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Reader Comments (11)

Posted: Mar 17th 2010 11:21AM johnnic1235 said

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I would also factor in the age of the game to an extent. "City of..." has been around almost 6 years. In that span of time, everything else I purchase has gone up in price - gas, food, widgets of all kinds. Even if you limit the comparison to digital entertainment, my cable/internet bill, movie prices, etc have all risen.

My MMO subscription price has stayed static.

Admittedly, MMO's have large front-end costs, but maintenance costs, especially salaries, can't be completely static. Plus, playerbase usually declines, absent a major re-investment of resources.

If the subscription price does not adjust for inflation, it's hard to complain about modest add-on packs that fit the other criteria in your article, especially if it helps sustains an aging but enjoyable game.

Posted: Mar 17th 2010 11:22AM (Unverified) said

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There's also the discussion that these boosters provide development for quality-of-life features that have made it into the mainstream game, such as costume change emotes (first only a part of boosters, now a part of the normal game).

Over the last two weeks, I've watched two friends come back to CoH. Within a week of playing, they were both window shopping the booster sets, and picked out a couple to tweak their characters. It was completely optional, entirely ancillary to the game, but it made it more fun for them. Paragon Studios is probably pulling quite a kickback from those sets, and the extra revenue is letting them improve the game by bumping forward feature releases like Ultra Mode (first a part of Going Rogue, now coming out with Issue 17) and the new powersets which have gotten fast-tracked through development.

I don't think they're necessary to play the game. When I buy boosters, I know I'm giving myself a little treat, and a little extra change to my favorite MMO. It's a good yardstick to measure player interest and feature quality (if it sucked, people don't buy it), but also expands upon the game in a direction that's not just raw gameplay content.

Posted: Mar 17th 2010 11:32AM (Unverified) said

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Quote "As far as this camp is concerned, they're already paying money for content. (It's technically incorrect -- you're paying for access to content -- "

actually this is incorrect. when COH first came out, you were paying for access to content....and new content. Every issue/patch update that came out, players were guaranteed new goodies and costume pieces added....for FREE at no cost to the player, it was included in their monthly sub.
Then, they got greedy and decided to change that and now all new costume pieces or at least the ones that look good, you have to PAY for now. So they took away something we used to get for free.

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"1. Not be vital in any way to enjoyment of the game. You shouldn't need them for leveling or to experience the full breadth of content, and players who don't buy anything shouldn't feel limited or stifled by not buying them."

In a game like COH, costume pieces and your characters appearance are incredibly important to the enjoyment of the game. They are what define your character. Take a look at that picture above of the hero in the shiny metal armor and wings. It does affect your playing experience when your playing next to someone in a fancy shiny costume like that and your sitting there next to him in your basic boring spandex tights costume. You want shiny nice armor and wings also. So I think COH is breaking your first rule there. Access to certain costume pieces does affect your enjoyment of the game.

Posted: Mar 17th 2010 11:41AM Thac0 said

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Perhaps you should change your costume to something thats not boring they have much more than spandex in the creator. The go craft yourself some wing, because you can do that. Then you can stop the QQ and play happy again.
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Posted: Mar 17th 2010 4:44PM (Unverified) said

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@themadmage:

I think you have a false sense of entitlement. Yes, standing in normal armour with standard wings next to a toon decked out in the Valkyrie outfit may make you feel a bit drab. But you know something, that's kind of what life is all about. Do you feel drab when you're parking your Civic next to some dude's Porsche? Does the guy owning a Porsche decrease your quality of life in any way?

Same with COH. You buy basic, you get basic. They still add more costume options with every update. Be thankful, the basic choices, by the time the booster packs started coming out were huge! Like Eliot said, it doesn't hinder you from playing the game or reaching 50. Both you and the Valkyrie will finish at the same time, with the same in-game advantage.

Those of us who can afford the boosters did so by spending extra. We chose to. If I couldn't afford getting a Booster I wanted, I'd save money till I could. Do you also whine about people who fly first class or live in a bigger house than you?
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Posted: Mar 17th 2010 12:17PM SkyStreak said

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Here's another thing that is an upside to Paragon Studios' implemenation of microtransactions: New tech.

The Wedding Pack was the first booster, and the response to that was so good that MCSoft greenlit moving up Villain Epic Archetypes by a few months.

The Magic Booster pack introduced costume change emotes, and while the ones that came with the pack weren't added to the game, the following issue introduced free costume change emotes.

The Martial Arts Booster introduced the Ninja Run 'power' and it looks like GR/issue after GR will introduce 'stances' (which evidence points to being a variation on the Ninja Run power). Also, the Walk 'power' (that had been long requested by the community) was introduced, and it was also a variation on the Ninja Run power.

So, in essence, everyone who plays CoH gets something out of the Booster Packs whether they buy them or not, it's just that people who do buy then get more.

This is in direct contrast to other games that are literally holding back items that very well could have been introduced so they can get more money out of people who are subscribers or have lifetime memberships.

Posted: Mar 17th 2010 12:46PM (Unverified) said

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"This is in direct contrast to other games that are literally holding back items that very well could have been introduced so they can get more money out of people who are subscribers or have lifetime memberships."

To be fair, this is pretty near impossible to prove by players one way or the other.
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Posted: Mar 17th 2010 1:16PM Cinnamoon said

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@Razreshat -- but when it does happen and when it is provable, it causes a massive stink.

Horse Armor DLC for Oblivion comes to mind -- the TES folks will never let Bethesda live that one down. The new rogue character coming in the Mass Effect 2 DLC (which character is already embedded on the disk, ie, was already planned-for) is another. And Cryptic's repeat gaffes are much-belabored here.

Not saying CoH is doing that, to be clear. I love their minipacks. One thing people overlook is that if you buy the various editions of CoH, you can often get a minipack bundled in, on the cheap, in addition to the free month. For example, if you purchase the $20 Mac Pack edition of CoH (which isn't Mac-required at all), it comes with a free month (~$15) and the Valkyrie costume pack -- and it WILL stack on your current game account, unless you have the Mac Pack specifically already. I picked up most of the packs last summer, therefore, for just $5 apiece.
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Posted: Mar 17th 2010 1:21PM wjowski said

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I honestly don't care if some MMO starts selling vanity-items in a cash shop or even having to pay for content...but once a game starts going 'Pay-To-Cheat' (I'm looking at you DDO) I'm not giving it my time or my business.

Posted: Mar 17th 2010 5:30PM SkyStreak said

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I'm basing this on:

a.) Paragon Studios saying as much (about their packs).

b.) The fact that said impovements didn't exist in-game prior to the Boosters, and variations were released after.

c.) When races/costumes/upgrades are availale on launch day, it is pretty clear that they were held back from general release in favor of being DLC. Particularly whe said items were incororated into the Beta and were pulled.

Not saying some items might have been pulled from Beta and needed time/manpower to fix, but when said item is virtually identical to how it appeared in Beta upon release as DLC it doesn't seem likely.

Can I 'prove' it?

No.

But there's a strong circumstantial case to support it.

Posted: Mar 17th 2010 8:30PM (Unverified) said

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For the person kvetching Paragon is charging for stuff that "used to be free"... oh, yes, because they have never-ever released ANYTHING for free once they started in on booster packs, right? They haven't introduced new taskforces (Reichsman), story arcs (The newer Cimeora stuff) entire systems previously decreed impossible (power customization) and nearly unique features (Architect system). Nope, they've just been money-grubbing jerks, is that right?

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