Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Renting virtual stuff

I was reading Kill Ten Rats review of Age of Wushu and came to the description of the cash shop: "The cash shop is an unmitigated disaster, with not a single item which becomes permanent to the player. Every item, cosmetic or not, has an expiration timer. Yes, you are basically renting." I very much agree with that assessment: Buying virtual stuff somehow feels a lot better than just renting it.

I'm relatively okay with the kind of virtual purchases that basically increase your xp or virtual currency gain for some time, whether that is in the form of a "premium subscription" or some sort of double xp scroll. But I absolutely hate the Asian games in which the gear you buy comes with a timer. I prefer to play games at my own rhythm, and I hate thinking that I "have to" play a certain game now, before something I bought expires.

My preferred items in any item store are those that not only last forever, but also are useful forever. For example more inventory space is something that you might buy early in your career and then use as long as you play that game. In comparison to that buying some sort of weapon or armor is probably not useful all that long, because there are game mechanics in place where you just outlevel that gear. For the same reason I don't like buying resources in a game that is about resource management, because they usually just speed up your progress for a little while and then are gone. But items you "use up", like gear or resources, are still better than items that might expire while you still have use for them.

I was shocked and at the same time heavily amused when I realized that every single inventory bag available in Wushu expires as well. Those made by tailors only last longer. I still have to laugh in a weird way, just thinking about it.

Maybe if they would have used some form of durability which cannot be restored, it would feel more familiar. Instead they put a blatant timer on bags, horses, etc. which ticks down as countdown in minutes. LOL!
Also absolutely hate expiring cash shop goods that aren't xp scrolls or something.

Aeria would have made a few bucks off of me had their costumes been permanent and not temporary.

Since these goods are 100% profit for the company essentially I'd think they'd want to price them so that as many players would buy as possible. I can see the though process about creating items that need to be continually bought, but I don't think it leaves a good taste in the customers mouth.
That's also why I am so against the Monthly paiment model of traditionnal MMO. I hate renting virtual stuff.

To be more precise, I hate renting when I am not sure I will use it. And in games, I am never sure when I will use them.

To subscription model lover : what is the difference between paying a subscription and paying each month for inventory bag ?
That's called money money money... :P I don't really mind what sort of ploys any cash shop offers because I generally never buy anything.

If you can't beat the game without paying to win, then it's probably not one you should be playing.
The absurd thing is that even the stuff you "buy" is temporary, either because it is no longer useful, you quit the game or the game shuts down. When I saw the title, I actual thought this was the commentary you were going to make.

I would think that if the player is still playing after a year (or whenever the purchase expires), this would be something to reward in hopes to encourage that kind of loyalty. This just seems like a poor marketing/financial decision to me, it is costing them money.
Whether or not something like this is comparable to other things we are more familiar with (Monthly payments, durability, XP scrolls, the fleeting nature of an online game whose server will one day go dark no matter what) this particular version of it is so...offensive to the mind it just instantly turns me off to the game.

Is that weird? I legitimately don't even want to try this game now. I may have never purchased anything from the cash shop in the first place, and if I cared about the game, I'm not big on cosmetic stuff but this
Ultimately, we rent everything, even our bodies. And as somebody pointed out, a subscription is a pure rental arrangement, so why fret about items?

This wouldn't bother me, although it might lose them some sales from items I might buy if they were notionally permanent.

To subscription model lover : what is the difference between paying a subscription and paying each month for inventory bag ?

With a sub, you pay for time to have fun. With renting crap from a store, you pay to not have to suffer, and then the rentals expire and you have to pay again.

People can relate to the former, because this has always been the case with entertainment.

Also, a sub is usually much cheaper in the long run. It's the same as buying a pricier pair of shoes that will last you 5 years, as opposed to buying 5 cheap pairs that will last you 1 year each.
So don't rent crap (or pay subs for crap). If the issue is value for money, pay attention to that, instead of diverting your ire to the pricing model.

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