The original Buy-to-Play business model has since been modified by the introduction of totally free accounts (Play4Free), which include restrictions. You may see references to multiple different account types with varying access to content. Upgrading from P4F to other account types unlocks additional access and content. In order of decreasing access to content the different account types are:
- Full, unrestricted access to all content (sans Living World content), free to play after one-time purchases of both Path of Fire and End of Dragons.
- Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire (expansion), unrestricted access to core game and Path of Fire and Heart of Thorns content, free to play after one-time purchase, or Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons (expansion), unrestricted access to core game and End of Dragons content, free to play after one-time purchase.
- Guild Wars 2 (core), unrestricted access to core game, but no Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire or End of Dragons features, free to play after purchase, no longer available for purchase from ArenaNet.
- Free Account, restricted access to core game, no expansion features, unlimited time, totally free.
- Steam Account, same access as a free account, but with restrictions regarding account management and serial code redemption.
- Trial Account, obsolete (no longer available), limited time access with restrictions similar to free accounts.
Additional details on the differences between account types can be found on the Guild Wars 2 Account Types page.
Creating an account
A new account is created when using a 25-character alphanumeric serial code (also known as an access key). The serial code can appear on the distribution media or sent digitally via email. The serial code is associated with an email address and password that are entered into the login screen. Free accounts do not require a serial code.
- For account-related issues, players can create a support ticket or use the in-game support panel.
- If an account is compromised, then an Account Restoration can be requested.
- For Steam accounts, contact Steam support for issues with account access, management and Steam store/wallet purchases. For in-game issues and in-game gem store purchases, contact the Guild Wars 2 support team.
A free account can currently be upgraded by purchasing the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion or the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire expansion. Both include a new serial code. This serial code can be used to create a new account or upgrade an existing core or Play4Free account. Both expansions have 3 different editions: Standard, Deluxe and Ultimate. (See comparisons of the different editions for HoT and PoF). There is no discount available for those who purchased the original release (prior to August 2015), or the previous expansion(s), but you can buy Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire together. This bundle costs less than buying the two expansions separately.
There are three ways to purchase an upgrade: 1) via the Black Lion Trading Company; 2) by clicking the upgrade prompt always visible in the upper-left corner of free accounts, or 3) by make a purchase via the official website shop and then logging into the ArenaNet website to redeem the serial code.
Additionally, activation of a legacy "Heroic Edition" serial code will upgrade an account and lift all free-to-play restrictions without granting any expansion access. Heroic Edition keys were the retail equivalent to the original Digital Deluxe Upgrade - their sale has been discontinued, but they are occasionally issued during special promotions and existing keys are still functional.
Steam accounts cannot be upgraded with serial codes. Expansions must be purchased via Steam.
Many characteristics are associated with an account and shared by all characters on an account.
Each new account must select a home world as part of the initial setup. This selection is only relevant when accessing World versus World. Accounts can be transferred to a different world once every 7 days, if the new world is not full.
If there are no characters in the account then the transfer is free. Otherwise, there is a cost that is determined by the population of the new world. The account is logged out during the transfer process, which might take 5-30 minutes.
New (paid/fully unlocked) accounts receive the following:
- 5 character slots (initially empty) — additional character slots can be purchased from the Gem Store
- Account vault
- Starting equipment, received following character creation, which includes armor, a weapon, and a 20-slot bag.
- Achievements and titles
- Login rewards
- PvP Rank and PvP Reward Tracks
- World Experience
- Account bonuses
Upgrades and unlocks
- Contacts are shared across the entire account.
- Mail sent by another player can be read and deleted by any character in the account. However, selected game-generated mail can only be read and deleted by one character.
- Guilds can be associated with an account. Each character can choose to represent a different one of five guilds. Only one character per account needs to be invited, since each will show up in the guild roster as a single member, however, each character must individually press the "represent" button to enable their participation with that guild.
