A couple days ago, I dropped $110 USD buying a supporter pack for Path of Exile Ascendancy expansion.
That’s basically $105 USD for 1050 microtransaction points, and $5 for some fancy gargoyle pets and glowy particle effect weapon skins.
I then promptly spent 420 (or $42 USD) on an armor skin set that’s basically black metal and tons of fire, and another 420 points (aka $42 USD) on another armor skin set that’s dark gothic demon king-esque.
Mostly because I wanted to look pleasing to my own eye while playing Path of Exile and suspected the demon helmet would look great with the rest of the fire set, but also wanted the option to mix and match the other skins too.
I had a brief moment of doubt – in the sense that if a $20 sparkle pony was controversial and a $70 monocle was cause for riots, would I be doing something against my personal principles or in an overall ‘support ethical games’ sense to output $42 for an armor set or $110 in the name of looking awesome?
A month back, Tobold was whaling it up in various mobile game apps, possibly as a sort of experiential experiment to see how it felt.
Me, I draw the line at feeding with my wallet with games that purposefully use unethical tricks (such as loss aversion or creating delay roadblocks that ask you to pay to get past or create an uneven playing field between payers and non-payers.)
At the same time, I don’t really have an issue with personal convenience that doesn’t affect other players or a payer looking shinier. (I have spent money on Freeblade and Dragonvale, both apps I enjoyed enough to support, and bought stuff that made life slightly more convenient for me, but I could still live without if I was playing free, that didn’t impact other players at all)
The moment I see apps that put paying players in competition with non-paying players, and gives them an advantage, I feel distinctly uncomfortable and only play the app for free, seeing how far I can get on it with zero money and more patience than the average joe. (eg. Dungeon Boss, in my book, and the current app I’m fooling around with, EA’s Dungeon Keeper, which has been the subject of considerable controversy and features more unethical tricks than other app’s I’ve toyed around with, in my book. As such, I’m hesitating on even footing out $7 SGD or $5 USD for this game, and will probably not do so.)
And yet, here I was, whaling it up (or at least taking steps into becoming a mini-whale) in Path of Exile.
Me, the person who normally sits around waiting for Steam games to go on 50% or 75% off before buying them.
Just dropped the equivalent of a collector’s edition box price set on PoE, both to support a game I’d gotten back into and was thoroughly enjoying, and to increase my immersion/involvement while playing by wearing some eye candy skins.
Weird thing was, though I couldn’t put it into words at the time and kept wondering why, I felt HAPPY. Overjoyed. Deliriously happy, even. It was like retail therapy to a deprived shopaholic.
I ran around in my own private hideout, admiring how awesome I looked.
I zipped over to maps with enemies on them to revel in how my outfit now matched the fiery incinerate skill I was using to clear packs and packs of mobs.
Enjoyment of the game went up about five-fold, because my character avatar now both looked the part and reflected the image I had in my mind’s eye, and also blended into the environment more (in the sense of looking lore-appropriate powerful, rather than a country bumpkin with mismatched armor pieces.)
If there was anything that was a downer, it was the twinge of apprehension I had when going to visit my stash in the various Acts’ public lobbies.
In a completely 180 degree motivation turn from what I’d expect a majority of folks who splurge on skins would want (aka to keep up with the Joneses and have the hoi polloi admire their bling), I was almost embarrassed to stand out so prominently and wondered if others would think badly of me for what could be perceived as flaunting one’s wealth.
Fortunately, I play PoE as a primarily solo game with zero need to interact with anybody, period, so barring a few stash runs, I was squarely back in my happy me place of HAHAHA, FIRE IS AWESOME, I LOOK AWESOME, MUCH FIRE, BURN ALL THE THINGS before long.
PoE now allows you to have two pets out at a time. I couldn’t resist picking up the wolf pet either. For rather obvious reasons to anyone who looks at my web avatars.
(The gargoyle is also kinda fun because it’s essential a cat-goat thing. And we all know one other game with cat-goat hybrids, right? *ahem*)
Speaking of which, way to go, GW2.
Reddit just exploded this Saturday morning (my time) with an announcement that Mike O’Brien would be taking over from Colin Johanson as game director (for a little while, up to the point he hires or promotes a new one).
I can only keep repeating the above word, for various reasons.
One, a changeup in game directors usually means somewhat of a change in game direction – even if the overall philosophy doesn’t shift to reflect what that head usually likes, each person’s take on things is going to be a little unique and the decisions on what to focus on is going to differ.
The big question in the air is… is that direction going to be swerving back to what I personally like? Or further on in a direction that I don’t like?
Magic 8-ball says, “The future is unclear. Reply hazy. Ask again later.”
The good news is that we’ve gotten a ton more clarity out of this one announcement in terms of Anet’s roadmap than we’ve gotten in the past year or longer.
Mike’s stated preference is to “do fewer things, but do them well.”
From that we can easily extrapolate that there’s going to be less trying to cater to all and sundry. There’s going to be a few niches they’re polishing, to hit possibly what they perceive as the majority of their players. Looking at the teams, that’s, in no particular order, Fractals, Raids, Living Story, WvW, PvP and probably not much else.
(There’s the “Legendaries” team too, which I presume covers that extended crafting grind, precursor-related quests, and bits of rewards sprinkled here and there to add up to the overall Legendary. More of a functional thing to enable new legendary skins/reward achievement sequences to be introduced, rather than a ‘new content’ thing.)
There’s also more of a high-level timeline being shared. The two week content drops appear to be essentially a dead experiment now. Just not feasible for the devs to keep up with and still produce content of a quality they’re satisfied with, apparently. The bad but realistic news is that players are going to have to wait longer for content.
On a not-terribly-encouraging personal note, getting the Spirit Vale raids out appear to be the biggest PvE thing for the first half of the year. We’d best be expecting Living Story 3 only in the third quarter soonest.
The other PvE thing appears to be coming in April, sort of a features cleanup and excess grind removal thing, that essentially seem to be HoT expansion fixes, basically. Cutting back on the overenthusiastic tedious bits that came with HoT. Overdue. Needs putting in to refine a lot of HoT things up to enjoyable levels (random things I can think of offhand: zone timers, adventures locked behind event chain completions, provisioner token vendors locked behind event chain completions, guild hall costs, blah blah blah.) Just not going to be new /new/ per se.
Hey, maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll get Super Adventure Box showing up for April Fool’s (and they’re just keeping mum on it for now to surprise players. Hopeful, much?)
Iterating on WvW is going to take up the time between April to August or thereabouts, with a brief interjection of the last Spirit Vale raid wing…
… and I suppose PvP is somewhere in there-ish, though now seems to be its time, with season 2 ongoing right now (dunno, stopped caring a while back.)
You sure know how to make me feel better.
About having spent $110 USD on another game.
I’m not quitting. I really appreciate the realistic roadmap, so my expectations are set appropriately.
It looks like what I’m going to end up doing for the next three months or more in GW2 is: dailies, 3-4 evenings raiding in various Spirit Vale wings (unless my raid group disintegrates for reasons that are out of my control), the occasional toe into whatever they’re testing on the public for WvW, the odd organized group world boss or zone meta now and then, and that’s about it.
So erm, I guess for the time being, GW2 is now going to swap over to become a secondary game, and I’m going to need a new primary game.
I suspect the two contenders for the crown are going to be Path of Exile and/or modded Minecraft.
To set my readers’ expectations realistically as well:
I think you can expect a lot less GW2-related and more PoE or general game (I have a really long Steam unplayed games list) blog posts in the coming months.