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

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 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 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:

Only the base game will be available to everyone; you can register and download the client at the game's website. 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 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

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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

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?

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

Makabriel:
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.

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.

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.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
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.

Makabriel:
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.

Venatio:
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.

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.

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.

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).

thebobmaster:
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.

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

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.

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.

Scarim Coral:
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.

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.

Micah Weil:

Makabriel:
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...

The expansion-selling model was really more GW1 (and it worked well). GW2 was really more F2P from the beginning. Sure, you had to buy the game, but there was no monthly cost and they made money via ingame shop, like all F2P games do. They didn't release any expansions of the magnitude of GW1, where each expansion (except the last) was also a base game.
This, for me at least, was also the reason I quit. It wasn't the same as GW1.
So as far as I am concerned, this changes nothing. While GW2 wasn't technically F2P, it was close enough to be equivalent for me.

Makabriel:

Micah Weil:

Makabriel:
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...

Don't forget how much the dynamic's shifted these days. There are plenty of "Free to Play" RPGs on mobile and coming out of Korea that require no initial cost. The basics are there for you.

Hell, I want to site Maple Story as a prime example of F2P, as it costs you nothing to get, you get 90% of the content, and any costs are cosmetic only.

damn, and i still havent finished this massive game. not sure if i ever will finish it. i think i have to skip out on the expansion since i will be busy with other games.

On the one hand, everything ANet has done so far feels like they're punishing early adopters to get new people invested. On the other hand, I friggin love Guild Wars, so if it's necessary to do this to keep the servers running, I guess I have to be ok with it.

uncanny474:
On the one hand, everything ANet has done so far feels like they're punishing early adopters to get new people invested. On the other hand, I friggin love Guild Wars, so if it's necessary to do this to keep the servers running, I guess I have to be ok with it.

Oh don't worry. People who already paid for the game get a free outfit!

.....yeah....

uncanny474:
On the one hand, everything ANet has done so far feels like they're punishing early adopters to get new people invested. On the other hand, I friggin love Guild Wars, so if it's necessary to do this to keep the servers running, I guess I have to be ok with it.

ANet (as well as NCsoft, I'm sure they've had a hand in it) has not very kind to the veteran player base since...release of GW2?, and focuses a lot on "new players". Its still a good game, but there is so much that could be done better.

That being said, the F2P program is actually pretty good. As I said in the other GW2 post:

InfinityX:

those restrictions on f2p players...

- Character slots - 2.
Not too big of a deal. fulling gearing 2 characters (as a casual player) will take about a month to 2 months. Less if your serious, but then again, if your really serious about GW2, you'd probably buy it.

- Bag slots - 3.
Again, not too big of a deal. even with 5 bags not at the largest size I'm rarely ever running out of room

- Maps/Content - Starter maps until level 10, Lion's Arch unlocked at level 35
Getting to level 10 takes what? a hour? starter maps also go to level 15 I believe too, so its not like you can really adventure past the starter areas below level 10 anyway. The Lion Arch restriction, though odd, is understandable to fight spammers.

- Mail - NO sending gold or items, can only send mail to friends.
Only a hindrance when playing with friends, 99% of the time you will be using the Trading Post

- Guild Bank access - NO.
Most well-built guilds won't give access to the bank unless your an officer or higher.

- Whispers - Can only whisper in the same map, one new person every 30 secs.
Keep in mind, you have unrestricted whispers to accounts on your friend list

- Map chat - NO.
Not necessary, can play the game without needing Map chat

- Squad chat - unlocked at level 30.
Who uses this outside of WvW and level 80 areas? Not a big deal unless your in WvW, and F2P can't use this until level 60 anyway

- PvP chat - NO map/say chat during matches. Team chat YES, lobby chat unlocked at PvP rank 20.
That fact that a F2P can jump right into PvP at level 1 is very unrestrictive. If you are doing random matches, hardly anyone talks anyway, and if your in team fights, your probably going to have Teamspeak or something anyway

- Looking For Group - unlocked at level 30.
Most people don't use LFG until level 30 anyway (first dungeon unlock), so not missing out on anything

- WvW - Unlocked account-wide when one character reaches level 60.
Again, not a huge deal. If you enter WvW under the max level (80), your going to have a harder time anyway

- Daily Login Bonus - NO.
The First real restriction, these can be pretty good

- Gem Store - YES, some limitations.
I don't think we got any info about this. It said you cant use gliders, but only those who buy the expansion can use gliders anyway

- Currency exchange - Gems > Gold YES, Gold > Gems NO.
Another restriction, though this is more towards if you plan on playing the game for a long time.

