Desert Nomad: Diving deep into Black Desert’s cash shop

Hello, friends, and welcome back to Desert Nomad. This week, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about a subject that has been the focus of much debate in the wake of Black Desert’s official launch: the cash shop. There’s been more than a little bit of controversy surrounding the implementation of the cash shop in Black Desert, from the relatively extravagant prices of costumes and pets to the advantages conferred by certain cash-shop-exclusive items, most recently the ghillie suit.

Naturally, the debate has been rather impassioned on both sides, with plenty of polemical rhetoric streaming from each. Some players are adamant that Daum is just another avarice-driven company willing to stoop as low as is necessary to separate players from their hard-earned cash, while others hold steadfast to the argument that the cash shop is fine and that Daum is simply trying to turn a profit. In matters like this, however, I think that the truth tends to lie somewhere between the two extremes. The argument is, admittedly, an ultimately subjective one, as every player has his or her own parameters that determine when a game crosses the line into pay-to-win territory, I hope that by taking a closer look at the items on offer in Black Desert’s cash shop, we can at least shed some light on the points of contention and, with any luck, work toward figuring out some solutions to the issues that may prove problematic in the future.

First, let’s establish some conversion rates. All cash-shop items are purchased using a currency called Pearls, which itself is purchased using another currency called Daum Cash, which is itself purchased using another currency called U.S. dollars. Or pounds sterling, or whatever — insert your national currency of choice here. The point is, I’m never particularly thrilled when the cash shop process starts by having me pull out my credit card to buy an in-game currency so that I can then buy another in-game currency. Maybe I just feel threatened by basic arithmetic, but it bothers me that I can’t just look at the price (in in-game currency) of the item(s) I want to buy and then be able to see exactly how much real cash I’m going to need to buy the necessary amount. It feels like they’re relying on me to mess up the math (a safe bet), resulting in my buying more currency than I need — therefore spending more money — or buying less currency than I need and, since I’ve already spent the money and I’m a sucker for the sunk cost fallacy, shelling out for the rest — therefore spending more money.

Thankfully, however, the conversion rates make it clear that the whole “spend cash for currency to buy a different currency” business is just an exemplary demonstration of Hanlon’s Razor, which is to say that it’s just tedium, not trickery. You can buy Daum Cash in increments of 1000, 2000, 3000, 6000, and 10000 for $10, $20, $30, $60, and $100, respectively — all prices in USD, by the by. So that boils down to $10 per 1000 Daum Cash, or $1 per 100 Daum Cash. That’s simple enough for me, which means it’s probably simple enough for anyone. Simpler still, Daum Cash converts to Pearls at a one-to-one ratio, so that 1000 Daum Cash is worth 1000 Pearls. Easy peasy, but that admittedly makes me wonder why, exactly, the whole cash to Daum Cash to Pearls process is even necessary. Beyond my comprehension, I guess.

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Anyway, now that we’ve got that established, let me go ahead and lay out my personal opinion on the cash shop so that everything’s out in the open. So far, I’ve logged, according to my in-game log, 4 days, 18 hours, and 8 minutes in the game — that’s a total of roughly 114 hours in the game. Before anyone asks, no, I don’t leave my character AFK-fishing overnight, and yes, I do wonder if I may have a potentially crippling addiction, but we’re not here to talk about that. My point is that, in those 114 hours, I had not spent one cent on Daum Cash until about five minutes ago when I was writing the previous paragraph and wanted to confirm that 1000 Daum Cash was, in fact, $10 flat, which of course means that I’ve purchased nothing from the Pearl shop. I don’t personally feel that my gameplay experience has suffered one bit for my stinginess. But of course, my experience is not necessarily indicative of the experiences of the thousands of other players, and I do feel that many of those who have voiced disapproval of the game’s cash shop have some perfectly valid complaints.

We may as well go ahead and address the (remarkably well camouflaged) elephant in the room: the ghillie suit. Those of you who haven’t heard of it just need to know that the ghillie suit is a costume obtainable exclusively through the pearl shop (its actual name is the Treant Camouflage set, and it sells for 2900 Pearls aka $29 US), and it provides the wearer a +1 increase to the gathering skill and, more notably, hides the character’s nameplate from other players. A +1 to gathering is fairly negligible as far as I can figure, but it’s the nameplate-hiding feature that led to the now-notorious Reddit post wherein a colorblind player sadly states that he or she is leaving the game because the ghillie suit makes PvP unplayable, as the player’s colorblindness makes it impossible to keep track of other players without the aid of their nameplates.

There are a couple of problems that need to be addressed here, but I feel that the main issue has nothing to do with the ghillie suit itself: Simply put, developers frequently fail to provide some crucial yet fairly simple settings options to allow colorblind players to comfortably play the game. Now, I’m no expert on the logistics of the various types of colorblindness, but I know for a fact that it is entirely possible to include options for colorblind gamers. I’m not colorblind myself, but I feel like this is a case of a problem that can be solved with minimal effort, and it’s disappointing that Pearl Abyss/Daum didn’t put forth that effort when developing the game.

