Paying for Advantages–Re: Tobold
This is going to be a response to Tobold’s article “MMORPGs are too cheap”.
Tobold claims, as the title suggests, that MMO’s aren’t charging as much as they should be. His defense of this stance is that the ‘average American’ spends around $58 per month on hobbies, and that MMOs only charge about $15, maybe $40 if there was an expansion that month. He then goes on to say that people respond negatively even to the very idea of paying more, such as in a cash shop where the player can purchase items.
If you’ve been following Tobold for a while you’ll see that recently he’s been battling for the acceptance of paying for advantages in game. He says that it’s not that big a deal, and that it’s youthful naivete that prevents us opponents of the idea from accepting what is obviously right. He believes his age has brought with it the wisdom to know that it’s alright to charge more for MMOs, and to sell items that give you an advantage inside.
He also likens MMOs to stamp collecting, and says that no stamp collector would be angry if another guy spent more money, and thus had a better stamp collection, so why should we care if someone spends more and has a better MMO experience. He then says, and I quote: “The whole argument against people spending money on MMORPGs has a whiff of communism. Everybody should be equal, and nobody should be allowed to stand out through money, even if he worked hard to get that money.”
BULLSHIT. First of all, anyone NOT currently living in the cold war would understand that if it worked out perfectly, Communism is an amazing way to run a country. The problem with Communism is that it NEVER works out perfectly, because people are greedy and evil. Knowing that, Communism is a stupid idea because it just can’t happen right. That said, of course people who have worked for more money should be able to spend it and have an advantage, however, all of that should be IN GAME. What you did outside of the game makes no difference, you want money and power inside the game world? Work for it like everyone else. Excel and become ‘the man’ if you can, but you don’t get to cut in front of the line because you have more real life money.
Why not? Because let’s not forget what an MMORPG is. It’s a virtual WORLD. One that humans created and one that has the ability to be far more fair than the real world. Why would we allow, if we can help it, the corruption and evil that infests our normal lives to seep into the one escape we have? That’s not how it works, because YOU are not YOUR CHARACTER. If you enter this world, and shoot past everyone else in skill or luck and become massively wealthy, you should be able to use that to gain status or power in the game, but you shouldn’t be declared Governor of California because you have a level 85 Shaman with more gold than the entirety of the rest of the server. Just the same the Governor of California shouldn’t be able to start playing my game tomorrow, and start bitch slapping me that very same day, even though I’ve put in time and effort. That’s got a very totalitarian feel to it if you ask me.
The only people who say that ‘money can’t make you happy’ or ‘MMORPGs cost too little’ are the people that HAVE the money to spend. I’m a struggling college student with a wife and debt. I’m LUCKY that I can afford to pay for a $15 sub a month for both me and my wife. Most of my computer equipment comes from my time in the Navy too, so it’s not like I’m spending much on my hobby. In fact, according to receipts, I spend about $40 a month on hobbies. That includes two subscription fees, one for me and one for my wife, and $10 for whatever comes up. So no Tobold, MMORPGs don’t cost too little, and if you REALLY want to just ‘waste’ your money as you claim in your blog, then I’ll send you my address and you can start just sending me the extra you’ve got.
Until then, try not to ruin my hobby just because you no longer want to put in the work.