I’m going to make this one very clear and concise, so that we all understand.
There are games out there that do a wonderful job of taking my money.
There are also games out there that want my money, but are asking for it in ways that are utterly unacceptable in 2015.
Here’s how to be one of the former.
PATH OF EXILE
Path of Exile is a Diablo-style ARPG famous for its enormous passive skill tree, novel gem-and-socket system for active skills, and a well-defined policy of “ethical microtransactions”.
Grinding Gear Games has explicitly stated that PoE will only ever earn money from cosmetic microtransactions that confer no in-game advantage. This promise features in the game’s About page, as well as numerous interviews throughout the years.
In the two years since Path of Exile’s release, it has lived up to this promise.
GUILD WARS 2
Guild Wars 2 features a pricing structure unique among western MMOs—a one-time buy-to-play purchase, coupled with a microtransactions store.
The one-time purchase ranges anywhere from $10 to $40 USD or so, depending on how big of a sale they’re running.
The microtransactions generally do not affect gameplay—finishing moves in PvP, outfits, miniatures that follow you, and so on.
It is also possible to convert back and forth between the in-game currency and cash-shop currency, a fine nod to the players that allows in-game grinding to pay off in “free” items from the cash shop.
Shovel Knight is a one-time purchase of $15 USD for the whole game.
HOW TO NOT GET MY MONEY
If you create a labyrinth of preorder bonuses, you will not get my money.
If you fail to deliver on Kickstarter promises, you will not get my money.
If you open up a cash shop while your game is in Early Access, you will not get my money.
If you fail to release regular updates on your progress while your game is in Early Access, you will not get my money.
If you require a monthly subscription, you will not get my money.
If you offer season passes for DLC—kindly attempting to give me a discount on things that don’t exist yet—you will not get my money.
If you offer buckets and buckets of minor DLC items, you will not get my money.
If I wait a single day after release to see how your servers handle the load, and your game fails to work as advertised on the most important day of its life, you will not get my money.
* * *
Are we clear? Yes? Good.
Now shut up and take my money.
Jesse Mackenzie is the Managing Editor for allyourbaseonline.com. He often listens to the gentle hum of Star Trek engine cores as he writes. His opinions are his own.