Return of the Dawn of the Revenge of the Cash Shop

So, as posted on the EU community website, Cosmetic helms are now for sale in the cash shop Blizzard Store. And if you’re into gaudy, they’re not bad.

First of all: 15 US dollars ((That’s 12 Euro on this date.)) is not a microtransaction. I don’t care what your favorite omnibus WoW website says, I don’t care what your favorite MMO forum site says.  The cost of a month’s game time is not a microtransaction. So don’t call it that, and we’ll get along fine. ((We are straying dangerously into pet peeve territory, yes?))

Next item: will it affect the game at all?  I can’t really see how, other than consuming precious frame rate.  Seriously, what would a 25-man raid look like with these on everyone?  Will a new Alliance battleground strat involve wearing these and lagging the Horde out?  Considering that it’s gotten zero beta time, these are actually kinda relevant questions. But I’m SURE they’ve gotten EXTENSIVE testing in-house ((Kaff kaff /points at Theramore)).

Item the third: when will this hit the US?  Days? Hours? Before this post goes up ((Looks like: "no".))?  Update:  I found out at 2 PM (two hours after publish) that they’re now available in the US.

Item the fourth: what next?  Will we see matching robes, shoulders, cloaks? And sidebar: will the WoW punditry also insist on calling those other items "microtransactions" if they cost 15 bucks ((My money is on "yes".))?

The big one: how long until we see pay-to-win items?  And does this indeed signal the final death rattle of WoW ((I’m out of sarcasm tags, so use your "imagination".))?

that escalated quickly

Oops, sorry, accidentally plugged in to a forum.

The personal one: I’d almost buy the Firelord helm for Flora if she was into gaudy baubles. But in general none of this stuff speaks to my nature.  I seriously doubt that they’ll ever introduce a mog set that says "I work for a living" rather than "I’d like to think that I raid stuff you can’t even imagine."

The thoughtful one: It’s not just this stuff.  So much WoW raiding tier and its predecessor gear looks so hideous to me.  It’s covered with horns, and glitter, and flanges, and glitter, and orbs, and glitter, and ropey things, and glitter, and then they add glitter. SOME of the old vanilla tier stuff is okay ((Though that Rogue helm that looks like a respirator mask is just stupid.)) but for the most part, Blizz is in love with its art department, and its art department all apparently majored in "Ming the Merciless’ Court Trappings".

You thought I was joking

But the thing is, they wouldn’t keep getting more ridiculous with every tier if it weren’t for the users wanting, or at least encouraging it. Those of us that want a more functional approach to awesomeness are not as vocal or as profitable.

I am very much of the opinion that awesomeness is not a function of frills and special effects.  The most iconic weapons are often very much, shall we say, to the point.

Anduril, Flame of the West

Rather than …

I blame Cloud

Maybe Ming wasn’t at fault after all. 🙂

If you can’t please everyone, the best you can do is give them choices, and that’s where mogging came in in the first place. You may recall my own mogging preferences are somewhat more functional than what my armor actually looks like ((I mean, if I was wearing my tier gear, you wouldn’t be able to see my head, even with the helm hidden!)). And there are others that go the other way – well, I can certainly see the attraction of some Ulduar and Icecrown gear.

The Cheap One: What I would love to see with this sort of throwaway mog fodder is for it to (also) be sold for in-game currency of some sort, especially near the end of an expansion when people have piles of tokens and nothing to blow them on.  It would be a great JP dump, or Greater Tokens, or Halfhill Tokens, or what have you.

An even better approach would be to (a) make the items purchasable for a new special token type, (b) make it so you could buy that token in the cash shop (e.g.Neverwinter Zen), and (3) then also make that token purchasable for varying amounts of other in-game tokens, such as JP, Darkmoon tokens, etc.  That way, if one particular faction grind was "your thang", then you could, oh, I dunno, enjoy yourself while playing a game.

Because here’s the bottom line for me: they could make the perfect Hunter garb of all time available, and I’d not buy it for cash, not ever. I’m paying that much a month already.  I’m not even sure I’d pay for it if it was F2P.   Virtual items are pretty much gone as soon as you stop playing the game.  Game time, for all its ephemeral nature, gives you a month’s worth of enjoyment, whereas a hat isn’t even usable unless you pay more money.

But I might grind for it.

The Final One: The Godmother over at Alt:ernative had an interesting thought (or a dozen) about the cash shop ((She’s on a roll, folks.)), one which was the sale of armor dyes.  I do want armor dyes.  I especially want one like the one in Diablo III that makes your shoulder pieces go away. But I categorically do not want them to be part of the cash shop.  Special colors? Possible.  In general?  Not.  It might be close to a deal-breaker for me, a last sign of cynical money-grubbing from a company that swore up and down that Activision wouldn’t do that to it.  I can only swallow so much hypocrisy, and that would probably mark the high water ((Well, it looks like water from a distance.)) line.

Doing so would also eliminate one of the potential fun elements in-game: making of dyes.  I personally think this would be a great product for Scribes to make ((I know, I know, just throw more money at them.)) since they already have all sorts of dyes in the bank.  I think it would be great if they managed to exploit ALL of the herbs from Peacebloom to Golden Lotus to make different armor dyes.  They could just keep adding different shades of dye as new herbs came into being.  Heck, Ghost Mushrooms would be perfect for making armor invisible! ((If they do this, seriously, I want a quarter for every game they sell.))

I kind of doubt that will happen, though. I could be wrong, but they seem to be pushing down hard on the crafting game, and it’s starting to look like there is either a paradigm shift about to happen, or they’re starting to dismantle crafting as an mainstream part of the game. Certainly, it has problems.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.  At least the potential cash mounts will give us more people to admire as they preen on the bank steps and RP walk around Stormwind.

swaggah

Or something.

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Posted on July 17, 2013, in Blizzard, Blogosphereic echo chamber, Cashey Money, Game mechanics, Meta, Nobody likes a smartass, Relevant to my Interests, Stop me before I mog again, Swag, The future is scary. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. excellent post, as usual

    Like

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