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When Free to Play Games first arrived, they were viewed as either the "brand of failure" for a previously subscription based MMORPG. However, now that triple AAA titles that were no where close to failing have gone F2P such as LOTRO and AoC, and seem to be thriving at least in the case of LOTRO, you can now look at AoC with its PvP armor and weapons you can buy and say hhhhmmmm.
We just saw how EVE was in upheaval over speculation and gray area evidence of that game going not only micro-transactions but also game affecting items. All of which caused riot conditions across EVE and now are just for vanity items.
First LOTRO with MT stat tomes, then AoC with MT weapons and armor, then the specter of EVE with MT spaceships...all game effecting items.
A very subtle excalation of MT items that affect gameplay...
Also, SWTORs CE store that no one is 100% sure what it sells...probably because Bioware is gauging player reaction...yeah yeah they said only vanity items and stuff you can get anyway in game...DUH! So then thats the same as AoC with its blue and purple PvP armor and weapons.
For existing games like AoC all the players that put in the hard work to gain such items are now shaking their heads...yeah even though they have much better than even the store items now, its still 50% of the work already being done for new players, which older players earned they old fashion way. The argument has been made that due to DESIGN FLAWs AoC alienated new players by putting them behind a gear curve that would take forever to bring them on par and competitive, i.e. you must lose 30,000 mini games to earn your PvP 5 gear LOL!
Everything is changed NOW that Blizzard is announcing a real money auction house in Diablo....and in a non-MMO.
Whats the significance you ask? Well, as you can tell by all the WoW clones....where Blizzard goes the rest of the industry goes...
Expect many non-MMO games to go with real money auction houses. Just as MT stores make games more money I am sure there will be a buyer/seller fee for blizzard with the D III auction house as well.
Business is business....these games dont provide a public service, they are products designed to make money for the publishers beyond just selling a game box. In some cases keeps games alive that have budget problems, etc. Unfortunately, it seems Devs and publishers have joined the dreaded "I want it now" generation of gamers who want to cut to the chase and not earn their gear. Sounds like real life too in some cases..wheres my job, wheres my diploma, wheres my house and car.
Hey man..you need to EARN those things.