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.