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Milking the Cash Cow

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Llewen, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    Does anyone else hate this as much as I do?

    - We pay $10 US a month or more depending on where we live.
    - We pay $40 US for each expansion, and usually they manage to add something each year that will cost you around this much for each account you wish to "upgrade".

    And now we are seeing more and more crap like this. Stuff that you can only buy from the UO Game Codes store that provides "real" in game benefits to those who buy them: soul stones, the smuggler's edge, and now this.

    This really pisses me off, and if anything is going to make me quit UO again, only this time permanently, it will be nonsense like this.
     
  2. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    And what makes it even worse, is they are adding crap like this, and neglecting a huge 13 year old cheating problem, and an "enhanced" client with terrible performance issues. Frankly, I feel like I'm being taken for a sucker...
     
  3. sablestorm

    sablestorm Certifiable
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    It doesn't bother me at all. They're a company, they're supposed to try and make money. What's more, all through the years players have suggested ideas for items and tried to entice the Dev Team into implementing said ideas by offering to let us buy it for real money. Here they are doing it, but of course people are going to complain.

    Let me ask you this. Before these were released, could you play UO? Yes or no? I'm assuming you could play the game, that it wasn't a show stopper that these weren't in-game. So now that they are released, how does it impact you? Are you so crippled by the "I have to have what the Jones do" that you just have to spend money on these items and you think it's unfair?

    The reality is, you don't need this items and they don't impact you. You may want them, but you don't need them. The issue here is your perception of it all. If you're against buying items for in-game money, then don't buy them.
     
  4. canary

    canary Guest

    If they are going to do a cash shop, they need better items.
     
  5. Stupid Miner

    Stupid Miner Guest

    They had to lay off staff since they we're making enough money. I'd call them idiots if they *didn't* do something like this, and had to lay off even more.

    Just ignore it, it's not like the items are good anyway.
     
  6. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    I'm over it. It still annoys me, but it isn't the end of the UO universe...
     
  7. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    So what, don't like it don't buy it...
     
  8. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    My beef with it is only this:

    If I pay RL cash for an item, it shouldn't have limited charges, and it shouldn't wear out as fast as the Edge does. That's my basic beef with it all.
     
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  9. Gildar

    Gildar Babbling Loonie
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    None of the items for sale at the game store (except for the ones that were also available for free to everybody who was playing at the time they were introduced) give any advantage over convenience and some extra gold.

    To me... that is exactly the kind of items EA should be selling. More money from those who want to spend it to help improve the game, no real negative to those of us who don't, and minimal wasted developer time to create.
     
  10. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    Well, seeing as no one else seems to get this, I'll explain clearly why this bothers me. In my opinion you should be able to get every item in the game by actually playing the game. Fundamentally it should about playing the game, not about how much disposable cash you have, and how much of that disposable cash you are willing to waste on the game.

    It represents an MMO design philosophy that I utterly despise.

    There will always be resellers that will sell in game items for real dollars, but that is a different animal in my opinion. At least someone has played the game to get those items that they are selling. Now scripting is another issue, it is related, but not what I am talking about here. When the developers start getting into the business of selling in game items for real money, it fundamentally changes the character of the game, and not in a way that I am willing to support.

    I don't play MMO's that make profits for their developers in this way for a reason, and it bothers me to see the grand dame of MMO's heading further down this particular path.
     
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  11. T'Challa

    T'Challa Certifiable
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    No, no I can't. UOGC doesn't work, and I'm not sitting on the phone for a reported 45 minutes to two hours to get it done.

    As for the sale of ingame items by EA, doesn't bother me. More money they get the more likely UO stays alive and prospers.
     
  12. Stupid Miner

    Stupid Miner Guest

    Well as long as they keep the items unessential trinkets, it's not so bad.

    Wasn't tempted for half a second to buy some poorly drawn lady bug deco.
    7th AE items, however, were essential at the time.
     
  13. canary

    canary Guest

    I bought some earrings and book cases, I must admit.
     
  14. Crysta

    Crysta Babbling Loonie
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    Pretty much every item they added to buy in the shop came from the UOJapan dev team, who has nothing to do with much of anything else with the game. Seems pretty much all they can do is make items to sell online and manage events.
     
  15. sablestorm

    sablestorm Certifiable
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    You can. Some else buys it and sells it on a player vendor, you PLAY the game, earn gold, and buy it that way.
     
