Hitting the Slots

cohThe City of Heroes purchasable add-ons appears to be doing well, a third Super Booster pack has been recently released and additional Architect slots are available to buy, for those Level designers among us.

Ask anyone that has played CoX and you’ll tend to get the same story, one of the most enjoyable parts of the game is tweaking and fiddling with your character at the tailors, or even just using the character creation screens. With Paragon studios embracing the use of RMTs in other areas, wouldn’t they want to add another potential revenue source by allowing player to purchase more costume slots? I certainly hope so.

The problem is that with each new release and booster pack, players get a stack of new costume parts, yet we are still limited to a maximum of five slots per character. I can buy (and have) new character slots that can be added to a server with relative ease, so why would adding more costume space be a bad thing?

Ideally new slots could purchased in packs like the Architect and character slot add-ons and each slot redeemed against a single character of your choosing, up to a maximum (10?) per character of course.

With Issue 16: Power Spectrum heading our way later this year the yearning for an increased number costume slot can only grow and hopefully us players that want a bigger wardrobe may get our wishes granted with the introduction of some form of slot increase.

Would you buy extra costume slots if they became available?

RMT : Value for Money


Continuing from my recent post regarding RMTs (maybe worth reading before this post), I wanted to determine if players gain value for money when purchasing optional extras.

The term “Value for money” remains different for each gamer, after weighing up the cost versus their need to purchase. What is acceptable to some may seem extortionate to others, sometimes people don’t even use these account options and others like teenagers don’t have the disposable income for such purchases.

Micro-transaction isn’t a term that can really be applied to a lot of these extras due to the amount of cash in question. Taking this into consideration where does the line between micro-transactions and real money translations start and end?

Micro implies a small amount so perhaps it’s more in the region of £3 or less, once it gets close to half the price of one months sub it starts

So armed with a little more knowledge regarding this I’ll review the topic from the last post but attempt to avoid covering the same content as before.

Server Transfers
Server Transfers

Server Transfers

Our Villains SG was bolstered in numbers when member of our Hero evening decided to move their villain characters from the Defiant server to Union. To the best of my knowledge everyone thought it was a value for money purchase, as they moved to a more active server.

Our recent adventures in LoTRO has prompted me with the option of transferring  my previous character to the new primary server. I decided against doing this for 3 reasons:

  1. I really enjoy the gameplay content at early levels
  2. Post Christmas froogle-ness taking hold
  3. I finally don’t think that £11.99 is truly value for money, costing more than one month of subscription fees.


Character Rename

Well as we seen character rename purchases seems to be fixed at around the £6 mark, a cost that could be considered steep, the reasoning behind that could be to avoid player renaming their character multiple times. A trick that could be linked to mis-selling or just griefers.

That said if the number of times it could be used on a character was limited could the price be reduced to reflect this?

Extra Slots
Extra Slots

Character Slots

As I mentioned in my last post I’ve purchased additional slots for my City of account, I believe that the offer was good value for money if you purchased the 5 slots rather than the 1 or 2 options. Each new slot works out costing around £2.40, which when you think of the character information that is stored server-side, in the long term this works out as a rather nice deal.

Perhaps purchase of these slots is down to the extent of Altitis that us gamers suffer, in a game were avatar customisation is detailed then offering extra slots is good business sense. I expect to see this feature on both Champions Online and DC Universe on or shortly after launch.

As yet I’ve avoided purchasing additional Guild Wars slots, but with new slots added with each linked game, I’ve never really got to the point were I’ve run out of slots. I think for the hardcore GW gamer the price isn’t that high for a non-subscription game, considering that all the characters information will need to be stored on their servers in the future.


Transferring character information from one server to another shouldn’t be too taxing on the player, there is not much additional cost for storage of character data that is already in existence, prices for this vary for each game and with valid reasons could be good value.

Also this appears to be the case for character renames, this almost fixed price seems to be higher to avoid people abusing the system, but the rename of a character isn’t going to be that taxing for a game company, perhaps the future will bring cheaper renames for players, increasing in price for additional renames later on.

Without the aid of a large scale gamer poll it’s not that clear how people felt about these prices, there will be those that object on forums and website and those that just purchase the required item without too much drama.

