In this November rain, at least some news is ripping through the MMO ‘sphere’s apathy. Mythic has decided on giving players the option to buy levels. At $10 a pop, all characters on an account get a War Tract, which when used will advance the character one full level. Players can only use this once per account. Players that really like Warhammer Online will likely then pay only a couple bucks per character’s level. Players with only one or two played characters will be paying $5 or $10 per character level, which is a tad steep. However, characters created in the future will also get the War Tract in the mail. They bring about a few other cash shop items too, which Arkenor breaks down.
Ardwulf thinks that if anybody really cared about Warhammer Online, this would be a scandal. It is a small one on Warhammer Online forums, where cries of MMO death are slightly amplified because of this. But, I think Spinks has the right of it. The “suck” was already there with the end-grind hell levels. Having the option to pay past this suck, while not the best option, is far better than if hell levels were designed so subscribers would want to fork more money in to get back to the fun.
It seems to me that the Western MMO audiences are more readily embracing so-called microtransactions, but they are not yet accepting of games designed to push players into purchases. If MMO-X was released, kept the status quo for years, and then gave a cash shop item to ease the pain, it would not the greatest thing, but it is acceptable. If MMO-X releases exactly the same, but with the cash shop item on launch, players would cry foul. (I saw a lot of this in regards to the Guild Wars 2 transmutation stone uproar.) It’s a thin red line where players’ wallets stand.
Chris at Game By Night is ejected forcibly from a blog-cation to comment, and he thinks that this is more evidence of Warhammer Online going to a subscription-less or hybrid model. Honestly, I am at the point where I am really unsure as to whether it would help. Clearly the evidence shows that Turbine’s toilet paper is now a wad of Franklins, but both Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online seemed like stable games at the switch. Warhammer Online seems eternally plagued by RvR issues, and every major patch seems to try something new on the PvP front.
Honestly though, the $10 level is a gimmick. Players still can’t buy their way to 40 because the War Tract limitations are pretty severe. It’s not a meaningful cash shop item. It’s not permanent like an appearance item. It’s not substantial like buying a mount or weapon. It’s just at best a way to get money out of players wanting the equivalent of a $10 party popper. The other cash shop items that just dropped have much more weight on the future course of Warhammer Online, in my opinion.
what’s that? hawaiian noises?