  16. altarego

    altarego Guest

    Oh...that's why the items they sell work?
     
  17. MissEcho

    MissEcho Slightly Crazed
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    I totally agree with you and see exactly the point you are trying to make. I too was damn annoyed with this strategy. First it was the whole 11th anni collection that had to be 'paid' for if you wanted it. Then the lady bugs now the smugglers, undertakers, merchants stuff.

    I have NO problem with EA selling items from previous released 'anniversary', 'birthday', 'special promo items' initially given out either as an in-game 'gift' or as part of an expansion etc ..... after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed from the initial 'release' (ie a yr or so after). This allows those who weren't, for whatever reason, able to obtain them at the time the ability to do so. Especially where the item has a 'use' in game.

    Once they start with this caper of 'selling you content', it basically means those with the 'cash' available can get extra items that have an IN GAME 'use' and those without the extra cash 'miss out'. ALL players should have the ability to obtain any UO item as they pay their monthly subscription for game content, not just 'some' game content. These new items are NOT purely deco, they all have some 'attribute' that is unique and usable IN GAME. Even if they were purely 'deco' I still have a major problem with having to 'buy' them extra. The world of deco is just as much a play strategy as pvm or pvp, just much maligned by those who aren't into it, but have no doubts, a large proportion of UO subscribers play for deco and housing etc so items being 'just deco' are 'just as valid' content as items used for any other play strategy.

    I pay for 5 accounts, I do NOT want to pay extra to obtain items that I should be able to get in game if they have a 'use' and are nice to have. I can AFFORD to buy any of these but I REFUSE to.

    For all those saying no big deal the 'items' are not that great and you don't 'have' to have them etc etc, it is NOT THE POINT. The point is you should NOT have to pay for items that should be part of 'game' content.

    It has added a seriously bad precedent that once started has 'multiplied' as shown clearly is happening now. What is this, the 3rd or 4th issue of "the only way to obtain particular 'items' is to buy them" strategy? It will only get worse as time goes by. As far as I can see it is UO testing the waters:

    1. it started with previously 'free' issue stuff ie items on legacy tokens etc, which I think is great and don't have a problem with. As I said above, items that have been a previously 'free' issue in one form or another and allow players to 'catch' up or obtain 'more' of something they particularly like are fine. However,

    2. it then went to 'deco' (11th anni, lady bugs, rugs etc)
    3. now has gone to items with 'uses' or 'unique' abilities, undertakers staff, merchants trinkets and smugglers edge ....... what next?

    So when the 'next' you beaut 'item' is a pair of boots with 3MR & 10% hci for $9.99 are you going to be 'happy' about paying for those?

    I think more of you need to wake up, the OP was correct in titling this thread 'Milking the Cash Cow'. To me it shows a company on the skids 'milking' its remaining player base for what it can get.
     
  18. sablestorm

    sablestorm Certifiable
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    I would love to have these items, but my finances are tight and so I must go without. Of course, as I never had these items in the first place, I'm basically just continuing on as I have been, still having fun in UO.

    Do you feel the same way about rares which were accidentally created? Should everyone have a chance to obtain them and completely do away with the rares collector community?

    Now on one hand, I can see where you guys are coming from, but if you really analyse these feelings, aren't you just sorta blowing things out of proportion? Does it really affect you that much?
     
  19. CatLord

    CatLord Guest

    Nice post...
    Equality being defended.

    This is my help to the thread... and my support to the OP.

    Because I dont agree with the above policy I am moving down from 5 to three accounts... less $14 per month*2...

    There. :thumbup:
     
  20. sablestorm

    sablestorm Certifiable
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    Should EA limit every player to only one account? I mean that would only make it fair to people who can't afford more than one account. It puts everyone on more equal footing.
     
  21. TheBlackCobra

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    They'd get more milk from the cash cow if the milkmaid knew how to process transactions.

    I can't even buy upgrade/character slot codes from their site.
     
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  22. Llwyd

    Llwyd Guest

    Cows (substitute "games") that don't produce usually end up at the slaughter-house.
     
  23. Tukaram

    Tukaram Guest

    I can see both sides of this pretty easily. They need to sell stuff to make money, to keep the servers open. They are a business first and foremost. But when they start selling things you can't get in-game it kinds of annoys me.

