Category Archives: Payment Model

Guild Wars 2: A FAQ for new players

You may already know the first version of this FAQ. I decided to rewrite it, update it and put newer screenshots in. So here is the new version. A very special thank you goes to Tasha Darke for reading through it all. I was hoping for a few bits of corrected grammar but she gave me very valuable feedback on top of that!

This FAQ is mostly for those who have just recently heard of Guild Wars 2 and now want to know more. If you have been following the game for years or even just months, if you have pre-purchased the game and if you have already played it, you are welcome to read it as well, but you will find a lot of information that you already know.

Since the game is still in development a lot of things are subject to change (yes, believe it or not, ArenaNet is handling the Beta Weekend Events like a real beta and is still changing things around). Also, new information comes out every now and then which might outdate what you can read here. If you notice any of that – or just errors that I’ve made – please comment (with sources if possible).

I am going to use the same categories that I have used for my “Rift vs. Lotro vs. WoW” posting already.

If you only want a very short overview, the following will hopefully be enough. There are lots of links leading you further down my posting if you want more information!

Before we start, we need to get two questions out of the way (as suggested by Pyzlnar on Reddit):
“Yes, you can jump!” – and no, this game is not an Asian-grinder and it is not made by an Asian company. It’s made by ArenaNet who is located in Seattle, Washington, USA (though they do belong to NCSoft but they only work as a publisher here while ArenaNet is the developer and thus, actually makes the game). Guild Wars 2 will also feature an open world and will not be heavily instanced like Guild Wars 1 is. Again, thank you, Pyzlnar, for these suggestions. You were right, they’re clearly missing and should be the first two points in any GW2 FAQ. ;)

OMG! When’s the beta? How do I get in?
If you have pre-purchased the game, you are automatically invited to all beta weekend events planned to take place roughly once a month until release. Do not confuse it with a preorder, though. Pre-purchasing means you pay the game in full! Beta keys are also available through giveaways and competitions from a variety of fan and gaming websites.
Wait, what?

How much does the game cost? Which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
You will have to buy the game itself but there will be no monthly fees. Without monthly fees, the follow-up costs are basically voluntary as there will be a real money shop (called “gem store”), but stuff you buy there will not give you more power and thus, won’t be required for the gameplay. Gems, the shop’s currency, can be bought in the game’s auction house (here called the Trading Post) for in game gold. Nothing is known yet about security like authenticators. There will very likely be system for account restorations in case you were hacked.
More on costs and security

What can I play and how do I play? – Races, professions and combat mechanics
You will be able to choose from 5 races: Norn, human, asura, charr and sylvari. Each race can be each of the 8 professions (often also called “classes”) in the game: Engineer, Thief, Guardian, Warrior, Elementalist, Necromancer, Ranger and Mesmer.

There is no holy trinity anymore! “Holy trinity” refers to characters that tank (the foes focus on the tank and leave the other players alone), characters that heal and characters that deal damage. In Guild Wars 2, every profession is self-sufficient up to a certain point and you will be able to play with any combination of professions without having to wait for “another healer” or “a tank”. Professions can interact with each other through their skills and support others.
More about races and professions

What does the game look like?
In short: Gorgeous, artsy, picturesque if you ask me. As with all games’ graphics, this is very subjective. Have a look at the various screenshots you can find online and decide for yourself if you like it.
Pictures and videos outsourced to below in order to keep the part up here short.

What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
First things first, there will be no regular raids in this game as you may know them from WoW or SWTOR! Instead, dynamic events in the open world that scale for up to 100 players. There will be several dungeons to play which will each have a story mode and the more difficult explorable mode. There will be no standard quests for playing either. The closest you will get to regular quests will be your personal storyline.
More about PvE

Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
There are 2 modes of PvP – Structured and World vs World.
Structured PvP, also known as Conquest, is somewhat similar to battlegrounds (WoW) or warzones (SWTOR) except everybody will be max level and have all weaponry and armor available to them straight out of character creation. So no gear advantages. 2 Teams (hot join or premade) fight it out on different maps for Glory, a currency which can be spent on better looking equipment and other (as yet unannounced) rewards.
World vs. world vs. world (frequently abbreviated to WvW) is the second mode. Three worlds (servers) will fight against each other for guild recognition and bonuses which affect the entire world. Players cannot fight players from the same server,as there are no factions, and while characters are buffed to have the basic stats as a level 80 character, gear and traits are not levelled (but you do earn experience in WvW which means that you can level your character in WvW). Servers will rotate every two weeks.
More about PvP

Grouping and socialization
In Guild Wars 2, you will be able to join more than one guild with one single character (I assume you will be able to create more than one character. So don’t misunderstand this sentence ^^). If you want to read our opinion about it, go here. If you don’t, well that’s just as well. ;)
Grouping will be in the game but it will not be forced on you like it is in other games. For example, you can attack a mob that another player is currently fighting. As you both contribute to the kill, you will both get the same amount of experience points and loot that you would have gotten if you had fought the mob on your own! In other words: Kill-stealing will not be possible!
More about Grouping and Socialization

I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?)
The first thing that comes to my mind is the personal storyline. When creating your character, you get asked a few questions and can choose between different answers. That determines the starting point of your personal story. Other choices later on will further determine how your story evolves. You can bring a friend along to your storyline. But it will essentially be your story.

Guild Wars 2 will also have achievements. So that’s something you can do. You can also roam the world on your own or play a lone wolf in WvW – though I’m not sure how viable the latter is, apart from escorting the odd caravan. ;)
More about stuff to do solo

Crafting
There are 8 crafting skills to choose from and you can have two at a time: Weaponsmith, Huntsman, Artificer, Armorsmith, Leatherworker, Tailor, Jeweler and Cook.
Every character can gather all resources provided you have the correct gathering tool equipped which can be bought from merchants for gold or karma. A resource node can be used by several players, so it is not possible to steal such a node from under another player’s nose.
More about crafting

Fluff
There will be mini-pets just as in Guild Wars 1. Activities have also been announced but there haven’t been any recent details on them. “Bar brawl” was one of the activities mentioned, for example.

You will also have a home instance which is an entire district in the capital city of your character’s race. The home instance automatically changes with your personal story but you can’t change anything yourself (like putting furniture in).

Also, you will be able to change the way your armor looks. And there will be 400 different dyes in the game. Each piece of armor has 1 to 3 areas that can be dyed.
More about fluff

That was the short version. Its bigger brother will follow now, which also includes links for further reading. Most of the information can be found on ArenaNet’s blog or in the official wiki for Guild Wars 2.

Click here to see the full entry

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (February 23, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^). We wouldn’t be “Nerdy Bookahs” if we started this Geekwatch with anything other than a loud cheer: You can sign up for Guild Wars 2’s beta now! The website will be up for a bit more than one day from now (came up yesterday evening and will be online for 48 hours). It does ask you to scan your system (with a programme called “Scannertron.exe”). And I assume that this news wasn’t really necessary as most of our regular readers already knew about that anyway. ;) Still, it’s worth repeating as this is something we have been waiting for! Be careful, though, as there are apparently scammers out there already. Only go to the official website (with the subdomain “beta”. So… “beta.” is in front of the guildwars2.com ^^), especially as the beta sign-up asks you to run an .exe file!

Something less fun: SOE and Pro7Sat1 have partnered to distribute most of SOE’s MMOs in Europe. I wrote about this in January. Now they have finally released a FAQ about the implications this will have for EU players (and also for their US friends who may not be able to play together anymore in the future). Being German, I know Pro7Sat1 at least from TV (they’re TV programmes but also offer browser games). I don’t think that fits to MMOs. All I know is that while yay, I can at least continue playing EQ2 on US servers even after the switch, no other EU friends can join me in the future because they’ll only be able to play on EU servers with Pro7Sat1 apparently. Region-locking, if you ask me, is very bad. Gaming communities are only separated by time differences and language barriers. But if neither of those are a problem for you personally, why add additional barriers? *sigh*

I’ve gotten most of the related news from Stephanie Morrow who managed to keep up a lot better than me since they released the FAQ. So, for one, here is her blog post about it. Then there’s this thread that either includes a typo or a hint at Vanguard becoming f2p under Pro7Sat1 (though I thought Vanguard isn’t part of the deal in which case it’s just a mistake). And last but not least, a posting about a player calling Pro7Sat1 to get more answers.

