Leaked patch notes for Amazon’s ‘New World’ hit Reddit and reveals a controversial new feature. The game’s upcoming cash shop will have your typical cosmetic items, but it will also have a paid XP boosts.
For the uninitiated, XP boosts are a multiplier to a player’s experience gained from completing tasks. It intends to shorten the game’s playtime or leveling time. Amazon argues this is for players that don’t have the time to play along with MMO.
We may sell quality-of-life items or boosts that will help players improve their time spent leveling up their character and trade skill experience.
Many players disagree with Amazon’s stance and claim this new shop item is pay-to-win. The term is poison for MMOs and competitive games. It means a player can simply pay cash to have an advantage over other players. The average player base is strongly against the concept. The hours of dedication someone puts into an MMO are supposed to be rewarded in the endgame. If a player has pushed for the best items, they should be the best. Companies are often tempted by the influx of new money that comes from adopting XP boosts or item shops. In the past, when a game has received the pay-to-win title, it spells its demise.
A notable case of a pay-to-win collapse is the fall of Lord of the Rings Online. LotRO had everything, a popular IP, lore to expand upon, and decent gameplay. But rumors started of players buying items that made them god-like. Tales of “soloing raids” and killing other players ran wild. Unfortunately, the game didn’t stand a chance. It quickly lost much of it’s players after the introduction of its cash shop.
Amazon knows these stories, is trying to fight them. On the same note about the new boosts, they committed to a balanced system.
We’re committed to keeping the competitive systems fair and balanced for all customers, and purchases will not provide a competitive edge over another player who chooses not to purchase additional items.
The shorter playtime is a fair argument for some. As the target audience ages, their lives become far busier. Someone who played World of Warcraft in 2004 may have found time after school and homework. That same player today has work and a family vying for their attention. Are XP boosts a good workaround or are they cheapening the experience for others?
As the industry grows and looks for new revenue, developers will continue to add post-launch purchases. Game development is an expensive process, and a launch only brings money in once every few years. Microtransactions, season passes, and cash shops help cover the costs and extend the game’s life. But players must keep these companies focused on delivering a good game and all their features at a fair cost. A vocal fanbase and a dedicated company can create a long-lasting community that benefits both sides.