Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 guild hall and prepurchase pricing impressions

    
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When Heart of Thorns was announced back in January, the Guild Wars 2 community exploded with buzz as guild halls were mentioned as a main feature that the expansion would bring to the game. I was just as ecstatic, so I’ve been bursting to know more ever since the feature was discussed in a CDI proposal thread on the GW2 forum. Last night (or crazy early morning for me… see what I do for you?), Colin Johanson took to the E3 stage to give the expectant audience a brief synopsis of the guild hall system and the mechanics it would add to the expansion, and our very own MJ Guthrie braved the E3 floor to bring us an interview on the topic. Now that we know more, I want to unpack the basics and compare what we’re getting to the speculation.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will unfold the new guild hall system in as much detail as we know, and I’ll also look to the further development of the feature and inclusions I’d love to see upon release. Game Director Colin Johanson’s time on PC Gamer’s PC Gaming Show was admittedly very brief, and I wasn’t blown away with the show’s format in comparison to other E3 presentations. Nevertheless, there’s plenty to unpack before we see the guild halls running in-game this Friday in a special livestream on the official GW2 Twitch channel.

How did you envision guild halls?

Firstly, let’s run through a quick top-five list of features that players requested during the guild hall CDI proposal research. Studio Design Director Chris Whiteside collated the thread’s submissions and highlighted the most requested features:

1: Customization and Identity: The ability to customize your guild hall in a manner that provides your guild with its own identity as well as a wide variety of guild hall customization progression.

2: Small Guilds: The ability for small guilds and large guilds to enjoy the progression and benefits of Guild Halls without either making progression to easy or two hard (potentially through scaling)

3: Guild Activities: The ability to progress Guild Halls by taking on activities of varying types with your guild.

4: GvG Access and Functionality: We are discussing this after Raids.

5: Town Convenience: The ability to have town services in the Guild Hall. (I just want to point out that I am not a big fan of this due to the impact it could have on our current Cities.)

entering new hallWith this shortlist in mind, I was expecting greatness: I personally envisioned a place that my guild could use as an expression of our collective entity while completing exciting guild content together. I’m not usually a big fan of PvP (though this has changed since playing Stronghold and I now PvP regularly), but even I was hyped for the aforementioned guild vs. guild support. Raiding is an absolute passion of mine, so I was hoping for a guild hall that would facilitate easier group management and that would allow me to invite guests to join us.

Aside from the quick cheat sheet above, plenty of other additions popped into my head as time went on, and I quickly developed my own list of expectations for guild halls. It always annoyed me that despite being a member of multiple guilds, I could chat only with one, and if my guild partnered with another for content, we didn’t have a set chat channel just for us. If I were designing an MMO, advanced interguild communication would be top of my list to complement such a freeform approach to group content. I wanted the location to be somewhere exciting with plenty of opportunity for guild growth… our own little corner of the Mists, perhaps? Getting a nice clean map for world bosses is a little clunky now, so I wanted some system through which it was easier to jump with my guildies.

So what’s the reality?

This seems like a fantastic time to share the guild halls trailer, huh? If you haven’t checked out the E3 trailer already, have a watch and then we’ll gather back up to discuss!

Close your mouths, everyone… the drool is distracting! My wee mind was blown by the scale of the guild hall space; rather than just be thrown into a building, we have a choice of two absolutely stunning outdoor areas to settle in. I say settling because guilds aren’t immediately handed a guild hall without any effort, and the space that is initially presented to you is far from the finished product.

hall fightSet in the Heart of Maguuma, guilds must wrest control of the zone away from the influence of Mordremoth by banding together to slay an immense amount of occupying mordrem. We don’t know too much about what that fight will look like yet, but I’m going to go out on a limb and propose that this could be a new guild mission. I was delighted to see that a guild needs to pull together in order to gain the guild hall.

Once successful, guilds can begin to rebuild the ruins that they’ve fought so hard to control, and the decision of what buildings to construct or how to personalise the guild hall is down to each individual guild. I love the few decorative items we’ve seen so far, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to make an attractive little guild hall with them. We know that there will be even more selection available to purchase with gems too.

