This could be a game changer for the MMO genre. Guild Wars 2, one of the top MMORPGs for Mac, just became completely free, for the most part.

While at the Penny Arcade Expo, developer ArenaNet surprised fans with the announcement that the core game, including Guild Wars 2 for Mac, is now free to play. Free accounts will obviously have some limitations, but this is a smart move for a company that wants to attract more players just before they launch Heart of Thorns, Guild Wars 2’s first Expansion.

At least they are clear about it: “Our bet is that we still believe in buy-to-play, but all we want you to buy is Heart of Thorns“, said ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien.

Some of the limitations of free accounts are:

  • Less inventory space
  • A limit on how often they can begin whispered conversations with others
  • Not possible to send mail to other players
  • Will have to reach level 60 before taking part of the World vs. World mode

But much more importantly, you will have to purchase Heart of Thorns to take part of the brand-new raiding system. Guild of Wars 2’s raids will be a 10-player experience against extremely difficult bosses. Raids are nothing new to the genre, but ArenaNet aims to improve them and make them unique.

Guild Wars 2 Mac

Instead of watching UI bars move around (if you ever tried a 25-man raid in World of Warcraft with your guild, you know what I mean), you will have to stay focused on the action, including active combat, dodge-rolling and working with allies to perform combo attacks.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will release on October 23. If you’ve never played Guild Wars 2 before, this would be the perfect time to give it a try.