MMO Mechanics: What can be learned from Guild Wars 2 Mountgate?

Most often, MMO Mechanics articles focus on the gameplay mechanics that both make the MMO genre unique and those that diversify MMOs from one another, but this time I’m focusing on the mechanics that drive profit for the modern development studio and will discuss the lootbox phenomenon. Although the lootbox is by no means a new topic in the world of online gaming, the purchasing method has been under fire more than ever recently and has seldom faced the same scrutiny from the playerbase and wider media before now.

Recently it has been ArenaNet under fire for the particular way randomisation factors into purchasing Guild Wars 2 mount adoption licence skins. A unique combination of a highly requested and anticipated extension of a likewise highly requested and successful new game feature and the employment of lootbox mechanics has caused quite a stir in the game community, despite the fact that Guild Wars 2’s Black Lion Chests already employ RNG lootbox mechanics. In this article, I’m going to discuss why the skins were such an issue in the first place, evaluate ArenaNet’s response to the player outrage the skins caused, and ponder on the reasons why studios rely on lootbox mechanics in the first place.

Mount skins and why they matter

I’ve already mentioned that mount skins are highly coveted in GW2 but I want to explain why so many players have opted to purchase them even if they don’t support the purchasing mechanics they are locked behind. To understand the mount skin hype is to understand the context in which they were released: Until very recently, mounts were non-existent in GW2 and the highly encouraged (and financially lucrative for ArenaNet) ‘fashion wars’ endgame focused solely on the player character. Less than two short months ago, mounts were introduced in Path of Fire and how players interacted with Tyria changed immeasurably: In such a short span of time, players have gone from trekking between admittedly well-spaced waypoints to refusing to walk more than three paces without mounting up.

Considering how important both paid-for aesthetics and movement mechanics are in a game that prides itself on bringing us novel ways to explore with each expansion, you can quickly imagine that mounts and characters have become inseparable, which causes a slight problem for those who have spent a considerable amount of time and perhaps even real-world money to create the perfect characters. The original mount skin possesses limited dye channels and a uniform look that simply doesn’t gel with the myriad ways you can design a character, and if the mount is on your screen almost as much as the character is, the problem becomes clear.

Skins for the mounts have been requested since their announcement and I have no doubt that the majority of us who requested them have no problem with paying real-world money for them via the gem store, as is evidenced by the largely positive reception to the spooky mount skins at Halloween that cost 1,600 gems, which is around $20. The only complaint was that people wished to purchase the skins individually for each mount type instead of in a pack that covered all mounts, but this caused nowhere near the backlash that the adoption licence would, especially since the team are happy to release special individual mount skins when inspiration for one fits.

The purchasing mechanics behind the adoption licence

The spooky skin bundle test had been largely positive and had demonstrated the demand for mount skins that are both aesthetically more diverse and feature more dye channels for higher degrees of customisation. The next wave of mount skins, a total of 30 unique looks for specific mounts, was launched in a lootbox dubbed the mount adoption licence, which will grant the purchaser one of the mount skins that he or she has not yet unlocked. The skins are account bound and are not available within the gamespace, and though you could theoretically farm gold to purchase these skins by converting gold to gems, it’s simply not a feasible pursuit for the vast majority of players due to poor rates of exchange between the currencies.

Moving on to cost: each purchase of an adoption licence costs 400 gems, with a small reduction on a purchase of 10 and a 30-pack cost of 9,600 gems, so to unlock all mounts players would be paying $120 (there is no risk of duplicates so the figure is fixed). As with all lootboxes, there is no way to determine which skin a player will receive at the time of purchase and there is no direct or indirect refund system in place for those who receive a skin they cannot use or do not want since skins cannot be sold to other players and cannot be swapped for the equivalent gems either.

What went wrong?

For those who do not play the game, I should note that many players have not — and perhaps won’t ever — unlock all the mounts, which means that there is a credible chance for many players to unlock a skin for a mount that is locked behind grind mechanics that they are unlikely to overcome. Creating a separate lootbox for each type of mount would have alleviated this problem and would have been far more palatable to players: We see similar lootbox mechanics existing successfully in the game in the form of dyes of certain sets and Black Lion Chests without the level of backlash seen for mount skins.

