopped playing this game because of those microtransactions. I had expectations that I bought a P2P game but it was just a F2P game.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      So… you do not need ANYTHING in the gem store. It’s all utility stuff, additional slots or cosmetics. The existence of the shop should be entirely inconsequential to you. If it wasn’t, it’s a problem with you, not with the game.

      On top of that, most MMOs of the same scope tend to charge for the box AND a monthly fee on top and many have cash shops now too. GW2 only required you to buy the game and that’s it. If you didn’t get what you feel was your money’s worth, it’s because you dropped the game out of some weirdly baseless principle.

      • malkav11 says:

        Most MMOs of the scope do nothing of the sort. Subscription MMOs are super thin on the ground these days. There’s WoW, there’s Eve, there’s FFXIV, and I think one or two random super old MMOs (like Asheron’s Call) and low profile sandbox MMOs still do too, albeit with playerbases in the tens of thousands. But that’s it, or very nearly. I mean, GW2’s a good value, don’t get me wrong.

        • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

          AC actually dropped the sub last year, although there is currently (temporarily) no way to make a new account.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          You seem to forget that GW2 was released three years ago. At that time, SWTOR was sub, Rift was sub, TERA was sub, The Secret World was sub, Wildstar was sub, TESO was sub… Need I go on?

          An awful lot of MMOs have gone free to play since, but when it came out it was indeed quite different from the majority.

      • AlienMind says:

        Good luck trying to play this game with the base slots, oh mighty defender of NCSOFT/Nexon

        • Philomelle says:

          When five character slots isn’t enough for you, it’s generally a good indication that you should stop making characters and actually play the bloody game.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          I did just fine thank you very much. Hell, I didn’t even get two characters to 80 in those 200-ish hours.

      • Koinzellgaming says:

        Like Malkav said previously – At the point of purchase, one of the main selling points of the game (for me) was “I can get a game with WoW level of quality, with new innovative systems which is with all the benefits of a P2P game”. Well that simply failed in every possible way (At least in terms of what expectations were set.)
        Quality-wise.. My god this game was well polished in terms of gameplay, combat, environment and graphics. But the story was just bad, the “Questing system” was still the same shit with a different coloring, and them trying to weasel more money out of me by cash shop

        Yes you don’t need those cash shop items, but there are some which are pretty big quality of life improvements, and for me a large amount of time I did feel the restraints of the bank and bag sizes. I can’t remember the other restrictions, but I think for example in terms of “Fashion” there were things that I obviously wanted but couldn’t get (And the reason why WoW isn’t as bad imho is because the fashion in GW2 shops included clothes and other such commodities, while WoW is just mounts and pets in the store.)

        Most certainly I have my own principles, but I have played a lot of F2P games, so I don’t mind that model if they are honest about it. I paid for this and they were not, which just grinded my gears every minute i spent in that game (In total I think I played like 30~ hours of this game just exploring around.. There were good points but I still feel like I was slapped in the face by Arena-net.)

    • gwathdring says:

      Your critiques of the game make sense. Your critiques of dropping the price don’t.

      Value depreciation is standard in many industries and further, if a game doesn’t pay for itself it doesn’t work. Putting that together, most companies are going to have to charge for the work they do (obviously), but once they make back their investment they can drop the price of entry, so they do. They move more units so they’re happier, more people play the game which is good for multiplayer health, and newcomers pay less money to get in so they’re happier.

      There’s nothing stopping you from waiting till the game goes on sale or the price drops or it goes Free To Play. These are all rather similar to what happens even with physical merchandise. Value depreciates, markets change. It’s not evil. It’s not greedy. It makes sense for everyone involved. You can hold out if you don’t think the game is going to be worth your money. If it does well, it’ll go through a value depreciation cycle and you’ll get in for cheaper. If it does badly, that might still happen or if it’s multiplayer it might just shut down.

      How you play that is up to you. If the game wasn’t worth what you paid? Criticize away! But don’t act like it’s unfair that not everyone paid the same as you did–what you are owed for your money is the service or product you were promised. You’re not owed a guarantee that you’re part of some exclusive club or that no one else will ever, ever get a better deal than you. That’s silly.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yes, this.

      • Farsi Murdle says:

        Nice explanation. I can’t believe there are apparently some people who spend $20 on a DVD and then actually get annoyed when it goes on sale after a few months. Or maybe they don’t, and they only get annoyed about videogames? Either way it’s bizarre.

    • suibhne says:

      Your argument ignores how basic economics works, all around you, every day. This is nothing other than price segmentation. Some people saw enough value in the game to pay full price in the first 3 months (presumably including you); others saw enough value only to buy it on sale last fall; others are only willing to invest their time (in the base game) and may never see enough value to buy the expansion. Some people won’t even value the game enough to download, install, and launch the free version. There’s nothing wrong with any of these perspectives, and there’s also nothing wrong with NCSoft targeting as many market segments as they can economically justify.