Again, I don’t feel like that problem has to do with the ghillie suit itself — it just manifested and exacerbated a larger problem — but in the Reddit thread, a user named paintitbronze (thank you for having a username that’s fit for print, by the way) suggested what I think is a remarkably simple and elegant solution: Simply change the ghillie suit’s functionality so that when you are in combat mode (i.e., when you have your weapons drawn), your nameplate becomes visible. The gathering bonus on the set suggests that it’s intended to be used to evade notice while gathering in hostile territory, and the suggested change would allow it to fulfill that purpose (in addition to the potential secondary purpose of covertly approaching enemies) without proving problematic to colorblind gamers.

The other problem it poses, though, is at once much simpler and infinitely trickier: As far as I know, the ghillie suit is the only (currently available) way to go about making your character’s nameplate invisible. Yes, all players can achieve the same effect by crouching or army-crawling, but both options severely limit your movement speed whereas the ghillie suit lets you keep your nameplate hidden at all times. While I’m not a huge fan of the general concept of cash-shop-exclusive gear with stat benefits, I firmly draw the line at cash-shop-exclusive gear with stat benefits that cannot be acquired through in-game (i.e., non-cash-shop) means.

It’s one thing to give paying players a slight leg up by providing them with a benefit that is perhaps difficult to obtain in-game — I don’t love it, but I can let it slide if the benefit isn’t outrageously imbalancing — but it’s another entirely to provide paying players with a benefit that is completely restricted from those who don’t fork over the dough. It’s also worth mentioning that there is an item in the game (a flare) that counters the nameplate-hiding effect of the ghillie suit, but by my understanding, the only way to get flares in the Western version at the game right now is to receive them as rewards from certain daily quests, as opposed to the Korean version of the game in which they can be crafted.

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But enough about the ghillie suit, let’s talk cash-shop gear in general. I’ve seen two primary forms of the anti-cash-shop-gear argument, the most prominent of which centers around the fact that the gear sets purchasable from the cash shop bestow stat bonuses. I think we can all agree that no one really likes it when cash-shop gear grants in-game stat benefits. Some players, myself included, may be willing to turn a blind eye to it as long as the benefits aren’t too extraordinary and don’t significantly affect game balance, but no one in the history of ever has said the words, “Oh, awesome, you can buy gear with stat benefits from the cash shop!” And if anyone has said that, they were either swimming in a pool of money a la Scrooge McDuck at the time or being incredibly sarcastic. The point is, it’s never a good thing, and it’s frequently a bad one.

Now, for the most part, I don’t think that the stat bonuses conferred by the cash-shop outfits and weapons are anything to lose your mind over: a full outfit (2200 Pearls/$22 US) grants the wearer a 10% decrease to death penalty effects, a 10% increase to Amity gained, an increase of 0.5 meters to jump height, a vision range increase of 10 meters, and a 10% increase to combat experience gained. It’s worth noting that outfits (at least in the case of the Warrior outfits; I’m not sure if this differs by class) consist of either two or four actual pieces of gear. On the four-piece set, the first four of those bonuses are spread out among each piece of gear (the helmet grants the vision range increase, the chest grants the death penalty reduction, etc.), while in the two-piece sets, the helmet provides the vision range increase and the “body” piece provides the other three. In both cases, however, the 10% experience increase is granted as a set bonus only when the entire outfit is equipped.

There are also weapons available in the cash shop — for the Warrior it’s a sword and a shield, but I’m assuming that the other classes can likewise get both a primary and a secondary weapon. The primary weapon will run you 750 Pearls ($7.50 US) and the secondary weapon 450 Pearls ($4.50), though they can also be purchased as a package deal with their corresponding outfit set for 2900 Pearls ($29 US), which is a discount of 500 Pearls ($5 US) compared to the 3400 Pearls ($34 US) it would cost to buy the weapons and outfit separately. The sword slows down the rate of weapon durability degradation by 10%, while the shield grants an additional 100 maximum stamina. Also keep in mind that these bonuses are in addition to whatever bonuses are already provided by the player’s actual armor, as these outfits are “only cosmetic” (quotes mine).

Now, I think most everyone can agree that, aside from the 10% combat experience buff from the set bonus, those stat bonuses aren’t particularly imbalanced. I suppose you could argue that an additional 100 stamina is pushing it, especially in the early game, but in my opinion it’s ultimately not worth making a fuss over. And although I don’t personally care about the 10% increase to combat experience because I’m not particularly focused on leveling up quickly, those players for whom reaching max level ASAP is a top priority probably feel like they’re basically required to shell out the $22 for the combat experience buff alone. That is decidedly uncool, Daum. I am a firm believer that players should never feel obligated to spend money just to remain as efficient in core systems, such as earning experience, as players who had the money to spare.

But not everyone is dissatisfied with the cash-shop-exclusive gear just because of the in-game advantages it provides. As any long-time player of MMOs can tell you, the only thing more important than stats is, of course, fashion, and it’s in the name of fashion that many players have added their voices to the outcry. See, many players believe that the armor sets available through purely in-game means are lacking in terms of aesthetic variety and that Daum is attempting to leverage this dearth of wardrobe options into getting players to shell out $22 for some fancier duds. I’ll admit that I was part of this camp until only very recently when I came across a gallery depicting all of the armor sets attainable in-game, for the Valkyrie class at least, and although I’m currently unable to hunt it down again (brownie points to anyone who can help me out in the comments), I was more or less satisfied with the selection available.

