Thursday, July 18, 2013

Let's talk shop

There has been a lot of hub-bub around the interwebs about Blizzard adding an "in-game shop" to World of Warcraft. Some of it has been good, most of it has been bad...a lot of it has been, "What would you buy?" topics and posts. Me, personally? I'm not quite sure where I stand on the issue.

At heart, I really don't like P2W (pay to win) services. In my experience you have to pay way too much, for way too long, to come out as a winner. I prefer to obtain my epic loot in-game through my actions and not my wallet.

Now, I'm not saying that WoW is turning into a P2W least not in the near future as I see it. But, like others out there have said, WoW "could" become one years down the road and that this new "in-game shop" of theirs is just the start of the slippery slope they could be heading down.

Blizz's most recent release of info of some Transmogrification helms that can be bought at their Pet Store is another example of that slope they are headed towards. I feel that they will be crunching numbers and building statistics based on the amount of people that pay the 12 Euro to buy one of these new helms. There's no doubt that they will add more tmog pieces to the Pet Store (or to the in-game shop). And they will continue to crunch those numbers and build those statistics along the way.

Eventually they will say, "Ok, we've got the numbers to prove that "this percentage" of people bought items that are just for show (which I'm sure they've been doing all along with the pets and mounts they already sell). Why don't we start adding actual gear and weapons to this? For years the numbers have shown that people will buy them".

To me, that will suck...when it eventually happens.

However, I don't think it will suck enough to make me stop paying my subscription and playing the game I love. As long as there remains gear and weapons available in-game to keep me relatively competitive I have no problems with an in-game shop. I've never been the type of player that MUST have all "best in slot" gear. As long as I can get gear and weapons in-game that allow me to partake in current content (and not totally suck at it) I am fine.

But, here's the store items are always superior to those items you can get for free/hard work in-game. I can see it now. Trade chat will be littered with "LFM for such and such raid. Must have such and such gear from game shop". Or hard core raiding guilds will require their raiders to buy the game shop stuff. Why? Because it will be the best gear out there and/or because a lot of players just want to rofl-stomp their way through.

If Blizz is eventually going to add gear and weapons to their shop (which I'm purely speculating...but it could happen) why not make it gear that is on par with the bottom of the line current content gear? You know, equal to the gear and weapon's minimum ilvl that is required to enter new content?

My train of thought is that this gear is not available until the new "current content" is released. For example: (using old content I know but it's the first that popped into my head)

 - Mogu'shan Vaults requires ilvl 460-ish to enter it through LFR.
 - The gear you can buy from the in-game shop tops out at ilvl 460-ish.
 - This means that gear can be bought, in either full sets or filler pieces, that will allow you to gain access to LFR.
 - It will still require drops (or JP/VP/crafted gear) to increase your ilvl until the next "current content" is released.
 - Only then can you buy higher ilvl gear, but it will cap out at the minimum ilvl required for entry into the new "current content".

Now you might ask, "Yeah, but what's to keep that fresh level 90 from buying the most current minimum ilvl gear from the shop and by-passing the last content stuff and getting into the new content stuff?".

Well, so what? It doesn't guarantee them access/success in normal or heroic modes. It just allows them access into the new LFR content. They will still have to rely on drops and stuff (which in my version will always be of a higher ilvl than game shop stuff) to gain access to and/or succeed in normal and heroic versions of the new content.

To me it could be looked at as a slightly easier way to "catch up" or gear alts for current content. We all know that this expansion has not been alt friendly at all. So why not add another way to get alts current? It would also allow the person who had to stop playing for a while, for whatever reason real life threw their way, to catch up and be able to play in current content with friends/family/guild members.

By doing it that way, in my eyes at least, WoW would not become a P2W game. It would be a "pay to become current" game. Which I can't say would be a bad thing...especially if we could get filler pieces...yes, weapons, I'm looking at you!

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