On to hopefully happier news. Aion EU will go free to play on February 28, 2012. NCSoft will not be the publisher anymore. Instead, Gameforge will take over. So far, not a word about any region locks and I hope it stays that way! ;) However, US players will get their share of “f2p” as well: Aion US will go truly free in spring.

I especially like the last paragraph with: “We understand that an active player population contributes to the fun factor for the entire player population, so we want everyone to experience the game as it was intended.” – I’ve seen it in all MMOs that have free clients as well as sub versions that those who decide to play a monthly fee give bad names (“free loaders” for example) to those who don’t pay as if they were better people or players. They just seem to forget that on the one hand, they also get to enjoy a more active playerbase and on the other hand, most of those f2p models come with an item shop which means that even without paying a monthly fee, you can very well spend more than twice the amount of a monthly fee in their shop every single month. Either way, I enjoy being able to play several MMOs without having to pay several monthly fees. It’s just not worth it for playing maybe one or two evenings a month. I do very much enjoy my additional character slots in STO, though. Or my prestige house and my ratonga in EQ2. ;)

How many chances do you give a game?

When bookahnerk first let me play WoW on his account, I was immediately hooked. Poor guy had wanted to nap a bit but couldn’t because I kept bothering him with questions. My laptop hadn’t been too good, so I’d gotten lost in that “efil cave-area” in the Tauren starter area. Who knew it was actually such a small starter area? ;) So, this one game immediately drew me in. But that leads me to the topic of this post.

Wasdstomp mentioned on Google+ how he uninstalled Age of Conan after 5 minutes of playing which led to me and others talking about how many times it took us to get into Lotro, Guild Wars,…

I still remember when we got into the Guild Wars Factions Preview Event with premade level 20 characters and we were so lost. I’d also not played any other MMO but WoW and kept comparing the two. At the end of the year, I suddenly decided that I want to have this game and bought Guild Wars Nightfall after a friend had recommended it to me because it has a better tutorial. I suddenly enjoyed myself in the game but don’t ask me why I even gave it a second chance. I don’t remember at all. But I guess, something had left an impression. ;)

The first time I ever played Lotro was during its open beta in 2007 close before release. I decided against buying it because I was playing WoW and couldn’t afford two subs. I did get two more trials which both didn’t make me stay in the game even though WoW was gone later on. But yet again, I gave it another go, bought the game box and stayed for the included 30 days. Then I let my account run out because I didn’t want to pay the monthly fee. Lucky for me (or Codemasters/Turbine? ^^), when my account was inactive, I was one of those who got the offer to buy a lifetime account for something like 110€ (roughly 10 monthly subs?). I took it and have stayed in Lotro since that.

So, one could say that I give certain games a lot of tries if they interest me in some way. The amount of time varies from a few minutes (some Asian f2p MMOs managed to make me run away faaaaast), an hour or two (Hello Kitty Online belongs to that category as I did stay in there for two hours before I had enough of pink and pastels) or even several hours before deciding against a game (Tabula Rasa comes to my mind). In most cases, however, the monthly fee is what makes me not get a game and leave. But I do come back whenever they give a free week of playing (Rift and Aion, for example). I just always decide that they’re not good enough (<– for me! Not an objective assessment ^^) to make me pay.

All of this made me wonder: How many chances do you give a game? And how often do you try to get into said game?

Guild Wars: Character slots, naming rules and their possible transition

When I try to imagine how the naming rules, server architecture, guild limitations and the character slots may be handled in Guild Wars 2 I always reach the point where I have to take into account how it was implemented in Guild Wars, why it may have been done like that and what the benefits of their decisions were. Especially the ones that they apparently want to keep. As an outsider my ideas and guesses are only that. Thus, I would love to read any deeper thoughts or other conclusions and ideas you may come up with!

