October 1, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, Runes of Magic | 12 Comments
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Teenage Transmutation Ninja Turtles

Runes of Magic has a very extensive armour customization system. Not only can you take stats from a drop and graft them on to your current armour and increase those stats with Power Stones, you could Aggregate the look of any similar armour piece on to another.

To do all of these things you had to buy cash shop items.

You could buy the cheaper Agreggator, which could only work on armour of the same type (chain, leather, or cloth) or you could buy the Advanced Aggregator which didn’t have that restriction. Of course there was the obvious restriction of leggings only being aggregated to other leggings.

With the Advanced Aggregator any pair of boots in the game could be worn by you. Any gloves, any helmet. To date its the best choice in customization options I’ve seen.

They weren’t very expensive either, a standard Aggregator only cost around 10 diamonds IIRC. The Advanced about twice that.

100 diamonds cost 5 bucks, so essentially you were looking at 50 cents or a dollar to aggregate something. Where Runes of Magic really stuck the knife in though was that you had boots, leggings, gloves, shoulder pads, helmet, chest, oh and weapons, you could aggregate weapons. So you could be looking at between $4 to $8 to aggregate everything. And then what happens if you get bored with your look?

Don’t even get me started on colour.

Guild Wars 2’s latest blog post about the Loot in Guild Wars 2 mentioned something that I whole-heartedly underestimated the reaction to. Transmuting one armour piece to look like another will cost money.

With the transmutation system, you’ll be able to acquire new items known as Transmutation Stones through our in-game store that allow you to customize your appearance.

They’ve said there will be a cash shop in Guild Wars 2. They have a cash shop in Guild Wars 1. They’ve said that their cash shop won’t allow people to have an advantage over others.

When they roll out the first cash shop item for Guild Wars 2, a cosmetic item, what happens? Anarchy on the forums, of course.

Part of this is because of the incredibly negative reactions some gamers have to cash shop transactions. Having spent some $100 or so dollars on a free-to-play game I’m not averse to the idea.

In the course of playing Guild Wars for so many years, I’ve come to the conclusion that many players feel entitled to free stuff just because there isn’t a subscription.

Now we don’t know how much the Guild Wars Transmutation Stones will cost, but we may have some idea of how it will work.

Not how I remember it but pretty close.

Essentially in Runes of Magic, you have a UI interface that is very simplified. A box to drop your “Appearance” armour in, another for “properties”, a preview window for the end result, a warning that it can’t be reversed, and the ok/cancel buttons. I can’t recall but I think there was also a preview of how it would look on your character.

That isn’t any guarantee that nobody will accidentally transmute their items the wrong way, but for the most part I found when I was using cash shop items I was damn careful.

To address Ravious specifically for a moment, the announcement of a cash shop item is ‘underhanded’ how? I completely disagree with that characterization. Were they being sneaky by mentioning in plain text the nature of the item? I don’t think so.

Nor do I agree that it undermines flexibility, I never felt hamstrung in Runes of Magic while aggregating some otherwise worthless but gorgeous skin on to my items.

I can agree that a costume slot + actual armour slot is preferred. That making people hang on to armour pieces for long periods of time for the purposes of Transmutation is really just a way of making people buy storage slots that are sure to be the next micro-transaction announced. I can’t agree with your other points.

I don’t understand the reaction of fans to this completely cosmetic cash shop item. Sure it sucks having to pay for stuff, and, am I happy that this particularly great feature is a micro-transaction? No. Am I glad that it exists? Hell yeah.


  1. I completely agree with the CM’s that this information was necessary when talking about T-Stones. However, a critical key to writing is lead-ins and flow, and ArenaNet clearly wanted this controversial bit stuck in the middle of a paragraph where it just only made sense in the context of the paragraph. They should have keyed everybody in immediately that some of these glorious principles were a luxury purchase. Instead, it was written so you would be nodding along at all the great things ArenaNet would give you so you might pass over the fact it is a microtransaction. I saw people on the forums that thought they meant in-game like a merchant, which makes more sense in the context of the entire post. To me, this is sly, covert, or underhanded even if it is in plain text.

    • I can understand where your coming from, but I don’t see any sly hand in trying to gloss over anything. To me it just seems like a well written paragraph.

      Their only other option would have been to derail the conversation away from items, get into talking in depth about transmutation and the cash shop, when the focus was supposed to be on items as a whole.

      Its not like these articles aren’t gone over with a fine toothed comb by people looking for these types of things, I don’t think anyone was attempting to get away with anything.

      That said I think I’ve accused Anet of similar things in the past so who am I to say anything.

      • I guess knowing a fine toothed comb is used was the main basis for using that term. I felt it was written in a way to minimize impact, which felt the opposite of candid or forward. And, as many have pointed to it sticking out like a sore thumb, one of the first confirmed products for the cash shop is pretty impactful.

        It might have been a harsher term than I had intended, but it’s use was not without basis.


  2. As I’ve said over on Kill Ten Rats, the way transmutation stones seem to be presented is as a consumable. I don’t buy consumables. I will buy some permanent items to help support a game.

    I feel that if the GW2 player base is fine with paying each time they want to change their armor’s looks, then we’ll probably see more and more cash shop items in GW2 for everything and anything.

    Do you still play RoM Hunter? I’ve pretty much stopped, but I did get a nice set of demon wings with the daily tokens, but have no idea what the heck you can bind to them. Tried looking in the AH, guides, the forums, etc. with no luck. Or are those only for looks?

    • There are probably going to be plenty of end game armour sets more than suitable to most players. at worst I think it just means people who don’t want to buy Tstones will have to endure wearing armour just like they do in every other game without the option of tstones.

      Nah, don’t play RoM, haven’t since april or march, so quite a while really. Every time I bring it up I get scared that so much has changed whatever I end up saying will be irrelevant.

      I had a set of angel wings, to which i transmuted a bunch of really great heart of the ocean/hall of survivors/origin mods. but i think you mean appearance? The only things I remember being able to change the appearance of wings to was cash shop items that went on sale every couple of months. other wings for instance, but also some tails or something? I can’t recall.

      • It was the mods for the wings I was looking for actually, not looks, as they already were pretty nifty and matched my armor set. Okay, so there are things to put on them to improve stats. When or if I play again I’ll see what I can find. Thanks!

  3. i think, it’s just some luxury item for someone who want looks. Just like the Makeover item in GW. I might buy one if i feel like it…

    never have that feeling yet.

    a lot of players i know would love this T-stone.

    • I feel kind of bad for rabid fans who absolutely must have perfect armour, but for me (and you it seems) I’ll be more than content with whatever the game presents.

  4. what i need is the bigger storage lol to keep so many armor sets and lots of cool things.

    GW1. storage is so small Xunlai Business need to Change for the better!

    • xunlai storage is bigger than most games i’ve played.

  5. […] came out from ANet this week that are extremely important in this regard and have received a lot of discussion on sites and blogs. The gist of all of the new information we’ve gained about armor and loot […]

  6. […] [Hunters Insight] Transmutation […]

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