Micro-transactions in Guild Wars 2
Micro-transactions have become ubiquitous in MMOs, being the sole income of so-called “free-to-play” MMOs, and as supplemental income in subscription-based MMOs. Guild Wars 2 is neither: you pay to own the game (probably the standard $59.99) and then you can play as long as you want, for no monthly fee, which is pretty unique for an MMO of this caliber.
There will be an in-game store that sells items for real cash, ie, micro-transactions.
I have no problem with micro-transactions, as long as they do not cross the line and players are forced to buy them in order to stay on par with other players who are buying them. In other words: They should give no in-game advantage over people who choose to just play the game as is. This is ArenaNet’s current position on micro-transactions:
“Will there be micro-transactions or things to buy which don’t come with the box, like character slots?
Yes, micro-transactions will exist. Be assured goods and items bought for cash in GW2 do not offer any advantage over those available in the game through the investment of time. “
I can pretty much guarantee that anything sold in Guild Wars 1 will also be possible in Guild Wars 2:
- Buyable character slots are pretty much a given.
- Extra storage for items
- Cosmetic skins for Weapons and Armor
- Changing character features like gender and face
- Fee for Changing your Home Server
- Consumables sold for real money (like experience scrolls, health boosts, etc)
These are not confirmed, for example on the transfer fee for changing home servers, it was stated that:
“This “home server transfer” fee – is it ingame currency or real world money?
We haven’t finalized our plans for what that fee will be, if there will be any ‘amnesty’ period for new accounts, or what currency that fee will require, but I can assure you that we are examining and discussing all possible options and as soon as we have a firm plan in place we’ll let you know more!”
But I would be surprised if Server Transfers are not in the in-game store, as it seems an obvious way for ArenaNet to make extra money, and it can always be claimed to be necessary to keep people from “server hopping”. It should be noted that people can visit other servers as often as they like, the restriction only affects one part of the game: World vs World PvP, where different servers compete directly against each other.
Consumables will probably be more of a shock to the average Guild Wars player, but honestly, as long as any item sold in the store is available by just playing the game, I doubt it will cause much controversy. Some people have expressed fear for rare items being found in-game to be sold in the store, however I find it hard to believe ArenaNet would do this. Making such items available for cash would cheapen the content of the game, and make future expansions harder to sell. Plus, Colin Johanson, Lead Content Director of Guild Wars 2, has said:
“We like to do the – we like to call it the Is it Evil? test. Every micro-transaction that we do in the game, we have everyone in the company look at it and say Is it Evil? Is it really something we should be selling?”
Now, what is evil to one person, could be fine for the next: What items do you think belong in the Guild Wars 2 store, and what items (if any) would be a deal breaker for you?