Paeroka’s Ponderings: Spending money in Trion’s games

Paeroka's Ponderings featured image for columnA side note first: I am very late with continuing the “Blogging 101” challenges, as I did not have any good ideas for some of the last tasks. Blogging 101 asked me to make a regular column, but I just did not have a good idea until now. I regularly have rants and ramblings in my mind, but never really know if I should post them. So I will try to give my rants a place in this blog with “Paeroka’s Ponderings”!

Today’s topic is the recent shift in how Trion wants to monetize Rift and Trove. It started with Rift – if you ask me, several months ago already. I already complained about the prizing of the Primalist, a profession I am interested in, but won’t buy because I think it’s too expensive. Yes, I know that by paying I support Trion in developing Rift and that the few who are willing to pay something are financing the game for those who do not want to or are unable to. But let’s be honest here: I am not rich at all and I need to see where I am at the end of the month as well. If I want to feel generous, I rather donate money to charity. So when I do spend money on a game, I also ask myself: Do I get what I’m paying for? And in this case, it just feels too expensive. They also increased the price Europeans pay for credits (the currency you use in their cash shop) just a few months ago.

Rift Store

A couple of days ago, Rift’s community manager announced a change that came with very short notice (2 days). The earring slot and the unlock to wear water-based items would no longer be able to be unlocked with in-game currency, but with credits only. To elaborate: With the last expansion, character sheets also got two slots for earrings. Those earrings can add quite a bit to your stats (Rift is very much a stat-based game)! And then there are some items that can only be worn if your character is attuned to water (the element the expansion focuses on). So, without spending real money, you either have a weaker character than everybody else and sometimes drop items that your character cannot equip or you save all your gold (“platinum” in Rift) to spend on a REX. REX is an item bought with real money by a player. That player can then sell this REX in the game and receive platinum for it. With that REX, the player who bought it can exchange it for credits, the cash shop’s currency, and buy those earrings slots. Long story short: Every unlocked earring slot was paid with real money from now on. In other words, unless somebody pays money, your characters are weaker than other people’s characters. What was the definition of “pay to win” again?

Again, I do get that they need to earn money. And what I really like about Trion, despite all this, is how open they are in their communication. At least, they’re not waiting until the “shitstorm” dies down, and reply to the community. But at the end of the day, I still strongly disagree with what Trion is doing and it will reflect in my willingness to spend money on their game.

Trove_Mounts in the store

Not long after that announcement, Trove also announced a shift in how they are earning money. Some of those changes are minor, I would say. You get fewer initial cubits, but the amount you get in the beginning isn’t that huge anyway. And since this is one of the in-game currencies, I think it’s okay. Yes, cubits are used to pay for some items which can be paid with either this in-game currency or real money, but I still don’t think it’s too bad. Additionally, I actually thought some items were rather cheap on the store and wondered why I should pay with credits (the real money currency) if I can also pay with cubits. The much more controversial part is that classes will no longer be unlockable with cubits! In order to get a new class, you will have to pay. But they also said that there will be ways to randomly get a class coin which can be spent on any class in the cash shop and that you will be able to unlock a few classes for free. In fact, you will be able to unlock more classes for free than you are now, but if you want all of the classes, you will have to spend at least some money.

On top of that, they are considering hiding features behind the Patron status (monthly sub). While I understand the first two parts, I am scared of what will come out of this change! I do not pay monthly subs, because I just don’t play most games often enough to justify one. The only exception being Wildstar right now, but I do not intend to keep my sub running once it expires. Instead, I plan on spending some money to buy a few costumes or mounts and unlocks. I would really hate to see features that I like being hidden behind a paywall. What’s worse is that since patron is a monthly fee, the minute I stop paying, I lose access. Unless I decide to pay the monthly fee again, of course. But once again – and even stronger here than in Rift – I get the feeling that they want to communicate with us and maybe reduce the negative reactions both games are facing now. They also stated that patron benefits will not include playable content. So maybe, those changes won’t be that bad, after all. Maybe.

