I’m going to start with the unbiased facts for those who might have just searched for this and fell on this page. Here’s the pre-order prices for Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns, normal and collector’s editions.
Okay, enough about the facts. Now for the opinions.
A Whole Lotta Nope
Sorry ANet. This will be the first time ever that I have not purchased a Guild Wars expansion at or before launch. The cost of this expansion is just too expensive for what I perceive is going to be in this pack. That’s not even counting the fact that the expansion doesn’t include a character slot for the new class… so you must either pony up for that or delete an existing character to play it.
I have been in wait-and-see mode since Heart of Thorns was announced. I really haven’t been impressed by much of what I’ve heard about it thus far. New Revenent class? Eh, don’t know if I’ll like the playstyle. New jungle zone. Those have never been my favorite types of zones, and hearing about this vertical progress just makes me think “jump puzzles.” New guild hall? You mean for my little guild that died out shortly after you released guild activities that ruled out small and medium-sized casual guilds?
Oh, but what about that glider thing? Hmmm…
When Guild Wars 1 released expansions, they were full campaigns. The kind that have huge additional landmasses, two new classes (which you could use with existing characters as secondaries), tons of new skills (which you could use with existing characters as secondaries), new weapon types (which you could use with existing characters as secondaries), full-scale campaign stories and lots of new races/creatures/lore to explore.
They were stand-alone games that didn’t require any other campaign to play. They had a starter zone, leveling zone and end game zone all complete, for the same price as what they’re charging for a much smaller expansion for GW2. Of course, I don’t expect a stand alone game out of this expansion, but I’m saying this to compare the amount of content we used to get for $50 from a Guild Wars release with what we’ve seen of HoT.
ANet needs to take a look at what competitors are doing for their expansions. For example, FFXIV’s Heavensward, being early released in just a few days, has many different price points for their expansion depending on what content you want or need. For a ton of content, including real flying mounts, you pay:
Standard Edition: $39.99
Digital Collector’s Edition: $59.99
Heavensward + Realm Reborn Bundle: $59.99
So, you have options. If you need the base game, you can pick that up with Heavensward, but you’re not forced into the bundle. Now, that’s how to do it.
But what about Living Story updates…?
I posted a comment on Massively OP’s HoT’s post stating that I’ve decided to hold off on paying this kind of money for the expansion. I got a reply from a concerned community member that pointed out that in not buying the expansion, I won’t have access to the upcoming Living Story episodes out of the box, thus, will be forced to pay for them when I go to unlock them instead.
This is something that Syn and I actually discussed. My response to this is… if they are going to be underhanded enough to prevent people from unlocking the episodes if they don’t purchase HoT, then I’m done with this game. Let us unlock chapters for future play even if we don’t have the expansion – now that would be positive incentive for me to spend money on HoT. No way I’m going to be nickled and dimed to play Living Story episodes that I wasn’t impressed by to begin with. That would only be punishing people for not buying HoT.
If ANet uses that as a pressure tactic – forcing folks to buy the expansion RIGHT NOW or else we’ll have to pay for Living Story later on – I feel that’s really wrong. No, I don’t expect to be able to play story content locked within HoT… but I bet that there’s going to be a lot of unhappy folks if they start gating the story unlocks behind expansion purchase.
Doing that only confirms that it’s become all about the money. Doing that will lose me as a customer for good… and I’ve been a loyal customer who has purchased several copies of GW1, paid for Gems, and was a pretty strong presence in the GW2 launch community. I would eventually buy the expansion, when I thought the price was right. But not if I get there to find more crap I have to buy just to play the story.
Whole lotta Nope.
We’ll see which direction they take this game. But right now, I’m focusing on games that don’t actually frustrate me the way GW2’s story and “mechanics” do.