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Guild Wars 2′s microtransaction system won’t “upset or alienate” the player base

Tuesday, 22nd May 2012 15:36 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien has said Guild Wars 2 wasn’t offered as a straight free-to-play title due to being a high quality MMO, not “the lowest cost MMO.”

Speaking with VentureBeat, O’Brien said Guild Wars 2′s quality is what will set the game apart from other subscription-free MMOs, and microtransactions won’t “upset or alienate,” the player base.

“We’re really focused on creating the highest-quality MMO, not the lowest-cost MMO,” he said. “I think Guild Wars 2 is one of the best values in gaming, period. Where else can you get this many hours of enjoyment, of content, of polish, of replayability, for $60?

“Creating a microtransaction system that doesn’t upset or alienate your player base is straightforward, once you clearly define what’s in-bounds and what’s out-of-bounds.”

O’Brien said the team wanted to be transparent with players regarding all microtransactions, reiterating that items in the store will be only “non-essential additions to the game and convenience services.”

The MMO will also offer its own RMT system in order to let players trade with one another, which takes the “power away” from those who would “lie, cheat, and steal to make that profit.”

You can read the entire interview through the link.

GW2 is out sometime this year.

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21 Comments

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  1. DSB

    Sounds pretty familiar. In fact I could swear that I’ve heard it a million times before.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. GrimRita

    I actually checked out the MTs during the beta. Couldnt purchase of course but its almost like League of Legends – paying for small various boots, outfits that wont have an impact on stats etc.

    So imo, this is a good move. League of Legends simply has it nailed when it comes to MTs – hence why it is so popular and if Arena copy that formula, there is no reason why this shouldnt work.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. TheWulf

    @1

    Such criticism sounds hollow when it’s coming from you, considering.

    And it sounds even more so because in the beta they removed a bunch of items from the microtransaction store. Why? People didn’t like them and they responded accordingly. Imagine that! They’ve also been talking on the forums about what their boundaries should be. They’re serious about it, but as a rabid Blizzard fan, I wouldn’t expect you to believe it.

    But for anyone who’s been in the betas, they know this is true. One example was there was this item that allowed you to do a server-wide advertisement. People pretty much said “No!” outright to that, so in the next patch it was gone, they talked about that and said that it wouldn’t be in live. They have no desire to incite or annoy their player-base. They want people to spend money because they like the game, not because they feel pressured into doing so.

    And thus far they’ve upheld that, strike for strike.

    What I will say is that their microtransaction store (which I saw in the beta weekend) is less offensive than Blizzard’s, where you can even buy high speed mounts for actual money. Mounts that other people have to pay in-game money for. And we’re talking about World of Warcraft – a game that has a box price, a subscription, AND a microtransaction store.

    So yeah, I’m behind ArenaNet all the way after seeing what they did with thee store in the beta.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. TheWulf

    @2

    Don’t bother. DSB is pretty much a frothing Blizzard fan and he tends to do this whenever a Guild Wars 2 thread turns up. But he doesn’t share his opinion and flesh out his notions, no, he just leaves this little kneejerk comment. I’ve gone toe to toe with him before and found him wanting when it comes to being able to debate.

    I think he just doesn’t like Guild Wars 2 because of what it promises: A subscription-level game without a subscription, and the same kind of quality you’d find in any AAA game. And without the grind that a subscription-based game creates.

    I’m not surprised that WoW fans are terrified by this, frankly.

    The reason why I say this is because Guild Wars 2 is the absolute proof that a lot of people have been looking for to point at and say ‘well, subscriptions were a con, and you were a fool for buying into them.’ It’s already looking like that’s the case, and it certainly felt that way in the beta weekend.

    This is going to create a lot of cognitive dissonance. Just think – all those people who’ve been paying subscriptions for years will finally, finally have to come to terms with the fact that the subscription does nothing for the game, and that ultimately it is a massive con. That they’ve just been paying for some suit-encrusted type’s next yacht.

    I’ve always hated subscriptions, and GW2 is the ultimate proof of why they shouldn’t exist. WoW fans are going to get more and more defensive over this. Yay cognitive dissonance.

    Bliizzard games have been creating a lot of cognitive dissonance of late.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. GrimRita

    @4 – Well I have beta(but not full access, just open ones atm) and did enough checking around to see what was good/bad. Since this will be free to play, I was interested to see where their money would come from.

    From previous posts, I dont mind parting with cash to enhance my playing experience but not where it creates a case of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ because that would simply be wrong.