Whenever players receive an unwanted yet valuable item in the game, there are usually at least indirect ways to offset its cost: Most will be open to the trading post or will at the very least be salvageable for high-end materials, but this isn’t the case for mount skins. Having to wade through potentially 29 unwanted skins to get the one that is wanted is a hefty financial cost that cannot be softened at all by playing the in-game economy or refunding the duds. ArenaNet has mechanics in place in the game that could help reduce this: How about reforging unwanted account bound skins into different ones using the Mystic Forge, for example, if allowing duplicates but making them tradeable would devalue the gem purchase too heavily?

Finally, ArenaNet has used three different purchasing methods for mount skins in the space of two months and has caused uncertainty around the skins’ longlasting value in the community: Players worried that more mounts could be added to the licence and affect future drop chances, and others mourned the end of the single and bundle sales in favour of the latest purchase method. Smaller bundles of specific mount type would have helped here, though: While I think the range of choice contained within an unidentified dye, for instance, is comparable to the range held in the licence, both the randomised item itself and the dye it results in is also readily tradeable and has a much lower value to the player than a mount skin does.

ArenaNet’s response to the fallout

It wasn’t long before the kick-up forced ArenaNet to make a statement about the mount skin lootbox fiasco and that response has caused some ill-feeling as well: Although Mike O’Brien has clearly stated that no additional skins will be added to the licence and that no further licences will be created, there will be no attempt to amend the current licence since so many people have already invested. O’Brien went on to explain that the lootbox mechanics were employed as a way to offer a wide range of general skins to the players without high individual pricetags, but the flaw in this logic to me is that, considering each wanted skin is priced from anywhere between 400 and 9600 gems, it’s all-too simplistic to dub these skins as low cost. ArenaNet might well value each skin equally on a work output level, but any player running around in densely populated areas will understand that the more outlandish skins such as Starbound and Stardust are more highly coveted than the more simplistic Spiketail or Hare variants.

In my mind, I understand that a robust fix would have demolished the team’s resources in an important season launch month, but I still feel as though at least some minor reparations could have been made while still keeping the item on the store, such as a retroactive price reduction that appears in the affected players’ gem stashes paired with a permanent price reduction on the licence for future purchasers. Perhaps the tool could be further modified so that successive licences become subsequently cheaper, incentivising the continued purchase of the licence and reducing the price of the full 30 mounts significantly.

I also believe that players shouldn’t receive skins with no in-game value to them for their hard-earned cash and that the RNG could at least be slightly modified to only include skins for mounts that player has unlocked. That would significantly narrow the potential refund pool if this was to be applied fairly to those who have already purchased and is a change I feel players would be only too happy to wait on. The response offered by O’Brien doesn’t address this issue at all, which is disappointing to those affected as well as to those who refuse to purchase because they have not unlocked all mounts.

Why bother with RNG and lootboxes anyway?

There is a strong psychological basis for using RNG in gaming reward mechanics that could (and perhaps will!) form another edition of MMO Mechanics. When randomised reward mechanics are employed correctly, they promote a sense of achievement when the coveted reward is obtained and offer a strong incentive for ongoing play, so you can see where this will fit well into the MMO sector where time played is a ruling factor for developers and their investors. However, high-profile instances of these lootbox mechanics being poorly implemented are smashing players’ tolerance for any sort of randomised purchasing mechanic, and the backlash developers have faced lately is only growing.

Virtually every studio is under some form of pressure to incentivise sales and keep profits steady for the predetermined shelflife of the product they created, but MMOs sit in a rather unique spot with few other genres in that the shelf life of the game is not strongly predetermined and the active playerbase must be incentivised to spend on a regular basis to secure the studio’s ongoing success. Investors, production houses, and directors all strive to increase the profit margin while minimising player drop-off, and this is where the lines blur in many studios and approaches that players find too aggressive are employed. ArenaNet is absolutely not the worst offender in the lootbox spotlight and I don’t believe that the company will opt for such a costly RNG purchasing mechanic again, but nevertheless, there are clear lessons for the team and other MMO developers to take away from mountgate.

