Buy Gems With Gold Or Money In Guild Wars 2

March 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 48 Comments
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Arenanet has finally released some details on microtransactions in Guild Wars 2 and frankly, I’m happy with some of the decisions they’re making. They didn’t get into specific items, but they did cover the model they’ll be using.

Essentially it’s simple. You buy gems and use them to purchase microtransactions. It’s a model similar to many other games, Eve Online being the one to draw comparisons in the blog post itself.

Here is the part I like, and that others will cry a river of tears over I’m sure.

We have a new player-driven market that allows players to trade gold for gems and gems for gold. If you want something, whether it’s an in-game item or a microtransaction, you ultimately have two ways to get it: you can play to earn gold or you can use money to buy gems.

To me this is very familiar. Runes of Magic, which I blogged about for several months when I started this blog, had a very similar cash shop. And while they changed it over the course of my 10 month stint of playing RoM, it was a good model to follow in the beginning.

As the blog post says it does minimize the RMT spammers and hacks, though it doesn’t entirely remove them as I saw in RoM, and at the same time funds Guild Wars 2.

Being able to buy gems on the auction house was an incredible gold sink for RoM as well, not to mention it subsidized my actual purchase of diamonds (gems) in that game to the extent that I probably spent hundreds of dollars worth of gems but paid in actual money far far less.

And that was in a game where you can buy advantages. In Guild Wars 2, you can’t.

But it’s never OK for players to buy a game and not be able to enjoy what they paid for without additional purchases, and it’s never OK for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who don’t.

I don’t expect Guild Wars 2 to have microtransactions that are much different than the original Guild Wars. Cosmetic stuff, costumes, character slots, storage slots. Nothing we would be surprised about.

There is room for things they haven’t sold before of course. I’ve speculated about minis, the digital items from pre-purchasing the game, and a variety of things we can only dream about.

I am left wanting to know what items will be sold other than Transmutation Stones and how much gems will cost, but I suppose Arenanet likely doesn’t know for sure either.

To me this is all good news and I’m not at all disappointed. Feel free to start calling me names in the comments.

On a side note however, I’ll post an image.

Just. Name. It. The. Auction. House. For. Crying. Out. Loud.

If the first tab is buying, and the second tab is selling what is the third icon denoting? The fourth tab seems to be a mystery as well, but the third icon seems to be an exchange. Like a gem to gold exchange? Check out the gem in the bottom left corner as well. Anyway people have been speculating about this for a long time but I didn’t want to join in due to the uproar likely surrounding this.



  1. I think it’s fabulous news and indirectly confirmed my suspicions about the stones. Love that in game currency can be used to buy gems. It’s official. All I have to do is buy the game (and future expansions.)

    The only people complaining are the ones who don’t get that GW2 is skill based, not gear based, and that it does not utilize RNG, which minimizes grind. That, and they apparently had wax in their ears all the times we’ve been told characters get max gear for PvP, and that sidekicking in PvE scales characters up and down so that even a level 80. You can’t pay to win a skill-based game because you can’t buy skill.

    I suppose there could possibly be WvW advantages but I doubt it will be game-breaking because of the way they have it structured, and I’m sure they will find ways to work around it if it becomes an issue.

    • I don’t understand how people could not know that about gear, and yet people in the forums are in there talking about it. Not only that but they think a skin is an advantage. I mean come on.

      • My brain just can’t handle the dumb. Also sick of the people campaigning for a monthly fee instead though I can’t imagine ANet ever pulling a bait and switch. Nothing in the cash shop will be mandatory, and if you do buy something, at least you know what you paid for.

        A lot of people keep using the word “work” as well. ANet has promised us a fun game. If it’s fun, time spent playing is its own reward and if someone with less time for playing wants a snazzy armor sooner, it’s no skin off my back. Literally.

        I get the same things simply for playing a game that I bought to *gasp* play.

        • People are making a lot of weird and unfounded assumptions about what you can do with more gold in gw2. I think we all need to wait and see.
          A monthly fee is patently ridiculous at this point. I’ll also point out that if you wanted some of the rarer or harder to get skins in gw you had to work to get obsidian, or onyx, or saphires, or rubies, or diamonds, or whatever.

