WAR’s Purchase Packs are the Heralds of F2P

Important Update: From the FAQ, it appears that the level up item can only be redeemed once per account. I’ll be interested to see if there’s a catch of some kind but, by the looks of it, it’s not as bad as it first seemed (thanks Werit!). I hope they update the product page soon to avoid any more unnecessary grief.

Okay, I can’t help myself. The internets conspire to end my blog-cation early.

In case you missed it, EA Mythic just unveiled their new Personality and Progression Packs. You might recognize these packs from such past experiences as the WoW Sparkle Pony, Allod’s Rune Stones, and Oblivion’s Horse Armor. To put it succinctly, the Personality Packs give you fluff pieces like dyes and trophies, and the Progression Pack, well, helps you progress and even lets you buy levels. I find it a little funny that they didn’t put that last point in their patch highlights. Quick, gloss over it, guys, gloss over it!

Frankly, I find this all a little stupid. Don’t get me wrong, short of the buying levels thing, I don’t have a problem with any particular item they’re selling. But, come on. They are literally selling power here. In a PvP game. On top of that, the new RvR zone allows Renown Rank (RR) players level 80-100 fight in the same zone. Anyone who wants to be competitive will buy this pack; they’re essentially being herded into the cash shop of their subscription, “don’t worry, we’re NOT going free to play”  game. Give me a break.

Someone needs to tell Mythic — or better yet, the money-strapped EA, since I’d bet this is where this is coming from — that pretty much everything about their progression packs is a bad idea. Go ahead, sell fluff, that’s optional. It seems clear that the point of this progression content is that it’s NOT optional for anyone who cares enough to level out anyways. Telling your core playerbase that their monthly subscription isn’t good enough, these players who have kept you afloat, is boneheaded and short sighted. Then again, I’d have to wonder how many of their total players are actually leveling outside of free Tier 1 anyways.

Which leads me to this: WAR is preparing to go free. That’s the only thing that would explain this and make it somewhat understandable. I mean, who are they marketing towards, anyways? The only people who would see this as a good thing are the free-to-players since buying content by the piece is normal for them. I can’t see any dedicated P2Per being happy about this. Just like everyone nailed Blizzard for “testing the waters” with the $10 pets and other not-so-micro transactions, Mythic is doing the same here.

I understand that Mythic needs to make money for WAR to stay open, I really do. In that, I think going F2P would be the smartest thing they could do. The game is simply not up to par with many of the other sub games it’s compared to, and I tend to agree with Keen that F2P is the Plan B for under-performing AAAs. This kind of stuff simply wouldn’t be happening if they were making enough money, they wouldn’t be going this route. Selling vanity stuff, maybe. Selling levels, no.

In August, only three months ago, Carrie Gouskos said that they were “learning lessons” from micro-transaction driven games but that they weren’t “interested in directly selling things like armor progression or other piecemeal power options.” Considering that — money aside — you can buy your way to the level cap, it sounds like they learned the wrong lessons.

Then again, if we give them some credit, they’ll head F2P and it will be a non-issue.

I haven’t played the game in a year so what do I know. You guys probably know more about the impact of this change than I do, so what say you: Purchase Packs, good or bad; WAR F2P or boneheaded sub game?

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  1. Leveling For Dollars | Ardwulf's Lair

    […] Chris over at Game by Night sees this as a precursor to a move to F2P. He may be right, but I see a lot of reason to be concerned over microtransactions in a game primarily about PvP. Leveling’s not such a huge issue because of bracketing and the bolster buff, but I’m not sure that people would actually buy vanity items in WAR, and items which give concrete advantages outside the level system could easily throw off the balance of an already precariously-balanced game. I’m not advocating panic over the idea or saying that it absolutely couldn’t work, but I see cause for concern. And moving to a F2P model might salvage WAR, if done properly. […]

  2. The $10 Level | Kill Ten Rats

    […] at Game By Night is ejected forcibly from a blog-cation to comment, and he thinks that this is more evidence of Warhammer Online going to a subscription-less or […]

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