The lack of “big picture” view on Guild Wars 2 Microtransactions

Today, Mike O’Brien made a post about microtransactions on Guild Wars 2. Most of the things he mentioned I could already see when I was checking game screenshots a few months ago, but anyway, they will be selling a special token called “gem”. Gems work a bit like “Atari Tokens” in Star Trek Online (and, obviously, other Atari games): They are a currency for services, like extended storage, reskins an such. But they also work a bit like PLEX in EVE Online (which was the part I didn’t thought before): You can actually put gems in the Marketplace and get gold back (or farm gold and buy gems back).

This means that, after playing for a long time, taking a rest and then coming back and seeing all your friends in a different server, you can use your in-game gold to buy gems and (probably, I’m going into wild speculation here), buy your world transfer (again, wild speculation but one can see this working, right?).

But it seems at lot of people are losing track of the big picture view. The first sign were the Reddit comments. I mean, there isn’t anything absurd in that — at least for me, since that’s my turf — but some people started claiming “Pay2Win” again. And then someone mentioned the Guild Wars 2 Guru forums. And, again, a lot of stupid things like “Pay2Win”.

So, first, people claimed XP gain potions (although there is no mention anywhere such thing will be available). “That’s a Pay2Win, as you’ll level faster”. Then what? You level faster, you skipped a lot of content, you joined the WvWvW and went face to face, as a level 50, against a level 30. But there is a lot more playing here: Skills. And you can’t buy skills, you need to complete the challenges scattered across the world, which you probably skipped a few since you were cruising the game with your extra XP gain. But that level 30, which completed all the skill challenges and have a lot more game experience (like, real experience, not XP experience) is going to be a lot more prepared for combat than you. And you’ll lose.

Second, people claimed you can buy gear. Again, not really true. You can buy crafted gear or buy the materials to level your crafting skills and make it yourself, but most vendors will require “karma”, the token you get for completing dynamic events and you’ll have none. Well, you got the slightly looking boring gear that are fit for your level, big deal. It will be bumped to level 80 gear in WvWvW and you’ll get a standardized gear when doing battlegrounds. Big deal.

And the good looking gear is nowhere available to you. I have an eye in the Ghastly weapons but guess what: It requires Ascalon Cataboms tokens, which you can only get from completing the dungeon! So even if you buy 2 billion gems and sell all them and get fucking rich, you still won’t be able to get one of those.

Third, and most absurd, in the GW2Guru forums, people claimed you could get a lot of gold and buy hundreds of golem plans and trebuchets plans and all the other siege weapons and then give to everyone and easy win. Except you can’t build anything without supplies, which still require you to go there and capture a base before being able to build anything. And it takes time to buy. And can be destroyed before it gets completed. And the plans are not even that expensive to start.

And, most importantly, people are simply forgetting that things lose value the more they are available. When Ectos in Guild Wars were rare, you would need 100 platinum to buy a single ecto. Most player-to-player transactions would deal with “ectos” instead of “k” (platinum) ’cause they were easier to carry. Today, when everyone managed to understand their class and how to farm ectors, you can buy ectos for less than 10k. When the “breast cancer awareness week” showed up and ArenaNet introduced the Pink Dye, you could easily sell it for 20k to the dye vendor. Today, it’s around 600g (gold, not platinum), because everybody got it. If Guild Wars 2 see a huge influx of gems in the market, its price will surely drop to the point where it won’t be worth anymore. And it will fall (if it gets to the worthless point, I pretty much doubt) ’cause, as Hunters Insight reminded, all the marketplaces are linked. So it doesn’t matter if you’re the only guy in your server with money to buy gems, people buying gems in other servers will make the price of your gems go down.

Big picture, people: Do not lose track of it.