    I spent a fortune on League of Legends and I can see Arena following the same trend, which as I stated earlier – is a win/win for everyone involved.

    I just want this bastard to be released lol

    #5 2 years ago
  6. TheWulf

    “I just want this bastard to be released lol”

    I hear that.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    @4 I don’t know about that. I barely wrote two lines. Which was apparently enough for you to write five fairly excited paragraphs on the games behalf.

    Is there really any question as to who the fanboy is here?

    For what it’s worth, I actually do like Guild Wars 2, I just don’t buy the hype, like the more “unbiased observers of the game” (like you clearly are). As I’ve stated countless times, it’s going to be the first MMO I really want to play since WoW.

    It doesn’t change the fact that it’s has a pretty outrageous pricetag, for a game that’s looking to slap you with an ingame storefront. Same as Diablo 3, same as WoW, same as any other obvious cash cow out there.

    I’m sure that a fanboy would find it neccesary to somehow deny that, or make himself believe that Guild Wars 2 is truly different, and doing it in a totally different way. But I don’t think that fanboy would convince anyone but himself. And neither should O’Brien.

    He’s giving the same stump speech on micro-transactions as the last five PR stooges. He’s even borrowing their arguments.

    What was Blizzards justification for the real money auction house again? Oh look, there it is:

    “[it] takes the “power away” from those who would “lie, cheat, and steal to make that profit.””

    It’s no less of a shit sandwich whether it’s made by Blizzard or ArenaNet.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Sadismek

    @4 “I’m not surprised that WoW fans are terrified by this, frankly.” Wow… so people are now terrified by a game? You like GW2, you’ll play it, you like WoW you’ll play that, it’s as simple as that. It’s not like someone is paid to love a game and hate the other. Again, you’re having some serious problems, you keep on writing paragraphs and miss points, you keep on deviating. I don’t know who the hell sent you in a crusade to “enlighten” people and act like a “know-it-all” but they’re sure having a laugh at you now.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Mdmazing

    @7 Can you not read? In beta you can see what is in the store and tbh there’s nothing in there that I would buy if it was free. All that’s really in it are cosmetic items that don’t really look that nice anyway, And your point about it being expensive is just retarded its £50 for enough content to keep you entertained for easily over a year.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    @9 The pricing argument would make sense if you were paying for games by the minute. You aren’t. You’re paying for a product, and one that is far from unique. This product is in a category which has a general price point. 60 dollars is 120% above that price point, and used to be the hallmark of publishers like EA or Activision.

    And they can’t even price it at a competitive level? That’s just not trying hard enough. The fact that you don’t want anything from the store, doesn’t make it less of a store. You pay overprice, so they get to sell you even more stuff.

    You might not want to demand anything in return, but personally I like quid pro quo.

    You’re welcome to buy any misdirect you want to, and I gather that you do, but it doesn’t mean that others can call them on this kind of PR bullshit.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Mdmazing

    @10 You clearly know nothing of mmo’s if you think this is an expensive game. For example if you buy this and play it for 2 years it will cost you £50 or if you bought WOW it would cost you $20 then an extra $240 for the subscription cost as well as the in game store. How is guild wars 2 an expensive mmo???

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DSB

    @11 It’s a fair point.

    In other MMOs, you do pay a subscription fee, but in return, the developers don’t hide their content behind a paywall. WoW has sadly started stepping over that boundary, which is really the latest in a number of missteps, the response to which is that they’re steadily losing business.

    Again, I don’t buy the time argument. You’re not paying for two years of game time, you’re paying for a game. You might play it two years, you might play it two hours. The mileage will always vary. Do you suppose that ArenaNet will refund me if I only want to play it for 2 hours? I doubt it.

    The fact that many people spend 100s of hours on Call of Duty and it’s map packs doesn’t make it any less overpriced, compared to other products in the same category. Although Activision are certainly having an easy time popularizing their business models, and price points.

    They’re free to charge what they want, but if I pay 60 dollars for a game, I want the full game. Not 95% of it, not 99% of it. I want 100%. Maybe you see a value in being rid of a subscription, but personally I see a value in being rid of peddling, and constant approaches to my wallet. I’d much rather have an MMO where the expense is always clear to you, and where it leaves no distinction between the guy with an open wallet, and the guy with a closed wallet.

    It also stands to reason that the real money auction house in GW2 has plenty of potential to unbalance the game. It will quite obviously only appeal to the people who have the money to pay for gear. The rest can go fuck themselves.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Mdmazing

    I give up on you your clearly against this game with all your heart for no apparent reason. I guess you wont believe anyone until the game comes out and you realise it is the game its hyped up to be.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    @13 Not really, I’m very much going to play it.

