Mm, it's more about game content. As a gaming company, if you are designing content to keep money flowing in, you're doing it to keep your customers interested, engaged, and happy. Requiring store-bought weapons for existing content is a problem with design choice. Let's ask this question:
What is the design purpose of Missions in TheHunter?
A. To provide additional content and depth for the base game;
B. To promote transaction sales of weapons and items?
As it stands, it's very much presented as option A**, yet in order to progress through them, you need to purchase many, many different $5-$10 weapons and items to finish. And I know, they're optional. Nobody HAS to finish them all--but then, why not present them differently? You can make money by saying,
"Hey. These are the Elite Missions that only the most dedicated hunters can finish. Those who put money into our game get rewarded with additional content." And there'd be nothing wrong with that, if they were up front about it. But it's more insidious than that, if you'll pardon a word that sounds a bit more malicious than I mean to use. They start you off with basic missions, and then block you from continuing unless you put money in. If they want to make it both, fine, but there's going to be people irritated and resentful with the design choice. I don't get all up in a tizzy about it, myself; I think it's a poor choice and I still think that memberships should be hiked up in price, and members should get a big store discount as an exchange. But I just kind of sigh, say "well that's yet another thing I guess I can't do without paying for something I don't actually want," and move on. It's a shame, because I definitely feel like missions and competitions should be something that adds depth and constant replayability to the game for all members.
Basically, what I'm saying is, we should be paying money for items we're interested in, not to unlock game missions and competitions. It may generate good money from a relatively small percentage of players, but it's not great overall as a design choice.
**Why do I say it's presented as option A? Because they reward $GM for players who can't afford to pay $EM. They reward a currency type that's directed toward those who don't or can't spend real money. It's meant to be a fun little thing anyone can do and get small rewards out of.
If the TheHunter team was larger, with more funds (I know the irony here), I would suggest splitting it all, revamping the missions and competitions entirely. There could easily be two tiers:
- TheHunter missions and competitions, which require either no special weapon, or a base class (i.e. any crossbow, any ethical shotgun); and,
- TheHunter Elite missions and competitions, which are all sets of missions and competitions designed for specific weapons.
HOW MUCH COOLER WOULD IT BE, if when you purchase a new gun, you unlock an entire SEPARATE set of missions and competitions for that gun?! It'd be a reward of content, rather than locking you out without it. It'd be an incentive to purchase new things. Buy gun, get list of 6 missions and a few competitions available, bam, new trophies, award further HunterScore, whatever. I think a couple of these already exist, but it'd be very cool if this was just how it worked by default.
I just think this is all an issue with how it's presented, and treated. Nobody has an issue with a company wanting to make money. But happy customers want to see their game & company succeed, and unhappy or irritated ones tend to quit. Customer satisfaction should be, always, point #1 in moneymaking!
(About 'fairness,' I have no real opinion, so leaving that out. I don't think this stuff needs to be fair, overall, but the store-bought stuff should 100% be left out.)