Guild Wars 2 - Released/Leaked Cash Shop info

  Recently Anet provided players with a glimpse explanation on the workings of microtransactions in GW2, in preparation for it's early beta testing during the last weekend. Naturally, a bit more information was leaked through the beta weekend about the cash shop elements and these has raised a lot of controversy and debate among the community. While I would like to remind my readers that these belong to a "early" testing on the beta, these items should still be able to provide players with a good idea of the in-game cash shop structure in general, with that in mind here are some of the shots that have been floating around the internet.

How does it work?
  As we all know F2P games are funded by cash-shops, this much is no mystery to most gamers out there. In these type of shops you can only purchase stuff with a special type of in-game currency which requires real money.

  Now lets explain how this works specifically in GW2. The special currency will be gems which like all currencies of the type can only be bought directly via real money, however it is not the only way to get them as there is also another way of acquiring them.

  Gems have a uncommon characteristic, they can be traded with other players for Gold which is the standard currency in GW2, meaning any player can get them without paying real money providing there are players trading them

  On the above screenshot it shows a in-game market tracking feature on the standard value between gems and gold. What this means is that trading gems will work just like a real-life stock market where players can look at a value/time graph of the gems current worth and decide when the time is right to buy/sell them.

  I foresee a lot of players keeping an eye in this since you could effectively make a in-game profit if use the old "buy-low, sell-high" technique.  I'll also add that the current expected estimate is roughly 5-6$(4-5€) per 400 gems.

Cash shop impacts

  While it's still early to say anything too definitive, it's all too easy to unsettle a community whenever the cash shop is the talk in question. Throughout all this, Anet reaffirms their position in their philosophy of microtransactions on visual perks, services and time-saving conveniences.
Available boosts

  As the Cash Shop images were leaked, I'm inclined to agree that they have stayed within the boundaries they set out for themselves. The game does not have a itemization advantage, nor does the faster leveling make a impact. These things I believe are crucial when referred to and influence what the cash shop can have to differentiate it between pay to win and simply pay because its nice or saves you some time while not giving you actual advantage over other players.

  As the easiest example, having a buff that gives you additional 50% experience while killing monsters for a hour, that by itself isn't much and when in a game where your level is automatically adjusted in dungeons and pvp zones to match the others, actual advantage is almost nonexistent.

The voiced concerns

  The biggest concern with the cash shop for the community, surprisingly isn't the shop itself but the gem currency. While it's true that the ratio between actual real cash paying gem buyers, and those interested to get gems with in-game gold is expected to be abysmal, I don't think that it's such a issue as most seem to think it is.

  As I refer again that most of the cash shop items are not in anyway crucial to gameplay, people who can't pay real cash for them might want some gems very badly for whatever use they intend, and yet its actually "normal" to consider that gems paid with real cash can hardly be compared with a virtual currency made in game, a point which I often find people forget as they complain about this issue.

Style items
  Guild wars has always been a very player driven economy, if someone is willing to pay whatever price for the gems, it's still in the end, part of the economy. This as a taken example inspired from EVE online and their PLEX influenced economy, is a alternative way to bring income home to Anet for a game without monthly fee, instead of illegal gold sellers who infest beloved games with bots and spawn farming.

  Also, taking GW1 as the first example where the cash shop with account services and costumes was made available, people who didn't pay real cash didn't even have the possibility to acquire this things, the existence of the gems raise controversy because it'll be a unknown factor how it will mold itself within the economy, but it's still a chance at these items for people who can't/won't afford them with real cash, and a convenient way for people with more money then play time to acquire in-game valuables, directly benefiting Anet and hopefully thwarting illegal activities.

Guild Wars - The game with the pioneer monthly-free plan

  The existence of GW by itself was unique the moment they charged players for the game, but at the same time kept it monthly free with only a mild cash shop to support itself, this was so with GW1 and it will continue to be so with GW2 albeit with a slightly more varied cash shop.

Areanet explains
  Personally, I always loathed "free" mmos with a pay to win cash shop. Awhile back, I tried a much talked WoW clone called Allods Online... it was well made, had decent gameplay and "good" graphics comparable to World of Warcraft. As I had quit WoW around that time the much familiar gameplay was still relatively new and entertaining up until I reached the part where I discovered that the game was literally impossible to play in higher level areas without Incense buffs, a simple explanation is that it equaled your character's stats to the environment, allowing you to progress throughout higher level areas, what put me off was the literal way that they enforced this system.

  I have tried games with cash shops that sold weapons and equipment but having to pay for a temporary buff to be able to play at all was new to me in the pay-to-win scene. My point with this is that even though GW has a cash shop some still mistake this as a pay-to-win game, while in fact nothing could be further from the truth. While the cash shop is obviously much more varied in it's selection of things to sell for other players, it's to be expected considering the game is operating at a much larger scale compared to it's predecessor, and yet Anet has done remarkably in keeping the shop and the game from crossing that thin line and becoming another pay-to-win environment.


That Bastard From Bellingham said...

Gah, shit, as it stands there IS no good way to handle F2P MMO cash shops.

I mean, have YOU found one that works?

Gah. It's why I stutter the MOMENT I hear "free to play," only 'cuz then I'm looking for the hidden squeeze.

TANSTAAFL - there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. There's always a cost in this dynasty under heaven, y'knowwhatImean?

Vague Raconteur said...

I agree with the guy above. Every "free to play" tries to unfairly starve you of some resource, to make you buy more, so you end up spending way more than you would in any normal game without it. It's ludicrous!

Anonymous said...

Played the first GW for years without spending a single cent past the price of the boxes without feeling penalised, and I see no reason I can't do the same here.

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