Mike O’Brien has a post at the ArenaNet blog on the vexatious-to-many topic of microtransactions:
Here’s our philosophy on microtransactions: We think players should have the opportunity to spend money on items that provide visual distinction and offer more ways to express themselves. They should also be able to spend money on account services and on time-saving convenience items. But it’s never OK for players to buy a game and not be able to enjoy what they paid for without additional purchases, and it’s never OK for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who don’t.
So, in addition to the gold economy for ordinary in-game transactions, and the karma economy we’ve seen in some of the press beta coverage, there’ll also be a gem economy for microtransactions. To address the concern about certain items only being available for gem purchase, it will be possible to buy gems with gold and vice-versa (so you can invest your in-game sweat equity building up your gold in order to trade for gems).
The in-game Trading Post (which will be discussed in another upcoming post at the ArenaNet blog) sounds like a huge improvement over what we’ve had in Guild Wars (I spent half an hour in Kamadan last night, trying to find an item and eventually gave up in despair).
Update: With all the concerns voiced in the community, ArenaNet posted an update to their Facebook page, addressing a couple of the more common worries:
Here are a few important clarifications about our microtransaction system. First, that gold is coming from other players. So somebody must have an abundance of gold if he trades it to a player. The system is not adding new gold from the outside.
Second, take into account the gem/gold trading system. Everything that is in the store will basically be available for gold with this system — so it doesn’t really matter what is in the store, as it is also available for players who play and don’t want to spend additional money. Hope that helps! ~RB2