Guild Wars 2 is a free-to-play game unless you wish to play the latest content. The game then turns into buy-to-play. I purchased the Heart of Thorns sometime last year, so I don't count as a free-to-play player. Still, I found myself spending $20 because I wanted to expand my bank space. Of all the things that F2P and B2P games offer, extra bank space is what I normally pull out the credit card to purchase.
One thing I've never purchased with real world cash is in-game currency. Not even in EVE. Spending money on gold or ISK never made sense to me, and probably never will. The only reason I have over 2700 PLEX is the mystery code from the two copies of the Collector's Edition I own plus all the Aurum CCP gave out over the years that were recently converted to the new-style PLEX. I guess I should add that I won one of my Collector's Editions in a contest, so only 500 of the PLEX I own were a result of any real world purchases.
Like EVE, Guild Wars 2 allows players to convert real world money into in-game currency through the purchase of gems. But to someone who's played EVE for almost 8 years, the GW2 system is a bit bizarre.
|Gem Prices In US Dollars|
Where the system becomes strange to the EVE player is the actual exchange of gold and gems between players. In EVE, a player posts either a buy or sell order on the market, someone else comes along and fulfills the order, and a direct swap is made. ArenaNet runs their system a little differently.
|Buying gold using gems|
The GW2 Official Wiki describes the mechanics:
The initial interface panel displays standard exchange amounts and how many coins or gems are required for purchase. Click onnext to the desired transaction to complete the purchase.
- Gold exchanges include intervals of 1, 10, 50, 100, 250, and custom
- Gem exchanges include intervals of 400, 800, 1200, 2000, and custom
- Exchange rates are determined by supply and demand from players. Since supply and demand affects the rate, the ratio can shift rapidly depending on market conditions, especially when the Gem Store adds new items.
- The exchange has a supply of both Gems and Gold. When you trade to the exchange you influence the supply of each. The exchange rate is relative to current supply of each. The price changes geometrically as one pool empties creating a better exchange rate for the low supplied currency. The supplies are contained entirely within the exchange.
- Due to currency exchange inflation, the value of purchased gems has increased over time. Conversely, the value of in-game gold used to purchase items in the Gem Store has decreased.
- Transaction fee is a 15% fee for trading gems for gold or vice-versa. For example, exchanging 1 gives 85 worth of gems while reselling those gems returns only around 72 25 , resulting in a net loss of roughly 28%.
In other words, trying to make gold off of the ebbs and flows of the market using gems isn't really viable. In addition, free accounts may only perform gem to gold exchanges. Gold to gem conversions are reserved for those who either purchased the original GW2 or Heart of Thorns expansion.
I plan on taking a closer look at the Guild Wars 2 cash shop in the near future. First though, I do need to finish up the personal story. I think having the additional experience in GW2 will help perform a more informed comparison between GW2 and EVE's cash shop. Besides, I enjoy playing Guild Wars 2 and I'd like to say I finished the original content for another game.