Controversy Monday – Raid Nerfs, LoTRO for-pay items and more

The MMO blogosphere isn’t short of controversy at the moment, it must be said. For me, that’s making it a really interesting time – there’s a lot of serious thinking going on, a lot of really interesting debate and discussion, and I’m starting to get the feeling that this is one of those times when everything’s genuinely changing and progressing.

Specifically, over this weekend there have been some great posts on a variety of the top controversies right now:

  • Holy Word Delicious argues that any WoW raid, by definition, has to be at the right difficulty level“By choosing to play World of Warcraft, by choosing to raid in World of Warcraft, by choosing to play any game, you are entering into an implicit agreement that the correct difficulty level is chosen by the game company producing it.”
  • Tobold is concerned that the Diablo III community is going to be more hostile and unpleasant than any other games community before it“Diablo 3 is a negative sum game. No real value is ever created in that game. The only thing that is happening is a transfer of real money from some players to others, with Blizzard taking their cut.”
  • Justin Olivetti at Massively calls Turbine out in a powerfully-written editorial about their real-money item sales“If this doesn’t give Turbine pause to reconsider, then not only will the gear remain indefinitely, but the door is cracked even wider for future travesties.”
  • And Tusks and All believes that it’s impossible for Blizzard to ever recapture the classic WoW feeling“Blizzard needs to understand that nothing they did made Vanilla “great”. Systematically it was a terrible game: you had to grind for days to get specific resist gear, had to grind days and days to get good PVP gear, had to grind for hours to get mats for raid buffs/potions, had to grind days and day to get a single level.”

What do you think?

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Tyrael’s Charger – what the new WoW mount looks like, where to get it, and who exactly Tyrael is

In amongst the excitement at Blizzcon 2011 this year, one announcement hasn’t gotten as much attention as we might have expected – there’s a new flying mount available to buy for World of Warcraft. Tyrael’s Charger is an angelic, winged horse, and it can be yours for –

Wait, what?

Yep, that’s right. The only way to get the Horse With Wings currently is to buy an annual subscription to World of Warcraft.

The Charger

Youtube Video:

(from MMO Champion)

The Charger is, fairly obviously, a successor to the Celestial Steed, aka the Sparklepony. So far, all we have of it is this one image, from which the most distinctive aspect are its angel wings. We don’t know yet, but I’d guess that they will ripple rather than flap, as Tyrael’s wings do in Diablo.

Less obviously, you can see the horse also has a glowing angelic mane (for art nerds, both the wings and the mane are produced with an additive texture – the same trick WoW uses in many other places to create glowing swords and ghosts, and the Sparklepony itself). Unless there have been some artistic liberties taken with the picture, it’s also pretty damn big – the night elf on its back looks about the same size as she would on a dragon mount, not a normal horse.

Beyond that, we’ve got the standard Blizzard “Holy” gold armour, unsprisingly given its presumed angelic origins. The horse itself is pretty heavy-set – we’re looking at a warhorse here, not something nimble and light.

Personally, I’m not nearly convinced by it as a mount – the wings are attractive, but the rest of it feels too much like a Paladin steed with some fancy dress wings tacked on. However, that may all change when we see more of it – if handled right, it could have an unstoppable feel, and be a great mount for any character in the priest/paladin line.

I can’t see it ever fitting a Rogue, though!

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How to get the flying horse

Currently, there’s only one way to get Tyrael’s Charger – by buying an annual subscription to WoW, which will also get you a free copy of Diablo III and access to the Mists of Pandaria beta.

When do you get the Charger? As soon as Patch 4.3 drops, it’ll turn up in your mail. You’ll get it for all characters at the same time.

It’s expensive, but is it a good deal? Well, that very much depends on how sure you are that you’re going to be playing WoW in the next year (and, of course, if you’re interested in Diablo). This seems like a pretty impressive offer for Blizzard to make, and is leading to some speculation that there might be a reason they expect a lot of people to unsubscribe in the next year, beyond the looming shadow of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Will Sparklepony 2.0 ever be available another way? Probably, but likely not for a while. Blizzard are pushing the Annual Offer hard, and are likely to keep it up for a while. I’d expect Tyrael’s Charger to become available in the Blizzard store after Diablo III’s launch, but not before.

So what’s the backstory to Tyrael’s Charger?

