When Guild Wars 2
launches this year, it will feature a microtransaction system that allows players to purchase currency for in-game goods with both real money and virtual gold.
Developer ArenaNet says this system appeases people who want to buy extra account services and time-saving convenience items, while at the same time levels the playing field between players who spend money on virtual currency and those who don't.
"It's never okay for players to buy a game and not be able to enjoy what they paid for without additional purchases, and it's never okay for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who spend time," says ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien
The subscription-free game
will have three different currencies: Gold, which is the common currency earned in the game; Karma, which players also earn in-game for unique rewards but cannot trade; and Gems, which are used for buying and purchasing microtransactions.
Players will be able to buy Gems with either Gold or real money, or trade them with each other. ArenaNet acknowledges that it's a system similar to the PLEX (Pilot License Extension) tokens and ISK (Interstellar Kredits) currency used in CCP Games' MMORPG Eve Online
O'Brien notes that this way of handling microtransactions also takes gold trading out of the hands of unauthorized real-money trading companies, which can disrupt players' experiences by spamming ads for their services in-game, running bot networks to farm gold, and hacking accounts.