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Posted in Paeroka's Ponderings, Rift, Trove

Blogging 101: A little fly on the wall…

Day 11 of “Blogging 101” asked me to take a daily prompt and make it fit to my blog’s content. The first prompt was boring as I had more or less just written about it anyway. I opted for the “try another” option and was shown a prompt from March 2015.

If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?

This is a very nice question which, of course, I will turn into a game-related one. Let’s see… if I could be a fly in a development studio, which one would it be – and which department. They don’t all make games in their basements, after all. :p I would probably choose ArenaNet, because they are the most secretive of them all. I would try not to look over the shoulders of the ones working on the living story, though. I don’t want to spoil that for me! But I think I’d fly around trying to find out whether anybody is currently working on SAB or anything other “activity-related”. Hey, a fly can dream, right? And before I had to leave, I would stop by their food/candy corner! Alternatively, Wildstar’s developers Carbine would be nice, too! They did recently say that they cannot yet tell us what they have been working on since the game went free to play. But they are working on new things to come…

Charr Rytlock using a new ability he gained in Heart of Thorns

Or let’s try this: If I could be a fly on a wall of any “famous” gaming character, which one would it be? Thrall from World of Warcraft maybe? To me, he has always been the most powerful of the Warcraft characters. Ready to set aside the hatred between men and orcs and strive towards peace – or a truce, at least. I don’t know enough about the story in Wildstar to choose any character and Rift’s lore is too confusing for me, so I’ll pass. Rytlock in Guild Wars 2 would be awesome, though. I want to know what he saw and experienced in the Mists! If it could be any time, I could even be the fly in the mists watching Rytlock! This little fly is starting to think big here!

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Posted in Blogging Months, Fun!, Paeroka's Ponderings

2015 in screenshots

As I previously said, Haffle’s “Screenshots Of The Year 2015” post inspired me to do something like this myself. Instead of going by game, I will try to go through the year by months.

January 2015 was all about the Guild Wars 2 stencil contest that ArenaNet had hosted together with fansites – and, of course, the Heart of Thorns announcement.

February 2015 marked Trove’s open beta.

Trove_Monocle

My character as candy barbarian in her cornerstone

In March 2015 the second German Foostival took place. I was also still playing lots of Trove. And our blog turned 4 years old.

April 2015 – more Trove… and Guild Wars nostalgia…

In May 2015 …which didn’t engulf me until May. I also revisited Folk Tale (still not released, by the way. I’ll have to re-re-re-visit it again, I think. It is constantly being developed further, after all!)

June 2015 was… all about Trove again. Oh, and look: New Lion’s Arch!

July 2015 had me hide in my Rift dimension to build – oh, and Trove launched.

August 2015 was the busiest month here as I participated in Blaugust. There wasn’t much time to play with the amount of posts I wrote. I had started to feel at home in Wildstar, though. Oh, and I gave Project Gorgon and The Repopulation a  serious try.

September 2015 – my birthday month. Not that much happened gaming-wise, actually.

October 2015 was the gaming month. Wildstar switched to “free to play” and Guild Wars 2 launched its first expansion.

In November 2015 I spent quite a lot of time enjoying the Guild Wars 2 expansion.

And last but not least, in December 2015 I hit 50 with my first character in Wildstar and was busy with Christmas preparations and visiting family and friends.

This is it. My year 2015 in screenshots. :)

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Posted in Blogging Months, Fun!, Screenshots

Blogging 101 Week 2

I am still continuing with “Blogging 101”, but it was more behind the scenes at the beginning of last week. I went through our “About” page, but most of it was still accurate, so there weren’t too many changes. I did add a text widget in the blog’s sidebar with a link to said page, to make it more visible for new readers. I don’t know about others, but when I find a new blog, it’s usually because I had been looking for information or somebody else linked a specific blog post. If I like what that person says or how they write, I always look for an “about” section on their blog to find out a little bit more about who they are. The second action I do is look for their Twitter handle, as I like being able to follow them on Twitter. I usually do add blogs to my feedly account as well.