          • This ^
            There is a lot more information needed before anything like the current kerfuffle over at guru is warranted.

  2. I’m pretty much in full agreement with you on this Hunter. I also played RoM (starting in the beta) and early on it was a very good system, when it was very similar to the system now in EVE. They also added a third currency (Rubies) that is similar to Karma in GW2, and that worked okay, if you wanted what little was available for those; I picked up a pair of wings in exchange for rubies shortly before I quit playing so there were a few things useful in the Ruby section. Later on the whole thing became a disaster, although partly because of poor security, hacking, and charge-back problems; things I hope GW2 wont’ suffer from.
    I think as long as ArenaNet keeps the cash shop as they’ve stated, makes sure players can’t abuse anything (like a glitch to farm gold or duping), and has something in place to handle the chat/email spam from gold sellers, things will be okay. NCSoft has never been able to completely wipe out such things in Lineage II or Aion, but, at least in Aion it is a pretty minor problem now. I hope that all the various NCSoft people share info and tech between all the studios, but who knows.

    • I was actually thinking of posting on guru that RoM failed partially due to how they started restricting how gems could be bought and security, hacking, people leaving the game, so we’re definitely on the same page as far as that stuff goes. People were saying the systems were exactly the same and thats why RoMs economy crashed but it was far more complicated than that.
      Guild Wars 2 also has karma as a currency, it will be interesting to see what you can buy with it or if its comparable to rubies.

  3. The only thing you seem to could get from buying items is getting flexibility in form of more options faster than you can get it else. But if its anything like GW1 this doesn’t really matter as the time needed to use, test and practise with the new setup and equipment means alot more than actual aquiring it anyway.

    • Yeah I imagine people, once they’ve actually played the game, will be fine with the cash shop model and how it works, and may even grow to like it, like I did with RoM before frogster started messing with it.

  4. You know, I like to hang around Guru sometimes because of their near-instant posting of information, but I think it’s time we parted ways, because hoo boy the crazy. Here’s hoping the official forums are better, because part of my hobbying really is the joy I get in reading/participating in forums.

    Oh, and on topic, I have no problems with this system unless (as I said on KTR) they start selling lottery items or keys you need to open droppable lockboxes.

    • I feel the same way about guru, great for some things, but i mostly went there because the devs did and if i wanted the final word, that was the only place to get it.

  5. You are Names!

    But seriously…. I really hate the direction they are taking. It is probably going to take all the joy from acquiring some rare skin in-game, not only that but it has great potential to ruin the player economy (not because it gives you power but because it gives you looks). The gap between rich and poor will get larger and it will be hard to get past the basic looking weapon skins without putting down some money in the shop or grinding for way too long.

    Yesterday i was completely and 100% certain I would prepurchase the digital enhanced edition, now I’m not even sure I will buy it after release. There is no way I will support a payment model that does something like this. Even the newer f2p titles have better cash shop system in place than this you don’t have to buy the game to play it.So, unless something/someone can convince me otherwise ArenaNet is getting no money from me. It’s not that the game will suck because of this but a payment model like this is something I am very much against and will not support it with my money.

    People can’t buy power, but in a game where cosmetics are our goal after leveling this system completely ruins that idea if everything possible to buy. It basically is the same as if you could buy all the elite armors in GW1. It would completely ruin the point of it all.

    I might only be speculating and if it turns out I was wrong ii will gladly buy it. Until then, thanks but no thanks.

    • The point of playing the game is playing the game. Cosmetics aren’t our goal after leveling, either. Taste is pretty subjective anyway, and you should be able to look the way you want. I’ll probably be using transmutation stones on lower level armor in order to retain the looks I personally prefer. But this probably isn’t the game for you if it’s about the destination rather than the journey, or having something to “show off.”

      Heck, I didn’t get Elite Vabbian armor for my mesmer because it was a sign off wealth. I got it because it was pretty. And I could care less what other people’s characters were wearing.

      • With 2000 hours in GW1 I think you don’t know what kind of games I like. Also who are you to tell ME how to play a game I buy? I find guild wars fun to this day every once in a while and i haven’t bought anything for my character in 6 months.

