The Daily Grind: Are you a stingy MMO spender?


I like to think of myself as a fairly thrifty guy. A bulk of my Kindle library was either free or purchased on discount, and we shan’t speak of how many GOG and Steam games I’ve gotten at extreme price reduction.

That said, I generally don’t spend a lot of video games at all these days, including MMORPGs. I think the last time I bought something was dropping $10 on a single month of VIP service for Neverwinter, which was nice but not something I’m going to repeat right now. MMO studios don’t really get a lot of money from me, which makes me feel either prudent or stingy based on the day and my perspective.

Are you a stingy MMO spender? What does a studio have to do to get you to open up your wallet, and what have you done to avoid paying money in a game?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!


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Brazen Bondar

I believe in supporting games I play regularly. If it is F2P with an option for subscription, I will subscribe once I’ve decided I am going to play the game. As for the cash shop, if I see something for whatever housing there is or an armor that I particularly like and you can get it account wide, I will buy it. But, I don’t just throw money into the cash shop. I don’t need to get an achievement for owning every armor in the game or every variation of a particular mount. In the cash shop context, I can be stingy, but after all …I’m paying that subscription so I’m very ok with not doing much cash shop spending.

In a F2P only game I’ll spend a little money in the cash shop, but it will never amount to what I spend monthly on a sub.

Anton Mochalin

BTW nice to see a Papa Phineas illustration for the post!


I adopted a policy long ago to support the services that I use. I’ve seen too many services (including games) die for lack of the monetary support that they need to thrive. So I support what I use. I’m methodical in the way that I do it, i.e. if you’re not offering anything I want, or if what you’re offering is a rip off, I won’t support you in those. But things that I want that are reasonable to me, I’ll buy.


Depends largely on what is being offered for me to purchase.

Per-character items or unlocks, consumables, anything that takes a slot in my inventory, or things that alter the game design or balance like shortcuts, boosters, or raw power? I’ll never purchase those. If everything a game has to sell fits one of these categories then I’ll never spend any money on it even if I do love the game despite the crappy shop.

Subscriptions, even optional ones? I’ll only subscribe to a game if I’m playing it to the exclusion of just about anything else. The last time this happened was over half a decade ago, and I don’t foresee it ever happening again.
(Of note: it has more to do with the psychological effects a subscription has on me than with the value. If I like the game but I’m not planning to play it exclusively I’m sometimes willing to purchase a lifetime sub, despite the fact I’ll likely be losing money when compared with a traditional sub.)

Convenience items? If I deem them unnecessary, I won’t be purchasing them. If I deem them necessary but they are sold per-character, I will avoid the game like the plague. If I deem them necessary and they are account-wide (and don’t take inventory space), then I will consider them as part of the game’s base cost — meaning they can make me see a cheap, or even free, game as being costly enough for me to avoid it, but at the same time if I do start playing the game I will purchase those things early on, often even before I start playing in earnest.

Cosmetic items? Only if they are account-wide, don’t take inventory space, and are cheap. This doesn’t mean I will spend little money; I can purchase $100 worth of cosmetic items in one sitting if each one is very cheap (I did so in the past), but I will flat out refuse to purchase anything purely cosmetic, no matter how cool and well crafted, if it sells for $10 or more.
(Caveat: like I do with specs and builds, I’m always changing my character’s appearance; consistency is boring for me. So one single cosmetic, or even a small handful of them, is worthless for me; cosmetics are only worth my time and money in large collections.)

Extra content? As long as it offers enough hours of robust gameplay to feel worth the asking price, I’m game.

Oh, BTW,

and we shan’t speak of how many GOG and Steam games I’ve gotten at extreme price reduction.

I have purchased over a thousand games under this condition. And many of the over 150 games I purchase per year fall into the same pattern. For the most part I’ll only pay full price for a game if it’s one I truly love the concept of, and I’m fully pleased with the behavior of both the developer and the publisher; for anything else, well, I’ve got literally hundreds of games in my backlog, so I can wait.


I guess I come across as stingey.

I’ve never spent money in a cash shop.
I’ve never spent money on a free to play game.

I have only ever spent money on boxes, expansions and subscriptions.

Does that make me stingey?! It just comes down to a value question for me. Is what you are selling worth the asking price? So far, that has always been “no” in cash shops and f2p games, but thats mostly because teh games themselves aren’t very good so it feels like spending money would be a waste.

If they made good games and only had subs, that would get me paying again instantly.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

If a game I enjoy has a subscription, I subscribe, which usually opens up some perks that makes the game more enjoyable. I’m all-in for fluff and will usually drop money in the cash shop of my favorite games for specialty mounts and flashy armor. If I’m going to be looking at my avatar for a lengthy period of time, I want to be looking at something I enjoy looking at.

LOTRO is particularly good (bad?) in this respect. For many of my characters I have complete sets of horses, horse fluff, and character fluff for not just the seasons, but for the weather. Can’t be without a warm, furry cloak in Forochel.

But all this is because I can afford it. I’m not siphoning off from the rent, the bills, the food budget. And because gaming is my major source of entertainment. With the exception of streaming services, I have very little other entertainment expenditures. Okay, a Pandora subscription, but that’s really it.

When I couldn’t afford it, I didn’t.

Like others, I have zero patience for games that are designed as cash shop schemes and little else. There are several clues to this, small inventories, many, many tiny potions, and early drops of high level items you can’t use. I just avoid these games.

Deadly Habit

If I’m enjoying the hell out of a game and there is something I want be it cosmetic or optional sub that is reasonably priced, no problem tossing in some cash to support continued development.

When you start nickel and diming or doing P2W/pay to convenience (they’re the same in my eyes) to mask things like a boring or unnecessary grind along with not respecting your players time that shows a flaw in your overall design and predatory nature so I’m usually done.

There’s also the examples when you can’t even call things microtransactions or being stingy with the prices they have for pixel addon shop stuff, Shroud of the Avatar is a prime example of this where it’s just fishing for whales and a huge turn off from the get go.

Ben Stone

Not really, happy to financially support games I enjoy playing. I do avoid predatory pricing models though. I won’t support any game that requires cash shop purchases to progress at end game. Happy to pay a subscription or buy cosmetics though.


Yes. I very seldom buy new games at full price. I have so many games yet to be played that I can afford to wait for big sales. And to see if the new games are REALLY as good as the hype claims!

That being said, there are some that I purchase at launch. ESO chapters. American Truck Simulator states. The Outer Worlds was also a full price purchase and I have not regretted that one, but I did wait for reviews and such first.

Jim Bergevin Jr

ATS and ETS 2 all the way!

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Not thrifty at all, if a game has things I want i’ll buy them. However just because I can and do spend money doesn’t mean I have no sense of value for money or enjoyment of a good discount :)

I’ve spent far more than is sensible in the games I love over the years especially when it comes to character slots, mounts and cosmetics lol

But I do not pay ridiculous sums for things if i do not feel they are worth it.

So while I may be a whale but i’m not a whale in the sense that i’ll just throw any sum at something simply because I want it, if it isn’t good value for money then they can whistle for it.

Edit: Actually took quite a bit for me to write this as i’m a brit and we don’t typically like to talk about how much we spend, its considered bad taste.