Guild Wars 2’s base game is F2P for everyone today; Heart of Thorns introduces raiding

We’ll be updating this post with all the highlights of ArenaNet‘s Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns PAX Prime 2015 panel beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT today. Watch along below; we’ve got the stream embedded from Twitch!

And we’re off! Larry’s posting snapshots of the event on Instagram for us.

A photo posted by Larry Everett (@larry.everett) on

A photo posted by Larry Everett (@larry.everett) on

1:31 – Colin Johanson takes the stage, beginning by remarking on the craziness of the past week (ahem). He has confirmed October 23rd for the Heart of Thorns launch. He reminded listeners that HoT is all about endgame progression without adding gear and level grinds.

1:35 – He’s formally confirmed raids (they’d been leaked earlier in the week).

1:39 – Raids are intended to answer requests for more challenging instanced content without typical MMO raid headaches. They are 10-player group content “harder than anything group content you’ve seen in Guild Wars 2 before.” It ties into the mastery system and is built on the dynamic event system.

1:41 – There will be traditional MMO raid encounters as well as unique-to-GW2 encounters. It’s not about the UI, he jokes, but about positioning, comboing, weapon-swapping, and reacting with combat.

1:43 – There will be no attunement process in raiding. Raiding is about “fun.” Raids will not require classes and will not create a gear grind.

1:46 – HoT will have the first raid with three wings; it will launch a couple of weeks after the expansion and then the other wings will roll out after that.

1:47 – Colin says the quick update cadence will return after HoT’s launch, and raiding will be a big part of it.

1:49 – Mike O’Brien has taken the stage. He’s begun by talking about the buy-to-play model and how it poses difficulties for games focused on expansions.

1:53 – O’Brien says the base game is officially “free for everyone” as of TODAY.

1:55 – He assures players the game is not otherwise changing its business model. The game and gemstore will stay exactly the same. “We believe in buy-to-play,” he says, arguing that people will buy Heart of Thorns.

1:58 – Free accounts will have limitations to storage, chat, trade, mail, and exploitable areas like WvW, which is level-locked to level 60. There’s a chart of account types and restrictions up now.

2:01 – O’Brien says existing players will be given a royal guard outfit as a special anniversary present.

2:03 – All done! Thanks everyone! The Heart of Thorns subsite is live now, and we’ve embedded new screenshots and the raid video below.

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246 Comments on "Guild Wars 2’s base game is F2P for everyone today; Heart of Thorns introduces raiding"

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deekay_zero johannohan No you got it wrong. You and me as well as many other were in the beta but don’t forget that anet have there own internal testers, the Alpha tester or what ever they call it. What I was talking about as to what colin was saying is way before the early access beta tester. Colin say that at the time[I’m paraphrasing here so don’t quote me] there was no heart no level system, you walk in one direction and what ever happen happen. He said that the heart and level was added after the alpha tester told them that they felt like they were lost/without direction and that they didn’t feel any sense of progression without level. Wish I had save that video. Anyway I was playing GW1 when I came upon news of GW2 being made that’s when I start scoring the net and not after playing GW2.


deekay_zero_No it wasn’t a player made myth. There was a video on youtube that show
colin the man himself talking about it. I know cause I saw back in 2012
when like many others whom scour the net looking for any piece of info
no matter how big or small it maybe.


Michelangelo1475 Not that you are being defensive at all…


rottenrotny So you don’t like a soft attunement, you don’t like having fun, you don’t want to play your favourite profession (albeit you may be forced into a specific build to cater to the groups needs), and you love gear grind.

So, what’s wrong there?


Telos_ Uh, I would think he is completely delusional, because my opinion is exactly the opposite. He is probably so enthralled by WoW that he barely gave it a chance. And levelling in Guild Wars 2 is actually pretty quick, and there is only 80 levels. Just goes to show how little he actually tried out the game.


Darth Fez I would agree, if you do happen to look at the list, it is restricting but not constricting. It allows people to fully experience the core game basically completely unhindered. The only major drawbacks is that they have very few character slots and bag slots compared to owners of the core game and they can’t use the in-game gold to gem conversion, so they have to use real money all the time to purchase Gem Store items. At that point I would just buy the game tbh, if your going to throw money at a free account when you could unlock it fully for $50.


