Some might consider Guild Wars 2 to be the last great MMORPG. Even with three years at its back it remains among the 10 most-played PC titles to this day, very close to unshakeable World of Warcraft. Recently, together with the official announcement of the game’s first big expansion, ArenaNet has decided to offer the base game for free without changing anything about its business model (which till now was based on buying the game outright without paying anything later). This means that from now on we can play the game’s entire nucleus at no cost.
In an official statement, the developers confirm that they are not aiming to turn the game into a Free-to-Play title, meaning there will be no restrictions on the game itself for new players (although there are on certain features). Heart of Thorns, the expansion that will appear in October, has so much new content that it will be a nearly obligatory purchase for those who get started on the game. This laudable decision will even affect those who’ve recently bought the game, as players who’ve purchased the title from 23 June onwards will receive the expansion for free by way of compensation.
The only limits on the free account have more to do with the proliferation of bots, powergamers, and other gaming-related annoyances than with limiting the gaming experience itself. You’ll need to reach a minimum level to access the upper zones, you can’t use the global chat, and you won’t be able to send objects to other players. The only truly restrictive thing is that you’ll have fewer character and inventory slots, although if you buy Heart of Thorns that limit will disappear.
Guild Wars 2 has only garnered positive reviews thanks to the balanced concept behind it: without standing out massively in any particular aspect, it offers an accessible progression system and a more dynamic combat than that used in classic titles from the genre, but without making the leap to pure FPS as other games like TERA have done. A more than respectable PvP, guild and even kingdom wars, a diverse system of abilities, and highly decent graphics are some of its many strong points. If you’re even remotely interested in the genre this is a great opportunity.