Friday, December 13, 2013

Pay to pay

OK, MMO marketing schemes have officially passed the point of laughter into headache-inducing irrationality.

Back before the latest LotRO expansion launched, I expressed both annoyance and resignation at the fact that the game would continue to add ten levels every year, forcibly extending the completely nonsensical static levelling treadmill. Among other problems, the gulf created thus between new and existing customers grows with each iteration. It prevents new players from getting into the game and is actively counterproductive and counter to the all-mighty profit motive.

I needn't have worried. Time Warner's underlings were way ahead of me and this week I received an e-mail advertising a double cure for both my levelgrinding blues and my wallet's unhealthy obesity. For the low-low cost of just under $50 (more expensive in fact than the Helm's Deep expansion itself) the friendly corporate overlords of Middle-Earth are now prepared to offer any and all us valiant heroes the (trumpets, if you will)

"Gift of the Valar!
Instantly become level 50! Includes many extra boosts and buffs."

Yes, lucky customer, you now have the privilege of paying Warner Brothers for the honor of paying them again to prevent you from using their product.
I love it. My hat's off to you, guys, this is the sort of ruthless, bald-faced highway robbery marketing gimmick which hearkens back to the time the sugar lobby in the U.S. tried to define ketchup as the "vegetable" in children's school lunches.

From the looks of it, the news has already drawn plenty of attention across teh internets, but I'm afraid to even tally the reactions: how many are rightfully outraged at the sheer gall of this fleecing push, and how many game reviewers and other toadies are hailing this as the next godsend for the industry?

Also, I'm pretty sure half a million Chinese brats can offer better powerlevelling rates than a dollar a level. Come on, Warner, you need to stay competitive if you want to corner the RMT market.

No comments:

Post a Comment