    But I wouldn't buy these particular earrings because they have a limited use. Is there a way of recharging them? I'm not paying real money for a limited use item.

    Stuff like the Leggings of Embers, I believe, were blessed and self repair 10? For a cash item they better be.
     
  24. MissEcho

    MissEcho Slightly Crazed
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    This has nothing to do with rares. Any 'rare' created in game by 'design' in that there were only a limited number issued, is a 'rare' and basically 'lucky' for the person who IN GAME was fortunate enough to either have the rng smile kindly on them or obtain it via an event or whatever. I do not have any issue with someone getting a 'rare' item as a 'gift' ie special color box or bell or snow globe whatever. There is a huge style of game play generated around collections and rares and I have no problem with 'rares' as long as everyone who "pays their monthly sub" has the same 'opportunity' to obtain such an item when it is 'released' into the game in the first place, whether they were lucky or not is beside the point, the opportunity was there. As for anything 'accidentally' created (that wasn't from a dupe or caused as a result of an 'illegal act') the same applies, anyone 'paying and playing' at that time had the same 'opportunity' to have the 'accident' happen to them.

    And no, just because 'stuff' exists in game as 'rares' or 'accidental rares (whatever you think they may be, lol) it does NOT mean they should be made available to everyone, that would defeat the purpose of them being 'rare' to start with. It would also kill the rares market and basically, anyone has the opportunity to enter this market as they make gold and 'buy and trade'. That whole argument is totally beside the point to EA creating and selling items that are 'new' content items as a means to 'revenue raise'.

    That, I think, depends on where in your UO 'life' you are. For the past year and a half I have been tossing up whether to leave UO or not. Issues like this go some way to taking the 'gloss' off the game so, does it affect me, YES it does, it is another 'factor' that has resulted in my final decision.

    Also you need to answer yourself the question I posed above "So when the 'next' you beaut 'item' is a pair of boots with 3MR & 10% hci for $9.99 are you going to be 'happy' about paying for those?"

    Are you?

    Frankly I am amazed at the amount of people who are just happy to 'go along with' the fact that a seriously bad precedent is happening under your noses. Just because you don't want to pay for things with charges, or don't have a use for the 'current' items, ask yourself the above. You need to sometimes draw a line in the sand or otherwise one day you will turn around and not only will you need to pay your monthly sub to play but to 'compete' in various areas you will need to 'buy' additional items. The slide is already happening and for those of you who don't see this I think you need to analyze what this and where this is likely to 'go'.

    This sort of argument is purely blowing smoke. Sorry. People are always going to have different levels of what they can and can't 'afford' that is LIFE. Like it or not some players will always be able to 'afford' more than others, have better computers than others, etc etc.

    However, if I pay for ONE account I should have an equal opportunity of obtaining any item in game that any other ONE account does. Who 'owns' that account is beside the point. It should not come down to who can 'afford' the items (game content) outside of the game. And lets face it, there is ONLY one place an Undertakers Staff has any relevance........ IN GAME. The only reason you would buy it is to USE in game. I already pay for my game content with my monthly subscription.

    When you talk about equality in UO it has nothing to do with everyone SHOULD have the 'same' things, ie if Mr Smith gets a rare white box as an anniversary gift that I should be 'entitled' to one too and should by rights be able to buy it. That is ludicrous. My only 'right' is to have the same OPPORTUNITY as Mr Smith in my 'chance' of obtaining the said 'white box' with the same % chance of the 'rng'. There is a very marked difference between everyone having the same (ie being a copy or clone) or by everyone having the same opportunity.

    Neither of these issues are really the point of the topic, the point being EA offering NEW CONTENT items ONLY AVAILABLE for those who wish to pay additional money for them.
     
  25. sablestorm

    sablestorm Certifiable
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    And what is wrong with a company generating revenue, especially when it helps keep this game going? What's more, I contend that by allowing players to buy these items, it makes it more fair. It's a better way of allowing everyone a chance to get one. You might not have the money to buy it, but you could collect cans, save up enough, and buy it. Is this a bad thing?

