Are MMORPG Item Malls Unbalanced?
In Heroes of Newerth, you get silver coins for playing (which you get in-game by playing hundreds of long games) and gold coins for buying things (which you can get by buying -- there is no exchange rate and no other way). Most things are available to be bought for very differing prices, but the silver coins price is usually ten times more expensive than the gold coins price. Here is an example: 300 gold coins or 3,000 silver coins for an alternate avatar (character skin). This doesn't seem too bad, but consider the fact that you get an average of 5 silver coins a game; and some games can take well over an hour. There is also an 'early access' system where you can get new heroes before they are officially released, but you can only get those with gold coins and there is no way to trade silver coins for gold coins.
Is Pay for Perks Unbalanced?
Both games are great and I don't want to sound like I'm bashing anything -- but it does seem like Achaea has a more level playing field for free players than most games. Now, you may be thinking, "surely if you can play Achaea for free and buy credits with in-game currency, the game must be filled with gold farmers and hackers!" -- wrong. Achaea has the highest quality player base I have seen in any game, which makes the game a true delight to play and keeps players coming back year after year simply because of the life-long friends they have made within the game. The administration team takes an active role in monitoring player behavior, which has given Achaea a very refreshing flavor of quality-over-quantity player-base.
Heroes of Newerth has its share of trolls, children and generally unpleasant players typical to massive audience MMOs. This wouldn't be so bad if they were always on the other team, but Heroes of Newerth is a team game; if you don't play with your team, you generally lose. This can make trying to earn sliver coins without knowing anyone rather frustrating and less than fun. In the gaming world, difficulty is a huge plus for some players -- but trying to win a team game with people who may not even speak your language is much more frustrating than difficult for most.
Completely Free MMORPGs
In Achaea, there are plenty of ways to gain gold and experience. Admittedly, it is much easier to get gold once you are a higher level player, but that doesn't mean you can't gain gold as a low level (or that you will be a low level character forever!). Once you learn your way around Achaea, you can begin earning 5 or 10 credits a day while hardly trying at all. Some players can get over 50 a day. Since you can get credits so easily just from playing, the prices on the perks must be crazy high, right? No, there are different levels of perks called artifacts -- for example, one stat-boosting item can cost 400 credits, the next level 800 credits, the very best level 1600 credits.
So what's the point of pay-for-perks, if not to give an unfair advantage to those who pay? Most games try to make getting the perks critical if you want to compete at the top levels, but in Achaea, there are a few fighters who either use absolutely no artefacts or very few compared to everyone else at their level. For this reason, it can easily be said that Achaea has the most fair pay-for-perks system: you can either save a lot of time by paying, or save a lot of money by playing for a long time and simply enjoying the game.
Author: Rean Moliuvia