View Single Post
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 23
06-24-2011, 05:42 PM
Originally Posted by The.Grand.Nagus View Post
Virtual items are simply temporary entertainment, just like going to the movies. You drop $10 or more to be entertained for only 2 hours at the movies, and afterwards all you have are memories. You dont actually "own" anything about it.
People seldom go to the movies when they can wait a few months to buy a physical copy on DVD, often for less, to watch whenever they like. But that's completely irrelevant to this discussion. I'd have thought better of you than to defend a point with such flimsy legerdemain.

The Star Wars Galaxies TCG was sold as a stand alone product with some integration into the MMO client, but could be played as its own game. Thus, despite (or maybe because of) the travesty of the NGE, it was marketed as a separate product. It was not unfeasible for players to buy into the TCG without setting foot in the MMO.

However, a big draw was the random chance of obtaining rare loot cards that would provide boosts in the MMO. The first few sets had fancy cosmetic items, which were apparently developed by another group separate from the MMO development team. (And where have we heard that one before?) But as time moved on, the TCG was the primary way that new content was introduced into the game. (Likewise, we've heard that a bit closer to home.)

If a player wanted a barn to store their pets, for example; the only way to get it was via a random chance. Likewise, game mechanics coded to be deliberately annoying, such as feeding pets, could be nullified through these rare items. (It should be noted that both these loot cards affect a game mechanic that was introduced post-NGE - BizDev at its finest.)

The justification many players had, after finding themselves buying hundreds of these boosters at a time, was that they could play a game with the non-loot cards. Just like the physical WoW card game that was popular back then. A delusion encouraged by the marketing of this random chance, with virtual boosters sold at exactly the same price point.

If WoW gets switched off tomorrow, anyone who bought into the physical TCG would still be able to play it until the ink wears off. The players of the Star Wars TCG will not have that luxury, and I genuinely feel for them. They are the first of many casualties in the push towards the virtual marketplace, and have been cynically exploited in order to turn a profit.

A discussion of whether a person with a gambling addiction has a genuine illness deserving of sympathy; or whether they deserve to be exploited for every last penny in the finest of laissez-faire traditions; is beyond the scope of this thread. Nevertheless, I hope learning from examples such as this would help consumers make an informed decision to where their entertainment dollar is spent.

But to state that unregulated gambling in the context of an online virtual environment is just like going to the movies is a condescending oversimplification, is it not?