Have you purchase any extras in MMOs?
Do you feel the pricing was right?

RMT : A snapshot


Well as this appears to be the hot topic of recent months I thought it would be nice to have a look at the existing cost of micro-transactions in the MMOs market at the moment. Plus I get to create a funky table while to do it. As this is only looking at RMTs bonus packs aren’t going to be included.

I’ve decide to split this into two blog posts rather than letting my fingers run wild into essay territory.

So after a little digging around I’ve got my hands on some cost of current RMTs, I tried to get information on other games but companies like SOE don’t tend to let you see anything unless you are subscribed so SWG didn’t make the list.

The info:
[iframe http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pd4FMvVWA1zVPaKeUDQK6Eg&output=html&gid=0&single=true&range=A1:E6 505 250]

Server Transfers
Server Transfers

Server Transfers

As you can see the price of a server transfer varies quite wildly with each game. Alot of people, myself included think the price of these are too high, but as many have pointed out an inflated price will stop player continually jumping characters between servers. CoXs lower price is explained by the fact that you can only transfer a character once.

The EQ2 prices are odd as they can cover a vast number of different type of transfer and don’t compare equally to the other games I’ve listed


Character Rename

An industry wide price seems to be around the £6 mark out of the games covered in my list.

Handy for those gamers now player a character that was previously a mule called “Pack Mule” or some other awful funny at the time name.

Extra Slots
Extra Slots

Extra Character Slots

Who doesn’t like extra room for more characters? Sofar I have purchased an additional 10 slots on City of Heroes/Villains and for each year veteran reward you are granted a free one.

I like the multi-purchase bonus and wish that Guild Wars had a similar system as £5.99 for one more slot seems a little expensive in my eyes.


Additional Items

There are a number of other options available in each game, all are very different but I thought I should highlight them for this topic.

I have to admit that some of the price options shocked me a little, the LoTRO transfer price I was aware of and declined to fork out the money recently. The newly released Re-Customisation in Warcraft was a little shocking after playing a game that allows you to alter a Characters costume anytime, providing you have the funds.

So thats all for this post but next post on this topic will be Value for Money.

Images from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/GNOME_Desktop_icons

A pint of milk and a new costumes please

cashThere is much chatter at the moment regarding Real Money Transactions (RMT) AKA microtransactions, this is largely due to hints that Bioware could made SWTOR will be driven solely by RMTs and with no subscriptions. Additionally in the last week other have announced RMTs for other games, SOE has released the Station cash that can used with EQ1 and EQ2, and Blizzard have introduced character remodelling service.

Recently the Shut up we’re talking, Spouse Aggro and Van Hemlock podcasts (via Virginworlds) have all taken time out this week to discuss the topic of RMTs. This lead me into think about the current climate of RMTs and the future potential for the MMO game-space.

I’m told that Eastern MMO games are more frequently Micro-transaction based than Subscription being a complete opposite to the current Western gamer model. Of course it’s not completely new method to generate extra incoming from a game, many have allowed users to buy items like server transfers for many years.

A non-subscription game that has excelled in this area is Guild Wars, allowing for various purchasing options from extra character slots to PvP Skills packs. This appears to be a rather proviductive method to generate income, outside of the Game sales.

Closer to my gaming heart is the recent NCSoft released add-on packs for City of Heroes/Villains, delivering new costume parts and emotes, In addition to allowing the in-game purchase of extra slot options, rename tokens and server transfers.

So how good is the new black?

I’m a fan of RMTs, providing they are balanced, they can generate increased/renewed interest in a game title, plus the other benefit is they give extra revenue to the games owners. Now whether that cash is then injected back into the games development, is down to the company, but either way it’s good tidings for that game in general.

I think that in the current climate of financial uncertainty, any game that is advertised as non-subscription with micro-transactions is certain to gain favour of the masses.

As the changing face of the Western MMO market morphs into a thick-skinned old man, we’ll see that main established games will ramp up their focus on RMTs content to ensure that players gaming experiences are kept fresh.

So i think that providing that it isn’t at the expense of main content development I’m very happy to pay a little extra, to see a game I like, succeed.