The second task of this week was to keep personalizing the blog by adding a background image, a header, a new widget. I did try adding a header with our blog’s logo in it, but it’s very basic and I am not a fan of the look. However, adding our logo in some way into the header images would free up space at the top of our sidebar where we currently feature our logo. There is certainly no need to have the logo displayed twice in our blog!

After that came tasks that could be “done together” again. We were first asked to comment in four different blogs in which we never commented before, then we were asked to write a post inspired by somebody else’s post and the last task of week 2 was to build a better blogroll. I still need to do the last two tasks. Throughout the week, I did not have the time to go through “random” blog posts of people I haven’t read before (or at least, never commented in their blog before), so it had to wait until yesterday. It seems that the beginning of the year is slow when it comes to blog posts about Guild Wars 2, Wildstar and Trove which are the tags I looked for here in my WordPress reader (I did say I would want to use it more, right? :) ). I eventually did find four blogs which partly were not completely “new” to me, but I am sure I never commented there before. And I also did find four blog posts where I felt I could leave a comment that had a bit more substance than “nice post!”… and since I really did like these posts, I figured I should share them with you here. Still, I do not count it as the “make a post inspired by somebody else”. I’m not going to summarize what is said in the original posts, but will instead just add my own thoughts here. If you want to know what the post is all about, please head over to the original blogs. :)

“Gambling In Guild Wars 2 (Ruined Me)” by MapleTaurus

Oh, who hasn’t yet tried out some way that could potentially earn you lots of gold in Guild Wars 2? Unfortunately, if you ask me, Guild Wars 2 is a bit too focused on “buy your rewards” which can be done either with gems (the real-money currency which you can indirectly buy from other players with in-game gold if you don’t want to spend real money) or via in-game gold. Either way, I have never dropped a precursor or anything else that is worth lots of gold. Too bad. I’ve gotten used to Guild Wars 2 being the only MMO where I just can’t find a fun niche to earn gold, so I’ll forever be semi-broke. It’s enough to slowly buy the dyes, so I guess I can’t really complain. Instead of having a legendary weapon, I have dyes. :p

“Old Year New Year” by Gracie

New Year Resolution: Blog more often! Check. Done that as well, let’s see if it works. :) At least, participating in Blogging 101 is a good start to the year as it gives me a few tasks not only to post blog posts, but also to clean up the blog a bit, refresh it with new blogs in my blogroll etc. I spent most of my holidays visiting family and friends – or having them over – so there actually wasn’t much time to play any computer games. What we did do was play another round of “The Dark Eye” (the pen & paper roleplaying game) with friends and Pandemic, the board game, with bookahnerk’s sister and her boyfriend when we were visiting them. This is a great game, by the way! It is a cooperative one where each player takes on a special role (e.g. the Quarantine Specialist). You either all win against the game or lose. Your goal is basically to prevent diseases from spreading all over the world and you win when you manage to find a cure for all four diseases before one of several other events happens. This, of course, is just the very basic rundown of how the game plays. :p Anyway, while we did manage to win when it was just us and his sister, as soon as her boyfriend joined, we kept losing. No, the poor guy did not play that bad. The game itself just becomes harder when more players are playing the game and we had chosen to play with an expansion that was apparently much too difficult for our abilities. ;)