I’m happy to see that small guilds have been considered in the guild hall design process, especially since my own guild is modest in size. Time-sensitive progress will prevent larger guilds from steaming too far ahead of the little guys. Guild buildings will unlock much-requested features, such as guild crafting through the new Scribe system and a brawling arena in which you can pit your guild’s best against a guest guild’s members. The guild Workshop and War Room buildings had me squeeing at my PC, especially when I learned that WvW tools such as airships could be created to enhance the gameplay and GvG was being made possible.yEaXWG

glideWhat do you think about the pre-order pricing?

If you checked out MJ’s reveal post, you’ll see plenty of, umm… healthy debate about the pricepoint for Heart of Thorns. The good news is that the expansion is available on pre-order now, and those who do will be given the Maguuma Trailblazer title and access to all beta tests from the date of ordering until release. The bad news for some is that the expansion is bundled with the core game and at its cheapest is priced at $50 (£35) with no extras. I don’t find the price in pounds to be too over-the-top if I’m honest, and I think it’s quite a smart move to bundle the core game with the expansion to incentivise sales to the untapped MMO playerbase. It’s most definitely fantastic timing for opening prepurchases since sales will naturally flow well during the E3 buzz.

Having said that, I do feel that the pricing could have been more sensitively handled with both the existing playerbase and those who just recently forked out for the base game since the FAQ said it was required for HoT. The GW2 Twitch channel comments flooded with protests when people checked out the pricing and discovered that new players purchasing now were essentially getting a better deal. The FAQ has now been edited to reflect that the expansion is bundled with the base game, but some players feel swindled.

Although we know people aren’t realistically paying much more than sale prices for the core game at this point in its shelf life, many players feel that the $10 or so that it’s worth should be deducted from the expansion price for those who already own GW2. I hope ArenaNet does address these concerns today by better explaining its logic to the fanbase and listening to both sides of the great price debate.

buy screen

Over to you!

For me, guild halls will be an absolute game-changer that’ll significantly improve my play experience, and I can honestly say that my expectations have very much been exceeded. I cannot wait to share in-game space with my guild and build up a shared identity with the people I most like to play with. The mechanics brought along with guilds halls cannot be underplayed either, and I believe that the E3 reveal is just the beginning of what we can expect from guild halls. I’ve been screaming, “take my money!” at ArenaNet for a long time, and not even the controversial pricing will slow me down. Have I prepurchased? Why yes, yes I have! Have you? Be sure to let me know in the comments.

Tina Lauro has been playing Guild Wars 2 since it launched and now pens the long-running Flameseeker Chronicles column, which runs every other Wednesday and covers everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see covered, drop a comment Tina’s way or mail her at tina@massivelyop.com.
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imayb1
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imayb1

anarres They have actually run some free trial weekends, usually around the holidays. 
I hope you enjoy the game!

anarres
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anarres

“I think it’s quite a smart move to bundle the core game with the expansion to incentivise sales to the untapped MMO playerbase.”

I bought HoT last night, as a player new to GW2. Here’s my input on this: I don’t think it’s such a good deal as people say. I get why they think that, and indeed, when I saw HoT “including the base game” at 50 bucks, I thought it’s a good offer. I almost bought it then (but stopped because I noticed LWS2 wasn’t included (20 dollars more). I researched some, disregarded LWS2, and I eventually bought it regardless.)

I don’t think it’s necessarily a good deal though. It might prove to be, sure, or it might not. That’s because a new player to GW2 means new player, you know the player who doesn’t know whether they will stick with the game enough to get their money worth.
Heck, I don’t even know how it plays. I don’t know if I’ll find a nice guild in time to enjoy more aspects and create incentive to come back. I could like it, or I could play only 2 days and never touch it for 2 years. It’s possible. I’m effectively trying the game. That’s a new player to GW2.

To the veteran players who feel a new player gets an “AWESOME” deal… I get it (I thought it too). But I have a question: would you pay 50 bucks only to try a game?

I know I wouldn’t recommend to others to do that. You could, but of course you should know *you don’t know* whether you’ll get your money worth.

Note that I didn’t say anything about the expansion yet. That’s because it factors little in my decision to buy. (really!) After all, some features are for max level – what does that mean to this new player? That I might never get to max level in this game, and couldn’t care less. Guild halls did factor in my decision to buy it, yes, but the rest didn’t.

Few days ago, ANet site was selling GW2 at 40 (except when it was on sale for 10 it seems).
Now it no longer sells GW2, only HoT, at 50.

