If there’s one thing any game developer with an ounce of experience in the MMO genre will tell you, it’s that you never, never, never, ever sell statted gear in your game’s cash shop. That immediately makes the game a “pay to win” game where players with the most real world cash can just pay for the best gear and outclass everyone else in the game. Well, it looks like selling statted gear is going to be the next colossal mistake EA/BioWare is making in their continual destruction of The Old Republic.
The news came out of an interview with Jeff Hickman conducted at Gamescom by Swtor Life:
Pay to win is not something that we like. I don’t want to unbalance the game by putting things out on the store that somebody can walk in on day one, buy and be the winner. Having said that, there will be some things that we put out in the store that do enhance power value in some way, but not at the top end. Trying to think of a good example. We may put a medium level blue piece of armor on the cash shop for example. We might do that. We haven’t decided and we’re still talking about this, but it’s one of those things it is like … most players will have something better than this anyway, but if you don’t here’s the way that you can get a leg up to at least make you equal with the normal players. That is kind of where our thinking is at, but we are still discussing it. But we do not believe in Pay to Win.
BioWare can try to spin it however they want, but selling statted gear in any way is poison for the game and a monumentally stupid idea. Hopefully they’ll change their mind or the Free 2 Play transition will be the death rattle for the game.