[GW2] Momentary Deluxe

The original Guild Wars set a lot of precedent for Guild Wars 2. Some was bad, and it needed to be broken. Yet, there was a lot of good things in Guild Wars that worked. The Collector’s Editions of the campaigns, in my opinion, were one of those things that worked well. Specifically, for this post, the digital items in the Collector’s Editions. They set a pretty good precedent for future ArenaNet games.

Prophecies has possibly the most coveted digital item, the Divine Aura. All it did was make the character’s hands sparkle during emotes and dances, and each profession had different sparkles. It’s such a simple, elegant, permanent extra. It’s not screaming in player’s faces, but it is definitely noticeable. In Guild Wars, it’s one of the simplest ways to say “I was one of the first.” A badge of honor like this is something I feel people want to pay extra for a better edition. I’ve seen more fans regret not having Divine Aura than any other extra in Guild Wars.

In Factions and Nightfall, the digital extras became a lot more specific, but they were still permanent. The first thing was a miniature of an iconic campaign NPC. The miniature Kuunavang is still worth quite a bit, and mini Varesh has some worth to her. The second was that the campaign-specific professions had a modified dance. The ritualist and assassin would call some ghost buddies to dance, and the paragon and dervish would get a magic disco ball to dance under.

The Guild Wars 2 Digital Deluxe edition, which has all the digital items comes with 5 digital extras beyond the Basic edition. Three of the items are temporary consumables, two of which are “faction” boosters with a one-time use. The remaining is a Golem Banker that can be used for 5-days, which will be nice for the leveling rush since players won’t have to waste time returning to a city to bank. It will still go away long before the shine of the game does. The Digital Deluxe edition also follows suit with Factions and Nightfall to give players a Rytlock miniature, which will hopefully be tradable. The final thing is the Summon Mistfire Wolf elite skill.

This elite skill is what I feel really has replaced the Divine Aura and dance add-ons of yore. The consumables are likely going to link to the cash shop, and the miniature maintains part of the Collector’s Edition legacy. The elite skill is what replaces some very permanent feature from earlier Collector’s Editions. And, it is going to be as temporary as the consumables.

The elite skill cannot be more powerful than other elite skills as planet-ending rage would ensue. ArenaNet has said that they will not sell power, and selling a very powerful elite skill would be exactly that. It is more likely that to be on the safe side the Summon Mistfire Wolf elite will be balanced starting from underpowered and going up. I’ve seen a lot of people point to the Hounds of Balthazar elite skill which might be a good benchmark, but the description of the Summon Mistfire Wolf is that it summons a pet instead of three animals. The other thing is that it will not have as much synergy with a profession as other elites, especially when it comes to traits. At best, I feel the Summon Mistfire Wolf elite will be used a handful of times “just ‘cus” and then stowed away to be forevermore overshadowed by actual builds.

It really surprises me that of all the options ArenaNet had for making a permanent fixture to buying the Digital Deluxe edition, they chose such a momentary thing. My favorite option would be a unique set of dyes because it would allow for special appearance customization with ArenaNet’s awesome dye system. Given the popularity of costumes in Guild Wars, a unique set of town clothes would have been a great option. Every time a player heads in to town, they get to see their permanent deluxe item. If some form of Divine Aura was added, I would have to assume that every Guild Wars player ever that has seen the holy sparkles would have to shell out the extra cash for the Digital Deluxe. Even something less fun like a character slot would feel more substantial than an elite skill.

Right now the Digital Deluxe doesn’t feel like a worthwhile upgrade. If the consumables are in the cash shop, they will be costed out. The Summon Mistfire Wolf feels too vaporous to have a tangible worth, and the players are left with a miniature trying to hold down most of the cost-benefit of the significant cash upgrade. I hope to be proven wrong. I delight every time I see my paragon’s Collector’s Edition dance, but I feel it is too different. I use it during downtime; not when I want something dead. I feel that the Digital Deluxe items could use another pass of iteration.

