I’m Just Too Damn Weak Willed

Rift Warrior

"By the power of Grayskull....I HAVE THE POWER!"

So I cracked and resubscribed to RIFT. For three months. This is something I never do (I always pay monthly) but they offered me some cosmetic veteran rewards upfront if I did. I also bought some add-on upgrade thingy for £5 because it came with a rideable spider. And all of this is exactly why I hate the concept behind free-2-play subscriptions and cash shops. I’m just too damn weak willed to resist them.

Well, actually I have some other concerns towards F2P but my fundamental problem is that I can’t stop myself from buying stuff. Even though I’m not really not all that bad at controlling my purchasing urges in real life, when it comes to virtual goods for my favourite MMOs I’m just far too much a consumerist for my own good. The constant reminders, the little nudges, the appeals to my oh-so-not-inconsiderable vanity – I crack under the pressure. I’d buy these virtual cash shops dry given half the opportunity.

Which is why I prefer normal subscription games even if it’s almost impossible to escape the flaunting of some “added value” item in one form or another these days. I bought a kung-fu panda pet in WoW along with a sparkly pony (well, technically my brother bought me it as a present) and a silly winged guardian thingy. Oh and a guardian pet but that was to resell on the Auction House for gold (or so I tell myself). Hell, I even bought a bunch of crap in the Everquest 2 cash shop when it first came out. So yes, I’d rather stay away from them as much as possible and avoid temptation all together.

Funny thing is, it’s not even that I consider these items all that bad value for money . Except for the WoW mounts, of course, which are just plain ridiculously priced. Still, £5 for a big ol’ spider mount in RIFT isn’t a bad deal in my opinion, especially when I’d easily blow that on a double-mint-chip-choc-skinny-iced-frappuccino-with-extra-whip at my local Starbucks. Nope, riding that spider around all day for months (three months, in fact) will give me far more long lasting pleasure and satisfaction. Apologies to the condom advert I stole that last sentence from.

“But you could still just play these games and ignore the cash shop, y’know”, I hear you say. And you’re right, I could try, but I would ultimately fail because it’s simply my personality type. Now whether that’s something I need to throw my hands up and hold myself accountable for (which I am kinda doing, I suppose, and avoiding F2P games as a result) or if it should be the moral responsibility of the developer to limit and control, I have no idea. I suspect in this modern free world of capitalism and consumerism, the latter wouldn’t hold up in court.

Ironically enough I’m also exactly the type of person these cash shop systems are designed precisely for: young professionals with an avid interest in MMOs. I guess I just need to hold fast and resist them though, going cold turkey if I have too and sticking to pure subscriptions where I can. Unfortunately though, I don’t think it’s going to get any easier over time.

Anyway, I got a £5 spider to ride and a three month subscription to burn through. Cya in Telara.

-Gordon

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to the RSS feed.


Related Posts

  1. Undead Hunter
  2. Lifetime Subscriptions – Waste Of Money?
  3. Where’s My Box?
  4. Lifetime Subscriptions – Scam Or Opportunity?
  5. An Idea For A New Subscription Model

24 Comments

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I don’t see why the rest of us should have to pay monthly subscriptions just because you have no willpower!

    And that spider mount is repulsive. The mounts you can buy for in-game currency are all much more aesthetically pleasing than that thing.

    The special-offer subs for Rift are very tempting though. I’m locked into an extremely good rate on my pre-order six-month deal, which I’ll lose if I cancel. As I said in my recent post over at my own blog, I’m wavering on cancelling. Thought I would but maybe I won’t. And losing that great rate is a factor.

  2. Xintia says:

    It’s funny you mention this because I am thinking of coming back to RIFT myself. I used it as a “holdover” game after I finally unhooked myself from the drug known as WoW. I left a few months before SW:TOR went live and never expected to go back. But my time in SW:TOR has demonstrated just how well designed RIFT really is. Yeah it has a lot of little faults, but as a total package, I might even go so far as to call it the best overall themepark MMO on the market right now.

    Unfortunately I lost the “promo” rate that Bhagpuss is alluding to. I never thought twice about it at the time because I never expected to go back. But now it kind of bugs me. Maybe I’ll check out these new promotions and see if a couple months would be worth my time. I need another holdover until “The Secret World” launches. :P

  3. Carson says:

    When I recently jumped into Rift for the first time since beta, I wasn’t sure how long the fun would last. But now I’m two days away from my free month running out, and I’m definitely intending to let the subscription continue. It’s actually gotten more fun as I’ve progressed (level 48 at the moment), the amount of open world action around events and instant adventures in the highest level zones is most impressive.

  4. Windpaw says:

    I had the same problem with LoTRO. I was so happy that I could buy cosmetic armor and other goodies that I ended up blowing a couple months worth of subscription fees on “goodies.”

    It doesn’t bother me so much – I hate starting over in an MMO and looking like the typical “rags and sandles” new character. Some simple cosmetic armor and I was enjoying the game a lot more.

    It’s harmless. I get to be *pretty* (sparkle) and it doesn’t give me an unfair advantage over anyone else. Sure there are plenty of places young professionals can spend their money. But whether you spend 5-10 bucks on some virtual doo-dad or 5-10 bucks on a magazine you’ll throw away after skimming it once is pretty much a wash.