That being said, the differences in appearance between many of the armor sets you can earn over the course of the game are often minute, and sometimes you may not even notice that your look has changed if you aren’t paying attention. I, personally, have no real problem with this slower sense of aesthetic progression, as to me it just makes it a bit more meaningful when I get a new set of gear that makes me look just a little more badass than I did before, but I can absolutely understand why other players have an issue with it.

The issue is compounded by the fact that, even if you’re OK with the longer gaps between acquiring fancier-looking armor, there are no armor sets attainable in-game (to my knowledge) that look even half as glamorous as the outfits available in the cash shop. Again, I’m personally fine with this because most of the cash shop outfits are a little too garish and anime-royalty-ish for my liking, and I actually feel that the more understated appearances of the armor sets you acquire in-game are more fitting to the overall tone of the game’s setting. But again, I understand why this is a problem for many people, and it kind of pisses me off just on principle.

It’s in the same vein as what I was saying earlier about how it’s fine to give people who buy gear from the cash shop small mechanical perks that would otherwise be more difficult/time-consuming to obtain through gameplay, but it’s not even remotely fine to make those perks completely unattainable without spending real cash. The same should go for aesthetics, as well. I’m not saying that every single thing that’s sold on the cash shop should be attainable through gameplay, and it’s fine to have some aesthetic items that are cash-shop-exclusive, as long as the price is somewhat reasonable, but the fact of the matter is that there are no armor sets in the game (again, to my knowledge) that even come close to the opulence of the cash-shop-exclusive outfits, and the prices for the latter are far from reasonable.

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On that note, just to clear up any confusion, let me plainly state that I think the prices of outfits — and indeed many of the other cash shop items — are completely outlandish. Anyone who thinks it’s even remotely reasonable to expect the average player to shell out $22 (a measly $8 shy of the cost of the game itself) for a fancy outfit, stat-enhancing or otherwise, is out of their gosh-diddly-goddamn mind. I know everyone has their own definitions of what is “expensive,” but to me, $20 is way too much to throw down for a single outfit with some largely mediocre stat bonuses.

But the cash-shop-exclusive outfits and equipment are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Another major source of cash-shop-related discontent is the game’s dye system. If there’s one thing that game devs should have learned by now, it’s that the combination of real-money transactions and RNG is a lot like a cocktail of finely aged whiskey and Four Loko. The only people who are going to drink it are the kind of people who would chug laundry detergent if it made ’em tipsy, and even they’re not going to thank you for the experience.

Admittedly, Guild Wars 2 got away with it, but that’s only because of one crucial difference between GW2’s cash-shop dyes and Black Desert’s: The GW2 devs wisely realized that if they made players pay real cash for a random dye that might not be the one they wanted and made each dye single-use only, there would be a riot. No such luck with the folks at Daum; Black Desert’s dyes (which cost $0.50 for a single dye and $1.20 for a pack of three) are good for only one use, then they’re gone. Players are given the small mercy of being able to buy dyes from specific color categories (red, green, blue, etc.), but the specific dye that you’ll get with any given purchase is still a wildcard, so if you need that particular shade of almost-but-not-quite blue to really tie your ensemble together, you’re probably going to have to fork out a decent amount of cash, and heaven help you if you actually want to dye multiple pieces of gear the same color.

Of course, the point has been made that on the list of crucial game elements, having color-coordinated armor doesn’t even rank in the top five, and this is absolutely true. The game isn’t going to be omg literally unplayable just because my character isn’t wearing the season’s hottest color, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving players the option of handing over some money in exchange for a broader palette. The problem, however, is that on top of the fact that each dye is random and single-use, they are acquired obscenely rarely throughout the course of the game, and there’s no reliable way (that I know of) to get enough of them to dye a whole outfit, unless you’re OK with your armor looking like a court jester in full motley.

Now, I’m all for making some dyes harder to get than others, and I’m even down with making some particularly fabulous tints exclusive to the cash shop, but I feel like in this case, the in-game scarcity of dyes makes it feel like Daum is trying to coerce you into spending money just so you can have even the most basic degree of appearance customization. I think a reasonable solution to the whole issue would be to make some dyes craftable, even if they’re only plain, unremarkable colors like standard red, green, blue, and so on. If the devs want to maintain some scarcity on some of the more unusual colors or introduce some truly magnificent dyes as cash-shop-exclusives (I’d totally pay money for some faintly glowing dyes, for what it’s worth), then that’s fine, but again, it puts a bad taste in my mouth to be essentially restricted from an entire facet of character customization — minor though it may be — simply because I don’t feel like straining my perpetually dwindling bank balance.

