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Sep 10, 2010

Troll Rants: Microtransactions and gaming

Loves it or hates it, microtransactions is here to stay.

Tuhd not actually going to rant about the fact they exist.  Tuhd here to rant about when they be being done WRONG to detriment of community.

Firstly, for those of you who not know what microtransaction are, lets me explain it to yous.

A microtransaction is fancy buzzword for "cheap thing".  It is candy bar of video game world.  And each one are different.  In some games, you get fancy clothings, or furniture, or potion to increase amount of experiences you gain.  In other games, it open up slot for new character, a new car to drive, new weapons, starter packs that get you going in game faster, gold, plat, money, powerups, etc.

In general, a microtransaction is in the $1-$5 range for most things.  It targeted to the "oh it only this amount, I can afford that" market.  Just like candy bars and snacks.

However, some 'microtransactions' is $20 or more.  THIS NOT MICROTRANSACTION YOU FUCKERS!  If it cost same as half a tank of gas (a quarter tank for truck peoples), then it not micro anything.  If it $20 it better do something REALLY FUCKING COOL.  Not "oh look a new set of house furniture that gives me no stats and nothing other than it sits there and looks neat and its all digital meaning I CANT EVEN SIT IN IT".  If it a new mount or vehicle or whatever, it better be FASTER than anything else out there, and not immediately be put to shame when next expansion comes out with the free ones.  IT BETTER FLY AND SHOOT RAINBOWS OUT IT'S ASS.

Some games has microtransactions priced accordingly to their market, to take advantage of more volume of thems.  DDO and Hobbits Online (okay okay, Lord of the Rings Online) are two thats are praiseworthy.  No, Tuhd not play them, Tuhd have friends who do, though.  They know that fun stuff should only cost a dollar or two.  If people get into habit of "I want something fun, lets buy this cause its so cheap" then they will probably buy a couple a month.  And it becomes habit just like candy bar at checkout counter or soda whenever you go to park with kids.  And then at some point you look in your bags and realize that in the last 6 months you bought $20 worth of clothes you can't wear (in real world), but it so much you feel you gots a bargain.

But some games DON'T do dis right.  Tuhd specifically talking about a game Tuhd honestly enjoys.  Everquest 2.  It does not cost no $50 for the server to transfer your character across servers.  Even whens it was manual, it took 10-15 minutes for a tech to do it (really, ask them).  Experience potions should not cost more than $3 for something that lasts maybe an hour and only gives you 50% more exp.  Especially tradeskill ones.  And if you buy somethings, it should be available to ALL CHARACTERS (except maybe experience potions).  Seriouslies, are it dat hard to figure out?

The concept of microtransactions are one that, if done well, nets companies shedloads of money.  Lets us look at the king of revenue generators, the WoW Flying Mount.  It netted dat company somewhere beyond $2 million dollars for a mount that only had to be designed once, and costed somewhere around $25 (some rumors claim nearly $5 million).  IT WAS A FLYING MOUNT (made of stars).  This falls in category of "totally cool", and earns seal of approval, even if it is cost of tank of gas.  Because it was unique, and cool.  Don't think rainbows shot out its ass, but maybe that will be next version.

And lets not walk away from the Hobbits game.  They are sellings their stuff so cheap if you has $20 to spend, you gets armfulls of stuff that all your characters can use.  Thems and DDO make a HUGE amounts of money on microtransactions alone, without having to sell their MMO soul for it.

So, are microtransactions bad or goods?  I dunno.  Guess it depends on if you got the cash to spend on the little fiddly crap that really doesnt mean much in long run.

Tuhd bought a hat.

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