My guesses put on the table simple, short, rough and maybe a little provocative are:
– Character slots will again be limited per account (not per server) but every character will be listed with its current home server.
– Naming rules are global and unique like in Guild Wars, but this time one word names are also possible.
– The basic game will be delivered with 3-5 character slots, the collector’s edition with 5-8.

If you are now sitting there nodding or shaking your head, rest assured that I can understand both reactions and sometimes have them about my own thoughts, too. Especially when I start listening to the two most extreme oppositional views in my head. ;)

One being overly optimistic, high of anticipation and delusional that Guild Wars 2 does not have to create an income for ArenaNet, dreaming of a world not limited by technical and financial boundaries. The other one being absolutely skeptical and mischievous knowing that there are as good as no companies which would say nay to the highest possible income for the least possible effort.

Please note that in the case of ArenaNet I still slightly tend to listen to the first one. Of all the companies on my personal radar they are the one I have the most confidence in that I will get what I will pay for. The other way around, they very rarely disappointed me. And when they did, there were always fast corrections or transparent explanations I could live with.

It’s my belief that one of the most basic decisions ArenaNet had to make for Guild Wars was how their server network should work to split and balance the possible load. Especially considering the financial and technical challenges an MMO meant at that time. As a result that decision directly influenced what kind of game world would be easier to implement and what limitations came along. I’ll take their decision for an “easier scalable and extendable massive instanced world with the layering in the outposts where many people could meet” as a given and compare some of its aspects to the “persistent world with massive amounts of players in the area simultaneously” to which Guild Wars 2 will belong to.

While with Guild Wars ArenaNet chose the very limiting way for their players in their world, some details show that nevertheless a global approach was important to them and still is. Most other games which are structured in “servers” come with capsuled parallel worlds. Each one with its own economy, own community and your character exclusively bound to one. ArenaNet instead decided to manage your character slots and the in-game NPC market in a global database. So you can log in with each character into any region you want, have the same NPC prices in all of them and can meet your trade partners worldwide.

In GW2 again, at least the new in game trade system will be not limited to your server (exact details and if it has any global or regional limits remain to be announced). While I do like being able to trade in all the regions of GW1 and love to never feel stuck at a server where economy or community sucks, it’s not made that way only for the good of the player. A heavily instanced game world compared to a cohesive one with its many simultaneous players, is so much easier to handle and to spread between an on demand expandable amount of servers. Managing the character slots globally also has the nice side effect for ArenaNet that they are able to sell additional slots sooner instead of letting us use up all unlocked character slots on every single server. While I wouldn’t mind it that much (because for me the lack of a monthly fee makes more than up for that), that’s my main argument why I do see them wanting to keep the globally managed character slots and technically simply add your server choice as one additional variable to each character slot.

Besides the fact that GW1 characters are managed worldwide and you can possibly meet any other player there are no server names to tag onto your name. ArenaNet came up with slightly different but essential limitations to how you can name you characters to avoid ambiguities. While they decided to rule out one word names, you are allowed to use multiple spaces to create your globally unique character name. What sounds trivial and enabled realistic combinations of for- and surname, titles or even seldomly considered foreign names, at the same time opened up the Pandora’s box of “creative” and odd combinations to integrate your overused popular or already taken names. But rating names or creativity should not be my focus in this post. Unique naming per server, region or even globally on the other hand is. Especially when taking into account the announced easy to execute server transfers in the upcoming Guild Wars 2.

Unique global naming would avoid one of the most frustrating aspects players may be confronted with (besides possible fees) when they want to switch servers or when servers are merged. Imagine the name you feel you have established yourself with and may be famous for is already taken on the target server. Maybe by a low level banking alt or someone not even playing anymore. While that dilemma is avoidable and my thoughts about globally managed character slots should explain why I see them keeping the global and unique naming too, I still owe you an explanation why single word names may have their introduction. I do not see a technical issue to rule them out, the shown demos of GW2 on this year’s exhibitions are still allowing them and I would consider it as a tribute to the e-sport orientation of their tournament PvP part and the habit gamers may have formed in other games. Short and single word names are much easier to recognize and so to build “e-fame” with.

