The glass half-full approach to Dragon Age: Inquisition microtransactions
In an effort to distract us from Ebola outbreaks, Jay and Bey’s maybe-possible-but-probably-not divorce and your entire Facebook feed sloshing through ALS challenges, BioWare dropped a quiet little bomb regarding its anticipated Dragon Age: Inquisition release.
While BioWare has announced that the RPG will host a multitude of free and appealing add-ons such as such as additional characters and periodic new multiplayer adventures, it will also offer the dreaded in-game purchase. In this instance it’s geared towards buying Platinum, the game’s currency, which can be used to buy essentially anything for MP but does not effect the single-player mode.
Now here’s the thing: while the mere mention of microtransactions is enough to send people in to fits of flipping tables and general pouting, it’s a concept that’s here to stay. We need to just wipe our butts and get used to it. Also, in this case it’s entirely voluntary and only comes into play with multiplayer. Then there’s BioWare’s heartfelt pledge that this isn’t going to create a pay wall, which, yeah, okay, fine, take that with a grain of salt.
However, with this in mind I present to you a hypothetical: You’ve beaten the SP campaign. You’re deliciously awash in the glow that comes with sinking a crap ton of effort into a beautiful world with a fulfilling lore and you’ve been bragging about it to your friends for weeks. You seriously won’t shut up about it and now, by your wise counsel, your friends want to play too and pick up the game for themselves.
As you nod sagely at them and pat yourself on the back for your impeccable good taste and role as a respected leader among your social circle, one of your friends mentions that you should all get together and play the MP content. Huzzah! More time to spend with this world you have fallen in love with and already miss!
Here’s the thing, one of your guys, we’ll call him Grover, just can’t get it together and is absolutely a mess at not being dead when it comes to playing. It’s dragging the morale of your entire cadre of mighty warriors down and there are hushed and concerned text messages back and forth between you and the other adventurers. “What do we do about Grover?” “Can we kick him out of the group?” “No! He makes delicious craft beer and he will take it away from us if we smack him with a ban hammer!” What to do? Oh, these are the most dire of times for our heroes.
But wait! There’s a solution! Grover’s gear totally sucks and we can fix that! In, like, eight seconds! Suggest to Grover (in the nicest way possible, of course) that perhaps he would have more fun with this particular set of armor, “Just look at how much it’ll raise your strength! Your stamina! Your sex appeal! Those tavern elf wenches won’t be able to keep their hands to themselves, man!”
Grover drops $8 and gets himself some upgrades and promptly stops dying as much and your access to his coveted craft beer remains intact (it’s pumpkin flavored!).
Obviously, this is pretty tongue in cheek, but if I learned anything from a college career spent playing WoW and ignoring the fact I took student loans for an art degree, it’s never underestimate the power a crappy skill set in gaming can wreck on an otherwise great friendship.
It’s easy to get up in arms over the concept of paying additional money after already dropping $60 (Or $170 for the Inquisitor’s Edition), but we also have to find a way to resolve ourselves to the fact that this practice isn’t going anywhere. It’s too much of a cash cow for everyone involved and in this particular case, I don’t feel taken advantage of. Dragon Age: Inquisition drops on November 18th in North America.
Samantha likes comics, Rogue and doesn't trust coelacanths. You can follow her on twitter @gunstained