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.
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.