ArenaNet – Let me help you spend my money!

The following is a positive, sincere account of how I have spent money on MMOs in the past and what I personally find valuable in Guild Wars 2. My intent is to help ArenaNet (makers of Guild Wars 2) make money from gem sales and expansions, by telling them explicitly what I WILL purchase (not “might”, but actually WILL spend money on). Why do this? I like Guild Wars 2 and wish to see its continued success! 🙂

Personal Background (Demographics):
– Male, 37, Married, Kids, Canada.
– Started playing MMOs in 2002 with Everquest.
– Most hours played in: Star Wars Galaxies, Planetside 2, World of Warcraft, Everquest 1/2.
– Most subscriptions paid for: Star Wars Galaxies (multiple accounts)
– Most additional money spent on a subscription based game: World of Warcraft (character transfer fees, mounts).
– Most money spent in a “free2play” game: Planetside 2 (weapons > cosmetics > xp boost).
– Total different MMOs I have spent money on or in: 10+
– MMOs I have played in the last year: Guild Wars 2, Planetside 2, SWGEmu.
– MMOs I have played in the 3 months: Guild Wars 2, Planetside 2.
– MMOs I currently play: Guild Wars 2.
– MMOs I will play in 2016: Guild Wars 2.
– Game consoles owned: Wii
– Do I play or purchase other PC or console games: Pretty much never.
– Last PC or console game purchase: Torchlight II, 2013.

Approx Spent Since 2002:
– Games: $500
– Expansion Packs: $300
– Subscriptions: $1,000 – $1,500
– Optional Services (mostly character tranfer fees): $150

How I Allocated Currency I Purchased:
– Mounts: $50 (EQ2 / WoW)
– Game Play Variety (weapons, classes, houses, etc): $250
– Utility (storage, toolbars, etc): $100
– Cosmetics (camo, skins, etc): $50

Please don’t add all that up… I don’t want to know. No doubt it’s less than many spend on beer in a year though! lol…

Moving on to Guild Wars 2 specific information now.

Purchased GW2: December 2012
Year most played: 2015
Year least played: Honestly, I barely ever played before 2015.

Reasons for original purchase:

1. Open, “living world” design with down leveling to keep all content relevant.

2. Uncompetitive, co-op oriented PvE (harvesting nodes, loot distribution, no “mob tagging”, etc)

3. Class and combat mechanics tied to weapon choices and how that played into making underwater combat unique and interesting.

4. Fun combat style, with no-tab targeting and active dodging.

5. No monthly subscription.

Why didn’t I play much before 2015:

1. I was playing other games, mostly Planetside 2, and working on other hobbies in my available time.

2. I found the character personalities in Guild Wars 2 very hard to relate to and in some ways, actively annoying. The breathy Sylvari male, my first character past 20 (since deleted), was especially obnoxious. On the flip side, my main character whom I adore is a female Sylvari. Kudos to you, Jennifer Hale! 🙂

3. It was difficult to find a class that I enjoyed playing. I tried all but the ones I knew I wouldn’t like (Thief and Necromancer) to level 25 or so and the only one I really fun with was Guardian.

4. The mounts/vehicles, housing, and clothing variety that I was used to having in other games weren’t available in GW2, making GW2 feel less personal. This is where Everquest 2 shines – it has copious amounts of EVERYTHING! lol…

5. The GW2 crafting system isn’t as fun as Star Wars Galaxies system, but I like it. However, it ultimately feels a little pointless, given how everything you can make is already available for purchase on the Trading Post for the lowest possible price. This is, of course, excluding the highest level, most grindy-to-make items that I would never bother making anyway. I guess I will be forever spoiled by the SWG Beast Master crafting system… 🙂

6. My one friend who played kept changing servers, so I ended up deleting everything and starting over 3 times. The last time, I said no more! He hasn’t played in about a year, go figure… This undoubtedly had a negative impact on my level of emotional investment in the game, especially given I didn’t have any investment in the franchise as a whole (I never played the original Guild Wars or explored its lore).

Why I decided to play GW2 more in 2015:

1. “It’s a beautiful game and I really like a lot about it!”, so I have said a number of times over the years. It was time to give it a fair shake.

2. Despite spending thousands of hours in Planetside 2, a 100% PvP game, and many hours playing Counter-Strike “back in the day”, I’m not really into the whole Internet competition thing. I just like shooting doods and blowing stuff up (in a gore-free, laser-tag/computer game sense – gore/horror is not my cup of tea). What I actually REALLY enjoy is PvE exploration and that’s what I have spent the vast majority of my time doing in SWG, WoW, EQ/EQ2, GW2, Aion, SWTOR… and MANY other games. Guild Wars 2 has an amazing open world to explore.

3. I’m not really into the whole “online community” thing. Back before I got married and had a whack of kids of my own, I didn’t so much mind sitting down at the computer and interacting with other people and their kids. Now, however, when I sit down to play an online game the last thing I want to do is entertain or interact with children (or adults who act like children). I’ve always hated VOIP, with the exception of a handful of people I raided with in WoW. Why? Because I really don’t give a shit about how high or drunk you are pretending to be… People on the Internet, I can live without them.

