So I've been doing some research on Bravely Default, considering I want to get it at some point in the future, and one feature in particular, Sleep Points, got me thinking. Basically, for those who don't know jack all about the game, this is a feature that allows one of your characters to get a free turn in, and is also the only way (at least that I'm aware of) to break the damage limit. You can have at most three Sleep Points at a time, and you obtain them by leaving your game in sleep mode for eight hours apiece (fortunately the leftover time is saved, so if you left your game in sleep mode for 12 hours you'll only need four more to get another point). And considering that there are other benefits to keeping the game in sleep mode, this is something you'll be doing a lot, so those Sleep Points will naturally be coming in.
However, you can also buy SP Drinks for a real-life dollar, which instantly replenish your Sleep Points to full (that's 33 cents apiece). Having not played the game, I don't really have much of a grasp on the finer points of the Brave/Default system, so the value of a free turn, especially with a break-damage-limit trait, may be drastically different, but in any other JRPG, would you really pay real money to get an extra turn on one of your characters? The answer is simple: hell no. Especially not in a game that features free ways to cheat through the content if you want to go down that road (I sure don't), such as the Abilink feature which, to my understanding, lets you use any ability a friend has. In fact, personally, I refuse to pay any kind of extra for content that can be normally accessed through other means. I grew up in the NES era, I think I know how to be patient. If I need to grind, fine, I'll grind, I won't pay a dollar, or even a nickel, to get over a difficulty spike.
With that said, the uproar over SP Drinks got me thinking: is there any way developers can win with microtransactions? Make them too trivial, and you'll come across as a money-grubber. Design your game with them in mind (as in, make progression a painful process unless you're willing to pay, and/or try to make them as visible as possible), and you'll also come across as a money-grubber. While I see the logic in both scenarios, I still hate the former less, because at the end of the day, your wallet is much more likely to come out intact.
It's clear to me, however, that the savage abuse of the microtransaction concept by companies such as EA made gamers far too emotional over the notion itself. There are scenarios where they aren't the almighty evil they're made out to be, but after being exposed to the worst of the worst, and being blatantly told to our faces by certain companies that we're just glorified wallets for them, I feel like the others aren't even being given a fighting chance.
So, where do you stand on this issue? I'm not sure where I stand myself. On one hand, as I said, I refuse to pay more than the cost of the game, and I'm not sure whether it's out of principle, because I'm stingy (you've seen how much I am even with in-game currency for crying out loud), or something else entirely. However, I can understand the appeal in certain, more logical scenarios for them to exist for people that aren't me. Ethics are such fun stuff, huh?
Edit: In the time it took me to write this, a rumor appeared according to which one could level a WoW character to 90 automatically for the low, low price of $60 (according to test server data). WHAT THE FUCK. It's already a game with abusive microtransactions to start with, such as $30 for a faction change, $25 for a race change, or $10 for a name change. Holy shit.