Colin Johanson previously stated that there will be more than two character slots. Based on the foundation I argued till now it’s not that difficult to follow my train of thoughts why there will only be 3-8 character slots coming with the retail boxes (or download versions). As I just wrote, we know there will be more than just two slots. Also in many interviews it was stated that we should not run into limitations that fast. Well, considering that I am an altoholic and have too many stupid character names I come up with, my initial guess should be of at least 20 slots. ;) But thinking about ArenaNet, Guild Wars and the lack of a subscription I have to cut back to a maximum of five or eight slots, depending on the version (standard box, collector’s edition etc.). As a side note why I differentiate between normal and collector’s edition: Till now nothing is known about the content of a CE. But what would be cheaper for ArenaNet than some digital content (which they would love to sell us either way) additionally to physical goodies. So why not justifying a hopefully reasonable pricing of a CE this way and collecting some of the money directly at release which they would otherwise acquire over the next months, years or never?

Back to the still not argued number of five and eight slots. You all know them well. There will be five races and eight classes in the game when it launches. My simple assumption is that they want us to enjoy the game and give us either access to each of the races or to each of the classes or – on the other hand – deny us “full access” as an incentive to pay for character slots. If you want you can use that thought and observe the release of the game. The amount of character slots included at release could be taken as an indicator of how aggressive ArenaNet will be with their shop and how they will limit your content until you pay.

Imagining me buying the basic edition I may be satisfied with three slots but I am sure I would feel very limited by not even being able to play the five different races with their own story from start to end as one of them. Yes, it is possible to venture through the story of another race if you join a friend who plays that race. But for me that’s not the same, especially considering the effort it would take to coordinate. With five slots I guess I have to be happy. ArenaNet for sure wants to earn at least some money and buying slots to play every class I consider as tribute I will have to spend for playing their game without a monthly fee. Let me switch to imagining myself with a collector’s edition in my hands and that is what I actually want to buy. Now I have to raise my expectations. Being able to play all five races “out of the box” I definitely want to see as a given. While they may not use the mentioned opportunity to add digital content to increase the value of the CE I would feel a little unsatisfied if I didn’t get eight slots. In the end, I see a CE as a product for fans of the game, its lore and the world itself, so with less than eight slots I may have the feeling not to have bought the complete game. No, logging into the shop later that day/week/month to additionally buy some slots would not feel the same.

Allow me to use my fixation on the CE to dwell a little in thoughts about the recently announced collector’s editions of Star Wars: The Old Republic and Skyrim. Why exactly those two? Simply because they not only pushed the pricing a little. No, they nearly doubled the amount most of us were used to. How did they argue that? Ah well, I better leave that to the fans who I absolutely wish to have a lot of fun in those games but at the same time I impute them to see the value of their purchase through rose-colored glasses. I hope that ArenaNet keeps up the spirit they often recite that they do want to deliver content that literally earns them our money. So I would love to see a reasonable CE with stuff like the astonishing soundtrack, a book about the world and lore (an art-book would be nice too, but that’s already separately purchasable in their store) and a detailed artsy map of the world. If they want to absolutely stun me, the map would be made of cloth and “Destiny’s Edge” would be included as detailed figurines or a diorama. All that while having the price still capped at 80 $/€. To justify a pricing above that in my opinion there would have to be a fine selection of useful and valuable digital content (*hints at the 8 character slots*). But only to mention, I recommend avoiding content that cannot be acquired later (like the merchant that SW:TOR added) – in my opinion just to raise the pressure to buy the physical CE before it may be “gone” or you lack something that possibly reveals itself as a necessity later on.

Future announcements and further details may show the one or other error in my thoughts and there is a good possibility that I have to rethink some details of my statements or have to define them more accurately. But I guess that’s the risk about making things up in my mind, jumping to conclusions and blogging about them. ;)

Outdated! Guild Wars 2 in a nutshell – a FAQ

There is a newer version of this article which you can find here.

