Today Valve released an excellent update for their Team Fortress 2 game. In addition to numerous new items, mini-games and new clothing, they created the in-game Mann Co. Store. This store enables players to spend real-world money to get game-world gear.
Most of the character classes for TF2 have items sets. These are comprised of individual items which, when all are equipped, give an additional bonus/ability. While these items may be found randomly within the game, many players opted to spend the money and outright obtain all of the completed sets. It was rather remarkable to listen to players comment on their purchased items (literally listen – many of the players use team speak): one individual spent $60 at the Mann Co. Store and was very happy with his tricked-out sniper.
Some other cool things available at the in-game store are paint and name tags. Paint enables a player to change the color of certain items, such as the color of a hat. Name tags allow players to change the name of certain items. There are also some new clothing accessories which are available only through the Mann Co. Store; these special items may not be found nor created within TF2. They are available only through the in-game store.
I like the idea of spending a couple of dollars to customize your character. The prices are low enough to make this an enticing option. This lead me to wonder: (a) will this business model be successful for Valve, and (b) can a similar business model be applied to Clan Lord? Joe has stated that he never wanted CL to be the type of game where players could buy in-game advantages, but what about allowing players to pay real world money for in-game vanity? Would CL players pay $1.99 for a unique female fen healer icon, or pay $2.99 for a unique permanent skin dye?
My TF2 teammates were very happy with their purchases. I guess money can buy happiness!
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