It was one of those days.
Shuanna usually tried to avoid going shopping with Cree. Shuanna wasn’t exactly known as a penny pincher, far from it. She loved shopping just like anyone else in her family. It was just, well … Creannah. Spending two hours haggling over the price of “influx capacitors” with a gnome wearing spectacles – that’s not shopping. That’s torture.
Now this: From the moment Creannah heard about “a new alternative currency” she not only became increasingly religious, but also quite crazy. It all started over breakfast. A casual mention of some gossip Shuanna had heard at the Auction House sent Creannah into a full-fledged cross examination mode. What it all came down to was this: the Makers Money. A mysterious currency never seen but a currency that not only controlled life – but all the gold in Azeroth as well. A shop for Real Life Money.
In Azeroth. What to think of that, huh?
Edit: My eyes decieved me. Wich is why you won’t find anything I want to see in the In Game Store, but rather an exscursion into what I don’t want to see. From a worst case scenario standpoint. Fear not, it ends on a positive note. Sorry ’bout that, I’ve never been good with “ruleplay” :P
Indeed. What to think of that. The In Game Store is the talk of the town. From Stormwind to Exodar, from Orgrimmar to Zen’Jin village. Or so I imagine at least. As always, everyone’s got an oppinion. A lot of those oppinions have been injected with large amounts of hyperbole. That’s just what we can expect whenever Blizzard reveals a new World of Warcraft feature. Be it flying mounts or whatever.
My personal feelings for an In Game Store are right now a feeling of indifference. My shopaholic shaman Creannah is jumping around like a gnome on fire, but that’s her. Her Maker – namely me! – neither have the interest nor the Real Life Currency to spend on microtransactions. Cree can jump as much as she like, she won’t ever see an item from the In Game Shop. Muha ha ha haaa! As my warlock would have finished that sentence.
So far we know that the In Game Store will sell XP boosts, pets, mounts and transmog items. Maybe more than that, I’m not terribly updated on the latest going-on’s. Anyway, perhaps more interesting is what’s not for sale at the moment. Like heroic gear, or Best In Slots, or heck – fully decked End Game Ready characters!
My original intention was to follow the example of others and create a wishlist of items I’d like to see. but … I’m not going to use an In Game Store within a forseeable future so I don’t find a wishlist very useful.
Instead – should we be worried?
Part of me think “yes, we should”. I’m sure you’re aware of the slippery slope. A landslide starts with a single stone … or an XP boost potion. Wether or not we’ll see game-changing items in the store or not I imagine depends on what Blizzards own hard, cold stats say about the market.
Blizzard opens the possibility for purchaseable game changers. Worst case scenario now: Some items we could see; and this is worst case scenario:
- Ready to raid characters.
- Best in Slot gear.
- Heroic armor sets or weapons.
- Trinkets with extra stat boost.
- Potions or on use-items to neutralise boss mechanics.
- 1K Valor Points or equal yet unknown points for X dollar.
- Epic gems – or even legendary gems.
- One shot, one kill-trinkets.
- Chunks of levels, say 10 or 20 levels.
All of the above are true game changers. It’s “pay to win” items. Let me reitirate – it is worst case scenario. A hypothesis – nothing of above mentioned exists as a purchable item. Yet.
Now, let me put this tin foil hat on and … there, nice huh? If we keep “Ready to raid characters” in mind while reading the latest description of the Proving Grounds, wich reads:
“Set within the Temple of the White Tiger, this new feature will provide a repeatable solo Scenario where level 90 players can test their mettle or try out different roles in a safe, controlled environment.”
The tools are allready in place. Buy an end game-character with minimum iLvl requirement for the first raid of the expansion, run it through the Proving Ground until you feel confident for “live fire environment”. Effectively bypass all the leveling, the “learn to play” mechanics so often spoken of. Bypass the lore – the imersion. I imagine there is a group of players who want nothing else but the challenge of end game encounters, so I actually forsee a market niche here. So the question is – what will win out, fair play or market need?
Make no mistake: Blizzard Corporation is not a charity. Any company constantly seeks new ways of increased revenue (perhaps even more so in Blizzards case, keeping the Vivendi stuff in mind). The In Game Store is just a small part of an increased revenue-plan. Blizzard is by far the largest MMORPG corporation out there with over 8 million subscribers but they are slowly bleeding … loosing revenue. Not long ago they had 12 million subscribers, there was no need for an easy access micro transaction plug-in. But now?
The store has most likely been in development for quite some time. Tested, refined. It’s been a tool waiting to be used. Blizzard has just been waiting for the right time. With the slow bleeding of lost subscriptions the time is now.
Like I said: It’s easy to talk about worst case scenarios. There’s a lot more dystopias out there than utopias. the stuff I just described are truly dystopian … so I’m going to keep a positive mind.
Best case scenario: The In Game Store will sell bling. It’ll be just like one of those “handcrafted” stores close to the airport where Good Ol’ Stuff has a “Made in China”-tag on the bottom (and cost 20 bucks). A tourist trap. We’ll find cherry-flavoured XP potions, beutiful armor sets, fantastic mounts, cute pets, cool looking but stat-free green quality weapon models for transmog use only. We might even see content that has been removed; patterns, recipies, that tiger everyone seem to be up in arms about.
We’ll see stuff with individual benefit only, for cosmetic use only. the store won’t break the game. You won’t have to pay to win. You’ll still have to start at level 1 or level 55. Or, you know, whatever new level there is for a possible new hero class.
It will be something like this:
“Crowded today, isn’t it?” Shuanna said.
“Uh-huh,” Creannah said. She didn’t look up but kept her eyes on the piece of paper in her hands. The Shopping List. “Hey, you know they got that dagger Zavvie always talks about? Just five makers.”
“Don’t mention the Dead One,” Shuanna said. she grunted. “Stupid b–“
The voice wasn’t very strong but it was used to being heard even over the din of a busy marketplace. The sisters stopped, turned and looked. A shriveled looking goblin wearing some sort of tabard greeted them with a big golden smile.
“Wanna check out the store, dolls?”
“Uh … ” Shuanna looked around, not sure of what to do.
“Come inside. I have many things to show you. The In Game Store I call it, ’cause y’all know – life is a game, right? Right?”
“Uh … “
“Come on inside. You won’t believe your eyes … “