Over to you!

I can totally see why players were so up-in-arms over the cost and implementation of the mount adoption licence, and I really do hope that such coveted items are never gated in such a way again. The unique combination of such a relevant, highly requested item with a heavy RNG purchase mechanic just when players were objecting the most to such tactics was a poor move by ArenaNet that has not yet been fully smoothed over by PR and compromise, but at least moving forward we know that we can expect solo special mounts and bundles at clear — if high — price points.

What’s your take on lootbox mechanics? Which lootboxes fly under your radar as passable or even good value, and which cause you anger? What did you make of mountgate? Let me know in the comments below.

MMOs are composed of many moving parts, but Massively’s Tina Lauro is willing to risk industrial injury so that you can enjoy her mechanical musings. MMO Mechanics explores the various workings behind our beloved MMOs. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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56 Comments on "MMO Mechanics: What can be learned from Guild Wars 2 Mountgate?"

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Arktouros

And the 11/21 Cash Shop update…

Black Lion Weapon Arsenal – Pick a weapon type and receive a random black lion skin of that type.

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL…

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peor togs

I have played since beta. I have never had a precursor drop. With those odds, I sure as hell ain’t playing any other of anets RNG!!!

On a side note, lost a lot of respect for anet over this whole thing. I still play, but I don’t trust them to not go a horrible direction with the game from a monotizing perspective… Makes me not want to invest to heavily for fear of their next plan…

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yoh_sl

Tina, if you or other on Massively want to do an article on RNG mechanics and lootboxes in the future, I implore you to look at Path of Exile.
Honestly it’s the only game I’ve ever seen get this right. They are leagues ahead of everybody else in the industry. Because they actually employ ethical design into their monotization.

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Arktouros

The issue is you can’t really compare things like this 1:1 as there’s a lot of factors that go into the financial success of a game. Simply pointing to genre leaders like POE , LOL , WOW etc and just saying “Just do what they do.” just doesn’t work. In fact many game companies have attempted to emulate the business models of others and that failed they looked for alternative payment methods that won’t fail them.

I’m sure ANet’s own flagging sales numbers lead to the kinds of shifts in monetization strategy that we’ve seen for the last year or so with them embracing even more RNG based systems. The reality is while they will lose some of their existing paying customers they will likely end up picking up even more over all income by shifting to these strategies.

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yoh_sl

That is a total load of horse shit.
Using RNG monetization is not the same thing as how you use it.
There are ethical ways to do it, and there are very unethical ways to do it.

And you can absolutely compare them.
Anet elected to employ their lootboxes in a somewhat unethical manner, hence the backlash. They got greedy and over reached, plain and simple.
You can make money using RNG systems, and not be a dick about it.

There’s a reason POE is an genre leader. And it has as much to do with their monetization strategy as anything else.

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Arktouros

No, it’s not.

First of all, tweaking the numbers around to be more in the customer’s favor doesn’t fundamentally change what they’re about. If you have a 20% chance for a rare item and the player still rolls that 45% and gets a common item fundamentally the player still wanted that 20% item and now has to drop more cash to try to get it. You can make excuses for this and say they are better than other game’s chests or that the items eventually go directly to sale but objectively, factually speaking it’s no different than other crates on a mechanical level.

Second of all, discussing ethics or morals on any level immediately veers away from an objective viewpoint and starts sitting directly into opinion territory. What you find unethical I may find perfectly fine and normal.

POE is a genre leader because of a lack of competition. It’s one of the very few ARPGs out there who consistently puts out updates and new content while delivering a large quantity of in game events (races, marathons, seasons, etc) that no one else matches or to my knowledge even tries. Even Marvel Heroes is now gone. It can afford to have it’s monetization strategy because of it’s position. What else are you going to go play? Diablo “Maintenance Mode” 3?

None of this is to knock the game. However pointing to POE and saying, “See this works!” when they’re in a unique position to make that work is faulty logic. POE is popular because it’s a good game that due it’s popularity can afford to have a more consumer friendly business model that makes it an even more popular game. It’s cyclical like that. But if POE was an “alright” game that wasn’t as popular (like GW2 in MMOs) that same business model may not be enough and that’s when tough decisions on that business model get made.

