In great anticipation of Arenanet's upcoming mmorpg Guildwars 2 there have been countless discussions around the mircotransaction system, and i have already shared my own opinion on this topic in a previous blogpost. However, it has become clear to me, by joining the discussion around this particular topic that some of the major complaints are completely based around the wrong idea's of being competetive. These people are selling themself short, and it has nothing to do with the system.
The different roads to fun.
|The goal of gaming: fun for young and old|
-Pve: player versus elements: facing the challenges the game provides.
-Pvp: player versus player: facing other players.
A history of Pve and Pvp
Early Pve evolved from the puzzle and book/movie experience. The focus was set on bringing a story trough some challenges, wich involved solving riddles and defeating enemies in basic calculated combat. (wich basicly ment it was another riddle, to be solved with numbercrunching.)The first ever single player game was just a simple tic-tac-toe (in some places better know as OXO) against the computer. Early Pvp in games was much easier to do, since you could just take input from 2 sides and do something like hitting a ball to eachother on the screen. "Tennis for Two" was soon followed by it's popular succesor "Pong", and the world was first introduced to using a game computer.
|Tennis for Two, one of the first games.|
The rise of the mmo
|The mmo changed pve-game completely|
|Rewards to get more rewards|
A rewarding experience
The outcry for a new kind of mmo, wich somehow got rid of this system was loud and hard. And many games have tried to answer. Rift, ToR, and now Terra and GW2 have all tried to innovate the genre. I feel GW2 is the only one that is going to be succesfull because it's fundamently trying to change the basic systems. The questing system has been changed into the event system, and there simply is no gear grind. Rewards are cosmetic and do not affect players in any way. Guildwars 2 has clearly chosen for a route where the actual experience of the game is a reward on itself. In this way, GW2 bends it's experience more towards what makes pve games in general, and not just mmorpgs, popular: the actual game experience and challenge.
Selling yourself short
|Guildwars 2: a rewarding experience on it's own.|
A few examples, mmo and RL
-If a new player in wow would be able to pay for heirloom items, instead of having to earn them with a higher character, this would give him better stats and experience for his entire lvl experience. (wich he will get with a new character anyway) This is pay to win? Does it affect you in any way?
-If an older person takes viagra to enjoy the same experience in bed as you have, is it pay to win? (young people take viagra also, because they are stupid, about the same as players with loads of time buying xp boosts) Clearly he wants to just enjoy himself like you do. Will you enjoy yourself less because of it?
-If you go snowboarding with your friend, and he has a longer vacation then you, but you take lessons in snowboarding to keep up with him, is it pay to win? Would you still buy lessons if you know you had the same time to learn it?
The only way the microtransactions can hurt you is if you get into the mindset they can. Not buying microtransactions doesn't mean you miss anything, in fact it means the opposite. On the other hand they do help people that are affected by time, and let them play the game just like you.
Don't sell yourself short.