Friend-of-MOP Clowd over at RIFT blog The Ghar Station penned a provocative piece this week proposing for the MMORPG genre a five-tiered system for cataloguing and describing cash-shop business models. He notes, correctly, something we’ve argued ourselves: that when MMO players use the term “pay-to-win” casually, it waters down the concept to the point that the most egregious examples dodge accountability, and we’re robbed of the language to categorize them.
Clowd’s model starts with an “inoffensive” tier for basic cosmetics, then moves up through “convenience” and “quick power” to games that literally sell high-end gear. At the very top of the scale are those theoretical MMOs that openly gate endgame success behind cash-shop purchases (maybe you can think of one?). The whole conversation is especially timely thanks to the brewing controversy over Diablo Immortal’s monetization.
Personally, I’m usually willing to give Clowd’s first- and second-tier games a pass, though third-tier titles earn side-eye and fourth-tier titles are a big nope for me. But other gamers will have a different opinion. What do you think of this scale for describing monetization? What level of pay-to-win are you willing to tolerate in MMORPGs?