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Reader Comments (41)

Posted: May 21st 2010 9:14PM (Unverified) said

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And for everyone so blinded by fanboi hatred of Blizzard because they're the biggest penis in the haystack, the reason the comparison is made is because these two games are subscription based games. "F2P" games, by their very model, MUST charge ridiculous prices for cash shop items, as it is the paying customers who are subsidizing the non-paying ones. If they priced reasonably, they may as well be a subscription based game at that point. Comparisons to F2P games are completely invalid.
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Posted: May 21st 2010 9:52PM Orvidos said

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". . .they're the biggest penis in the haystack. . ."

My mind is blown.

I tend to agree with you, on most points. Micro-transactions (bullshit or otherwise) are on the horizon, like the many-headed hydra waiting to swoop in and eat wallets.

That's not to say I support them, I just think it's bound to happen.
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Posted: May 21st 2010 10:31PM Rialle said

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Didn't like in in WoW. Don't like it in EQ2. Won't like it in every other game that mimics it.

@Drew

It isn't as much as voting with my wallet as if I don't like the way a developer is taking their game, I'll personally stop playing. It'd be nice if a significant amount of others do so as well, but at least in the case of WoW, Blizzard still has so many fanboys treating everything that they do as being perfect that I know it won't matter in the short term.

Ultimately, it isn't just Sparklepony that made me axe all of my plans to go back to WoW this summer, there were quite a few factors that lead to it, but I can add that mount to a long list of growing problems I had with the game which. I can't speak for EQ2's current player base or state, since I haven't played that game in over a year.

I have a strong feeling that DLC will become more overpriced, and the amount of advantages you can get in cash shops are going to increase for a few more years, but this will ultimately make way for a crash when someone (probably Activision or EA) tries to lock too much of a game behind DLC or drops server support for a game with heavy DLC too quickly (to force people to buy the sequel/next version) thereby rendering the map packs or whatever completely worthless.

Posted: May 21st 2010 10:48PM Beau Hindman said

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Drew: Wizard 101 is not a free game, it has a hefty trial but is subscription based. And I witnessed first hand the mount drama that happened there...we actually toured the studio and got the very first look at them while they were made. The last number I heard for that game was 5 million accounts, much larger than many of the PTP games that this site covers.

As far as FTP being an invalid comparison, I think you might be wrong. This is assuming that the players of FTP have never experienced, or do or do not care, what is happening in a PTP world. The point is that many players are fine paying large sums of money for virtual goods. Heck, take away the mounts and you still have cash shops making LARGE amounts. And while it can be argued that they are doing this to make up for the "lack of a sub," we are talking about players spending, sometimes, well over the standard 15 dollars a month.

Add on top of that the point that players are willing to spend 100's on Collectors Editions, with their in-game items. This is as much a form of cash-shoppery as there can be.

Beau

Posted: May 21st 2010 11:43PM Rialle said

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With the Blizzard collector's editions, at least, you are typically getting more than just the in-game item. At least with Blizzard, there are some other bonuses in the collector's edition such as a soundtrack and art book. There are physical bonus items, in other words.

That being said, it is likely that there will be WoW players who will buy the SC2 collector's edition just for the pet and barely touch the actual SC2 game.
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Posted: May 21st 2010 10:45PM CCon99 said

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So how long till Craptic has their first $25 ship in STO? How long till they add the first $25 power set or travel power for CO? It wouldn't surprise me if they go and charge $25 for the Caitian species they're creating in STO, especially the way people have been crying over them not being in since launch.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 12:04AM (Unverified) said

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I would like to ask the OP, how would you feel if someone bought it for you as a present? Would that change things?

Posted: May 22nd 2010 12:46AM (Unverified) said

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25 dollars????

Now I understand subscription based games trying to get a piece of the item shop action (because the vast majority of MMOers are F2P)

But what they are not understanding is their player base already pays them, so what's with the avalanche price? I mean, you gotta BUY the game, pay a monthly fee AND they sell extras at higher then F2P game prices??? I hate to say it but...the game isn't all that good to add insult to injury.

