I’m in the same boat as a lot of other people, since the bulk of my MMO experiences have been games that require a monthly subscription, I have virtually no experience buying items from a cash shop for use in my gaming. The Guild Wars 2 Gem Shop will be the first time that I’m actually planning on plunking down some cash to make my gaming experience better. I logged into the game and started browsing the available items, and I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by what was in there. Now I know that we’re still quite some time out from launch, so I figured what better time than the present to put out some ideas about some new items for the Gem Shop. For those of you who aren’t aware of the items for sale, my colleague Laura Hardgrave wrote an outstanding article titled Previewing the Gem Store. In that article she outlines all the items that currently exist in the Gem Store, and she also touches on the fact that there are no “Pay-to-Win” items in the Gem Shop as well. Keeping with the idea that the Gem Store shouldn’t contain these “Pay-to-Win” items, here are 5 things that I’d like to see on the Guild Wars 2 Gem Store.
1. Name Change Service. This one is pretty much a given, eventually. We all know someone out there who names a character something that they end up regretting later, most MMORPG’s provide this service via the web. Instead of being done outside of the game though, I’d like to see it implemented via the Gem Store. Arenanet could totally have fun with it and make the purchase give you an in-game item called a Certificate of Name Change, and then that is taken to a city clerk or something where you can then enter a new name. Because of the Gold to Gem conversion, this gives players who can’t or even won’t pay for the service the opportunity to use it as well.
2. Party Boxes. I know that you’re probably asking yourself, What is a Party Box? Well, it’s a celebration in a box, quite literally. Let’s say they have an item called a Wedding Party Box, that item would in theory be a box that a player would open, and in the box is 2 rings, 20 pieces of wedding cake, 20 glasses of champagne, and a Certificate of Name Change. I’m not really much of a role player, but I love the idea of creating a world where people have the tools to do events on their own. If I were walking through Divinity’s Reach and came across players having an in-game wedding ceremony, I’d probably stop and watch for a bit. Then if they passed out cake and champagne?
In a word. Awesome. We can even take the idea a step further, and I’m not sure that this is even possible in the game environment, but if instead of 20 pieces of wedding cake and 20 glasses of champagne, the Party Box gave you an item that when clicked gave everyone within 20 yards a piece of cake and glass of champagne in their inventory, this would save lots and lots of trading amongst the guests. Let’s not limit the idea to weddings though, Party Boxes could be created for all kinds of events including Birthdays or even Holidays, any time is a great time to celebrate with a Party Box. Fireworks, Birthday Hats, In game Piñata? Yes, Yes, Yes… I think all of these would be great flair to add to the game. The idea has the added benefit of adding all of these items individually to the Gem Store to boost the item count, because I’m certain that there would be interest in purchasing items from within the boxes on an individual basis.
3. Illusions. While I’m certain there will be tons and tons of costumes available for purchase, I think being able to completely transform into something else is a fun idea. There are currently items in game that modify your character model for a few minutes. I was fortunate enough to acquire something that turned me into a puddle of blue goo. The downside of these illusions in their current implementation is that you cannot engage in combat, or craft while they are active. Additionally, they disappear upon leaving your current city. While I understand complications involved with combat while under the effects of an illusion, I certainly see no reason why crafting cannot be done while morphed. I think the odds are very good that we will see these in the future, but the real question is how limited the player will be while transformed.
4. Asuran Trading Post Portal. While you can buy and sell your items out in the field, you must travel to a Trading Post NPC to pick up your items or gold. This item would allow you to summon a Trading Post NPC to your current location. Adding this to the shop seems like a no brainer to me, as there is already an Asuran Banker Portal in the Gem Shop. I think that this would be even more popular than the Banker Portal, as most players will probably spend more time buying things from the Trading Post, rather than pulling items from their bank. Giving players this item would be a great time saver for those people unwilling to leave their hunting or crafting spot.
5. Crafting Conveniences. There are 2 parts to this, and I’ve lumped them together because they both feel a bit iffy on whether or not players will ever get the option to purchase. The first convenience I’d like to see would be the ability to learn more than 2 crafting disciplines. Why are characters limited to 2 crafting disciplines in the first place? I’ve always felt that this was a silly game mechanic. Any devoted crafter would make alternate characters solely for the purposes of getting into other crafting markets. This arbitrary crafting limit is even more ridiculous in Guild Wars 2, where there is no level requirement in place(that I know of) to limit how far your level 1 character can advance their crafting skill. Let’s just cut the nonsense on this and give me a way to remove this restriction. While the time savings is trivial as switching between characters doesn’t take too long, it’s a convenience thing, I’d just like to keep it all on one main character and not have to switch characters whenever I wanted to make something new. The second crafting convenience, and this is a real long shot, since I imagine it would have to be hardcoded into the game, would be to allow crafting from the bank. Not having this in the game by default is a bit baffling to me as it is a fantastic convenience. This to me would be the one convenience that I would gladly pay handsomely for.
I hope that as we get closer to launch we’ll see a wider selection of items available for purchase via the Gem Shop. As it currently stands, the selection is a bit limited, and I’m sure that it will expand greatly in the months to come. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of costumes, hairstyle changes, and other cosmetic options for our characters, as they seem to be fairly standard offerings. I’m sure there are plenty of fantastic ideas about things to add to the Gem Shop, and I’d love to hear more about what you’d like to see up for sale.