        • I didn’t tell you how to play. I was agreeing with you that it may not be the game for you based on the factors that you yourself were complaining about.

          • You based your reasons why this game isn’t for me with examples from GW1 which is one of my favourite games of all time and definetly my favourite MMO.

            Also… Can anyone confirm this but does armor bind to you once you buy it (with karma and tokens) because if that’s the case I’m fine with it.. Also I don’t play to get to the destination I play to have fun, I didn’t farm anything in gw1 (if you don’t count LB/SS points).
            The only problem I’m having with this system is that when you get that rare armor skin you don’t feel like you have achieved something but like you have spent way too much time on something you could have just bought with some €/$/£.

            • Did they say that you can buy all the same armors through the cash shop that you can acquire but conquering “Random Badass Dungeon”?
              I assume the looks you can buy are different than those you can earn?

            • There is a soul bound mechanic in some videos. How that works I don’t know. As far as i know there is no evidence suggesting you can outright buy rare skins with gold.

            • Don’t blow an aneurism or anything, the only thing this trading system does is basically lets people sell cash shop items for gold, abiet indirectly. I have played many f2p games with similar systems and I have never encountered one where someone spent thousands of real dollars so that they could have piles of gold. And anyway, the more people that sell the gems the lower the gem price will be. It is a true economy that balances that way. I also doubt if the ‘rare’ skins will be buyable, they will likely be connected to pvp.

      • I agree with some of the sentiment here, I don’t get good looking armour as a sign of wealth or prestige, and don’t care if other people do so for that reason.

    • The way I see it, if its this gem store model coupled with the old gw store with a few new things, then what is the problem? Nobody has said we can only get rare skins by somehow using the cash shop, or that it even helps. Rare skins will likely be from doing dungeons, there is a token system in place for that. Or rare skins will likely be from PvP or karma. You’re making assumptions about how rare skins are obtained not only based on very little but contrary to what we already know.
      And as for other f2p games, I don’t know if their systems are better, but they seem pretty similar over all to me. Runes of Magic, Eve Online Star Trek Online, puzzle pirates, and possibly champions online, all have very similar systems. LOTRO and EQ2 as far as i know are similar except they don’t let people exchange gold for points.
      Cosmetic stuff may be some peoples main goal, I don’t know, but it certainly isn’t for me, just a fun bonus. I can’t imagine playing an entire MMO with only one goal in mind, to get cool looking armour.
      To end, I’d just like reiterate that I’m pretty sure gems for gold doesn’t equal rare skins.

    • Who says all cosmetic skins will be available in the cash shop? It seems more likely that there will be stuff available that you can get only with karma and only after completing certain content – and (hopefully!) won’t be tradable to other players for gold. Then, likely, those will be the prestige cosmetic items in PvE, which is similar to how it works in GW1.

      The “clever” thing in this system is the separation of gold which is tradable from karma, which isn’t. Essentially, what they have done is made prestige reward cosmetic items untradable for real money – In GW1 you could buy elite armor with gold and buy gold with real money. You can’t do that in GW2 and anyone walking around in prestige skins will have earned them.

      • Well I’m not sure how closely everything is going to be tied together yet but a lot of what you say makes sense. Still waiting to see on just how much karma and gold will do for you in game.

  6. Finally, someone mentions RoM.

    Gold seller turned stolen credit cards into Diamonds, which then then turned into in-game gold, which then then sold for real money. Meanwhile, the credit card companies had to eat the loss, and one thing credit card companies don’t like doing is eating a loss. So, having far more lawyers and money than any game company will ever have, they turned it back on Runewaker/Frogster. First it was charge backs, then it was “help us stop this, or we will cut you off”. In the end they just disabled Diamond-to-Gold/Gold-to-Diamond trades, and players were furious.

    EVE did not have this problem for two reasons, it was a relatively small game, and PLEX could, ultimately, be used for only one thing, paying for subs.

    GW2 promises to be a big game, gold sellers will be attracted to that large market. Now, instead of just having parasites attached to their game, Arenanet has opened themselves to a whole bucket of liability in terms of fraudulent credit card purchases. I really hope Anet know what they are doing here.

