While everyone else was playing around with dynamic events or kicking butt in WvWvW in last weekend’s Guild Wars 2 beta — OK, maybe I did a little of that, too — I was checking out the Gem Store, seeing what ArenaNet was offering for real money.
By and large, the Gem Shop offerings ran along the usually acceptable lines of cosmetics, boosts, and account services.
I bought a Scholar’s Outfit and Carnival Ringmaster’s Hat from the Style tab to deck out my Elementalist in some fancy attire. Dyes and mini-pets were also available here and the Gem Shop also appears to be where you’ll find Transmutation Stones, which will let you change the look of your armor while keeping its stats.
Boosts offer the usual bonuses to XP, karma, crafting experience, and so on. I obtained a couple of these via regular adventuring, so they’re not totally exclusive to the Gem Shop. While I think that using straight XP boosts in Guild Wars 2 falls under the category of “You’re doing it wrong,” bonuses for karma and crafting XP might come in handy.
Finally, there are account services, where you get the usual offerings, like increased bag or bank space, immediate access to a bank, keys for magical lootboxes — which are found in the wild — or instant resurrection.
One other thing to note is that Gems can be bought or sold on the trading post for in-game currency. This was quick and easy, though I’d imagine that when the game goes live and people actually have to pay money for their Gems — we all received 2,000 for free in the beta — exchange rates won’t be nearly as generous. Still, they might be a good way to acquire small amounts of Gems, say, 100 or so, for a reasonable amount of gold.
My overall impression of Gems? Nothing truly outrageous — and I hope at least a few of you got that reference. I’m still no fan of lockboxes in MMOs — if I’m going to pay real money for loot, I want to know what I’m getting — but they’re apparently popular enough for ArenaNet, among many others, to include them.
I also don’t know what I think about paying to improve your UI, namely selling bag and bank space. It all depends on what Gems sell for — I’m thinking about 100/$1 — but if it means I pay $30-$40/year on miscellaneous “must-have” purchases, that still only comes to about $3/month. I guess I can live with that.
And we certainly only saw a few of the offerings that will eventually be made available in the Gem Store. As long as they keep along the same lines as what was in the beta, it should be enough to keep people buying, while not unbalancing the game or sparking controversy.
Now if they could only sell a manual that would help me understand how to use dyes.