–Ravious

44 thoughts on “[GW2] Momentary Deluxe”

  1. Agreed 100%. Once my excitement wore off I was a little disappointed to see that there wasn’t some equivalent of the divine aura, or maybe an extra character slot or something more useful. As much as I think Rytlock is a super awesome charr, I would rather spend that extra $20 or so on something more useful like 2 extra character slots if they are available right away…and priced anything like the first game. :P

  2. I think a lot of people are starting to re-think the value of what we’re being given. After the initial excitement and OMG RYTLOCK FIGURE, suddenly it’s like “wait. 150 for this? really?” or “20 dollars for a pet and non-unique, expendable items?”

    i want something permanent and unique, or at least useful.

    nobody’s gonna tote around the minipet and be like “LOOK AT ME, I GOT THE DDE/CE.” People are gonna tote around their HoM gear and titles and say “look at me, I mastered the original.”

    it’s sad to think that the HoM rewards are 150% more impressive and brag-right worthy. It’s seriously worth more to go buy the original trilogy and get to 30/50 than spend any extra on their so-called deluxe versions.

    1. I did specifically stay away from the CE because it is a lot harder to put a value point on true physical collector’s materials. I admit I am not super excited about the statue, but it does look neat. But I own every soundtrack and GW book, and those are worth a lot to me.

      1. If I get the CE it will be because of the soundtrack, book, and art prints, not the figure. The only thing that worries me about these items is the “best of” on the soundtrack. If the release a full one later that I want to buy, another item from the CE essentially becomes temporary for me.

        I want to support ArenaNet and I appreciate that these prices need to be looked at along with the “no sub fee” to calculate value, but I, too, hope that the next month might see some revision or clarification for the packages. The chance of that might be very small, but hey, look at what they have built with the rest of the game. Never know what tricks they may have waiting in the wings.

    2. “it’s sad to think that the HoM rewards are 150% more impressive and brag-right worthy.”

      Given that I’ve spent about $100 for the campaigns and EotN, plus $40 for the extra Xunlai panes, and $20 for the 4 costume sets I have (Dwayna & Grenth, Shining Blade & White Mantle, not that it mattes), AND over 2800 hours over the last 4 years for those Hall of Monument rewards, they’d damn well better be more impressive and brag-worthy! :P

  3. I have to disagree with you, Ravious. I don’t consider a skill, however underpowered it may or may not be, to be “momentary” in a game designed around skills. You get that skill for life; it never goes away. Your comparison to Divine Aura is accurate. In the worst case scenario, that Mistfire Wolf is competitively useless, it is still a unique cosmetic effect. This gives it at least as much value as Divine Aura. And in the event that that the skill has practical applications in combat, it’s strictly better than Divine Aura.

    1. “This gives it at least as much value as Divine Aura. And in the event that that the skill has practical applications in combat, it’s strictly better than Divine Aura.”

      No, because you are ignoring the fact that you have to choose to forego something more practical/better/useful to get this “unique cosmetic effect”. This makes it worse than Divine Aura, which does not require such a choice. Now if this were a utility, instead of an elite… I could see more point in your argument because I might be willing to forego 1/3 utility skills to get a “unique cosmetic effect.”

      Can you honestly tell me that 1-3 mos. after launch you would pull out the Mistfire Wolf elite? You might, to prove a point, but I doubt the majority of players will use the skill over efficient skills. It will become dusty. Its shine is momentary even if it remains.

      I guess we could have sorrowful wolf parties in cities just so we can all laugh a sad laugh together.

      1. “you have to choose to forego something more practical/better/useful to get this “unique cosmetic effect”. ”

        This is true for every elite skill in the game. By this logic, any skill that is not as powerful as the best skill in the game is not worth including.

