Hello everyone and welcome back to the ShoddyCast website! This week we asked you all why you play video games and what you deemed proper to sell on an in-game cash shop. So let’s break down the polls and see what we got:
If you haven’t been informed, Elder Scrolls Online will have a cash shop in-game that will allow the purchase of “fun stuff” and services like name changes. For those unfamiliar with what a “cash shop” is, they are a system in the game where you can search through items to purchase (usually with real money or through a virtual currency that can be bought with real money) that are then applied to your in-game character or account. These are also referred to as microtransactions.
One of the best examples of this can be found in Guild Wars 2. They have many vanity items like town clothes, consumables like experience/karma boosters and utility items like repair kits. The problem with some cash shops is that they can become “pay to win” type shops that allow the purchase of top tier gear or give unfair advantages to those who can afford it.
With that in mind, we asked you what you thought is acceptable to sell. We’re actually rather surprised at some of the results so let’s take a look at each one.
The top 2 results are pretty much the same thing in ESO as armor skins are called costumes and simply change the look of your current armor set and in no way affect the stats found on the armor. These are part of what are called “vanity items” and do nothing but change the appearance of your character. We’ve recently learned that this will not be usable in PvP which is great as it will not confuse people or otherwise mask what type of enemy you’re going for. Since ESO offers so much customization with play style, it’s essential that we see what armor and weapons your foe is using as that is really the only indication of what the enemy might throw at you.
Utility items are great as they can alleviate some of the drudgery that can be found in MMOs. The only possible problem things like these can have is if it affects the sales of items already in the game. For example, if repair kits are purchasable with real money, it can affect the sales of repair kits that are craftable and sellable by players. We will see if any of these are actually included in the shop.
From here on out is where controversy really comes into play. Experience boosts can come in different varieties. In GW2 there’s ones that increase XP for a short duration and will refresh that duration when an enemy is killed and there’s ones that offer a longer duration but at a much lower boost. Should people be allowed to purchase boosters that speed up leveling? And do you think that this offers an unfair advantage? Personally, I find them okay to use if they’re offered in-game by other means be it quest rewards or exploration bonuses. I don’t see the unfair advantage here as we’re all shooting for 50 and getting there quicker doesn’t make you the better player. It makes you the less experienced one. That is, of course, up for debate.
Armor and weapons with stats is downright pay-to-win in my book, especially if those stats are comparable with other high tiered gear. This should never be allowed and we seriously doubt that ZOS would even consider it.
Increased gold drops through the use of boosters is really stepping over the line and it increases the likelihood of gold farmers.
And then there was gold purchases. Straight up gold purchases again is considered pay-to-win and it’s pretty obvious why. A rich person can buy in-game currency to purchase materials and crafted items that others would have to spend hours upon hours to replicate. GW2 actually had an interesting take on this however. People could purchase a virtual currency called gems that could be turned in for in-game gold. The interesting part is the amount received per gem changed depending on how many people were doing the same. A supply-and-demand economy made it feel less like pay-to-win and more like an investment that could go either way.
Many think that ESO’s cash shop won’t have any of these items and instead will only have services, but what do you think “fun stuff” means? I can pretty much guarantee there will be vanity items like costumes for sale at the very least. I know many people are upset at the announcement for a cash shop, especially after the announcement of the subscription business model. I can understand those feelings but I see this feature as the future for ESO. I think they will slowly introduce more items, pushing what people deem fair to sell for real cash and when they have added an acceptable amount of items, they can feel better about going buy-to-play and remove the subscription fee. Then they will be funded solely from microtransactions that are fair and offer another dynamic to the game.
How do you feel about this cash shop? Do you think we will see items like these or will it be more minimalistic?
“It’s my favorite source of entertainment,” says nearly half of poll takers. Some people prefer television. Some people prefer movies. Then there are those that would rather load up a video game and burn away the hours.
Video games have been a social stigma for decades. A source of ridicule from those who found them geeky or a total waste of time. But in the past decade, they have really became a sort of social standard with the help of home console systems like Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii. Most are what are called casual gamers that play a few hours a week to past by the time between social activities or what have you. Fewer are considered ‘core gamers which devote quite a lot more time to fragging enemies or questing.
Regardless of why you game or how much time you dedicate to it, it’s here to stay and we’re glad to be among you all.