Guild Wars 2 may be subscription-free but, like its predecessor, will have microtransactions for cosmetic items and time-saving doodads. If the idea makes you nervous, fear not!
"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," ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien has said, explaining how it'll work.
"You get a complete and playable game no matter what, but we think we can provide additional content and services that you'd be happy to pay for," O'Brien explained in a blog post.
"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."
Microtransactions will be handled by 'gems,' a third in-game currency on top of gold and non-tradeable karma, a bit like EVE Online's PLEX system. ArenaNet will sell gems for real money, and gems can be used in-game to buy anything that could be bought with gold. As they're tradeable, players can get their hands on gems for account extras or the like without ever buying any, simply by playing the economy.
O'Brien notes that this should help defang gold farmers, which he thinks players will welcome. "The more money they make from selling gold, the more they spam ads in the game, run bot networks to farm gold, and hack accounts to loot them for gold," 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."
Pre-orders for Guild Wars 2 are due to open on April 10, on editions ranging from your $59.99 plain old video through to a $149.99 Collector's Edition with a 10-inch statue. Plus, pre-ordering will guarantee you access to the beta weekend access.