But OK, enough about outfits and dyes and all that character customization stuff. What else can you get from the cash shop that might strike a nerve with the playerbase? Well, there are a number of cosmetic items, like horse armor (anyone else getting deja vu?) and skins for wagons and boats, and although the wagon and boat skins came with a free wagon or boat in the closed beta — a significant advantage given the amount of time and resources required to build either — to my understanding, this is no longer the case in the launch version of the game. If I’m wrong about that, please correct me in the comments; I’m not shelling out another $10 to pay the 2000 pearls required to find out for myself. You can also purchase some staggeringly opulent furniture with which to decorate your housing, but it provides no significant advantages, and although I’m not sure whether those pieces of furniture can also be acquired through gameplay, there are plenty of varied furniture options available through crafting, so I don’t see this is as a big deal. There are also some convenience-focused consumables, like inventory expansions and skill point resets, but those items can also be purchased with Loyalty Points (which are given as a daily login reward), so there’s nothing untoward there.

The only other cash shop items that in my estimation are somewhat problematic are pets. This subject is particularly tricky, mostly because I’ve found pets to be fairly divisive in terms of players determining whether they’re conveniences or necessities. Pets, which range in price from $9 US (for cats and dogs) to $11 US (for a hawk), don’t just follow you around and look cute; they’re also little loot vacuums who will collect all dropped items within a particular radius at set time intervals. They can also grow and “level up” so to speak, which increases the radius in which items will be gathered and shortens the intervals between each loot gathering.

Now, the argument can be made — with the aid of some transitive-property gymnastics — that automatic AoE looting leads to killing mobs faster and gathering their loot more efficiently, and faster kills and more efficient loot-gathering lead to more combat XP (and therefore faster level progression) and faster silver acquisition, and faster silver acquisition means more money with which to buy better weapons, armor, consumables, and so on, which is technically buying power in some manner of speaking. And there may be something to that, but I’ve personally never felt like being able to pick up loot drops faster would make any significant impact — inventory space has more frequently been the limiting factor in my experience — and while manually collecting every single loot drop can sometimes be tedious when killing large groups of mobs at one time, I don’t think I’m at a significant mechanical disadvantage to players who have pets. I could be wrong, of course, and maybe after this column is done, I’ll use that 1000 Daum Cash I bought earlier to grab a pet and discover that it’s a life-changing experience. But I somehow doubt it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, covers the entirety of Black Desert’s cash shop offerings, with the exception of a very small number of items that I feel are so clearly not problematic as to be completely unworthy of mention. Needless to say, it’s not perfect, and those who have taken issue with certain aspects of Daum’s (not-so-)microtransaction model definitely have plenty of valid complaints. But in my opinion, nothing on offer in the cash shop is particularly gamebreaking, and my biggest problems with it don’t concern what they’re selling so much as how they’re selling it. Black Desert’s cash shop model may not be outrageously imbalancing, but it is, in my opinion, at least bordering on insulting. I understand the devs have to make a profit to cover the costs of ongoing development and whatnot, but there are better ways than conniving players into paying nearly as much as they paid for the game in the first place just so they can get their hands on a fancy outfit or something that literally cannot be obtained in any other way.

It should go without saying that, despite my many criticisms detailed above, I think Black Desert is a great game — I don’t think I would have logged over 100 hours of playtime within two weeks of the game’s launch if I didn’t — but I don’t want prospective players to be put off from the game because of a clumsily implemented cash shop model. I don’t know if Daum has any plans to remedy the situation, or if they even agree that there’s a situation that needs to be remedied in the first place, but I hope that, if nothing else, they will acknowledge and respond to the complaints. I’m not sure what the odds are of that, though. I refuse to believe that they’re ignorant of the community’s outcry, but so far the only thing we’ve gotten was an underwhelming cash shop sale at launch, but perhaps once the post-launch dust settles, we’ll at least know that the devs hear the criticisms, even if they don’t agree. I want Black Desert to be the best game it can possibly be — and it’s already pretty great to begin with — but it’s impossible to improve anything without first acknowledging that everything isn’t perfect, and I think this would be a good place to start. Thanks for reading, as always, and I’ll see you next week, fellow nomads.

Every week, join Desert-Nomad-In-Residence Matt Daniel as he wanders the sprawling expanse of Black Desert to discover what secrets lurk beneath its enigmatic sands. Gather ’round the oasis as he figures out how to survive and flourish (or fail spectacularly) on his adventures.
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218 Comments on "Desert Nomad: Diving deep into Black Desert’s cash shop"

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Myrilandel
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Myrilandel

I can’t see why people always have to complain. Like the article here, the game can be played and enjoyed without the cash shop and for those that want to invest in the game and get the extras sure spend the money. There are so many people who think they have to have, and deserve, every item and every benefit. The game had to be translated and voiced. Those things cost money and need to be paid for. As well as maintenance and future development. I hate to break it to you, but costs in NA aren’t as cheap as they are in Korea. Hiring people to do those things aren’t the same. Running servers and renting buildings and business costs aren’t nearly the same. I know we’d all like to get something for free and in an ideal world they’d slim the profits, but that risks bankruptcy and then we’d lose games like this forever.

