News: ArenaNet co-founder and president Mike O’Brien has explained the Guild Wars 2 microtransaction system, saying “it’s never OK for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who spend time.”
MMO publishers tend to monetize their products in one of two ways: either you pay a monthly subscription, as with World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic, or you give your game away for free and rely on microtransactions to make your money, as Lord of the Rings Online does. Guild Wars 2 will be following the latter approach, and ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien has outlined the justifications and reasoning behind this decision.
He detailed the three currencies that will be available in game: gold, karma, and gems. Gold is your standard currency, karma is untradeable and used for special rewards, leaving gems as the microtransaction currency. Speaking on the official ArenaNet site, he said: “Here’s our philosophy on microtransactions: We think players should have the opportunity to spend money on items that provide visual distinction and offer more ways to express themselves.
“They should also 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.”
The microtransaction system will also allow players to trade real money for gold between themselves, something which O’Brien believes will take power away from gold-farming companies and give it back to ordinary players. He said: “If a player buys gold from another player, he gets the gold he wants, the selling player gets gems she can use for microtransactions, and ArenaNet generates revenue from the sale of gems that we can use to keep supporting and updating the game. Everyone wins.”
Guild Wars 2 will be one of the most high-profile free-to-play games on the market, and the lack of a monthly fee makes it immediately more appealing. Pricing structure is becoming increasingly more important in a competitive genre, and last month BeefJack’s Yuliya Geikhman examined how an increasing number of MMOs are making the transition from premium to freemium.
You can find all the latest Guild Wars 2 coverage here at BeefJack.