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Bruno Brito

Rekt.

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Jennifer Yaner

Well what we learned is that even Anet, who has always been held as a company with one of the best business models in MMORPGs, can fall from grace in a single day. It shows how much of a disconnect Anet has with their playerbase, as this is just one of many things Anet doesn’t listen to from their community. It also shows that Anet, with all the money they made from these, now knows lootboxes are viable for Guild Wars 2 which means we will see more implementations of them in the future.

This honestly marked a very sad day in Guild Wars history. I haven’t logged into GW2 since they added these, and I used to play daily for the past three years. I’m just going to sit this one out until I see Anets next move.

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yoh_sl

Well, not to rub it in, but I saw this shit coming years ago.
I came to realize that this Arenanet and the one who made the original Guild Wars, were not the same people, not the same company. They sold their soul, and with that employing increasing worse business practices and dismissive community management.

They care more about making a buck, then their players or even the game their making.
They’ve been going down the wrong path for years, which is why I jumped ship a long time ago.
I don’t trust them anymore. And they are not worthy of my respect.

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Jennifer Yaner

I imagine we all figured it was a matter of time before they pulled this. It just came out of left field because all the controversy currently surrounding lootboxes. It’s almost like they were capitalizing on the negative press surrounding it for attention. It’s actually a very common business move because even bad press is still press coverage, which means more people see the game, which means more people are likely to get it.

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Bryan Turner

Even I admit I over reacted, bought 5 RNGnimals when I got paid, half of them were fancy, one was unique but no special effects, and 2 were plain as fuck but they at least offered me more dye options.

I admit it I was wrong.

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zuldar

WHAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM GUILD WARS 2 MOUNTGATE?

Customers don’t like being taken advantage of. Not exactly a new premise but companies still don’t seem to learn that.

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Ukrutor

I don’t understand what’s the disturbance. It’s a lockbox done right: you know you are getting (it’s always a mount, no worthless fluff) and you will never have any duplicates, so your chance of getting the mount skin you want gets higher with every mount you don’t want.

What’s everybody complaining about? Why is everybody acting like Anet just ate their second-born child?

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yoh_sl

You sound like a abuse victim.
If you want to see what actually good lootboxes look like, look at Path of Exile.
Hands down the best, not even close. Because it’s actually ethically designed.

This is very much not.

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Bruno Brito

> You sound like a abuse victim.

I didn’t get it.

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Jennifer Yaner

Because Anet has always been that company that did the MMORPG business model just right. Then to see them add in lootboxes just left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth, because it proved that even Anet will resort to disgusting practices to make money. To make matters worse, they literally did it right when all the controversy from other games’ loot boxes were at an all time high. It was literally the worst time for them to pull a stunt like this, and they pulled it on some very loyal long-term fans.

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Arktouros

They’ve had in Lootboxes since the game’s start. There were already jackpot drops in them that sell for hundreds of dollars worth of gem sales (I believe Permanent Bank Access Contract was $245 in gems last I checked).

Since 2016 Halloween’s Lootbox overhaul they’ve had a number of exclusive items of all types in those lootboxes. They also added a number of new gamble boxes throughout the cash shop this last year such as the Memory Boxes during the anniversary.

Literally none of this is new.

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Jennifer Yaner

Apples to oranges.

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Arktouros

Both of which are “Fruit” (AKA: RNG in the cash shop) that’s being discussed. Again, none of this is new. The only difference is the kind of “fruit” they’re offering.

In fact, the real difference is where they were offering you things you probably didn’t want or didn’t mind not having before (glider skins, weapon skins, etc) now all of a sudden it’s mount skins and OH HELL NO HOW DARE THEY HAVE THE SAME RNG GAMBLE SYSTEMS THEY’VE HAD ALL ALONG AND PUT THE THING YOU WANT BEHIND THEM!?!

And you say I’m part of the problem.

