As we round the final bend toward Guild Wars 2′s launch, it’s impossible to not notice the rising storm of excitement, anticipation, and– well, there’s no sense in beating around the bush– hype. There, I said it. GW2 is carrying a lot of hype right now. MMO players are eager for something new, something shiny, and most importantly– something different. As most modern MMO fans know, hype can be a risky business, but GW2 has a lot of things going right for it so far. The combination of the game’s dynamic event system, dynamic leveling adjustment system, WvWvW feature, cooperative world system, and non-trinity combat system is a fairly innovative step in the industry, and a large reason for the hype.
Another innovative step is the move away from the classic subscription model. Most MMORPGs these days launch with a subscription model that may or may not prove the test of time, and if the game ends up slipping into a free-to-play model, many players feel frustrated with the model slip no matter their stance. Why? Because the developers will often veil the changes in flowery, positive PR lingo, change the way content patches are added to the game, and in general– change the game dramatically. Gamers prefer their games and development teams at face value– and that’s where Guild Wars 2 comes in.
ArenaNet has taken the time to design a microtransaction shop that will hopefully be fair to players, great for the game’s economy, and profiting to the company. The Black Lion Trading Company, Guild Wars 2′s in-game cash shop (also known as the gem store), wasn’t hastily thrown in to make up for eight straight months of losses. It’s been a stable, well-known feature of the game, and during the months of beta we have been able to provide our feedback on the items available and the current state of the feature. ArenaNet plans on this system being stable for years to come. Because of this fact, we are hopefully less likely to see sudden changes such as items added that border on pay-to-win. For MMO veterans, that’s peace of mind.
Players are well aware of the fact that they may have to purchase items like additional bank slots from the gem store, but since they’re able to use in-game gold to purchase gems, they may not mind doing so. They may also not mind doing so because they know what to expect of ArenaNet’s business model. They know they won’t have to pay a subscription fee for half a year then turn around and weigh pros and cons. They won’t have to pay a monthly subscription fee at all. And that, frankly, is reason enough to celebrate, especially for those of us who enjoy multiple games.
Without the need to pay for a monthly subscription, there’s also the fact that many players will be willing to put out a little cash toward items and features that truly interest them. Again, the feature’s shown at face value. What you see is what you get, and that’s pretty reassuring these days. I know that personally, if I enjoy a game and don’t have to jump through hoops to enjoy myself, I’m more than willing to show my support of the game and grab some goodies along the way.
In fact, I’ve been asking myself what I would consider purchasing first in GW2′s Black Lion Trading Company once the game launches. Let’s say for instance, I wanted to take what I’d normally spend on a one-month subscription to an MMORPG (usually around $15), and put that money to good use in the gem shop. What would I buy first? We don’t know the exact cost of gems, of course, since the market will fluctuate, but I can come up with a priority list of sorts.
Oh, and in case you’d like to take a look at the gem store items and prices available so far (current from the last BWE), please see our list from BWE2 and the changes to BWE3. Items may, of course, change previous to launch still.
Priority 1: Character slots – Yeah, I like alts. This will probably be my first purchase. I like to get all the names, races, and crafting disciplines for my alts set up before I get too far with one character in a new game, generally. I imagine I’ll have 6 characters total, although some may just be crafters.
Priority 2: Bag slots – I hate running out of bag space, so I see this as a “relatively soon” purchase for me, too. Bank tabs might also be useful at some point, yet I probably won’t need them until later in my alt career.
Pirority 3: Pirate Captain’s Outfit (shown in title image on a female sylvari) – Yarr. I can’t help myself. The inner RP’er in me who doesn’t RP often enough loves how it looks on a female charr.
Priority 4: Mystic Keys – I enjoy lockboxes of random goodies, and during the BWEs, I was able to grab some keys while leveling normally, but it’d be nice to have a stack on hand.
After that, I’d probably start looking at collectible minis and possibly some dyes, Mystic Forge items, or Transmutation Stones. And yes, I know I don’t list any of the interesting Boosts GW2 has, but I enjoy taking my time leveling, so I don’t foresee experience or even karma being an issue for me.
How about you? What’s your priority list look like? Feel free to chime in below in the comments section.