Are you hurt by your neighbor's Rolls Royce?
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 December 2012, 3:24 am
Diminishing Returns is pondering the $50 hobby horse in LotRO, and thinks that it is like the tree in the forest philosophical dilemma: "Players’ rage is not directed at the actual horse (which they will rarely encounter) but the idea of the horse and what it represents." Most people agree that Free2Play designs in which the free players are armed with sticks while the paying players get mega-cannons are bad (I hear WarZ works like that). But what about items shops selling expensive fluff? Nobody really has an in-game advantage by buying an expensive mount or pet. So on the other side nobody really has an in-game disadvantage by some other player owning an expensive mount or pet. The only "hurt" it produces is jealousy.

Now being jealous of what other people have is a very natural reaction. In a way one could say that it is the force that powers the "American Dream". Of course the downside is that it also was the force behind the sub-prime mortgage financial disaster, because if you need to keep up with the Joneses you might make some unwise financial decisions. But ultimately that is a question of self-control. Are you really hurt by your neighbor driving a Rolls Royce? It doesn't make your car drive any worse, it only makes it look worse in comparison.

With Free2Play games there is another factor to consider: The people buying the $50 hobby horse are effectively financing the game for those who pay nothing. If everybody decided to pay nothing and just play for free, the game would be closed down after a few months. As much as the entitlement kids seem to think otherwise, game companies are not charities; they are businesses that need to make money to pay their employees and investors. If you see somebody with a $50 hobby horse in Lord of the Rings Online, you should /thank him instead of raging at him. It is him who is paying the game for you, and that merits some gratitude.
Tobold's Blog

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