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Jennifer Yaner

Heh, that last little comment proves you are indeed following me around in the comments to harass me. It’s kind of hard to take any of your points seriously when you say the mount adoption license isn’t RNG because you simply paid for the $120 bundle. How comical.

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Arktouros

What it actually proves is that I remember past conversations, no more and no less. You’ll see from other comments I have no problems pointing out others who are wrong as well.

Facts are facts regardless of how serious you do or don’t want to take them. The game has had large scale jackpot drops in it’s gamble boxes for years. The game has repeatedly added new RNG Gambleboxes to it’s cash shop. When the Black Lion Chests were overhauled in Halloween 2016 they’ve always had exclusive items in them.

These aren’t an arguable opinion. These are simply facts about GW2. Facts that you should be aware of before you start chiding others as being part of the problem or say their fact based viewpoints as being comical let alone making statements when all the facts and evidence point to the contrary.

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Bruno Brito

Drop the defensive tone and argue with his points.

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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

Because at the end of the day, people would rather (and should be able to) outright buy the skins they want without the random mechanic. ANet made a big show of saying “its for the gamers!” but it’s not – at all. It’s a mechanic that doesn’t add anything to the game, breaks immurshun, and exists solely to pad a bottom line. They can make more money by forcing people to purchase mounts they don’t want, to get at the ones that they do. Full stop.

That’s literally all it is. It’s the best designed limited gamer-exploiting mechanic.

Just because the serrated Ferrari is the BEST implementation of a car that you control by licking various razor blades, doesn’t mean that ANYONE wants a car that you control by licking razor blades.

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FG3000

Let me add just one thing, there is nothing Anti-consumer about the mount lockboxes in Guildwars 2 or the skin lockboxes in Smite, or Overwatch. The RNG aspect *usually* makes it cheaper overall for collectors versus buying skins 1 by 1.

I and many others like collecting all da skins! We play tons of heroes and lockboxes are usually a much cheaper route than buying them 1 by 1. Not to mention sometimes getting a skin for a hero I dont normally play pushes me to give them a try and I’ve been pleasantly surprised before.

Its not black and white.

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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

But that still doesn’t jive with “why don’t they offer them for people who just want to be the ones they want, and not have to gamble for it?” While I can respect that collectors (as I am myself, a collector/completionist in some cases), the fact that I, who only wants one skin, might have to pay 3-4x the amount the skin actually would have cost direct purchase is the problem here.

But the problem for consumers is the boon for ANet – which is why I say it’s anti-consumer. Lock-boxes don’t add to game-play and as a player population, the revenue generated by per-skin is exponentially higher than direct purchase. Lock-boxes purely benefit the studio to the detriment of the overall player-base. Individuals within the player-base might make out better in the short term, but long terms, Gambler’s Ruin kicks.

Anet will always come out on top while providing literally nothing additional to the player. Every time. It’s a lopsided agreement that benefits Anet, and hurts players base.

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Morbid Eel

The RNG aspect *usually* makes it cheaper overall for collectors versus buying skins 1 by 1.

and why should everyone else pay more just so to make it cheaper for collectors? IF they really want to give a discount to collectors without shafting other people they could have some sort of bulk discount

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Reginald Atkins

cause people will pitch a fit about anything, of all the loot box things this is the only one I’ve experienced even remotely done right.

miol
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miol

Why is everybody acting like Anet just ate their second-born child?

Nope, I think you are talking about EA! And Anet is very thankful for that! ;P

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Sally Bowls

I never see price come up in these discussions. The punchline to an old and politically incorrect joke is “we have established what you are, all we are negotiating is price”

I prefer “direct purchase” > random no dup > random with dups

However, if the choice were
1) buy what you want for $80 or
2) the GW2 way, or
3) get a 1/30 chance of the mount you want, duplicates possible (maximum RNG evilness) but each box were a dime or a quarter,

I would go with the latter #3. It’s cheaper.

If it were the exact same system GW2 used, but the costs were a tenth, I might even buy it. If the price were a third of actual, I would grimace, look for my torch but not even light it and certainly not heat the tar. For me, the OMG is not the mechanic (there are far worse), it’s the end result of $120

———–

Fundamentally, are people really complaining about the mechanic? If the monetization were three options: you could buy the exact mount you wanted for $60, all for $120, or the existing $5 per 1/30 RNG, Would people be happy? It addresses all mechanical issues, you can get exactly what you want without RNG. My guess is there would be a lot of pushback (less pejorative than my original whining.)