Oddly, this mount has nothing to do with WoW at all. Instead, it’s a reference to the Archangel Tyrael in the Diablo lore – presumably to tie in with the Diablo III ramp-up that’s happening now.

In the Diablo universe, Tyrael essentially represents the side of good opposed to the evil of Diablo. He’s an Archangel who leads the Heavenly Host, and appears to you as the player character in the final act of Diablo II, giving you the quest to defeat Diablo himself. You can see him in action at 0:35 in this video – it’s pretty easy to see where the Steed got its wings.

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    Tyrael in Diablo II
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This isn’t Tyrael’s first appearance in WoW – rather undignifiedly for an Archangel, he also made an appearance as a minipet a couple of years ago, Mini Tyrael.

His role in Diablo III is unknown at the moment, but it’s speculated that he’ll play a major role, possibly as a fallen angel opposing the rest of the Angelic Council.

All of this leaves just one piece of missing information about Tyrael’s steed – why would someone who can fly need a horse?

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One last Diablo III AH roundup

It’s been continuing to simmer all week. It’s made its way into the mainstream press. And certain bloggers not too far away from this keyboard may have suggested it could get people killed.

Yep, it’s the Diablo III real-world money AH, and at the end of what was, frankly, the Week of Diablo, here’s one final round-up of some of the most interesting stories:

  • Open The Future had a interesting point – will item drops in Diablo immediately mean you need to pay tax? “It will likely come as a surprise if you’re just playing and avoiding the auction house entirely.”
  • Veteran gold blogger Marcko of Just My Two Copper fame has come out of retirement for the Diablo III AH, and is already starting to post theoretical guides to making the most from the game.
  • Stabbed Up is considering the legal implications for Blizzard: “If it’s a real account with real money in that rather sounds like a bank, doesn’t it? Sure it’s a bank with rather unusual restrictions but I can put money in, take money out and authorise payments to third parties.”
  • Tobold thinks that the Diablo III AH will be a deflationary economy: “It does not matter that there is maybe some Russian billionaire out there who would be willing to pay thousands of dollars for some legendary item; he’ll only buy the first one, and because the number of Russian billionaires playing Diablo III won’t increase much over time, prices will drop after the first bunch of crazy rich guys bought the first bunch of freshly dropped legendary items.”
  • Player vs Developer is considering this from his experience with another cash-store game, Runes of Magic: “Every game has class balance issues and flavor of the month builds. Not every game makes more money when players replace their gear, and nothing makes ROM players replace their gear faster than changing archetypes outright. “

And one final thought that just occurs to me, from the land of Internet Marketing. It’s well-known that one of the best ways to make money is to sell tools, guides or otherwise any edge to people who are currently trying to make money. People who are trying and failing are particularly good marks. Blizzard know this well.

So I’d expect to see a lot of real-money cash addons, probably some of them quite expensive. Better AH tools (why do you think they didn’t allow mods?). Mobile AH, of course. More character slots, bigger banks, even stock market style trackers.

By allowing RMT, Blizzard have opened themselves up a whole new revenue stream beside the obvious – selling tools to RMT traders. Expect, over time, quite a few of those tools to become mandatory to compete in the real-money scene.

Have a great weekend, everyone! See you on Monday!

Any last thoughts on the Diablo III RMT thing, before it (probably) disappears underground for a while?

All quotes taken from their respective blogs.

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Diablo 3 release date – Blizzard say it’ll be 2012, but when?

UPDATE: Diablo 3’s release date will be May 15th 2012!

Ten years since last release! Real-Money Auction House! DIABLO, man! So, when’s it coming out? Sadly – but predictably – there’s no sign yet of an official release date for Diablo 3. We’ve heard guesses of Q3 2011, Q4 2011, and “Early 2012”. Nonetheless, Blizzard remains tight-lipped. But that doesn’t mean we can’t come up with a pretty accurate theory, even before it’s announced or there’s more news – or a leak.

There’s actually a lot of information out there, from details of Blizzard’s game development process to things we can read between the lines in Blizzard’s business situation, to go on! So let’s get into the evidence and see how we do on prediction…

This article was updated on 15th March 2012.

When it’s ready

The earliest possible release date for Diablo 3 was some time in 2011, confirmed in 2010 in the infamous leaked Blizzard production slate. The leaked slate detailing Blizzard’s plans for the next few years confirmed Diablo as targetted at the fourth quarter of 2011 – around Christmas, in other words.

