Guild Wars 2’s economy will be built around the currencies of gold, gems and karma. Any in-game items can be purchased with gold, which can be earned through regular play. Karma is also earned in-game and used to acquire special bonuses, though karma cannot be traded. Gems are strictly used for microtransactions.
To combat the rise of outsider gold farming services, ArenaNet will allow players to trade gold and gems. That means if you use real money to purchase gems, you can then sell the gems to other players for in-game gold. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend real dollars, you can save up enough gold to buy gems from other players through Guild Wars 2’s Trading Post.
Like the original Guild Wars, you will not have to pay a subscription fee to play ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2. Instead, you buy the game and play for free. For alternative revenue, ArenaNet will implement a microtransaction system, something explained by studio president Mike O’Brien.
“We think players should have the opportunity to spend money on items that provide visual distinction and offer more ways to express themselves,” said O’Brien. “They should also be able to spend money on account services and on time-saving convenience items. But it’s never OK for players to buy a game and not be able to enjoy what they paid for without additional purchases, and it’s never OK for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who spend time.”
As O’Brien explains, “From a player’s perspective, [real money transaction] companies have all the wrong motivations: the more money they make from selling gold, the more they spam ads in the game, run bot networks to farm gold, and hack accounts to loot them for gold. Conversely, under our system, players have all the right motivations. If a player buys gold from another player, he gets the gold he wants, the selling player gets gems she can use for microtransactions, and ArenaNet generates revenue from the sale of gems that we can use to keep supporting and updating the game. Everyone wins.”
“Because gems can be traded for gold and vice versa, we don’t need two different trading systems, one for gold and one for gems. In Guild Wars 2, everything on the Trading Post is traded for gold, but of course, somebody who wants to earn gems can just sell items for gold, and then convert the gold to gems.”