It was inevitable: someone disagreed with my opinion that the Mercenary Heroes microtransactions were “fairly priced.” If it ended there, I would have no legs to stand on. Value, especially value of entertainment purchases, is highly subjective. Yet, there are so many objective criteria one can use to argue the microtransaction in to a lighter or darker shade of valued gray. The worst criteria to use is the core price.
The core price mechanism in MMO is generally either content pack (buy-the-box), subscription, or free. Content pack as a basis for the core price is found in Guild Wars and Wizard 101. Subscription-based MMOs are exemplified by World of Warcraft and the darling Rift, and take any pick of free MMOs, like Vindictus. Each of those has a core value, but it can widely differ. For instance, I find Rift’s frenetic update pace to well worthwhile the subscription cost while I do not find World of Warcraft’s subscription fee to have the same value. (As a tangent for another day, this will effect the value of underlying microtransactions.)
Whatever the case may be, the core inherently will have the highest value. It’s engineered that way because most importantly the game developers want players to buy and play their games. Compared to all the non-essential items, the essential core will have a value that blows the extras away. Look at Guild Wars with about 35 armor sets in the core (3 campaigns + expansion) and compare that to a $7.00 costume. The bottom line is the core is a statistical outlier in terms of placing a value on microtransactions.
Good objective talking points are comparisons to similar microtransactions, both in the same game and out. How much use the microtransaction gives is another good benchmark. I would also say nods to minimum wage are fair game. Just stay away from the core, it’s deceivingly shiny.
they now have their own crowned goddess