WildStar’s cash shop stumbles

ledorian

Generally I’ve been pretty pleased with how WildStar’s handling its cash shop since the F2P transition. None of it feels mandatory, and there’s always the possibility to earn whatever item you want via omnibits instead of real money (save for the one exception of fortune coins, AKA “lopp lockboxes”). I’ve even bought a couple of things through it so far — a multi-harvester tool and a pack of weapon skins.

But the two events this past week have triggered a few controversies with the store that are rankling some players and is showing that Carbine might not have thought things through. Call it entrepreneurial growing pains, mayhap.

The issues are involving three “big ticket” purchases: a haunted house FABkit, a giant Halloween mount, and the Back to the Future hoverboard. All of these items are fairly pricey — somewhere between $15 to $20. The controversy is thus:

  1. Each of these items is purchasable for a single character only. For that price point, many players feel that the item should unlock account-wide, especially if you have several alts or decide along the way to change over to a different character.
  2. The haunted house could be lost for good if you changed the plug on which it was built. Fortunately, Carbine has since changed this and said that buying it will unlock it for good on that single character’s account.
  3. Because F2P has only been here a few weeks and there’s a cap on how many omnibits you can earn in a week (I think 120), there’s no way anyone could have saved up enough omnibits to buy any of these items from a F2P route. And since all of these will only be here for a limited time, it’s not going to be a possibility this time around.
  4. In the case of the hoverboard, at no point in the lead-up to the hoverboard event did Carbine ever indicate that this item — which was arguably the big reward draw of the event — would be cash-shop only. We only found out about this yesterday when the event began, and I know that I was not the only person who assumed from the lead-up promotion that there would be a way to earn the hoverboard through the races. But nope. It’s money or nothing.

Carbine even created a new forum for people to complain in (so they don’t sully general discussion with it, I guess). It’s not exactly brimming with happiness over these moves.

I don’t mind Carbine selling big shinies as event tie-ins. It’s smart marketing, and there’s plenty of free stuff to be won elsewhere. But yeah, I’m with the crowd that says that it’s ridiculous that these items aren’t account-unlocked. Heck, I would buy a haunted house today if it was, but as is it’s too expensive to justify the purchase.

Off to the hoverboard races

Cash shop silliness aside, I’m pretty impressed with the hoverboard races. Well, not so much a “race” since you’re doing it solo and there’s no placing or prize apart from finishing at your own leisure. But these are three really well-designed tracks that take advantage of WildStar’s fun zone layout.

I had a blast zipping around them, especially the one in the Dominion beginning zone, since I had never quested there. The tracks aren’t strictly a linear thing, either; you’re always free to take shortcuts off the beaten path.

And I like how there’s a nice choice of daily rewards, one for each of the three races. The daily quests offer instant teleportation to the race start, and finishing sends your right back, so it’s a breeze. I already got my full back to the future costume set, so now I’ll be picking up decor for the next four days that this is running.

Hoverboarding in WildStar is one of the game’s pure pleasures. It feels great, especially since you can do it over water, and the races make it even more fun with speed boosts and jump pads. Oh, I’ve died on landing from a 600 foot leap into the air, but you can’t tell me that it wasn’t worth it.

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7 thoughts on “WildStar’s cash shop stumbles

  1. ChaosConstant October 22, 2015 / 9:36 am

    I’ll be honest, I snapped up the DeLorean hoverboard as soon as I logged in, but I was really disappointed that it was single character. I thought at first it must be a typo (not unlike the countdown telling me it’s available for 0 more seconds), but alas it was not. If they’re not planning to run this event ever again, it seems pretty crappy that I can’t even have the chance to get it on future characters. Same with the McFly-themed outfit, but at least that’s not costing me anything.

    That said, I was actually ok with spending $15 on WildStar because I’ve had a lot more fun in it so far than in a lot of games I’ve spent more money on, and I want to support its future viability.

  2. Athie October 22, 2015 / 9:52 am

    I’m guessing that the friction with these items is a side effect of the overall generosity of the cash shop. I bet revenue has been below expectations, so the high price and incentives to buy multiple copies are a desperate scramble to meet targets. At this point after Rift, TERA, GW2, etc it’s got to be a real challenge designing a F2P model that feels fair but actually generates revenue. Especially for a game with a more niche audience. If this was gymnastics Carbine would get all the degree of difficulty points.

  3. Syp October 22, 2015 / 10:55 am

    I agree with spending money on the game. And I totally would in this case if the purchase was universally applied. I just know how I am with alts and would hate for me to have it “wasted” on a character that I might not be playing in the future.

  4. Rowan October 22, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    Maybe a compromise would be to have them as single items bound to the account, transferable, but not multiple copies.

  5. Redbeard October 23, 2015 / 12:03 am

    I have to admit that I’ve not touched the cash shop once yet while playing Wildstar. I’m too engrossed in the story and the leveling process.

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