Digital Impermanence and Regret Is Not Contingent on F2P

Quote Post of the Day:

“But what I find most interesting is that everybody who bought virtual property in these games basically lost everything…  there were no refunds, nor was the compensation is any way measuring up to the large amounts of money some of the “whales” spent.

People who hate Free2Play games anyway and consider anybody spending money on them to be stupid will just laugh, or point out that virtual property doesn’t legally exist in most Western jurisdictions. But just as people believe they own the games they bought on a disc (which they don’t), they also believe they own the golden cow or palace or whatever they bought in a virtual world.

The obvious risk for the game companies is that the whales are going to wisen up. If the company you gave a lot of money to for your virtual property can expropriate you at any time with no legal recourse, a lot of those purchases suddenly look a lot less attractive. Especially if they don’t give an immediate benefit but were purchased more as a long-term status symbol. When the game shuts down, those status symbol at best survive only as a personal screenshot nobody cares about. If that happens to you once, you’re not going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the next game.”













94 characters.

6 max level 50s.

Personal play time: Dec 2004 – July 2012, minus a year or two from protests, boredom or burnout, plus some extra dollars dropped in the cash shop.

Let’s say 6 years of fun times.

6 x 12 months x $15 = $1080

Now all gone.

Nothing but screenshots and blog posts remain.

/no regrets

Two days ago, I bought a $10 virtual horn.

I’ve already painstakingly and slowly worked my way through:

  • Silent Night
  • Clementine
  • Happy Birthday
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Old Folks at Home
  • I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing
  • Jingle Bells
  • Home on the Range

for my own amusement – though not inflicted it on anyone yet.

Did you spend money on an MMO (sub or F2P, who cares) for status symbols, or for experiences and memories?

P.S. How many of your non-digital tangible items last six years without breaking or getting moldy or being lost or thrown away or becoming obsolete or replaced?

4 thoughts on “Digital Impermanence and Regret Is Not Contingent on F2P

  1. Even if you take Tobold’s post by its own internal logic, and assuming he’s right that status is the motivator (something I doubt) then provided the item purchased did indeed confer the expected status, however briefly, you’d have had your money’s worth. That the status was impermanent doesn’t enter into it, unless what you bought was sold to you with a given timespan as part of the deal and the item was put out of reach before the allotted time had passed.

    Of course, as you eloquently demonstrate, what we are buying aren’t items, or even status but experiences and memories. Those will last as long as we do, or at least as long as our minds hold out.


  2. Status is never a consideration for me with shop items. raid equipment and titles used to be when I was still hardcore into wow but that was a different matter entirely and couldn’t be bought.

    Shop items are for my personal enjoyment and fun.I buy silly stuff, sometimes I collect (dyes), mostly I buy either cosmetics or convenience items (in Lotro where the grind is horrible). things that cost me 5$ offer about as much enjoyment as something else would in the real world (5$ after all isn’t a lot) – sometimes more, sometimes less. the money I spent overall in MMO cash shops so far doesn’t begin to compare to what I payed on wow subs, incl. during times when I wasn’t playing. you can’t measure personal value or fun via money.


  3. Good post. Perhaps I’d feel differently if a game I still wanted to still play shutdown, so far that hasn’t happened to me. But at the moment I feel this is the age-old debate about end vs journey. If you enjoy the game for the simple fact of playing it and the experiences or memories linked to that then it shutting down is less of a loss. If you’re more concerned about hoarding items or points or titles and showing them off in a virtual space then of course, the game shutting down is more of a loss.

    When I quit WoW after 5.5 years a friend said to me “but what about all the time invested in those characters, wasn’t that wasted?”. I replied that of course it wasn’t, I’d played and enjoyed the game for longer than any other game I had ever played; but now it was time for something new. In this vein I see no difference between free to play and sub games – you pay what you need/want to in order to enjoy the game *as* you play it.


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