I want to talk about exclusive zones today – specifically, Guild Wars 2‘s lounges, something I haven’t seen in many other MMOs at all. Essentially, they’re special themed maps that act as alternate hub cities, meaning they have pretty much all of the NPCs and craft centers and vendors you’d expect out of one of the world cities, only in a more condensed – and exclusive – location.
Personally, I enjoy these little maps a lot. I have three of them unlocked, and the next time I am playing the game regularly, I’ll probably get more. I used the Terrace in Divinity’s Reach as my home base for a while. Lily of the Elon was gorgeous, but it was a bit big and laggy for my tastes. Now when I play, I use Mistlock Sanctuary, as much for the weird physics (you float!) and the music as anything else. I have my eye on the hilarious tiki-themed one at some point too. I just like the idea of doing my important video game banking in a cabana on top of a volcano.
But I also have some reservations about them. They’re all paid, for a start, though I know sometimes the game will distribute free temporary passes for some of them. While they don’t really have anything beyond convenience, I worry that they separate the haves from the have-nots and drain the core cities of some of the most veteran players – of players period. Are they really the best idea for a game’s community?
What do you think about “exclusive” zones in MMORPGs? Is there a good way to do this?