Wheeeeeeeeee! – Warhammer takes us on a new trip down the RMT Slippery Slope

Take me on a trip, on your magic swirling ship, EA!

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning proudly introduces an all new service for our players; Account Entitlements! These services are available now for purchase from the EA store and include the following features offered at special introductory prices:

* Server Transfer – $19.99 USD, this will grant you a code that can be redeemed for one server transfer for a single character.
* Starter Mount Pack – $8.99 USD, all characters on an account will receive a deed to obtain a mount usable at level 2 giving players a 25% speed boost and have a 100% chance to dismount upon damage.
* Trusty Mount Pack – $9.99 USD, all characters on an account will receive a deed to obtain your choice of a new mount usable at level 20 giving players mounts of up to 60% speed boost and have a 55% chance to dismount upon damage
* Trinkets of the World Pack – $4.99 USD, all characters on an account will receive two tokens to spend at the new Trophy Vendor in the capital cities. Each token can be used to purchase one of 14 different trophies.
* Specialized Training Pack – $9.99 USD, all characters on an account will recieve one War Tract that will allow them to immediately advance one full level when used
* Herald Pet Pack – $9.99 USD, all characters on an account will be granted adoption papers to the Snotling Herald vanity pet. This pet will follow you around and give you a boost!

We have, sadly, mostly become desensitised to paying for mounts, and Warhammer Online’s $9.99 for your entire account is actually a bargain compared with other games. However, the ability to just flat-out buy levels is a new one to me in a big-brand subscription MMO.

It perhaps matters more in WAR, because it is a game centered around competition with other players. When you create a perception that people can buy their way to power, you reduce how much people care about the result, and so you end up reducing the hunger for victory that keeps people playing games such as this.

Implicit in the decision to offer levels for sale is an admission: that the journey to max level is an odious chore to be avoided, not something you might do simply because it is fun. If that’s true, I can think of another way to avoid the odious chore, and it is MUCH cheaper. More seriously, if the developers really feel that being able to skip levelling is something that players need to be able to enjoy the game, then it should not be something they have to pay extra for, and should be a system that people can access through normal gameplay, similar to how Age of Conan allows you to skip levels.

For it to be acceptable to sell someone a subscription to a game with large unenjoyable portions, and then sell the ability to skip those parts for additional money, is not a business model that would lead to better games. Instead it would encourage the deliberate insertion of tedium in order to then charge to remove it.

Join me next time, as we travel further down the RMT slippery slope! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Update:

Our next stop down the slippery slope has arrived sooner than I expected!

Update to the update. The seed of doubt as to exactly what the progression pack is has entered my mind, and I’m uncomfortable being too forceful when I don’t have all the facts, so I’ve taken the original update down. The progression pack may be some sort of mini-expansion, rather than an account entitlement. I’ll see if I can get a better idea of it’s exact nature. The description here certainly sounds like it boosts renown gain, and so far as I can tell from the patch notes, this is all the progression pack does.

RvR™ Packs
Timed to coincide with the release of 1.4.0 are two new booster packs that are available for digital download from the EA Store.
These packs are broken down into the Progression Pack and the Personality Pack.

The Progression Pack gives players an opportunity to advance through the Renown Ranks faster and advance their character up to Renown Rank 100! This includes access to all bonuses, items, and rewards that are gated by the expanded Renown Ranks.

The Personality Pack offers a variety of items to personalize a character. Included in this pack are several vanity pets (in a choice of 4 colors), new heavy mounts (in a choice of 3 colors), access to barber surgeon tokens to allow characters to change their look, and access to new and unique dyes on the dyemasters.

They certainly *sound* just like the other account entitlements. The cosmetic one doesn’t much bother me at this point down the slope, but the progression pack is messing with renown. The very substance which shows how much, and how well, you have fought for your Realm.

Update, 5th of November:

We now know, thanks to this release, that the progression pack is like the account entitlements. I had been unsure as to whether there was any content in it that might allow it to be considered an expansion, but it appears not, unless you count the equipment that the extra 20 renown ranks will allow you to access. It will cost $10, or $15 if bought with the “Personality Pack”.