    It sounds like your foot is already out the door where as I've been playing since Beta non-stop, no breaks in my account and I'm having more fun now than I ever had. I do, however, see a lot of players who complain that UO isn't as fun as it used to be. Let me offer up this reality. You guys are just hitting your saturation point. I've never come close to playing another video game as long as I've played UO. With all the previous games, they didn't start sucking. I just hit a saturation point. So here you guys are hitting your saturation point. You're spending more time on the boards looking for reasons to complain rather than being in-game figuring out ways to have fun.

    It's not going to bother me. I came up with this epiphany before about keeping up with the Joneses and I just don't do it. What I do these days is develop new characters using whatever items they find on their hunts. Normally I'll just enhance it and see how well I do. It's a great challenge to see what you can do with substandard gear, so no, that item you suggest wouldn't make me bat an eye.

     
  26. Sargon

    Sargon Seasoned Veteran
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    Microtransactions are commonplace in MMO's now and they are a win-win proposition when used correctly. EA isn't offering any game-changing items for sale, so you are perfectly capable of getting the full gameplay experience for only your monthly subscription fee. If you have some extra disposable income and want a new decoration for your house, you can pay a couple dollars to get it. Even if you aren't buying the items yourself, the people who are buying them are helping to keep UO going and possibly even keeping your own subscription rate down. If EA was selling gold or high-end weapons and armor then I would have a problem with it, but as it currently stands the microtransactions are nothing but positive.
     
  27. MissEcho

    MissEcho Slightly Crazed
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    Where to start.

    I have no problem with a company generating revenue when it is something that I haven't already paid for.

    I pay my monthly subscription for new content. I do not and should not have to pay for 'some' new content because EA wants to rip a few more bucks off me.

    If they want more money then offer product that will enrich the game such as offer really decent 'rewards' for people who bring in new players with ongoing subscription fees, instead of the junk currently on offer. Let me 'buy' additional vet rewards on accounts of the correct age a year after they are 'earned', let me 'buy' items from previous promotions ie spring deco tokens etc, two years after they are issued. There are a gazillion items already existing in game that people would buy that could be 'sold' to raise revenue if UO wishes to generate money this way without the need to corrupt the integrity of the game and actual game play itself. Buying an item on a website is NOT playing the game. The fact you can have an 'item' in game that is ONLY available off a website which has NOTHING to do with playing UO is basically a corruption of the game.

    Gee what a load of assumptions there. Frankly I don't 'need' your reality. You have no idea how long I have played nor how many hours I spend playing each day, nor how much 'fun' I may or may not have. Given your post count is double mine I would suggest I spend less time than you on these boards.


    Bottom line is it would bother a hell of a lot of people if their ability to compete in pvp was being decided by who could afford 'what' off a website. The fact that you personally wouldn't mind is beside the point. The fact that you are non competitive, like running around in substandard gear and don't care if you don't have 95% of what anyone else has doesn't make it legitimate for ea to flog you game content off a website when you have already paid for said game content with your monthly subscription. My point was precedent, I guess you will be happy if all 'new' items from now on were only available if you 'pay' extra for them. There is no difference.

    Yes and that is a fact. It is one of many arguments I have used as to why I agreed with the OP, and as you said yourself : "I would love to have these items, but my finances are tight and so I must go without." That is the point, you shouldn't need to 'go without' because you cannot afford an item at this time, you have paid the same subscription to play UO as I have and the bloke next door has, you should be entitled to the SAME CONTENT not JUST THE CONTENT YOU CAN AFFORD. If you seriously cannot see the difference in what is 'just' and 'fair play' with regard to 'buying additional content' then there is no point in discussing this with you any further.


    This topic has absolutely NOTHING at all to do with the number of accounts a person has. You can create a multitude of different characters on one account, and if you don't have an imbuer, use a darn soulstone. The soulstone has taken away the need to have multiple accounts to run various characters. The ONLY advantage to having multiple accounts is that you can have more houses/storage and for 10-12 dollars a month that comes at a pretty hefty price, not only that I have yet to see anyone who can play more than one character effectively at a time, by that I mean running, looting, fighting etc. Fact is having multiple accounts has absolutely NO bearing on whether the content of a game is 'for sale' or not. It also had no bearing on what content is available to me or you, nor what content is available to a single account holder or a multi account holder.

    As for campaigning for the poor I mentioned it once, even if everyone could 'afford' to buy as many of these items as they wanted I would still be totally against them, I do NOT like being screwed over for new content that my monthly subscription already pays for.