Is the problem really there is some RNG (no dupes and all for $120 makes this better than most) or is it that the cost of a mount collection is approaching US$ triple digits.

miol
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miol

If the price were really only a tenth, RNG would only not be a problem (or at least less so), because it can be circumvented more cheaply, making that option to stay clear of RNG for more players affordable!

Because it costs $120 to circumvent it, more people are forced to deal with RNG, and that’s why more are complaining about the mechanic they have to deal with!

So yes, it’s about RNG making everything more expensive! That’s the base purpose of monetized RNG!

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Sally Bowls

RNG is not making it more expensive. It is ANet’s goal for the mount revenue that is making it more expensive.

What would a vendor who wanted the same revenue for the mounts replace the $5 for 1/30 scheme with? Buy the mount you want for $10 or $20 is not just a new scheme but also a major price reduction. If Anet wanted a monetization that returned the same revenue as the existing, IMO that would need to be the mount you want for $40? $50? $60?

If Anet wanted to get $10 to $20 per person for the mounts, there are a number of ways they could do it, some with RNG, some without. I just don’t see that many people getting too upset if there was some RNG in getting a stable for $20. At the other extreme, if the studio goal is to get $80 to $120 per person for the mounts, then I am not sure there would be a popular way to do that. RNG or not. Expensive, RNG-free mounts are still expensive.

RNG & lockboxes are not desirable, but my thesis is that the real problem is how much ANet wants for its mounts more so than the manner in which they want to filet it out of their customers.

miol
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miol

When studios add RNG to their business model, this mafia can also ask for “protection money” and add that to the alternative direct purchase prices! It’s a win-win for them!

With adding RNG, they can also ask themselves: “How much are players willing to pay extra to not be botherred by our own preconceived RNG business models?”

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Morbid Eel

I don’t mind paying for stuff but only for what I feel is a reasonable price. I do not believe any mount which is reusing the mesh, animation, skeleton is worth more than the entire expansion.

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Romo

Pretty well done summary. I do have to point out two things on the subject.
– Mo never stated explicitly that they’ll never do another license like this, but that they will not add any more to the existing license.
– Purchasing the rng mount skins does not only exclude people afraid to get a skin for the mount they didn’t unlock yet. Multiple players, including myself, while having all the mounts unlocked, refuse to put any dime towards something I might not even want in the first place.
It’s the principle at this point. Sure u get a mount every time, but if I get 2 Stingers and I never use a stinger period, is it worth my money? No. At all.
The major issue is that they put absolutely 0 skins to be unlocked through in-game acquisition. And from the fanciness and flashiness of some of the current skins we can easily say that Legendary mount skins are out of question…

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drgreenhoe

Unfortunately we will be forever stuck with this mentality. Companies exists to make money and there are people out there who will forever blindly keep feeding the monster. So the rest of us just have to accept it or quit gaming all together.

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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

Not everyone is ready to give in to despair quite yet :-)

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

What did we learn? That it is really nice when a bigger company makes a bigger mistake than you did.

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Yuen

imo, I think this was partially an NCSoft order since they plan on stopped MxM in January. So they need money. Maybe they are getting partial money from these lootboxes.

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Morbid Eel

no further licences will be created

Did he say that? He said what they planned to do for the next one. I see no mention of anything beyond that.

As for BLC vs adoption license. I’ve thought about that and there are at least two very important differences for me. BL keys are obtainable through various bits of the game(story rewards, map completion, PvP reward tracks, random loot drop). Second and maybe more important is that I do not view a BLC with any expectations. I know that 99 times out of 100 I probably won’t get anything good but there is still something possibly useful(or at least usable) like a mini ticket or weapon ticket(more likely to be just a scrap). On the other hand if I end up with a mount skin I don’t like that is just completely useless.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Really good read. My biggest issue with all of it is that they didn’t announce the glacial shift in store policy. There were never RNG gliders or outfits or armor sets. You saw something you liked on the cash shop and you ponied up the real money or you parted with your in-game gold and you got the thing you wanted and everyone was happy.

