Today I want to babble about cost of gaming, this was brought up by a survey blizzard sent me about micro transactions. Obviously aside from buying the game and paying the subscription, all other charges are completely optional. But what is an acceptable amount to charge people? Should the price of a ten year old game being going down not up? And is there really an issue with micro transactions in a subscription based game? After the break I will attempt to babble coherently on these problems.
So to begin with were it all kicked off, the other week I received a survey from blizzard it was about features of WoD as well as HotS, and what I played/spent in other games. While I was answering the question I slowly began to realise that I have never spent any money on micro transactions that could be earned by playing the game. I have bought many pets and mounts from the store in WoW though most of them not for myself but rather for Admiring Azeroth. Looking back as well most were bought when they were on offer. I never bought anything off of D3's RMAH yet I sold probably close to 150 pounds of stuff and used the funds to buy other games. On the whole I personally prefer to earn items in game as opposed to buying them.
However at the same point I don't have any problems with micro transactions and cash shops, in fact I would love to see other stuff added as long as it maintains a reasonable price. For example at the moment the shop bought boost is £40, I can quite easily say I will never buy one at that price. Yet if the price was say £10 I would probably buy several over the course of the next few years. My basis here is that 40 quid is the price of 4months of game time. (Roughly) In that time I could level like 50 characters to 90, therefore in my own personal opinion I don't consider it to be value for money. Yet I don't go spouting bile on the forums about blizzard ripping me off or allowing people to pay to win.
The issue is that while Blizzard makes games they are also a business they MUST make money, shareholders and all that jazz. But increased revenue also leads to increased content and more games, you only have to look at the Blizzards job section all the artist and coders they are hiring. That's were our money is going and in the long run that can only be a good thing.
Though I have to confess I was not all that amused when I saw the pricing of the latest expansion, I even checked back to see what I paid for MoP. I understand that they put a lot of work into each new expansion and relatively the price for WoW is cheap when compared to some other MMOs. At the same point they are new whereas WoW is Ten years old. In an ideal I would love for the price of WoW to keep going down including the subscription. Yet this would never happen, even in months where I don't really play much I still pay my sub. It would take an astronomical rise in subscription prices to really affect the numbers that we have playing now. We are the rump that is the left, the fan boys/girls while we do whinge about the cost and we will continue to do so. We are so unlikely to ever actually properly un-sub and leave the game.
But Blizzard must be careful that they don't make it feel like they are exploiting our fan status to get more money out of us. We all accept necessary price rises, be it inflation or extortionate taxes that some countries levy. But take the wording of the prices raises for account services in pounds the other day. That was a complete cock up leaving the player base that pays in pounds feeling more ripped off than normal. (10 dollars does not equate to 10 pounds, it make no sense that it is cheaper for me to gift a pet to a US player rather than buying the same pet for myself. but I won't go into details here there are many interesting posts on the forums that make the point far more succinctly than I could.)
Money in games is always a touchy subject, the person that earns a 100k a year (not me sadly) has far more deposable income to spend if they choose to. Than someone who earns minimum wage, a large part of my support for cash shops is if you have the money it is your choice how you spend it. If for example the cash shop sells a million sparkle ponies a month, then maybe the price of expansions never has to increase in the future.
So this post didn't turn out quite as I had intended it to, though that may have been for the better. Next week I intend to bash some head together and insult as many people as I can with my aggressive defence of LFR as content. Well hopefully not offend, but I will try and be honest and protect my fellow LFR-Heroes. Peace out y'all