Rob Pardo confirmed that as Blizzard’s goal in a Kotaku interview at the start of 2011 – but even then, he was cagy, saying “Our goal is to get there. But you know, at the end of the day, we are going to get it right. That’s more important. We’re going to promise, we’re going to get it out there when it’s awesome.”.

It looks like it wasn’t awesome enough. Blizzard clearly knew they weren’t going to hit their target by September 2011, when they accidentally leaked the new date – “early in 2012” – on the Blizzard website.

And now, we’re at the start of February, and overly creative games stores nonwithstanding, there’s no sign of Diablo 3 yet. So, how much will Blizzard add on to the release date this time?

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What’s holding D3 up?

There’s no doubt that work on Diablo III is progressing fast. Recent revelations about some of the game features (the real-money auction house being a prominent example) are good indications of a game entering its final phase of developement. However, it would appear that not everything’s going to plan. In the last month, Blizzard have both cut significant features from the game (the “too cute” Companion Pets), and have redesigned massive chunks of the game’s mechanics.

Changes announced in January included massive changes to core character mechanics, including the removal of the Attack, Defense and Precision attributes. Major NPCs were removed, and several significant gameplay systems were being overhauled – including changes which Jay Wilson wasn’t ready to talk about.

So, does this mean that Diablo 3 is in real trouble?

Probably not.

These changes aren’t desperate last-minute fixes – they’re the symptoms of the development system Blizzard is using at work. Blizzard use an iterative development process, meaning that rather than finalising the game’s systems and mechanics before they build it (a good way to quickly build a really bad game), they build parts of the game, or rough prototypes, then test, then refine their design, rebuild or build more, and repeat. Whilst most games companies do this to a certain extent, Blizzard appear to be taking it to the same sort of extremes that Valve Software espouse – which tends to make games very, very late, but also very, very good.

Unfortunately, it also means that no-one including the designers can predict when a game will be finished – essentially, you keep trying out designs until you’ve got one that’s awesome. Infamously, Valve Software actually built most of Half-Life twice over – literally stopping half-way through production and scrapping everything they’d done so far.

As you can imagine, working this way makes scheduling extremely difficult. It’s possible to repeatedly iterate a single design element, think it’s nearing perfection, and only after a bunch of work realise that actually you need to throw it out and start over with a completely new idea. It’s not possible to tell an idea that’s nearly awesome from an idea that’ll never be awesome except by testing it and improving it until it becomes obvious one way or the other.

That’s where Blizzard are now, it would appear. They’ve thrown out a bunch of old systems, they’re working on new ones, and they don’t know when – or if – they’ll be as good as they need to be.

There is some good news, though. We also know that they’re working in a non-linear fashion, however, so the fact that they’re reworking major gameplay systems doesn’t mean that other parts of the game aren’t completely finished and waiting for release. And whilst the systems that Wilson is talking about sound major, many of them don’t actually impact the really time-consuming bit of game development – art design. So it might well be that the game’s weeks away from being finished.

So, when will Diablo 3 be released?

So, in summary, here’s the bit you’ve been waiting for – our best guess as to when Diablo 3 will be released.

It’s not coming in February. The physical process of getting a game onto discs takes a couple of weeks even if it’s completely finished, and after major system changes there will be a lot of QA testing to be done, and at least a bit of art to be re-created. In addition, Jay Wilson confirmed in January that there would be “future Beta patch updates”, which implies that Beta isn’t expected to finish before mid-Feb at the earliest, probably later. Beta patches have been arriving about two a month, and he references multiple beta patches.

As for dates after that, it’s very much be a question of how long it takes Blizzard’s devs to narrow down on the most fun game possible. It would appear that there’s a lot of internal pressure to make this game fantastic, and that means that Blizzard are going to be trying to invest as much as possible of the only resource that can make it happen – time.

The fact that they’ve not even released a couple of significant systems to beta testers implies to me that we’re still a few months away from release. If all goes well, we could be looking at an early April release, allowing for both testing and QA time – but all might not go well.

If the systems being developed now don’t work, it’ll be back to the drawing board again. Ideally, I’m sure many Blizzard devs would be happy to continue to iterate for another year or more – but even given how important it is to get Diablo right, they can’t ignore commercial pressures forever.

