guild wars 2 microtransactions and shop

ArenaNet’s President, Mike O’Brien made an official post about the company’s philosophy around Guild Wars 2′s microtransactions, a subject that many of those in the community have either speculated upon or been worried about. Before you panic, read below.

Here’s our philosophy on microtransactions: We think players should have the opportunity to spend money on items that provide visual distinction and offer more ways to express themselves. They should also 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 don’t.

ArenaNet gets it. At its very core, they set values in place because they know what type of microtransactions can ruin a game. They know that any game that you can’t fully enjoy without paying large sums of money is not a fun or inclusive game. There’s plenty of Free-to-Play games out there that are revenue vehicles with gameplay that favors those who spend the most money; this is not one of them

What’s also important is how ArenaNet is ensuring players are able to handle transactions in a safe manner, similar to the models that many other F2P have adopted or put in place. Guild Wars 2 will feature three different forms of currency, Gold, Karma and Gems. Here’s what Mike has to say about it.

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 microtransactions.

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.

MMO veterans will note the similarities of our system to EVE Online’s PLEX system. As in that case, our system takes gold trading out of the hands of real-money trading (RMT) companies and puts it directly in the hands of players.

I know the thought of gems to gold, gold to gems, or purchasing anything other than cosmetic items can lead to a panic attack, but again, this is nothing new. Eve has been doing this for years, and Blizzard moved to this exact same model after spending millions, (yes millions) combatting hackers, bots, farmers, and other shady companies out to sell you in game currency. Millions spent in the defense of gameplay, not in the development or support of the game. Why not take that away from them and invest it instead in gameplay?

There is a market out there, everyone can see it, you… me… ArenaNet, all of us know the transactions will happen. Is it better to have ArenaNet foot the bill to try and maintain an enjoyable and level standard of gameplay, or would you rather have safe transactions which benefit the company that is creating your favorite game?

Can I hear a “Thank you for being clear and upfront about things”? 

Here’s a little of what the GWI Krewe has to say about the announcement

Roland Daemon

Honestly, this is the best way to go about it.  Anet can control RMT (which was going to happen anyway) and this means they can watch over things carefully.  After a point, the gems/gold ratio will even out (if you play maplestory.. it was 100 points for 10 mil and it never gets higher than that… )  

I think this is good and a smart way of dealing with their shop and it allows players who don’t have expendable incomes to actually.. I dunno, get the cool looking armors that will be in the shop after enough time/saving money.

HappyCat

It’s great. It’s also going to absolutely DRIVE ArenaNet’s revenue, not burden it. Buying gems for gold will inflate prices on the marketplace, but none of those items on the marketplace really matter all that much in terms of making the game experience better or easier because the most expensive stuff is just cosmetic anyway. The strongest armor can be bought from a vendor for a pittance. The strongest armor with sparkles will be acquired with gems, and anybody with a debit card will be all over that. Either way, everybody still has the same strength and armor quality