Why Guild Wars 2’s prepurchase deal has the internet raging

On the surface, ArenaNet killed it at E3, kicking ass with a much-wanted and huge expansion for Guild Wars 2, one of the biggest MMORPGs in the market. The studio unveiled a massive new guild hall system, one players have been begging for, one that will satisfy everyone from teeny tiny guilds to classic Guild Wars fans. Those devs were riding high. They built it all up, and then they surprise-announced prepurchase tiers for the expansion. Cheering! Expansion! Woohoo! Take my money!

But then gamers got a good look at the tiers and what’s in them and what they cost… and the cheering turned to something else entirely. By Wednesday morning, the faint hum of discontent that began at E3 had turned into a seething rage across Reddit. Our articles on the subject taken together have racked up well over 800 comments as I write this. A single thread on Reddit exhorting players not to prepurchase is nearing 3000 upvotes, more than the subreddit has ever seen on a single topic. The official forums were offline all day Thursday. And through it all, ArenaNet has stayed eerily silent.

Whether you side with the angry mob or have a more nuanced view, Guild Wars 2 is thoroughly bungling its expansion prepurchase.

Massively OP Reporter Larry Everett came into work this morning baffled at all the outrage. “Am I going to get about 50 hours of fun out of it? If yes, then it’s worth the cost… if no, then I’ll not buy it: End of story,” he declared. “It being a Guild Wars 2 game, I’m pretty sure there is more than 50 hours of fun gameplay in it. I don’t see why people are so hostile about it.”

For his sake and yours, I’d like to shed some light on the many reasons some people are so hostile about it.

One group feels misled and tricked into an unnecessary purchase

Until Tuesday evening, ArenaNet encouraged prospective players to purchase the base game as it would be required in order to play the expansion. You might think, “Duh, it’s an expansion, why wouldn’t it be required?” but it was an important distinction since classic Guild Wars campaigns were standalone. Once the tiers were released into the wild, it became obvious that the base game would be bundled into the expansion and that players did not need to shell out for the base game separately. The misleading FAQ was quietly altered, but not before Redditors uploaded screengrabs and splashed them around the internet, leading recent purchasers to feel swindled.

I don’t believe ArenaNet lied. I don’t believe there was some malicious intent to cheat you out of the $10 GW2 sale price you paid a few weeks ago. I do think there was a serious corporate miscommunication snafu, that the FAQ change was dodgy and a terrible call, and that players have a legitimate complaint here. Redditors report that ArenaNet is refunding purchases made in the last 30 days, but that has apparently been the company’s standing policy (some folks report ANet is extending that back to April). Taking the studio up on it does mean losing your account because why wouldn’t it? If you’re playing now, you’re paying now. Either way, for these folks, it’s not about the tenner; it’s about principle and sticking up for yourself when a company goofs.

One group believes the expansion is overpriced

Fifty bucks gets you in the door with beta access. The $75 tier also grants you a character slot worth $10, and some fluff. At $100 down, you also get a stack of gems worth $50, meaning you just bought the base pack and 50 dollars’ worth of gems and got a free character slot out of it, a meager savings of about 15%.

In other words, the tiers aren’t really all that impressive. Whether you believe there’s value in the upper tiers depends primarily on how much you care about beta and what kind of fluff you like. I love fluff, especially armor and weapon skins, but I don’t give a crap about minipets, gliders, finishers, or guild hall junk, so from my perspective, the upper tiers aren’t worth their asking price at all, and the bottom tier seems a tad high. I am best off with a $50 tier and buying my gems as I need them and my character slots when they go on sale.

For comparison’s sake, consider that we paid $50 for Warlords of Draenor and a level 90 character booster, which alone costs $50 $60. ArcheAge’s $50 founder package came with beta, head-start, a title, a glider, a month of sub, and credits worth $20 (its $100 and $150 packages included $80 and $120 in combined sub fees and credits, respectively). Closer to home, Guild Wars’ $35 Eye of the North expansion preorder package deal included a sneak peek weekend, special weapons, time-limited access to the standalone campaigns, and a free copy of the Bonus Mission Pack’s special missions and skins. In light of competitor pricing, I think that $35, $50, and $75 for the three tiers, intact, would have made far more sense.