I’d be surprised if they were able to get to the second quarter investor call without releasing, which happens in early July.

If they don’t have a release out by then, investors are likely to start getting nervous about their revenues, and just how long releases are taking. That could be disastrous for their stock price, and is something they’ll be wanting to avoid at all costs.

That means that we’re looking at a window somewhere between Early April and Late June 2012. We just can’t narrow it down further.

Update – they’ve announced the date – May 15th, right in the middle of the window we predicted! Go us.

But that’s OK – we’re not alone. At this point, even Blizzard probably can’t narrow it down further! So, whenever you’re sitting swearing about Blizzard not telling us when it’ll be done – remember, Mike Morhaine’s probably sitting in his office saying much the same thing…

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Diablo III – it could get a sucka killed – Editorial

So, the Diablo III Auction House will allow us to pay real-world cash for in-game items – any in-game items.

I’ve seen people saying it will be awful. I’ve seen people saying it will be pay-to-win. I’ve seen people saying it will be genius.

But I’ve yet to see anyone commenting from an… “exploit-focussed” perspective. (As opposed to, say, “cynical and untrusting”.) Now, for better or for worse, I tend to think in that direction. And so, a few things have occurred to me as likely unintended consequences of the real-money Auction House in Diablo III.

A note, before I begin. This stuff will probably not happen to you. It might not happen to anyone you know. But if Diablo III ends up with millions of players, it will happen to someone.

And the Legendary Sword goes to the gentleman from the Rosthchild Foundation

Tobold has commented that he thinks items will be far, far cheaper than expected. He’s absolutely right – mostly. The per-hour rate for “work” in Diablo III will stabilise at far below minimum wage for the average person, thanks to 3 factors – people cashing in items they aquired for “free” (“Woo! I was playing Diablo and I got this awesome sword! Free cash!”), farmers in developing countries (it’d be very easy to set up a Diablo III content farm in the Phillipines paying about $1-2 per hour), and people who are desperate to make money who fail to understand basic economics.

The latter will probably be the biggest problem – on every other “easy” money-making opportunity (Ebay, for example) there tend to be hordes of people trying to make money who are satisfied with insanely low profit margins, or make basic commercial mistakes. In WoW, this would be the classic “I farmed the mats, so they’re free!” error.

On the other hand, some items will go for insanely high amounts of real world money. Let’s do a quick thought experiment. Assume the legendary for your WoW class (or equivalent in another game) is coming in Patch 4.3. Assume it takes the usual amount of work to aquire – ie insane amounts with the full support of a large guild.

How much real-world money would you pay to get your hands on one of them, completely legitimately? What’s the maximum one of your guildies would pay?

Right. Now imagine you earn $30,000 per month in the real world.

How much would you pay for the legendary now?

There will be Diablo players out there who earn that much. There will probably be Diablo players out there who earn a lot more. I seem to recall one of the major EVE players is actually a Russian millionaire if not billionaire. These people will have no problem dropping sums that most of us would consider insane, just to outfit a new alt.

Of course, this very much depends on how large the market for Diablo III is. But if it gets anywhere close to WoW, very, very rare items are going to go for art-world level prices. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But not all items are going to go for that much, of course. You might not ever see an item worth $1000 in years of playing Diablo.

That doesn’t mean RMT won’t affect your gaming.

AWKWARD

Here’s another thought experiment. You’re off playing Diablo with your friend, who happens to be going through a rough time – she’s broke, she’s unemployed, maybe her health insurance is running out. Maybe she’s got debts.

And a very rare world drop randomly drops. Something that won’t sell for a fortune, but will sell for $50 or so. It also happens to be a massive upgrade for you.

What do you do?

As far as I can tell, there’s no good social outcome here. You Need, you feel like a bastard. She might well be legitimately upset – that’s $50 she just lost, and she really needs that $50. You give it to her, you probably feel a bit resentful, she feels like she’s had charity given to her, she also feels bad because she got an item you needed. You both roll, whichever one wins feels bad.

Now, you might be saying that of course you’d see past that. She’s your friend.

Now imagine she’s in your regular group. And you’re pretty good. Every night you see 3 or 4 drops, worth about $10 each. Every night she’s down, and talking about how her mum’s medical bills are hurting her, or how she’s getting sued by creditors. And every night, you have to make the decision above three or four times.