Progression Pack

Characters with the progression pack will advance through the Renown Ranks at an accelerated rate, allowing them to get up to the new Renown Ranks quicker than ever! Note: This passive bonus applies to Renown Ranks 1-80.

Purchasing the RvR pack will allow all characters on your account to progress all the way to Renown Rank 100 and be able to enjoy all the rewards that come with those added levels.

Characters will have access to all new Renown gear and Item Sets as they progress through Renown Ranks 81-100. This includes two new Split sets of Armor with unique looks and bonuses available at Renown Rank 90 and 100.

Characters will have access to three new sets of Scenario Weapons as they progress through Renown Ranks 81-100. These weapons are available at Renown Ranks 81, 90, and 100.

Personality Pack

Want to change up your look? The new Barber Surgeon in game requires tokens that are available to owners of the Personality pack only. You will get four tokens to completely change your facial customization options.

With the purchase of the personality pack, all characters on the account will receive four new vanity pets in their choice of four different colors. Order characters on the account will receive the Two-Headed Hound, the Drake, the Ugly Hound, and the Hawk. Destruction characters on the account will receive the Two-Headed Hound, the Drake, the Iron Hawk, and the Jester.

With the purchase of the personality pack, all characters on the account will receive a high end heavy mount in their choice of three colors. These mounts are useable at Renown Rank 60 and provide a 70% speed bonus with a 45% chance of dismount.

Want to dye your armor to be different? The personality pack also provides all characters on the account access to use new dyes on the dye-masters that are new and unique. Stand out from the crowd!

Someone who wants to be competitive in RvR is pretty much going to need to buy the Progression pack, or see his friends and foes outpace him.

16 comments to Wheeeeeeeeee! – Warhammer takes us on a new trip down the RMT Slippery Slope

  • Arbitrary

    It’s seriously expensive for one level too. I mean, DAoC used to let you start at 20 if you had a level-capped char (eventually) which mostly meant you just skipped the starter zones. I’d plausibly pay for that if I’d played a game long enough. One level though – I think it really is just games companies testing to see what money they can get for what. How long till WAR is F2P with all this extra costage|?

  • I’m sorry to have to use this kind of language, but gawd damn! This is low. Really low. Very few things in history have actually paralyzed my brin to the point where I can’t even consider a response, but this…this really takes the cake.

  • I’m awaiting posts from the usual suspects who will tell us that it’s nothing to worry about, that we should be happy to pay for such things, and that it is absolutely not a slippery slope, even though they have been wrong at every single stage of this descent. It’s been a frustrating few years of cataloguing this stuff.

  • Longasc

    It is also interesting that there seems to be a belief that the endgame is better when the journey there is perceived as an unenjoyable waste of time.

  • […] in these items. The only “questionable” item is the WAR Tract. Some people like Arkenor, have issues with the idea that Mythic is allowing you to skip over a section of a game […]

  • […] In this November rain, at least some news is ripping through the MMO ‘sphere’s apathy. Mythic has decided on giving players the option to buy levels. At $10 a pop, all characters on an account get a War Tract, which when used will advance the character one full level. Players can only use this once per account. Players that really like Warhammer Online will likely then pay only a couple bucks per character’s level. Players with only one or two played characters will be paying $5 or $10 per character level, which is a tad steep. However, characters created in the future will also get the War Tract in the mail. They bring about a few other cash shop items too, which Arkenor breaks down. […]

  • […] Ark’s Ark Quote of the Day, Warhammer Online ← Consoles rule! […]

  • Good commentary. It is a slippery slope. But this in itself, while sort of alarming as a possible indicator of things to come, isn’t really that big a deal. You can only redeem the buy-a-level pack once per account (this is buried in the associated FAQ.) So you can’t really use it to bypass tons of content, whole tiers, etc. It’s actually kind of useless. It makes me think that Mythic hasn’t a clue.

    Honestly, I would be forced to welcome a shift of WAR to F2P, despite reservations about how well (or fairly) a PvP-oriented game would work under it. Because it’s not like being on the sub model is doing it many favors.

