And after following Keen and other commentary, I’m struck with a recurring theme. That the problem lies in Allods implementation of the Microtransaction model, not in the model itself. This train of thought is best summed up by Heartless Gamer who wrote:
Lets forget about the cash shop for a minute; these changes don't make sense for any business model. Unavoidable, hours long death penalties? In a game designed to have players die repeatedly? This is a classic case of the punishment (fear of death) not fitting the crime (death). I would have as much of a problem with these changes in a subscription game where I would have to grind away my time for perfume, something more valuable to me than my cash.Heartless_ is making the argument that we would hate this type of penalty in any game. He argues that if this change were made in a subscription game, players would still be up in arms about it. Very true. But with one critical difference, in Allods, you can PAY to avoid the penalty.
What if it didn’t cost $13.50 for a stack of twenty perfume?
What if it cost $0.25 for a stack of 1000 that would last you an entire year? It might be the most heinous and horrible death penalty in the world, but if you only had to pay 25 cents to avoid it for an entire year is it really a problem? If you don’t pay the measly $0.25 , then aren’t you just punishing yourself? I mean 25 cents is so inconsequential that anyone can pay it.
If the problem is that inconsequential and easily avoidable, why is it that big a deal?
And the moment you concede the point that $0.25 is inconsequential and not a big deal, then you’ve just accepted that developers can implement horrible design changes and you are OK with paying to avoid them.
All you are doing after that is negotiating the price.
For Keen, the $13.50 is too high. Twenty-five cents is acceptable.
But WHY is it acceptable?
The question I’m raising is why is $0.25 acceptable and $13.50 is not? In both scenarios, you are paying to avoid something bad that the developer artificially created to inconvenience you.
The price doesn’t matter. The fact that they are manipulating you to make you pay is what matters.
Why would you willingly accept that manipulation? I’m constantly amazed that people accept this as a matter of course because they see the price as inconsequential.
Who cares if the price is small? You are being duped into paying for bad game design. You are paying to AVOID an obstacle. That’s a problem with the model – not with the implementation.
Part of the problem is where we need to draw the line. The type of transactions I’ve been talking about are the ones that directly influence how you play the game. I’m against Microtransactions in general, but these are the main ones we need to make sure we never support.
It’s a bit harder to argue against Microtransactions that are merely cosmetic. A $10 minipet is a complete non-factor. A $25 name, server, or even faction change is not terribly remarkable either. But none of those things directly impacts how quickly you progress in the game.
Paying for progress is simply bad for you as a player. It might be temporily convienant, but ultimately it’s bad for all of us that you are allowing the dev to manipulate you into paying.