That gives the impression it’s a ‘great’ deal as I said, but for exactly the untapped GW2 playerbase it’s not great unless you know (how?) that it’ll prove worth it. You have to buy TO TRY the game.

Personally I’m not convinced there will be too many new players to buy-to-try a game at 50 bucks. For us, you see, and this point many people seem to miss, it’s the game that’s at 50 on ANet, not the expansion. The game as it is today, that is, GW2 until updated with HoT, is 50. And it has only 5 char slots. And people say you need to upgrade with gems for a decent inventory and stuff…

On a side note, I think it’s okay that ANet is not charging newer players for both the game and the expansion. They could have (and I expected they will!), but there are other MMOs out there that no longer do. For example I’m used to EQ2 where once an expansion becomes old (a newer one is released) it becomes for free. So while I knew about ANets habits and expected they will still charge for the base game, I think it’s fine they don’t. Nevertheless, from a new player perspective – really new to GW – this means they charge 50 for the game they put on the market.

If they want to induce new players to GW2, I always thought and still do that they should make a decent trial. It’s buy-to-play, so almost a black box until you know whether you wanna play it. For 3 years, since before release, I waited for a trial, and I still don’t see it. I think that’s too bad, and it would help more than 50 bucks with hype nowadays.

I think my decision to buy it was actually because I always wanted to buy it. Not because it’s an expansion with, what was that, elite professions or you name it, which doesn’t mean not too much. (well… except guild halls :D) I want to see how the personal story/dynamic events play out.

Will I get my money worth or will I regret that I didn’t look for some reseller of the base game? Or wait 3 more years for a reasonably testable trial. :) Good question. After my new new rig is ready, I’ll find out.

Kanbe
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Kanbe

If I take my car into the shop for repairs, do I have to pay for the repairs and rebuy my car?
Thats what the issue is for me. I honestly dont really care that they out a $50 price tag on it. Sure its more than I’d like and its not worth it to me so I wont buy it. But what irritates me is having to rebuy something I already own simply because they put a pretty new bow on it.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

anarres Esoteric Coyote It was the deluxe edition was 20.  I think they put it on sale three times at 10 dollars for the regular price, and 20 for the deluxe.  And Amazon had it as low as 20 dollars.  But none of these sales lasting more than a week and I think some of them only lasted a day or so.  Anet seems to love flash sales.

breetoplay
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breetoplay

Midgetsnowman AvatarOP breetoplay SallyBowls1 I am a huge fan of fluff, but not the fluff attached to these prepurchases. I pretty much consider that junk. If they were handing out armor or weapon skins, this would be a very different conversation. :D

anarres
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anarres

Esoteric Coyote Indeed it must be that sales didn’t last long; this week right before E3 I looked for GW2 and only found it at 40 dollars on ANet’s site. On sale it was down to 10 dollars? Just curious.

I see people computing 10 for core game, as you say, and feeling that ‘expansion alone’ must be priced at 40 or of course the obvious solution, one character slot included in 50. So dumb easy, I was expecting ANet would do it today at least. :)

It seems the core game is no longer available on GW2 shop site. That tells me that for ANet this is now GW2. I think that’s quite fine. Interestingly I don’t think they will offer a download for free, like other games in similar moment. Maybe because resellers continue to sell GW2 boxes.

Serrato
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Serrato

I, as veteran player, refuse to sign for that deal where i feel insulted.
The deal should be the same for everyone, no matter if we are new to the game or veterans. it makes not sense that for my 50 bucks i only get HoT, while a customer with no GW2 get GW2, their 5 char.slots and HoT for the same amount of money.
Bye bye anet. You lost a customer

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

MaxSand Xephyr Pretty sure it’s a refund, not an upgrade.  People are telling you on Reddit you lose your account. So either the above post is untrue, or some people just got shafted out of their progress.  Also not everyone can get a refund.  if You bought the amazon sale, they do not offer a refund on digital sales.

MaxSand
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MaxSand

Xephyr That’s good to know but they might want to make it 1) more widely known and 2) easier than contacting customer service. Just have an option for GW2 owners to pay 10 bucks less, problem solved.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

Sinaptic For the record, we know there are two maps apparently… and Rata Sum was moved south on the map to fit another unseen zone in, but I still love this video.