Since its release in August of 2012 playing the subscription-free PC MMORPG Guild Wars 2 has been a simple matter of purchasing the initial game. Starting today you don't even have to do that.
"Revealed exclusively" by IGN a couple of days back, ArenaNet has dropped the purchase requirement for Guild Wars 2. Just hit up the website, sign up for a free account and download away. The announcement was officially made during today's Guild Wars 2 panel at PAX Prime, where the developer also revealed the 23 October release date for the game's first major expansion, Heart of Thorns and the inclusion of raid content in said expansion.
The new free accounts come with certain restrictions that do not apply to existing players. Free players will have fewer character and bag slots than paid players, for instance, and will be restricted to certain zones until level goals are released (level 10 to exit starter zones, level 60 for World Vs. World player versus player content). Free players will also be limited in how they can communicate to keep them from bothering paying customers. A full comparison of account types can be seen here.
Earlier this year players were up-in-arms over the $US50 pricing of the expansion pack -- now it makes a lot more sense. In order to upgrade from a free account to a paid account, new players will have to purchase the expansion pack at $US50, which is much more than they'd have paid for the original base game.
Existing players will also be receiving a Royal Guard outfit today, letting new free player know they were playing Guild Wars 2 before free-to-play was cool.