ArenaNet Explains Guild Wars 2 Microtransactions

ArenaNet Explains Guild Wars 2 Microtransactions

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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

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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.

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.

So they essentially are legalizing gold buying.

Seems like a smart move.

gostlyfantom:
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.

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.

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.

Toasty Virus:
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.

... 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 ).

"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

ASnogarD:
... 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.

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

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

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.

ASnogarD:
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:

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.

sanzo:
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

A nice quote the article left out, is that this system is similar to Eve Online and their PLEX cards. Essentially players can do one of the following

A) Buy Gems, use them for cash shop purchases.
B) Buy Gems, then sell to other players for their gold.
or
C) Earn gold, then buy Gems from other players.

It helps cut out illegal 3rd party RMT by giving an immediate and safe way of players to "pay" for in-game currency. And before anyone flips out, that isn't a bad thing. It works perfectly fine in Eve Online, and it also means that the market itself has to support it, since they actually need to find buyers for it. At least that is what I'm assuming based on him saying it'll be a player-driven market. Having an NPC just trading it one to another like the mat, scroll, and rune traders in GW 1 wouldn't exactly be too "player driven" since it would set a bare minimum.

ASnogarD:
... 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 ).

The game isn't using a "Free to play model" when you pay for the box, that's something called "Buy-to-play". So how is it strange, when essentially every console game practically works that way too, selling you the main game, then having some convenience or cosmetic flair items for sell on XBox Live or PSN?

Guild Wars 1 had a cash shop, in fact its only really missing the "Gem" currency system, yet last I checked it works amazingly well and is also fairly balanced, seeing as it offers no advantage to people who pay. I also haven't heard any complaints about it, especially unfounded ones with no proof to back it up.

Also I'll say this. ArenaNet has shied away multiple times from calling Guild Wars an MMO. They prefer CMORPG, co-operative multiplayer online RPG. And the "poor PvE" comment is just opinion, since I tend to avoid most of the game's PvP in favor of the PvE portion. I'll acknowledge it has strong PvP roots, but the PvE is just as good, and has received a wealth of FREE content updates to support it.

deth2munkies:
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

Lunar Templar:

deth2munkies:
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.

deth2munkies:

Lunar Templar:

deth2munkies:
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

deth2munkies:

Lunar Templar:

deth2munkies:
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.

there is a reason ppl don't get angry about microtransactions, they are always optional. Up to this point no one is stupid enough as to put game breaking items into it. So all is well with the world of F2P gaming (though GW2 isn't F2P, you still have to pay upfront for the game.)

Fun Fact: The average spender in F2P games spend more money in a shorter amount of time than someone who plays a P2P game. (I can vouch for that back when i played RoM with my gf, $120 in 3 months...hurts thinking about it XD)

Toasty Virus:
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.

Most likely thats what its going to be. If it follows its first games examples. I'm guessing from the bonus when you pre-order the game is a little dude that will let you access your bank from anywhere in the world for three days. I'm guessing that if it is like Guild Wars One then there might be a item for transportation to any city instantly for X time or uses?

The Lunatic:
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.

Did everyone get bonked on the head and forget when games like LoL did it well? Theres nothing to worry about until there is something to worry about.

-------------------------------------------------------

I hope they retain that balance, but even if it becomes broken because of the Cash-Shop I'll still probably play it.

Aprilgold:

The Lunatic:
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.

Did everyone get bonked on the head and forget when games like LoL did it well? Theres nothing to worry about until there is something to worry about.

LoL is a free to play game, you can let a lot of the things slide as it's free.

Guild Wars is a game you have to spend money upon before you can play it.

This changes things significantly.

As long as the microdistractions are similar to GW1 i have no problems with it. GW1 did a good job about the microtransactions being entirely optional. You only could buy costumes, some inventory space, some short optional singleplayer-missions and an additional hero who would look like one of your characters.

The Lunatic:
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.

Every subscription based MMO has micro-transactions tho, just people got fooled by the PR that "account services" are something different. They aren't. Those are automated scripts that change a single string in database.

WoW has mounts, minipets, name changes, server transfers, race changes, etc., on top of 15$/month payment and paid expansions.

EVE has name change/transfering characters between accounts, subscription fee, vanity cash shop and PLEXes (game time cards You can change into in-game currency and vice versa)

In games like GW2, where You only pay for box I consider cash shop as a way for me to tip the developers if I'll enjoy the game. Spending 10-15$ every now and then for some fancy looking set of gear is not really a big problem, and the way gear progression works in GW2 pretty much makes "i win" items impossible to exist.

Even stuff like XP boosts don't really offer more advantage than simply having more free time to play the game. Month down the road plenty of people will be level capped anyway and structured, competitive PvP has "pre-made" maxed out characters so everyone has equal stats/gear.

It's the same thing as selling power, a new player can get any and all tradeable items in a single day by racking up a large credit card bill and trading with other players. It's true that not all of the best items will be tradeable, but some of them will be.

Another problem is that just because items are cosmetic doesn't make them less desirable. This means you either have to deny yourself something you want, or give in to a constant stream of payments. If you deny yourself then you might end up resenting all the time that the developers spend working on micro-transaction items, and if you give in it's easy at first but can quickly get out of hand and lead to resentment as well.

