Today’s Guild Wars 2 patch represents a tsunami’s worth of sea change. Ticket costs for paid PvP tournaments, until now the proudly subscription-free MMO’s only incentive for in-game payment, will be removed entirely by the end of the day.
Entry to paid tournaments has been subject to a gem cost since their introduction to the game in the Autumn. Gems could be acquired by ranking up, in free tournament reward chests, or by paying in RL cash.
To hear ArenaNet tell it, the primary reason for introducing an entry cost to paid tournaments was to ensure a dedicated space for the ultra-competitive. Think of the ticket gem cost as an equivalent to Steam Greenlight’s $100 fee – an automated alternative to curation which caters to those serious enough to pay and leaves free tournaments the preserve of casual PvPers.
However, ArenaNet have since developed an automated ratings and matchmaking system, capable of pairing the po-faced professionals with their like. As such, the ticket cost barrier-to-entry is no longer needed. Instead, free tournaments will now be divided into one-round and three-round matches, with a separate matchmaking rating for each.
Unused tournament tickets will be exchangeable for Gold, Silver or Copper tournament reward chests via a new ticket merchant NPC. You’ll find him next to the tournament master in the Heart of the Mists. Top Qualifying Points earners – now removed as a tournament reward – will shortly be paid off with a “valuable in-game prize”, to be detailed at a later date.
Furthermore, ArenaNet are updating rewards for one-round free tournaments. Winning teams will now be awarded a new match win chest, while the losers will get nothing.
Guild Wars 2: properly free again (beyond the retail cost, natch). Those of you who PvP – how do you feel about all this?