    Fanboys just apparently think everybody else is just like them, or the polar opposite.

    And they’re almost always wrong.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. _ZeDB

    @12

    I don’t know about that. WoW hid behind a paywall when they brought out The Burning Crusade, since you still had to buy it, despite the subscription. Sure, GW had campaigns, but they were stand-alone, and weren’t required to advance. You could get to level 20 and have best gear in the Core campaign. You had a choice to buy them.

    Second, I think you’re mixing GW2 up with Diablo III. GW2 doesn’t have a real money auction house (unless you’re counting buying gems). But even then, you can’t trade them gems for real money.

    Also, considering there’s no gear with stats in the cash shop, and that cash shop items can be bought with in game gold anyway by trading for gems (meaning everything in the cash shop is available to everyone), it’s hardly game breaking.

    And as for ‘approaches to your wallet’ as you put it. You don’t HAVE to buy the stuff. The game is perfectly playable without cash shop items, and, if they go down the same route as GW, additional content that isn’t required to advance.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DSB

    @15 Gems are real money, ergo it has RMT, just as Diablo III does. The reason why games like GW2 and services like Xbox Live convert real money into virtual money, is so that you’re psychologically more inclined to spend it.

    It’s not dollars, it’s Gems. Or Microsoft Points. Airlines, phone companies and credit card companies have been doing it for years.

    I agree though, it is kinda odd to see guys who despised it in Diablo III laud it in GW2.

    The fact that people have a choice doesn’t really mean a lot. That goes for every product in an open market. Granted, Guild Wars 2 softens the blow, by apparently only making it aestethic items, but that’s the exact same principle as WoWs nickel and dime offering.

    I think it’s a slippery slope to charge those kinds of prices, so you can subject people to a storefront. F2P works because it’s quid pro quo. You get to play for free, and they get to try and sell you their stuff. In this case it may be less intrusive, but the principle is the same. You will be excluded from certain auctions and offers, and items unless you pay real money, and they’ll make you pay for that, even though the privilege is entirely theirs, and it doesn’t add any value to your game.

    Generally I don’t really see the benefit of the current MMO model though. These games live and die by the number of users, so charging those users a hefty sum for entry seems pretty counter-productive to me.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. _ZeDB

    @16
    “I agree though, it is kinda odd to see guys who despised it in Diablo III laud it in GW2.”

    I don’t think it’s the actual micro-transactions people disagree with. It’s game-changing items. I don’t know how Diablo III works, but if you got a shiny axe that adds +20 STR and a proc, and it costs wayyyy more gold than real money, then it’s more tempting than just a shiny axe skin.

    “The fact that people have a choice doesn’t really mean a lot. That goes for every product in an open market.”

    Exactly. It’s like going out shopping and you see a game. No-one can lay blame on a company who is trying to make money if they can’t control your spending.

    “You will be excluded from certain auctions and offers, and items unless you pay real money, and they’ll make you pay for that, even though the privilege is entirely theirs, and it doesn’t add any value to your game.”

    But you won’t. You don’t even have to put your hand in your wallet to get items from the cash shop. You can purchase the gems with in-game gold.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    I tend to agree with a lot of your arguments on this site, DSB, but I think in this case you’re waaaaay off the bat.

    There is no “slippery slope” here in all fairness, because NCSoft has taken this cosmetic micro-transaction approach for years with its games. Even it’s free-to-play games are fully playable, with mostly aesthetic and convenience being the only purchasable stuff.

    The pricing argument also makes no sense. A slightly higher pricetag means little when you consider that it has no subscription free, and has been generally commended with its quality, depth and balance, much like the original. If nothing else, the game is clearly one of quality.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. blackdreamhunk

    I really hope they cheap the game for free-to-play microtransactions style.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. GrimRita

    On the point of pricing. Guild Wars 2 is costing the same as some of the last few major releases.

    GW2 is free to play – others you pay £9 approx a month. You simply cant expect a developer/publisher to launch an MMO with either a P2P or F2P model with MTs included.

    If you havent played League of Legends DSB, go have a look. MTs work and GW2 will probably adobt the same model used here.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. blackdreamhunk

    This makes character progression less about skill and more about how much money you’re willing to fork out.As far as keeping subscribers to pay for those servers, you’ll find if you try to make the best game possible, as opposed to the most profitable game possible, positive buzz will keep people playing for years.

    #21 2 years ago