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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johannohan
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johannohan

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.

johannohan
Guest
johannohan

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.

Hurbster
Guest
Hurbster

Michelangelo1475 Not that you are being defensive at all…

Michelangelo1475
Guest
Michelangelo1475

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?

Michelangelo1475
Guest
Michelangelo1475

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.

Michelangelo1475
Guest
Michelangelo1475

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.

Michelangelo1475
Guest
Michelangelo1475

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.

GleefulGrognard
Guest
GleefulGrognard

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.

GleefulGrognard
Guest
GleefulGrognard

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.

GleefulGrognard
Guest
GleefulGrognard

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.

Michelangelo1475
Guest
Michelangelo1475

Sinaptic wanderv15 They put it to free to play, because it only made sense. The core game
is 3 years old and they will not be selling much more of those. It’s a
sound strategy to attract more people to the game while still
maintaining their B2P model. They know that if people enjoy the free to
play version they are going to upgrade to Heart of Thorns, because the
restrictions are just flat out annoying and you are missing out on some
great content. It is incredibly short-sighted for you to say that it is
only because they are not selling enough Heart of Thorns box sets that
they made this decision. The expansion is not even out yet, and it takes
months of planning for something like this (well ahead of
pre-purchase). GW2 has been
successful for 3 years, and based on beta play, this will keep the game
going strong. If you don’t believe me, look at NCSoft’s Q2 2015 earnings
report, GW2 is their 3rd most successful game and it isn’t even
available in their home Korean market.

Raxor
Guest
Raxor

The expansion was announced a long time ago

Raxor
Guest
Raxor

Im not sure why a dedicated player would be mad. At $10 on sale Anet has been practically giving the base game away for free. The game already has goldsellers and botters, another sub based game I know of to also have them is FF14 which everyday I get a few “buy gil ads”
Never forget that new people will have to buy HoT to continue the story thar was left off with the living story. So at somepoint those free players will buy somethig if they want to experience new content.

Sorenthaz
Guest
Sorenthaz

MorpayneRADIO  Which is funny because they kept saying that there wasn’t an expansion planned.  Then suddenly they changed their mind.

Sorenthaz
Guest
Sorenthaz

Nunky hardy83 DJjazzy wjowski  WvW and sPvP are only for PvP players.
Mastery is just a grind to keep chasing after.
Living Story is just being strung along by temporary/piecemeal content when most people probably don’t care about the convoluted plot.

Sorenthaz
Guest
Sorenthaz

CastagereShaikura Sorenthaz  I still don’t understand what ArenaNet was thinking when the draw of GW2 has basically been that it’s a themepark that removed several themepark systems and didn’t do anything else.

Bunkheaded
Guest
Bunkheaded

scottokemon This raid comp will only be for the elitists. Everyone else will just build the way they want. It isn’t really a different mentality than any other game. I remember not being able to tank as a Druid in WoW because they were supposedly not good enough. I remember not being able to bring my Shaman to a raid because we already had the one enhancement Shaman. This stuff isn’t new, people find what works best and then they emulate it. If you try to break away, people tell you are stupid because you didn’t pick a cookie cutter.

RiccardoTavano
Guest
RiccardoTavano

Telos_ I could insta cap 8 characters right in this moment if i wanted xD for free, plus you were clearly levelling the wrong way…you probably assumed that hearts are quests, where in truth are just stuff for map completition and were made to give players something like quests. What you have to do to level is dynamic events and exploration. there’re other methods to speed level, like WvW and stacking tomes, but it would spoil the first character levelling experience

Superbrak
Guest
Superbrak

I’m so very disappointed with this raid announcement… or non-announcement really. “10 man instanced hardcore content with exclusive rewards!” If you halve the party members its almost verbatim what they said Dungeons were supposed to be. Look how great they turned out.
Further down Heckhound listed several player mechanics Anet could promote in PvE content. That list hasn’t changed in 3 years and they haven’t used any of it. I’ve lost faith that they even can. They’ve lost the right to sell me something based on what they intend raids to become without demonstrating how they’ll shake up my daily PvE gameplay… soft or hard trinity, roles or whatever. It’s all I ever really wanted improved in this whole game, and the biggest factor I left.
I’m just tired of waiting.

Markillion
Guest
Markillion

Estranged 

“Obtain credits. Sub one month, buy desired unlocks. I play preferred
until new content drops and just use that method. Is much cheaper.” It
is much more complicated than you make it out to be, especially for
casual players who are probably the main target group for ftp systems. Obtaining the credits alone would probably take weeks of play at max level. Weeks that would need to be played without all the comfort these functions unlock.

“I see your point, but their revenues indicate they are doing the right thing.” I made no point, you asked why people were saying that about swtor and i gave you a reason. I doubt it is the only one. Additionally their revenue (alleged) indicates only that the game is profitable enough to get an expansion, which is unsurprising given the ip. There is no sense in speculating if they would be better or worse off with another one, since no game is quite like the other. What works in one game could be a death knell for another.