I don’t feel so strongly about this that I’m going to join the boycott, but it’s not outrageous to argue that in this market, this product is overpriced. But again, we’re talking about a few dollars here either way.

One group is seriously pissed that newbies are getting a great deal

This is the least compelling argument for me. It goes like this: A newcomer to the game puts down $50 and gets the original game, the expansion, and the five character slots that come with the base game. Someone who’s poured hundreds of dollars into the game over the last three years also pays $50, gets no discount for already owning the original game, and gets no fresh character slots (something the classic GW standalone campaigns did because they added a new class, just as Heart of Thorns will).

There’s always an undercurrent of resentment in the gaming community when games go on sale or reduce in price after launch, and I really, really do not like the elitism from vets one bit. This is how our industry works. Do I throw a tantrum when Skyrim, for which I paid $100 years ago, is five bucks on Steam? No. I had years of play, while the guy finally shelling out $5 missed out when the franchise was in its heyday. Let him in. Maybe he’ll make me some mods. Similarly, there is no MMO in existence that won’t benefit from attracting some fresh blood, especially new players willing to pay for quality video games.

That said, ArenaNet probably should have thrown its loyalists a bone to engender a fresh round of goodwill and soften them up for that $50 price point. That’s a standard way to keep existing customers happy and virally promoting their games. Hey, I know! How about a free character slot so we can roll up a Revenant? Yeah! Great idea, internet!

One group feels there’s insufficient expansion info to justify a prepurchase at any price

These folks are right too. We don’t know when the expansion is launching. We don’t know the full extent of what’s going into the game. ArenaNet will take the rest of the summer to roll that out, and it really needed something big and flashy to get people back into Guild Wars 2 this weekend as Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward launches and World of Warcraft patches. But that’s not our problem; we’re the consumer. And for us, buying something without full information is usually a bad idea, especially if there’s a chance the information, once revealed, might affect our decision-making. Sometimes it won’t; there are people, like my husband and I, who know they are going to get the expansion at some point no matter what and it’s just a matter of when. But a lot of gamers haven’t decided whether to come back yet. This fiasco might help them make up their minds in a way ArenaNet doesn’t like.

Back to you, angry mob

I don’t have extreme insider knowledge about the inner workings of ArenaNet management. But one thing I’m pretty sure of is that ArenaNet is a big, unwieldy beast and that PR fiascos are a way of life there as they are for any large gaming company. This is one of the bigger screw-ups in a long history of big ones for ANet, but it won’t be the last, no matter how much Reddit rages. And the worst part is that the mega-patch coming next week and all the emerging details on guild halls have been utterly subsumed by this argument.

Does a pricing quarrel justify going apeshit on ANet? No it does not. Have some perspective, folks. We’re talking about a few bucks and a video game here. And a lot of the devs at ArenaNet have no hand at all in these decisions, so lashing out at artists and designers and community managers is pointless, never mind rude.

Should you hold ArenaNet accountable? Absolutely. We are all stunned that the studio has made no public statement on the whole ordeal. We’re all still waiting. I don’t think this will go away on its own, and what ANet does next will color the expansion’s launch months from now.

Is this a fair debate for the MMO community to have? Sure. But do it reasonably and rationally. If you’re using the words “entitled” or “slap in the face” or “boycott,” you’re doing it wrong.

And should you prepurchase the expansion?

That, folks, is entirely up to you, your wallet, and your conscience.

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633 Comments on "Why Guild Wars 2’s prepurchase deal has the internet raging"

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PiscesCardinale
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PiscesCardinale

don’t buy the expansion,the game should be free to play,it isn’t right to get expansion restrictions,they could simply  take money from in game skins or armors

eLdritchMD
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eLdritchMD

don’t preorder games/expansions. Don’t really have anything else to say :P

Vexies
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Vexies

The price tag is right where I expected it to be so no surprise there. I do see the reason people would of wanted / expected a character slot though. It does seem a bit over the top to expect vets to have to purchase a character slot in addition to the game.

eragamerLG
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eragamerLG

DPandaren eragamerLG I don’t play WoW, nor do I meddle in it’s affairs. All I meant with my comment is the fact that new players are being much more valued than old players. The expansion should be cheaper for veterans, simply because new players are paying what we paid almost 3 years ago, for almost twice the content.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Semantics.

