A cash shop in the stars

UPDATE: During the latest Bungie Weekly Update community dude DeeJ answered what was basically the hot question of the week. Everyone can calm down, here’s their answer:

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Original post below…

Show me your moves

Destiny launched it’s Eververse Trading Company (ETC) store which is the fun name for what is essentially a “cash shop”; the items available for sale right now are just a group of fun emotes. As expected there’s already voices of concern that this may take the game in the wrong way – also known as the pay to win (P2W) way.

Earlier this month there were rumors that Destiny was ditching the mini-expansions (such as the Dark Below) in favor of a regular update schedule that was gonna be entirely free; such an endeavor would be supported by the sales of Silver, the new currency that must be obtained with real money. Free content thanks to purchases of 100% vanity/fun items? Sounds good.

Scheming

It has always been assumed by the community that the ETC would eventually branch into Shaders (items that apply a set of colours to your entire gear set), Emblems (banners that appear behind your character’s name), Sparrows (the game’s “ground mounts”) or Ships (the game’s space… uh… ships). But datamining revealed some fun items, for example:

  • “Indomitable Light”: Increases likelihood of weapon and armor drops from your next King’s Fall foe (KF is the new raid, btw).
  • “Warlock Level 25 Starter Pack”: Contains a Level 25 Boost, Subclass Infusion, and Telemetries.
  • “Subclass Infusion”: Fully levels your currently equipped subclass.

(Items taken from this Reddit post)

So what are these? Is it time to stat crying wolf? Why did one of Destiny’s devs jump on Twitter to say they weren’t planning on selling buffs to drop rates on the raid but no mention on the other items?

Let’s start at the beginning: this is not the end of the world. Assuming it is true that they’re not selling ways to get more loot from raid (which would be absolutely going into the P2W territory) the other items are not that bad.

Let’s be real here: if someone buys an item that boosts one of his characters to level 25 it’s not that big a deal. It’s not even the level cap – and even if it were, it won’t affect his skill or light levels. If someone buys an item to instantly boost one of his subclasses to max, that won’t mean they’re proficient at it. All these items do is save time.

Time

There’s an interesting detail here: Destiny is a game fighting for your time, but unlike a more traditional MMO it does not charge a subscription (disregarding the obvious console-specific services that allow you to do so). Whereas those games intentionally make their activities take time in order to make you want to stay subbed, Destiny doesn’t really need to “hook” your monthly fee – there is none.

fail4

So Destiny needs to make money some other way. In “year 1” (Y1) they charged for small “expansions” like The Dark Below and House of Wolves (let’s not dive into how good or bad those were). But with rumors that they plan to ditch this model in favor of providing content supported by the sales of micro transaction items, they may have found a way of getting that money.

If new content is constant, engaging, and makes players enjoy the game then they’re much more likely to drop a small amount of money on an emote or similar item. If the game’s endgame content is enjoyable then it’s in Destiny’s best interest to get players there sooner – and that’s where these items come in.

On the lookout

Of course, that said, we should still take a look anytime Destiny announces a new item in the ETC store. See it, think about it, judge it for ourselves and determine whether or not it crosses that imaginary line of “this is P2W now“. For now we only have emotes, so all’s good now – and they’re even quite fun.

But I’m not worried. You know why? Because even Bungie must figure out that if they were to ever go the P2W route it would mean a small percent of the population would get the benefits, steamrolling others in PvE or PvP; this would in turn make a lot of people feel they’re wasting their time and leave the game; less people playing means less people that could potentially buy an emote/shader/mount or expansion… and the P2W door is not something you can close once you’re open, not to mention regaining player trust would be as difficult as soloing Crota as a level 1 guardian.

Bungie is not that stupid.

fail1

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