Re-experiencing Guild Wars 2 on Steam

Guild Wars 2 has officially and quite successfully launched on Steam. It’s currently got a “Very Positive” rating on there with its base game being free to play. Some restrictions apply, however. My main account has all the content unlocked, so I was curious to see what it’s like to play with such a free account: No expansions, no convenience items, no level booster.

My Charr necromancer is level 10 now, so I can now enter the Black Citadel! Despite being so dark and filled with metal, I think it’s a great and beautiful city! All of their cities are amazingly beautiful if you ask me, but the Black Citadel is among my favourites together with the old Lion’s Arch and Divinity’s Reach. So, if you started playing now and even just half-like the game, try to make it to level 10 and take a look at the cities.

Charrlotta in the Black Citadel
Charrlotta in the Black Citadel

As I said, Charrlotta is now level 10. I didn’t buy her anything like bigger bags, etc. and she didn’t get anything from my main account. Bookahnerk accidentally sent me some items, though, and I decided to keep some level 20 greens. Here’s a “fun” bit of information: He has my main account (Paeroka.7924) on his friends list. He does not have my newbie Steam account on his friends list which starts with “Paeroka” as well. When he wanted to send something to my main account, he typed “Paeroka” as always and his client auto-filled my new account’s number in there. I added him to my friends list, so maybe that’s why. We always thought that when you send mail, it auto-fills from your own friends list first, but it appears to auto-fill from your follower’s list instead! So always be careful when sending mail, I guess.

The main thing that annoys me is not having auto loot! With my main account, I filled my mastery track and I got the reward of the game automatically picking up every item for me. No more clicking for loot on the ground. No more opening boss chests after a fight. These things get added to my inventory automatically. It’s not so much an inconvenience per se to pick up the loot manually now (by pressing “F” if I remember correctly). The main issue is that I have gotten so used of it picking up automatically, that I often kill things and just don’t loot anything.

Other than that, Guild Wars 2 suddenly feels a bit “old school” to me. Even though I can also play without using my mounts on my main account, I don’t do that. And even though I could just level up my characters, I usually end up using a level booster. I have more of them than I will ever need and this means I can play through the personal story faster and get that loot (mostly the Black Lion key for the chest). So, being on this restricted free account, I have no access to any of that. But I am also not missing any of it except for access to my raptor mount.

Guild Wars 2 lets you travel to any waypoint that you’ve already unlocked on the map. So a character that has travelled on a map before can easily jump to different parts on a given map. But my Charrlotta is new and doesn’t have many waypoints yet. Still, it makes you stop and smell the flowers, so to say. Having to walk around with no mount means that you automatically see more of your surroundings than if you were speeding past everything on the raptor.

What I’m missing on this free account is my daily login reward! It’s nothing big, but I have just gotten used to this shaking little chest when logging in. And sooner or later, when she “grows up”, I will definitely miss the extra content that the expansions are giving me and of course, the living world season content. But there is just no way I am going to drop another 100 € when my main account already has all the content available. This character here is just for fun and to see how well (or not) I can play the game without having to pay anything for it.

GW2 Locked Trading Post
Trading Post items locked

I am a bit confused about the trading post. Some items are locked and it says to either buy an expansion or wait four more days. Or at least, that’s what I think it says. But it only appies to some items while others are available to buy. It is not based on level (a level 10 blue item is available, a level 9 blue item is locked), nor on the attribute (some “malign” items are locked, others are available) or the slot (one pair of gloves is locked, the other is available). It is not based on whether my character can use the item (one medium armor item is locked, the other is available) and also not on the item’s worth (99 copper is available, 50 copper is locked). Maybe somebody else can see a pattern, but I certainly can’t.

But hey, not being able to use the Trading Post is actually adding to the nostalgia!

So, for the beginning of the game up until level 10, I have been able to play the game perfectly well without feeling like I’m missing anything important. But you are always aware that you’re on a free account because some things are locked and ArenaNet like to remind you to unlock this feature by purchasing the game. It’s okay, though, because the general content of the game is still free and we all played the base game without mounts anyway as they didn’t arrive until the game’s second expansion! So nothing in the base game was built with mounts in mind.


  1. I made a new account back when GW2 went F2P and went through much the same experience, although I’m not sure we even had mounts that long ago. It really is a different game played that way – in some ways a better one. As you say, it feels very much more old school.

    The auction house weirdness is because ANet specifically listed a small subset of items for F2P players to have access to, as I remember it. Mostly it’s low-level crafting mats but there were some useable iems too. It was all explained at the time but i forget the details. I know it was intended to stop free accounts (bots, basically) wrecking the economy while still allowing genuine f2p players some access to things they’d need and some means of making money. There’s also the usual time limit on any transaction involving gold, I think, that applies to all acoounts, free or not, although I imagine the restrictions are even stricter for f2p. That used to drive us nuts when we made new guilds and had to wait a week or more to transfer funds.

    (Sorry, this might be a duplicate comment…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely missed that, apparently, when GW2 went free to play, as I have no memory at all about these TP restrictions. So it really does feel like after the game’s launch when the TP was offline for days… :p

      Thankfully, GW2 doesn’t make you feel like you have to buy items in order to get stronger. So it’s more a convenience thing. But I didn’t see it explained when I opened the interface and that may be confusing for new players.


  2. I’d totally forgotten that there was a time before autoloot… But I think it’s a great argument for account-wide unlocks in games with multiple chars. You somehow earned it and now the game is better, why be reminded of the meh state every time you start a new alt?


    1. I love the auto-loot. Every saved click is good for my hand issues. And yes, I really love that my alts have all of that stuff unlocked already as well. If only this worked for Hero Points as well…


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