I will preface all of this by saying that I am basing this entirely off of leaked screenshots and information from places like Reddit, twitter, and other sources which are not primary sources or even guaranteed reliable. I also want to note that I grappled back and forth all day with whether or not I should even post this because I don’t want to jump the gun or overreact to something that could be fake or changing since GW2 is still in testing. I decided it was best to speak up now since there’s no turning back if this goes through.
If the information is accurate, Guild Wars 2’s cash shop might be a deal breaker for me. I wrote just a few days ago how I am 100% in support of a cash shop that sells purely cosmetic items. ArenaNet included a very iffy phrase in their article about their cash shop offering “time-saving convenience items”, and I pointed that out immediately as something that can ruin the entire idea.
The images show things like Experience Boosts, Karma Boosts, Crafting Boosts, Chance to Find Rare item Boosts, Loot bags with random items, megaphones to talk in global chat, keys that unlock specific chests (I can imagine horrible ways that this can be abused by devs) and resurrection orbs to res yourself (not usable in pvp). I am not comfortable with those kinds of items. Something about them rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the fact that most games with those exact types of items make me feel like taking a shower after I play. On the other hand, the boosts only last an hour making the purchase probably not worth it anway. My issue is mostly with what those items mean for a game’s current and future design.
Games with those kinds of items in their cash shops usually design towards getting people into the cash shop which alters the ‘pure’ or unadulterated version of the game’s design. I was hoping that Guild Wars 2 was going to offer only the items like extra character slots, dyes, looks, outfits, cosmetic pets, etc. Those items are in the leaks as well, but they’re entirely overshadowed by a horrific sense of ignorance on ArenaNet’s part if they’re not taking into consideration the ramifications. Cash shops that alter gameplay inherently alter game design.
I hope the leaks are either false or very early in testing and not going to make it into the game. The only reason I am talking about this is because I care. I want to voice my opinion and let ArenaNet know that I do not approve. These types of things are why a company wants a NDA on their MMO, and exactly why many formulate a valid argument against hiding away the dirty little secrets. If this type of cash shop makes it into the game, I’m glad it came out early because my interest in the game may diminish if I sense any change in the game’s design direction as a result.
One last aside, I don’t want to dismiss the potential annoyance of bag slot space being very limited without purchasing bag space. Those types of transactions that almost force you into the shop can be just as sinister if gone unchecked.
When it comes to something this scary — a potentially ruined game — I will risk jumping the gun and overreacting. I don’t want to see it happen, and I encourage others to realize the implications if it does. This is usually only the beginning.
Takeaways for those who want the short version.
- ArenaNet’s “time-saving convenience items” turned out to be a iffy like I suspected in my post a few days ago.
- Boosts to things like rare item finding and exp, random item bags, keys that unlock chests we have no idea about offer minor bonuses to people who cash shop it up. Undecided if it’s game-changing enough to be bad.
- Cash shops like this are usually only the beginning of something more sinister.
- Cash shops that alter gameplay inherently alter game design. Watch for it.
- Speak up now or never, even if it’s overreacting or jumping-the-gun. Now’s the chance to make a change -before- launch when it becomes too late.
Key points from comments section:
Clarification from Keen (me):
Someone boosting their exp… not that big a deal, I guess.
Someone boosting their karma gain… a little more of a deal but not that big of a deal.
Someone boosting their crafting… I don’t care, I guess.
Resurrecting anywhere in PvE… not that big of a deal.
Special chests that only unlock with keys from the cash shop… that’s annoying and I care a bit.
Loot bags giving random items … I care if the items are good.
Individually, not a big deal. Combine them all and they indicate a potential problem if the game’s direction takes a turn.
Azuriel’s insightful comment:
ArenaNet wants you to use the RMT system.
If nobody uses it because the exchange rate is crap or the players don’t care, that is less dollars for development, less dollars for shareholders, less dollars for executive bonuses. That is a problem. ArenaNet has every incentive to make players want to buy keys, bonus loot, etc etc etc. If no one does, they get no money, game shuts down.