This is the sort of thing that is slowly driving the P2P market down. NPD says the P2P market share went from 30% to 18%. Why? Because of crap like this.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 1:21AM JoeH42 said

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I think what people object to with this kind of thing, is that Blizzard and EQII are allowing people to just spend cash (or in the case of a lot of Blizzard players I'd have to assume their parent's cash, ha hah!) to get an object in the game where previously this type of object was gained by grinding rep, getting lucky, doing difficult feats (like killing bosses who dropped mounts), spending a lot of gold, or a combination of the above. It starts to cross the line between players feeling like they "earned" their mount to them feeling like other players just begged mom to take out the old credit card. And for a game like Blizzard that doesn't openly allow players to buy gold for RL cash this seems extra hypocritical. I wouldn't be allowed to spend cash to buy gold to buy a motorcycle of the AH but I can spend cash to buy a sparkle pony.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 3:07AM SgtBaker said

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Get over it people.
People have been selling virtual things for a long time.
Starting from MUD's in early 90s. That's like 10 years ago.

Find something new to get upset about, this is *very* old.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 4:01AM SgtBaker said

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Doh I fail at typing - s/1/2/g;
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Posted: May 22nd 2010 12:50PM Aetrix said

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Last I checked, the early 90s were 15-20 years ago...
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Posted: May 22nd 2010 3:27AM Graill440 said

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Weak minds come up with all kinds of reasons to do things. If you need an excuse, let it be spite, i wont think any less of you.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 4:58AM (Unverified) said

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It looks hideous though!

Posted: May 22nd 2010 8:02AM archipelagos said

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Great article. I'm really looking forward to seeing the sales of the EQ mount and if they managed to replicate a little of the sparkle ponies success. I agree with your statement about not buying into the practise if you dislike it: nothing - and I mean absolutely nothing - will get through to a developer as effectively as a vote with the wallet.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 10:43AM (Unverified) said

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In game prestige items used to mean something, now they don't. This is straight up greed imo. Oh but MMO's cost so much to make, boo hoo, blizz didn't need pony money, they just wanted it and knew they could take it. How long before they are selling lvl capped characters with epics for 3k? And some idiot will get on the local news for buying it.

I want to compete on a level playing field in my MMO's, simple as that, this kind of shit undercuts that dynamic.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 11:56AM (Unverified) said

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Hah! When the announcement went out on Facebook that SOE was selling a $25 mount on the Station Store I instantly wondered "What will Seraphina say"? I appreciate that you stuck to your guns with it. I know its tough. I play WoW a lot and I really wanted to buy that sparkle pony but I then thought about how I have bought three older MMOs on Steam for the cost that mount. There's no value there.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 1:06PM Aetrix said

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"You can let them know exactly how you feel by simply telling them that you don't want this in your game, and then by following through and not buying the item (or items) in question. If it doesn't sell, you can be sure that it won't be coming back."

Let's say it takes a combined developer effort of 40 manhours to create the models, textures, and code to add one of these mounts to the game from scratch. Lets say the average MMO developer makes $25 per hour (likely a high guess).

They only need to sell 40 of these things to make it a profitable venture. Even if 0.1% of wow's playerbase buys a sparklepony, Blizzard blizzard makes around a quarter million dollar return on a $1000 investment.

A lot of people will say that if they halved the price they might sell 4x as many units but do you think your wild guess is better than that of the marketing team who gets paid to think long and hard about how to maximize profits?

Those folks are bloody geniuses, and you can expect this to continue to become the norm.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 5:41PM BaronJuJu said

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I find it humorous that folks get up in arms after EQ2 copied a WOW idea of a $25 mount, yet not a peep on EQ2's $50 furniture packs that were out before WoW's pony. EQ2 also has $20 backpacks as well, yet not a cry was heard. As others have stated here, Wizard101 regularly offers items for $10, and $20 and this is marketed towards a much younger audience than EQ2. Its nothing new here.

I do agree on wishing the prices would come down considerably or that they would drop the "micro-transaction" claim, its just not. When Items are costing more than a months sub, you lose the right to call it "micro" anything in my opinion.

Love or hate it, these Item Shops are the new norm for MMO's. Price changes were bound to come sooner or later. You can't keep the same pricing model for almost a decade as the cost of making these games rise. I think many players just didn't expect the change to come in this form.

Posted: May 22nd 2010 11:00PM Samael said

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This is the entire problem with MTs in a sub game.

A lot of people are willing a to pay ridiculous amounts of money for somethings. If I were in that industry I would do the exact same thing. I would take a bit further as well to test the waters.

How far are the subscribers willing to be push?

That is the question everyone of those people will be asking right about now. $25 for a mount would have been ridiculous a few years back, but now two different games have started to offer it as a viable option, and people have shown enough interest in it for the industry to move towards these kind of pricing for things.

This is the fault of everyone that supports MTs in sub games. This is where the industry is headed, and we as gamers have allowed it to happen. One of these days everyone will ask "How did we let it get this bad?" The worse is yet to come if we do not vote with our wallets now then we will be paying for this for a long time to come.

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