Flameseeker Chronicles: Chairs and other oddities in Guild Wars 2’s cash shop

    
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I love MMO cosmetics, and Guild Wars 2 has a great selection, from armor skins and outfits to gliders to minipets to mount skins. I don’t mind dropping a few bucks on cash shop cosmetics from time to time because it’s a great way to support the game, and I find value in it. I know some people who think spending money on this kind of fluff is dumb and wasteful, but I figure, if I get as much enjoyment out of running around Tyria dressed like a cowboy as I do out of going to a movie that costs about the same, then it’s money well spent. A movie lasts two or three hours, but cosmetics last as long as the game does.

But there’s one category on the Black Lion Trader that I really don’t get: chairs.

Let’s not forget that chairs literally started as an April Fools’ Day joke in 2018. ArenaNet added sittable chairs all over the world, along with an achievement to sit in every chair type, granting a summonable chair for your account. It was a weird, cute little gag. It could even be a nice immersion thing: I don’t stand up all day, so why should my character?

But then the studio started adding chairs to Black Lion Chests and the cash shop. And they aren’t just different styles of average-looking chairs. They are, almost without exception, giant, flashy thrones. I rarely see anyone use them, but when I do, it’s mostly people apparently seeking attention by parking their giant, floating Inquest Overseer chair or neon Super Adventure Box chair right outside the bank or trading post in Lion’s Arch, either AFK or… waiting for someone to ask them how they got that cool chair, I guess?

This would be another thing entirely if Guild Wars 2 had housing. I’ve spent cash shop currency on housing items in other games. Not as much as on outfits or mounts, but a few dollars here or there. I would consider paying for some of the chairs, and/or matching decorations, for a house, or even a guild hall if I were a decorator for one, but not to just plunk down in random places in the world.

I’m no expert, but I would imagine that they’re one of the easiest cosmetics to make. Most of them are basically just a static model, with little or nothing new to animate. It’s not like gear pieces, which have to be checked for interactions against every other compatible gear piece for every race and gender with a wide variety of animations. Some of them, like the Skyscale Chair (which is the only chair I’ve even remotely considered buying because it’s totes adorbs, as the kids say), are even built using existing models. I guess in that sense ArenaNet need a lot fewer people to buy them to make money.

Chairs aren’t the only thing in the cash shop that mystify me. Travel toys, like the Magic Carpet, Riding Broom, and Sonic Tunneling Tool, are equally nonsensical and rarely seen, especially since the advent of mounts. The Salvage-o-Matic actually loses you money, and when you can teleport to the PvP lobby or guild hall to buy salvage kits and return to exactly where you were, the argument of convenience seems pretty weak. Similarly, the Home Portal Stone is a lot less appealing when you realize that there are portals to Lion’s Arch in both the PvP and WvW lobbies, which can be accessed instantly from anywhere.

Not long ago, I would have lumped cosmetic gathering tools into this same category, but the fact that the visual effects have been unlinked from tool glyphs and made available account-wide makes them a lot more tempting. This just goes to show that some items just need a good rework to drive sales. For instance, I’m not really that keen on buying any of the array of musical instruments, but if ArenaNet added a proper music system, like the one found in The Lord of the Rings Online and other MMOs, I would totally be up for buying a few.

Another item that comes to mind is upgrade extractors. Why would I buy a consumable extractor when I could sell those gems (currently, the 700 gems it costs to buy 10 extractors would swap for nearly 170 gold) and buy whatever upgrades I want for multiple characters? With legendary upgrades coming, this is only going to become more useless. I would suggest that ArenaNet replace these in the store with the endless version, which is currently available only from lockboxes. Or better yet, just start selling consumable upgrade extractors at vendors like the original Guild Wars did.

I do appreciate that, unlike most cosmetics in Guild Wars 2, several chairs are awarded for in-game achievements. And they’re not just bland, straight-backed chairs, either; one of them lets you lounge about on a literal pile of gold treasure like a dragon. I think that cosmetics can be a great incentive for player engagement, and I wish there were more outfits, glider skins, and mount skins that were unlockable this way.

