There's been another kerfuffle started about RMT/micro-trans-whatsits and basically, I'm not going to chuck my hat into the ring in the specific case of WoW's 'premium' cross realm dungeon feature. Mainly because the blogsphere is full of pro and anti posts and you'll have already read a fair number of them by the time I get round to publishing this. And also because *cough* my sub runs out on 21 May. Which coincidentally is when I'll actually ascend as part of the Rapture. As opposed to ascending as a Guardian. Or not. Who knows? *shrug*
Anyway - I guess what I was planning to write semi-coherently about is not the inherent good vs. evil of micro transactions but rather what players would be ok about paying for. From the posts and comments that I've read people seem to fall into two broad camps.
Firstly, we have the camp that is happy for RMT (which I'm going to use from hereon as I can't be arsed to write micro-transactions every time. Yes, I know that there's a difference, I live with a mathematician, come statistician, come economist - Himself has a broad and impressive intellect, but RMT is measurably quicker to type) to be part of the game as long as it's for, what could simply be described as 'vanity items'. The sparkle-pony, or the pandaren, or whatever. Take your pick. If it's just done for the sake of looking at pretties that not everyone has, it's cool. If it affects 'game play' it's not cool. The trouble is that people's view of what 'affects' their game play is as broad as the player base. For some people, the mobile auction house gave certain players an advantage. I can't see what mobile guild chat would do to your advantage (except keep you awake if you could read it during interminably boring meetings at work) but it's a premium service none the less.
The other camp doesn't see an issue with any form of segregation - as far as they're concerned, you get what you pay for. No issues with paying for additional raid content. No problems with paying to play with the people you like, rather than putting up with Mrpwnstarr. Want to have a max level character? Pay $20 and you can have one. Hey - EQ2 is considering it. What about wanting more skill, or better PvP? GuildWars is cool about selling you that. Allods will sell you gPotatoes (yawhatnow??) which you then use to purchase seemingly everything in-game. However, both GuildWars and Allods are free-to-play. There's no subscription. And that, for many people seems to be the rub. Should games be both? I don't know the answer to that, I'm afraid.
But, unsurprisingly, I've deviated from what I meant to write about. I was going to discuss what I'd pay for. Ahem, which is a bit moot, admittedly, but let's say that the sub price went down to, oh, I don't know, £5 a month. And let's not think about a specific game, but rather a 'generic' MMO, which, for the sake of ease, I'll call Pilfkin Online (scary thought, innit?!)
[Disclaimer: I don't pretend that any of this stuff is earth shattering, or new, ok. It's just my thoughts!] So, for your £/$/€5 a month you get all the basics that enable you to play the game. You get six character slots per server, and no strictures on faction/race/class choice. You can play through all content on the basic subscription, with the exception of raids (that'll cost you extra). You'll get a ground mount when you hit the requisite level, but that's all. Want a speedy mount? Buy it. Want to fly? Buy it. Want a sparkle dragon of pwn? Buy it. Want to PvP? Ok, let's make battlegrounds free, but arenas chargeable. There are no vanity pets in-game. There are many to purchase. In-game currency is for show only. You earn 'token' gold but everything is available to buy outside of game. If you want to skip the levelling game then cough up and have a max level character, in 'entry level' raid gear.
Thems is the basics, but for me there would be a few more things that I'd pay for. Not vast sums of money, but I would pay (a one-off charge) regardless. Wanna hear them? Of course you do! I'd pay to play on an RP server with heavy moderation and a big ban-hammer. Not to have RP enforced, heavens no: if, like many, you just want to play quietly, without your eyes bleeding from 1337 speak, that's fine. But if you're talking in public channels in an inane string of half formed, misspelt letters and numbers, boom! You're gone. If your character is called Mrpwnstarr and your pet is called ChaseyLaine, boom! C'ya. You get the gist. I'd also pay for something that Rift has done for free (I'm sure they're not the only ones either) which is a character wardrobe mod. What your character has equipped as clothing (for the stats) and what you see (for the image, as it were) are different things. I've set up an expensively-dyed clothing set and now when I get an upgrade I equip it without changing her looks. Simples. Small thing that makes Pilf a happy player.
Of course, I'm me. There would be other things that other people would pay for. So come on. Give it to me baby - what would you pay for? Or would you not purchase anything. Ever. Period?