        Additionally, if the wolf ends up being purely cosmetic, it will only ever get used in social situations. No one will ever slot the skill for combat, so you will in effect not have to give up another skill to use it. People will just take them out in towns to show off (just like Divine Aura). Whether or not that is a “sad” thing is a matter of opinion, but I don’t think it is.

        1. Actually, by this logic, the equivalent in the original GW would be slotting an elite skill that gives you a TEMPORARY Divine Aura in explorable areas.

          Many (hopefully all) elite skills will be balanced with traits and other skills of the same profession. This one will be particularly tricky because it requires that it is balanced for EVERY profession, including any skillbars that could unfairly complement its abilities compared to other professions, and as a result it will have to be underpowered or become exclusive to thieves or necromancers or what have you, and the latter would leave a bitter taste in the mouths of players (especially those still bitter about Shadow Form). I would prefer the former, but it leads to the conclusion Ravious suggested: it’s a purely cosmetic “elite” skill.

          The temporary nature of the summon (along with the obscenely long recharges of elite skills) also makes it impractical in towns compared to miniatures or glowy hands or /emotes that you can use on demand. (I’m also curious about whether you can even use skills within towns, since I haven’t seen any videos where people did, but I could be wrong on this point.) So even on the cosmetic end you have something which is less efficient than it could have been.

          On either end of the spectrum, it could have been done better.

          1. /concur

            It feels like we’re trying too hard to find reason to like the elite skill when there are so many better options, IMHO.

            1. I think we’re assuming too much. I would imagine it will be just as useful as any other racial elite, which I’m fairly certain do not have trait lines. Racial elites may be compensated by this lack of flexibility by being more powerful on the surface, which by comparison might make this skill fairly useful.

              We’re also assuming that Arenanet, who have proven time and again, that they typically know what they’re doing, have totally screwed the pooch on this one or that NCSoft has somehow completely taken over on this front. Maybe we should once again give them the benefit of the doubt before jumping the gun and pontificating over our assumed value of items that have only been announced and not explained. Then again, if everyone complains about it, they’re very likely to change it.

              Ultimately, I could care less about those in-game items. I enjoy my Divine Aura, my special dances, and the unique miniatures, but I bought the CEs for the art books and the soundtracks (I really liked the additional tracks you could get through directsong to listen to in-game). Now I get five art prints and a Rytlock statue on top of everything else. That’s good enough for me, and I’m far, far from rolling in the dough.

              As for the Deluxe Digital edition, you got me there. I know plenty of people who would probably pay the extra 20 bucks just for the miniature, but those would be WoW players.

            2. “…Arenanet, who have proven time and again, that they typically know what they’re doing…”

              I’m always a little confounded when people express this sentiment. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of respect for what ANet *try* to do, but as I look at their history with GW1 and now GW2, I sure don’t see a company that typically knows the right answer from the get-go.

              Examples abound, at least in PvP where I spent my time: Power creep across expansions leading to degenerate builds, mishandling of entire PvP formats (HA), pursuit of poorly realized opportunities (ahem*Codex Arena*ahem), introduction of skills that broke fundamental rules of the game (teleports, PvE skills), reliance on horrible, indefensible title grinds… In GW2 we see them introduce, and later reverse course on topics ranging from energy potions to trait modification in the field.

              I don’t know if I just read too much Team Quitter or what, but I’ve always thought of ANet as a developer with brilliant ideas, and a tendency to make crippling mistakes when putting those ideas and philosophies into practice. I mean, it’s not a knock on them, it’s just part of their process at this point. While they might take missteps, they usually turn things around and improve on their design over time (in contrast with, say, Mythic, who always seemed to start great and just dig themselves deeper).

          2. I guess we will have to wait and see just how useful the skill is in combat. It seems obvious that by making it a skill – particularly an elite one – Anet intended for it to be more than just cosmetic. In that case the concerns stand: will it be good enough to occupy an elite slot?

            And if it is, does including it in the DD and CE count as selling power?

