In a delightful turn of events, ArenaNet has revealed that the core version of Guild Wars 2 is now free for everybody. Before you start worrying that this popular non-subscription based MMORPG has fallen to the tempting nature of the free-to-play model, rest assured, they have a much more innocent goal in mind.

Over at ArenaNet, they are big fans of the idea of buying a game once and being able to play it without additional subscription costs or otherwise. That was how they launched Guild Wars a decade ago, and they continued with the model into Guild Wars 2. Since the launch of Guild Wars 2, more than five million copies have been sold, and a huge amount of free content released.

With the first expansion on the way, they’ve made the decision to maintain the idea of buying one thing and getting all available content. That one thing will now be the expansion, Heart of Thorns. It’s a natural worry that this means the base game could become inundated with microtransactions that punish free players who just want to play the game. Thankfully, they understand how much that model can sour an experience, and have left the core game basically completely the same as it has been.

The logic they’re using with this move is that if you like Guild Wars 2, you’ll invest in the expansion naturally. In the end, this move gives them the chance to expand their player base further while sticking to their model of a single purchase getting you all the available content at any one time.

Now, there are some changes with the base game for free players to try to prevent cheating and general disruption among those that had purchased the game beforehand:

  • Free accounts start with fewer character slots and bag slots than the paid version of the game, with all slots to be unlocked with purchase of the expansion
  • Chat restrictions and economy restrictions are in place to prevent trading across multiple created accounts, spamming chat, or otherwise
  • Free accounts have some extra level requirements before traveling to various areas to keep from potentially disrupting the game

You can see an exhaustive list of all of the changes on the Guild Wars 2 website. If you’d like to start playing, head to the website, make an account, and join in with all of the other players.

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