(Updated: January 17, 2012)

What do we know about the game so far? I’m trying to keep it as short as possible. Knowing me, I will fail at that. ;) For further reading, I’ll include links.

This is also for people who’ve just recently heard of Guild Wars 2 and now want to know more. :) Since the game is still in development and hasn’t even reached beta yet (note: I think I read a statement that they would like to get into closed beta before the end of the year. The release date will then be determined by how well the beta goes and what kind of feedback comes in), about everything is subject to change. Also, new information comes out every now and then which might outdate what you can read here. If you notice any of that – or just errors that I’ve made – please comment (with sources if possible).

I’m going to use the same categories that I’ve used for my “Rift vs. Lotro vs. WoW” posting already.

If you only want a very short overview, the following will hopefully be enough. There are lots of links leading you further down my posting if you want more information!


Before we start, we need to get two questions out of the way (as suggested by Pyzlnar on Reddit):
“Yes, you can jump!” – and no, this game is not an Asian-grinder and it is not made by an Asian company. It’s made by ArenaNet who is located in Seattle, Washington, USA (though they do belong to NCSoft but they only work as a publisher here while ArenaNet is the developer and thus, actually makes the game). Guild Wars 2 will also feature an open world and will not be heavily instanced like Guild Wars 1 is. Again, thank you, Pyzlnar, for these suggestions. You were right, they’re clearly missing and should be the first two points in any GW2 FAQ. ;)

OMG! When’s the beta? How do I get in?
The first closed beta phase started on December, 16, 2011 and ended on December 30, 2011. You weren’t able to sign up for it, though.
If you wonder about open beta, go read this interview with Angel Leigh McCoy. Planning of open beta has already begun, according to her.
Wait, what?

How much does the game cost and which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
You will have to buy the game itself but no monthly fees. There will be an item shop similar to Guild Wars. Weapons etc. that give you an advantage will not be offered for real money. Nothing is known yet about security like authenticators.
More on costs and security

What can I play (races and classes?)
5 races: Norn, Human, Asura, Charr and Sylvari.
8 classes (officially called ‘professions’): Engineer, Thief, Guardian, Warrior, Elementalist, Necromancer, Ranger and Mesmer.

No holy trinity! Every class is self-sufficient up to a certain point. No tanks, no healers! But classes can interact with each other through their skills and support others.
More about races and classes

What does the game look like?
In short: Gorgeous, artsy, picturesque if you ask me. It’s important to note that ArenaNet is a US-American company. So don’t even start with “Asian crap” here, please. ;)
Pictures and videos outsourced to below in order to keep the part up here short.

What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
No raids in this game! Instead, dynamic events in the open world that scale for up to 100 players. And dungeons (story mode and the more difficult explorable mode). No standard quests for levelling.
More about PvE

Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
Structured PvP similar to battlegrounds (WoW), warzones (SWTOR),… everybody will be max level and wear standard armor. So no gear advantages.
World vs. world vs. world is the second mode. Three servers will fight against each other (no fighting players from the same server. There aren’t any factions in the game like WoW’s Horde and Alliance etc.). Servers will rotate every two weeks. You can level your character in WvWvW.
More about PvP

Grouping and socialization
In Guild Wars 2, you will be able to join as many guilds as you like with one single character (I assume you will be able to create more than one character. So don’t misunderstand this sentence ^^). If you want to read our opinion about it, go here. If you don’t, well that’s just as well. ;)
Grouping will be in the game but in its own way. You will not compete for XP or loot!
More about Grouping and Socialization

I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?)
The first thing that comes to my mind is the personal storyline. When creating your character, you get asked a few questions and can choose between different answers. That determines the starting point of your personal story. Other choices later on will further determine how your story evolves. You can bring a friend along to your storyline. But it will essentially be your story.