“Giving away everything for free is desperate.”
Not in a saturated market were the challenge lies in getting people to even try your game. 
In theory a ftp has the advantage that everyone that is interested in the game can play it, while only a percentage of interested people will spent money on a btp or sub game because they risk that they will find out that they don’t like the game. So in theory everyone can try out a ftp but those that stay will be those that truly like the game (and that will translate into money, either directly or by word of mouth), while of those who tried out the sub game a portion will find out that the game isn’t for them and try to spoil the game for others, be it in game, the forums or mmo sites.
Reality is more complicated of course.
“It really isn’t working for most games that are attempting it.” 
Agreed, but neither is it working for sub games anymore. 
“I predict WildStar will survive, but won’t come close to SWTOR revenue.”
I concur.

Darth Fez
Guest
Darth Fez

I can definitely see the logic to this approach. Only charging for the expansion means that the game remains B2P at the same price, while allowing for the benefits of the F2P model (I can’t speak to the restrictions, since I’ve never played GW2 and thus haven’t bothered studying the F2P restrictions), rather than a “Buy More 2 Play”, “Buy Still More 2 Play”, etc. game.

VumliDvergar
Guest
VumliDvergar

Cotic_OP Telos_ I so agree!

Cotic_OP
Guest
Cotic_OP

Telos_ 
MMO vets my arse. more like spoilt little kiddies.

sfrees80
Guest
sfrees80

I own GW2 but do t reqlly play. I dont like the idea of a successful game going f2p, so if I was a dedicated player I would be mad. Just give previous versions of the game to anyone who buys the latest xpac. Dont let the freeloading rabble in. And I dont mean all free players, because players who play well and contribute in a positive way to the community are not rabble. I mean the goldsellers, botters and other low life maggots who flock to free to play games.

BhimaJenkins
Guest
BhimaJenkins

Radfist

True. They sort of backpedaled a bit on ascended gear by giving players a lot of options to obtain at least all the rings, accessories, and back pieces.

BhimaJenkins
Guest
BhimaJenkins

skoryy
Meh, I actually miss raiding. I don’t miss getting gear-checked or attunements though, so its nice to see that won’t be a problem here. Besides, some of the best PVE in GW2 has been a few of their larger scale encounters. The Marionette fight was very well received, and if these raids can pull off some of that dynamism while being more difficult, I don’t see any downsides to this.

BhimaJenkins
Guest
BhimaJenkins

wjowski

In a themepark based MMO… what do you suggest as the endgame for PvE? Decorating your home? Making Machinima? I’m honestly curious, but I don’t see much else that can be done in a themepark game where combat IS the main entree to begin with.

BhimaJenkins
Guest
BhimaJenkins

extremexcarver unixtimed Sinaptic
And its been quite awhile since we got any new content so yeah… makes sense the playerbase is down right now. It’ll go back up with the expansion drop and sustain better than most MMOs with the Living Story drops.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

Obtain credits. Sub one month, buy desired unlocks. I play preferred until new content drops and just use that method. Is much cheaper.
I see your point, but their revenues indicate they are doing the right thing. Giving away everything for free is desperate. It really isn’t working for most games that are attempting it. I have zero reason to sub in Rift. TSW is a cherished game, but a sub is simply an act of supporting the game, it adds little benefit. I predict WildStar will survive, but won’t come close to SWTOR revenue.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

There are core functions locked in SWTOR.
You can play, no worries.
One can sub one month and unlock all content to that point.

KenAddeh
Guest
KenAddeh

flatline4400 KenAddeh Implying that revamping old dungeons couldn’t have been used as a selling point for HoT? Perhaps turning them into raids, or doing something new like mini-raids for those dungeons they wanted to revamp?
And I guess if you’re looking for track-records for how they plan to make raids work, we have to look at Dungeons, Fractals, Guild events and see how well they’ve handled them, which isn’t particularly spectacular.

You know that blog post about “consistent inconsistencies” with Anet? Well yeah, this is another one to add to it. And who knows what this could mean…not expanding on fractals because they’re too busy working on raids?

rhaps85
Guest
rhaps85

DJjazzy wjowski People started asking for instanced bosses after Marionette was added to the game and then increased with Tequatle and triple-wurm.

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

MorpayneRADIO While I feel your pain, this happens a lot. You could buy 2 cheeseburger at McDonalds today and tomorrow they could offer 2 for half the price of 1.

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

Telos_
You get plenty of level up tomes as rewards for PvP or log in rewards. And the birthday gifts give instant level 20 consumables too.
There’s probably no MMO that gives out more time skips than GW2, and it’s not even in the cash shop.
And it’s not like you start WoW with heirlooms anyway.

But if someone doesn’t like the event system, they have no reason to stay on the game. Better to leave now without having spent any money, no regrets.

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

kgptzac I suggest you read the account charts and see how inaccessible RMT will be for bots. 
https://help.guildwars2.com/entries/95982157-Account-types-Free-Core-HoT

flatline4400
Guest
flatline4400

KenAddeh It’s entirely logical.
Revamp old dungeons = no money.

