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Just when you thought it couldn't get worse they have now introduced cosmetic armor for purchase. 3 different transmog only head pieces.
WoW fanboys are so insane that they are in complete denial and lack any reason or logic regarding this topic.
The reason f2p games have a cash shop is because that is their only source of revenue. It's not just a lack of a monthly subscription. They don't even have a box price. While the box price, subsequent xpacs and a monthly subscription is meant to be a profitable revenue stream on it's own. Indeed WoW did operate without any cash shop items for awhile. I would argue it still can.
I call this greed.
My analysis is that the greedy vultures became accustomed to the runaway success of WoW and now we have reached a point of no return. Initially Blizzard only anticipated about 400-500K subscribers and felt that would be an adequate success. That is all the time and investment into creating WoW would have been sufficient with such a modest subscriber base. Fast forward and WoW at it's peak reached 12 million and held comfortably between 8-10 million. Having reached such numbers and pulling over 1 billion annually any less is like watching a crack addict having withdrawal.
It started relatively innocent with 1 or 2 pets and mounts. After that the release of subsequent pets and mounts have curiously coincided with brief dips in subscriptions. It is a known fact that subscriptions ebb and flow in relation to content patches and xpacs as people tire and then come back to check out the latest stuff.
What we know at this time in 2013 is that they lost 1 million subscribers and have anticipated even more by the end of the year. What they have done is release a new mount (armored bloodwing) and now this nonsense with even more items on the cash shop in the form of cosmetic gear.
This is what I mean by greed and the point of no return. No longer is 1 million subscribers considered a wild success and enough, it becomes 7,8,9 and on and anything less is met with furious scorn from financial vultures resulting in the production of cheap virtual goods so the flow of caviar doesn't stop.
I said this is double-dipping. I said it's greed. I said this is cannabalizing their subscribers. I say this is insatiable and dangerous. The fanboys refuse to listen. They remain in denial, impervious to any reason or logic and are even eager to throw money at them for what they rightfully deserve for no extra fee.
It does not matter if these items are cosmetic. A subscription-based game should not have a cash shop in the first place when they already have a revenue source.
This is unprecedented in WoW history to have this many new items released on the store at once. It wasn't too long ago when they released the armored bloodwing mount. Shortly after we have 3 new cosmetic head gear for $15 each. Pets, mounts and cosmetic gear are standard fare for f2p games, but WoW is not f2p. This is a very ugly sign of the future.
Am I the only person who feels it's naive to think that a video game subscription is not a reliable long-term source of revenue? Yet apparently this is exactly how it seems to be played out. Having declined from 12 to 8 million, the investors are mad and whips Blizzard to fetch more caviar. They better have more bikini gear and other knickknacks ready to roll on the store because the whippings won't stop.
This is a doomed cycle of oblivious fanboys and greedy vultures who are turning this once great game into a heist of the century. There is no reason for them to stop. It will only get worse. If you can't see it now then it is hopeless, but if you enjoy outfitting your draenei with an expensive prada suit then I suppose my concerns are in vain.
Enjoy your $15 hat, your $25 mount, a $15 pet, $10 sandals and maybe a $30 armani suit and of course the privilege of paying $15 a month just to be able to show them off. I'm sure Blizzard is eager to sell you even more stuff so just send your paychecks directly to them from now on.
You've got to remember, the people at the top in these companies still mostly were never gamers, they are a little too old. It's the same with politicians. Give it another decade or so and gaming will see some interesting changes.
Great and insightful posts from both the OP and you. I believe you guys are right about the life of MMOs anymore as anyone with any taste at all has got to be a little tired of skinner box grinds and being surrounded by bro-dom at this point.
You have to look at the recent example of SWTOR which had an amazingly strong launch, the best IP possible and it was really a great MMO. The PVP wasn't all that was promised on the open world front but the scenario based stuff was fine, good even. Fanboys may complain about PVP but it's really a niche market anyway.
It had a three month party on the upswing after launch, then everyone got bored, the founders of Bioware retired and it went to probably the most intrusive free-to-pay-to-play model to date. This was not a bad MMO and it had a strong launch, people are just bored of MMOs.
I'm seeing some interesting ideas being tried in Dragon's Dogma. The Pawn system seems to be their answer to having the feels of multiplayer without ruining immersion from Barrens Chat syndrome.
The game looks a little generic and hackneyed in the first 5 minutes of play but once you get into it and see the amazing underlying companion NPC, character development and quest systems for what they are it's pretty interesting what they are trying on top of a solid action RPG with great combat that is not about randomized loot but instead open world questing and character building.
The pawns are AI learning companions that you mold to your style of play and then send them into other people's games. They learn from the quests that you do, they learn the enemies you fight, they learn your playstyle (and you have some means to edit it directly but it's not total control) So it's kind of multiplayer by proxy while keeping your immersion intact when you play with other people's pawns.
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