Thursday, August 2, 2012

Boiling The Frog: EQ2

I was cogging in EQ2 last night when someone in the Test channel started banging on about Ethereal Weapons. After a while my curiosity rose up and pushed me onto the forums where I found The Dear Leader's Evil Henchman's Sock Puppet's August Update Plan post.

Interesting stuff all round. Apparently we're getting a "year-end" expansion. Wonder if that's why they trademarked "Reign of Fear"? More excitingly, SOEmote is finally going to drop in just five days time, giving me a couple of weeks to play with it before GW2. And the Ethereal Weapons are apparently raid-quality ultra-rare random drops off anything. If I get one by chance, yay! but I don't plan on making much of an effort.

Which leaves this bombshell:

" Step Right Up!

We are adding a feature where you can play instanced mini-games to win random loot in game!  You purchase a ticket that gives you access to a mini-game instance.  Should you beat the simple, fun game, you receive a random reward from a chest, or opt for tokens you can spend on items available on a merchant.  We will be selling the tickets for Station Cash in the marketplace. "

Great timing after my recent Runescape discoveries.

I heard one dropped in Fallen Gate!
Beating me to the punch as usual, TAGN has a good post about it. I visited the forums several times, expecting hysteria and the proclamation of the End of Days. EQ2 players can usually be relied on to go bananas over anything more game-changing than the correction of a typo and this looked like a significant lurch towards the kind of cash-shoppery the forums really hate. But, silence. Same thing at EQ2Flames.

Maybe no-one's really noticed yet. Maybe it will blow up into a firestorm when it actually happens, or when we find out what the rewards are. MaybePay-to-Win has to be proven before anyone really cares nowadays. Maybe all the people who really get riled up about this sort of thing have already left. Whatever, no-one's lighting the torches, boiling the tar and plucking the goose as far as I can see. 

Me? I really don't care. I used to get annoyed by this stuff but I can't summon up the righteous ire anymore. I've played plenty of F2P games with lockboxes and never felt the need to buy one. Lockboxes drop randomly in Guild Wars 2 and the keys sell in the cash shop (correct me if I'm wrong but that is what those things I kept destroying in beta were, right?). City of Steam has dungeon chests that need keys and though the keys do drop in game, if you find yourself with a chest but out of keys you can click up the Store and pay real money for one on the spot. 

It's the way of the world and I don't mean to miss out on MMOs I might enjoy for the sake of a mild and ever-diminishing distaste for the moral equivalent of lottery scratch-cards. These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others.


  1. "righteous ire" indeed.

    I've come to grips with F2P as a model. I've reconciled the emphasis on cash shops, collectable mounts, pets, vanity items, and even gambling. It's ... not awesome, but it's alright.

    Though I accept it as just another valid approach, that little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering, although softer each time...

    "Free to play will hurt more than help in the long term"

    I'll play them, but I still don't like where the community is headed... the higher and higher expectations of what "FREE" should get you, the gradual trend towards more addictive play, less and less commitment to any game. The constant, incessant, and unyielding advertisements for in-game cash....

    Outwardly, I'm OK with it. Inwardly, I'm still struggling to pick a side of the fence.

  2. That's pretty much where I am. I like being able to play lots of games for free but although I'm spending no money there's still a cost. I certainly don't want to go back to the "sub or nothing" days, but I'm not sure I want to go all the way to where this road is taking us.

    It's not like I have much say in the matter, though, so for now I'll just go along for the ride. If I have to jump out the door at some point, I'll face that when I get there. It's not yet.


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