microtransactions

RIFT puts an endgame currency out for real-money sales

Look, we can all agree that “pay-to-win” is, at the very least, a difficult concept to be certain about. Right? There’s a lot of stuff where you can argue that a game is or is not pay-to-win just by slightly moving the goalposts. But then you have RIFT opening up sales of Captured Intel packs on the in-game store for real money, and we can all agree that yes, this is what pay-to-win definitely looks like.

Why? Because Captured Intel is a currency used to buy endgame gear. This is literally buying a currency used to advance in the endgame. If this doesn’t trip your pay-to-win sensors, nothing will.

A Reddit thread explains the issues with this quite eloquently (and already has at least one person actually arguing that it doesn’t count as pay-to-win if you can just buy endgame gear, so that works great). It also points out that the best thing for players to do at this point is to point out that this is not all right and then go on to not buy the packs; they’ll only be sold if people buy them, after all. Words to live by.

Source: Official Site, Reddit; thanks to Dark Daemon for the tip!

Comment

EA disables all Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransaction crud – for now

Whenever you see a studio call fans “passionate,” it’s almost always shorthand for “rioting with pitchforks and torches.” Guess what Star Wars Battlefront 2’s execs are calling its players this week?

DICE GM Oskar Garbrielson apologized to the game’s “passionate” community about the missteps that EA made in locking its characters behind a prohibitive grind and aggressively pushing microtransactions. He said that the team is disabling all in-game purchases with crystals, at least until the company can figure out a better way to implement them:

“But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right. We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.”

Read more

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds struggles with rapid growth and microtransactions backlash

With its domination over Steam and 10 million units sold, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has the industry’s direct and rapt attention. But this immense success hasn’t come without obstacles, particularly as the studio attempts to expand and wrangle a monster success.

“The biggest problem we’re having at the moment is the server platform, because we’re trying to develop it on a production system, which is super hard because you’ve got millions of players — literally millions — coming through the doors every day,” said Bluehole Creative Director Brendan Green.

The early access shooter has also seen stiff backlash due to its decision to introduce microtransactions into the testing process. While Green said that the percentage of players expressing dissatisfaction is relatively small, it has still led to a review bombing campaign on Steam.

Read more

EVE Online rolls out major PLEX changes on May 9

When EVE Online releases its next big patch on May 9th, PLEX is changing in a big way. For example, the old days of ships carrying around a huge number of PLEX packages and getting blown up will be a thing of the past; PLEX will now be stored in a central vault that can be accessed from anywhere, meaning that it’s no longer incredibly valuable (and volatile) cargo. It’s also being converted into currency in its own right, broken into 500 PLEX rather than a single PLEX item used to extend subscription time.

This makes the name “pilot license extension” rather inappropriate, but since everyone just calls it PLEX all of the time anyhow, the actual impact will be lessened.

All of the changes will also mean that PLEX will be the new go-to microtransaction currency while being less vulnerable to destruction in the game. A month of subscription will cost 500 PLEX, so that elemet of gameplay remains fundamentally the same, even though it’s possible to earn PLEX in smaller increments over time with the shift. So if you’ve got some vulnerable haulers full of PLEX… maybe just leave those in the dock until May 9th. Then you can have them haul something less expensive.

Comment

EVE Evolved: What’s the deal with EVE’s PLEX changes?

This week CCP Games announced that some big changes are on the way for PLEX in EVE Online. The PLEX or “30-day Pilot’s License EXtension” is a virtual item that represents 30 days of subscription time and can be bought for cash and then sold to other players for in-game ISK. This simple mechanic has proven to be one of the most important innovations in the subscription MMO business model over the years, allowing players with lots of in-game wealth to effectively play for free while permitting cash-rich players to buy in-game currency without funding dodgy farming operations that can disrupt the game world. Dozens of games now support some kind of player-mediated currency roughly like PLEX.

The proposed changes are intended to simplify EVE‘s business model by merging PLEX with the microtransaction currency Aurum. Players will also be able to put their PLEX into invulnerable account-wide PLEX Vaults that are accessible at all times rather than having to move the valuable items manually by ship. There’s been significant backlash from the EVE community over the newfound invulnerability of PLEX, plans to delete some microtransaction currency from the game without compensation, and the possibility that someone leaked the announcement to friends early in order to make a profit. So what’s the deal with these PLEX changes, and why are some EVE players going nuts over them?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the upcoming changes to the safety of PLEX, the opportunities that more granular PLEX could have for EVE, and why players are up in arms over plans to delete Aurum from thousands of accounts.

Read more

Star Wars: The Old Republic opens up direct sales of the Unstable Arbiter’s Lightsaber

When Star Wars: The Old Republic first introduced the Unstable Arbiter’s Lightsaber with one of its random item packs, players were unhappy about it. It was a highly desirable item locked behind an uncomfortable amount of random chance, which is bad enough in and of itself, but it was also being advertised as if it were common. Bit unfair, that. So now you can, in fact, buy the lightsaber directly, the first time that a high-rarity reward from an item pack has been available for purchase directly from the game’s store.