And here’s the thing, with the original design of Guild Wars 2, a person could log in and have hours of fun playing with other people without ever having to deal with organizing groups, drama, demands to use voip, etc. Nope, instead of all that kruft, you could just log in, “do stuff”, and find that other folks are around doing that stuff too. As a person who just wants to sit down for a while, when time permits, and disolve into another world for a while, the original areas of Guild Wars 2 are a dream come true!

Purchases I have made in Guild Wars 2:
Gems: 800 Gems (USD, 1 in game transaction)
– Special Edition, when on sale
– 1 Bank Tab
– Missing Living Story, Season 2 chapters, when on sale (topped with Gold > Gems).

Why I have not purchased more in Guild Wars 2:

1. Game Cards are no longer available in Canada. BestBuy and EBGames used to carry them.

2. The Canadian Dollar is far too low justify purchasing ANYTHING in USD these days. For majority of the time I have been playing MMOs, the exchange rate has been alright, +/-10% (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/canada/currency), however, we’re now looking at roughly 35% surcharge on any purchase simply due to the entirely arbitrary exchange rate. I’m sorry, but that’s way beyond reasonable.

The bottom line here is that unless I can buy gems in Canadian Dollars, 800 gems for $10, I won’t be buying any gems, at all. Bring the gem cards back to Canadian store shelves, because earning $10 CND is a heck of a lot better than earning $0 USD.

3. The vast majority of the content in Heart of Thorns is stuff I don’t care about and will never use, thus it is simply not worth the $70 CAD price tag. Allow me to list everything in HoT that I won’t use:

– The 4 new zones, because they REQUIRE organized play at specific times. This is totally the opposite of why I play GW2.

– Personal Story. Still have yet to finish the original one on my main character… Just not my thing, I guess.

– Anything PvP related. I don’t PvP at all.

– Anything dungeon or raid related. I don’t do dungeons or raids at all.

– The entire guild system. Thankfully I was able to get 50 slots of storage in my personal guild bank before that was made impossible… Other than that, I have no use for guilds at all.

– Most of the Mastery system.

As you can see, the vast majority of the content added in HoT is stuff I am not interested in. Honestly, I doubt I would even get around to using the new class or most of the new class specs. Had HoT included 4 new maps like Gendarran Fields or Sparkfly Fen then that alone would have been enough to convince me to purchase HoT, as I would get many hours of use out the money spent.

And finally… here are the things I WOULD buy with Gems, if I can buy gems at 800/$10CAD:

Existing One Time:
– 4+ Bank Tabs.
– 1 Additional Crafting License.
– 1 Storage Expander
– 2+ Character Slots
– Musical Harp
– Magic Carpet
– Riding Broom
– Basic Harvesting Node Pack
– Basic Lumber Node Pack
– Basic Ore Node Pack
– Basic Cloth Rack

Occasional Purchases:
– Sale bundles! (I’m a sucker for a good bundle!)
– Banker Golem
– Merchant Express
– Heroic Booster
– Trading Post Express

Things I would buy if they existed!:
– Mounts! They’re fun and that’s all there really is to it…
– Bag slots account wide…
– HoT as piecemeal features
– New open original GW2 style world maps, 1000 Gems each.
– Additional “personal stories”, 800 Gems each. I would actually buy these, even though I likely would never get to finishing them… /shrug
– Personal housing or “more stuff” for the home instance.
– Instanced shops for each crafting profession, with upgrades/features/systems that add game play variety, but not power. 800 Gems each (account wide).
– Mini-games, such as fishing, that reward existing materials in different ways. 250 Gems each.

And finally…

Things I WILL NEVER, EVER PURCHASE:
– Lock boxes, lock box keys, “random dyes”, or any other sort gambling.
– Character transfers. You know what, server population management is just not MY problem. If a server is dead, YOU fix it! (Latent WoW related anger talking here lol… Arenanet’s mega servers are great).

Alrighty, I think I have laid that out as plainly as possible. I didn’t bother going into details about why I am not interested in things like raiding, pvp, and guilds, because ultimately the WHY doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I am not going to spend money on those things.

I will say this though, I played Planetside 2 because it was a Sci-fi FPS game with good gun mechanics and awesome vehicle play, not because it was a PvP game – I would likely still be playing it had it been a PvE game! Sure, I healed more than five hundred 5 man dungeons in WoW during Wrath of the Lich King alone, but… I’m just not really interested in doing that kind of content anymore. I’ve been an integral part of several nice online communities over the years and by no means am I actively hostile or totally indifferent towards other players in games these days, but the truth is that I just don’t have it in me to be committed to anything other than my family and “real life friends”. I play games to unwind, to have fun! Ultimately, my likes and motivations are what they are, just as yours are what they are. To each his own! 🙂

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