        2. i just want to point out that i’d sell my soul for a divine aura and don’t really care about the mist wolf :D

          a special visual effect upon using any eliteskill would have been far cooler in my opinion

      2. The only way I think that the wolf would be equal to the divine aura, is if you could summon the wolf in town…not to do harm, but to follow you around like a companion, much larger than a mini.

        1. I think the Wolf has alot of potential for cool things:
          – The Wolf can be permanently maintained (making it akin to the imp summoning stone for <20 lvl gw1 characters)
          – The Wolf reacts to your emotes; dances with you, barks at you, runs in the direction you point
          – or perhaps the introduction of a special emote that the wolf responds to like "/fetch"

          I dunno … give it a chance for its qualities outside combat.

          1. Yes, but does it do of those things? Pretty much everything is potentially cool when we get to imagine what features it could have. I mean, if you’re going to make up features it could have, why not have it mail you ice cream to your house?

  4. I can see your point on the contents with the digital deluxe edition. Perhaps the items included are a hint at what is going in the cash shop at some point. At the end of the day it is up to the customer to determine if forking over an extra $20 is worth it to them.

    Perhaps the skill will be more useful then a CE speeder.

  5. I will be purchasing the CE for a couple of reasons.

    1. I do like the figure, book and Soundtrack that comes with this and the in game items aren’t too shabby either (though I do wish that the banker was permanent).
    FYI this will be the fist CE I have wanted to purchase.

    2. Also and more importantly at least to me is that this game has been in development for over 5 years and we know how expensive that can be. I have been chucking 15 bucks a month to WoW and buying expansions for over 4 of those years. Even at $150 that is $30 cheaper than what I am currently paying monthly and I will be supporting a better game plus getting the CE in the process.

    I think that this is a great game and I am willing to chuck out a few extra dollars to support it and hopefully see it grow into the Juggernaut that we all hope it will be.

    1. They will have a cash shop. Not ignoring the fact that you want the CE, but wouldn’t you want to chuck money at them in a way that is fruitful for you too?

      1. I guess then it comes down to what you feel is “more fruitful”.

        Is it more fruitful to you to have the figure, the CD’s, the book or to go to the cash shop and buy skins for your armor?

        True is comes down to personal preference and some of us may do both but I do feel that the reason that the prices are the way they are is to recoup quickly some of that 5 year development.

        I guess another option for a full digital CE would be to be given X A-Net cash toward the cash shop.

        However that has its problems as well

        1. I think we are on the same page. I am just pointing out that for those wanting to upgrade the DD/CE just to “chuck money” at ArenaNet, and believe me, I want them fully supported for this game… it might be more fruitful to wait and see what the cash shop offers.

          If you want the DD/CE stuff (i.e., “fruitful”), more power to ya. :)

  6. Noticing Divine Aura isn’t included in any of the editions disappointed me as well. I didn’t have it in GW. So many players were willing to pay for Divine Aura, so perhaps Anet decided to put it on the Store this time. We’ll see. The contents of GW2’s versions made me feel Anet are saving better products to sell later on…

    Diablo III CE is a lot better:

    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/services/collectors-edition/

  7. When they heard about the Rytlock minipet, my kids pulled out the cute faces and the CEO caved. Looks like 4 Deluxes for my household.

  8. I’ve been waiting ever since Gaile announced that they were working on GW2, and I’ve always thought ‘I’ll definitely get the CE’. But… I simply do not feel like this CE is worth 150€ at all. I will take 1 look at the figurine and art book, while installing the game. After that they will end up in a drawer somewhere. I’d probably not even buy it for €100.

    I WOULD buy the CE if it had some sort of Divine Aura, and perhaps some extra character slots or something. Even then it would still be overpriced at 150€, but I wouldn’t mind, because I’d at least feel like I got something special. Sure, the elite skill is special, but I agree that no one will ever use it, unless it’s to show off (like the people spamming /zrank in GW1). And the elite skill comes with the digital deluxe edition anyway.