That’s going to start to suck.

TL:DR – gaming groups with major income disparities – and there are a lot of them – are not going to find Diablo III much fun sometimes.

But what happens if you DO see something valuable drop?

Someone’s going to emergency, someone’s going to jail.

Gamers, I think it’s safe to say, are not universally well-heeled, highly intelligent people with a great deal of sense and impulse control. All sorts of people play games. Some of them are not very nice people.

Sometimes, you don’t know that much about your guildies.

Now, I’m sure all your guildies are lovely people. But I think you’ll probably in the past have had the experience of being in a guild – perhaps even a raid group – with someone suddenly turned very nasty. If not, you’ll have heard of it, perhaps on WoW Insider’s Drama Mamas column.

Some guilds are going to have that problem in Diablo – but a lot worse.

We’ve all seen some pretty major loot drama from WoW. I know of plenty of friendships breaking up, threats being made, torrents of verbal abuse, sometimes even physical violence.

Now imagine that each of those fights were backed by anyone involved having either won or lost some fairly serious cash.

Go Google “Poker murder”. A lot of people get killed over poker – a game involving real-world money – every year. Enough that it doesnt show up in the national news – because it’s sufficiently common.

Think of the worst loot argument you ever got involved in. Now imagine if there had been hundreds of real-world dollars at stake there.

Think anyone could have gotten hurt?

If Diablo III’s a WoW-level success, someone’s going to get their legs broken over a Diablo III item, and probably sooner rather than later. Someone’s going to go to jail.

Someone’s going to get killed.

What’s a serious Diablo III group going to feel like? Think dark glasses, smoky rooms, and quiet voices

Now, don’t get me wrong. None of this stuff is a good reason that Blizzard shouldn’t institute RMT in Diablo. I’m not against poker, either – indeed, a friend of mine is a semi-professional poker player.

But if you want a good idea of what a serious Diablo III gaming environment is going to look like, you probably want to look at the equivalents currently existing.

The closest equivalent I can think of is poker.

We’re talking very intense expressions. We’re talking a lot of very controlled people – after the first few Nasty Incidents happen, people on Diablo III are going to start prizing calm, reasonable, grounded guildies with stable income streams a lot higher than anyone who might go mad with an axe. We’re talking very, very dedicatedly polite gaming.

(Oh, and just like you get professional poker cheats, you’re going to get professional ninjas. See “This Is Not A Game” by Walter Jon Williams. Lovely.)

Of course, all of that only applies if there’s some way people can track you down in RL. (Don’t use the same username you use ANYWHERE else on the Internet – I personally have tracked one person to his RL identity from their WoW handles. It’s easier than you think.)

Which brings us to…

Forget “Dirty cop”. Think “dirty GM”

The biggest, fastest money in Diablo – assuming you’re not a very nice man or woman – will be made by compromising account security in one way or another.

The AH is going to be anonymous. That’s a very sensible move – as previously mentioned, tracking most peoples’ online identities through their WoW handles isn’t too hard, and you do NOT want any yahoo on the Internet being able to track you if you’re currently selling a $75,000 Legendary. Or undercutting someone else’s.

However, just how good will that anonymity be? For starters, will GMs have access to the account details of people who are trading on the AH? It’s quite likely that some of them will – after all, Blizzard will want to be able to monitor and police activity. If Blizzard’s development team don’t think too hard about Bad People (a very common mistake), all GMs will be able to break AH anonymity at least to the character name level.

Being a GM is not a very highly-paid profession. Being a GM who passes on contact details for people selling high-priced items, however, could well be a very lucrative profession indeed. Even if nothing nasty subsequently happens, if you can directly get in contact with the guy who is selling the Legendary Staff of Awesum, you may well be able to negotiate 10% off his asking price – that’s serious cash.

And Nasty could well happen. Getting the account details of someone with said Staff of Awesum is worth $75k, after all. That’s good money for a wide variety of criminal types, from hackers to legbreakers. There will be people out there intending to make money from Diablo, and not all of them will be doing it in legitimate ways.

Most of the time, it’s perfectly safe to sell a valuable painting, too. But not always.

