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I'll start by using my wow experience:
4 years subscribed at a cost of $720 x time spent farming gear in dungeons (priceless toorture)
In the past I have detested item mall games but when i get past my indignation it actually makes more since to me as a gamer(in all actuallity this is a godsend for casual gamers). I mean here you are with a game where you can top out and have endgame gear the day you hit the lvl cap. You can't do it with games like WoW or most othere Sub based games.
If I was to compare the amount of money I spent subing to WOW plus the agony of endlessly runing dungeons to constantly upgrade gear I would consider spending $2,000 on top end gear in this game a damn spiffy bargain.
NO Item Malls do not ruin the game they enhance the game for a casual gamer like myself. This game is not about single player pvp. Its about armies VS armies. It does not matter if you spent $2,000 on +11 gear. IF the enemy knows you are one of the "Godlings" you can bet your sweet ass you are gona be the primary target in ever battle you join. Even Godlings fall in battle.
So i'm not worried about anyone being a Godling. In the larger picture they are not gona make that much of a diff because there are to few of them in a single army.
As for the rest of the item mall most of it is stuff of convenance nothing more. You can do without it.
You do not have to spend a penny to enjoy this game. You do not have to get +11 gear. You can have just as much fun plugging away with mid range gear like the majority of the player base.
AMD Phenum II x4 3.6Ghz 975 black edition
8 gig Ram
Nvidia GeForce GTX 760