I predicted more than two years ago that Sony would enter the microtransaction market. In essence a microtransaction is an exchange of real world dollars for digital aesthetic materials in a virtual economy — I guess it could be for a tangible (or valueable) item as well, but that opens up another whole argument. Two years ago I told my audience on Voyages of Vanguard that Sony should offer cool animations in a microtransaction — that is, as you play the game and perform actions, instead of the tired animated graphics the player could swap out a more impressive move for lets say 99 cents.
Sony finally took heed and has a new addition to their game lineup called Marketplace. For 1 dollar you get 100 Sony Buck or whatever they call it — with their initial offerings I think it should be more inline with their typical treasure drops and give you bags of shit (for those who don’t play EQ2 one of the common treasure drops is truly bags of shit — which sells nicely on the market while fabled magical gear languish for months without buyers) — but I transgress again.
So, you have this 100 coins or buck, or whatever, for 1 dollar and you can trade these imaginary coinage for items and gear in the game. All sounds cool, but here is where they foolishly drop the ball. Sony in the infinite wisdom offers 2 items to all the players of Everquest II to select from, and those two sets of items are woefully horrible in appearance.
Imagine a game with two hundred thousand players and then offer two items, even if they were incredible cool, and wonder what will happen. I guess in some morbid way, I am glad that they aren’t cool looking. It would be a circus of 50,000 players (1 out of 4 for example) running around with the same item — foolish almost to the point of hysterical. Luckily for the players, Sony screwed this up and no one will be buying the awful looking gear. Here is a clue — if you have hundreds of thousands of players, you need to offer at least hundreds of items.
One of the biggest draw backs to EQ2 is the lousy graphics engine when it comes to character modeling. I have been told by a ex-producer of the game that the only way to change that is to have a total revamp of the engine, something Sony is remiss to do because, Hey, it costs money. It’s not that Everquest 2 can’t have cool models, but it requires tremendous effort on their part to release new models. Basically they have to do the art for each race and gender, and their is allot of races in the game of EQ2.
Instead of really grabbing the horse by the reins and exploding out of the gate, they just meander down the racetrack. Two sets of horrible gear! Is that what you want to show your consumers with a new product line?
To be fair they do have some potions and some worthless pets for the apartment, but there is nothing here for someone to go, “Wow! I want that!! I must have that!” It’s tired….It’s boring.
Where are the cool weapons? Where is the gear with particle effects attached to them? Where is the unique looking mounts? Where is the new spell effects? Where is the new sweet animated combat attack maneuvers? Where are the insanely funny emotes that kids would beg for? Where are pets that actually do something? Where are the conjuror and necros new pet models?
These are the things you need to have in the marketplace! If you cannot offer such new art assets then do not release your product.
I should also mention that two two lousy offerings that are available costs 10 dollars (minus a buck and half if you use the free money they give you) to acquire such dreck!
Sony, you have a good idea here but wake up. Did you do any market testing? If so, fire the art director and producer of this project and fire the marketing people behind this debacle. There are tons of good talent out there and these fools don’t know up from down.