There are also some large positives of micro-transactions. It funds more development on the game. It is the most effective way to fight MMO inflation (because lots of newbies spend real money to get gold when they start, so when they quit they take way more gold out of the system than they otherwise would have). These things are nice, but ultimately it's not worth it for me, as an MMO gamer. Selling power sucks the life out of things, and the micro-transactions just lead to resentment in the long run, for me.

isometry:
It's true that not all of the best items will be tradeable, but some of them will be.

There are no "best" items in Guild Wars. People need to stop applying treadmill MMO logic to a game that eliminates that aspect. Every item, at given level, has exact same "power". As long as you use level appropriate gear You can't be out-geared by same level player. Simple as that. No tier gear progression. None. Nada. Zero. Null.

Second thing is: gems (the MT currency) will only be worth as much as players are willing to pay for it. There is no NPC that will change your gold into gems and vice versa. You have to put them on Trading Post and someone has to buy them. That means that the more gems there will be on market the lower the price/gem will be. This also means that for people who don't want to spend real money on all the vanity/convenience stuff it offers a nice gold sink, something MMOs so far have really been struggling with (at start of Cata I had about 960k gold, after 3 weeks in ToR I had over 3 mil credits, without grinding or playing the market, just normal questing and there was nothing in game I could spend that money on).

Third: it directly affects illegal RMT viability in game. People are more likely to obtain additional gold through Trade Post than risk getting slapped by banhammer or getting their account hacked while using gold farmer services.

Keava:
Even stuff like XP boosts don't really offer more advantage than simply having more free time to play the game. Month down the road plenty of people will be level capped anyway and structured, competitive PvP has "pre-made" maxed out characters so everyone has equal stats/gear.

MMOs are basically time sinks.

The entire concept is more or less, "You invest more time, you get better".

The moment you start selling "Time-savers", you're basically selling power.

The Lunatic:

Keava:
Even stuff like XP boosts don't really offer more advantage than simply having more free time to play the game. Month down the road plenty of people will be level capped anyway and structured, competitive PvP has "pre-made" maxed out characters so everyone has equal stats/gear.

MMOs are basically time sinks.

The entire concept is more or less, "You invest more time, you get better".

The moment you start selling "Time-savers", you're basically selling power.

Except not really so much with Guild Wars. It's not a game You have to absolutely dedicate Your whole life to, like WoW or most of post-EQ MMOs. It's a game You buy once and then hop in and out of as you please.
You don't even have to level to cap to be able to play in structured competitive PvP (you will always be 80 lvl there, with pre made gear), the gear progression is horizontal not vertical (you may get different stat distribution between items, like say 50 power 20 crit or 30 power 30 crit, but it will always be same total for given level) and you will get scaled down to appropriate level if you outlevel zone/dungeon (if you go to 35 dungeon at 60 lvl, your stats will be of 35 lvl character for the purpose of that dungeon).

Unless your only reason in MMOs is to play the game and do /yell FIRST! once you reach level cap, there is no actual advantage of rushing.

it's kind of awkward using the gems as a middleman here though...

unless they are planning to make gems have a dynamic value, which could lead to....issues....

they can only hope that it turns out as well as spiral knights did, and that was kind of a fiasco for a while too

The Lunatic:

MMOs are basically time sinks.

The entire concept is more or less, "You invest more time, you get better".

The moment you start selling "Time-savers", you're basically selling power.

At surface yes, but frankly such claims fall flat when you consider:

A) since everyone is max level in PvP, time saving XP boost doesn't give ya a edge over other players, only playing and learning your class does.

B) itīs a purely optional shop item, if you feel XP boosts shortens the "lifespan" of PvE, simply don't buy them.

remmus:
At surface yes, but frankly such claims fall flat when you consider:

A) since everyone is max level in PvP, time saving XP boost doesn't give ya a edge over other players, only playing and learning your class does.

B) itīs a purely optional shop item, if you feel XP boosts shortens the "lifespan" of PvE, simply don't buy them.

Eeh, mine seems to ring more true when you see the stuff they're actually selling on the shop.

The leaked items thus far show items like...

"Perfect Salvage kit" which gives higher quality items from salvaging.

"Resurrection Orb" which allows players to revive exactly where they are, which depending on the conditions post-revive could make things silly.

"Loot Bag" which is described as the following "Each bag gives one random item."

"Mystic key" used to open chests which are found in the world.

You get the idea, generally none of this stuff is a good sign.

The Lunatic:

Eeh, mine seems to ring more true when you see the stuff they're actually selling on the shop.

The leaked items thus far show items like...

"Perfect Salvage kit" which gives higher quality items from salvaging.

"Resurrection Orb" which allows players to revive exactly where they are, which depending on the conditions post-revive could make things silly.

"Loot Bag" which is described as the following "Each bag gives one random item."

"Mystic key" used to open chests which are found in the world.

You get the idea, generally none of this stuff is a good sign.

frankly the orb is the only one even remotely worrying if it can be used in PvP and isnt balanced well, otherwise the rest sounds like exclusively PvE items, thus pretty much only affecting the player him/herself.

 

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