Shroud of the Avatar is a new kind of phenomenon in the MMO landscape. A game I so wanted to love and help shape as a player when I first heard about it's Kickstarter. Right away though I heard the bells and whistles ringing. I heard the call of the monster demanding it's maw be filled with a substantial amount of cash. It was the different pledge levels that caught my eye in particular.
Want to be a part of the Development process? This is the level for you! Gain access to the private Developer Chat/Forums and help participate in guiding the game (estimated Developer Chat/Forums access in April 2013). You also get to help create a character in the game as well as name them. When everything’s said and done, we’ll put together a PDF document of various concepts and design documents.
I knew as soon as I saw that, that Shroud of the Avatar wanted to go a different route when it came to their game. It was a game that wasn't going to rely on the masses to shape it and make it what it should be. It was a game that was going to shaped by the upper class.
And already I began to be proved correctly when I saw what the chat was shaping into on Shroud of the Avatar's website. Clique's began to form at a rapid pace, and guess what people these cliques revolved around? The people who had Developer's status or higher. These people were the one's who were going to shape the game because they were the only ones allowed in guiding the game through the Developer Chat/Forums. I'm sure in some players heads that meant "make friends with them or get out."
Do you really think it was the developers alone who decided that housing was going to be a nickel and dime affair? Of course not. The upper class players were part of the process too. You know why? Because they can afford to buy several of the houses. The rich are going to be the ones who own all the land and plots. Then they will sell the houses and plots of land for twice or maybe even triple the amount on eBay.
This will become a cycle. The common people who can only afford $15 a month subscription game's will not be able to afford to play the Shroud of the Avatar as it is meant to be played because it has already been so substantially shaped by the upper class that there is no hope for the normal players to be able to even play the game with all the features everyone that participated in the Kickstarter was promised.
That's right. Richard Garriott is basically telling a large percentage of the people who helped shape his career and the large sums of cash he now has to "screw off" and find another game. And this is why I can only see this game going a few ways as of now.
The rich will monopolize Shroud of the Avatar, creating an economy that no normal player will be able to ever aspire to. This will begin with housing but quickly move onto crafting and other important aspects of the game. Basically like real life but worse because this was meant to be a game to escape real life.
Shroud of the Avatar will not be able to succeed because it has decided to depend on only the upper class for cash support (there are lower class options, but normal people will soon grow wise to how these don't really provide crap for them and no longer spend money on them). The upper class will move on, bored of Shroud of the Avatar because they have been able to buy everything with real cash, and so have received no lasting feelings of achievement from Shroud of the Avatar.
Shroud of the Avatar will be able to survive alone on cash from the upper class who are willing to spend exorbitant amounts of cash on the game.
If you haven't noticed by now a large portion of this blog entry is filled with satire, but it does ring with hints of truth. Unless Shroud of the Avatar begins listening and treating all of it's players equally when it comes to such things as important as housing, I really don't see a lasting future for the game.
There obviously needs to be some compromise and money made. I just don't understand why this can't be done through a cash shop since this is going to be an online game. It's already buy-to-play so I honestly don't understand the need for what I view as nickel-and-diming (more like a hundred dollar billing).
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