Dragon Age Journeys, and RMT

I was going to write up a post about guild culture, but I was horribly distracted by Dragon Age Journeys which is a) really good and b) does things I didn’t even know you could do in flash games. Imagine a fully featured little RPG with several hours of gameplay where you can level up, pick talents, recruit a party, do quests, explore dungeons, get achievements, unlock items to download to the full Dragon Age game later, and it has a neat little fighting minigame built in. Highly recommended. And free.

(I finished my first play through as a sword/shield warrior which worked like a charm, especially once I got the ability to have a passive threat aura.)

With an eye to the future, they ask a few questions in a survey at the end about whether people would be willing to pay for future chapters. And this highlights one of the strong points of RMT in my mind, which is that if you feel something is worth money, you can pay for it. I’d have no qualms about paying for another chapter of Dragon Age Journeys, and a few hours of gaming entertainment is definitely worth something to me.

But therein also lies the other issue with RMT in MMOs. How do you value a virtual object? How much is it actually worth to you? So for example, I’d have no issue with paying for content but I’d be disinterested in cosmetic items — how many hats does one character need anyway. Other people might value these things in a completely opposite way. Ideally, all players who were willing to pay for content would be able to pay what they felt it was worth to them. Even if I only think the hat is worth 10p, that’s still 10p more than the company would have gotten otherwise, and if some more fashion conscious player wants to pay £5 for the same item, then so much the better.

Aside from complaints about unfair pricing structures, there’s been a great example this week of ‘pay what you want’ pricing in action. 2D BOY had a special birthday sale for World of Goo, their smart,  utterly charming and award winning physics-based puzzle game (I paid full price when I bought mine and felt it was worth every penny). The price was … whatever people wanted to pay. In the link above, they dissect the results.

Short form: The sale was a massive success. It generated thousands of new sales for a product that is a year old. Even if most of those people paid way less than the full price, that’s money the company would not otherwise have got and all the work in producing the game was already done. It’s definitely food for thought. They also reveal some of the results of an associated survey which show that people actually don’t pay what they think the game is worth, they pay what they feel they can afford. (ie. the amount people spend doesn’t necessarily reflect how much they wanted the game or valued it.)

If anyone wants to try World of Goo and take advantage of the ‘pay what you want’ sale, the sale is still on until tomorrow (Oct 25th). If you like puzzle games, you will probably love it.  There’s a demo about halfway down the page.