GW2: The new F2P champion has arived

I feel like I should post about GW2 going F2P, only I can’t call it a ‘downgrade to the minor leagues’ because the game wasn’t a sub MMO to begin with. Side-grade I guess? Which, thinking more about it, is right in line with everything GW2; it’s not outright bad, just some middle level of meh.

The business model change, along with what the expansion is bringing (raiding, and basically other ‘end-game’ stuff), is of note however. Out of all of the game’s many flaws, the biggest one IMO is the lack of long-term interest/progression. At the start, Anet wanted it both ways. They wanted the business model to be like a single-player, one-off purchase, but to support the game like an MMO with frequent updates and players sticking around long-term, without actually designing the game to support long-term playing. This change confirms that wasn’t working out, even after the in-game cash-shop was greatly expanded after release.

The root problem circles back to why the sub model is really the only model for successful MMOs; in order to support your game like an MMO, you need a constant source of revenue, which is what the sub model provides. A cash shop is great at hooking whales, and if you hook enough of them you can get a huge, though most often temporary, boost in cash (that you will likely make a big PR release about only to go silence after). But long-term the model simply doesn’t work in the US/EU (Asia is very different) for MMOs. Either you let sales diminish, or you try to keep them up by escalating the cash shop. Either way, things will eventually come crashing down.

MMOs aren’t League of Legends with its 100+ million active players. MMOs aren’t LoL where selling skins fits perfectly with the game, and where creating skins has zero impact on gameplay and the drive of the other developers to improve things. MMOs have a very difficult time not slipping into Pay4Power with their cash shop, even if the intended goal is just to sell ‘convenience’. MMOs also have a hard time convincing people that selling ‘convenience’ isn’t driven by making the free part of the game cripplingly terrible if you don’t pay. There are no hotbars to sell in LoL.

GW2 is likely, almost by default, the best F2P MMO out, and it’s fitting that the ‘best’ F2P MMO is one that most try, find decent, but ultimately don’t honestly care all that much about. That ‘achievement’ is the ceiling for F2P; you made something people don’t hate. Huge congrats. Now make something people actually like, and that $15 a month will start rolling in, consistently, for years to come.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Guild Wars, League of Legends, MMO design, RMT. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to GW2: The new F2P champion has arived

  1. Jenks says:

    I tried an open beta or trial when this was about to come out and I couldn’t get past the combination of art style I don’t like and no playable characters that appealed to me. I wouldn’t even try Wildstar because of the art style.

    There’s nothing you can do to fix a game that I don’t want to look at.

  2. I bought this game and didn’t even have time to try it before it went F2P. Sigh. Waste of money..

  3. cristiand90 says:

    How would throwing monthly money at guild wars 2 make it a better MMO?

    No trinity, no duels, no raids, no arenas, bland PVP matches, fucking up core MMO mechanics…all this is saying is that they wanted an RPG, but then they realised they should make an MMO because it keeps people playing and paying for longer.

    Sad thing, GW2 had/has a lot of potential but would need a huge revamp instead of cosmetic changes and a new class.

    Some people actually love the game and play it constantly, but I wouldn’t want to meet those people.

    • cristiand90 says:

      But wait, there’s more…

      No player trading; no PVP diminishing returns; diminishing returns on farming mats and running dungeons; buying ‘legendaries’ with real money; material and crafting grind is the only way to get BiS items; almost everything can be bought with real money, except crafted items; no mounts; 99.9% of loot is vendor trash in a form or another; A lot of currencies and different currency grind(non-exchangeable); game meta is dominated by 2-3 item builds out of 23 or so; RNJesus has sponsored GW2; a legendary bow that is a pink Unicorn and shoots small unicorns that poop rainbows; almost every other legendary was inspired by the 60s disco and probably gay scene; the good looking items are either owned by RNJesus or are bough from the store;

      Just in case someone wants to try it, you should know what to expect long-term.

  4. Particlebit says:

    I was actually just thinking of buying GW2 when there was the discount a couple weeks ago, and now I’m glad that I didn’t. Still excited to try out the game now that’s it free after being a longtime WoW subscriber (but have not been active for years)

  5. Caldazar says:

    Its a fun game, for one playthrough, a typical 2-3 monther. Then again, without a sub cost, nothing is wrong with that. More value for money than most other games, but nothing worldshocking

  6. Kobeathris says:

    Yeah, my wife saw that they are adding raiding and is interested in going back for that, so we may pick up the expansion, we’ll see. GW2 is a very frustrating game for me. There has been stuff in it that is a lot of fun, but it also has some things that are really frustrating about it. This may have changed, since I haven’t played in a while, but I felt like the dungeons and big content fights relied way too much on dodge/block/evade to get you through, and sure, there is a place for that, but when it results in everything being run with max damage, because why use anything else, it just slows you down, then it’s kind of dull. It also still drives me crazy that they throw away living story content after the arc is done. Why a company that doesn’t have subs spends that much time on temporary content is beyond me.

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