ArenaNet Explains Guild Wars 2 Microtransactions

Mike Kayatta

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Aug 2, 2011
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ArenaNet Explains Guild Wars 2 Microtransactions



ArenaNet hopes that a new in-game economy and a more integrated design will make its upcoming MMO's microtransactions as fair as possible.

Somewhat magically, the subject of microtransactions in videogames has historically garnered little to no outrage from the gaming community at large, even though meeting the usual prerequisite of being something that isn't free. Perhaps that's due in part to the reasonable and player-centric points often made in support of their inclusion, such as the attitude recently outlined by ArenaNet in regards to its upcoming subscription-free MMO, Guild Wars 2.

"We believe in microtransactions because they fund ongoing development of the game in a very straightforward and open way," wrote ArenaNet cofounder Mike O'Brien on his company's blog.

"You, the customer, get to decide how much money you spend on the game after launch, based on how compelling it is to you. You get a complete and playable game no matter what, but we think we can provide additional content and services that you'd be happy to pay for. And when you pay for them, you help fund our support of Guild Wars 2 in a way that benefits all players of the game."

O'Brien admits that microtransactions were an afterthought in the first Guild Wars, and as such, may have run somewhat out of sync with the original game design. In its sequel, however, the team had a chance to redesign their implementation, without what O'Brien considers "sacrificing design principles." In order to accomplish this, Guild Wars 2 will use a new economic system to accommodate.

"In Guild Wars 2," he continues, "we have three currencies: gold, karma, and gems. Gold is the common in-game currency. Karma, which players earn in-game but cannot trade, is used for unique rewards. And gems are the currency that's bought and used to purchase micro-transactions.

"We have a new player-driven market that allows players to trade gold for gems and gems for gold. If you want something, whether it's an in-game item or a microtransaction, you ultimately have two ways to get it: you can play to earn gold or you can use money to buy gems. We think that's important, because it lets more players participate on a level playing field, whether they use their free time or their disposable income to do it."

And what players are able to acquire through in-game purchases is just as important to the team and how they're able to acquire them. According to O'Brien, there are a few specific things the game would never offer according to ArenaNet's design philosophy.

"[Players] should be able to spend money on account services and on time-saving convenience items. But it's never OK for players to buy a game and not be able to enjoy what they paid for without additional purchases, and it's never OK for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who spend time."

Source: Arena.net [http://www.arena.net/blog/mike-obrien-on-microtransactions-in-guild-wars-2]

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Toasty Virus

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Dec 2, 2009
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I hope it's only for cosmetic stuff. At the very least something that doesn't cost MILLIONS to farm for in game.

Something like League of Legends.
 

gostlyfantom

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Jan 22, 2011
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I think the most important thing to take out of that is that one can trade in game gold for the gems used in microtransactions which is, in my opinion, a hell of a lot better than what other games that use microtransactions are doing.
 

VonKlaw

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Jan 30, 2012
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gostlyfantom said:
I think the most important thing to take out of that is that one can trade in game gold for the gems used in microtransactions which is, in my opinion, a hell of a lot better than what other games that use microtransactions are doing.
This. People seem not to care about microtransactions as long as a) they aren't pay to win (e.g. buying superior weapons) or b) there's some way to earn purchased currency through gameplay. GW2 looks like it will do both, and I commend them for it.
 

teqrevisited

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The way it was implemented in Guild Wars seemed alright to me. Among the list of purchasable items were additional character slots, expanded storage and cosmetic costumes. I never felt the need to buy any of them and my characters never suffered for it. I'm fairly confident they'll be able to do it right in GW2.
 

The Lunatic

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Jun 3, 2010
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Eh. I'm very cautious of a game you have to put money down for having microtransations.

Especially the awful reputations that have been set by games doing it in the past.
 

eventhorizon525

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Sep 14, 2010
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Toasty Virus said:
I hope it's only for cosmetic stuff. At the very least something that doesn't cost MILLIONS to farm for in game.

Something like League of Legends.
Judging by what the full post on their website says, it is going to stay cosmetic stuff (as well as a few account services like extra characters slots etc.). This was all present in GW1 and actually worked quite well. I don't see ArenaNet changing up something that has already worked quite well for them while not really angering fans.
 

ASnogarD

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... but you still have to buy the game ?

Its using the free 2 play model but making you pay for the game AND having a micro transaction system, seems a tad strange... only slightly off the subscription model so many profess to hate but not a fair trade for the microtransactions as a free to play model offers.

If my memory serves, the MMO part of GW wasnt too special , heavily instanced central zones / hubs leading to solo/party instanced quest zones... most of the network activity was in the hubs which served as large lobbies to gather groups or chat...

... and of course there was the PvP which was GW's main strength.

The poor PvE was forgiven because there was no subscription, and the PvP was good so whats the carrot with GW2 now theres a micro transaction stick in the mix ( fair or no , micro transactions are micro transactions... you will need to get SOMETHING for your dosh ).
 

TsunamiWombat

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"We have a new player-driven market that allows players to trade gold for gems and gems for gold. If you want something, whether it's an in-game item or a microtransaction, you ultimately have two ways to get it: you can play to earn gold or you can use money to buy gems. We think that's important, because it lets more players participate on a level playing field, whether they use their free time or their disposable income to do it."