- Trading Post - Can buy and sell items from a selected list.
The biggest restriction, and if I heard correctly, you can only buy Common (white-tier) items on the TP. if that's true, then gearing up and making money will take much longer.

TL:DR
The only "real" restrictions for a F2P player is:
No Daily Login
Restricted Currency exchange
Restricted Trading Post (maybe)

Which, compared to most other F2P games out there, this is a pretty lenient one, not Heavily restrictive

Chessrook44:

uncanny474:
On the one hand, everything ANet has done so far feels like they're punishing early adopters to get new people invested. On the other hand, I friggin love Guild Wars, so if it's necessary to do this to keep the servers running, I guess I have to be ok with it.

Oh don't worry. People who already paid for the game get a free outfit!

.....yeah....

and have had the pleasure/privilege of playing before now, and eperiencing a lot of the novelty of the game, and the Living Story (as mediocre as it was), and opportunities to get in on all sorts of stuff that's part of the MMO experience.

The big problem is stores are still selling the base game. People who bought the game digitally recently got a free upgrade to HoT as a "This is what you should have bought instead".

Hm... Thought there was a lower level cap that would be instituted for everyone with a free account...

I'm actually gonna be one of those people and say there should be a lower level cap. Why? Because this is pretty much a trial version of the game. I think it should go all the way.

Love that it's going a F2P route (more players = more fun), but I feel that some things should be clarified as well:

This move is almost directly a result of the whole "free core game w/ purchase of Heart of Thorns" fiasco that occurred not too long ago.

A vocal minority expressed dissatisfaction that new players would get essentially two games for $50 (core game + expansion). At the time the core game had been on sale numerous times for $20(basic digital edition; deluxe digital was around 30 I think). As a result, many believed ANet would have a reduced price for current players (If the two together was $50, and the core had been sold recently for $20, then they believed the expansion would be around $30 for those who had already owned it); this was not the case. Veteran players would have to pay the full $50, and the free core game that new players would get with the purchase of the expansion didn't apply to them -essentially veterans would get the expansion and nothing else (which if new players were getting the core game you'd think you'd get an extra copy to give to a friend). Tensions ran high, and ANet eventually gave Vets a free character slot if they had been supporting the game before January 23, 2015.

Now that the core game is F2P, ANet can release future expansions for $50 without drawing the ire of veteran players. New and veteran players will both pay the same amount, and all that happens is new players get their restrictions removed if they were using the F2P version of the core game.

Eh, I'll stick with SWtOR for my F2PMMO experience. I'm a sucker for the Star Wars universe. As for GW2... I think it's funny they did what they said they'd never do. I know someone who is really into it so i'll have to wait a bit and see what the actual repercussions of this move are.

I liked the art style and story of the game for what little I played it, but at the end of the day I just can't take the level grind of an MMO, free or not.

InfinityX:
If you enter WvW under the max level (80), your going to have a harder time anyway

I always use WvW to level up my low level characters! If you stick with the zerg you hardly ever die, and you level up very quickly.

Sarge034:
Eh, I'll stick with SWtOR for my F2PMMO experience. I'm a sucker for the Star Wars universe. As for GW2... I think it's funny they did what they said they'd never do. I know someone who is really into it so i'll have to wait a bit and see what the actual repercussions of this move are.

I would recommend giving it a go. Their F2P model is much fairer than SWOTOR, even on paper. This is coming from someone who has and does play both games.

AVATAR_RAGE:
I would recommend giving it a go. Their F2P model is much fairer than SWOTOR, even on paper. This is coming from someone who has and does play both games.

Acknowledged and disregarded. Like I said, I'm a sucker for the Star Wars universe. SWtOR is playable and fair enough when you play with a group, but the universe and the story have me hooked. Can't give up my sith ways.

 

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