    • Yeah thats pretty much how it went down with RoM but for various reasons I’m not expecting the same results with GW2.
      RoM was a pay to win game and the number of items in their cash shop was pretty huge. Personally I think the atmosphere will be different since gw2 isn’t pay to win and that people will feel less compelled to buy gold from scammers as a result. Also NCSoft is a bigger company which will make it harder to intimidate for credit card companies.
      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m definitely more optimistic.
      I admit there are some big challenges coming up but Eve has done well and they’re not as small as you seem to think, as recently as last year they had as many as 350k subscribers, for a game that came out in 2003 that’s impressive.

    • You are talking about money laundering here. That’s got nothing to do with players or their game. It’s also very serious, beyond even ncsoft. It’s highly problematic even for our massive gambling corps.
      The issue is also with the tax department who wants to tax anything that looks like a capital gain or service. These are the main issues rather than any pay to win/look better than thou.
      Having said that ill make my first leap; I bet u can get the collectors edition items ( the one use ones) in the cash shop… And that’s got some interesting implications. I still have no issues with it personally. To me though it does add an element of risk to the chances of a great game but I am willing to trust them till proven wrong.

      • I think the items in the cash shop are up for speculation but we shouldn’t be assuming anything about power or pay to win or how much this gem trade thing matters until we know.

  7. Seriously. Stop. Crying. About. The. Name. Waaaaah.

    • Not the kind of comment I appreciate.

  8. I will try to keep my rant short but clear.
    1.I like what i see/read sofar.
    2.I agree with ANet on how to do it.
    3.I’m ANGRY because it feels like half the picture is missing,
    Yes the info they have given is insightful but I feel like were missing something big, the dangers of half information, all in all it sounds good but I need more INFO.(Yay for internet opinions)

    • There is definitely a lack of information that is causing a lot of confusion and assumptions and people are jumping to conclusions. We really should have been provided with a list of items, otherwise this is going to just drag out.

      • +1 Hunter, its does seem a little strange. However, if he follows his guidlines it should be ok. I guess some just don’t believe him yet. He’s the top bloke! Good to see such commitment to it from him at least.

        • Its really a matter of what people think advantages are. Arenanet doesn’t think time saving items are advantages, and neither do i.

          • I agree, advantages are things that make you stronger or give you other wise unachievable content that is vital to the game. Even things like double exp is not pay to win, it is pay to have less grinding for levels. Pay to win would be thinks like an ultimate sword, or in crafting systems like aion if they have an item that makes you proc gold ect.

            • No matter what we do, there will always be someone else leveling faster, spending more time in game, richer, or otherwise ahead of us. Complaining that an xp boost is an advantage is ridiculous in my opinion for these reasons.

  9. The more I think about it, the better I feel about the whole thing. The fact that you can sell gems for gold just kind of caught me off-guard at first, though really, as it’s not a gear-based game, in the end, what does it really matter? Oh no, someone might get that pretty sword that has the same stats as mine but a different appearance faster because they had a few gems they sold to someone. Big deal.

    I’m still not 100% on it but I’m liking it more.

    • Not only will stats not be purchasable but I’m not convinced skins will be so much easier to get simply because you have gold. I’m sure some things will be easier, like buying crafting materials, or buying wvw blueprints, and those are justified concerns and I’m not saying the system looks perfect, but I think we should all wait to see what gold can do for you and what items are in the cash shop.

      So yeah, keep that skepticism, but I’m optimistic.

  10. […] any experience with that system, so I will let more informed observers comment on that. Hunter notes the similarities to Runes of Magic’s Diamond currency, and raises what I think are valid concerns on that […]

  11. I think many are missing the essential innovation in this system – which is that whilst gold and gems are fungible, karma is not fungible with either of those. So that means that if ANet wish to make something an in game reward, that can not be bought with real money, all they need to do is give it a karma cost rather than a gold cost.

    Prestige items are really no different to in game titles – and GW1 has shown that people enjoy working towards these things, along with having the feeling that they have achieved something in the game that not everyone else has. But, in GW1 you could buy your way to many of these achievements – hence, much of the botting and hacking by gold sellers.

    So… This complete separation of real money–>gold and karma is a neat innovation.

