Guild Wars 2 Officially Goes Free-to-Play Today Ahead of New Expansion

PatrickJS

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Guild Wars 2 Officially Goes Free-to-Play Today Ahead of New Expansion



In a surprising move, the developers of popular MMO Guild Wars 2 announced the game would be going free-to-play starting today, in anticipation of its upcoming expansion, Heart of Thorns.

There was a time when Arenanet proudly proclaimed that the Guild Wars franchise wouldn't meet the same fate as so many massively multiplayer online games before it. The game and its sequel had an income model more in common with traditional, offline games - you buy the game once, and you can play it forever; the company made money by selling periodic expansions. Today, however, Guild Wars 2 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/6337-Guild-Wars-2] is going free-to-play.

This isn't necessarily the death knell it sounds like; sure, this is sometimes the last stage in an MMO's life before the servers are shut down for good. But story-driven [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/131063-Guild-Wars-2-Our-Story-So-Far-Marks-The-Beginning-Of-The-End] GW2 still has a healthy player base. In reality, it looks like Arenanet is just trying to drum up interest in anticipation of the upcoming expansion, Heart of Thorns.

If you're interested, the gallery below has some screenshots of new content, including a preview of the newest Profession, the Revenant:

[gallery=4614]

Only the base game will be available to everyone; you can register and download the client at the game's website [https://account.arena.net/register?alt=gw2]. The expansions will all be available for purchase. And if you've already paid for the game? You'll still be better off than the free players, with faster access to the game's content, and more character slots, among other benefits.

Still, that's an awful lot of very good game [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/9947-Guild-Wars-2-Review] to play before you even spend a cent.

Any Guild Wars 2 veterans out there? Chime in! Is this going to be good for the community, in the end?

Source: GuildWars2.com [https://www.guildwars2.com/en-gb/news/play-for-free-today/]

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thewatergamer

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Ok Veteran of GW2 here and I would like to clarify a few things very quickly!

First their ARE LIMITS on "free" accounts you can go over to the "help" section to get the full extent of exactly what is happening with the game, but Arena-net have specifically designed the restrictions to avoid this move "destroying the community" (alot of the restrictions restrict mail, chat and guild bank access) also it's not really a "F2P" game its more of a "Play for Free" situation, there are no "premium benefits for subscribers" or anything of the sort, no subscription fee has been introduced whatsoever, the "gem store" is remaining the same as always, no insane "overpowered" benefits, strictly cosmetic items or little convenience things that are available at not insane prices, so yeah, the game for veterans or people that have already "bought" GW2, their experience will not be affected in any major dangerous way, all that happens is a bunch of new players can test out the game without buying it, another thing to quickly clarify for people confused, preordering HoT (the expansion) nets you the base game and all the paid benefits (map chat, guild bank access etc.) along with the expansion, anyway enough rambling haha

Overall this is going to be VERY good for the community and the game overall, and I am very happy to see this happening
 

2xDouble

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Despite hating the idea of F2P and its nasty stigma, I welcome the new players. Welcome to the community, cheapskates new friends! Join us and frolic in the fields of Queensdale, explore the lush jungles of Caledon Forest, assist the futuristic laboratories of Metrica Province, climb the frozen steppes in the Wayfarer Foothills (do you wanna build a snow-Norn?), and the golden, steampunk savannah in the Plains of Ashford.

Perhaps you'd like to join us and rekindle our very own Escapist guild?
 

Makabriel

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Wait.. I'm confused. Hasn't GW2 always been F2P? I mean, most F2P games you have to buy the physical media (or download it, whatever) but still don't pay a thing to play it.

Kind of a misnomer, IMO
 

Micah Weil

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Makabriel said:
Wait.. I'm confused. Hasn't GW2 always been F2P? I mean, most F2P games you have to buy the physical media (or download it, whatever) but still don't pay a thing to play it.

Kind of a misnomer, IMO
No...GW2 had an initial purchase price, but you never had to pay a monthly fee. Think of it as a "price of admission".

OT: Welp, there's no excuse for me to get into this now. And, of course, if it's awesome, I'm more than happy to pay for anything else they have to offer.
 

Venatio

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If there is one thing that Star Wars the Old Republic taught me, it is that being a free-to-play player in an mmorpg is like being a second class citizen. It's just not worth the investment of time. Only do this if you are set on buying the game later but cannot drum up the money just right now.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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I've been a GW2 owner for quite a while now, and I love the feel of the game and the personalized story idea. However, its tough to translate from WoW to GW2 at least in my experience because there's a lot of mechanics that the game does a poor job explaining. Its not streamlined for the casual player (I don't consider myself a casual on most games, but GW2's learning curve is a bit steep).
Figuring out builds is tough, add in the convoluted menus and some lack of explaining basics like skill points and where you spend them (I was about level 20 before I figured out where they were as I didn't ever see a tutorial pop up to explain where to spend them).
Keep in mind I do love the game for what it is, but as I said the learning curve and the way menus are set up are counterintuitive for new players and it may actually turn people who would otherwise enjoy the game off of playing.
Also crafting is a little wonky and sometimes its difficult to grasp the basics of, again because of menus being unhelpful in their design.
If one can get past all that then its a great experience but it takes a LOT of patience and a ton of reading. GW2 is a study in why complexity does not equal depth.
 

