And all of that is why this practice, going forward, seems to be an extremely positive way to roll out an MMO. With that sort of shared experience, players who feel as though they were bilked out of their money by service outages, for whatever reason, are prone to making demands, taking sudden and drastic measures such as quitting the game, and posting their woes online to be reinforced by others with similar feelings in the same predicament. This garners a negative reputation for even the highest profile of titles, as seen with, again, Diablo III. (And that one wasn't even an MMO!) Before long, even when the reasons are long forgotten, resolved, and put behind us, that miasma still hangs, thick and unshakeable, over the game in question, further coloring all future interactions between its players and its developer.
But with most MMOs, staying power is a tremendous factor because they charge a monthly subscription fee. Even if this practice is on the way out (as it may well be), the fact remains that Guild Wars 2 is in the minority with its one-time-fee model of payment. Is retention even a pertinent issue? Should the game really be sold in limited quantities since the developer and publisher don't collect a regular income from each player who spends time in their virtual world.
Guild Wars 2 does have an item shop, and if the first game was any indication, it will most likely have paid content expansions at some point in the future. Doubtless, NCSoft and Arena.Net are in this for the long haul. While only a small fraction of players make item shop purchases, those who do tend to purchase a significant amount—the model having been shown to work in the past for exactly this reason. And, again, when it comes to more content, whether drawing in new players or retaining existing ones, reputation matters. If limiting the availability of the software is what it takes to accomplish that, so be it.
Date: September 6, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*