This week's Waging WAR catches a whiff of recent happenings on the internet and with Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Greg dives in face-first, grabs a fist-full of the news, and delivers a fast-ball rant on the issue.

Well, apparently the RMT has hit the fan, and the resulting spackle is starting to plaster the proverbial walls of the blogosphere and beyond. Recently, some information was released about what players can expect to buy at EA-Mythic's new store. Although only a few items are actually available now, there's a pretty extensive FAQ on the server transfer service, and we'll have to wait a little longer for the Progression and Personality packs, as they're set to be released along with patch 1.4. Naturally, the drama is building up some nice momentum, and it will be interesting to see how the whine will affect this particular cheese over at the Mythic official forum.

For now, you can read past the break and enjoy my rant.

The item that seems to be getting the most attention is the Specialized Training pack, which offers a War Tract for $9.99 US. The use of the tract is extremely limited; it is only useable once per character per account, making this particular item mind-bogglingly expensive. Seriously, one level for 10 bucks? Really? You've got to be kidding me. If this item gets even one sale, I will eat my keyboard. OK, that's an exaggeration, because I know there are folks out there who would gladly throw away 10 dollars to see such a thing. But I digress.

While this item is absurd to even consider financially feasible for all but the wealthiest of island owners in the WAR community, the precedent that it sets is far more concerning. What this is basically saying is that levels can actually be sold for some real money equivalent. The next natural step in this direction is to begin selling character templates at a considerable "discount" compared to the war tract. Why buy a War Tract and gain a single level one time for $10 when you can buy a fully outfitted and leveled toon for $X? What would you pay for a 40/40 character fresh out of the box -- $40? $50? More? If the War Tract item sticks on the Mythic store, I honestly don't see anything stopping the devs from adding premade templates to the menu in the future. That's what concerns me, anyway. If and when that happens, I'll be seriously considering the value of my subscription. Hint hint. For all the time and energy I've spent leveling and playing characters in WAR, to have them instantly and irrevocably invalidated by some time-constrained golfing fanatic with a taste for F2P-esque MMOs would be a brutal falcon-kick to my subscription's groin.

Another item that concerns me is the Herald Pet Pack for $9.99. Although the pet is described as a "vanity" pet, the addition of the words "This pet will follow you around and give you a boost!" really sticks out. A boost? What kind of "boost" are we talking about here? Well, a little research goes a long way. Without actually going and buying one, I checked the forums, and there are already players enjoying a 3% movement speed increase. OK, now I'm getting concerned. That much of a speed-boost is huge. This is where pay meets win, and the line has been crossed. I'm seriously concerned about this item, and how it will affect the game. Knowing that it is a 3% boost, I'm seriously thinking about getting this item, and I'm almost certain that there are hundreds of players who have already capitalized on this opportunity. Hopefully it's not so game-breaking that everyone and his 2nd cousin twice-removed has this item, but I can definitely see that happening. Having the Warhammer world populated by these ridiculous little creatures scratching at everyone's heels could become quite obnoxious. I've yet to login and see these little buggers everywhere, but I fear the worst.

Now, we've known about the Progression Pack for some time, but up until now, the impression I was given (or was apt to take) was that the pack would simply increase the RR cap to 100, and nothing more. But now, the description of the item leads me to believe that there's more there than I had initially been told. It seems as though the pack will also offer accelerated RR gain through 1-80 and possibly beyond -- which, coincidentally, I was also aware of as a new feature coming with patch 1.4, but I was under the impression that it would be game-wide, offered to all characters and players. My first reaction -- taking all other forms of acceleration that have been offered in the past, with server new character incentives, Weekend Warfronts (+10% RR all weekend for one particular scenario), single and double aegis (+10%, +15% XP/RR for 60 seconds, 10m cooldown), Librams of Insight (+15% RR/INF/XP for two hours, with a 24hr cooldown, three charges) -- is that this type of enhancement would not be all that special, game-breaking or game-transforming on any level. I suppose the real factor is the amount of acceleration offered by the pack, exactly how often such an item or feature would be in effect for a character, and how many characters on the account are affected.

Given the fact that all or most of those other RR/XP boosts have existed since the game went live, I'm not particularly negatively impacted by such an offer. In fact, I'm actually interested. I would love to pick up a map to easy street and get my Archmage RR capped. I've even started up a whole stable of toons on Badlands with the intention of taking full advantage of such a pack. I'll feel disappointed (and cheated, actually) if the pack is offered on a per-character basis, rather than on an account-based level. Ultimately though, the price-point is the real question. I would pay $10 for this pack if it's account-level. Otherwise, I'll be passing on this item and (again) questioning the validity of my subscription. Up until I had originally heard about this item, I was quite happy to continue grinding my Archmage to RR80, and that progression stopped dead when the information on the RvR progression pack was first released. My will to continue leveling at those high levels was completely sapped. How Mythic plays this card in the future will determine the fate of my main character.

The Personalization Pack actually holds the most interest for me. I can't wait for it. I have several highish-level characters whose hairstyle or other feature choice I regret. For example, I would love the opportunity to remove the collector's edition blindfold from my Archmage. Ever since I put on my first circlet, the blindfold has come across as looking like nothing less than a really awful pair of shades straight out of the '80s (yes, worse than Mr. Barnett's stylistic trademark, even). I miss my old Archmage and how she looks from the really old screenshots of her back on Dark Crag.

What all of this comes down to for me is my position on RMT in general. And generally speaking, I'm opposed to it when it comes to games that also offer a subscription payment model. As I scan over some of the items that will eventually be offered for WAR, I'm not particularly offended by any of the items except for the possible precedent being set by the War Tract item and the must-have nature of the Herald Pet. I might even be convinced to throw down five bucks for a bunch of cool-looking trinkets, if only to have a handful of "I conquered the e-store and all I got was this trophy" trophies. Oh, and of course, I may have to spend the obligatory $9.99 for the Herald pet, if only to stay competitive. Ugh. /facepalm

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Every Saturday afternoon, Waging WAR hits the cover of Massively with the latest and greatest in all things Warhammer Online. From patch news to career reviews, Greg Waller writes about it all. Email comments and questions to greg@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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