Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tight Shoes

In the world of entertainment, there is no such thing as one size fits all. There's a hat for every head (well ok, most heads) and a shoe for every foot. While everyone needs shoes, not everyone will invest the same amount in the pairs they buy. I love comfy shoes, but I wouldn't sink $500 in a single pair. Yet I know people that do and it makes them happy. Question is, how much do you spend on yours and how much do you think others should spend on theirs?

Why am I talking about shoes? Not because I've got a shoe fetish, hardly. I just love making random comparisons :P

This post is in fact about a conversation I had with a long time friend of mine over the Holidays. When I lived in Montreal, my best friend Claudy and I had made it a tradition to hit up the Casino once in while (usually once every other month) and we played the Roulette. We each had a budget of $150, sometimes $200. We pooled our money together and most of the time we came out on top. Our best winnings actually were of $2800. Over the Holidays, between dinners and get togethers, we managed to squeeze in a visit to the Casino.

We lost...

So I was talking with my friend Caroline and the subject came up. She was flabbergasted that we "blew money at the Casino". I was surprised that she was so shocked. I asked what's the big deal? We lost and we weren't upset. Disappointed because winning is always nice but we didn't dwell on it nor shed a tear over it. But she went on about how silly it is to give away your money at the Casino, you can't win, people lose their houses over it, not to mention their marriage, life, etc.

I'm like woah! Back up! We're not addicts. We went there with an amount that we were comfortable to spend on our entertainment, win or lose. But she was just hung up on the fact that Claudy and I went in with $400 total and came out with $0 after a few hours.

So I told her: last summer, you and your bf spent $500 on a pair of tickets for the Grand Prix. You sat, under the sun on uncomfortable benches, listening to the very loud sound of the cars speeding around the track, and watching most of the race on a giant screen because most of the time the cars were too far or blocked from view. And you paid outrageous prices for watered down beer and popcorn in the stands. Paid overpriced parking spots and had to deal with the painful downtown traffic. Total money spent: about $650. I watched the exact same race, for free, on my giant flat screen, in the comfort of my own home, drinking and eating quality beverages and foods. As much as I enjoy F1 Racing, I would never spend that kind of money on it.

The same is true of people who spend fortunes on collectibles, for certain shows and concerts, games, cars and car enhancements, shopping, decadent restaurants, you name it. I mean, some people spend thousands of dollars on stamps! I don't get it! But the important thing is that I don't need to. It's their shoes. They're the ones walking in it. That shoe wouldn't fit me, but if it fits them, more power to them! Let them enjoy it!

Establishing the cost of the form of entertainment you seek, accepting it and being at peace with it is the most important step to enjoying it. You could spend $6000 on a 2-week trip to Hawaii or hook yourself up with a really nice home theater that will last you for years. Each choice is as valid as the next. While that choice will be easy for some, it will be extremely difficult for others because both shoes fit and both are as appealing to them.

Transpose this to the game world... Why do players spend millions in gold or real life cash purchasing rare virtual items? I don't know. I never spent cash on rares but there was a time I used to spend millions in gold on them. Today, I don't get the people that still do, yet I used to be one of them. But if it's worth it to them, who am I to tell them otherwise? Some people use the game as a chat room. I wouldn't pay money just to sit at a bank typing my little heart out. To each their own. Others will pay just so they can kill (and be killed by) other players. Is that any stranger than someone who pays to tend virtual plants, raise virtual fishes and chickens? Or build and decorate a house they will never be able to physically set foot in?

Why did I pay for five accounts for so many years? Couldn't I fit all my needs into a single one? Maybe, if I had tried hard enough. But I didn't try or want to for that matter. Because those shoes were a perfect fit, incredibly comfy and worth every penny.


Uriah Heep said...


For a moment there, I thought we were being softened up for a price increase ;)

Regine "Sakkarah" Abel said...

AHAHA, hmmmm good idea!!!

*passes suggestions to marketing*


But seriously, it was just my very wordy way of saying you work hard for your money, so enjoy it the way you see fit. Just be wise. Your indulgence is only unreasonable and extravagant if you end up hurting when the fun is over!

GreyPawn said...

Awesome post! You do realize though, that you just made one of the biggest arguments in favor of Real-Money Transfer, gold for cash, that perhaps any UO dev ever has. ;)

Uriah Heep said...

Howdy GreyPawn, long time! =)

RMTs should be okay. I personally do not see what harm they do to the game overall, what 'does' need to happen is the amount of gold coming into the game needs to be cutback. But I don't have a good idea on how to accomplish that, unless you just take every loot pack and cut it 50% across the board...and prepare for the gritching on the boards that will accompany it.