Without announcing this change to how the store works with mounts when they came out, they basically told everyone the rules were changing after they changed them. Most companies do this, but ArenaNet always likes to tout how they are different. Mike even acknowledged it in his apology which came off as more him being defensive to me than apologizing because he could have released versions that contained the exact skin people wanted.

I purchased gems beforehand in good faith for mount skins because i thought that mount skins would be implemented in the same way as everything else. Needless to say, I didn’t even get a skin for the mount I wanted a skin for and they got my gems and I havent played since. Last straws and all that.

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Arktouros

There were never RNG gliders or outfits or armor sets.

Except for the Grasping Phantom Glider, Mini Celestial Rooster, the Candelabra Staff, Infinirarium Glider, Elemental Sword, Sword Zaishen Helmet, Dwayna’s Messenger Mini, Feathers of the Zephyr Backpack/Glider, Privateer Weapon Skins…

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

I never mentioned minis, weapons or backpacks.

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Arktouros

You did mention Gliders (which there have been 3 of) and armor (which there has been 1 piece) I just threw in the others to show that this isn’t exactly a new concept or, as you say, a “glacial shift” in policy.

gelfred
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gelfred

When did they add unique items to the Black Lion Chests? I may be incorrect but I think they only added this around the HoT revamps (8 months after launch). So they have had a shift into only RNG skins.

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Arktouros
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Bruno Brito

Around the privateer weapons, if i well recall.

It was a shitshow, with a shitstorm to follow suit.

gelfred
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gelfred

Yeah, its been slow steps, but they have been changing the gem store in this direction for a while.

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Arktouros

And that’s all my point has been. None of this is new for ANet or GW2 and I’m not sure why people are claiming it is.

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Jeff

Was it really a mount gate? Honestly I think it was mach a do about nothing really, I mean not many people I can see are even talking about it….and it’s not like it was in ESO when folks actually use to get death threats for riding a crown mount.

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Morbid Eel

and it’s not like it was in ESO when folks actually use to get death threats for riding a crown mount.

All that tells me is that GW2 has fewer idiots as players. No matter how you might feel about it that is a stupid way to respond.

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Arktouros

I think this is literally nothing new in GW2 and it’s just another day in game at Guild Wars 2.

GW2’s cash shop has been getting more and more heavily reliant on RNG for a long time now. When they overhauled the Black Lion Chests back in Halloween 2016 they’ve steadily crammed more and more exclusive loot into them. From a full weapon set to numerous high quality skins you can tell where the focus is heading. For the Anniversary this year they sold RNG “Memory Boxes” to people. So when I saw that Mounts were contained in a RNG lootbox it’s not surprising or out of the ordinary to me. This is what ANet has been about with their monetization for quite a while now.

The reason why they do this I think is pretty simple and it’s simply as much as people say they don’t want RNG they’re similarly unhappy with the prospect of having to pay high prices for goods. People look at a 2k gems mount like the Warforged Hound and think, “$25 for a mount, you’re joking, that’s almost as much as I paid for the whole expansion!”

Their two mistakes were timing and no longer trying to be subtle about the business model they’ve been transitioning towards. Right now everyone is up in arms over loot crates and it’s just bad luck the EA thing blew up at the exact same time. Bad luck for them and not much in their control. However what was in their control was their delivery model. They would have been better off selling the more mundane skins either in packages or directly in staggered releases while bundling the more rare skins in with Black Lion Chests like they had previously. Instead they just went full RNG and it played out badly for them.

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Arktouros

Also, unrelated, hilarious to see a Quaggan in BDO:

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Aywren

I have a pretty staunch stance that I won’t pay a game for a chance at getting something I like. And I do like some of the skins, but the RNG is a no-no.

I would have purchased a few of these outright if I was able to choose the skin, even at a higher gem price — similar to how I have purchased glider skins in the past. However, because skins are locked behind RNG, I spent no money at all. ANet’s loss.

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