The lights are on
ArenaNet's new MMO has no subscription fee, but it does have an integrated microtransaction shop. What can you get for the fifteen bucks a month you would be paying for a traditional triple-A MMO subscription?
Because you can buy gems (the real-money currency) from other players with in-game money, we've listed the gold/silver prices as well. For up-to-date numbers – these prices are based on the rate at publication time of 100 silver to 367 gems – download the spreadsheet (right-click, save as) created for this article and input your current conversion rate.
The Utilitarian: $15Additional character slot ($10, 2g17s), bag slot ($5, 1g9s)
The Hippie Chef: $14.38Cook's Outfit ($8.75, 1g91s), Inventor's Sunglasses ($1.88, 41s), Minis 3-Pack [non-combat pets] ($3.75, 82s)
The Prettiest Princess: $15.94Dye Pack ($2.50, 55s), Glory Booster 5-Pack ($3.44, 75s), Fine Transmutation Stone 25-Pack ($10, 2g18s)
The PvP Peacock: $14.19Krytan Armor Skin ($6.25, 1g36), Tournamet Ticket 30-Pack ($4.50, 98s), Cow Finisher 5-Pack ($3.44, 75s)
The Gracious Hostess: $15Evon Gnashblade's Box o' Fun 5-Pack ($12.50, 2g72s), Top Hat ($2.50, 55s)
The Prepared Raider: $15Instant Repair Canister 5-Pack ($3.75, 82s), Revive Orb 5-Pack($11.25, 2g45s)
The Leveling Machine: $15.32Experience Booster 5-Pack ($6.88, 1g50s), Killstreak Experience Booster 5-Pack ($5.63, 1g23s), Bank Access Express 5-Pack ($1.56, 34s), Black Lion Merchant Express 5-Pack ($1.25, 27s)
Keeping in mind that none of these boosts and cosmetic items are in any way necessary to play and fully enjoy the game – and that even if they were, the quite reasonable silver:gems exchange rate lets you buy everything for in-game cash if you prefer – I have no criticisms whatsoever of Guild Wars 2's cash shop. Keeping players happy while making money is a tightrope act for any studio, but so far ArenaNet has done nothing at all to justify players feeling exploited in the slightest.
For more in-depth Guild Wars 2 coverage, stick around for some crucial dungeon tips and a lengthy Test Chamber video.