ArronDaniels
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ArronDaniels

blackcat7k THIS!  Thank you, this is exactly the issue (for lack of a better term).  Anything other than cosmetic items causes the integrity of a game to be in question.  When a game is designed, and developed one of the key points we consider is pacing and how that keeps a player engaged.  When an item is included that can increase the rate a player progresses the developers don’t spend time on that item in hopes that people will not buy it.  

Regardless of how small that advantage may be, it brings into question if what is best for the game experience is now balanced around the pacing and advancement a player could have with the most advantageous gear.  A cash shop that allows a player to have an advantage, while great for the development team, brings into question their intentions regarding the best gaming experience.  

In terms of pure game play experience, a game without a cash shop that provides advantages will always be more focused on a positive experience for players than the same game that allows users to pay for a bonus.  

In the end though, we as players vote with our wallets, and no one is to blame for cash shops besides ourselves.

VincentBeers
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VincentBeers

redeyeflighttonowhere Worst of all is this game used to be free when it launched in Korea. The US version? Just charge the idiots full price + have a predatory cash shop.

As for cash shops in single player games… yea that’s already in the works. Games that charge full price and than release endless streams of DLC are quickly becoming the rage.

Worst part is the trend of removing content from sequels to resell it to the masses as DLC for extra cost. Example: Tropico series. As of Tropico 5 the DLC is mostly individual buildings, but they aren’t even new creations they are building types that used to be part of previous games in the series. Now you have to pay extra for the latest engine revision to play a revamp of a previous game and than buy the downloads to actually get all of it which used to be inclusive.

redeyeflighttonowhere
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redeyeflighttonowhere

In what fucked up world full of idiots does a game you pay full price for have a predatory cash shop and no one burns the developers alive?  For gods sake don’t buy this game, and stop spending money on it.  You’re giving the rest of the industry ideas.  Pretty soon you’ll have cash shops in your single player 20 hour experiences.  Idiots.

KennyImzee
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KennyImzee

VincentBeers Samhain92 krieglich DamnDirtyApe This is a much needed extra step because Peal Abyss, the makers of BDO has to go through publishing companies in different regions. In Korea and North America, it’s Daum.  For Japan, it’s Game On.  And in China, i’m sure it’s through another company.

So DBO has pearls as its standard in-game currency.  But whether it be Korean Daum dollars or Japanese Game On dollars, it’s all part of the agreement between Pearl and the region/county’s publisher.

KennyImzee
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KennyImzee

krieglich DamnDirtyApe Even though BDO is made by a company called Pearl, it’s run through Daum (kinda like Blizzard Activision). Daum is a huge company in Korea that has a ton of PC games and even more mobile games.  A person can buy Daum dollars to buy any of the games in their stable as well as in-game purchases when applicable.  There are also ways for people to earn Daum dollars through various promotions or by being a top-level contributor / reviewer on places like their forums.

So pearls is the in-game currency for Pearl’s game Black Desert Online.  But because BDO is released through Daum, we need to by Daum dollars first. It’s most likely part of the agreement between the two companies.

However, people in Korea don’t mind because they could use their Daum dollars for things other than BDO pearls.  People can also use the Daum dollars they received through means other than cash in BDO.  It’s just strange for us because there is nothing for us to use Daum dollars on except for BDO.

Lethality
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Lethality

VincentBeers Satyros Nooo, that’s where you’re wrong! It is by far… BY FAR the least korean or least “eastern” game out there.  The world feels basically like an alien mid-fantasy world set in the meditteraniean and middle-east. There are absolutely no floating castles in the sky and cat-people. The music is very western fantasy.

You are selling it way short and if you really only played for a few hours, there’s no room to judge.

I don’t play eastern games. Black Desert is not.

VincentBeers
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VincentBeers

Satyros That’s the biggest problem with Black Desert: It’s Korean roots are a huge shackle around it’s neck.

A friend of mine gave me a 7 day free trial after release, it’s really nothing special and has all of the most horrible Korea MMO designs mashed into one big mess. He’s begging me to keep playing and I already told him he needs to buy me the game and then maybe I’ll spend a day or two a week with him on it; but there’s no way I can justify putting my own money into this terrible game.

In Korea it’s free2play, and the US version is just as bad as every other free2play Korean game, it just costs more.

VincentBeers
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VincentBeers

Samhain92 krieglich DamnDirtyApe Whether you called it cash or pearls you could still use the same currency across multiple games. it’s an out of character mechanic anyway, so there’s still no point in the extra step

MilanaMill
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MilanaMill

My biggest problem is the fact that there’s so little armor variety in game, like you stated in this post, I personally like in game you start with plain ugly armor and with time you get more detailed armors with even more rich colors. Even in black desert I feel like there should be more “rich” looking outfits but it doesn’t mean they have to be over the top. Even in real life, usually the more wealth you have the better things you can buy, like getting that new nice super HD whatever tv over the old box tv you used to have. In real life the progress we make can be seen as we age and hopefully gain more wealth, but in game that progression is shown through more fancier outfits and weapons. 
Another problem I have with the argument of “they need to make money”, is that in korea and russia (?) this game is free to play while we NA and EU players had to pay for it. Now don’t game me wrong this game is worth every cent and I have 0 regret for buying this game, especially if it means to support the game itself. But my point is that it kinda sucks we’re given the same content for minium 30$ that others got entirely free. Because as you stated, players should never feel like they have to spend money on a game, but instead that they want to spend money on it. Now players are pretty much forced to buy things that have been obvious part of the MMOs for many years (armor/weapon variety). Besides we’re buying the digital copy of the game, not the physical one, so the whole minium 30$ is pure profit to them, if we think about the fact, that they didn’t need to produce the actual disk and stuff like that. Of course there are taxes and other shit but my point is that they didn’t need to count in the cost of making a physical copy of the game, where to buy it (online/store) or how it’s delivered. So taking account of all of these factions I really believe we deserve more content without having to spend money on it.