And what players are able to acquire through in-game purchases is just as important to the team and how they're able to acquire them. According to O'Brien, there are a few specific things the game would never offer according to ArenaNet's design philosophy.

"[Players] should be able to spend money on account services and on time-saving convenience items. But it's never OK for players to buy a game and not be able to enjoy what they paid for without additional purchases, and it's never OK for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who spend time."
I am filled with great relief by these words
 

eventhorizon525

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Sep 14, 2010
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ASnogarD said:
... but you still have to buy the game ?

Its using the free 2 play model but making you pay for the game AND having a micro transaction system, seems a tad strange... only slightly off the subscription model so many profess to hate but not a fair trade for the microtransactions as a free to play model offers.

If my memory serves, the MMO part of GW wasnt too special , heavily instanced central zones / hubs leading to solo/party instanced quest zones... most of the network activity was in the hubs which served as large lobbies to gather groups or chat...

... and of course there was the PvP which was GW's main strength.

The poor PvE was forgiven because there was no subscription, and the PvP was good so whats the carrot with GW2 now theres a micro transaction stick in the mix ( fair or no , micro transactions are micro transactions... you will need to get SOMETHING for your dosh ).
Actually, the original GW also has a micro transaction system. The gameplay/world design stuff though is a matter of opinion, though they claim to be changing it so how that is going to turn out is rather uncertain.
 

Scarim Coral

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This sort of transaction sound alot better compare Blizzard decide use real money for their auction house.
 

sanzo

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If it's close enough to the way the original Guild Wars did it, I don't see this being a problem

Although, am I reading it right: You can trade gold you earn in game to buy stuff? Like, I can farm for extra character slots? Cause that would be awesome
 

Electric Alpaca

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May 2, 2011
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Good attitude, and very wise to have the currency segregated in this manner.

The quickest way to burn your lovingly crafted economy is gold farmers making a business of it.
Additionally, the mindset of real currency buying in game time saving abilities is very astute - that is exactly how it should be. I don't wish to skip content by buying the best sword, I want to quicken my obtaining of the best sword via 3x Experience perks and quicker healing abilities.

I'm keeping a keen eye on this game, for a long time now coming to think of it. I'm hoping this will be the one to get me back into the world of online gaming. Not since Final Fantasy XI have I been interested in anything.

Not too much pressure for ArenaNet.
 

GrandmaFunk

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ASnogarD said:
only slightly off the subscription model so many profess to hate but not a fair trade for the microtransactions as a free to play model offers.
It's much more than "slightly off"...there's a very large gap between having the option to pay a few bucks for convenience/vanity items when/if you feel like it and having a mandatory monthly fee of 10-15$ to simply have access to the game.

On top of which, thanks to the gem system, everything in the store will be purchasable entirely through in-game gold. YOU CAN STILL GET EVERYTHING WITHOUT PAYING ANY EXTRA MONEY.


ASnogarD said:
The poor PvE was forgiven because there was no subscription..
the "poorness" of guild wars' pve is pretty subjective, tons of ppl loved it, myself included.
 

Lunar Templar

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Sep 20, 2009
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deth2munkies said:
So they essentially are legalizing gold buying.

Seems like a smart move.
Perfect World Entertainment games already do this actually, nice to finally see some one ELSE taking notice and putting it to use though, as you said, its a smart move
 

deth2munkies

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Lunar Templar said:
deth2munkies said:
So they essentially are legalizing gold buying.

Seems like a smart move.
Perfect World Entertainment games already do this actually, nice to finally see some one ELSE taking notice and putting it to use though, as you said, its a smart move
Yeah, but they also sell power...a lot of it. As in you cannot compete with people that pay money.
 

Lunar Templar

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Sep 20, 2009
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deth2munkies said:
Lunar Templar said:
deth2munkies said:
So they essentially are legalizing gold buying.

Seems like a smart move.
Perfect World Entertainment games already do this actually, nice to finally see some one ELSE taking notice and putting it to use though, as you said, its a smart move
Yeah, but they also sell power...a lot of it. As in you cannot compete with people that pay money.
true enough, not that it matters much, the new wares off REALLY fast with PWE games, so it never becomes an issue with me
 

shintakie10

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deth2munkies said:
Lunar Templar said:
deth2munkies said:
So they essentially are legalizing gold buying.

Seems like a smart move.
Perfect World Entertainment games already do this actually, nice to finally see some one ELSE taking notice and putting it to use though, as you said, its a smart move
Yeah, but they also sell power...a lot of it. As in you cannot compete with people that pay money.
My only interaction with a PWE game (technically) was STO and in there you could buy power by spendin real cash on a ship T5.5 ship, but you could also not spend a dime and get that ship. Granted it was expensive as all hell, but still possible.

On topic, they're basically goin directly off of the Extra Credits handbook when it comes to microtransactions. Don't seperate your player base. Don't sell power. Allow anyone to get the paid for items whether they use real money or not. Build your game with microtransactions in mind. Props to them. Hopefully other future (and present) MMO games take a hint if this works well to do somethin similar. Lookin at you MWO.