Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Patronizing Pendant

MMOs have somehow become immensely popular despite being money drainers, time drainers and notoriously slow-moving. The gameplay for MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI are numbingly repetitive as most of the quests involve you going to one place, killing some enemies, picking up an item and then bringing it back. Even combat is repetitive because with macros, you can have your entire battle plan set up with a click key stroke. I’ve played both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI, and I’ve given up on both as a result of these flaws.

Yet, I’m talking about them in this post because I discovered something on 1UP that just made me furious. Square Enix is selling a $40 real-life silver pendant that will give you a code which will allow you to transport from certain cities instantaneously. The pendent itself looks pretty nice, but I personally would not spend more than $20 on it. I don’t have a problem with the pendant itself. Making real-life game gear sometimes looks really awesome.

What I have a problem with is the transporting “bonus” Square Enix is handing out.

For starters, the places you can travel to are easily available once you have a black mage at level 18 who can cast Warp. You can only travel to your set home point with that spell but there’s more ways to travel also. You can get fast-moving chocobos around level 20 and once you reach Rank 5, you can also get airships that go to all of these towns. There is even a free ship in-game that takes you from Selbina to Mhaura.

However, despite all those available options, travel still moves at a snail’s pace. When traveling from the Jeuno to Bastok, if you just miss the scheduled airship, you’ll need to wait twelve real-time minutes for another one to arrive, and then travel for 5 to 6 minutes. If you want to leave and do something else, you just wasted the gil you spent to get into the dock, when gil is already hard enough to come by. Therefore, the bonus via $40 necklace seems nice.

I say that’s crap.

Square Enix should have already made traveling as easy as the transporter. Waiting twenty minutes to get to another town just isn’t fun. Then, if you’re meeting up with people in a dungeon, it will probably take another ten to fifteen minutes to get where they are camping out. Seriously, why would developers do this to paying customers?

The answer seems simple to me really. Square Enix makes a crappy, slow-moving MMO with the franchise name “Final Fantasy.” Then they have people pay $40 to make things move slightly faster. Final Fantasy has become such a big name that no matter what they put out, people will buy it. This includes $40 necklaces that will help you (kinda) in a virtual world.

Giving in-game goods for buying real things is a neat idea, but the price has to match up with what they are giving. $40 should unlock something massive, like a boss battle arena that gives you the some of the best weapons in the game. $1 should get you a transporter if it wasn’t in the game to begin with.

If they just want to sell a necklace, fine, sell it for something reasonable. But to sell the necklace and give a useless in-game add-on that should have been there in the first place? Please, don’t patronize your paying customers Square Enix. You’ve already lost paying consumers like myself for being unnecessarily time-wasting.

Photos: [1], [2], [3]


shawn said...

Regarding the necklaces comment, don't you OWN one of the Lionheart necklaces from FF8 . . . and haven't you worn it on a regular basis for several years? :)

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