GW2: Heart of Thorns Pre-Order Prices – A Whole Lotta Nope


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.

Interesting how the $99.99 option is the default selection. ;)
Interesting how the $99.99 option is the default selection. ūüėČ

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…

Not much of a contest which one I'd prefer.
Not much of a contest for which one I’d prefer.

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.¬†

NopeThis 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.

And I’m not the only one.

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.


  1. As far as the pricing goes I think the reaction has been a bit hysterical. I think promoting the game immediately prior to the announcement by making the point that you’d need it to play the expansion was, at best, disingenuous and quite possibly dirty tricks and I think new players who bought the game recently because of that promotional push have a very good reason to be angry.

    As for we long-term players, however, I have no sympathy with the view that we should get the expansion at a reduced rate because we don’t need the game. The expansion costs those prices for those versions. The game is bundled in free. That’s not at all unusual with MMOs. In fact I would say it verges on standard practice.

    As for the pricing itself, well it’s on the high side but you charge what the market will bear and it’s not out of the general ballpark. I would normally be quite happy to pay ¬£35 for an expansion to a game I enjoy. I only ever buy the basic version. The whole “collector’s” thing has never been of any interest to me, doubly so now the “collectibles” don’t actually have any physical form.

    BUT – and as they say it’s a big one – like you I am very far from sure there’s anything much in the expansion that I am likely to enjoy. Or even use. I share almost all your objections – gliders and vertical content are actively offputting, I don’t like jungle zones, guild halls are useless for my 3-person guild, the Revenant looks meh… and added to that I am far from convinced that most of this will even work when we get it. The original game didn’t. Remember how very broken most of the content above about level 30 was, and how it stayed that way for months?

    In the end I will almost certainly buy it because I need HoT to carry on playing WvW and the one part of the xpack I really am looking forward to is the new battlegrounds there. ¬£35 is a lot to pay for that, yes, but I’ve been playing for three years for nothing and it only amounts to four months’ worth of subs so I think I can stand it. I’ll probably wait until release and see if there any deals going though.

    As for the Living Story, I’d imagine the problem there will be that the next round will take place in HoT zones, which would make playing it without HoT somewhat tricky. LS is’t that great anyway though. You wouldn’t be missing much. If it’s the story you’re interested in, you can watch that on YouTube, and probably follow it better there too.

    1. I agree that the GW2 community has always been… passionate… about voicing their concerns. While they’ve been known to work themselves up quite a bit, I’ve seen times in GW2 history where the community needed to be vocal due to bad design changes on the dev’s parts. The whole gem for gold trading “simplification” comes to mind instantly.

      That being said, I’m not one of the folks raging because “new players get more than veterans.” I think it’s a nice gesture for them to package in the base game with the expansion for those folks.

      I may have had access to GW2 content for free for this long – you’re right about that. I’ve also spent my fair share on gems, too, in the beginning to support Anet specifically. I’m not one of those crazy spenders, though. And I do agree that overall, GW2 is a good deal being B2P.

      I know they have to make money somehow, but I still just feel the expansion is too expensive for what they’ve advertised (which is really not much). I don’t mind holding off on buying it until the price drops, which I was probably going to do anyhow. I just hope those who wait won’t be punished (locked out of story, or forced to purchase story later).

      I guess I could watch it on YouTube, but it’s not the same as experiencing it. If it comes to that, I probably will just end up dropping GW2 completely.

      Anyhow, enough of the negative vibes! I hope that you do enjoy what HoT brings to WvW!

  2. I do not think the price is too steep in isolation. In relation to the expansion content shown, way overpriced as far as I am concerned. If there is more to come, they should have waited before asking people for money. Also, no release date in sight.
    The commenter above talks about verging on standard practice but I believe Arenanet’s pricing option is the opposite. Blizzard and Square do not bundle in their base expansions for free unless you are buying a bundled package. Turbine also does the same. For all three you have bundled packages and the expansion can also be bought separately. Up until this point from what i recall of Arenanet and GW1, they were also the same. SOE apparently does include earlier packages as part of the base price. So it would seem that they are an anomaly. Unless there are other examples?

    Also, that WvW map. Surely they do not plan to fragment their WvW population by gating that behind HoT? That does not sound like a good idea.

    On the bright side, Heavensward arrives Friday.

    1. Seems like most of the community is up in arms. We’ll have to wait and see how Anet responds. This isn’t the first time they’ve made a bad choice about the direction of the game. There’s been a few take-backs in the history of GW2 when fans spoke out in dislike of specific changes.

      Looking forward to Heavensward tomorrow! Hope you enjoy if you’re playing it! ūüôā

  3. The big issue I’ve taken up with this whole debacle was that from what I’ve read is Anet said that you need the base game first, which convinced people to go ahead and get it. Then it is reported the expansion comes with the base game. Seems like poor communication on Anet’s side, but until this issue is addressed, I’m holding off.

