Cash for Coolness

SW:TOR RMT is on its way. 

RMT’s a big subject for most folks these days. Personally, I work for a living, so paying $14.95 (x4) is just what I do since that’s my hobby.  I don’t drink much, I gave up smoking in 2005, drugs are for people who have no better way to enjoy life than getting smacked on rock… so… does RMT worry me? Well, not yet.

Real Money Transactions have been all the rage overseas in the East for a while. The real question is: will western game designers actually know how to implement it without a monthly fee and so that the 7%-ers feel leet and the 93%-ers don’t feel like they supporting the 7%-er unemployment initiatives?

Tall order here in the States.

So let’s say when they release Star Wars: The Old Republic with the American version of RMT, will they charge a monthly fee? Or will they take an idea from Guild Wars 2 and just charge for the game client, then decide what to charge cash for? I personally am looking forward to ToR simply because it is going to be RMT. For, what, over 15 years(?), I have been supporting the welfare content we now refer to as raid content, or “endgame.” And in all that time, I went in, saw it once, then moved on.  I would rather gut you in an open field several times than dink in the same dungeon until I hate the world.  But damn, you guys have the coolest gear. I want that gear, I just don’t want to waste my life to get it.

Does thinking of raid content as a waste of time make me casual or hardcore? 93%-er or 7%-er? Well, that’s hard to say. I love PvP, but I hate wannabe leet dudes.  College full time, job full time, friends, writing, art, and I still game on a regular basis to the tune of $500.00 or more a year, not including tabletop stuff.  Who cares?  Did I earn the gear?  You bet your ass I did: I work for a living.  I’ve earned everything I have.

Ok. Wha, wha, wha, rant over, move on…

That said, I also have never bought gold since I have no need to. I’m not in that big of a hurry for cool stuff. I’m an explorer! <insert Captain Morgan stance here> I plan my characters out for about 5 to 10 years at a stretch. Sometimes that bites me pretty hard, like in AoC, Vanguard, SWG, Shadowbane, etc.

So what should be sold as RMT? Stuff that looks good, of course.  But should we also include high end gear? I think so. I would love to reach 60 in ToR and be eligible to buy “Rank 6″ gear. The whole world is for sale nowadays, so why not good gear?  Would you spend 100 hours in a dungeon farming (god, I hate that word) to get gear I can buy for $100.00? That’s a dollar an hour for your time, at say… two hours per run through.  So I buy the gear and have fun, is it any sweat off your ass?  You tell me, but I doubt it. 7%-ers could care less how I get my gear. They are busy campers… literally.

Now the big question is: what if I buy a Light Staff, enhanced exo-Skeletal Reaction gear, and then join in on a little PvP action. Do I deserve to mop the floor with you, who can’t afford super gear? Hmm… even I have a bit of heartburn over that one. But, if PvP is restricted to some “honor code” that won’t let me fight people who are lower level than me, or vastly under-equipped (I see a big exploit in that one; i.e.: Outfitter add-on), well, that might be alright. So we restrict buying anything combat-enhancing until you reach a certain level, but let all other visual enhancements be purchased at any level. That sounds good to me.

My life is anything but casual; I just schedule really well. But I hate repeating dungeons time and time again in the chance that I may get the Hoth Warbler 7200 exo-beamer. Not fun. Boring.

So how do you feel about Star Wars: The Old Republic being RMT? Like I said, I am all for it.

But, hey!  I’m Ark, and that’s my angle on it.

2 Comments to Cash for Coolness

  1. Chris the Unspeakable's Gravatar Chris the Unspeakable
    December 29, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    My take on this is that you should not mix real world cash with imaginary items. Paying for server support and world content is enough.

    Ooohh wait I have a vision!!!! I see a shape… rectancular shape… It has moving pictures… It is and an webpage banner!
    It says – “Can’t afford to buy an epic mount? We’ll buy it for you! Just wear this logo on your guild armor and you’ll have all the kick ass gear you want”
    Within 2 months we would have a coca cola guild, lucky strike guild… you name it…

  2. December 29, 2008 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I love the idea of RMT. In my mind, it’s an equalizer between those who are time rich and those who are money rich. A subscription model is heavily biased in favor of those with plenty of time to play the game. Someone with a real job (and/or a family, gasp!) who works at a non-WoW job is already behind the curve. Giving people the ability to pay for their goods with either real money or game money (time) levels the playing field. Also, as noted, that cash being given to the company was definitely “worked for”… and probably via work a bit more socially responsible than raiding or farming in a game.

    Of course, this suggests to me that anything available via a “cash shop” should also be available to buy with in-game currency. The only difference is how people pay for their loot; with cash or with time. (Wizard101 does this; their “cash shop” items were originally cash-only, but they wisely made them available for purchase via in-game currency. That’s fair; it lets people pay however they have the capacity or desire to do so.)

    As for the potential PvP imbalance, that has nothing to do with RMT, if the designers have half a brain. PvP balance should be a function of the game design, pure and simple. It should be regulated like a sport. As such, it is utterly irrelevant how someone gets to the starting line (normalized gear, maximized gear like Guild Wars, or some sort of “might rating” like Atlantica Online). What matters is how they actually play the game, not how they acquired their gear.

    Why play PvP if it’s merely a measure of how much time you’ve spent in the game, whiling away your life for pretty purple pixels, rather than a measure of your skills? PvE is full of such time-based ego stroking opportunities (as banal and utterly unfathomable though they may be to me). Keep PvP purely about player skill, and you can sidestep the potential RMT concerns there entirely.

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