      If you don’t value the game enough to pay full price in the launch window, then don’t. That choice is 100% on you. The fact that someone else gets the base game for free two years later has absolutely nothing to do with your decision in the game’s first year.

    • Farsi Murdle says:

      (Because it had a way and pace of playing that I didn’t have access to for example with xp boosters or whatnot unless I spent money.)

      Rubbish. I never used any XP boosters and didn’t lack things to do.

      Earlier today I saw someone complain that levelling in the game is too fast. I guess when people express extreme positions like that, it’s a sign that the game is probably doing it about right.

  14. gwathdring says:

    Elite Dangerous is doing a variant of the same thing with Horizons: purchasers of horizons pay the same amount it costs to get the base game, but they get the base game thrown in for free. There’s no free access, but they don’t have a micro-transaction shop or high-population-density-reliant mechanics to incentivize completely opening the doors. It feels in the same spirit. They can move more expansions if people don’t have to buy two games to play it.

    • Minglefingler says:

      Yes, it makes sense to do it this way. I do have an issue with Frontier though in that they’re only offering existing players a discount if you pre-order Horizons but are being somewhat secretive about what the expansion will include beyond planetary landings and a crafting system that we know next to nothing about. Call me finicky but if you’re asking me to buy a years worth of expansions then at least give me an indication of what they’ll be.

      • gwathdring says:

        I completely agree! The time-limited buy-everything-sight-unseen pack is sketchy (at least let people hear if Horizons is up to snuff before they drop $200 bucks on whatever else might happen, surely …), and the time-limited loyalty discount is sketchy. If you’re going to reward returning customers reward them for returning, like a retroactive bulk discount. Don’t dangle the threat of expense over people who have already supported your products by forcing them to prove how much they trust you. :\ That’s shitty.

        • gwathdring says:

          Profitable, but shitty.

        • Minglefingler says:

          Which, along with my reservations about the direction of the game after the Powerplay fiasco (you really expect me to wait for a timer or pay credits to do a fetch quest?) is why I haven’t purchased it yet. This would come as a surprise to any version of me from the last thirty years as I’ve been a huge Elite fan since the days of green screen Amstrads. Also, they’re charging for beta access which is in and of itself shitty and made shittier by the fact that a lot of players will have paid extra for beta access to the main game and are now asked to fork out again. Anyway, I’m off to huff and puff into a paper bag.

  15. AlienMind says:

    These guys from NCSOFT/Nexon guys are so full of shit, I don’t know where to even start.

  16. hemmer says:

    I’m confused over the amount of negativity in these comments, especially over the cash shop.

    As many have said, there’s nothing you need in there. Some really nice things but you can just by them with ingame gold, so I don’t see the problem.

    I found the whole new ‘Free’ system confusing at first, but it makes a lot of sense.

    I get that a lot of people didn’t like the game, it just doesn’t offer a lot of the usual MMO trappings, expectations and all that. It especially doesn’t really require constant play or give you a set goal to work towards like upgrading your gear (you’ll plateau really fast where equipment is concerened) so it leaves a lot of people directionless.

    I’m personally in it for the world/exploration/story, WvW and nice times with friends obviously, but it’s certainly not a game for everyone.

    • hemmer says:

      buy*, also: Jumping Puzzles! (yes I’m one of those crazy people who really likes those ^^)

      • FriendlyFire says:

        The jumping puzzles in GW2 are actually great fun, especially those that aren’t immediately obvious (there’s a fiendishly hard one in the Asura starter zone). I was quite surprised, especially considering how movement in the game, while much better than average, is still a bit clunky.

        • hemmer says:

          Yeah that Asura one was one of the first we tried, we failed so hard. :D

          Other than that I especially like the secret garden because it’s pretty, the WvW one because of the Indiana Jones-ness and the Silverwastes thing because it’s just fucking huge, really makes you feel like an explorer.

          And the new one in Lion’s Arch is amazing! Though probably very frustrating if you don’t dual mesmer it like I did with a friend. :P

    • Farsi Murdle says:

      The people complaining about a cash shop (which contains nothing required to play) are probably happily paying $15 for DLC for their $60 AAA game that takes 10 hours to complete.

  17. DThor says:

    They’ve always seemed like straight shooters to me, they were one of, if not the first, major MMO to have the no subscription model. I just sort of stopped playing at a certain mid level point a while back, but was less about the game and more about my time. Might fire it up again and see if it takes. GW1 had this same model iirc.

