Guild Wars 2 will only be selling aesthetic and service-based goods in its microtransaction store, according to ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien Players will purchase “gems” as the currency for purchasing items in the microtransaction store. Guild Wars 2 will also have a player-driven market that allows players to trade gold for gems and vice-versa, meaning that items in the store will not be exclusive to those who purchase gems. O’Brien compared the store to EVE Online’s PLEX system, and highlighted its ability to both weaken the gold-selling industry and grant players the items and profit they desire.
“If a player buys gold from another player, he gets the gold he wants, the selling player gets gems she can use for microtransactions, and ArenaNet generates revenue from the sale of gems that we can use to keep supporting and updating the game. Everyone wins,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien seemed to direct his comments directly at the current public-relations firestorm around DLC and monetization, describing the store as a completely extraneous part of the game.
“You, the customer, get to decide how much money you spend on the game after launch, based on how compelling it is to you,” O’Brien said. “You get a complete and playable game no matter what, but we think we can provide additional content and services that you’d be happy to pay for. And when you pay for them, you help fund our support of Guild Wars 2 in a way that benefits all players of the game.”
The recent trend of developers allowing MMO players space to use microtransactions for their own profit in titles such as Diablo III and EVE Online may mark an industry-wide change towards sharing profits with players. The movement enables players who benefit the game company to earn rewards, players who do not intend to purchase currency to have a balanced experience, all while cutting away at the profits of real-money traders. They’re a step in the right direction, and a mature move for the MMO genre during its current self re-invention.