Guild Wars 2 screenshot of the Forged Warhound Jackal skin

Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire's very first balance patch arrived a couple of days ago, bringing with it some much needed quality of life changes and tweaks to pretty much all of the classes. While the update itself ended up being favorably received, it was quickly overshadowed by just how ridiculous the new Loot Boxes are. Instead of being able to buy or earn the exact mount skin you want, you have to buy Mount Adoption Licenses for 400 Gems ($5), each one of which gives you a random unique skin. Since there are 30 different mount skins in the box, most of which aren't exactly interesting, I think you can see why the Guild Wars 2 community was in such an uproar over the past few days.

ArenaNet has since then released an official response addressing the whole Loot Box controversy, and while nothing will be changing for this batch of skins you might be glad to hear that they will focus on bundles and individual cosmetics for future releases. Here's the full message:

"We made a commitment to you in March 2012 that we’d fund GW2 live development through non-pay-to-win microtransactions. We try different ideas, but we always hold true to that commitment. We’ve been collecting and discussing your feedback on the Mount Adoption License, and today I’d like to acknowledge and respond to the concerns you’ve raised, and to share our perspective with you.

You have valid concerns about random boxes. We hoped that the design of the Mount Adoption License would be reassuring. In this case, we made some missteps:

At a time when there’s a lot of debate about random boxes in gaming, we should have anticipated that a new system with a random element would cause alarm.

We released mount skins with three different purchase models, but with the majority of skins released so far through the Adoption License. It’s easy to perceive this as intentionally channeling you toward randomization.

The Adoption License is a large set at 30 skins. We stand by the work our artists put into each skin, but it’s understandable to see this as pushing down the odds of acquiring any one skin, and to worry that we might add more skins to lower the chances further.

Here are some of the benefits we had in mind when designing the Mount Adoption License:

You get a brand-new, unique mount skin every time, for a substantial discount versus an individual purchase price.

It uses a progressive mechanic. Every license gives you a new skin to use and increases the odds of acquiring any remaining skins.

You’ve requested variety, and this is a way to support variety. Individual sale is a mechanic that works with a few, flashy skins. Using a grab bag mechanic gives us leeway to create skins to suit a wide range of player tastes while offering a lower price per skin.

Microtransactions can be polarizing, and we’ve received both positive and negative feedback on the license. We won’t change the existing license in a way that would invalidate the investment players have made, but I want to confirm to you that our next planned mount skin releases will focus on individual sales like the Reforged Warhound and bundles like the Spooky Mounts Pack. We will not add any skins to the currently available Adoption License, thus not pushing down the odds of acquiring any one skin in that set.

We appreciate the thoughtful feedback many of you have provided, and that you hold us to high standards for monetization. It’s been a challenging but wonderful goal to support live development and Living World purely through optional microtransactions, and it’s your support that’s made that possible. Thank you."

While I do like the idea of mount skins, especially in Guild Wars 2 given how awesome the mounts truly are, I'm not exactly happy with how ArenaNet is trying to make them so expensive. I personally found the Spooky Mounts Pack to be a little bit pricey at 1600 Gems (400 per each mount), but the newly added Reforged Warhound is absolutely ridiculous at 2000 Gems for a single skin!

I am aware that a lot of work goes into these mount cosmetics, but paying $20 for a single mount skin is quite frankly ridiculous, especially when you consider how far that money will take you during a Steam sale. I might be fighting against windmills here given how accepted microtranscations have become, but I sure do miss the days when you earned fancy cosmetics through in-game accomplishments rather than the swipe of a credit card.