I have played quite a few Aeria Games, and I can say they pretty much all turn out the same. It is a consistent formula designed as intended.
Most of the Aeria Games I have played basically start you out with beginners quests to level you up quickly or get you through some content fast. This is the hook. You get a neural high every time you level, saying to yourself, "Wow, this is great!" After this time of getting better you run into a small halt as levels and gear become slightly harder to get. You start to grind over and over. You have to keep grinding to get that same high you used to get. Sure, if this game was just a game you would have left days ago, maybe months, but you have made friends now. It's a sense of community. You don't want to leave. Next few people who use AP rise to the top getting that same high and leaving everyone else in the dust. You are faced with two choices, spend more than them to win and get that high, or be miserable. By this time you have already been hooked by the drug and crave it everyday. Then eventually you arrive at a point to where the drug has robbed you of so much you just leave, or you finish content and have no more challenges and leave.
From an Aeria stand point they like this formula. Each and every step they make money. When it first comes out people spend ludicrous amounts of money to get that slight edge and be the first to the top. When you get to the grind, people will pay just out of boredom to go faster, and at the end they just leave and make another game to restart the cycle. After all, this type of corporate behavior defines most MMOs in this generation of gaming. We as people don't do anything to stop it, nor do we economically enforce companies to make long-term playable material (although a few do go above and beyond to do so, only to find they made the same amount of money as the others). This is what people refer to as the "invisible hand". It is not because a certain tier of a corporation is evil and wants it this way, it is because this is what gets the money. No one specific person in Aeria chose this path, each person just wants to make a paycheck. Corporations are designed that way. One famous quote I can recall is, "Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility." ~Ambrose Bierce
A long time ago, a person told me about this theory she had. It was called the "half eaten candy bar theory." Basically her theory was that you go into a store see this shiny candy bar. Your allowance is 5 cents, the candy bar costs 10 cents. You then go beg your parents for more money which they give you. This makes the product more desirable because of cost. You bite into the candy bar and it tastes good. You take a second bite, it is okay your palette has acclimated. You take a third bite, it is awful! You can't return it, so what do you do? Do you throw it away? No! you spent 5 cents and had to beg for 5 cents more. You sit down and eat that candy bar. Each disgusting bit only providing inexorable agony.
1. Now you can get out if you want. That is probably the best thing. You can throw that candy bar away and it will haunt you no longer, maybe you would have learned a lesson. You may turn out happier that way. It's your life. Reclaim it!
2. There is also many other ways of dealing with this situation. You could try and support financially those who make games with great end game content instead of this one, though you will be hard pressed to find it.
3. You could just move on to the next game, hopping from one game to the next enjoying it as it's new. This is the action most do subconsciously without knowing it, and why the market has guided such games like this.
4. You could be bitter and eat that candy bar and stay in the game until you are forced to quit by real life or something happens to your group of friends, thus loosing the glue on the society. I would not recommend this, but hey your life.
5. Then there are the rebels who will continue to play these games, and do well (without paying money). Sure eventually their reign may end, but you can be proud of beating the people who spend thousands of dollars while you spent none. You incur a cost to Aeria whilest still contributing little to none of your own money. Let others pay for you. If anyone gloats to you about how "good" they are, you can think of them as feeding their ego. After all they didn't earn it, they paid for it. Hard, you could take this a step further and be vindictive. You could totally ignore people who spend money. Put them on mute. Don't hear a word they say. Act like they don't exist. Build a community of people who don't pay and keep all action within that community. You might hurt some payers though they be good people or not, but this may work to discourage people from paying.
In the end it's your choice. Your life, your wishes, your dreams, your hope. You get out from life what you are willing to pay for. I hope a few take the time to read this and get a message out of it if there is any to this rambling. Know why you make the choices you do, and change your actions according to what you want to achieve. Even games like these can teach you lessons you will keep forever.
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This was designed to make you think, not agree.