    1. Yeah, it really felt like they didn’t know what they were going to do until the last moment. There’s even a thing where they edited out the wording on their official HoT FAQ… which made them look super-shady.

      I don’t mind that they give new folks the base game within HoT – I’m not one of those folks raging to have something of equal value put into the game for veterans. But I do mind that this wasn’t communicated earlier, before a lot of people went out to buy the base game with the intention to have it for HoT specifically.

  4. Thanks for the insight on how ANet has lost their way. I will continue to work through DAI and wait to see if FFXV is worth the wait. Until then Anet has lost another one until they find themselves. Thanks again for the post!

  5. I’m sorry but I have to go and disagree with you on a couple of things. And also agree on one or two.

    1) I don’t think it’s really fair to bash the new class and jungle zone this way. On both accounts its a highly subjective statement, unless you have more technical or practical concerns about the Revenant.

    I often enjoy the way jungle zones create a lush and vibrant scenery and the dense vegetation forms natural pathways that beg for exploration. Maguuma was probably my favourite zone in GW:Prophecies, thanks to the interesting contrast between jungle and desert (I could do a ‘Game Geography’ about its hydrological situation). Exploring it in GW2 is probably the most enticing part of the expansion for me.

    A) I enjoyed some of the earlier jumping puzzles, which were more about exploring a difficult to access/traverse place. Later ones, such as the clock tower only served to remind me I suck at platformers, especially with latency involved. If ‘vertical progression’ refers to the earlier kind, I’m ok with that, but the idea of highly tricky jumping puzzles as part of world exploration does not excite me at all.

    2) The guild hall trailer definitely did excite me. I’ve even read that they intend to make it accessible and fun to both large and small guids, but how remains to be seen.

    3) Gliders vs. massive dragons, indeed not much of a contest. Except that I’d much rather have the glider for two reasons. First, that dragon’s epicness is going to devalue a lot when everyone has one (and it’s size might even become a bother). Second, the glider is one of the few MMO mounts that is actually an interesting new form of travel, rather that merely a simple speed boost.

    B) The Living Story is the thing that drove me away from GW2, so I really don’t care about them. Still, it does indeed seem very underhanded to threaten players with the prospect of paying twice for your content.

    Like you, I’m focusing on games I do actually enjoy. Right now, I’m enjoying SWTOR: The Bioware is strong with the Imperial Agent storyline (although ironically not quite so with the Jedi Consular one).

    1. In response to #1:

      I wrote specifically “Okay, enough about the facts. Now for the opinions.”

      Meaning, these are my feelings and not mean to be objective facts. This post is an opinion piece, therefore, “bashing” is allowed… even if I don’t think stating an unfavorable opinion of something based on personal preference is “bashing.” :p

      So far, I haven’t seen anything about the new class that entices me. I don’t think it’s bashing to say “I don’t know if I’ll like the playstyle.” That’s just me saying that I’m not drawn to spend this much money because of an additional hyped-up class when I don’t know how it’s going to play. I think that’s a fair assessment.

      I don’t care for jungle zones and I’m not a fan of GW2 jump puzzles. Stating that is also a personal preference and not bashing anything.

      Therefore, two of the features they’re trying to offer don’t provide me any value. Certainly not enough to justify the price.

      3- I’ve done gliders in other games (EQ2, ArcheAge), so it’s not all that original. I much prefer free flight.

      All in all, I think the best course is to just play what you enjoy most. I’m totally hyped for tomorrow’s Heavensward release and will be quite happy there, I’m sure, with real flying mounts. XD

      1. Of course ‘bashing’ is allowed in an opinion piece. it is kinda the point of it. However, It is supposed to be backed by reasonable arguments, which you do for most of the problems you see with HoT: comparing it to other expansions and arguing that the alternative offers a better deal is a compelling argument.

        And that’s where I see a difference between opinions and personal preferences such as “Eh, don‚Äôt know if I‚Äôll like the playstyle.” and “Those have never been my favorite types of zones.” There is no foundation for your critique here, and unfounded critique is what I call bashing. Even though I am sure you are perfectly capable of pointing out the flaws in the Revenant and jungle zones that have resulted in your dislike of them. ūüėČ

        As for mounts, I find that most of them in MMO’s completely fail to provide the appropriate sensation/experience. unlike most other games, there is no riding/driving involved, and that always disappoints me. I will admit that I have no experience with glider mechanics in games, but to me, they at least seem like a step in the right direction.

        I clearly remember when I first received my dragon mount in WoW. it was epic. it was glorious. And after a while, it was a case of ‘set a direction, autorun and go grab yourself a snack while waiting to arrive at your destination’.