As someone who has played GW2 for 3 years, I think this is an
excellent strategy to draw in people to try out the game and purchase
Heart of Thorns. And that is all that this is. Guild Wars 2 did not go
F2P, this is just a highly liberal trial offer (it is still largely a
B2P model). They did this, because honestly it can’t hurt. They are
selling the core game only with Heart of Thorns now to avoid confusion
and while F2P players do get access to updates to the core
game, they are restricted in well-targeted areas that will heavily
incentivize dropping the $50 to remove them and gain all the additional
content. Don’t bluntly state that this is because Guild Wars is dying,
in fact its healthy. Look at NCSoft’s Q2 2015 earnings if you need solid
evidence or even drop into the game and see for yourself (and just
because a low content map like Timberline Falls has only a few players
running around doesn’t make my statement invalid). I
don’t know what to say about raids to people who haven’t played GW2 in a
long time. So much has changed about the game over the years as
ArenaNet has polished it that you need to really take the time to play
it to understand why raids aren’t such a bad thing. It seems like people
are misunderstanding that raiding in GW2 will not dominate the game. If
you want some materials to craft your Legendary armour go for it. If
you have those materials already, you can do other content as you please
to earn the money to finish crafting it. If you don’t want the
Legendary armour, you can play other content. If you don’t want to do a
raid to earn money or you want to do something else, go do it. You can
see there is nothing dominate about its position at all, because its
main driving factors are a reward that gives only a stylistic benefit
and having fun. There is so much other stuff to do to earn money and
have fun I don’t see raiding being as prevalent. You can play World vs.
World, you can do World Bosses, you can explore maps, you can engage in
map content like dynamic events, meta events and adventures, you can
play the many fun mini-games (Sanctum Sprint, etc.), you can do standard
5-man dungeons, you can play Conquest or Stronghold PvP, you can run a
Fractal and more. Also don’t assume just because this one portion of PvE
is going to be harder than the rest in general that Guild Wars 2 is
going to deviate from its core values. Honestly, people overreact always
to these things and blow it out of proportion before it is even
released. Based on the trailer it looks like fun so I can’t wait to try
it. Simple as that.


rhaps85 DJjazzy wjowski I SERIOUSLY hope they bring in TTW and Teq as harder (closer to their original balance) fights for guild missions.
Instance it through the portal.
Guild missions are one of those insanely fun things that doesn’t get enough play anymore because they never had anything added to them (variety is needed after 2.5 years of the same stuff)
The sad thing is, bounties, rushes and events should all be relatively easy to implement.


deekay_zero GleefulGrognard Radfist DJjazzy wjowski 
-shrugs- that can be said of the elite specs and any new skills that get added to the game from now onwards.
The reason people complain about vertical progression is because it invalidates previous content for an illusion of progress.
You are right, the masteries system is vertical progression of a form. But it is implemented in a way that isn’t about statistical upgrades that devalue content behind them.
That is why it is accepted by more of the vocal community (the people who post comments, trawl reddit and view sites like this)
Being account bound also helps this.


deekay_zero GleefulGrognard Peregrine_Falcon 7BitBrian
HAHAHAHAHA if you think that either guild wars games has even remotely the amount of brand clout that World of Warcraft has you are kidding yourself.
Not only did it start with an established IP but it also started with an established company (blizzard)
Don’t think that the majority of mmo gamers go near the dedicated news sites.
I am not saying that GW2 isn’t widely known, but being known isn’t the same as brand recognition. Apple understands this and that is why they do so well.
That aside you missed my point entirely, I am saying that wow has people who have been playing for so many years it isn’t funny now and it is an established cultural norm. It can maintain a large number of players even if those players are dissatisfied purely because when people have invested that much money and time into a product it is hard to leave permanently.
GW2 doesn’t have a subscription, doesn’t have the cultural impact and hasn’t been around for that level of time.
Their current subscriber total cannot be accurately used to determine that they are doing well with their design philosophies in a modern world. Financially they are doing well sure, but the sharp drop off of players (numbering in the millions) suggests that copying wow isn’t necessarily safe at this point.