Home > Uncategorized > The Coin Shop or Mind Tricks Don’t-a Work On Me, Only Money!

The Coin Shop or Mind Tricks Don’t-a Work On Me, Only Money!

January 18, 2013

I am rather late to the party with this, but I have been playing my pureblood Marauder alt a little to get reacquainted with the environment and mechanics of the game. Haven’t been doing too much of my usual ‘why, yes, I can beat this ludicrous challenge if I keep the footwork flawless and Vette twirls her lekku at the right moment!’ headbutting of walls, either. As a result of the leisurely pace, there was plenty of time to notice and mentally dwell on the footprints of the cash shop. In summary: deep and tramply.

When SW:TOR F2P was introduced, I wrote that I am prepared to make peace with the shop unless it encroaches upon in-game achievement, by which I meant too much pay-to-win and short-circuiting of systems like valor and legacy which represent long-term player goals. At the time, I had been a little too idealistic to even anticipate the pay-to-breathe element or the impact on the economy. The strategy appears to be to target primarily people levelling through the stories and to inconvenience them enough that they give in and buy the necessities of everyday life. A dangerous game to play.

However, there is one property of the system which restrains me from pouring unalloyed scorn. All of the items one can obtain through the coin shop unbind after a certain period of time and become resellable, providing a very direct conversion from real currency to in-game currency. I had not anticipated that, either, and I am not entirely sure what to think about it yet.

On the one hand, every time I passed through the fleet, the only trade advertisements were for unbound shop items. The sums I have seen tossed about were on the order of several million credits per fashion item, which is far removed from the income of ordinary gameplay (especially given F2P inventory/storage/crafting limitations) and if it goes on like that, we’re going to need Stones of Jordan. On the other hand, certain utility unlocks and authorisations (like Quickbars and bank access) can be found on the GTN for entirely reasonable prices. I am guessing that some appear as undesirable chaff in ‘booster pack’ type packages which people are encouraged to buy for a chance at rare cosmetic items, and some are put on the market by gambling-averse fashion hounds (probably also subscribers) who prefer to convert coins to credits and buy their desirables directly.

Thus, an enterprising F2Per can make life reasonably (and permanently) comfortable for themselves using solely in-game currency, and a subscriber can help out a buddy with their spare coins. Even as a subscriber myself, I bought the new Section X content authorisation for credits, just because the price was very accessible to my main. Piecemeal PLEX in SW:TOR? Sure, why not. Shame that marketing is so quiet about this flexibility.

On a positive note, and whenever I manage to distract myself away from these meta-concerns, the game is as entertaining as always. I really ought to be sorting out Sullas and getting some warzones going on, but I have fallen victim to the TOR occupational hazard of getting hooked on a storyline. The Warrior’s second companion was a minor surprise to me, and I can get used to a little crisp competence around the place. On my Knight, I had to wait for that until Rusk came along.

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  1. January 18, 2013 at 15:58

    I’ve been meaning to write a post about my own thoughts on the cash shop after several months. I think if I were to sum it all up in one line it would probably be: “It has changed the game a lot, but somehow it doesn’t matter as much to me as I thought it would.”

    • January 19, 2013 at 02:54

      That’s accurate for me, too. It does not really affect my activities too much but it has changed the game around me and its development trajectory. It is amusing (not in a bad way, though) how concerned everyone has become with outfits, for one thing. People like Njessi of Hawtpants must be in heaven.

      Then again, I know I spend too much time thinking about the state of the game instead of just playing it. Bit of a character flaw, that.

  2. DaRooks
    January 19, 2013 at 23:09

    The problem with your idea is the artifact gear unlock. Only an idiot would sell it below 350k and I’ve never seen it that low. Also some restrictions can’t be permanently lifted like fleet pass, quicktravel, afaik slower xp gain.

    • January 19, 2013 at 23:26

      Account-wide would be a tough acquisition, yes, and might require a bit of creative bartering or something. Single-character might be doable.

      Your point about several little inconveniences that cannot be completely erased with coin shop unlocks is well-taken, but all I claimed was reasonable comfort via the credit route, not complete freedom.

      I’ll be the first one to admit that the F2P conversion was tacky, rapacious and ham-fisted. But then, I also insist (and put my money where my mouth is) that TOR remains entertaining enough to warrant $15 a month from the average gamer budget.

    • January 23, 2013 at 01:09

      I actually have seen artifact gear at non-subscriber prices, though I suspect this may have been one-time inventory purchased by someone who didn’t realize that non-subscribers can’t pay the prices that the Cartel cost would have implied this unlock is worth.

      Personally, I spent roughly six million and now own almost everything that a non-subscriber can unlock. (Artifact gear, hotbars, the missing crewskill slot, even the cosmetic title and color-match options so that random dungeon groups don’t see a character with just a first name and badly mismatched gear and conclude I must be a F2P noob. I haven’t tried to get the guild bank unlock because I never took my guild’s stuff even when I could.)

      The nerf to exp gain doesn’t bother me in the slightest – I’m playing the game to see the content, and this way I paradoxically get to see more content. (Maybe I’ll feel different when I get beyond my 4th class story.) Quick travel I guess is unfortunate – 30 minutes is a nice cooldown – but I don’t really miss it too much. If they were smart, they’d make the one-time pass cost 5 CC instead of 95 CC, I’d be spamming that button left and right if pushing it once per night wasn’t going to add up to double the monthly fee for a subscriber.

      The things that do bug the heck out of me are the credit cap, the permanent 25% penalty to vendor prices (including commendation vendors), the caps on commendations, and the ban on ever mailing credits, even within your own legacy (which would seem to avoid any concern about gold sellers). It’s really hard to get excited about “subscribe if you want the rest of the currency you earned back”, but they currently remain opposed to allowing non-subscribers to pay to lift these restrictions.

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