Tales of Solaris: Pay to Win?

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So I’ve been playing my MMORPG Tales of Solaris for a while now, enough that I officially do not suck at it, which is awesome. In my previous review, I mentioned that it was a free game, and that wasn’t entirely correct. You can play for free, but there are added features that allow you to pay real world money in order to get better items and become stronger. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the amount of enjoyment I was getting out of the game was worth a couple of bucks. And ever since it’s been a constant drain out of my wallet every time I “top up” on the special cash-player money.

Then I got into a heated debate with a couple other individuals about the balance between the quantity cash and non-cash players, as well as how many perks a cash player should receive. In my opinion, cash players shouldn’t get all of the pretty toys exclusively. If they do, then players who aren’t willing to spend money (which for the sake of aforementioned argument we assumed to be about 80% of the players in Tales of Solaris) are going to leave because the game is rigged against them. By the same token, if the cash players don’t get enough pretty toys, they stop paying, which means the game makers don’t get money and the game itself does not grow and expand. That gets frustrating and then everyone gets up and leaves, which is also no good. So there’s a very fine balance to strike.

137359842187I’m not so sure Tales of Solaris has struck that balance. To remain competitive, I felt pressured into paying for additional perks and power-ups. I would not be nearly as strong and not have made much progress had I not spent the real dollars. And in my opinion I shouldn’t have to feel that way. In general, I feel that non-cash players should be given more opportunities to excel as opposed to fewer.

More so than spending the money in general bothers me, the constant need to continue to pay is frustrating. I play my Nintendo video games and I spend fifty dollars (if that) once and I’m done. If I could do that with my MMORPG, I’d personally prefer it. I’m almost scared to say I’m not one hundred percent sure how much I have spent on it; part of me really does not want to know.

I think that there should be some way to exchange the fake money earned in-game for the same perks those paying with real money get. I don’t care what the exchange rate is—game developers can make it as terrible as they want—but just allowing that to be an option might encourage more non-cash players to continue to play and get benefits. I know that I have approximately one shit ton of special fake money saved up with with almost nothing to spend it on, and that annoys me.

As I’ve said in some of my other posts, most notably those regarding Sonic Dash, if you are going to make progressing dependent on spending real money, then labeling the game as ‘free’ is false advertising. And nobody likes false advertising.