And They've Done It AgainEdit This Entity
Remember "Jcoins"? Jagex's sad attempt at extorting money out of a game model that dozens of companies had already profited off of before? Well guess what - they're at it again, with yet another wholly unoriginal and highly annoying scheme.
Jagex has just released "Solomon's General Store" and a new currency known as RuneCoins. Basically there is a purple man who now sells you cosmetic items for a currency that you can purchase using real-world money. If you've ever played League of Legends, think character skins. If you've ever played Team Fortress or Dota 2, think hats or character items. At the moment, the items are all purely for show and don't confer any sort of game-play bonus, but let's be honest, how long will this last?
This is Jagex's latest little foray into the world of micro-transactions using techniques that many RuneScape players argue are the reason they played this game instead of many other MMOs. One of the golden aspects of RuneScape was that you didn't have to worry about being irritated by advertising, in-game stores, or stupid cosmetic items - but it looks like the age of getting what you want through hard in-game work is coming to an end.
Membership card benefits are just a walk in the park compared to this. A glowing green skull or silly sword never hurt anybody and, let's be honest, what are your odds of actually winning that 200M GP jackpot on the Squeal of Fortune even if you did buy hundreds of spins? But these RuneCoins have the potential to be highly destructive if Jagex isn't careful. Giving items bought with real-life cash tangible benefits could hurt the game and drive customers away as such a strategy has done to many other games. My favorite example is Battlefield: Heroes - a game I used to play regularly until it got to the point where I was so fed up with players simply buying "Uber" weaponry (2-3x more powerful than standard and even upgraded gear) and dominating entire matches with them that I simply stopped playing it. It was highly irritating and unfair that players could use financial resources rather than actual skill and experience to succeed at the game. I pray that RuneScape doesn't end up in the same position, as it will effectively kill the game's life and soul.
Many people blame the new American shareholders for this move, but from my perspective - Jagex had already been slowly moving towards becoming a greedy company well before then. Raising membership costs an extra $2 a month must have made them millions alone. Now throw in stupid things like this and they're making a fortune off of those who are willing to indulge in Jagex-backed real world trading. This, in my opinion, violates the very spirit of the game and the wishes of many of its dedicated and experienced players. I don't usually say this because I love many of the new updates, but at this point I sincerely miss pre-2007 RuneScape.
All in all this is just turning into a series of bad plays by Jagex. There are continuous outcries throughout fansites and the RSOF itself about Jagex not sticking to their stated morals and breaking their own rules, and it's making them look horrendous. Many people have threatened to (and already) quit, but many others won't simply because we have become so accustomed to this game being a part of our lives and quite it's not dead yet (but who knows how long that will last). My membership ran out yesterday and I'm debating renewing it in favor of taking a break for awhile and just playing some Steam games, rather than give Jagex more of my money to wreck the game I love. Heck, I just got DayZ and unlike in RuneScape I won't be charged for stupid things. Knowing me though, I won't quit. The game has been a part of me for too long, I can't just say goodbye, at least not yet. But I hope that Jagex will open their eyes and realize that they're killing their game, and ruining a beloved part of many peoples' childhoods, summers, college hours, and etc. in the process. Please Jagex, listen to your players for once. Wake up.