At Eurogamer Expo 2011, Guild Wars 2 developers ArenaNet confirmed that their upcoming hotly-anticipated MMO would feature a cash shop. But fret not – the company has pledged that they will not use this platform to sell anything that the company deems “evil.”
In this case, “evil” is defined as anything that can make your character more powerful, such as stat-enhancing gear and weapons. Guild Wars 2’s cash shop will focus on cosmetic items and other bonus accoutrements that people might want to have but don’t affect actual gameplay in any way.
ArenaNet’s process for determining the “evil” in any given cash shop item is apparently a communal process. Lead content designer Colin Johanson explains, “We like to do the – we like to call it the Is it Evil? test. Every micro-transaction that we do in the game, we have everyone in the company look at it and say Is it Evil? Is it really something we should be selling?”
ArenaNet’s goal is to create a revenue stream from Guild Wars 2 to help offset development costs. Guild Wars 2, like its predecessor, does not charge a subscription fee to play. Instead, it will rely on sales of the actual game supplemented by cash shop transactions to generate income.
Johanson is confident that the hype behind Guild Wars 2 will drive its popularity beyond the first game, and the cash shop hopes to capitalize on that. “We not just hope, we believe a lot more people will play Guild Wars 2 than they did Guild Wars 1 and we think that that will offset a lot of the development costs in itself.”
Cash shops have proven wildly successful for a number of online games, such as League of Legends and World of Warcraft. So long as ArenaNet sticks to their guns about keeping “evil” out of the store – and they stock it with enough goodies to entice people’s vanity – this could be an excellent alternative to the monthly subscription model.