The down side, of course, is that it’s pricey. Sixty bucks for a lightsaber pricey.

The rationale is that this will, hopefully, preserve the rarity of the item (and the sense of it being either very expensive or a very lucky drop) while also making it directly available to fans who want it. Naturally, no one is happy about this, either. Expect a similar reaction in a few weeks when everyone just gets a half-dozen unstable lightsabers for logging in and the people who had already acquired one are unhappy about having their work ruined.

Source: Official site via Dulfy; thanks to Sally for the tip!

Comment

Revelation Online offers players bonus currency for buying currency now

The third closed beta for Revelation Online is running, and you can test out the game’s cash shop right now if you’re in the testing. But maybe you’d like to spend some money on the game while it’s testing? Aside from buying a Founder’s Pack, or possibly in addition to it. Because the game wants you to spend a bit more money, and it’s enticing you to do so by… giving you money.

It’s a very simple promotion at the core. Spend money for cash shop currency now while the game is in beta, and you can spend it freely within the cash shop in this test phase. Since the servers will be wiped, all of that money will be refunded to you after this test, but 15% extra on top of what you would normally get. So you get the money back and more besides, which is a pretty good deal if there’s stuff you already know you want to buy when the game goes live.

Comment

TERA adds new underwear to the cash shop, you don’t want to see it at work

Are you at work right now? If so, you probably shouldn’t be reading this site anyway, your boss would be mad. But your boss will be really mad if you’re watching the TERA video just past the break. It’s kind of inappropriate for work environments. Heck, it’s kind of inappropriate for some home environments. You may wish to usher your children and smart pets out of the room. Drape cloth over the cages of any reptiles. If you have a tegu, it can stay; those lizards have seen some stuff, man.

What’s the video actually covering? Not much. Specifically, it’s about new underwear, which… yeah, you get the joke, it’s a strong breeze away from wardrobe malfunctions that would somehow feel less obscene, because at least then it’s just naked people. The new inner armor can be purchased on the cash shop now, and if you feel sufficiently morbidly curious, you can check out the video for said armor just below. But please don’t do so at work; we don’t want to hear about you getting fired for watching this.

Monkeys are involved. Take that as fair warning.

Read more

Star Trek Online shows off the contents of the Kelvin lockbox

The Kelvin timeline is edging its way into Star Trek Online, but only in little ways here and there. There are incursions from the timeline that players will have to deal with with the release of Agents of Yesterday, for example. And then there are the ships, traits, and uniforms found within the Kelvin Lock Box, allowing you to take the tools of an alternative 23rd century to fight your battles in the present.

We’re leaving that bit of cross-universe time-travel right there before we try to piece the whole thing together and it makes no sense again.

Players who pop open the Kelvin lock box will have a chance of winning one of three faction-specific ships, with Federation captains earning the big-screen Constitution class, Klingon captains picking up the D4x Bird of Prey, and Romulans fielding the T’laru Warbird. All three factions can also use the Vengeance class Intelligence Dreadnought Cruiser, based on the intimidating ship from the climax of Star Trek: Into Darkness. And that’s not getting into ground weaponry, uniforms, or traits that can be used to further customize your appearance. It’s a whole lot of Kelvin timeline styling in the game, all locked within one box.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Anon for the tip!

Comment

Landmark will introduce the Fantasy Appearance Pack at the end of the week

Landmark is a game in which you can make a wide variety of different things to suit your deepest desires. Want to make a fantasy castle? Go for it. Want a technological paradise? Have a blast. Want to make your character look nonhuman? Well… you’re kind of out of luck there. Or you were, anyhow; the upcoming Fantasy Appearance Pack will allow you to customize your character with a variety of new fantasy-themed options, giving a bit more choice to players who want to jump into the fantasy end.

Players who purchase the pack will have access to several new face options, skin tones, and eye types for each body size, with the usual small Lumen fee for changing your character’s appearance at the Crimson Parlor. The pack won’t be available to purchase for Lumens initially, although the designers are open to more options for purchase in the future based on feedback. It’s slated to go on sale around the end of the week, so you can nab it and play around with the options a bit during the weekend if it sounds like your sort of style.

Comment

Battleborn patches in premium skins and currency

Quick question: What does Overwatch have that Battleborn doesn’t? If you answered “Winston,” you are correct, but that’s not the point. If you answered “players,” your snark is appreciated, but that’s still not the point. If you answered “the option to pay money for skins and taunts,” you are correct, but you won’t be correct after the June 16th patch adds in a premium currency that can be bought for real money and exchanged for skins and taunts.

The new skins are more than just the color swap variety and cost 420 Platinum, while taunts cost 230 Platinum. Platinum cannot be earned through gameplay, only bought; 230 Platinum costs $1.99, while 700 Platinum costs $4.99. There’s no random element to the unlocks, just the cost of the individual items; whether that’s a net positive or a drawback for you is left for you to decide.

Source: Kotaku

Comment

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.

Read more

1 2 3