    This, I am sorry to say is total rubbish. We all play UO, we all pay our monthly sub that entitles us to the same game content as the next player. 'Buying' content off a website with no requirement for game play other than entering in a code and 'hey presto' here is your item is not in any way 'equal' nor should it have a place in UO.

    Actually I have seen no argument from you that negates anything I have said, in fact the opposite. All I see is the inability to see where this sort of precedent may lead (is already leading). I am in no way 'emotional' about this issue, I seriously don't care as I refuse to buy this kind of crap. Heaven help the day when the only way to 'compete' in UO in any type of game play (be it pvp, pvm, deco, rare collecting, rp) is how much you 'buy' off the gamestore. But yes they are 'opinions', mine as well as yours, but put it this way if an item is in being used by players ONLY because it was bought off a website you have to wonder about the future of this game.
     
  28. Restroom Cowboy

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    You know what really grinds my gears? People that complain about quitting yet never leave...
     
  29. siyeng0

    siyeng0 Guest

    EA is a business. If they're not allowed to make money from selling items, what exactly do you expect them to make money from?

    I'm a nineteen-year-old university student. I have a part-time job, I rent, and I foot all my own bills. Most other UO players I know are middle-aged, qualified, have a proper job and a partner with supplementary income, have their own houses, etc., etc. Where does their UO cash go? Multiple accounts. I know people with six, seven accounts. Taking the exchange rate into account (I'm Australian), that's over a thousand dollars a year.

    I don't have a thousand dollars a year to spend on an online game. What I do have is a spare thirty dollars here and there, after birthdays / tax return / a busy time at work. If I have nothing else I need to spend it on, I consider buying something on UO. I have no need of an advanced character, I don't need to transfer shards, and I don't cry every time I log on because my character is male but I feel that he has the soul of a woman, so I don't need gender transfer tokens. I want a little tchotchke to waste some money on. They're affordable, reasonably useful and not having them does not retract from your regular gameplay. (No, don't argue. You're not significantly worse-off because you don't have a Smuggler's Edge. I don't have one either and it hasn't ruined my online life.) They're a good way to service a particular demographic: people who can't afford multiple accounts, aren't dedicated players who run a constant cross-shard rares trading business, but have a little bit of disposable income every few months that might as well go toward UO.

    So no, it's not wanton capitalism, it's just good business. If you have multiple accounts, close one and, every three months hereafter, spend the money you've saved on a new special item. There. Problem solved.
     
  30. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    That is an incredibly stupid reason to quit. They barely, if at all, give any real benefit to the game. Only real item that gives any real help are soulstones, and those you can get as vet rewards. And now you can even craft them.

    :twak:
     
  31. Wenchkin

    Wenchkin Babbling Loonie
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    I would much rather see EA sell items on their website than charge more each month for the subscription. In fact, I'd say sell a few more trinkets for players and cut the sub fee down - might bring a few new players in and it would make it easier for existing players to afford.

    You can buy items and codes from other players with gold if you want to, so you don't *have* to use RL cash at all. I've upgraded accounts using UO gold before, nevermind buying items. So the option is there if you want to take it.

    Wenchy
     
  32. sablestorm

    sablestorm Certifiable
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    So you didn't get new content when Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now Valentines Day publishes were released? In my estimation, you're greedy.

    I've brought in new players and when they refer me, I get a referal token AND a month free subscription. I've even helped new players who have offered to refer me. They've basically given me $13 for helping them. That's junk? If so, then you seriously hurt your whole "let's help the poor players" argument.

    So sounds to me as if you don't have an issue with them selling items, it just has to be items that are to your liking. Earn gold in-game and buy it from a player who is selling it in-game. That's playing the game, right?

    But you won't nail down when you started playing nor how many hours which indicates to me you are afraid of a hours-played-in-UO contest. Despite my assertion here, even if I've played UO more than you have, I will conceed that it doesn't make my opinion more valid than yours. Nevertheless, I will contend this. If EA makes more revenue off UO, they will be more inclined to keep working on it. I love this game and I don't want it to go away. That is my guiding star. I'm still waiting to see what your guiding star is other than your emotions guiding you to feel that selling items is wrong.

