Less than a month til pre-purchase starts. Anyone else excited? Let’s pull apart the bags of goodies and see what’s inside.
Starting off with the goodies that everyone will recieve – participation in beta, a 3 day headstart and the Hero’s Band. These items are a great incentive to pre-purchase the game. A million people want to participate in beta and few of them will get to do so for the end of March beta, so lumping inclusion in beta with any purchase helps people part with their cash now. Headstarts are becoming standard with MMO pre-purchases, and help developers by dispursing the population rather than creating a day 1 crunch on the starter zones. The Hero’s Band is a nice prestige item, but will undoubtably be surpassed by other items your character can get rather quickly.
The digital items included in the non-standard editions are a mixed bag. The mini Rytlock is arguably the most valuable of these as the Golem Butler, Chalice of Glory and Tome of Influence will expire. The elite skill is a potentially dangerous double edged sword for ArenaNet. Make it too powerful and buying something other than the standard edition creates a situation where paying money will result in being more powerful. Balance it too far the other way, which I believe is what will happen, and forking out the cash for something other than the standard edition becomes a less appealling prospect. On it’s own though, the mini is some sort of prestige item that shows that the owner forked over extra cash.
The Tome of Influence is very very interesting however. It indicates that members of guilds that bought something other than the Standard Edition can gift their guild a load of influence, which in turn guilds can spend on a number of upgrades. Considering guild-less players will be attracted to guilds that can offer them upgrades and bonuses relevant to their interests, they’re more likely to be drawn to organised guilds formed (and gelled together) before release. It makes the job of startups in Guild Wars 2 harder – like they didn’t have enough trouble with the multi-guild approach of Guild Wars 2.
When we get to the Collector’s Edition, I’m somewhat disappointed. The physical items are interesting to me, especially the soundtrack and making of book. Plus Rytlock will look awesome in my lounge. The reason I’m disappointed is that the only difference between the Deluxe Digital and Collectors Edition is the physical items. There’s no Divine Aura and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve regretted not buying the Prophecies CE for Divine Aura. No special dances (a Guild Wars staple) and no extra character slots. Ultimately, there’s nothing I can show someone in game to say I supported ArenaNet by purchasing the Collectors Edition and that’s a big glaring hole in the package being offered.
It turns the Collector’s Edition into a once per household purchase (as everyone can share the physical goods) rather than a once per player purchase.
A final word on pricing inequalities. The Collector’s Edition is pricey at $150, but UK and European residents will pay £130 and 150Euro respectively. Ravious brings up a good point in that this is likely a result of import and other taxes rather than ArenaNet feeling they can get away with charging more in overseas territories. However, that makes me feel worse about handing over £130, knowing that ArenaNet won’t necessarily recieve any more of my money for their efforts. And yes I would have liked to not have to pay as much, but then who the hell wouldn’t.
Less than a month til pre-purchase starts, better start saving.