raincoat
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raincoat

TankZA raincoat Lol, they’ve been dead quiet yeah, but after following what’s been happening in the community over the past few days I don’t really know how I expect them to react to an explosion like this. As someone who never pre-orders games I don’t have a problem with waiting for them to reveal their content over the coming months, but many people seem to find this unfathomable.
For the record, I did think this expansion would cost around $40 so I think $50 is expensive. I have wondered whether players have come to regard GW2 as a game that shouldn’t cost much since it’s usually touted for its relatively low price and lack of need to spend money in the gemstore or pay a sub. I dunno. I’ve just been blown away by the some of the reactions I’ve seen this past week. The best thing we can hope for now is that the HoT content turns out to be worth the $50 or more, because I doubt that they’ll be dropping the price any time soon.

Grimmtooth
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Grimmtooth

It only came in at $10 more than I was expecting for regular expansion. I guess that could be explained by the inclusion of the base game.

The base game being sold over the past 6 as being required for the expansion seems more like a bureaucratic snafu than an evil plot to rule the universe after they steal our underpants.

The option I don’t get is the $75 middle one. If your going to want the extra bells and whistles the super duper $100 edition is a much better value.

I’m in the shut up and take my money ANet camp when HoT was originally announced

Dookii
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Dookii

raincoat Dookii that was a very big and long lasting “crash” then.
im impressed.

Dookii
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Dookii

Nreff Dookii uhm…..
…….
………………… that is exactly what i was saying?
So ..very fitting selfpotrait you put up there.

VilleUusitalo
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VilleUusitalo

NcSoft as publishers and you guys feel butt-hurt for being bent over and backwards… NcSoft is almost like Perfect World or Gameforge nowadays in West. In Korea they try to keep some substantial act together but then again – they drain the money for doing just that -> from Western audience.

GL with Asian companies… They have no substance – and drain the player substance of Western players to zero if possible.

VilleUusitalo
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VilleUusitalo

anarres well basically if you spend 10k USD for getting the upper hand over other players you would propably fill all the criteria for the Seven Sins and Deserve to die poor lol

In other words – if you try so hard to get the “edge” over others – then I dont see its wrong for them losing their IRL moneys^_^ Simple as that lol

VilleUusitalo
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VilleUusitalo

spacecampclan Actually interesting point… basically all the companies have intellectual property rights to all items you “own” in their game.

Basically – p2w players pour billions of dollars into game without actually owning any of what they pay for… Brilliant pyramid-scam scheme lol

VilleUusitalo
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VilleUusitalo

These 100usd “beta” packs are a cancer in mmorpg genre… make the players pay for testing your game.

mmorpg genre is raping the gamer community so vividly at the moment that all players will become disillusioned of this. Asian games brought the f2p rip.off.mentality into West. Now come take it back pretty please.

Not sure if NcSoft will do havoc in Korea soon too since recently the “brains” behind Lineage2 massive-p2w model started making proft and the “brains” made the president of whole of NcSoft. Not be sayd that this person was the sister of the CEO of NcSoft. Would be justified if Koreans would get a taste of this Asian garbage mentality themselves too^_^

groo the wanderer
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groo the wanderer

carsont Yeah I see the point you are trying to make but I just keep thinking that 50 dollars will buy me ten games in the steam sale lol

raincoat
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raincoat

Kurogane335 Nreff Just for interest’s sake, I see at least five groups: those who unconditionally support Anet, those who spew toxic hatred because they disagree, those who think it’s too expensive but voice their views reasonably, those who will wait and see whether they are interested in making this purchase and those who have already evaluated the deal and find that they’re fine with it. Even these groups don’t encompass everyone. GW2 has a pretty big playerbase so it only makes sense that there are so many different reactions and I think most players would appreciate it if you didn’t just toss everyone into narrow categories based on such a simplistic judgement.

Dookii
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Dookii

spacecampclan Dookii ehm… people did see the content. they even got to play it before they bought it.
What they did not see comming is how they lied to them about it.

RemyVorender
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RemyVorender

The wife and I will be skipping HoT until it goes on sale. The expansion is too small to warrant the $50 IMO.

