I’ve been debating whether to do this one since the source material is gone but FUCK IT, lets roll with it anyway
In a recentish stream by Trion for rift on the 23rd of January they were answering a few questions the players had and one about lockboxes popped up. Daglar answered with something along the lines of, selling items directly in the store isn’t as profitable as Lockboxes. The data shows it’s just more profitable.
Hmmm.. I think what I mostly have to say to that is
I don’t think anyone has ever argued with them that it isn’t more profitable, or the better earner than putting items directly in the cash shop. The question has mainly just been is it actually better to use such methods.
I’ve talked about the human cost before and the ethical issues involved with using such methods as what they come down to is being a form of gambling. Something that preys on one of the weaker elements of human psychology.
And then, regardless of the short term gain that can come from lockboxes I mostly worry about the long term potential and effects. Spending so much on this, and often for nothing, fills people with regret and in the face of this often becomes a far more sceptical outlook. Increasingly because of this people become further removed from the practice, opting out more and more. The interest in ftp design was rather positive just a few years ago but now I increasingly see people filled with distrust, bordering on anger. Is that really the type of market you want to create?
I partly Blame the mobile scene for this and the design around artificial time gates and restraints, it is something that has impacted on the whole industry but seemingly far more so on MMO development, much to it’s downfall. Design around cosmetics can and does work, and doesn’t impact on people’s understanding and interest of a game but instead many have fallen into the trap of profits without thinking of its other effects.
I also wonder what exactly it does to the reputation of these games and companies due to such abhorrent practices. Trion, a once great companies image has been increasingly tarnished due to their practices. It wasn’t just Archeage here, I remember the outrage with how they created a specific world event to push a new lockbox type and have increasingly used such disingenuous methods to peddle these, more and more.
And come on, it’s the principle of it. Do we really need to treat customers as cattle, something to milk as much as possible. That’s the kind of thinking that ruins an opinion of a game and company. Maybe even the industry as well.
MMO’s are supposed to be long term endeavors. Something where you should be striving to gain and keep long term interest. Thinking about this long term interest, the reputation of your game and company, and just having some fucking respect for your players is how you maximise these profits. So please, let’s stop marketing these cheap, ridiculous gambling tricks.