Cujo H
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Cujo H

I’ve enjoyed the game.

My biggest issue is the Dye system and how its relegated to the cash shop.  Thats just dirty shit there.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

kgptzac Greed? They are competitively priced for any cash shop out there. You want to see greed how about a 10 dollar helmet in WoW which is a box price game + a sub and you can’t get that helmet aesthetic otherwise or locked mounts that cost money too. The costumes are about 4 – 5 dollars more expensive than most other stuff and even when they were about 3 dollars more than they are now that was at most 7 – 8 dollars more. The dye situation is being looked into, but is not something they can just arbitrarily change in the NA version as they need to speak to PA about it. The rest of it is people just wanting to take easier ways with this or that.

Inventory space you can unlock over time on your own and the same goes for weight capacity. Just because there is a way to speed that along means nothing as they are just there to help along for people that way it and the only people that really need to do ti are people wanting to get into trading heavily.

dragonherderx
Guest
dragonherderx

Denice J Cook You are aware that the cash shop prices are relatively competitive in actuality? You can pay 10 dollars in WoW for JUST a cosmetic helmet… A full set is 29 dollars in BDO which is armor for each piece of the armor as well as a weapon and secondary (you can buy the pieces by themselves) You can buy the shoes, helmet armor (pants and top together) separately as well as the weapon and secondary if you want…. The cash shop prices aren’t all that outrageous and they are letting people actually BUY costumes instead of it being crap like buy an RNG box. Let’s say BnS for instance gives you an outfit for 12.49 (a good deal of them are around this price), that price does not include a weapon skin you start including the weapon skin in that price you end up close to 24 dollars spent and have had to buy 25 dollars worth of their in game currency and that is a game that offers a sub on top of that and offers you bonus for buying things from the cash shop on top of it… 

Taking into account most MMORPG costume prices vs black desert you are looking at maybe a 4 dollar difference when you account for a full outfit if they are cash shops that actually SELL costumes/weapon skins at all to begin with. RNG boxes end up costing people a lot more money, I’d rather them be competitive vs other cash shops that offer similar in the 4 – 5 dollar difference range than them ever go down the RNG box route where I may or may not get what I want and the item may be utterly useless. I had friends spend thousands in Archeage on RNG boxes to get costumes and carrot dash…

dragonherderx
Guest
dragonherderx

McSleaz Mounts are captured in game and you can get a wagon for in game money which is faster than a mount to begin with if moving stuff…… Running is good anyways to build up stamina which lets you dodge more

InappropriateInnuendo
Guest
InappropriateInnuendo

Cash shop underwear gives you +1 luck. The bed bought in the cash shop gives you more energy regeneration than beds crafted in game. Pets themselves have active abilities like alerting you if elite/flagged players/gathering nodes are nearby as well as other bonuses.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

The wallests of walls.

Samhain92
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Samhain92

krieglich DamnDirtyApe Also, it would just make it easier, to buy the Daum, if you wanted to spend money on more than one game. I forgot that the editing policy here is ridiculous.

Samhain92
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Samhain92

krieglich DamnDirtyApe My guess, would be that they intend to make more games down the line, and that the Daum will be used for all games, instead of just one.

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Qarran :)

melissaheather
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melissaheather

blackcat7k Porculasalvania oh man nothing beats the RC parodies of star wars…

krieglich
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krieglich

DamnDirtyApe But I guess Tithian is right. :D http://fyre.it/jhFRot.4

krieglich
Guest
krieglich

As always: Invested my money in a pet and inventory space, my pockets never are big enough.

krieglich
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krieglich

DamnDirtyApe But even then Cash -> Daum -> Pearls makes no sense. Cash -> Pearls would be sufficient. The step in the middle is really strange.

DamnDirtyApe
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DamnDirtyApe

“Easy peasy, but that
admittedly makes me wonder why, exactly, the whole cash to Daum Cash to
Pearls process is even necessary. Beyond my comprehension, I guess.”
Matt it’s pretty simple.  Let’s say you convert $20 worth of RL money into ‘Pearls’ (or whatever currency a game uses).  You then buy $17 worth of stuff, leaving you with $3 worth of Pearls.  A week from now you see something on sale for $5 worth of Pearls, but since you only have $3 worth of Pearls in your bank you need an extra $2, but since you can’t buy just $2 you buy the cheapest pack you can get, $10 (because you really really want that thing that is on sale), which effectively made them $8 (RL money) more than they would have made had you simply been able to use money directly.