Worgen

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Imperioratorex Caprae said:
I've been a GW2 owner for quite a while now, and I love the feel of the game and the personalized story idea. However, its tough to translate from WoW to GW2 at least in my experience because there's a lot of mechanics that the game does a poor job explaining. Its not streamlined for the casual player (I don't consider myself a casual on most games, but GW2's learning curve is a bit steep).
Figuring out builds is tough, add in the convoluted menus and some lack of explaining basics like skill points and where you spend them (I was about level 20 before I figured out where they were as I didn't ever see a tutorial pop up to explain where to spend them).
Keep in mind I do love the game for what it is, but as I said the learning curve and the way menus are set up are counterintuitive for new players and it may actually turn people who would otherwise enjoy the game off of playing.
Also crafting is a little wonky and sometimes its difficult to grasp the basics of, again because of menus being unhelpful in their design.
If one can get past all that then its a great experience but it takes a LOT of patience and a ton of reading. GW2 is a study in why complexity does not equal depth.
They changed the early game a bunch, its much better now about giving tutorials and such, you still won't really master dodging until you start doing world bosses or dungeons or dive into spvp. But it eases new players in much easier now, plus it gives rewards for you to give to your next character too for faster lvling and better early gear.

Ultimately I think its a good thing, guild wars 2 isn't like most mmos where you have to worry about competing with other players. In Guild Wars 2, everyone who helps kill something gets full exp and rewards, no matter if they are grouped or not. Crafting nodes are also specific to your game so everyone can gather from it. Guild Wars 2 is just one giant party and everyone's invited.
 

NickBrahz

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Makabriel said:
Wait.. I'm confused. Hasn't GW2 always been F2P? I mean, most F2P games you have to buy the physical media (or download it, whatever) but still don't pay a thing to play it.

Kind of a misnomer, IMO
F2P = Free to play, GW2 has never been free to play, it has the model B2P = buy to play, you pay $## and then there is no subscription.
 

RedDeadFred

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Venatio said:
If there is one thing that Star Wars the Old Republic taught me, it is that being a free-to-play player in an mmorpg is like being a second class citizen. It's just not worth the investment of time. Only do this if you are set on buying the game later but cannot drum up the money just right now.
The only REAL advantage that you get for buying the game is the login rewards. That's it. All the other stuff is just to prevent community/economy destroying things and not getting the login rewards helps with that too. This really is the base game being essentially free with restrictions there to prevent botting and such.

Personally, I'm quite happy about this. I've already noticed a decreased wait time in the spvp lobby. Also, it was really cool to see so many veteran players in the starting areas. Many congregated to greet the influx of new players. Nice to see how friendly many of these people are.
 
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Is the shift to F2P permanent? I ask, because I really want to get into GW 2, but currently lack a computer. I doubt GW 2 will run on my Kindle Fire.
 

Zulnam

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Two years later, they finally justify selling extra bag space in exchange for real cash, which really pissed me off when i found out after paying 60 euros. Still, it's a good game.
 

Scarim Coral

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The only changed I can see with the Black Lion Trading (the auction house) could be the teir 1 material may cost more now that we got alot more new players. That is assuming they can farm enough money to buy them (god know how they are going to achieve that with the restriction placed on them).
 

RedDeadFred

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thebobmaster said:
Is the shift to F2P permanent? I ask, because I really want to get into GW 2, but currently lack a computer. I doubt GW 2 will run on my Kindle Fire.
I would assume so seeing as they're giving all players who bought the game before it went F2P an exclusive Royal Guard armor skin.
 

Req

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Honestly not that surprising, for a while now they've offered pre-orders for the expansion with the base game included for free.
 

Alleged_Alec

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Not surprising. They did a shit job at keeping with the GW payment model of frequent updates and game wasn't acutally good enough to sink some money into it. I'll be surprised if even F2pGW2 will live for more than half a year.
 

Aeshi

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Can't say I cared much for GW2 from what little I saw during that free weekend event they did a while back, but it's been a long time since then so I'm willing to give it a second chance to see what's changed.
 

Chessrook44

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Scarim Coral said:
The only changed I can see with the Black Lion Trading (the auction house) could be the teir 1 material may cost more now that we got alot more new players. That is assuming they can farm enough money to buy them (god know how they are going to achieve that with the restriction placed on them).
Actually, free players are restricted to only being able to buy or sell "a specific list of items" on the TP. No mentioning of what that "specific list" is, however I believe the words "Common items" was used at some point.
 

DaedricDuke

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DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS GAME.
I spent 2 years playing this lazy mess all the way to the top and I have to say in those 2 years we never saw any decent content released that they didn't try charging real money for. The competitive PvP scene is dead with clear Favorited by devs over certain classes, not including drama with players knowing devs and getting in game info thus ruining the economy.

This game is just a massive grind fest as once you play through it, there will be nothing ever new that isn't horribly written and cobbled together in 5 seconds. I garantuee you won't see another expansion for years to come and even this one will feature content locked behind pay walls.

This game is an embarrassment to MMOs, go play a good one like ff14 or Project Gorgon.
 

Makabriel

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Micah Weil said:
Makabriel said:
Wait.. I'm confused. Hasn't GW2 always been F2P? I mean, most F2P games you have to buy the physical media (or download it, whatever) but still don't pay a thing to play it.

Kind of a misnomer, IMO
No...GW2 had an initial purchase price, but you never had to pay a monthly fee. Think of it as a "price of admission".
Right. F2P. Free to Play. There is no cost to play the game, save the initial purchase.

Take ESO, for instance. They went F2P. Still had to buy the game, but no longer had to have a subscription to play.

**

And in doing research, I find this is called "Buy to Play". WTF does that even mean?? You have to buy to play pretty much any game these days.

...weird...