  • Thanks.
    You are the ONLY one who is looking at the upcoming “Pack” sales…and specifically that power level for a fee feature. That is downright wrong in my opinion…especially in a PvP based game.
    It is not ok when Gold Sellers power level people for money…but it is ok for the company itself to do it because they get the cash? Faulty considerations if you ask me.
    The faster renown rankings should be for everyone…but, thanks to a small staff and zero major development going on, this is all Mythic could muster to make cash.
    Sad really.

  • A war player

    I’ll sorta stick up for them here, since I still play the game for the time being (although I’m not overwhelmed about a lot of these changes). I don’t think anyone heavily involved in the pvp really cares that much because:

    1. This only gets you 1 regular rank, not a renown rank, and renown is what gates all the important T4 armor/weapons (as openedge1/ranknvile discovered to his dismay). Getting from 39-40 is a matter of an hour or so of powerleveling in Land of the Dead. This won’t affect the game balance in any meaningful way (if they were selling renown ranks that would be different). Basically pre-40 in WAR now is like playing around in that early pristine version of the starting city in Guild Wars. It’s a fun little side game, but not where most of the current players are.

    2. You can already get this item in-game in T1 in about 15 minutes, and those people who were affected by the billing issue can buy up to two for each character/alt with the compensation tokens they got.

    3. The actual disturbing one is the pet which appears to give you a speed boost that persists in the rvr lakes. That’s an actual example of being able to buy a meaningful boost for pvp.

  • Their pricing is off the wall retarded on every single count. The actual stuff you can buy is standard RMT garbage. The single PvE level doesn’t even make me flinch and it sure as hell isn’t worth 10$. Even with every free level you could possibly gain (one in-game, two for being part of the billing fiasco, one for 10$) you’re not even progressing through half a tier. You’re still putting in a significant amount of time leveling through T1-T4.

    For all the money you could spend on all of these RMT items, you’d be far better served buying an account for about 60$ that has an RR80 or two on it with a full stock of gear and loot in their bank.

    The Progression Pack, as it’s currently worded and unexplained, pisses me off significantly. I had understood from previous Q+A’s that the Renown scaling would be changed as part of 1.4 across the board, and the Pack would be to unlock the additional levels. More fuel to the fire I suppose.

    RvR might have ended up being a good niche for Mythic if it weren’t for ham-handing everything they possibly could. When they get something right, they get it really right. The new City Sieges are far better than the old ones. Oops, out of examples already. It’s when they get something wrong (and more frequently than not, sadly) they get it really wrong and send people packing. It makes it REALLY HARD to blog about the good things in the game. :(

  • Kolbe

    Mark Jacobs… How we miss thee…

  • I don’t like it. I think the seal has been broken with the ability to purchase levels, even if it is only one level right now. I think the renown gain item is their half baked way to address the concerns that people already have of new level 40s being unable to compete with those with much higher RR.

    Not saying I like it, but I think thats the reason for it. Better they find a way to “fix” it and make money than to just fix it the right way.

  • FoolInjection

    I read this and I think… this is just EA’s money grabbing techniques all over the back.

    They have been pulling this kind of stuff on console titles for ages now. Example, you buy Tiger Woods on the Xbox and for a nominal fee you can boost your golfer to the top level and unlock all of the gear without even having to swing a club. So you can go online straight away and start humping people who just started playing.

    So really it was only a matter of time before they started micro-transactioning the heck out of any MMO they might have had under their control. Years of following the games industry and working in a games store have taught me that EA don’t really give a s**t about the customers they have, just how much money they are willing to part with. Quite sad really. It shouldn’t all be about business and profits.

    • The only problem with being linked to by Massively is inheriting some of their rather rude and aggressive commenters. I’m not talking about the comments above this one of course, but a bunch I just deleted.

      If you don’t agree with someone, that’s fine. But I won’t tolerate personal attacks or rudeness here. I know, that might seem a strange thing on the internet, but there you go.

  • That is a enormous peninsula to bring cheery. Gratitude for the post.

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