Certain limitations apply to all accounts. Guild Wars 2 (core) accounts do not have access to Heart of Thorns (expansion) or Path of Fire (expansion) features. In particular, they are not able to use gliding, obtain any mount and unlock the mastery points in central Tyria. Additional limitations apply only to free accounts.
Character level requirement
Some content is restricted until at least one character on the account has reached the minimum level requirement, after which all characters in the account have access, regardless of level.
Cannot compose mail until level 6, but may receive mail.
- User interface
- Map completion icons on World Map - hidden until level 4.
- World versus World icon — hidden until level 18.
- Structured PvP icon — hidden until level 22.
- Game mechanics
Hero challenges unlocked at level 11.
- Daily achievements
- 1 achievement per category — unlocked by default
- 3 achievements per category — unlocked at level 11
- 4 achievements per category — unlocked at level 31
Some content is restricted until sufficient real-world time has passed. The timer starts once a code for an expansion or the core game gets applied to the account.
- Three day
- Currency Exchange in the Gem store after account creation to combat botting and scams.
- All deposits and withdrawals to the Guild Vault after joining a Guild for verified accounts. The time remaining is shown on the Guild Vault display and the entire vault is "grayed out". This timer is reset if you leave and rejoin a guild. It is not affected by either Guild Rank or Vault permissions.
- Five day
- The trading post limits (ability to buy or sell certain items) are removed 5 days after code application.
- Access to the Guild Vault regardless of Guild Rank will become available 5 days after code application.
- Seven day
There is a restriction of 500 per week on the total amount any account may receive from a Guild Vault or via in-game mail. If this is exceeded using the Guild Vault then the "withdraw" button is "greyed out". If exceeded using in-game mail then when you hover over the "Take All" button", you may see:
This would exceed the value allowed to be received by this account this week. Each account can only receive 5,000,000 coins per week through in-game mail or the Guild Vault. Please wait and try again later.
— In-game message
- First month
The first 30 days following creation, a new account is limited as follows:
- Amount of coin or item with assigned value that can be mailed. However, any amount can be received.
- Value of items both deposited into and withdrawn from a Guild Vault.
The amount you are allowed increases by approximately one gold every 10 hours. The exact amount of the coin limit is determined by the level of the highest level character of the account. When this amount is exceeded, the error message that appears is:
This transfer would exceed the total value of transfers allowed for new accounts. As you continue to play, your account will be allowed to transfer higher values. New account limits are necessary to protect your online experience from fraud and illegal trading. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience.
— In-game message
Free accounts have a number of additional restrictions placed on them, with the intent of preventing malicious persons from using them to disrupt the game and to encourage purchase of the game.
- Initial character slots (2). The other 3 of 5 initial slots are locked.
- Bag slots per character (3): 20 Slot Starter Bag plus 2 expansion slots, initially empty.
- In-game mail limited to mutual friends; prohibits sending coin and items, but they can both be received.
- Guild hall features: Guild Vault, Guild Enhancements and Guild Portal are unavailable, but full access to all other guild features.
- Login rewards unavailable (Can get "Dailies" reward if you happen across them and complete them).
- Gem Store limited to items usable by free accounts
- Currency Exchange — gems to gold exchange available, gold to gems exchange unavailable
- Transferring to different worlds is unavailable, except through customer service. (Customer service will, as a one-time service, assist free players who initially chose the wrong server.)
- Official forum posting unavailable
Character level requirement
- Only starter maps can be accessed until character level 10.
- There is one waypoint in every starting area automatically available for transport before level 35.
- Attempting to leave the starting area will give the following message: "You must be level 10 to enter this area. You can open your map by pressing M to travel to other starting zones. Upgrade your account with a Guild Wars 2 expansion to access this area immediately."
- Lion's Arch is unlocked at character level 35.
