My game provides a useful service at a reasonable fee, your game gouges gamers with RMT shenanigans

SC_Mounts_Body

These are the new Everquest 2 mounts which went on sale this week at the innovative and market testing price of $25 (aka same as the WoW sparkle pony). (I hope openedge1 is going to keep up his campaign for people to give the money to charity instead.)

Reaction has been predictable. Some players love the idea and rushed out to buy them. Others worried that EQ2 is spending too much time copying WoW and not enough in more innovative ventures. Arkenor even dubbed the new mount Copykat. Both bloggers (and developers, evidently) realise that for better or worse, Blizzard has the power to set prices in the MMO sector so $25 is now the going rate for mounts.

Sera@Massively is big enough to own up that while she hated and despised the idea of the sparkle pony, when it turns up on a game that she plays and enjoys, she wants one too. I thought that was a very honest article to write, so props to her. And I think it encapsulates how a lot of gamers feel about RMT –  if a dev produces something we want at a price we’re willing to pay, we’ll buy. But not until then.

Also, watch how they have restricted which buffs each mount can give. Unlike in WoW where you buy one sparkle pony and all your alts can have one, in EQ2 you’ll have to get one for your melee and one for your casters. In fact, their site doesn’t make it clear whether you have to buy one for each alt anyway. Honestly? Sparkle pony is starting to look like good value, and that scares me.

The bought mount provides more advantages to the player in EQ2. Unlike in WoW (where the riding skill is the expensive part of owning a mount), buying the mount itself is the primary cost of owning one. And these particular EQ2 mounts also provide in-combat buffs for owners. The leads me to another facet of EQ2 which frankly boggles me, which is that you can ride mounts into combat … and use a switch on the UI to decide whether or not you can view it. So if I get this right, mounted combat is exactly the same as non-mounted (you could sneak up and backstab someone, for example) and there’s a toggle to decide if you see the mount or not. (Hence the combat buff from these ones.)

Surely mounted combat ought to be rather different from ground combat? Colour me confused that people don’t complain about this, and in fact they actually complained when the devs agreed that it was dumb and wanted to take it out.

Oddly enough, I don’t care about being able to turn off hat graphics. That’s the sort of thing you’d see in films or plays where a director makes that decision for better dramatic effect. But turning off the mount? I find that very bizarre.

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7 thoughts on “My game provides a useful service at a reasonable fee, your game gouges gamers with RMT shenanigans

  1. A salute to everyone pushing aside what is left of common sense and riding the sparkly ponies of the Apocalypse. For a worse future for all of us.

    Greed and addiction are used to make players pay more than ever before for less than ever before. It makes me sick.

  2. There are no mounted combat animations in EQ2 and never were – there were just some adapted ground-fighting animations. There’s never *been* mounted combat in EQ2 — having a mount provide you with +5 defense isn’t mounted combat, it’s just an item with a buff — and if the devs had any sense that buff would persist whether the mount was “showing” or not (which I believe it does, anyway).

    The revamp wasn’t intended to put mounted combat in, either: it was explained in terms of “oh, we don’t have the right animations for that, we’re going to take it out.” And yes, while monks do look a little idiotic doing crane kicks from mountback, it was one of those things that don’t bother *me* — clearly people have different tolerances for what they’re willing to look at and not. It’s not a hard and fast, one-right-answer thing. In any case, the base intent of the mount-here-mount-gone thing was to reduce graphical loads in crowded fighting situations.

    Having been popped off and on the horse for a few weeks on test, for my own part I would *much* prefer non-realistic (oh FFS please) art where I’m still on my horse to being endlessly unmounted and remounted. Different horses for different courses. Is it such a bad thing that there’s a choice now? Really?

  3. I just can’t get my head around the idea that you’re on your mount in a game and … it isn’t showing. I have never played any game that did that, so I find it extremely weird.

    I find cosmetic clothing weird also. I’m just a virtual world dino I guess. I think other people should be able to see what my character is wearing and doing, otherwise what’s the point? but I could come round to cosmetic clothing, since that could be used in a good RP way. Cosmetic mounts, not so much. It’s like playing with coconuts as you run along and yell, “I’M ON A HORSE!!”

    • The point is that you’re a raider and thus generally utilitarian, I suspect. ;) I’m not a raider and thus I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass if what shows isn’t what’s equipped for combat.

      • Hee. I think it’s more that I’m a roleplayer and virtual world fan and it’s bad for my sense of immersion to have people riding invisible horses. If I was really utilitarian, I’d be like ‘OK, whatever gives the best buffs’. I’d always thought EQ2 was more of a virtual world than WoW is all.

      • Sony is the most player-led developer I’ve encountered. They just about always try to integrate what players want into design philosophy even when it seems kinda stupid.

        There are places where this works very well for them. Crafting has developed on consensus lines and is a remarkably contented sub-forum and a good game experience. In other areas (*cough, NGE, cough*) paying too much heed to what players are whining for this week hasn’t done them any favours.

  4. I think what most disturbs me is the introduction of game-affecting cash shop merchandise. It gives you +5 to your offensive skills. No player who does not buy this will ever find a comparable Best In Slot for the mount slot.

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