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MMORPG - our Virtual Worlds are under attack. Log in and fight dammit!

Our genera is under fire by a generation of gamers for whom the term MMORPG represents an extension of Animal Crossing or Battlefield 2. Writers are telling gamers to buy buffs from people who control the need for them. I hope it's just a Secret World ARG

Author: Cyberdeck7

How Others' Item Purchases Affect Your Gameplay

Posted by Cyberdeck7 Tuesday May 8 2012 at 3:41PM
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I recently ran across a comment on another MMO blog where they were discussing the item shop in GW2. I thought my response did a good job of summing up my arguments against cash shops in general, so I reposted it here.

"Explain to me how someone else using an EXP boost or anything else from the cash shop is negatively affecting your game play experience. Keep in mind that in PVP you get auto brought up to max level, and that you're never competing with anyone on your server."

To do so would first require you to accept the premise that there are other possible forms of achievement in these games besides conquest in combat. In some older titles, you could play to be the best dressed, play to dominate the market or play to be the crafter that outfitted your guild all in black.


This current view that all things cosmetic do not affect game play belies the major assumption that the only thing of value achievement-wise or competition-wise is combat because these item shops completely bork all other play styles.


Even tossing all that aside, if you can accept that people play for different reasons than yourself and value their fun as well as your own then you can see that many, many people play to hit cap first or for play for guild or server 'firsts.' In the case of XP boosts being available for cash, this play style is completely screwed as players or guilds with more disposable cash have a better chance to get there first by directly buying it.


Even if you don't consider these valid goals (it's not why I play either) saying that XP boosts don't affect game play means that they don't affect YOUR game play therefore the converse must also be true - removing them wouldn't affect you in the least.


But they have to make money!!! you say.

I agree and they should be paid well for good work. Make it a sub game and kill the cash shop.


In a nutshell, this post highlights the major reasons I'm against cash shops in any form - they limit the valid play styles. Anything available for cash removes an achievement type from the game and hands it over to people with more cash than common sense who want to treat MMOs not like virtual worlds, but like Dress up Barbie joins the Army.


This has the direct effect of homogenizing the player base down to people who only value combat as an achievement or in competition. It kills the variety of the player base and is precisely why these games are feeling so anemic.


Buying something for cash in a game is the real world equivalent of having everything handed to you. There's just nothing left to do in these games that's worth doing except to fight.

Ergload writes:

I agree with you that while people think cash shops only create imbalance in PvP, things like EXP boosts and cosmetics can also create imbalance if the game has a focus on these areas as well.

For instance, I play a F2P game that has optional subscription. The only thing you get from subscription is XP boost and monthly tokens to spend @ cash shop. They also have weekly XP rankings and contests. The winners are always people with lots of cash-shop items. But people without cash shop items also enjoy competing, even if they don't win, because there is usually some kind of reward just for competing, like double-experience or earning cash-shop currency @ 100 kills. So I think there is something for everyone, and that players will accept that cash-shops create imbalance as long as there is something for everyone, and also they might actually enjoy competing with that sort of handicap. Coming close to or even beating someone who has spent lots and lots of money on a game because you were more skillful is a heck of an ego-boost.

Tue May 08 2012 4:08PM Report
Cyberdeck7 writes: Thank you for your comment! Tue May 08 2012 9:20PM Report
danadana writes:

Good article. I have to say, the fact that some people can pay lots of money and thereby have an advantage over me bothers me no more than the fact that someone can have no life and play 16 hours a day and thereby have an advantage over me! But you are right that if certain sorts of goals are set up for you in the game, and it's set up so you really can't compete against someone who paid if you haven't, that does remove the point of that particular goal.

Wed May 09 2012 12:28PM Report writes:
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