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Fiddle of Gold - Also Available in Shop

Posted Feb 19, 2010 by Jon Wood

Fiddle of Gold - Also Available in Shop's Jaime Skelton continues her Player Perspectives blog this week by talking about microtransactions and the MMORPG community's contradictory reactions to them as a whole.

Jaime Skelton

Looking back a little over a year ago, microtransactions were a rarely talked about issue. They existed in only two common contexts: the item shops of free-to-play MMOs, and account services for subscription MMOs. Both of these microtransaction situations have been commonly accepted. Free-to-plays certainly have to get funding from some source to keep their games running; their item shops allow them to sell subscription packages as well as both utilitarian and cosmetic items. Charges for account services (most commonly server transfers and name changes) in pay-to-play games, on the other hand, deter abuse of those services by players attempting to cheat others and then hide anonymously among the community.

One notable exception from these two contexts stands out: Sony Online Entertainment's Marketplace, an item shop built for EverQuest and EverQuest II (now expanded to Free Realms). Announced in December 2008, the Marketplace was created with the intent of offering a flexible way to pay for account services and offer “cool stuff” for players across their games. From the day Station Cash was introduced, Smedley stated that “we will NOT add ANY microtransactions that will disrupt the integrity of these games.” Yet the day it opened, the Marketplace offered experience potions beside the “fluff.” The feedback posted by players was in no way positive, and ranged from rage-quits to a grumbling acceptance. Over time, the Marketplace has come to be accepted by the player base, with occasional uprisings at new items, such as the race change potion offered a few months ago after a change to racial abilities.

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