Guild Wars 2 will also have achievements. So that’s something you can do. You can also roam the world on your own or play a lone wolf in WvWvW – though I’m not sure how viable the latter is. ;)
More about stuff to do solo

Crafting
8 professions (you can have two at a time): Weaponsmith, Huntsman, Artificer, Armorsmith, Leatherworker, Tailor, Jewelcrafter and Cook.
Every character can gather resources. Nodes can be used by several players. No stealing possible!
More about crafting

Fluff
There will be non-combat pets. Mini games were also mentioned but not much is known about them yet. “Bar brawl” was mentioned, for example. You will also have a home instance which should not be confused with what we think about when we hear “housing”! It changes with your personal story but you can’t put furniture in etc. Also, you will be able to change the way your armour looks. And there will be 400 different dyes in the game. Each piece of armour has 1 to 3 areas that can be dyed.
More about fluff

That was the short version. Its bigger brother will follow now. Including links for further reading (most of the information can be found on ArenaNet’s blog, though, or in the offical wiki for Guild Wars 2. Some other information came out of the recent GamesCom and PAX or from fansites/interviews).

Click here to see the full entry

Guild Wars 2 and microtransactions

The MMO Report: Guild Wars 2 Preview Special includes some interesting information about Guild Wars 2 and its “payment model”. As most of you probably know, Guild Wars 2 will be “buy to play” just like Guild Wars 1 is. That means that you buy the box with a key inside which lets you create an account. But there won’t be a monthly fee. It will have microtransactions like Guild Wars 1 did. But so far, they didn’t specify. The only thing I’d read was that it will be similar to Guild Wars 1 and that they’re trying out different things to put in the store.

I might have been too pessimistic but I feared they’d sneak in some items that make you more powerful. Because so far, whenever people asked, the answer was just that they’re “looking into what to put into the store”.

Either way, Colin Johanson (Lead Content Designer for Guild Wars 2) answers this question quite clearly in the MMO Report. You can find the answer starting at 12:50.

Or just read the transcription that I’ve written:

“Guild Wars 1 was buy the box, play it for free forever. Guild Wars 2 will be exactly the same thing. We are never going to charge a monthly fee for Guild Wars 2. If you buy our game, you can play it, that’s it. We believe that if we are doing our job and we are making expansion content that is good enough people will buy it and continue to support our company and if we’re not making stuff that good then they won’t and that’s their choice. We don’ think we should that we should charge them a monthly fee. We think that we should earn our money by making great content that people would want to buy. That’s very important to us. We will have microtransactions just like Guild Wars 1 did. It’s very important to us that our microtransactions are superficial things. Things that don’t make you more powerful than other players. They are things that change the look of the players only or change the fun experiences that you have on the side. They are never things that will make you more powerful than other characters and they are never things that you have to buy to play the game. When you buy Guild Wars 2, you get the whole game. Period. You never need to get a microtransaction to get more of it.”

This sounds great! Even though I wasn’t too happy to hear that in order to change your character’s armour (the look of it, not the stats on it), you’ll most likely have to pay*, I will gladly do so if that means that there’ll never be anything in the shop that will make my character more powerful!

Edit: For the German-speakers, a German translation of what Colin said.

“Guild Wars 1 war “Kauf die Box, spiel das Spiel kostenlos für immer”. Guild Wars 2 wird genauso sein. Wir werden niemals eine monatliche Gebühr verlangen für Guild Wars 2. Wenn ihr das Spiel kauft, könnt ihr es spielen. Wir glauben, wenn wir unsere Arbeit machen und Erweiterungsinhalt machen, der gut genug ist, werden die Spieler ihn kaufen und unsere Firma unterstützen und wenn wir nichts Gutes machen, dann werden sie es nicht kaufen und das ist alleine ihre Entscheidung. Wir glauben nicht, dass wir monatlich Geld verlangen sollten. Wir glauben, dass wir uns das Geld verdienen müssen, indem wir großartigen Inhalt machen, den die Spieler kaufen wollen. Das ist für uns sehr wichtig. Wir werden “Microtransactions” haben so wie es in Guild Wars 1 war. Es ist uns sehr wichtig, dass unsere Microtransactions für oberflächliche Dinge sind. Dinge, die einen nicht mächtiger machen als andere Spieler. Das sind Dinge, die das Aussehen von Spielern (Charakteren) oder “fun experiences” (unterhaltsame Erfahrungen? ^^ Mir fällt hier nichts Gescheites ein), die man nebenbei hat, verändern. Es werden niemals Dinge sein, die einen stärker machen als andere Charaktere und es werden niemals Dinge sein, die man kaufen muss, um das Spiel zu spielen. Wenn ihr Guild Wars 2 kaufen, dann bekommt ihr das ganze Spiel. Punkt. Ihr werdet niemals Microtransactions tätigen müssen, um mehr zu bekommen (“to get more of it” – mehr von was ist hier noch die Frage. ^^ Daher klingt die Übersetzung hier etwas komisch.).