    Sure there are way better ways to spend your money – but it’s *your* money. Enjoy that scary-ass spider ;)

  5. Nils says:

    Good thing I genuinely dislike almost everything in cash shops. ;)

  6. I judge cash shop items and promos by the fact if they will make me save time. I’m kinda big on the time = money thing. So paying a reasonable sum for a mount and not having to grind for one is a good thing. Bonuses that will make my leveling experience past faster are nice as well, though sometimes I’ll forego them if the leveling is easy enough or there is danger of outleveling content. I am a big explorer / achiever so usually I get tons of experience that way anyway.

    Good luck with Rift, keep writing about it, so far I’ve got enough to do but it’s an MMO I’m keeping half an eye on still.

    • Gordon says:

      Problem is that – as we saw in Allods – developers exploit this and make the game intentionally slow paced in order to ‘encourage’ people to buy items that make them gain experience faster.

      • Ah, yes, but this is a self-balancing equation… There’s only so much that players will stand for. I remember when Allods was (briefly) THE game to watch launch.

        And I’d all but forgotten it until you mentioned it just now. For a reason.

        To this day, I’m really impressed with the direction Turbine has taken their Turbine Points store, and I think a lot of developers would be wise to duplicate the model. There are a few “Pay to Win” items (If you can actually “win” at an MMORPG?), but they’re mostly of a nature that says “Hey, gamer! We’ve known each other a long time now, (Can you believe we’ve known each other *5 years* next month? My, time flies!) and we’ve watched you grow from that 21 year old college kid into the person you are today, with a career, and perhaps a budding family…and 36 hour marathons are right out! Three hours of 20% bonus XP? How’s a buck sound to you?”

        I’m totally guilty – and guilty of worse!
        While I was playing, I had a subscription ($3/mo, once you factored in the retail cost of the 500TP I *didn’t* have to buy per month), and was frequently spending another $20/mo on top of that for various awesome cosmetic items, cool mounts, extra wardrobe space and shared storage, etc.
        I don’t regret it even one little bit, however.

        • Gordon says:

          I’m not particularly anal about money and don’t mind spending cash on virtual goods, it’s more that I just now how easily I’m swayed so I’d rather avoid the situation completely. Otherwise I’d be completely broke ;)

  7. Bronte says:

    Interesting take, but cash shops still don’t work for me. WoW in this regard makes no sense to me. You can have, like 150 mounts in-game, but people still shell-out $25 for a shiny mount. Aside from cosmetic uniqueness (except not really because several others will have it), I fail to see why I should spend my hard-earned doubloons…

  8. Bristal says:

    I’m no RPer, but I just see RMT items as totally immersion breaking. If my character wants something, he needs to get it himself. I hate seeing mounts and pets that were bought with cash, it’s like seeing a knight riding a motorcycle or helicopter or something. Um, wait…

    Motorcycles in my dragon world just irritates me.

    Seeing, wanting, getting never results in satisfaction. See, admire, add to list of priorities, then see how it fares on that list for a week.

    Having my main send cash or items to alts cures the rags problem. Uncle Bristal likes to spoil his flock.

  9. SlothBear says:

    You didn’t post a picture of the spider mount. :(

  10. Syl says:

    well…the spider rocks and I’m currently very jealous of my SO riding it when all I got is an ol’ horse. funny, seems am not the only one by any means choosing to revisit RIFT for a while right now. :)

    • Gordon says:

      I think it’s a good time for RIFT. People are getting bored with SW:TOR and RIFT has matured nicely since launch. Pity they don’t have an expansion coming out any time soon cause I could imagine that really giving them a boost right about now.

  11. Stina says:

    I’ve thought about going back to Rift myself, now that I have a computer that wont overheat on me. Not sure if I am ready to take the plunge yet but I am missing my MMO fix. :(

  12. madpersian says:

    Why would you resist the urge to buy the things you can enjoy unless you can’t afford them? I mean, if you enjoy it more than a starbucks coffee that you were going to buy with the $5 instead, why shouldn’t you buy the spider mount instead?

    I think it’s perfectly fine for games to offer these vanity items and I don’t look down on people that buy them. My only beef is if the cash shop offers something that you can’t get in game that offers superior performance to anything available outside of the cash shop. Or when they deliberately sabotage a part of the game (say a significant xp reduction death penalty) with the only way to reduce it being available from a cash shop.

    • Gordon says:

      That’s the problem in a nutshell because once a cash shop mechanic is introduced, the motivation of the developers is always in question. I mean why would they want to give us anything for free when they know they could sell it for $25 a pop and make millions…

      • madpersian says:

        I think they have to setup the guidelines before hand. No selling anything that EVERYONE would require to play the game. If everyone requires it, it should be a core feature. They should only sell things that add value, but aren’t required to enjoy the game. It would take discipline but I think it would pay off in the end because it would be easier to maintain customer loyalty.

        I think it would be far more effective to create a fun game to play and sell extra for people who are really into the game than to make a game that is only fun to play if you pay for the extra features. You would foster loyalty with the former and make players resentful with the latter.

  13. Ashton says:

    I see a lot of interesting articles on your website. You have to spend a lot of time writing,
    i know how to save you a lot of time, there is a tool that creates high quality, google
    friendly articles in couple of minutes, just type in google –
    k2 unlimited content

Leave a Reply