So far, most players have agreed that it is ok to pay in order to change a character's looks or gender (many games offer these services for a fee), but there were those that called the first dye sales in the NCsoft Store a "rip off" and commented on how the Koreans were able to get a wider variety of dyes from contributing to their own Powerwiki rather than through payment. Of course, the cash shop has now changed for Koreans as well and it sells a wide variety of both decorative and game changing items.
The cash shop has slowly and quietly expanded in the NA/EU region version of Aion. It includes a variety of clothing and emotes for characters, commonly sold only for a short period of time. Some claimed that the economy of Aion would be ruined by the weapon skins, which could be purchased, used as a skin, and then resold at a profit. When the dust settled, it appeared that the 34 trillion kinah bug had a much bigger impact on the economy of Aion and that enchantment stones were still a more popular sales item when compared to light saber swords.
The swords were really the first item that gave NCsoft Shop customers a true advantage, although it could be argued that the shop followed the Aion Magazine in doing so. Following the swords, 2.0 brought a variety of pets, including an alarm pet into the store. Since the pets didn't really work well and were available outside of the store, they were an acceptable store item for most people.
Recently, the Aion cash shop's expansion has started to include more and more items that give advantages to those that use the services of the cash shop. The Worg Pet was an interesting addition as it is currently the only auto-looting pet available to pre-level 50 characters. Looting does take time and so cash shop users can buy themselves out of some of this time through purchasing the pet. It doesn't loot all items (such as quest items) though, so some have questioned how much time it actually saves.
The most recent item of interest has been the Inguin Candy as the candy gives a +3 attck, +15 mb, and +3% attck spd and cast spd boosts. This has caused a bit of controversy on our forum, which has now been added to by the following information, regarding the soon-to-be sales of manastone 100% socketing supplements in the cash shop:
Now, to many people who are frustrated with the manastone socketing system, this could be mana from heaven, even if it's fairly expensive per stone. As quoted, Korea does sell these items in their cash shop and they do allow individuals with the cash available to socket with 100% reliability, even when they are unlucky.
The question does remain though, is this a reasonable method for the company to make money in a subscription-based MMO game? We are certainly used to these types of systems in the free-to-play market, where the system helps to monetarily support the development of the game, but what about subscription-based games? What is the subscription paying for and what should customers pay for on top of the subscription?
We'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter either pro or con.