    It’s a shame, really. I would’ve loved to show my support to ArenaNet, but I’m not going to spend 150€ on stuff I’ll never even take a look at.

    I wonder why they chose not to include a divine aura though. I haven’t played GW2 since 2008, and I STILL regret not having the divine aura in GW1. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way, and would love to spend some extra money to have it in GW2.

  9. Let’s not forget that the dances were professions specific and if you didn’t like that, you were screwed. I never really cared for dervs or paragons so how was the dance any help to me. At least with an elite skill, I can use it no matter what class I play. The consumables are meh, true, but if you have something that donates what amounts to guild faction and a bunch of people join a guild and all donate their faction, that guild suddenly can have a few guild upgrades that might well be permanent as long as you stay in that guild..we don’t really know yet what the guild upgrades can buy, so we don’t know how permanent that is.

    The PVP faction allows you to get things that are permenent as well and gives you a head start. It’s still meh but I wasn’t at all impressed with the NF collectors edition. I liked the Factioms one mostly for the Kunna

  10. I agree with KTR 100% on this. I was also hoping for more impressive in-game cosmetic items. /sad face

  11. I will still be purchasing the CE for the book and figurine. I feel like its almost necessary since I own all their other merchandise, but I do agree with you 100%. Divine Aura was hands down the best collectors item I have ever received in a game, the feeling when you hop on a character you’ve been playing for almost 7 years and still get people asking why your hands are glowing, the joy when you rolled a Dervish or Ritualist and found the updated auras for those classes, it was such a great feeling. I enjoyed the ghost dancers in Factions and the disco ball in Nightfall but Divine Aura was a much more simple and impressive bonus. I can’t think of a good reason for them to exclude something that seems so easy to implement and is also highly demanded by GW fans.

    I really hope they are not saving it for a cash shop item since I believe the joy of owning it was signaling to others you were an early adopter and this is the reward you reaped for supporting their game.

  12. I’ve been planning for a very long time to buy whatever Digital Deluxe version of this game they offered. The original’s special editions had some cool bonuses, and I figured that whatever they offered for GW2 would be at least as good as that.

    But it’s really not. I absolutely can’t justify $20 for, essentially, a single miniature. Unless they revise the bonus items soon, they’re going to lose my extra cash.

  13. I want a box to sit on my shelf, that’s a bit more valuable than the digital items, and I don’t really want a statue, so standard pre-order for me.

  14. Are we sure that the Rytlock mini is a pre-purchase bonus?
    It’s not really amazing but it sounded, at least in my head, as the only permanent way to say, as you very well put it: “I was one of the first.”.
    But is it? On the site only the early access, the beta weekends and the Hero’s Band are listed as pre-purchase bonuses. Will the Deluxe Digital edition be available after launch? If so, what’s left as evidence of our commitment?

    1. To me, the evidence of my commitment is my Hall of Monument Rewards from Guild Wars 1. What’s the commitment in buying a box.

      I have 50 points in my HoM and tons of stuff. I don’t know what they could have put in the CE to compete with that, but I strongly suspect they don’t want to. They want the HoM to be the thing to show your loyalty, not the CE for $20.

      1. I agree the stuff I’m getting from the HoM for 30pts is worth way more to me than any of the things they’re offering in the digital deluxe. Sticking with SE for sure. The one thing I would’ve liked would be special town clothes or something like that.

  15. I completely agree with the blog post. Very good analysis.

    I guess the only thing I’d like to add is that I don’t find this a big deal personally. I might grab the DDE for the Elite Skill and the miniature, but if I don’t, I’ll be happy with the SE and won’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything.

    I don’t get it from a marketing perspective. I think they could have found a better mix of items to drive DDE and CE sales, with out alienating SE players, but, hey, it’s only an extra 25% of box price revenue they are missing out on, for each person who decides there isn’t anything in the DDE worth $20, right? Who needs revenue? Arenanet/NCSoft don’t seem to want that extra $20 very badly. I guess that could be a good thing, but I tend to think it’s just a missed opportunity.

