The buzz around RMT in MMOs has been almost deafening lately. Pretty much every big blog has touched on it. And why not? As MMO players, our gaming experience, the direction of the genre and, most importantly, the value of our time are important to us. So when it gets leaked that a new headliner title is planning on using microtransactions, it stirs people’s emotions.

 

I’d planned on keeping mum on the topic (why beat the same drum as everyone else?) but doing so may make me seem lazy, detached, or any number of things.  Here’s where I stand: RMT is a bad thing for the long term quality of an MMO if it’s used as the game’s primary financial support. So, if EA adopts a microtransaction policy over a subscription model completely or majorly, I’ll probably count the game as doomed.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I’ve never played an RMT game. To put it bluntly, it’s because the games I’ve seen like this have sucked in quality, design, and scope, or because I didn’t want to be disadvantaged because I couldn’t drop extra money to do well in the game.

 

Generally, I think the same rule applies for games that have free and paid versions. Take Runescape for example. If you don’t pay the monthly fee, your gaming experience is sorely limited compared to those that do.

 

And it makes sense that a game based on RMT would be the same way.

 

If the company intends to make most of their money by getting you to make purchases, then they’re not going to offer you much for free. That would work against their business model. They will always incentivize ponying up more money.

 

Monthly subscription games don’t suffer from this failing. You pay them a set fee in exchange for quality. If they don’t deliver, players stop paying the fee. With RMT games, quality varies even for those willing to pay. The more cash you give them, the better off you are. It’s far more capitalist than the subscription model and people don’t like feeling disadvantaged because of their pocketbook. Hell, I know people that play MMOs because it’s a cheap source of entertainment. There’s not much chance that they’ll be looking KOTOR’s way should it work out like many speculate. Time will tell though.

 

Games that just allow fluff purchases still fall into this trap by giving paying certain players a “one-up” over other subscribers. Why pay gold for a cosmetic piece from a crafter when you can just buy it for less than a buck? Sorry Carpenter Bob, no gold for you! It devalues the hard work of others. The same is true for items typically attained through PvE. It creates a “why bother” vibe.

 

To make it really succinct, RMT games are inherently unfair. The company’s that own them may put gold spammers out of business but in exchange they take on the role themselves. So what does it all equal? A lower quality game with less incentive to improve quality with maybe a little less gold spam. No thanks.

 

Now, on to the video. Personally, I think it looks pretty neat. Unlike some, I’ll give this game a try just because it’s Bioware. I’ve never been a huge fan of Star Wars but have always enjoyed Bioware’s work. The animations in the video are pretty choppy but that’s forgivable at this stage in development. It kind of looked like frames were missing from the avatar’s movements. However, what’s there looks pretty cool. The environments and stylized graphics they show also look great.

 

Like I said, I’ve never been too interested in Star Wars. This game, however, has piqued my curiosity, so I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Let’s just hope a potentially good game doesn’t fail before it can even try.

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