“Syp on ‘good dungeon runs'” by Telwyn

As I commented on that blog post, I do have very fond memories of the old World of Warcraft dungeons (they were nerfed at some point where they became really easy to do). I mostly ran them with guildies and friends. At some point, me, bookahnerk and one of his friends ran through all the dungeons together as the lowest level we could enter and yes, only the three of us when those dungeons were made for five players. We were a tank, a healer and me, the rogue as damage dealer. I still remember after we’d gone into the Stormwind Stockades where they said: “And you as the rogue will apply poisons.” – I blinked… paused… then unmuted my microphone and said: “Poisons? What poisons?” – It turned out I had forgotten to learn them and they actually are quite a large portion of a rogue’s damage. Or at least, they used to be back then. I don’t know what it’s like now. Still, we were successful! And we had so much fun. We didn’t even notice the time when we played together. Nowaways, with less free time, we probably couldn’t do that as much as we used to do. But once in a while would be nice. However, this all changes when “PUGs” come into play. Or: Playing with strangers, especially over something as anonymous as the “looking for group”-tool. Don’t get me wrong here. I think those tools are good and should be in an MMO because looking for more players through the chats was basically a waste of time. It took so long just to get ready to get into a dungeon that by the time the group was full, chances were high at least one of your group members had to leave again. With PUGs, I wouldn’t want to spend hours and hours in a dungeon. I definitely prefer the cozy and comfortable atmosphere with friends. So while I do think the LFG tool is good, I also think dungeons should be accordingly fast and easy as to avoid frustration with PUGs. At the same time, I would want more challenge with friends.

“Screenshots Of The Year 2015” by Haffle

There isn’t much I can say about this post as it’s mostly about the screenshots that Haffle posted. I did really like the one from Lord of the Rings Online. I haven’t played this game in months, but as with most MMOs, I miss the art and the way the world looks! Lotro especially has such a pictoresque look to it. I could spend hours just watching the scenery and observe the moving clouds in the sky (or rather, the moving sky, but that’s a different problem that thankfully can’t be seen on screenshots :p).

This post by Haffle is also the one I will use as “inspiration” for my own post. The original task was to continue and make a post adding your thoughts and expanding on what the original blogger said, agreeing, disagreeing or asking further questions about the topic. This is not really possible with a “Screenshots of the Year” post, but if you’ve been around for a bit here in my blog, you will probably know that I love screenshots, so I really want to make such a post for my own gaming year 2015. :) At the same time, this very blog post here comments and expands my thoughts on all four blog poss

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Posted in Blogging Months

Christmas present: Glider skins!

Before Christmas, I had gotten a nice surprise in the mail. My former colleague (from when I had that horrible-job-from-hell) had not just sent a Christmas card, but also an 800 gem code for me! I immediately went to the GW2 shop in-game and browsed through the items. While I like the basic glider skin, my eyes had set on the “Exalted Glider” before. However, I had not really wanted to buy gems just for a glider skin, especially this close after spending money on the game for the expansion.

So those were the first 400 gems spent. Unfortunately, that glider can’t be dyed. I didn’t really expect it to be dyeable since it has a very specific colouring. And it doesn’t really go with my mesmer’s usual choice of colours – that is, bright and very colourful! But still, it looks cool!

Exalted Glider Skin

On Saturday, I saw somebody mention that one of the minis which you can buy in the gemstore (until tomorrow – so, it’ll be gone in less than 24 hours in case you’re still trying to decide whether to get it or not!), the Mini Angry Wintersday Gift, also gives you a quest chain which will reward you with another glider skin in the end, the Ugly Wool Glider. And that one can even be dyed. I immediately checked the wiki entry and then hurried to log on to get that mini. I have to say, it’s a really ugly mini. I don’t think I will ever have it outside. But that doesn’t matter. In the end, that glider skin cost me 400 gems which is just as much as the other glider skin I had bought. I just wish it had been more visible as I had almost missed the chance to get the item.

Ugly Wool Glider_GW2

I am also quite glad that it doesn’t look too wintery. Especially not after dyeing it pink and dark blue. :p I also like the feeling of “going shopping” without actually spending anything… well, not my money, at least. :p

I’ve seen several people make wishlists of what they wish for Guild Wars 2 in 2016. I could list a lot of things, most of them quite obvious: New content, for example. But right after that would be: More skins that you can earn in the game as rewards. Out of the 10 glider skins currently available, only one – the basic one you get when you buy the expansion and unlock the gliding feature – is free (well, after paying for the expansion :p). All others are from the gem store. Same with minis where most are from the gem store, too. I’d really like to work towards/play the game for a new glider skin.

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"Nerdy Bookahs" is a blog written by Paeroka and bookahnerk. We started it back in March 2011 and usually write about MMOs. Find out more about us here.
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