‘Guild Wars 2’ Core Game Is Now Free, ‘Heart Of Thorns’ Expansion Will Be Buy-To-Play

For gamers who have been interested in Guild Wars 2, now is your time to play the game. Announced at PAX Prime this past weekend, Guild Wars 2 is now free-to-play for anyone wanting to jump into the MMO. However, if you’re wanting to continue on with your Guild Wars 2 adventures with the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion, you will have to pay for that one.

A lot of MMOs in the past have made the free-to-play transition, with The Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Dungeons and Dragons Online taking the lead in the sub-to-free transition. Guild Wars 2 is one of the few buy-to-play titles to drop the initial purchase all together, giving any player the chance to explore Tyria without the cost.

ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien commented on the change, assuring fans that the move is not going to invite a deluge of micro-transactions, but hopefully encourage those who like the game to purchase the “Heart of Thorns” expansion of Guild Wars 2.

If anyone can play Guild Wars 2 for free now, does that mean we’re switching business models to free-to-play? Are we going to be one of those games that aggressively monetizes free players through microtransactions? Absolutely not. Guild Wars 2 remains the same game it always has been. We’re making the core game experience free because we’re confident that anyone who loves Guild Wars 2 will buy Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.

Free players will have some restrictions on their accounts, though ArenaNet hopes that these restrictions will be subtle and not impact regular players’ ability to play the game. First, Guild Wars 2 account storage won’t be available to free-to-play gamers. Also, with most MMOs having issues with gold spammers, new free Guild Wars 2 players won’t be able to start a new “whisper” conversation within 30 seconds of starting a previous conversation. Finally, free players won’t be able to disrupt the more competitive modes within Guild Wars 2, namely the “World versus World” matches.

Since launching Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has sold over 5 million copies of the buy-to-play game. ArenaNet claims to be committed to the buy-to-play model, stating that it’s “good for gamers and good for developers.”

For those looking to start their Guild Wars 2 adventure, head over to the official website to create an account and download the game. If you like what you play, the Guild Wars 2Heart of Thorns” expansion launches October 23.

[Images via Guild Wars 2]