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Reader Comments (46)

Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:07PM (Unverified) said

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Who makes these articles i wonder?
The number one cash shop item is the EXP POT, in 99% of Cash Shop MMOs

Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:29PM Leala said

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Where do you get that figure?
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:30PM Ocho said

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Which is funny, because in most f2p games, leveling to the top as fast as possible is what causes people to spend a LOT more than a normal sub fee per month, and then the subsequent flaming of f2p as money-hungry.

If I were to level all the way to the top in LotRO in the fastest amount of time, I would have to be buying all the content packs and bag spaces and mount and exp pots and cash cap lift all within the first month... and would very very easily spend well over the monthly sub in cash shop fees. If I take my time, complete some deeds, then I space out my leveling and can keep paying basically the sub price, except I can keep the content for future alts.

Its now a total mini-game in itself to accrue the most TP in-game possible... and to be honest, although I don't have to do it, I'm enjoying it. :)
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:38PM Beau Hindman said

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Well, I placed XP pots in the second highest-profit category, but of course I could be wrong. I am basing this off of my experiences and of chatting with fellow players/emails/comments.

Fashion items, or fluff pets, generally cost more as well so you could see how they could sell fewer items and make more money.

Beau
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:45PM Beau Hindman said

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Oops didn't see your comment, Mike! I think you are correct in saying that if a player chooses to level at high-speed, then they will probably spend a lot on XP pots. The question then becomes: how many players are choosing to level at top-speed?

Once again in my experience a lot of players are more concerned with what they can do now, and look like now, then getting to the top level fast enough to require spending regular amounts of money. I would like to note that while it is true that some players do spend more than 15 dollars a month on cash-shop items (including pots) most players do not. In fact, most players (according to the sources I have heard from) spend hardly nothing, if nothing at all. These games make most of their cash from the top 10 or 20 percent of players.

The free nature of these games tends to encourage...you know, lots of free players! :)

Beau
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:18PM Seraphina Brennan said

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First!

(Done with love for Beau.)

~Sera

Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:34PM Joshua Przygocki said

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Is this a joke or a fail?
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:47PM (Unverified) said

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Seems like a good article to me, why call it a joke or a fail?

I am curious as to what top items are at cash shops, it is a big part of MMOs and is only getting bigger and bigger.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 5:24PM Joshua Przygocki said

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@Naug

I'm talking about Seraphina's FIRST!
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 5:46PM Cendres said

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She's just making dreams come true... SECOND!
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:28PM Jeremy G said

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Third!!!!

Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:42PM cic said

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Interesting, one of the categories you 'love' is pay to win items. Even if they are not as common as you have stated they're a total deal breaker for myself. I guess I will be staying away from Shin Megami Tensei. Thanks for the heads-up :)

Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 5:21PM Pingles said

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Does it REALLY matter whether the guy you are PvPing got that sword from having his Guildies drag him along a four hour raid or if he paid six dollars for it?

He's fighting you with it. Heck, if he bought it chances are he's gonna be an easy kill, right?
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 5:31PM cic said

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No, if items bought from the cash shop are more powerful then in game items it makes a really big difference, game breaking for those that can't invest or keep up with the ones that have a higher disposable income. This isn't a time is money argument.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 4:49PM (Unverified) said

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Most cash will inch worm more and more towards what some would call pay to win items. The devs will simply push/change the definitions on what they consider unbalancing items..slowly.

It is too good of a revenue source to pass up

Posted: Sep 23rd 2010 10:57AM Valdamar said

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Yeah this is what I fear. The move from P2P to item mall F2P models is a slippery slope - and publishers, developers and gaming journalists seem to be pushing us down that slope even faster lately - trying to bend public perception by convincing us that really the majority of people like spending money on micro-transactions. I think that greed to nickel & dime players into spending money to remain effective in an MMO could end up damaging the genre severely.

In a few years I suspect I'm going to find most MMOs unplayable because I'd have to spend a fortune to remain competitive - and while I can afford it I just don't think I'll find it good value when I'll be able to get more cost effective online gameplay fun out of non-massive online games. It irks me to spend large amounts on virtual items because there just isn't much cost of production there - oh sure, there was a creation cost originally, but there's no additional cost of production by unit - plus they can re-skin or change a few stats and shove something out as a new product - it becomes a licence to print money with no oversight. Micro-transactions they say, but what's "micro" about a sparkle pony that costs more than a month's subscription?

I also worry that when there's an item mall the gameplay balance goes out the window - instead of worrying about longevity, fun or satisfying progression in a game it instead becomes all about the quick profits the devs/publishers can make from the item mall. Why bother itemising dungeons/mobs properly in the world, when you can just sell the best loot instead? What happens to class balance when they decide to start selling more powerful prestige classes? What happens to PvP balance when you can pay to win by buying the best items in the game?

Journalists and the marketing departments of publishers are pushing very hard at the moment to get us to swallow this bitter pill - that F2P is the future and really the majority of us want item malls - I can see what's in it for the publishers (fat profits), but really what are the journalists getting out of it? Shouldn't they be on the side of the players? This isn't like serious journalism where newspapers/networks have political bias. If Massively wants to provide balanced journalism then where are all the articles supporting the opposite viewpoint? Sure, there's the occasional piece here and there, but not much.

Five years ago I was optimistic about the future of the MMO genre - now, after five years of terribly flawed MMO launches and item malls being bolted on to MMOs left and right I just think the future of the genre is pretty bleak - more broken launches and gameplay balance that depends on your perspective and how much you want to spend. What happened to games being fair and balanced with everyone starting from the same point and having the same opportunities?
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Posted: Sep 23rd 2010 11:29AM Beau Hindman said

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Vald: "...but really what are the journalists getting out of it? Shouldn't they be on the side of the players?"

I get this a lot, so I have to explain: I simply prefer the payment model. (NOTE: as I pointed out, this does not mean I do not play or enjoy sub games -- quite the opposite.) It is very possible to write about FTP games *while* enjoying sub games, as well. I do so and rest peacefully at night. I am a writer, columnist, and a news reporter. I assure you that my only intent with this column is to tell you what I think. Believe me, or not.

You have to ask why FTP seems like such a large issue, and why it is so popular with players (more popular than subs.) That's because it works for *a lot* of people. I am no one's "side." This is not a division over quality or gameplay -- some choose to make it a division equal to political parties, but I can assure you that it's not so sinister with me. :)

Thanks for your comments!

Beau
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 5:04PM Teiraa said

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The title of this post contains some sad irony:
What do "free for all" and "cash shop" have in common?
*sigh*

Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 5:12PM xilr said

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I wish your analysis were right. I wish "fluff items" were the prime source of cash for F2P MMOs. The problem is, your not right. Look at the "Best Sellers" in LOTRO/DDO they are all items that make your character stronger (Permanently adds +X). Look at the "Best Sellers" in Battle of the Immortals they too are all items that directly make your character stronger (Mount gems, Pet Growth Fruit, etc...) Look at any match in League of Legends. You will see all the expensive champions that needed to be purchased with real money (oh please, spare me the 6300ip is fine stuff) but you wont see many character skins (fluff).

People pay money for real power. Best seller lists confirm this. Its rare to see 'a_silly_clothing_item01' being on the best seller list. This is why F2P games cost more than subscription games. People will drop the big money to be the best, they aren't buying a new dress to wear around town.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2010 5:34PM (Unverified) said

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There is nothing more wrong with spending money on power as opposed to spending time to gain power.

People have both resources in different quantities and neither from the player side is more "right" than the other.
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