I’ve waited a few days to voice my opinion on the Allod’s Online issue, really, because I was hoping the issue would resolve itself. Instead, it’s snowballed into one of the biggest controversy’s we’ve had in the last year. After reading the masses of posts, some in favor, some against, I have to toss my own two cents in the ring.
The cash shop spike was a mistake, plain and simple. Spiking the prices in the cash shop and then herding players towards it for a “fair experience” is nothing short of a bait and switch. Frankly, gPotato should be ashamed of themselves right about now. Not because of the prices. They should be ashamed because, as a company, they totally overestimated how much they could shaft the North American gamer. Any one of us could have told them that doing this was a mistake. And, unlike many F2P fans seem to think, we’re not against companies making a profit.
But, let’s consider the reality of this situation: a F2P game pushes people to use cash shop. Is anyone really surprised? Let’s put it to the side for a minute that we’re getting unfair treatment compared to the Russians. If you could honestly be competitive, or actually enjoy everything the game had to offer without buying anything, would that be a smart decision either? I mean, we have to be real here.
They were going for our wallets the whole time and we were so keen to embrace the microtransaction model that we decided to hope instead of be realistic.
Just like Sid67 pointed out over at Spouse Aggro, the whole F2P design is about putting obstacles in the game you have to buy your way around. Gpotato saw that this market was teetering on the edge of accepting cash shops, full-load, and took advantage of it. Yeah, in the long term, I think they’ve screwed themselves out of a lot of potential profits. But, like Beau asks, what happens when you sell 10,000 $20 backpacks?
I think what happened here is that a bunch of people with the P2P philosophy of equal playing field for all decided to trust in a game designed around the exact opposite mindset. I can’t help but imagine a bunch of guys in suits with dollar signs in their eyes looking at us in a big fish bowl. Well, we got burned.
And, you know, I see both sides of the fence here. Really, I do. Beau is right when he says that a cash shop is just a sub. chopped into smaller parts. He’s also right that there’s always going to be someone able to pay more than the next guy. That’s great for them, and I hope they enjoy it. It just reinforces to me how much I value being on an equal level with my fellow player.
Part of me wants to say this is all too bad. Allod’s Online looked like it could be a lot of fun. People really enjoyed it in Closed Beta. On the other hand, I’m remorseless. If the failure of Allod’s is what it takes to tell game developers that we won’t accept being manipulated, shafted, exploited, or however else it’s been referred to, than that’s a necessary sacrifice. 2010 has more to offer than last year’s hope.