I have to admit, prior to open beta I was planning to spend at least $20+ monthly on Allods. $40 if you consider that the stipend doubles when counting my significant other, who I like to make sure has the same neat stuff I do
When I really feel items are worth the cost, I've been known to spend hundreds in a single month. EverQuest 2 ran me dry just because there were so many interesting things I wanted, across multiple accounts.
Since the item shop opened however and I have had a chance to see the prices for myself, I've decided to withhold any purchases until I see things addressed -- not only the item shop prices, but also issues such as the latest patch which has come to light amidst this whole debacle. As this thread is specific to the item shop however, I will address only that.
If I had to choose a word to describe Allod's item shop, it would be ruinous
. The fact is that this is one of the, if not the only high quality free-to-play MMORPG out there right now. It has the opportunity to be a genre pioneer, and is one of the first games that I as someone who has played MMOs since EQ1 in 1999 have been able to enjoy thoroughly in years. I want
to give you guys my money. I really do. I would gladly be spending more on this game monthly than I do for pay-to-play games were it for a number of desirable items at reasonable fees. I think that sentiment is shared by a lot of players, from what I have read.
The problem is twofold. One, the current prices are just too high for what is being offered. In particular the backpack/bank vault is the most immediately noticeable to me as someone who isn't very familiar with the rest of the game's mechanics, but in general I find the prices to be very high. While I think that items such as say, a respec, appearance/gender change, or name change can fairly range between $5-$10, more general use items or things that would be commonly wanted between characters should never exceed the $5 amount, perhaps even not half of that.
The second problem is in Fear of Death, and the perfumes. Being told that I must either save up perfumes from dailies, or spend almost as much as I do monthly for 10 hours worth of uninterrupted gameplay, is a very easy way to get me to leave and never want to pay a single cent. Time is a valuable commodity in the MMO genre, and putting such a high price on playable time is a surefire way to kill your game quickly. That is even more disappointing when one considers what a unique and groundbreaking game Allods is / has the opportunity to be. I would rather see Fear of Death removed completely, or lessened enough that it didn't impede regular PvP or PvE gameplay.
Instead of offering items that are required, or at least near-required, to be competitive or have uninterrupted gameplay, why not look into vanity items? I personally would rather pay smaller fees more regularly for interesting outfits, perhaps unique faces/hairstyles/haircolors. A non-combat pet lottery would be very nice to see - I would love a little kitten like the one found in Nezebgrad's Bort Quarter. Illusion potions are also a good option here, as well as potions that make gameplay more interesting but do not impact regular conflict, such as fatigue-extensions or exp/gold/loot drop boosts.
If you must add premium items at large fees, then make them worthwhile. An impressive astral ship model, an instanced house Allod, etc. Highly desirable things worth the price, but nothing that will severely impact the experience of one player versus another, or provide a significant advantage.
Allods has the potential to be the most accessible and populated free to play MMO, and bring more wide-spread validity to that business model here in North America where it is often overlooked or shunned. gPotato and Astral-Nivum can capitalize on this by building an item shop for the everyman, where players will buy at small prices in large quantities not because they are forced to, but because the game is such great quality that they want
Please, please do not ruin what you have by going down the path of forcing your players to pay for an interrupted, fair gaming experience. If that is what you choose, then you will not get my money.