More items have been revealed that will be coming to the existing Blizzard cash store.
MMO Champion has a lovely write-up with videos and pictures of the new stuffs.
There are lovely helms with animation that are purely for transmog, and some cute functional items, one for playing on a teeter-totter and another item that gives mounts to a whole raid.. temporarily, I’m sure.
This is causing me to stop and re-evaluate my position on the store concept.
Er, wait.. why?
Here is what my true, inner-gut reaction was to the new items that were revealed.
“Wow, those helms are incredibly cool. That ice helm in particular is just amazing. And the hitching post to give your entire raid team the look of a thundering army on top of the same horse model? What a neat concept.”
“But why are they putting such cool items with excellent art assets in a store to buy instead of in the game I already pay for? If they’re going to be spending development resources making a LOT of super-cool items in a short period of time, I expect them to be included in the game somewhere to find or earn.”
That was my true reaction. I could lie, but that is how I felt, and it made me question a few things about my attitude towards the game itself.
I’ve long said I love World of Warcraft for what it is, and you’ll have to pry my account from my cold, dead fingers. Or, y’know, close the servers down. When the last fortress on Azeroth is overrun, I’ll be the one lowering the Alliance flag.
What I didn’t realize was how much the monthly subscription fee was a part of my ‘WoW for life’ attitude.
Items for sale aren’t new to the game. That’s the funny thing. There have long been really cool items that you can only get by spending extra money, in some cases massive wads of cash, just to add them into the game we pay a subscription for.
I had no problem with those, so why would this be any different?
It all comes down to what I’ve felt was an unspoken agreement between me as a monthly subscriber and Blizzard as a content provider.
I will continue to pay my subscription fee every month, and in exchange Blizzard will continue to have their development team focused on creating and releasing fresh content for me to enjoy.
When we ask for more features, such as player housing, if the answer is “We are using those resources to create more quests instead, we prioritize our development resources on what will benefit the majority of players in the game, new quests for all or limited content for a few. You have to choose between the features you want and new content”, I accept that answer at face value.
When I suddenly see a flood of cool, fresh new items that have beautiful art assets/designs, and those items are going to be only for those who spend real cash money on them, I get irritated.
Those items look quite a lot nicer than a lot of what I see in the game. Sorry, but it’s true. There is some very nice art in there. There is genuine effort going into making those specifically desirable over items in the game.
The reason I’ve enjoyed the items previously in the Blizzard cash store has been their scarcity. They are few, and there has traditionally been a long time between new item releases.
A single pet design dropped in the store has never bothered me, when it’s both optional AND couldn’t possibly use up that many resources to make. A single pet every 4 months isn’t gonna kill anyone, and could even be a nice chore passed off to an intern. No worries.
If they are going to ramp up the design and production of a bunch of items that require unique art design and special coding, enough not just for three cute items in a Trading Card game run but a slew to populate a new store, I’m going to have a problem reconciling the use of those development assets on store shit instead of the game I pay for.
If you’ve got those assets available, then it is a conscious choice to use them for store stuff for added revenue instead of the content that has been asked for over the years, such as player housing.
No real changes here to what I do. I’m not rage quitting or even remotely thinking about it. Still paying to play the game, still having fun.
I can feel the quake, though. In my mind, we had a deal. I pay to play, you put the majority of your effort into stuff to drop in the game for me to enjoy.
I pay the money for the new expansions, for three accounts. I never cancel or suspend any of my accounts. Over the lifetime of the game, that’s been some investment on my part, and I’ve had my fun out of it, no question.
The deal has worked well, for both sides I think.
If you put in a cash store, I’m going to look very carefully at how much development time is going into the items there, and I’m going to be comparing, in my mind, the quality and style of those items over what is being added into the game for subscription payers.
If I start to feel that the best and brightest A-game materials are being reserved for the cash store, I’ll revisit my part of our agreement.
The quality of the game I play has been solid, never had any reason to complain, and I’m not starting now.
Just a fair warning. I’ve played other microtransaction driven games, I’m cynical as all hell about how they work based on actual experience, and I’ve got my eye on you.