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Guild Wars 2 - A Look At The Cash Shop In 2020

By Steven Weber on January 10, 2020 | Columns | 0

Guild Wars 2 has come a long way from its humble Buy to Play days. ArenaNet has always touted a fair cash shop, but after 8 years, and providing the entire legacy game free of charge with restrictions, has ArenaNet delivered their promise of keeping the cash shop to cosmetic and account specific items? The answer is actually kind of surprising.

Guild Wars 2 has one of the most transparent item shops in the MMO industry today. They don’t hide much in regards to what you are buying, and what you are getting. Yes, we still see Black Lion Keys to open chests that are essentially loot boxes, but generally, the ebb and flow of the auction house is relegated to cosmetic items and special account enhancements that aren’t technically necessary but are certainly convenient.

The Good

One of the greatest additions in the cash shop came to us shortly after Path of Fire released. Mount skins are some of the coolest additions because, despite being unnecessary, they do allow players to really customize their characters, and accentuate the aspects of their personality (or their characters personality) to their hearts content.  Would you prefer your lizard-like Raptor mount can be a cute and furry Fox creature? You bet it can!

Some other convenience items that are not only cosmetic, but also useful, are the unbreakable harvesting tools. My characters are science focused, so when I decided I was done stacking tools for mining and harvesting in my inventory, I spent some gems on the Mad Scientists mining tools. Not only is it cool to look at, but these mining tools are space and gold savers if you’re a crafter or material seller.

In terms of good items, the last one I would recommend for new players is the World Boss Portal Device. This device makes it extremely easy for new players to find out where the action is without following any of those 3rd party event timers. It won’t notify you of every important event going on in Guild Wars 2, but if all you want to do is jump in, and kill the next big bad guy for a few hours, this will get you to where you need to be quickly and without the fuss of figuring it out on your own.

The Bad

Bad items to me, are items that are too frivolous to be useful. Guild Wars 2 isn’t immune to having items in their cash shop that are just awful deals. Some of these deals, are the Lounge Passes. Guild Wars 2 employs a number of different lounges around the world, and in order to get to them, you need a pass to enter. What’s in the lounges? Crafting stations, merchants, and other NPCs, none of which are really exclusive to the greater part of the Guild Wars 2 narrative. Most of the time, when these passes appear in the shop, they are sold in 2-week intervals, which really isn’t worth the cost for admission when you can teleport to Lions Arch and use those facilities without spending anything.

In a recent update, ArenaNet introduced Gear and Build templates. A lot of people were requesting these upgrades, and sure enough, ArenaNet was happy to comply. They were also happy to lock additional slots for both builds and equipment behind a pay wall, and those who want to expand those slots will have to do so separately. These Build and Equipment slots (B&E) are convenient, but they aren’t worth the cost for most players that only utilize a couple characters, and don’t utilize multiple builds often.

The Ugly

What is the most sought-after item in Guild Wars 2?  With a flat stat system, there are no weapons or items that stand out from the crowd more than any other. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Legendary Items, which don’t offer stat increases, but do offer the ability to change stats on the fly, and grant really cool looking aura effects. Owning a legendary doesn’t make you better than the next guy who has a set of Ascended gear, but it does give you some benefits that other players do not have.

Obtaining a legendary weapon is tough. Some weapons can take weeks to craft. In most cases, when crafting a legendary weapon, you usually have to buy a precursor of some type, or craft it, and the materials required cost a lot of in game gold. You also require a character that has the applicable crafting skills leveled to their maximum, which can be costly in itself. You can work hard at doing that, or, you can simply buy enough gems online and transition them to gold to buy the weapon of your choosing.

While it isn’t exactly Pay to Win because the stat boost is negligible over exotic gear, and similar to Ascended gear, players that don’t want to put in any work and pay their way to their desired legendary weapon need only to open their wallet. The cost of a legendary weapon could vary, anywhere from 500 – 800 dollars depending on the weapon and exchange rate at the time of purchase.

For the Most part, Guild Wars 2 still has a fair item shop. Some items that tout convenience aren’t worth the cost, while other items, including some of the awesome armor, weapon and mount skins are valuable for those looking for unique options for their character. The ability to transfer gold into gems to purchase these skins and convenience items still counts as the fairest shop that rewards dedicated players. To that end, and that end alone, ArenaNet has kept their promise of creating a fair item shop.


Steven Weber

Steven has been a writer at MMORPG.COM since 2017. A lover of many different genres, he finds he spends most of his game time in action RPGs, and talking about himself in 3rd person on his biography page.


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