ArenaNet’s famous online RPG, Guild Wars 2 just had its third anniversary, which coincided with several announcements made on Pax Prime by Mike O Brien and Colin Johanson, two of the most important people in the company. ArenaNet has had a quite bad experience recently, thanks to IGN leaking two of the announcements ahead of time. They were right: raids are coming in Heart of Thorns, and the core game is free to play as of right now! For ArenaNet, this is a smart business move, as the game is 3 years old, it receives less new players, and the gem store has proven to be much more profitable than box or digital sales; in order to expose more players to the game and the possibility of spending money on gems, the core game itself is now completely free, with almost all content accessible.
But, is this too good to be true? Let’s see the restrictions!
Like all free to play games, especially MMOs, the Guild Wars 2 Free to Play system also has several limits. But most of these are in place to protect the existing playerbase from goldsellers, scammers, griefers and other similar unwanted elements. The restrictions are the following for new players:
- 2 character slots (can be upgraded via the gem store or +3 by upgrading to Heart of Thorns)
- 3 bag slots per character (can be upgraded via the gem store or +3 by upgrading to Heart of Thorns)
- Can only whisper a new player every 30 seconds; if you whisper someone, you can have uninterrupted conversation with him, but you cannot whisper a new player for 30 seconds after the first message
- Can only send messages via mail to mutual friends; for sending items and to have unlimited messaging, upgrade to Heart of Thorns
- World vs World at level 60, LFG at level 30, can only leave the starter area after level 10.
- No Gold->Gem conversion, and restricted selling on the Trading Post
And additionally to these, players will have to buy the Living World Season 2 package to continue the story missions after the Personal Story’s conclusion at level 80; this package costs about 1200-1600 gems, which is 15-20 USD/EUR.
The only way to lift the restrictions at this time is to purchase the Heart of Thorns expansion.
Raiding in Heart of Thorns
We now know that Heart of Thorns launches on October 23rd. The expansion, which primarily focuses on adding new, expansive end-game elements to Guild Wars 2, will also include 10-man raiding. One wing with 3 bosses will be available a few weeks after the launch, and Wings 2 and 3 will be added shortly after players defeat the first one. The raids won’t invalidate each other or any existing content, as there is no gear treadmill in Guild Wars 2.
The reward for these raids will be legendary: new precursor elements for Legendary armor, which will be just as strong as the current Ascended armor sets. The difference between Legendary and regular Ascended armor is that Legendaries have the ability to switch stats on the fly, outside of combat.
Things are looking quite good for Guild Wars 2, with the first expansion just less than 2 months away, and an influx of new players coming in. If you want to try it out, head over to the official Guild Wars 2 website to register and download the game. If you already own the free to play version, The Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion is already available for preorder (online game code).
Are you looking forward to the new raids?
Written by Adam Vogl, follow him on Twitter @Hurricane1989.