*Edit: http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Transmutation_Stone: “They will be available for purchase through the in-game store and through gameplay through the use of karma”. I remember they said it would be a shop item but apparently, they have changed that in the meantime and will give you a choice of using some in-game currency or real money! :)

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (June 22)

Pirate AsuraWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about LotRO, Guild Wars 2 and any other interesting news related to gaming.

Guild Wars 2: Sadly, there aren’t any news… yet! ArenaNet is having several fans over at the end of the week. There’s no NDA but filming won’t be allowed. Still, who knows what we’re going to get out of it? I’m personally just hoping for Asura week because I want to know more about them! Or Sylvari week because I’m curious about their redesign.

If you want to make sure not to miss anything, observe Twitter’s hashtag #GW2Fanday.

GW2Guru is also listing the twitter accounts and websites of the people attending.

For our German readers: Kronos von Onlinewelten und DeBussy von Wartower werden da sein! Auf den entsprechenden Seiten könnten sich also auch News auf Deutsch breitmachen. ;)

GuildMag posted a community roundup where you can find the latest news (interviews, the link to the Guild Wars 2 Asset Kit,…).

Lord of the Rings Online: The Summer Festival has just started. Goldenstar has posted a guide for it as she always does for those festivals. I highly recommend reading it if you’re lost or don’t want to miss anything!

This year’s festival mount looks suspiciously like one of the spring festival mounts. Now, simple recolouring is unimaginative enough but I’d thought that they would at least make mounts specifically for the different seasons (like my autumn mount which has leaves on its saddlecloth. Oh well. Turbine will also sell another store-exclusive mount: The Steed of Bright Days. I like the idea theoretically but I think game companies always want too much money for their mounts. Especially when it’s just reskinning/recolouring. Anyway, it’s up to you whether you want to spend about €20 for it. Just remember that it is only for one of your characters and not account-wide!

Turbine also released a dev diary talking about the upcoming expansion and that stat changes of all classes. I found some interesting comments in DocHoliday’s blog entry… for example: Will Finesse be a the new Radiance?

Other games: City of Heroes will go the freemium-road just as LotRO did. You can play the game for free or pay a monthly sub. I am not a fan of superhero games but I will definitely have a look at it once this change is live. The release will be “later this year” with people guessing around September or October. Lego Universe is adding some kind of “free trial” model to its game this August. Syp takes this to speculate on which other games could go f2p/hybrid/freemium next.

Last but not least, League of Legends – which isn’t an MMORPG, I know – has had its first championship during this year’s Dreamhack. It’s over now but you can still watch the matches if you’re interested. Just head on over to their website.

I have a LoL account but haven’t actually played much. But it is a fascinating game! And who would have thought that they’ll be this popular when they launched? XFire lists them as number 1 again – even before World of Warcraft! And before you start: I know that XFire rankings don’t mean that objectively it’s the most played game. It just means that out of all the XFire users, it’s the most played one. Still, it is impressive. Not that many have managed to top WoW over there. Hmm… when looking at the ranks (you can sort by clicking on the name of the appropriate column – in this case, it’s “Rank”) I think bookahnerk isn’t far off when he’s suggesting that maybe Blizzard hopes to be able to release Diablo 3 when Bioware releases Star Wars: The Old Republic. Blizzard’s Starcraft II is number 5 in those rankings. Anyway, this is pure speculation.