Even if Blizzard are more clever than that with their security, exactly how good will it be? True anonymity is hard to do. And as the Sony debacle proves, games companies ain’t always at the top of the security game. Once serious RMT starts happening – on a huge scale – a lot of very serious computer cracker types are going to be interested in breaking that security. I hope Blizzard is prepared.

(They might want to start by reading “Halting State” by Charles Stross.)

Oh, and as a final point – if you manage to get your hands on the Super-Rare Staff of Massive Awesum, may I heartily recommend you don’t Tweet or blog about it?

It’s not all bad

Now, you might be thinking I’m saying that Diablo III’s going to be a total disaster, and that people are going to be getting killed like they were in a civil war.

That’s not the case. There are plenty of games out there where a lot larger volume of money changes hands than will do in Diablo III, and for the most part, they’re perfectly safe and fun to play. Poker, backgammon, horse racing – these are major and legitimate sports and games that add fun and relaxation to the lives of millions of people worldwide.

But what I’m saying is that the environment of Diablo III is going to look a lot less like WoW, and a lot more like one of those games. And the various unintended consequences of the RMT in Diablo III will be much more wide-reaching than anyone realises – even more far-reaching than EVE, a game without much in the way of random drops and an overall gameplay that’s not terribly mass-market appeal.

That might be a good thing. It might be a bad thing. It might depend on who you are.

A lot of this will depend on how the loot system in Diablo works.

If it’s very non-random, and the most valuable items are only accessible to people who put in the hardest work, then you’ll end up with a poker-type situation. Very low-limit poker is basically completely risk-free. Very high-stakes poker, on the other hand – well, let’s just say I wouldn’t expect to get into the Diablo equivalent of Paragon without a criminal background check.

(Of course, in the future, the hoped-for result from that criminal check for some top groups might end up being “right, you’re part of the Mob too, let’s get on with exploiting the hell out of Heroic Diablo for the $65 grand loot payoff”. With the amounts of money that might be at stake, cybercriminal groups could be extremely interested in getting early access to top loot. Imagine the current exploit dramas around top guilds, and add in six-figure payoffs. I look forward to the official Russian Business Network raid group. )

On the other hand, if there are random, ultra-rare item drops which are very useful or otherwise sought-after – you’re going to have more the equivalent of a lottery, or roulette.

Very nasty things happen to lottery winners sometimes.

We don’t know which way it will go. But, regardless, when you think Diablo, you might want to add to the usual jokey Vent conversations, Twitter flamewars and loot arguments the image of smoke-filled rooms, desperate lucky-break hopes and large guys with lumpy suits and shaved heads.

Just sayin’.

Update – Diablo III has individual, not group loot. That solves the problem of loot drama to some extent – however, I’d expect groups to rapidly come up with informal trading rules anyway (“Hey, Bob needs that healing mace more than you”). Blizzard wants RMT, so they have a vested interest to make sure many items that drop are more useful to other people than to you.

Do you think Diablo III will be carefree and fun times? Or shady and a bit scary? And which would you actually prefer?

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Will Diablo III be pay-to-win? The Kerfuffle Kicks Off

Well, I’d like to thank Blizzard for making my job easy today. Because let’s be honest, the only thing I’m going to be featuring is the news that Diablo III will, on release, have a real money-based Auction House.

Yarly. You know that guy in your guild who is 50k from gold cap? In a few months, Diablo III could be his job.

Needless to say, the blogosphere has opinions:

  • Welcome to Spinksville: “While I have no doubt that many many players will be delighted by this development, I’m left feeling that I won’t much like the evolving game community that this spawns.”
  • Matthew McCurley at WoW.com: Remember when I talked about how the Battle.net account has been changed to something that Blizzard wants you to keep into perpetuity, adding value to through all of its games and services? This is the huge beginning.”
  • MMO Crunch: “Diablo III will introduce RMT – hooray!”
  • Broken Toys: “As a player – I have no interest to pay to win. At all.”
  • Procrastination Amplification: “I’m more afraid of what this move will do to the psyche of the players. Once you assign real world value to in-game items, you add a layer of seriousness to the game that might not be appropriate”
  • Short pieces: Nils doesn’t really care, whilst Tobold thinks it’s an interesting new business model.

I’m absolutely certain that these won’t be the last blog posts on the subject we see, so if you know of more good ones out there, post them below!

Great idea, or Pay-To-Win? What do you think?

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