Freedom Comes at a Price

The game that I’ve played most consistently in the past few months is Guild Wars 2. I discovered this MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) about a year ago and have slowly been accruing levels and hours. Over Christmas break, my level 80 character hit about 80% map completion, so I decided to take a look at the expansion that was just released for the game. I love the game and didn’t want finishing the map to mean the end of exploring new content.

I’ll admit I hadn’t been to the Guild Wars website in a while and so was shocked and amazed to here that the game was now free-to-play. The basic game used to sell for $59.99, but I picked it up on sale for $10.00 as a promotional deal due to the release of the expansion “Heart of Thorns.” If I’d paid the original sixty bucks, I feel like I might have been a little ripped off, but since I’d only lost ten dollars I shrugged it off. Especially since free accounts contain restrictions that any paid account (including mine) doesn’t.

While looking for the expansion price I was confused. There was no cost for the expansion alone. The $49.99 is for a paid (and thus unrestricted) version of the base game and the expansion. There is no way for me, a perfectly content paid owner of the base game to purchase the expansion by itself. I’m being penalized for having purchased the game before it became free-to-play.

I can understand making it free-to-play to draw in users and then having to pay to upgrade your account and to get the expansion, it’s probably a great revenue booster.

But why can’t there be a cheaper option for people who’ve already purchased the game? Does my purchase history and loyalty really mean so little to ArenaNet that I’m clumped in with people who haven’t paid to play? I wanted to play the game so much that I paid for it and it doesn’t mean a thing.