Owners of pre-purchased copies of Guild Wars 2 got a three-day advantage over their patient counterparts, but that seems like three days wasted. Rife with logging and connection issues–as expected with any MMO–ArenaNet now must prepare for another influx of players tomorrow as the game ships to retail.

But early issues haven’t beset anticipation or hype surrounding the game. Novelty is a powerful term when talking MMOs, and disappointing (or tiresome) options allow for something new and shiny to flourish. Especially in a time where standards are changing: subscriptions are an aging concept. The spectacular failure of Star Wars: The Old Republic or steep declines in World of Warcraft‘s population directly show what players care to achieve from a title is shifting.

The major draw for Guild Wars 2, a fact both developer ArenaNet and publisher NCsoft bombastically paraded around, is the one-time fee. No subscriptions, just the $60 or $70 to actually unlock the content. Endless hours of fun and the proper MMO experience at a reasonable cost.

Both Republic and WoW have their fiercely dedicated audiences who knowingly pay monthly to time sink. The hardcore as they are known. GW2 presents that same level of engagement but without the daunting measure of paying more than once. This attracts console users who pay $60 on average anyway; most PC players who’ve tried an MMO and are looking to reinvest; and newcomers to the genre.

New players are the main target I believe, because the entire industry has grown considerably in the last couple of years. Many are curious about why MMOs attract such large followings. Minimal cost to enjoy a complete offering from a genre hard to grasp for most people. And most newcomers are unwilling to invest monthly (plus the game itself and expansions) unless they have friends playing. Guild Wars 2 is the new alternative.

Another pressing point is how ArenaNet handled player vs. player (PvP), fixing everyone at level 80 immediately, so new players can jump in and have a blast. There is also a training ground before entering to help master newly acquired skills. It’s a smart and elegant system that makes PvP inviting and not labourious, and pits everyone on a level playing field.

Guild Wars 2 releases tomorrow for PC.

To the readers: Is the one-time fee the biggest attractor, or the title’s shiny newness, or are World of Warcraft and Republic just that corrupting? To the comments below!

Image courtesy of PlayerAffinity.

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  • Soutaja

    As a person who played World of Warcraft for around 6 years and had almost 4800 hours of actual playing time (that is around 200 days), I can tell that the subscription-free way is the right way.
    When you pay 15 bucks per month you really want something for that money, and that means you keep playing, because otherwise it feels like you are wasting money. No one wants that :-/

    GW2 simply feels right: You can play when you have time for it and you don’t have to feel bad if you take a short or a long break. I had a serious addiction with WoW, and when I finally got off almost two years ago, my life got better, but I still had that longing for playing a game like this, because it is something I love and get joy from.

    Now that I am free from the shackles of monthly fees, I can play only few hours and still feel like being that legendary warrior, roaming snowy mountains and killing collossal monsters, instead of feeling like a slave to a drug.

    Thank you ArenaNet for making Guild Wars 2! :)

    • http://chalgyrsgameroom.blogspot.com/ Chalgyr Vokel

      Couldn’t agree more with your opening statement, Soutaja. Like you, I had that subscription fee in place and just felt like I -had- to be grinding and playing to eek out the maximum bang for my monthly buck. Now, I did play one of the Guild Wars releases for a time, and enjoyed the lack of monthly fees, though the game left me a bit wanting compared to the polish of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.

      Everything I have seen about GW2 so far though has me rather optimistic. I doubt I’ll be a day 1 buyer (I have a handful of other games to tide me over), but I do plan to get around to this one sooner than later.

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