With the coming of the Echoes of the Dead update, Turbine has been putting out quite a few items out into the store and I will admit I’m not 100% sure how I feel about all of them.  Before I go any further, I’ll also remind folks that Bullroarer is still a test server and anything there may (we’ve seen lots of changes already) be changed or removed out-right from the store.  (remember the reputation horses)

From the start, Turbine has claimed that the intent of the store is to provide convenience and a way for people to chose how they wish to play the game.  Certainly there’s a fine line there between “pay to win” and “pay to play how you want” and most likely we all have our own definitions of where that line should be, as well as where it currently stands.

Many of the items are cosmetic in nature which I don’t think anyone has any issues with, nor the items that allow you to speed up progress through certain grinds like traits and crafting.  These are pretty obvious trades of time versus money which should be expected with this business model.  Many of the other “buffs” from the store are also available via the Destiny point system, and lets not forget the Turbine Points can be earned by playing the game.

Where this started to get a little murky was with the addition of the stat tomes, which allow player to permanently boost their stats by up to 50.  These tomes do drop in game, but the rarity of those drops leads many to call them store exclusives.  50 additional points in any stat isn’t going to make or break your character, but every little bit certainly helps.  I have these purchased on the characters that I mainly raid with as that’s my preference but with all the upcoming gear tweaking options, this to me is just another way you can boost your stats – either farm that uber necklace, or utilize the store, or do both ;)

The more recent hot spot has been concerning Legendary Items which are also getting an update with Echoes of the Dead as well as a boost in what’s available for them in the store.  Many argue that with the addition of relics (only to tier 4), stat legacies, and class legacies as well as all the other scrolls you can just buy whatever legendary item you want.  And while that’s true from a certain point of view, there’s nothing that stops me from doing exactly that in-game.  Sure it may take me some time, but there’s nothing in the store for legendary items that isn’t available in game and in some cases quite easily, or possibly via good luck.  Now I’m already hearing folks talk about the Scroll of Removal which allows you to preserve your relics upon deconstructing your Legendary Item and I agree this should be added to the various barterers currently in-game at an appropriate cost level.  But if they keep the system as it stands now, yes you lose the relics, but the amount of time to regain them has been reduced significantly.  Again, this is just a trade of money versus time.

And don’t forget, just because these items are in the store doesn’t mean you have to buy them.  And if you do buy them, there’s nothing to feel guilty about.  I will admit that I have a lifetime subscription (with a 500 TP/month stipend) and have still purchased 2 of the largest point bundles to buy the things I’ve wanted.  That’s partly me wanting my maximize my characters as well as being a bit of an electronic pack-rat, but mainly me choosing to buy those items instead of working in-game to get them.

I’m still a fan of the store as it provides many people the ability to play the game the way they wish to play it, including myself.  When we start seeing gear and/or raid barter currency in the store, that’s when I’ll start to worry.  Until then, Turbine is still on good side of that “pay to win” line, at least in my opinion.