I’ve been reading a bit about the new Living story updates for Guild Wars 2 and, it has me intrigued. Not enough to go in there yet but enough to prod my attention towards it so I’ll be reading a little more about the story and changes to come.
There have been several great round-ups already on the new changes, of these and I’d probably recommend Inventory Full, Sygnus and Why I game of those but then I know I’m forgetting some as well. I just wasn’t paying that much attention at first until a little way into it. A new, growing zone to exploring, a better story telling approach and with the journal it won’t feel like such a constant achievement grind.
It seems as though they have taken all their learning from the first season and applied it now for the second, apparently it still has issues but nothing as overwhelming as the chorus being repeated from the first. Of course I still wonder why they so doggedly persevered for that entire time with a system that so obviously wasn’t working but, whatever.
I’ve actually been thinking about re-downloading it once more just to see some of these changes and experience the new content. Plus, I want to log in to at least get these content releases without having to pay for them but then there seems something a little wrong with them beginning to charge for content, now of all times. Yeh, it’s only a small part of each update that I’m guessing is locked behind the cost and the actual game changes like the world and gear are probably included but it’s still holding back content.
They do have allowances towards this as well, log in for a short time and you gain access to the current living story within the new journal mechanic, play it whenever you want from then on and that is extremely great of them but then, why charge at all. There are going to be new player coming in all the time, well, that’s what you want anyway and what your doing is restricting the amount of content to them unless they pay another charge.
Thinking about this further I seemed to remember some of the initial marketing speak and conversations about the payment model before release and arenanet were saying something like you would never need to pay for content, that all updates would be free. Sure enough with a little digging there was an old forum post from Colin Johanson
No need to buy them, Gw2 will feature consistent free content updates and in-game events going forward. Our goal is to make it so you get more from Gw2 for free than you get from a game you pay a subscription for.On top of a large amount of free bonus content, we will be expanding on offerings in the Black Lion Trading Company going forward, as well as be doing large-scale expansion content down the road.We’ll cover a lot of the details on the kind of support and plans we have in place over the next month or so on the Gw2 blog and with our press partners.We do appreciate that you’d like to buy lots of new content, but we’d prefer to give a lot of it to you for free, cause that’s what we think a responsible MMO company does!
Now, I guess you can kind of say the updates still are free, the game is getting updates it is a story rather than mechanics but…hmm. It also is free if you log in but still, that all seems like a rather tenuous line to draw. It does seem to be dealing a lot with the semantics of what is said, twisting it to the current vision of the game like they’ve done with a lot of the other larger changes.
There was also this comment within one of the G4TV presentations where Johanson stated
“When you buy Guild Wars 2 you get the whole game, period. You’re never going to get a microtransaction to get more of it
That seems a little less vague and more like they are breaking another one of their original guiding principles. A principle of Buy to Play that many in the industry hold up as a beacon now and while it does appear small at first, a mere 200 gems it quickly adds up when you consider the speed and how long the living story will go for… Lets see, bi-montlhy updates for 6 months will cost about another 30$.
To be honest I did, and do have a problem with their payment model which is probably why I’m bringing it all up once more. It just seemed like there were too many gameplay changes as a way of reaching further into the players wallets. I called it the gold grind as I personally saw them trying to push people towards buying gold, and their gold or at least engaging in insane amounts of terrible gameplay to compensate for certain frustrations. It was also their rather insidious use of lock boxes and RNG for near everything interesting.
It also felt like WvW wasn’t getting any decent updates partly because they had no idea how to monetise it but that’s another rant now buried deep within the depths of my black, oozing, mmo heart
My main thought about this new change to their payment model is “why now”. Why after nearly 2 years would you begin charging for content and an obviously needed and highly asked for feature at that. Oh there’s definitely the demand for it but just because something might be good business doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for the game. It almost feels like they are designing an issue just to sell you the cure… Zynga would be proud.
Are they not as well off as the wanted or projected and needed the extra boost. Is the current strategy of cosmetics gated in their use by other mechanics and the sale of lock box keys not working out as well any more. Have the masses become wise to the abysmal probability. Last quarter was 10 million less in sales but looking at the quarterly report it’s hard to determine as you don’t have all the details and after a false report of 3 million sales in china we have yet to hear the real numbers.
Now, I am being a bitch and mostly picking at small changes backed by some decent allowances to avoid these new payments but it’s these slippery slopes of payment changes that have a tendency to grow larger and more intrusive with time. At least what they’re producing is better this time around, maybe it is worth they extra money… is this the eye of the north equivalent expansion everyone’s been asking for?
#GW2 #Update #microtransactions