I had first heard of Guild Wars around the time Factions came out in 2006. I must have thought the game sounded interesting since I ended up buying the original campaign a couple months later. What had returned my thoughts to the game and caused me to buy it however, was the fact that there was no subscription tied to the game.
I have seen and heard people say they hate subscription MMOs because they don’t really own the game, that they have to keep buying their game every month. To each their own with that, but personally I have never felt that I never owned a game. I have cable and electricity, both of which I have to pay each month.
The reason I enjoy the lack of a subscription is freedom. I can come and go as I please whereas having a subscription is like sticking my feet in a cement block, either I am stuck with the game or stuck without it. In the just over six years since I first played Guild Wars I have come and gone from the game a handful of times. I can honestly say that I have never returned to a subscription game after I had cancelled my subscription, so the ability for Guild Wars to draw me back in time again and get me to buy a new campaign/expansion when I came back spoke wonders for its business model.
I remember being incredibly excited when Guild Wars 2 was announced. I always loved the story of Guild Wars even though I was not a big fan of the combat system in the game. So to see ArenaNet continuing to create their amazing stories on top of an entirely new system was like a dream come true. Looking back I’m surprised I was even that excited. I had only just reached the Southern Shiverpeaks in Prophecies, not even to Vabbi in Nightfall, and didn’t even own Factions. Heck, I didn’t even know yet that you got birthday presents every year on your character’s birthday.
What doesn’t surprise me is that ArenaNet is as focused on their community as they are on their new game. ArenaNet has oft times said that they are not in the game making business but in the community building business. Every time I had left Guild Wars was to follow the guild or community that I had joined in Guild Wars to another game. In fact, I think every gaming community I have been in over the past six years was one I initially joined due to Guild Wars. WIthout the subscription model I didn’t feel torn about staying in the game with a community or going with them to another game. I went where I wanted to be with the community and friends that I loved to be with.
The guild I am currently in for Guild Wars I have been in for a couple years now and had made friends with everyone in the guild (it wasn’t that big of a guild) that I have played with in multiple games since then. I remember joining them was almost a fluke. I had heard about this Hall of Monuments thing and decided to return to Guild Wars and check it out. I was standing in some outpost guildless when someone came up and asked if I was looking for a guild. I just said “No” thinking to myself how I wasn’t looking for a guild but would join one if they asked. As if reading my mind she immediately replies with, “well would you like to join ours anyway?” Game. Set. Match.
Since I mentioned the Hall of Monuments I wanted to sneak this in. I have gotten both 50/50 in the hall as well as the GWAMM title. This isn’t (entirely) to flaunt the achievements, but of how amazing it was to accomplish both of these. I have never wanted to boast getting any achievement in any game as much as I do for these two. I remember I was speechless both times I got either one of these achievements and even now I’m grinning like a fool just thinking about it.
I wrote this for the Blog Carnival over at GuildMag.com that asked what your memories from the past 5 years of waiting for Guild Wars 2. I first tried Guild Wars because of the lack of subscription, but it became the community that kept me in the game. To my own amazement now that I look back on Guild Wars, as a game it didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me. As a community however, I will always remember Guild Wars as being one of the best.
This post was written for Blog Carnival 4 on GuildMag.com.