Monday Controversy Update: GW2 Micro-Transactions, WoW Beta Access, and Gaming as a Girl

There were a lot of big, important and controversy-breeding subjects in the blogosphere last week, and the debate’s still raging on many of them. Let’s catch up!

Mists of Pandaria Beta Access

This one doesn’t look like it’s going to die down any time soon. Many people are claiming – and citing proof from videos and statements from Blizzard – that Blizz said the Annual Pass included access to the Mists of Pandaria beta as soon as it went live. Blizzard has yet to release a timeframe for when Annual Pass users will get their access. These two things are not playing well together.

Initial responses on the blogosphere were mostly supportive of Blizzard, but we’re seeing a more mixed reaction from the blogosphere over the weekend:

  • Lorehound presents both print and video backing for the “access when beta is live” quote from Blizzard, with some commentary“Perhaps Blizzard did not expect the Annual Pass to be as big of a success as it was and realized they could not possibly give beta access to that large amount of players, but that’s really no excuse.”
  • Anafielle of Sacred Duty didn’t get her Beta Pass, but she’s not angry – just a little disappointed“Let’s all agree to stop complaining that Blizz was legally obligated to give us access on Day 1. I know how you feel. I’m jealous too. I’m raging too. But I’m not trying to convince the world that I was promised something that common sense would dictate would never in a million years happen.”
  • Rush at Scribblings on the Asylum Wall is indeed very angry that he paid for something he didn’t get – indeed, he’s stopping just short of calling the Annual Pass a scam“The Annual Pass scheme was designed to do one thing: distract and appease Blizzard customers for a few months with content that was ready for public consumption to drown out the chorus of “You suck and you’re slow and I’m cancelling.” It was designed to head off the freefall of subscriber numbers, which was actually starting to become a subject of conversation in the mass media and in brokerage houses that trade in Acti/Blizz stock.”*

Guild Wars 2 Microtransactions

The beta item list for Guild Wars 2’s microtransaction system leaked last week, and some of the items on it have been causing controversy and concern:

  • Keen and Graev say that the entire microtransaction deal could be a deal-breaker for GW2“If this type of cash shop makes it into the game, I’m glad it came out early because my interest in the game may diminish if I sense any change in the game’s design direction as a result.”
  • Tobold takes on the XP-boosting items in the leak, saying there’s no such thing as a perfect levelling speed“the items to speed the games up are NOT designed for the people who already play the game for an average or high number of hours per week. They are designed for the time-constrained who only get a few hours of play in every week, but still want to keep up with the Joneses, or their friends.”
  • And Syl of Raging Monkeys feels that GW2’s focus on player cooperation means that the cash shop is nothing to worry about“Seems to me the entire concept behind GW2 makes pay-to-win a very unlikely scenario.”

Being a gamer girl

Last week saw a number of fascinating blog posts on the difficulties of being a gamer girl – or lack therof. The debate has continued over the weekend.

(There are some complex arguments that are difficult to get into a single-line summary here. Apologies if I miss subtleties!)

  • Effraeti believes that discrimination is more a matter of humanity simply fearing that which is different“I have seen more dedicated women prove stereotypes wrong. Women are astronauts and scientists and wrestlers and any number of other things that they just did NOT do before that first woman stepped up and said, “Why not?””
  • Mataoka of Sugar And Blood says that she doesn’t want any limitations for her daughters or her sons“I do not see this in only the narrow lens of being a ‘girl gamer.’ There are plenty of stereotypes for both men and women, the “basement living virgin” man, or the “troll asshole.” Unfair labels don’t wash.”
  • The Ancient from Tome Of The Ancient says she’s suffered plenty of horrible behaviour – from all kinds of people“I’ve suffered through my share of sexist behavior but I never thought of it as being “male” behavior, I thought of it as coming from an ignorant human being that happened to be male.”

What do you think? Did Blizzard falsely advertise? With GW2’s item shop be its downfall? And are we all equally victims of ignorant people?