I’m not calling for chairs or any other items to be removed from the game, mind you. I’m just questioning how many people buy them – and whether there isn’t some better way for ArenaNet to spend its development time. Just because I rarely see them doesn’t mean that nobody is buying them. I don’t have the metrics that ArenaNet has, so maybe these things are more lucrative than I imagine.

I’m also not trying to criticize anyone who buys chairs. You’re free to like what you like, and I don’t have to get it. If that’s you, I would be genuinely interested in hearing what you do with your chair and why you chose to buy it over other cash shop cosmetics.

Where do you stand (er, sit?) on this issue? Have you ever bought, or would you consider buying, a chair in Guild Wars 2? Or are you as confused as I am about why these exist and who buys them?

Flameseeker Chronicles is one of Massively OP’s longest-running columns, covering the Guild Wars franchise since before there was a Guild Wars 2. Now penned by Tina Lauro and Colin Henry, it arrives on Tuesdays to report everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see explored, drop ’em a comment!
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Natalyia

What – you’re against sitting? You monster! :)

My guess? They put in the first summonable chair as a bit of a joke, and people liked it, and wanted more. I can’t imagine they’d keep making them if they didn’t sell any of ’em, and it’s not like they take development time away from anything other than maybe another glider skin – they’re certainly less work than another outfit would be.

They’re mostly cheap enough that people with a lot of gold can buy them on impulse. It’s not really hard to save up 150 or so gold if you’re playing actively, so if one strikes someone’s fancy? Why not?

Alyn
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Alyn

oh silly chairs-comment image

Yangers
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Yangers

I would think something like chair is exactly what you would want in a cash shop – not power and completely pointless.

When cash shops are actually p2w, people complain.
Anet sells fluff items like chairs, people complain.

They can’t win it seems.

Carlo Lacsina
Staff
Carlo Lacsina

You know where I want to sit? Somewhere in Cantha.

Yangers
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Yangers

Apparently they are afraid of offending China or something.

Reader
Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Iteration, man. ArenaNet is like Valve in a lot of ways. They’ll introduce something like guild missions and then you think they are going to build it out into this robust thing and they never even iron the bugs out of it. Same goes for cash shop stuff to a lesser extent. Why’s the carpet not a mount skin? Why don’t they update the usefulness of the home portal stone?

IDK, I stopped playing. The devs there now aren’t building the game that I am into like I was with GW1 and GW2 when it launched. It bums me out. Glad to see there is a market for a game for people who don’t want to play content to get cosmetics that represent something earned in game but rather just plunk down cash for something that isn’t representative of anything other than capitalism.

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styopa

I’ve been playing a fair amount of GW2 recently (its competing with FFXIV for playtime) and frankly, it doesn’t come off well in comparison.

Honestly, the glam stuff in GW2 strikes me as some of most baroque yet UNcreative outfits I’ve seen, *particularly* when contrasted with the VAST spectrum of glams from FFXIV. It’s not really a contest.

Honestly, the only reason I’m playing through Heart of Thorns is (SPOILER BREAK)
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…JUST so I can play through the killing of Trahearne, the most mealy-mouthed, asinine, spineless pathetic “hero” I’ve ever encountered in any MMO, which is *particularly* bad in GW2 where you are (for at least the original game) relegated to “the guy that holds the real heroes’ beer while they do the important stuff“. Is that really what people in Seattle think a hero/leader is?

Nailing him will be a teensy bit of closure for me, and putting up with what is possibly the worst voice-over work in any MMO ever is a small price to pay.

But yeah, playing through GW2 has just renewed all the reasons I drifted away from it back in the day. Some nice ideas buried in the game, certainly, but…nah.

Reader
Arktouros

I liked Trahearne, never got the Trahearne hate.

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, i like the guy too. Him being monotone actually adds to me, since he was a scholar before becoming a war figure.

Most of the hate generated of him being made the main character of Zaithan’s campaign, instead of you. To be fair, i saw no issue with that either. It’s not like you’re relegated to footsoldier. You’re the second in commander, the Pact Marshall.

Godnaz
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Godnaz

Rant incoming:

You touched on incentives and that is where GW2 is beginning to have a disconnect. Selling premium skins and convenience items in the cash shop has become more important that keeping players logged in, engaged with long term goals and sending gold back into the economy.

