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!!!!
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.
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”.
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.
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.