RavenCries
Guest
RavenCries

Nice article, probably more hopeful then I am with respect
to Daum listening to feedback.I always had
the impression that the buy-to-play model was to cover the costs of
localization, that at heart the game is *designed* as F2P.
I never much liked the F2P model, it amounts to a cash shop
with game mechanics designed around it.The outcome was obvious to anyone who stopped to think about it back
when F2P started becoming popular.Instead you had everyone chirping about how F2P lowered the bar to entry
lol.
I see enough pets and costume wearing folks that at least
someone has to be buying from the cash shop. I have my doubts that the few people
complaining on the internet are enough to offset the value of the income
generated.

Tithian
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Tithian

PS: And yes, the dye system is absolutely retarded.

Tithian
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Tithian

Nice analysis. Some thoughts:
a) I’m under the impression that the whole ‘buy currency used to buy more currency’ thing may be tied due to different publishers handling the cash shops in each region.So you buy Daum cash from Daum (obviously) and then you get Pearls from Pearl Abyss, probably with an invisible fee in between from the publisher to the developer. This is also probably why we can have different cash shops and payment models in eash region. This is all speculation in my part though.
b) The combat XP buff of the costumes is as beneficial as it seems. As it says, it only affects combat XP, and not Skill XP. Meaning that yes, you will level faster to 50, but another level 50 going through the same leveling route will have gained more Skill XP than you (due to having to kill more stuff). And Skill points are the true power here, not level.
c) Let’s be honest: the ghillie suit will never be changed because nerfing it now would cause people to ask for refunds and/or outright ragequit. It does provide an advantage to the user (can be incognito with no reprucussions of his actions, cannot focus fire individuals in group pvp scenarios with everyone wearing it), but we might as well accept the status quo. Meybe Daum will learn from this and make the desert ghillie less of an advantage.

Layfon
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Layfon

Everyone has their own concept of p2w. Rather than ask others it’s better to see how it affects you and your relationship with the game.

crackfox
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crackfox

Landari_Omega A convenience item becomes P2W when competitive PvPers and/or obsessive min-maxers feel compelled to purchase it.

BhimaJenkins
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BhimaJenkins

N3rdygam3r666 I don’t think people are up in arms that there is a cash shop to buy stuff with money, I think it has more to do with expectations of what those things should cost and, what mechanics are in the game that could be viewed as frustration mechanics to coerce you into spending more money. The dye situation is a perfect example. One use dyes for one piece of your armor was clearly intentional to siphon more cash from your wallet. GW2’s way of handling this by making a dye account unlocked forever makes it feel more worth it to purchase cash shop only dye’s as at least you always know you can use it whenever. It has a higher perceived value to the player, and that design mechanic doesn’t feel like its coercing you.

Landari_Omega
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Landari_Omega

The big question remains: at what point do convenience items become P2W?

eekamouse
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eekamouse

Been playing it this week seems like a good game and could be very successful its down to Daum whether they f@ck it up for themselves through being too greedy and too pay to win .

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

Porculasalvania blackcat7k I was always partial to the Robot Chicken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpE_xMRiCLE of that meme
because by as time goes on you usually feel like you are wearing clown shoes
for ever thinking they wouldn’t mess with the shop.

Porculasalvania
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Porculasalvania

blackcat7k
“Because there’s one thing for certain with cash shops… the deal always changes, and there’s always an incentive to sabotage gameplay to coerce more players to pay. When 100% are paying, the developer will feel that sting for every ridiculous cash grab they decide to invoke.”

Hear hear!

Denice J Cook
Guest
Denice J Cook

That was an excellent article, thanks!

It seems like Daum ported over the Asian cash shop without adjusting the prices down to compensate for the fact that the game is B2P here, while F2P overseas.  That’s probably the most insulting part to me; that they obviously view North Americans as plump little wallets that are ripe for the picking!  ;)

organiclockwork
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organiclockwork

DarkWombat Yes we will! :P

Qarran
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Qarran

Robert80 Cartap Qarran Damonvile  That is a good way to put it.  XP simply vanishes from relevance.

DarkWombat
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DarkWombat

We will see if he says its a great game in a couple months, when the MMO honeymoon ends.

Qarran
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Qarran

melissaheather RagnarTheDrunk

“Aye, I’ve heard of this a lass from Musselburgh who works hard and drinks her beers too.
It is known she has quite a good manner and loves meticulous BDO toons.
But should you be a nervous nelly and call her VR hopes a sham,
Be prepared unwary forum warrior, as she is also good at the body slam.”

McSleaz
Guest
McSleaz

My biggest gripe with the cash shop is that I cant just Buy a mount :(
Gonna take me forever to get me a fishing boat.

