Guild Wars 2, Getting Down to Business

If you’re looking for innovation and creativity in the MMO genre, you’re obviously in the right place: Guild Wars 2 is rewriting the rulebook on MMO design, tossing aside conventions, and generally pushing the genre out of an unpleasant rut. Whether it’s dynamic events, the ‘extended experience’, or ditching the holy trinity, things are finally moving forward.

All of that is certainly to be celebrated, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise: ArenaNet have a legacy of finding their own path in game development. Often overlooked, but most significantly, this includes their approach to business models.

Back in 2005 it was largely accepted that top shelf MMOs came hand in hand with subscription fees – a suitable trade-off for services rendered by the developer. They have servers to maintain, staff to pay, patches to work on… right? We’d grown accustomed to it, happy to drip-feed money into these studios, whilst fervently hoping to be valued enough that they would heed our desires. Fortunately, with the release of Guild Wars, ArenaNet would successfully challenge that ideology and fend off the developing monoculture.

“Buy the box and play forever?” we scoffed. How could that ever work? Obviously it did, and the rest is history. Continue reading