The Daily Grind: When are ‘microtransactions’ too much in MMOs?


Two money-related topics crossed my desk the last couple of weeks.¬†The first was a Reddit topic complaining about microtransactions in MMOs – not the fact that they exist but the fact that they’re not “micro” in any sense of the term. When the idea of microtransactions first rolled around, we assumed it’d be measured in pennies, and there were a handful of titles – City of Heroes comes to mind – that did charge tiny fees. But of course, we also had $25 sparkleponies pretty early on, and now that’s blossomed into tens, hundreds, and even thousands of dollars. “Don’t downplay the seriousness or impact of these negative behaviors by giving them diminutive and deceptive names,” the OP wrote, and I completely agree with him, which is precisely why I don’t call gambleboxes or lockboxes the publisher-preferred “lootboxes.”

The second is the case in point to the second: An Elder Scrolls Online influencer took to Twitter to criticize the game’s Crown Store, specifically how recent mounts – that would have cost closer to $40 in currency before, which is already exorbitant – are now being placed behind gambling paywalls that could take hundreds to get through the system meant to make gambling less gross. The whole thing is maddening.

What are your thoughts on the current state of “microtransactions” in MMOs? When are they just plain too much?

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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