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005 - Macrotransaction

005 - Macrotransaction

11/28/12

Mrs. Cake, why does it take you six hours to make a sandwich?

Another week of GX playing artist. I just wanted to get this out for the sake of being topical. Jet also sketched out the comic post-release, so be sure to check it out below. If you prefer his to mine, you can blame site director Nuckles because it's more fun to blame him.

005 - Macrotransaction (Jet's Sketch) I’ve decided that, as a whole, I do in fact enjoy Gameloft’s My Little Pony software. I can say this because I’ve further decided that I’m almost unwilling to call it a game. It’s more of an interactive dollhouse that occasionally wants you to press something to make a shower of coins appear, then trade them for something that it’s asking you to get. Until you hit the Gem wall.

To put it mildly, the game’s economy has problems. At the moment, I’ve purchased every pony and shop the game allows you to buy with bits, and I’ve activated five of the six shrines. But I simply can’t progress while the game is asking me to pay 75 gems for Sweetie Belle. Gameloft’s aggressively stingy in dispensing gems, but exponentially more enthusiastic when prying them from your hands. I consider it a good day if I manage to get three gems to put towards my Rainbow Dash and Rarity fund.

I get it. I get free to play. They have to have some way to reel in a few bucks, otherwise the whole project is a money sink, but this is not how to do free to play. The most successful free to play games include minor benefits and customization that further enrich the game for those willing to pay, but the problems here go far beyond this.

The microtransactions are hysterically expensive.

Oh so many iOS developers would be ecstatic to receive $2 for an entire game. For $2 in MLP, Gameloft will spit in your hand and demand you thank them. In the context of their in-game store, $2 will get you nothing. It’s not even enough to play their balloon mini-game. Even at the most cost efficient, Celestia costs $63.33. For the price of a virtual horse, I could buy Shining Armor & Cadence’s big plastic castle and more than enough ponies to fill it.

So I guess in the end, I should answer the simple question of "should one get this game?" And in response I’ll give a hesitant "yes." The production values are still pretty nice, and the characters they’ve selected to be in the game show surprising dedication to the source material. Simply put, you don’t include the Big Lubowski parody characters without someone on the dev team putting an awful lot of heart into it. But don’t invest yourself in it. Let it be the app you visit every once and a while to make shiny stuff appear and watch impromptu dance parties between Zecora and Mrs. Cake. And I wouldn’t recommend giving Gameloft a dime, lest they learn they can pull this crap and get rewarded for it.

Peace all,
GX

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