New raids = charge for them.

ArbsX
Guest
ArbsX

GleefulGrognard Radfist DJjazzy wjowski Casuals will complain unless everything is catered to them even if majority of game is catered to them they need to have everything.

ArbsX
Guest
ArbsX

rottenrotny Telos_ I still have no clue why Arena Net is bothering chasing raiding in GW2. I wonder if NCSoft is chasing raiding & with Wildstar flopping it’s raid team got moved over to GW2.

rottenrotny
Guest
rottenrotny

Telos_ rottenrotny Yeah I realize a lot of players like GW2 for the very reason that I do not, but I just can’t stand the combat in GW2. 
I mostly PVE and love dungeons and raids etc and the lack of defined roles + complete chaotic zerg vibe of the battles is a huge turn off for me. It’s everyone attack attack attack and heal+dodge on cooldown. Not real fun. Unless you have a group of friends and know to combo off each other it’s just a mess.

Recent statements eluding that they would be adding more of an organized trinity style gameplay combat. but alas…

Oh well, I still have FFXIV and WoW which to me would still be 9999 x better even if they did add the trinity to GW2.

Telos_
Guest
Telos_

rottenrotny This is the problem with GW2 in general.  Roles are non-existent except for DPS.  I don’t see it changing for HoT either.  Direct Damage is still better than DoTs, so zerker stats are still going to be favored over conditions.  Healing and Support will always be self-sufficient roles, and never group-oriented.  Threat mechanics are non-existent also.

Telos_
Guest
Telos_

My friend tried it last night and hated it.  Didn’t like the “questing”, combat, races, or class.  Leveling was “too slow” and “wow has heirlooms to make it go faster”.  Devs need to realize that mmo vets really hate leveling these days.  Most of you will probably disagree, and come up with the standard reply, “it’s all about the journey!”, but the majority of players do not care, and they want to reach max lvl as fast as possible.  Just an observation.

rottenrotny
Guest
rottenrotny

Oh neato! Raiding!

“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.”

Welp, nevermind.

CastagereShaikura
Guest
CastagereShaikura

Sorenthaz This is what attracted most people to the game.

scottokemon
Guest
scottokemon

I’m just skeptical that they’ll ever be able to move past the zerker meta and I wouldn’t be surprised if raids will end up being 2x guardian, 7x elementalist and maybe a Mesmer. What I find odd about GW2 is that it has less class/profession/job + build diversity at end game than games that adhere strictly to the trinity.

KenAddeh
Guest
KenAddeh

Doesn’t have the resources to revamp minor dungeons for 2 years. Starts creating completely new raids instead.

Sometimes, I don’t understand the logic.

RyanMahaffey
Guest
RyanMahaffey

MorpayneRADIO as someone who got 80 a few months ago, I stopped playing like…1 week later, the endgame is worse than WoDs, how the fuck do you manage that?

Markillion
Guest
Markillion

Estranged Last i looked most functions were way above the credit cap for non-subscribers on the GTN anyway, making the sub required to even be able to buy the functions. Also, the cost of the individual functions added together is much more than a months sub, making a psychological and financial barrier to some people. It is in my opinion just not a smart cash shop design.

HeckHound
Guest
HeckHound

KevinAuld

Roles are created by combat and encounter mechanics. You wouldn’t have Tanks without threat management and you wouldn’t have Healers without unavoidable damage. 

However, the lack of dedicated, traditional roles doesn’t mean the game can’t have roles. It’s just so far encounters haven’t had a) much in the way of mechanics and b) have mechanics happening all at once (Threat mechanics and unavoidable damage happen both at the same time, hence the need for a dedicated Tank and Healer). That’s the reason for the lack of more clearly defined roles (that’s not to say players need to be forced into one role for the entire fight however).

Raids could have roles including:

* Damage Control (Weakness, Daze)
* Movement Control (Cripple, Chill, Immobilize)
* Healing Control (Poison)
* Hard Control (Stun, KD, Taunt)
* Direct Damage
* DoT
* Boon Removal / Boon Corruption / Boon Stealing
* Healing Support (Healing, Condition Removal, HoT, Lifesteal)
* Defensive Support (Protection, Vigor, Aegis, Stealth)
* Offensive Support (Might, Fury, Reflect)
* Field Provision (not just for the finisher effects, but you could create mechanics that require certain fields to overcome certain mechanics i.e. finishers through a Light field strips away stacks of Shadow Armour)

Siphaed
Guest
Siphaed

MorpayneRADIO 
I call falsities on your statement.  The expansion has been announced since January.  “A few months ago”, you would have surely known that the expansion was coming as well as that the base game was included with it’s pre-order (considering they started taking them in …June-ish?).

extremexcarver
Guest
extremexcarver

kgptzac  Generally speaking, RMT will happen no matter what the barrier of entry is. It only depends on the profitability of the operation. If the can justify the cost of the box, they will pay it as many times as they need to as long as it pays back. 

Still, I do question the move to go completely free instead of lowering. I wonder what brought that about.

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