        1. The confusing thing is… I’m not attempting to write an argument with this post, which is why I even prefaced it to say “this is my opinion.”

          This is all purely a post about why for me, personally, this expansion is not worth $50. I compare it to other expansions (GW1 and FFXIV) to indicate what I do think is worth the cost. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind or trying debate anything. This is just pure opinion, personal preference, and my own feelings.

          I don’t think I need to defend every feeling that I write about with absolute logical reasons why. This is a casual blog and not a paid piece of work on some official news website! If this was meant to be a professional piece, then yes, I could understand your critique.

          I think you tend to misunderstand my opinion posts as me making a debate when that is not my intention, Tharash. You’ve done so in the past, too, which is rather frustrating, to be very honest. While I post often about the way things make me feel, I actually rarely post to debate anything. When I do want to know what people are thinking, I always end the post with “What do you think?” to invite that kind of discussion.

          The last paragraph was an attempt at me trying to be a blunt Dutch wanna-be XD (since I’m very terrible at being to the point), hoping I’m a bit more clear in my intentions. I think sometimes things get lost in these comments, which just causes all the more frustration.

        2. I am certainly not arguing that you’re not allowed to post your own personal preferences. I see that this is a case of my expectations as a reader differing from your intentions as a writer.

          So please let me turn my critique into a less contentious question: I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on why jungle zones and gliders (and to a lesser extent, the revenant class) fail to appeal to you.

        3. That’s fair. I’ll try to answer your questions, then. However, I’ll warn you that the thing about feelings is that I can’t always explain them logically. They just exist.

          Jungle zones, for example, just aren’t my favorite. I can’t tell you why – perhaps past experiences in MMO jungles, which tend to be dense in design and in mobs. I don’t hate jungles, but I prefer other settings more. So maybe I should say the fact that the expansion is focused just a single type of biome, one that I generally am not excited to play, does not excite me for the expansion either.

          That’s not to say they can’t do some cool things with the jungle setting. One thing I don’t doubt is Anet’s area design skills. But it’s already been stated that progression through the zone would be a vertical one. This also doesn’t excite me as GW2 tends to try too hard to be a platforming jump-puzzle game, and ends up just annoying me in that aspect.

          Gliders just don’t excite me. I’ve done it in other games and always prefer the freedom of real flying mounts (which I adore!). It’s great that this is a new thing for GW in general (a way to get around the no-mounts issue), but it’s just not worth the price tag. Everything comes back to me measuring my excitement/interest vs. the price tag.

          The new class could be cool if they do it right. Or it could turn out a gimmicky mess, which is what I’m afraid it will be. It seems to be this complicated mish-mash of dervish/paragon/ritualist. Until I can actually sit down with it and play for a while, I’m not sold on the fact that it’s a play style I will enjoy. Since the only way to try the class is to buy the expansion, it’s a question that will go unanswered.

          Since these are most of the main selling points of the expansion that they’ve told us about (aside from whatever WvW stuff and guild halls, which I care nothing about), this leads me to shrugging my shoulders in apathy. Their living story certainly hasn’t enticed me to put money towards this.

          I guess there’s the new mastery system – the only thing that really excited me there was maybe trying out greatsword on necromancer or bow on guardian. But a few “new” weapon choices on existing classes isn’t enough to justify $50.

          That was a post within itself! I hope that answers your questions sufficiently! :p

        4. That was definitely interesting. I agree on mob density, though it tends to be more in open landscapes such as plains or desert where the density is much more visible and you can basically count ‘you need to kill 50 more enemies before reaching your destination.

          As for the mount system: I’ve had free-form flying in WoW and it was great in the beginning, but turned stale and boring quickly. The glider mechanics seem interesting, but you seem to be in an opposite position, where the gliders have become boring. Maybe we’re both seeing repetitiveness and long for something different?

          I can’t say I have looked into the Revenant much, so I won’t state an opinion on that.

          I do get the impression that, on paper, the expansion seems to offer a lot: new zones/content, new class, new specializations for existing classes, new flying mechanic. I guess the point I missed initially from your post is that there’s a big difference between an impressive feature list and an exjoyable experience. Like you, I do not plan to purchase the expansion anytime soon, though for different reasons/personal preferences.

  6. For me, the decision was made long ago. GW2 failed to hold my interest. FFXIV has. I’ve tried to analyze the reasons, but ultimately, I have no reason to spend more money on GW2 when it didn’t even keep me interested enough to actually fight Zhaitan.

    1. It didn’t help that all of the personal story could be done solo until Zhaitan. I felt that it was a bad choice to force everyone to scrape together a full party to beat the story. I heard they were going to finally fix that, but I’m not sure if they ever did.

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