Kurogane335
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Kurogane335

Nreff What is left to discuss ? There is clearly two groups that won’t find common ground. The blind supporters of ANet latest move and those who oppose it. There isn’t a point in dissuading it anymore, not after what, almost 1500 comments in total on MOP alone ?

TankZA
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TankZA

raincoat TankZA 

at the end of the day it depends solely on one thing that no one has concrete info on. how much content are we looking at?

if atleast LS1 and 2 combined then I suppose $50 is not that much to ask for,  as I do know that the game is buy to play.

but atleast some more info on that from Arena net could go a long way to them quelling this riot. but sadly it seems that they are following their usual ostrich mode, “stick head in ground, if I cannot see them they can’t see me”

and it’s not helping them

Serrato
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Serrato

Lethality Serrato I dont need it (and i would love to be able to just buy Hot for 50, not a bundle), but due im paying for a bundle, sure i want my new gw2.

djnesh
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djnesh

karmamule If i had option to move $x00 worth of gem store purchases I’d do that, but without it it is not option for me.

Psykitty
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Psykitty

Honestly I’m just upset on how they handled this whole thing. The whole FAQ telling people to buy the game because you need it to play expansion and having sales then changing it suddenly and then switching the wording on the FAQ after you get caught was not a good thing. Then when somebody asks about the core game being included and maybe getting the update separate They get told that it will not be done. And the reason they gave was to help new players get into the expansion/game.  Ok that good but why only the new players. Why not help both. If you can give the game away to new players then you can give character slots to those upgrading. Its simple math on that.   On of the things that really set people on edge was the first response people got to their comments Some one posted “if you look at the world through the cold cynical eyes of economics” and the dev simply responded with “You rang?” I would like to clarify the price seems pretty reasonable to me save that I would have liked a character slot and the extras needed to be a bit more in line with a preorder type extras I mean look at how DDO treated their expansions it’s free to play and if you look back they had great items and the preorder price was worth it.   There are other games that have great preorder bonuses.   Standard pricing is decent considering that they don’t charge for other content that are future release. But they have to get a hold of this now waiting will only make things worst.

dsweattjr
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dsweattjr

This article is spot-on.

dabkilm
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dabkilm

AvatarOP Amphax He could’ve bought the base game for $10 as well which as of righ tnow is the arguably better purchase.

Leilonii
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Leilonii

AvatarOP R3vision I don’t even want this expansion cause I don’t play GW2 and even I think this situation is pretty dumb. ANet screwed up and I don’t think they even realized this was the reaction they were going to get. Really I’m not sure which is worse.

raincoat
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raincoat

Dookii Forums were crashing earlier, but all’s in working order now.

Hurbster
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Hurbster

Hmmm, might go back an play the original GW for a bit.

Hurbster
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Hurbster

Dookii AvatarOP You have no idea….

spacecampclan
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spacecampclan

Dookii spacecampclan Did you not read what I said? Who is forcing you to give them money? If you’re stupid enough to pay for something without seeing it, then you get what you deserve.

AvatarOP
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AvatarOP

spacecampclan vertical progression ? well, maybe over there where the all cash grabs are: esofu, swpor, fk14

Dookii
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Dookii

AvatarOP <<< this one has shares in anet or something?

Dookii
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Dookii

spacecampclan So just bend over and take it willingly while you give them money…

right, gotcha!

Dookii
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Dookii

The fact that they cowardly took the forums down for so long says it all.

anarres
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anarres

Kalamari anarres Symethe Serrato I surely didn’t know there will be 50 bucks for the game. On the contrary, I expected it to go down in price from 60 bucks, and it did; last week it was 40. (except sales). This week is 50.

spacecampclan
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spacecampclan

Ah, the tribulations of an over-hyped, vertical progression MMO with a cash shop. Seriously, do people really think they own these virtual items? Do people really think their in-game time amounts to actual work? If you don’t like the cost, don’t buy it. If you don’t like being suckered, then stop expecting game companies to be anything but a business.

anarres
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anarres

I find disturbing the times I see raging accounts like: “I played from day one, I spent 4000 USD in gems, and look (offended argument about others)”. 4000 is one of, there is 8000, there is 300-800 on new account, etc.