Armor and weapon sets are seldom introduced regularly, usually only appearing when expansions and chapter updates appear. We now find those skins in store sales, loot boxes and in-game vendors who require loot box currencies that must be purchased with cash to obtain. Sure, people will immediately sell those skins on the trading post but it’s money that’s stays with on sink to create a healthier economy.

Instead armor skins have been turned into cash shop outfits. Premium weapon skins are no longer relegated as high end gold purchases and both are often bundled into packs with glider skins and other fluff that range from $25-$40.

You can buy way point unlocks and portal scroll, so there is no need to explore the game and with the inconsistencies in GW2 lore and the theme park group event atmosphere that the game has evolved into, it makes it difficult to justify continued spending to look great among peers when motivation to login and play becomes limited. It’s become a very, ‘login when there is new content, finish content in under a week, logout months later when a new content arrives, repeat’.

Chairs, mounts, gliders, all cool as long there continues to be a reason. That said, I do like its fashion and it’s community. They just need to find a more conducive middle ground that players can feel reward by time spent and economy sinks and still make money for the company.

Yangers
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Yangers

I find your post curious, because someone actually went through all armour and weapons released and it’s not really like what you posted at all. Their summary:

“But at least, I hope everyone can agree that there is no downward spiral. Quite the contrary, it looks like they listened to our complaints during Season 3 of having fewer armor sets to work with and disliking the random scattered pieces that didn’t fit with many looks, and went back to outputting a good number of new” full armor sets. The trajectory of in-game rewards is good.

Reader
Arktouros

I’ve spent a fair bit on GW2 back when I played it, but I didn’t buy any “toys” willingly. Most I got were from the lock boxes or as bundled as part of something else (IE: Magic Carpet Glider + Toy combo).

Upgrade Extractors or Metabolic Boosters are usually where I draw the line for reasons you mention, they’re just terrible deals. But really that goes for a lot of GW2s cash shop. Terrible deals where if you had just sold the gems for gold and bought whatever you’d be much better off. There’s numerous threads on this topic regarding Black Lion keys especially which is why they started shoving exclusive rewards from the chests you can’t buy off the marketplace.

My most common purchases were things like the salvage-o-matic. The reason was simple: Absolute convenience. You throw one of those suckers in a shared slot and basically all your salvaging is set forever no forgetting to buy kits or running into full inventories. You have to remember such things were essential in the days of HOT where you got bags within bags within bags of chests that were contained in even more bags. Sorting your inventory in the middle of a meta map and having to go get more salvage kits was just not a thing because you’d never get back into your instance and thus you’d lose your meta event end loot. Probably less of a concern these days with stackable items/salvage.

Bulk of my money spent was on converting to gold to purchase things like permanent accesses. Perma bank, merchant, auction house, mystic toilet, repair, etc was all super convenient.

Over all I disliked the direction of GW2s cash shop over time which alongside nonsensical class change updates helped eventually drive me to quit.

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Bruno Brito

Game has chairs. Still lacks housing.

Amazing.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

The chairs are fairly ridiculous. I’ll buy some stuff if it’s limited and only around for a short time to get so that it’s rare, even if it’s a chair, but then I basically never use it after.

There isn’t much reason to use a chair, so if you do everybody around just thinks “Trying to show off, are you?” Even though a huge percentage of cosmetics people buy are for showing off, most of them are mobile and useful in another way. For a chair you have to specifically click to use it at that moment and then are stuck sitting there, it’s like more energy just to show off in that spot at that moment and not much more.

There are those people like me who buy them just to collect them, but I’d say more people probably spend money on them to actually use them. So they park their butts in them where others will mostly see them – because what other use are they? Role playing sitting in chairs on your own isn’t that fun.

Don’t judge them too harshly. They’ve spent money on the game on a fairly useless object, let them park it where they want to park it :P

I’ve bought them at a time where I had more money than sense and just seeing that they were time limited and wouldn’t be always available for everybody I said “Ooh time limited and rare I gots to get one”. I did that for a few chairs, but won’t continue to do it – probably :P I mean if they released a “chair” that was this pile of Lions or something you are sitting in with or a big chair that had animated cats running around on it I’d get it.