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Will Living World Season 2 Have an Entry Fee?

March 19, 2014 - 11:58pm -- Lee B.
Will Living World Season 2 Have an Entry Fee?

The ending of the first season of the Living World carried with it an impressive twenty eight updates that were all absolutely free to the player but can that continue? These kinds of free feature updates are mostly unprecedented in a top tier MMO with a huge amount of awards and accolades. With the next season of the Living World right around the corner could we see a one-time fee to gain access to that story and new content?

Nobody can deny that ArenaNet works at a breakneck pace to get these Living World updates out to us. They provide new dungeons, new characters, new stories, new items and so much more and all of it can be gotten by the player for no actual price to themselves except for time. They have made items and services available to the players via the Gem Store and that has done a decent job of getting the paychecks out and paying the bills but even those items can be purchased with a conversion of gold to gems. The issue is plain to see: ArenaNet doesn’t seem to have an income that they can always rely on and one has to wonder if they can continue working on this business plan.

Royal Title?

With the release of Guild Wars 2 to the Chinese markets we’ve seen some strange gates set up in the game. Players have to unlock the ability to go into a down state, gain access to the rewards from jumping puzzles or even the ability to get access to the LFG system. This can all be bypassed by a player who purchases a “Royal Title” – which is very similar to a VIP Pass we heard about in the past – to get access to every aspect of the game, and much more, for a regular payment.

It is my thought that it is within the realm of possibility that we could get a one-time fee to get access to the new story. I would expect it to be something along the lines of a ticket to get into an amusement park. That way the guys at ArenaNet can mark down a reliable base income for the start of these releases and then try to get us to buy the rest of the amusing things that can be found within their Gem Store.

It isn’t an outcome I think anybody wants to see. I don’t even believe the guys at ArenaNet want to impose this sort of cost upon us. The problem is that they must need some sort of reliable income in order to keep growing the game in the pace they have set. At least I can say I’d rather pay $19.99 to be able to enter a full new zone like Maguuma and see constant updates for it rather than an expansion pack of $49.99 to get into Maguuma and be left with only that until the next expansion.

Do you guys think there is a chance for us to be charged for the next Living World season? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section or send me a tweet at @CanadasMathlete.

capnbishop
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"The problem is that they must need some sort of reliable income in order to keep growing the game in the pace they have set."

Do they?  I see this argument come up over and over again, but there's no actual data to back it up.  It's not necessarily an unreasonable thing to suggest, but everyone who uses this argument declares it like an absolute reality.  I can't imagine that ANet released the game without considering long term sustainability.  In fact, I find it even harder to believe that it really costs $15/month per player to sustain an MMO.  It may very well be enough to not charge a monthly fee, and the odd user who spends money on the gem store is plenty to keep an MMO going, even with so much content being constantly released (traditional MMOs have probably been grossly overcharging us for years).

Either way, only ANet knows what it really costs to run GW2.  Otherwise, we just don't have the data to suggest that this model is doomed or not.  But, what's more likely?  That ANet dove in balls first without looking, then later said "Oh, crap, how do we keep the lights on?"  Or, that ANet actually did their homework beforehand and determined that that this model is sustainable?

For a game company that's done this well so far, I'd bet my money that they actually bothered to hire an accountant who confirmed that the GW2 model can work.

Galen
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Anet has, from the very begining, said that the F2P model that they use is more than capable of maintaining itself with micro transactions.

By, "from the very begining" I am, of course, talking about GW1.  A short time ago, people suggesting that Anet would be bringing out an expansion was met by Anet with a denial.  They said they would not be bringing out a new expansion that you would have to pay for, but they would introduce content the equivalent to expansions through regular updates.  They also said that part of the reason was that they had no need to raise money by issuing such an expansion, getting more than enough through micro transactions.

 

As a result, I would say it is doubtful they would do this.  One of Anet's basic philosophies has always been that other MMOs have been overcharging their players all along.  They have been working, between GW1 and GW2, at producing great games with no subs and only micro transactions to fund them beyond the initial buyins for over 10 years.

Also, as far as the gems to gold issue....you may have noticed those prices fluctuating.  Those transfer rates are all based on supply and demand.  If people don't buy gems, the cost in gold will rise, as they do buy gems, the gold transfer rate will fall.  As such, there is a system in place to encourage people to sometimes buy gems instead of using gold.

I think Anet is doing just fine in regards to costs and funds, so I don't think they will do that.

 

Personally, I would have no problem with a one time charge to buy expansion content (aka other zones, races, professions, ect) but I don't think they will put a gateway cost on the living world content.  That is why we play the game and they want us to keep playing the game, not because we have to since we have paid a subscription, but because we enjoy the story

 

Galen

Galen

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