    I will concede this point. I haven't bothered to see if the items offered on the website will interfere with PVP, but I haven't heard any of my pvper friends complain. Let me go look at the items offered and see if I can comprehend if any items sold there will interfere with pvp. Lady Bugs, rugs, and bod covers.... Hmmm, maybe some pvpers are deathly afraid of insects. Undertaker's staff... From what I understand, you'd still have to ressurect in order to use this. In the time it takes to ressurect, your vanquisher could already have looted you of items. What's more, insurance sort of makes this irrelavant in pvp. Smuggler's Edge and Merchant's Trinket don't seem to be that pvp oriented...

    So please explain to me how the present selection of items interferes with pvp? Or is it just that you fear they will offer items in the future which will interfere? I will concede it's possible, but I don't like convicting people before the fact. If you're comfortable with that... well....

    Have I mentioned that I'm saving up gold in-game to try and purchase these items? It gives me yet another reason to go hunting so this has actually invigorated my game play. I'm not 'going without.' I'm just finding a different way to conquer the problem which you seem incapable of or unwilling to do.


    Did you upgrade to SA? Were you screwed over by SA? Are you against expansions that players have to pay for to enjoy the content? If not, consider these items as mini-expansions. As for a precendent, I haven't had any problems with the items they have offered on UOGameCodes and other players have expressed similar sentiments. As I said before, I prefer to crucify them when they have done something wrong rather than imagine what they will do wrong and crucify them for that!
     
  33. CatLord

    CatLord Guest

    Is EA selling gold yet?

    at $40 per mil they could make a killing...
     
  34. sablestorm

    sablestorm Certifiable
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    Obviously there are player vendors who sell for much less so obviously not. What's more, they've never talked about selling gold for money so if this is an anti-selling-items-for-money, this is negligible argument. What have they sold for money in the past? They've sold crystal and housing tiles in the form of the 9th Anniversary Edition. They've sold advanced character tokens, included in the Walmart Gold CD. They've solve the 6th Character slot included with the 7th Anniversary Edition. I haven't even gotten into promotional items which weren't obtained in-game, but rather obtained via pre-orders. So what is so different with selling a few additional items.
     
  35. Gilmour

    Gilmour Certifiable
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    ea wants to get rid of gold if anything, defo not add more to the game since inflation is already tru the roof, adding more would just make it worse :)
     
  36. Obsidian

    Obsidian UO Forum Moderator
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    I love UO and don't want to see it end due to business reasons. I am just fine with my 4 accounts paid in 6 month intervals. I also support the game by purchasing occasionally from UOGameCodes.

    -OBSIDIAN-
     
  37. Lady_Mina

    Lady_Mina Guest

    Well it's an option...it's not like you are forced to buy that stuff...
     
  38. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    Well, I think that might be a cultural thing. The gaming culture in the Asian markets is different than it is in Europe and the Americas. Buying and selling in game items for real money isn't viewed the same way.

    But that is in fact almost exactly what they are doing. Those merchant earings they are selling lower the upkeep for vendors. That is as close to selling gold as you can get without actually doing it. It was precisely that which ticked me off when I visited the UO Game Codes store.

    Anyway, I think it is an important (in game terms) discussion to have, and the discussion in this thread has been pretty good for the most part. It has been interesting to read everyone's views.
     
  39. the 4th man

    the 4th man Lore Master
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    I totally get where you're coming from, believe me. You have to remember, when you post on stratics, you're going to get some grief, that's as sure as the sun's going to rise.

    I'm not paying extra, just to stick some pocket change in some gimps pocket.
    Yes, I've paid for expansions, and yes the monthly dues to play UO, but I will not lower my standards and buy pixels....no flippin way. I have more dignity than that, and I'm too grown up. (at least I think so)

    I said before, anyone who buys from the UO store.....I don't want to know them,same in real life......If I wanted that, I'd go to a trekkie convention.

    later
     
  40. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    Look at it from a different angle:

    Players showed a willingness to buy pixels for cash by buying items from various brokers and traders. It was/is a pretty lucrative business.

    These brokers were getting real $$ for selling what are essentially EA's pixels. So (and this bit is conjecture on my part) EA's marketing boys see this and think 'why can't we get some of that action, they are *our* pixels after all?'

    Only of course they can do it better, because they can create pixels specifically for selling, something the brokers can't do.

    So, instead of blaming EA, or even UOJapan, blame your fellow players who started the trend in the first place.