- Attempting to enter Lion's Arch before level 35 will give the following message: "You must be level 35 to enter this area. You can open your map by pressing M and travel to other starting zones. Upgrade your account with a Guild Wars 2 expansion to access this area immediately."
- PvP is unlocked once any character reaches level 3.
- Looking For Group is unlocked once any character reaches level 30.
- World versus World is unlocked once any character reaches level 60.
- Map chat messages are rate-limited.
- Whisper chat is limited to mutual friends and people in the same map. Mentors can talk to players via whisper.
- For non-friends, can only whisper one new person every 30 seconds.
- Players cannot use custom emotes. (/e, /me, etc., but can still use emotes such as /talk, /dance, etc.)
- Squad chat unlocked at character level 30.
- PvP chat:
- team chat available
- PvP Lobby chat unlocked at PvP Rank 20
- emotes, map chat, and say chat disabled during matches
Trading Post is limited, either for buying or selling, to items from a selected list, which are as follows:
- fine, masterwork, rare and exotic crafted armor, crafted weapons (including Primordus weapons) and trinkets, but only:
- Single attribute: Mighty, Precise, Resilient, Vital, Malign, Healing
- Dual attribute: Hearty, Honed, Hunter's, Ravaging, Rejuvenating, Strong, Vigorous
- Triple attribute: Apothecary's, Assassin's, Berserker's, Carrion, Cleric's, Knight's, Rampager's, Valkyrie
- orbs, crystals, shards etc. with the above-mentioned stats (incl. Passion Flower)
- Agony Infusions
- unrefined common crafting materials (no pigments)
- fine crafting materials: blood, bones, claws, dust, fangs, scales, totems, venom sacs, karka shells, watchwork sprockets
- nearly all cooking materials
- some food and utilities: Plate of Truffle Steak, Bowl of Lemongrass Poultry Soup, Bowl of Poultry and Leek Soup, Orange Cake, Mango Pie, Glazed Peach Tart, Strawberry Ghost, Master Tuning Crystal, Superior Sharpening Stone, Master Maintenance Oil
- Globs of Ectoplasm, Mystic Coins, Quartz Crystals, Pieces of Ambrite
- Unidentified Dyes
- Trick-or-Treat Bags
- Wintersday Gifts
- Black Lion Chests
- some bags: 10 Slot Thin Leather Pack, 15 Slot Rugged Leather Pack, 18 Slot Mithril Box, 18 Slot Silk Bag, 18 Slot Thick Leather Pack
Not allowed items will be grayed-out with a locked symbol in the lower-left corner.
- Primary article: Steam
Steam accounts have the following restrictions:
- Only accounts created via Steam can be used to log in to the game via Steam. Accounts created through the Guild Wars 2 website cannot be transferred to Steam.
- Account authentication from ArenaNet is not available. Steam may have authentication options for Steam accounts.
- Gem codes cannot be added to a Steam account in game or on the website.
- Expansion game codes cannot be added to a Steam account. Expansions must be purchased via Steam.
- A Guild Wars account cannot be linked to a Guild Wars 2 Steam account. However, a Guild Wars account created via Steam can be linked to a non-Steam Guild Wars 2 account.
Free to play accounts can be created through Steam but will have the additional limitations of #Free accounts as described above.
Linking a Guild Wars account
Accounts (excluding Steam accounts) can be linked to an original Guild Wars account and gain bonuses through the Hall of Monuments. This service is available in the Game Content section on the official My Account website.
Unlock access to your earned achievements and rewards by linking your Guild Wars account with your ArenaNet account. Enter your original Guild Wars account name and password below to link your accounts. To calculate your achievements and rewards, visit the Hall of Monuments.
Linking is irreversible. Once both accounts are linked, your ArenaNet account information will be used to log in to both Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.
— My Account website
- Steam Accounts became available on August 23, 2022.
- Free Accounts became available on August 29, 2015.
- Trial Accounts were previously available during trial weekends and had similar restrictions as the Free Accounts.