Daily Archives: December 12, 2008

RMT and Microtransactions Rant

In which I opine about the positioning of the deckchairs on the Titanic.

First off, what Blizzard is selling us with character customization is not a microtransaction, nor is it RMT, at least not by any definition I can find.

Yet I have seen it called both.  Stop it.

You can say it is stupid.  You can say it is not enough.  I might not agree, but I cannot fault you for having an  opinion.  But stop trying to shove the square peg of character services into the round hole of RMT.  It hurts, and frankly it doesn’t swing that way.

It is not RMT any more than any other character service offered by an MMO company is RMT, such as paid server transfers.  It even has a 30 day lock out like paid server transfers.  There is plenty of precedent for such services. EVE Online will sell you an avatar swap, EverQuest will sell you a name change, and nobody has considered either RMT.  So unless you want to broaden the definition of RMT far enough that your monthly subscription fee counts as RMT, it just doesn’t fit the mold.

Then there is microtransactions.

Microtransactions, or micropayments, are transactions where a company sells something to a customer for less than is financially viable to run a credit card transaction.  This is clearly not the case with character customization.  Blizzard’s subscription model proves that charging people $15 is a perfectly viable price point for a credit card transaction.  Not a microtransaction.

But when companies do try to sell something below that threshold, it is usually accomplished by having the customer buy a chunk of a restricted currency, like SOE’s Station Cash or Nexon‘s Nexon Cash, in increments that are financially viable for a credit card transaction.  For SOE, the minimum you can buy is $5.00 here in the US, so you can guess what the economically viable threshold is in the eyes of SOE.

And speaking of SOE, the problem with what they are doing is that they are selling stuff for way too much money.  When almost half (7 out of 16 in EQ2) of the items you are selling are at or above that financially viable threshold, you are (in my opinion) doing it wrong.  You have priced things to a point where people will now think twice before they buy.

Furthermore, SOE made the same mistake here they have made with experience potions in the past in that they last too long.

Too long?

Okay, maybe it is just me, but I almost never use my potions because they last for an hour and it is not often that I will be actually killing things (or crafting) for an hour straight.  And the potions they are selling last for 2-4 hours.  And they don’t persist through death.  No Sale!

If I were SOE, I would make the potions last for 30 minutes tops and charge no more than 25 units of Station Cash for them.  You want to make this sort of thing a no-brainer to consume, not have your customer have to debate on both purchase and usage.

And I don’t even want to get started on the armor sets.  66% of the monthly fee so you can dress like a NPC?

As it stands, I’m not buying any of it.

Reynaldo Fabulous says “Hello Norrath!”

It is about time for an update on my progress in Norrath.

As something of a recap, Gaff, Potshot, Ula, and I all rolled up new characters on the Guk server in order to get a fresh new start in Norrath.  We even went with Freeport

This post started off as something about managing to get four characters to level 20 while avoiding any “420” references, but while I was considering that, one of my characters passed the level 30 mark.

Reynaldo Fabulous, a berserker character I rolled up initially just to get a screen shot for this post ended up being quite a fun character to play.

Reynaldo in the Guild Hall

Reynaldo in the Guild Hall

I’ve held my fury, Torill, in reserve to play when we get a chance to group up, buy Reynaldo has become my solo champ.

I have played him through mostly “classic” content, the Isle of the Overlord, Freeport, the Commonlands, Nektulos Forest, and now into the Enchanted Lands.  Or the Littered Lands, as I tend to think of it.  I know everybody loves collection quests, but at times it looks like somebody’s homework got blown all over, with little pieces of paper everywhere.

I have seen some new things with him, like this guy in the Commonlands.

You are new here, aren't you?

You are new here, aren't you?

I forgot to put down his name.  He sure is big and glowy though!

And I got to see some old friends in the Enchanted lands.  I just love this quest.

fritz01 fritz02

And I even managed to get Reynaldo through The Return of the Light solo once he hit level 34.

Orc Mosh Pit!

Orc Mosh Pit!

Granted, it took a while… and six deaths… to finally spawn and then finish off General Drull at the end.  Not bad though, considering that Reynaldo was still wearing his tier 3 armor set at 34.  The feysteel longsword helped though.

All fun.

But our little coalition seems to be falling apart.

Real world deadlines have kept Ula out of the game for a couple of weeks, which has also kept Potshot out as well I gather.  Gaff, as usual, has completely run away from me in levels, hitting level 74 (with his group of three characters) about the same time Reynaldo hit level 34.  But even Gaff  is starting to lose steam it seems.

Which means that solo seems to be the path for me, and I am not sure I am up for that again in EQ2.

So Reynaldo Fabulous may soon be saying, “Farewell Norrath!” as this years EverQuest Nostalgia Tour comes to a close.