  16. I will be getting the DDE. The CE having physical stuff in it isn’t a benefit to me, it’s a drawback. I already have way too much junk, I don’t need any more. And for me buying the DDE isn’t so much about the goodies, but more a way to shove a little extra money in ArenaNet’s direction to say “thanks for making this game”.

    I do think that you’re making a fair number of assumptions regarding your criticism of the wolf skill though.

    To begin with, you’re basing your view of its worth based on the thought that people will always want to take the best skills. I do not think that is true. Oh, fair enough, in competitive PvP and explorer mode dungeons where every little counts that might be true, but for the most part I know I will select my skills based on which I find the most fun, not which are the most effective. If being able to summon a wolf is fun, then that’s the skill I will use even if I’m ‘gimping’ myself a bit with it.

    Besides, there are a lot of cases where you don’t have to be at your best. Imagine reaching level 80 and then going back to lower level zones. Why would you not equip such an elite skills? You’re already at the top-end of the scale (even scaled down you’ll be more powerful than those of the level you’re scaled to) so you can afford to give up a bit of power.

    You’re also assuming that the skill won’t be useful, based on the idea that selling a useful skill is equal to selling power. But if a skill of the exact same effect is obtainable by everyone then they’re not selling power, they’re just selling a different skin for a skill (and some convenience in getting the skill which is no different than the skill packs they sell for GW1).

    For the rest it really depends on the specifics of how the skill works. Though the description sounds like it’s meant for combat, I’d be happy with an elite skill that is practically useless in combat and which you tend to just bring out when in town. I envision going into town, swapping my practical elite skill out for this skill and then summoning to have a pet follow me around. I don’t think that it’ll work that way, but I’m saying that we don’t know the details so probably shouldn’t assume.

    Will I use the wold much in the end? I do not know and it’s quite possible that you’re right, that I will just take it out once or twice and then never use it again (looks more fun to me to be able to turn people into a moa). But I do know that I got the DDE for SWTOR and am still using the special speeder I got from it even at max level despite there being faster, better alternatives available (as a cybertech I can even make some myself) just because I like the look of it better (and it fits my character better). And I know that even if I don’t end up using the wolf, or any of the other goodies, at all then I still won’t regret giving ArenaNet a little extra money. Just like I bought some new costumes in GW1 a few months ago even though I haven’t played the game in over a year (and wouldn’t actually use the costume even if I did as I’m quite happy with my Dapper Tuxedo and top hat).

    1. 1) You will likely be able to shove money via the cash shop AND have more control over the goodies received.

      2) Good analysis, but I still feel all the good points to an elite skill feel like “seeking worth” instead of “obvious worth”. It gets pretty subjective there, I know. I do really like your idea about being level 80 and then starting to “play” more when you go back through lower level content. It feels right in line with my “just play” philosophy for GW2.

  17. My opinion is the elite skill was a bad idea because the consumer base does not have the details on how it works. As a result we need to fill in the blanks — and this ranges from a simple flashy skill to an OP game changer.

    I truly believe the elite skill is a “wow” skill for social areas. This would achieve the goal: “I bought the special version” status effect as you see in the previously mentioned GW1 CEs.

    This also keeps with ArenaNet’s adherence to not making pay-2-win items. A DE/CE item is “paid” for over the SE and I have to believe ANet would view it as such.

    Personally I don’t know if I’m getting the SE or DE at this point — but I’m getting something as soon as it’s availabe on 4.10!!!

  18. I was excited for the CE, until a friend of mine pointed things out. Items are temporary and i really dont care about miniatures or a unique elite skill. Those items I am sure will be in the cash shop, and lets be honest here guys. We live in the pirating age. 50% of the CE will be up on your favorite tracker within a couple days. The only thing that you will really get is the figure which personally I don’t want, would have been smart to have figures of each class and let us choose.

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