Legends of Aria players grumble over perceived pay-to-win items in new cash shop

    
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Yesterday, Legends of Aria players were startled to see the new cash-shop in the early access version of the game. Upsetting players even more was what was in the shop. In addition to benign toy type items, there’s a power hour potion that grants sped-up skill acquisition and a soulstone that allows the storage of skills (so you can swap in and out skills you’ve ground – Ultima Online players will recognize these items straightaway).

The trouble is, Legends of Aria has been marketed as an old-school MMO sandbox, complete with FFA PvP and looting. While it’s always said it’d have a cash shop, players anticipated it wouldn’t hold anything that was even marginally pay-to-win. And though these items are far from the worst the genre’s ever seen in terms of P2W, they’ve definitely spooked the playerbase and made everyone fear what might be in store down the road. Players flocked to Reddit to voice their displeasure and demand refunds. Some streamers even announced they are abandoning the game.

Citadel Studios’ Derek Brinkmann made a statement in the subreddit last night.

“In the past, when asked in Q&A’s and in conversations with players, we have said the cash shop would be cosmetic only because it was our initial plan to avoid it being ‘pay to win’, but upon deep reflection, we have come to the conclusion it’s not the right way to avoid ‘pay to win’ for this game. Legends of Aria is driven by items and the items we collect keep us immersed in our world and are often a symbol of our time spent adventuring. When you can fill your equipment and your house with items purchased from the shop, other players can no longer recognize the achievements you’ve made. This has happened in other crowdfunded MMOs and has produced results we do not wish to imitate. Our power hour potion and soulstones are examples of utility based consumable items that do not undermine the competitive nature of our game. These types of items meet the requirement of having long term demand and allow us to avoid filling the shop with one time purchase cosmetics that cheapen the integrity of the persistent world. Producing Legends of Aria with this small team of very dedicated and passionate people has been an incredible challenge and one laden with difficult decisions; we don’t make any of these decisions lightly and any notion that we’re building a maniacal cash shop is deeply misled.”

We have an interview on Aria pending right now; we’ve asked Citadel additional questions about this situation as of yesterday, so stay tuned.

Source: Reddit. With thanks to Bjorn!
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Frank White

I haven’t played the game, but this doesn’t sound like the end of the world to me. The only other MMO I’m playing right now (occasionally) is GW2 and they’ve had similar items in their cash shop for years. Think it’s pretty common. It’s possible I don’t fully understand how these items effect game-play mechanics in this particular game, never having played it, but for me the real fun of any MMO has always been in the end-game content: so it doesn’t much bother me personally if someone uses an item (e.g., xp boost) to get them to end-game faster, as long as they don’t have any advantage over me (via cash shop items) once we both get to said end game content. To me, though, that soulstone item sounds worse, and potentially more of an advantage, than the “power hour potion” which others seem to find the worse offender. Anyway, I don’t think any of these things would prevent me from playing the game, if I were of a mind to. I just don’t think it looks all that interesting. ;)

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Baemir

If the comments I read were any indication, it was less ‘grumbling’ and more of a ‘mass migration’.

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packagegrope

thanks for saving me the trouble from logging back in, citadel! i’ll come back when my friends and i can play on our own server. you know, that aspect of the game you’ve been touting from the get go.

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squid

While it’s always said it’d have a cash shop, players anticipated it wouldn’t hold anything that was even marginally pay-to-win.

Players anticipated it because that’s what they said. “Cosmetic-only cash shop.”

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François Verret

Paying for cosmetics cheapens the integrity of your game experience. Don’t you just hate it when you come up to a player’s house and it’s filled with cash-shop cosmetics? Doesn’t it just fill you with poisonous envy?

What BS.

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squid

Wish he’d just be honest and say “Hey, so we sat down with our accountant, looked at the numbers and we’re just not gonna be able to make it on box sales and one-time cosmetics alone, so we’re gonna need to sell some consumables if we want to keep this game running long-term.”

As far as P2W consumables go, these are pretty benign. Yeah, I know, slippery slope and whatnot, but whatever.

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François Verret

As do I. I don’t think the items are problematic. In fact, they make perfect sense, considering the mechanics of the game. He just can’t make it seem like cosmetics are lower on the ethical totem pole and that’s why they decided to include these.

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PanagiotisLial1

Yes I think the problem is they didnt estimate their finances earlier and be honest about it. However I think the streamer is right that they could had released housing cosmetics and/or extra designs for them. I mean who doesnt care for housing? they would have sales

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Baemir

I wouldn’t recommend dismissing the slippery slope problem just because you feel like dismissing it.

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TJ French

At this point, or doesn’t matter to me. I’m want to run and play on my own server anyway. They can do whatever they want in their cash shop, as long as it doesn’t get forced to the private servers.

Honestly, trying to run a company hosted server for a game that they sold to us as running our own servers was the first sign of this behavior coming.

They have a bigger issue with skill books currently too. I would expect those to show up on the can shop soon also. Drop rates for them were nerfed recently, but not before many players added lots of skills to their toons. Now, in a pvp game, you’ve got characters with lots of skill options fighting characters that can’t do the end game fights to get skills to have more options.

I’m begging them to just polish up the game, get it out the door, and give us tools to run our own servers. That’s what they sold. That’s what I bought. They can burn their own official server to the ground at that point if they wish.

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Schlag Sweetleaf
power hour.gif
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rafael12104

Nicely done. Heh.

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Arktouros

Behold unto Him, not even 1% of his power.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

It’s that damn Shaggy! He’s so hot right now!

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Armsbend

comment image

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Bryan Correll

Derek Brinkmann made a statement in the subreddit

TL;DR – Pay to win is for your own good.

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Arktouros

we have said the cash shop would be cosmetic only because it was our initial plan to avoid it being ‘pay to win’, but upon deep reflection, we have come to the conclusion it’s not the right way to avoid ‘pay to win’ for this game.

This is, word for word, why no gamer these days believes anything a developer has to state on the topic of pay2win.

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IronSalamander8 .

Aye. In a world where ‘pay to win’ is bandied about too often, this one still reeks of it.

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Ozzie

I don’t play the game, but that statement made me wish I did just so I could experience the satisfaction of quitting.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Citadel Studios argument doesn’t make sense. These p2w items add integrity to the game by giving players a short cut? Simple one time purchase cosmetics detract for the gaming experience? They’ve seen it happen in other games?

WTF are they talking about? Lol. Heh. Such convoluted bullshit is usually reserved for AAAs.