The pattern of the argument is not new. It goes exactly like every pay4benefits games communities see. Pay more, think you deserve more than those ‘new players who never supported ANet’. It’s a pattern I see often in their worse form in pay2win games of all kinds.
If I needed one more case to convince me cash shop = pay for ingame benefits is screwing communities (I didn’t), here it is.

Nuk3rX
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Nuk3rX

Nreff Midgetsnowman EO_Lonegun youre an idiot.

R3vision
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R3vision

AvatarOP R3vision I think the one mad are YOU, look how hard you try to reply on every post

AvatarOP
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AvatarOP

ge0ff buy the slot in game, for like 10$ ?

and IF you played enough to fill all your toon slots… i mean… its not like GW2 have been that expensive, right ?

carsont
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carsont

Midgetsnowman carsont I’m sorry, I’m not getting it. In essence, my argument is that paying for a product is reasonable, and, in comparison to other, as common, forms of entertainment is fairly inexpensive.

It has nothing to do with anyone spending anything in the cash shop, those cash shops are, I presume, what pays for the maintenance of the game (i.e. salaries, servers, content etc.).

So, if I’m understanding correctly, are you saying that the expansion should be free because some people paid for the upkeep of the game and that any new, substantive content shouldn’t cost a dime (because new, minor content doesn’t outside of optional cash shop purchases).

AvatarOP
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AvatarOP

Midgetsnowman carsont i just think that if people are complaining that it is too expensive and making such a fuss over it… its because they want it. badly.

just kids.

and WoW/FF14 have cash shops too. and i SERIOUSLY DOUBT that the average amount a player in gw2 spend in the cash shop is 15/month.
more like 5$, probably less if you count average for all players.

ge0ff
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ge0ff

I can’t help but feel betrayed by arena net, I’ve been a long
standing guild wars fan from the beginning all the way to pre-eye of the
north. And every time we ever got an expansion, it ALWAYS came with a
character slot bonus.  I could care less about new players getting the
core game with them, but for those of us who already own the game to get
nothing in return, not even a free character slot unless we fork over
75USD, that’s completely unacceptable. I’m going to hold off on any
form of purchasing the expansion until I’m assured that I’ll be getting a
free character slot for purchasing the standard edition.  Something
that has come standard on all other expansions should be expected, not
behind a 25 dollar price gouge.

AvatarOP
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AvatarOP

R3vision yes the angry mob is stupid on this story.

if it really wasn’t worth it you wouldn’t even be mad.

you are mad because you WANT IT.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

carsont Midgetsnowman My counterargument is that your entire argument assumes anyone and everyone complaining has never once ever stepped foot in the cash shop and also has played regularly for 3 years and is therefore some mega super-freeloader just trying to ask for handouts, which is an epic strawman.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

PrettyPixie Serrenity Midgetsnowman Yeah. Lumping everything with the crazies just tells the people trying to have a reasoned debate that nobody is going to listen to you. Thats exactly how wildstar’s epic downslide began.

carsont
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carsont

Midgetsnowman carsont Why is it a dead horse argument? Sure, people can use the cash shop, if they chose to, but they can play the game completely unrestricted if they don’t. It’s a great cash shop, it’s not intrusive and doesn’t restrict you from doing anything in any way.

If you makes you feel better, think of the expansion in the cash shop, then, and you can pay for it or not.

Honestly, though, what is your counter argument, or do you even have one? Is that because some people spent some amount of money on the shop (perhaps a little, perhaps none, perhaps a lot), then the expansion should be cheaper because…. running the servers and maintaining the game etc. costs nothing?

So let’s hear it.

PrettyPixie
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PrettyPixie

Serrenity Midgetsnowman There’s a fair bit of reasoned arguments going around of the official forums. Anet themselves have chosen to lump it all together with the crazies in one thread.

Them ignoring it for 3 days while CJ has been replying to other threads while ignoring the issues isn’t going to go over well.

PrettyPixie
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PrettyPixie

EO_Lonegun I’m not going over this again, but you haven’t been paying attention, mate.

R3vision
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R3vision

funny how the author is taking about elitism and entitlement and in the same breath he feel above all, above “the angry mob” and the internets, really funny

some sort of introspection needed here

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

carsont The no sub fee only holds water if you assume nobody ever used the cash shop. And if thats true, Gw2 should be long shuttered.

In short, you can stop beating a dead horse of an argument.

wpDiscuz