Guild Wars 2 August 28th release date sold over 1 million copies in the first three days. Well, there was a pre-sale, then a pre-pre-sale…and a head start day for those that pre ordered…I don’t get it either. This (or rather these) release date(s) went off more or less seamlessly without any play stopping bugs or server crashes. I’m looking at you Diablo. But the sweetest thing of all? You pay $60 dollars for the standard edition, $150 for collectors , and that’s it. There’s no monthly subscription fee.
Subscription fees are pretty much the norm with MMO’s. World of Warcraft, Rift, The Old Republic; all these titles require a monthly subscription to your account to play in addition to the initial cost of the game. Granted those games are far less at the onset, but those subscription fees can add up over time. Monthly costs, however, are generally fairly reasonable considering ongoing development, updates, etc. Guild Wars 2 is breaking that mold.
There are three ways to get the game; buy it in a box, get a digital copy, or go directly to buy.guildwars2.com. You pay the one-time fee and you are good to go. You get to participate just like those other games make you keep paying. Meeting up with your friends, and picking and choosing quests is rumored to be EASIER in this MMO. Going from server to server, or world to world, is almost effortless. And the user interface has been described as “creepy” in terms of its design for the player in mind, in a good way.
ArenaNet even suspended direct sales when the game was getting over loaded. They wanted to avoid any game disrupting problems. When bandwidth was getting close to breaking point, they slowed sales till they could expand the infrastructure to accommodate the extra players. Smart move ArenaNet. Early on is NOT the time to have your players losing faith in a new title. Wink wink
I haven’t had a chance to play just yet although a friend of mine did build a new system just to enjoy this game to its fullest. I think I’ll check it out at his place. His reviews of the title are subtle. Let me just say if he DIDN’T like it, we’d know.
So the burning question is: will other MMO’s follow suite and create subscription free online playgrounds? I have to say not having a monthly fee is appealing. It seems that everything has a monthly charge these days. Granted it’s only $9.99 here (Xbox live), or $7.99 there (Netflix), but start stacking those up and suddenly you’re broke. That doesn’t even include things like getting new maps for Call of Duty or the Dawnguard expansion. Not having a fee, I think, will free up players to give more games a chance. Then it’s left completely up to developers to create a compelling game that keeps people playing based on content. Ups the ante in my opinion.
I doubt the subscriptions will end across the board, but it’s a start. And from what I hear the game ain’t half bad either.