MU Legend has completed a stress-test event to test their server stability for the upcoming Open Beta Test set to start from November 7th. Soon after the test, Webzen took to their Facebook page to announce their “Frontier Packs” aka Founder packs. These packs offer similar value that MMO players have come to expect from other MMOs. Cosmetic items, pets, mounts, titles, and includes time in a premium service.
A Gold Service and Platinum Service are two separate premium services that offer different benefits to enhance the players experience. These services are an optional subscription service that can also usually be purchased separately to add extra benefits to the players account that normal players do not have by default, such as an experience boost to level up faster.
In this writers opinion, experience boosters, are not pay to win. They offer nothing exclusive that other players cannot get with a little more effort. Guild Wars 2 for example offers experience boosters, but they’re very short lived, and a non-boosting player can easily make up for the lack of boosts by playing an extra few hours to catch up. However, there are definitely instances in some other games where boosters cut down such large amounts of grind, the players without the boosts are left with huge time sinks that are unfair to non-boosted players.
In MU Legend however, there is more than just experience boosts within the premium services, but a large list of benefits including a 20% drop rate increase for loot. It’s the same concept as experience boosting, but instead of reaching max level faster like experience boosters, the drop rate bonus decreases the time needed to get to being a better geared player.
Webzen representatives said this in reply to accusations that an increase in drop rate is Pay to Win.
“Drop rate is a boost. It does not give you special items. If you play 2h, you get more than somebody that play 1h with a boost. So playing always win! Not everybody can play the same amount of time, it’s also good for players that love the game but can’t play as much as they would like to have this kind of boost to be competitive. It’s all about the balance at the end.” – Webzen
The drop rate debate is just one part of it though. A lot of the benefits offered other than drop rate increase blur the line for a lot of players between what is an an acceptable amount of boosting, and what is pay to win.
From the list above, we can see there is a considerable advantage to Platinum players. The Platinum service is not just a matter of convenience, it can clearly cut down on a considerable amount of time needed to travel around for access to town features. And considering all the benefits combined, Platinum players loot gains will be much faster than a non-premium player.
Most comments I’ve read who have been following MU Legends Facebook page are certainly not surprised, since this is a Korean developed game, and they have a reputation for these things. And as usual, there is a division between players who are outraged by these benefits, and the other half who are excited to get powerful benefits for their monetary support of the game.
The debate will likely rage on for quite some time, and neither side is going to convince the other they have the right point of view. But this is where we are in gaming today. Investors put tremendous pressure on game developers to maximize profits through micro-transactions such as DLC, founders packs, and subscription services. If they don’t, the developers may suffer job cuts which results in slower development of new content, little to no budget for marketing to draw in more players, undermanned customer service teams, and more. All of which slowly kills the fun and longevity of an online game and it’s community, often resulting in the game shutting it’s servers down. In even worse cases, a game that fails to make enough sales and continued revenue through micro-transactions can cause the entire game studio to close down. Most investors, publishers, and developers will do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.
Every online game needs a strong development team and unfortunately it’s the micro-transactions that keep them strong. MU Legend’s micro-transactions are designed to be damn-near irresistible. After all, you’re going to need some really good bait, if you wanna catch a whale.
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Link to MU Legend Frontier Packs http://mulegend.webzen.com/en/frontier-packs