The annual Guild Wars Wintersday has arrived. We get the usual, awesome tidings of newly balanced PvP snowball fights (complete with hidden rocks and yellow snow), grentchs stealing gifts from the poor war-torn children of Tyria right in town, and fun PvE quests. This all leads up to the finale between Dwayna, goddess of good holiday cheer, and Grenth, who would destroy it to determine what hats we can wear in the coming year. And, we all know how important hats are.
ArenaNet surprised us all with inclusion of costume slots in our inventory. They work similarly to Lord of the Rings Online outfit system where the thing equipped in the slot is what will show on the character but the stats derive from the actually equipped item. Unlike Lord of the Rings Online there are only two costume slots in Guild Wars: a headpiece slot and a costume slot.
The headpiece slot works for all the festival hats players have amassed over the four years. The costume slots works at this time for only the two new costumes, which are full bodied coveralls. They are beautifully designed; evocative of both Dwayna’s holiday spirit and Grenth’s darkness. And, they are $10 for the pair only on sale until mid-January.
The frivolity of the purchase can be compared to the recent World of Warcraft pet sale, where Blizzard sold pets for $10 each to play around with in its subscription game. My final thoughts in reading the swath of commentary was ‘I don’t tell other people how to spend their money.’ I can barely tell my wife how to spend my money, for Grenth’s sake. Blizzard offered what I considered a meaningless doodad, and if people wanted to buy it to show their IRL liquidity or to further stock their hidden menagerie, so be it. I thought it colored Blizzard a little (more) greedy, but hey, if they can make money in this more-than-fair manner, rock on, capitalism.
Now, that one of my favorite MMOs has done something similar, I understand a little bit more. It’s the same as buying a collector’s edition, but mid-stride instead of at the outset. If I choose to buy the costumes from ArenaNet, I am really buying a piece of art. Is it really so different from having won an exclusive cloak in Lord of the Rings Online (which I will never take off), or an ultra-coveted blue baby murloc in World of Warcraft? How about a collector’s edition horse or emote? I honestly, am not so sure.
Regardless, ArenaNet played the field well by adding in a great mechanic for free with the buyable one. I haven’t bought the costume package yet, but I am folding pretty quickly. I have played Guild Wars to the point where I’ve paid mere pennies an hour for almost two thousand hours of playtime. If nothing else, I’ll just let my money do the talking and receive two fun costumes in return.
you are not your f—ing khakis
Full go-kill-yourself FTC bureaucrat disclosure: I received a christmas card from ArenaNet.