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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. Gazruney

    I have been playing Warhammer online regularly with Vanhemlock and co for a few months now and really enjoy the game. The packs for sale are ok by me,especially the dyes,I like my colour co-ordination!!. If they start selling renown ranks then I would have a problem but what they are doing at the moment seems ok. I would not pay £6.50 for one level personally but I suspect others might. If it keeps the game running i’m all for it and if it is as you say a sign of the game going free to play then even better :).
    Gazruney recently posted..RoM is fighting the good fight!

  2. Tramell

    Defiantly sends the red lights spinning. Yeah it may seem like a foolish idea but maybe it might work for that game or people who play don’t exactly care.Though I never played Warhammer, depending on the game selling levels wouldn’t hurt the experience of the game for other people who decided get the ol’ fashion way; blood, sweat and tears. Different genre but how CoD has their level up system and all a level does is unlock extra utilities and doesn’t bork the game. Yes, were talking a MMO here but depending on how the game is setup buying levels may not be as bad as people claim them to be. Rather or not this particular setup sets the standard for the RMT from the companies producing the game remains to be seen.
    Tramell recently posted..FFXIV – Triangle Development

  3. Grimnir

    The impact of these packs is mostly disappointment. If you’re not RR80, you can ignore pretty much all of them and go on about your game as normal.

    You can buy a single level. There’s no purchasing your way to level cap. Kinda makes that 10$ a waste.

    Everything else is WAY overpriced, and the 20$ transfer fee for a single character is going to kill the Iron Rock server while gouging the customers looking for good gameplay and stranding the rest who refuse to afford it.

    The only hope here is that they’re trying to raise money to do a proper expansion. They’re not. It’s just EA grabbing money from a dying asset. Let me just take that hope out behind the woodshed and put a few rounds into its head for you.

    1. Chris

      Hey Grimnir,

      I wondered about that, being able to buy one or unlimited levels. I wasn’t able to find anything saying there was a limit though. The product page doesn’t mention it, so it sounds like you could just purchase 39 of those things, roll one of each class, and have max level characters for any situation. Where did you find that, I’d like to update the post with a link.

  4. Mojeaux

    Just the slippery slope taking it’s first “victim”… a bad idea and just the sort of thing I was worried would happen after Blizzard came out with the ridiculously overpriced sparkle pony skin.

  5. Tesh

    It’s not “Plan B”, it’s adapting to the reality of a market. That’s smart business, not desperation.

    …of course, that’s speaking to the general trend. This particular move is itself not the end of the world, but it’s silly. Why sell a single level? That’s most likely indeed to be “testing the waters” for other sales.

    If anything, though, it points out the general game design idiocy of having levels in PvP games.
    Tesh recently posted..Candyland- Choice- Complexity and Chaos

    1. Chris

      Perhaps. What I mean is that games not making what they should in the sub environment would probably consider going F2P now than shutting their doors. That’s a good thing, not meant to be derogatory. In this case, though, WAR still has the mandatory sub outside of T1. If they dropped that, even reduced it, I wouldn’t mind the progression stuff in the store.
      Chris recently posted..WAR’s Purchase Packs are the Heralds of F2P

  6. hunter

    Really? You’re going to agree with Keen? Mr. Chicken Little? He’s got a good blog but on some issues he has no solid reasoning.

    One level is so inconsequential but of course people are going to freak out about it. You and loads of other bloggers who have all played warhammer, and all ceased to play it.

    For a dedicated player who is leveling an alt, I bet its tempting, and what does warhammer have left but dedicated players?
    hunter recently posted..Future Weapons Today

    1. Chris

      I’ll agree with Keen that sub games probably consider going F2P before closing their doors. I don’t think it’s a bad idea, honestly. Like Tesh pointed out, it’s the way the market is leading. As far as F2P goes, I don’t think it’s as bad as he does. I appreciate the option most of the time. It’s very freeing. As long as a game doesn’t force me into the cash shop, I don’t mind it being there.

      I actually wonder where the majority of their players are. From what I’d heard, the upper tiers aren’t nearly as much fun as what’s available for free. There’s also less of a barrier to entry in T1 and lots of classes to play with. Maybe someone else can chime in on how many people are active in T4 as opposed to T1.

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