    • Theres no telling if they actually completely seperate karma from other currencies though is there?. It’s a good thought and I hope it turns out that way.
      One thing people forget is a lot of the really good skins will be in dungeons where you need token drops which i assume will be soul bound.

  12. I just appreciate that, essentially, no matter what they offer for gems, you can obtain those items without using real money. Yes, it’s more work, but at least the option and ability is there.

    • I think that is one of the better benefits of this system. You do not have to plunk down real cash, and for a lot of people this will be a money saver. If everyone gets to buy cash shop items then everyone is equal in a way.

      • Yes in f2p games I have played with similar system, my fav being Puzzle Pirates =P, it was nice to be able to get the cash items with out paying a dime. You might have to pay more gold, but in the end you got an item for free while some other person picked up your tab so to speak.

        • It is a pretty good system, I just hope arenanet ties down the problems with it. Runes of Magic did have some serious scamming problems.

  13. I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop since learning vague details about the financial model used by ArenaNet some years ago.

    To be clear; they HAD to make this announcement prior to April 10th or leave themselves open to folks crying foul after they have already forked over their money for the pre-purchase option that will allow them into all subsequent beta weekend events, as well as the three day head-start. The timing of this information is from necessity… they would likely have wanted to hold off longer, and possibly included specific details about exactly “what” can be purchased in the cash shop to avoid at least some of the hysteria due to assumptions being made (perhaps erroneously…)

    Re: Hysteria
    It’s understandable for folks to feel strongly about this topic. Many, many players have had resoundlingly bad experiences with MTs (micro-transactions) in other games, and let’s be honest here, the VAST majority of MTs are basically very poorly handled by the companies attempting to employ them as a means of financially supporting their product.

    Far more MT-based financial models either start off as “abusive” towards their players (or evolve to end up that way) than not. The “money-grab” feeling associated with them is exacerbated considerably by game design practices which “encourage” (*cough* force *cough*) players to make regular purchases in the cash shop to “enable” a more normal / fluid feeling of play.

    I see NO evidence this is the case with Guild Wars 2.

    In fact, quite the contrary… the game is designed around a philosophy of “player skill” exerting more influence than “character power.” You cannot buy player skill. No matter what, that is still earned through time invested, and practice.

    There are no “gear grinds” or similar flawed design systems which are open to abuse from the MTs.

    Numerous folks (at guru forums) have suggested that the proposed system is open to abuse with respect to how it interacts with the “influence” mechanic associated with guilds. However, once again, there is absolutely no logical evidence supporting those claims. At the very worst, we need to wait until we see actual numbers on the rate at which influence is normally earned, and how often it can be “purchased” with gold from NPCs. If, as has been strongly suggested, such purchases are only possible to make on a weekly basis, then there is already a sufficient “governor” on that engine to prevent it from over-revving.

    I’ve been very outspoken about my dislike of MTs in general, and my wariness about this financial model being utilized in GW2. If anyone was going to “freak out” about this announcement you would think I would be at the front of that pitchfork/torch weilding mob, but I see nothing in the post by Mike O’Brien to suggest that is the correct response. There are still further details needed about the cash shop, and I withhold the right to pick up my pitchfork when and if that becomes necessary, but at this point, I see nothing to warrant it.

    As currently outlined by Mr O’Brien, the system actually looks like it will benefit both casual and hardcore (with respect to playing time) players which is a pretty neat trick all on it’s own.

    • There is all sorts of loose ends here but I have to agree with you. And I’ll go further and say that this system is actually advantageous more to people who don’t want to spend money in the cash shop than to people who do, or at least they’ll get more out of it. it all depends on how important gold is really.

  14. […] Hunter’s Insight — Buy Gems With Gold Or Money In Guild Wars 2. “Arenanet has finally released some details on microtransactions in Guild Wars 2 and frankly, I’m happy with some of the decisions they’re making. They didn’t get into specific items, but they did cover the model they’ll be using. Essentially it’s simple. You buy gems and use them to purchase microtransactions. It’s a model similar to many other games, Eve Online being the one to draw comparisons in the blog post itself.” […]

  15. […] Hunter’s Insight:Buy Gems with gold or money in Guild Wars 2  Hunter’s look at the microtransaction system and in The cash shop gets leaked. […]

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