  18. racccoon says:

    Even though I bought in, I still feel this is a good direction, as its is right, in that it is a good way to go.
    Its good on them for creating such a great game and great concept one buy all the time in world to play, and now make it able to release it freely, which allows for more input, Its a great marketing plan, & did I mention a great game.

  19. anduin1 says:

    I bought it when it went on sale for like $30 for a weekend about 2 years ago, didn’t play it much then I started getting into weed gaming. I smoke a bowl and then I would play GW2 high as hell nightly until I hit the level cap. I don’t really remember much about the game other than the major cities but every other area just kind of melded together. I liked to play healer roles in MMOs and there wasn’t really that archetype so once I hit 60 or 80 (whatever the cap was), I did a few dungeons/pvp and then never touched the game again.

  20. Enkinan says:

    I don’t get the hate either. I played for about a year and a half after release and had a blast. The single player was well done and not too grindy to get to max, combat was fun, no griefing, and a large playerbase.

    I was more there for the World versus World which was a ton of fun. The greatest thing about it was how easy it was to get top level gear, which meant it was mainly tactics and servers being organised that determined victory. Unfortunately ascended gear added daily and weekly grinds to complete to add another tier to end level gear which finally turned me off.

    To be perfectly clear though, the pay for stuff is all cosmetic or minor utility stuff, it has no bearing on the balance of the game.

  21. akunjkn says:

    I love free , and all entrusted link JaketKulit Nusantara, thanks

  22. aliksy says:

    I don’t understand all the people complaining about the cash shop. The only thing I felt compelled to buy was more character slots (you start with 5- there are 8 classes) and bank slots. You can buy all the stuff there with in-game gold pretty trivially.

  23. Farsi Murdle says:

    There’s a lot of bullshit in these comments. There are plenty of business models that deserve criticism, like mobile games that make you pay money for another turn, or day-one DLC that’s purely designed to increase the game’s price over the usual RRP.

    Guild Wars 2 is a rare example of a game that, by and large, is very player-friendly. It might not be perfect but I honestly can’t think of another game of this kind that does a better job.

    Some people are complaining about ‘pay to win’, which makes it pretty clear they haven’t actually played the game.

    • LexW1 says:

      I’m scanning the comments and seeing only a little bullshit, where people claiming things that just aren’t true (like that you need XP boosters – in fact it’s hard to tell if they’re even on, outside of crafting boosters).

      But as someone who played GW2 since it came out, on and on, I can say with some confidence that it’s a very flawed game, and actually less player-friendly than it used to be by a long shot. The original design was “play the game your way!” (that was their phrase) – and the reward mechanics supported this (for the most part). Over the years, though, they’ve moved towards a more conventional “YOU VIL ENJOY ALL ZE CONTENT, PIG-DOG!” kind of model, as seen in many other MMOs (not WoW, oddly enough), where they try and cajole you into doing the Fractals, sPvP, World v World, etc. – all of which can be good stuff, but when you’re being cajoled into it by mechanics? Ugh.

      Accompanied by a general move to more grind (Ascended armour/weapons are a mixture of impressive grind and “ENJOY ZE CONTENT!!!” – I say that as someone who has several, lest you claim otherwise), more elitism (which they’ve explicitly said is super-fine with them, and even encouraged with their designs – witness Triple Trouble etc.), and the ever-worsening exchange-rate combined with ever-more-things to shove in your overfilled vaults (all of them soulbound so they can’t go in guild vaults), I’m not really feeling the player-friendly-ness any more. Adding raids is kind of another nail in the coffin for me, because the design of existing dungeons is such that, if you have all the right classes with the right specs, they’re mindlessly and super-easy, whereas if you have just normal players, playing whatever, they can be a grindy disaster, and I suspect raids will be the same way, except multiplied – the hardcore will whinge that they’re too easy whilst refusing to take anyone who isn’t super-hardcore with them, and the normal players will find them overly challenging and time-consuming.

      • futabot says:

        Ascended didn’t add more grind. It satisfied gear spot between the extremely easy exotic and the several month journey of a legendary.

  24. Emton says:

    Ughghgh I did not like this. For one my thief character looks like a girl, runs like a girl and stands like a girl. The dialog is awful, the controls are strange, the animations are repetitive. I like the technology of the engine but I wish the whole thing was different.

  25. Creeping Death says:

    Have to say… I’m a little ashamed at some of the misinformed (and in a few cases downright ignorant) rude comments on this article. I don’t know if it is the mention of free to play (which isnt as bad as it sounds in this case, see the FAQ) or if a large section of RPS readers have some kind of vendetta against GW2 but… yeah. Almost like I fell into an IGN thread here.