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.
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.