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

…my personal opinion…In my opinion……I’ve personally never felt…
Yes, yes. Everytime we do the cash shop mombo MMO after MMO
in this wonderful age, it always this opinion thing. Well here the thing about Black Desert and every last one of these
MMOs with these advantages. It’s not about how you feel. It’s
not about you, never has been. That’s not what people are getting at when they
bring this up.
These are actual statistical advantages, mechanical
advantages, complete rewrites to the game rules that are being achieved not
because the player knows how to play, but only because they’ve dropped cash.
It doesn’t matter if 0.01 percent or 100… Why is it there to begin with? Why
are developers selling these virtual crutches in a game that so brain dead easy
if it’s not because they confer an advantage?
See you can say how you feel about pets “hoovering” up loot.
I’ll be running around with my kitty brigade not even stopping to catch a
breath because I know they offer a sweet mechanical advantage to get in out of
grind spot quickly especially when our group’s roaming to make sure we snatch
and grab these mobs as soon as they spawn.
The cash shop in BDO is like many other cash shops. They
offer advantages, but it’s never the fabled PWN button, so they think they can
skirt P2W claims due to the screaming of their zealot protectors.
Sorry it doesn’t pass the smell test. A game like this doesn’t
need this cheap garbage. Others may, but this is one of the few that actually
has some depth to it. They should be charging 100% of the player base monthly
or at least have a server with a rule set for that.Because there’s one thing for certain with
cash shops… the deal always changes, and there’s always an incentive
to sabotage gameplay to coerce more players to pay. When 100% are paying, the
developer will feel that sting for every ridiculous cash grab they decide to
invoke.

Bionicall
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Bionicall

squidgod2000 Every inventory expansion is as you say, but what isn’t mentioned and may help is there is a number of quests in game that award inventory expansions, and there is a cap (any inventory expansion applied over this cap are simply wasted). I haven’t yet tested whether you need to pay for any inventory expansions on a character, or can earn enough to reach this cap in-game.
Oh on top of that, playing the game for 500 hours I think rewards an inventory expansion as well.
TLDR: You might be able to actually “catch-up” inventory space.

rottenrotny
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rottenrotny

Moondancerbb I wouldn’t argue against that, so yes, in a way that is also P2W. This exists in every MMO though and is not actively promoted by the dev as such like cash shop items are.
A lot of things can easily be considered play to win, it’s all subjective and up to your personal definition. I myself keep it to a rather hard edged definition. 
Is BDO P2W? Yes. Is WoW? Yes, and even more so with heirloom gear and instant level 100s.
Is it game breaking? Depends on your view point. I don’t think so, but I’m not going to sugar coat it either. I could do without all these different version of P2W in my MMOs.

ToxicTrip
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ToxicTrip

Cash shop is fine, they do need to make money as do all businesses. What I would really like to see is a good subscription monthly that has some cool perks, the longer you sub the better the perks get over time, all the way up to costume items and such.

Moondancerbb
Guest
Moondancerbb

rottenrotny breetoplay Would you consider someone who buys a second copy of the game Pay to win? because according to your definition it can provide an advantage in game. You get two families get to be in two guilds, can trade to make money twice as fast, get twice as much crafting at the same time. 

The reality is all MMO’s have been pay to win from the beginning multi boxing was just the original pay to win.

TadSaine
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TadSaine

welovekah interesting.  as an over 40 gamer myself, i assumed most of the angst was coming from the entitled millennial safe spacers.  :)  

but all kidding aside, i do think you make a very valid point about subscriptions.  the problem with B2P or F2P games is that there are countless ways to monetize those kinds of games.  with subs, everyone knows what they are getting into.  i think it’s pretty clear that the MMO genre is going through a lot of changes right now, and as the genre changes and grows, my hope is that subscription models become a viable monetization model once again.

welovekah
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welovekah

TadSaine welovekah I think the angst mostly comes from older gamers who fondly remember when buying or subscribing to a game got you the opportunity to earn everything yourself, and don’t like the idea of being nickel-and-dimed for something they’d rather have the opportunity to work towards in-game.

Zariarn
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Zariarn

It’s only the beginning.  I’m sure you’ll see more problems later.

Kanbe
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Kanbe

The cash shop is just bad on too many levels for me to turn my head. If it was just some of these issues I could turn a blind eye but not with as many as there are. They’re “response” to all the outcry with that sad excuse for a launch sale and simply reclassifying some of the “costumes” was really just a slap in the players face to me. It was a “here’s a very small concession just briefly so you all shut up and go away.”

One of the other things with the cash shop costumes is that they’re treated as a separate item from your gear allowing you to wear whatever armor you’d like while taking a different appearance. As far as I can tell the ONLY way to do this is buying a costume. There’s not even an item to copy the appearance of another non cash shop armor so you can wear useful armor while still choosing your look. 

I don’t like that they have bonuses but it’s nothing huge so I can turn a blind eye to it. Ideally though they should just be removed.

In general things are all overpriced IMO (so don’t shoot me if you disagree) as these prices are more than I’m used to seeing for similar types of items and that’s includes plenty of F2P cash shops. I also don’t like that EVERYTHING is character only and not account wide. The costumes I can live with but the inventory slots and horse whistle I really feel should be account wide.

Your take on the dyes are spot on with what I think so I won’t add anything to that.
If they implement the pet breeding system though that’s one more big complaint I’ll have about the cash shop.

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Armsbend But the game’s already made. People might as well wish fire wasn’t so hot.

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