aye, i also as you say have "got a big bee in my bonnet about this type of stuff" but... i will say more...
in all honesty, i too miss the days of just subscription MMO's like EQ and DAoC, you were focused on having fun playing and not spending additional cash on other things like random chance loot from the cash shop. /points at ESO, GW2, FFXIV, SWTOR, TERA... and many others. F2P, while it sounds cool to anyone who has to worry about how can i pay for this, eg: kids, is anything but free.
the company HAS to make money to pay for their investment. i in no way fault them for that. which means that they have to find other ways to do it. IE: the Cash Shop. at first this was just items like:
- expand inventory
- expand bank
- cool pet x
- cool ride y
- cool appearance z (that in some games totally break any semblance of sticking to fantasy environment... /glances at beach trunks, string bikini and car mounts)
but, eventually this leads them down the path to greed, and IMO EA already had an issue with that. but, to be fair, to me this is one of the issues with F2P games in general and not just EA.
in almost all of the MMO that i play there is some aspect of spend in game cash units... which i have suspected is there for two reasons, real world to game world exchange rate, and disassociation of real world cash value. the first to me makes sense, i think this is a nice way to in effect only have to set say 1$ = 500 IGU (in game units), 1.5$(canadian) = 500 IGU, 1.75€ = 500, etc... the 2nd... has a potential to be pretty evil, deliberately trying to loose the association of what you are doing is related to to something in the real world. for example:
the base rate is 799 cents = ~8$ = 700 IGU so a little over 1.14 = 1
base rate for crown crates 1 box = 400 IGU, bulk options of 4 = 1500, 15 = 5000
so 1 box is about 4.56$... if i use the base exchange i think 15 boxes is around 53$... i could "save" money if i got the 5500 = 39.99$ bulk IGU purchase.
so basically your spending about what you would spend for a game, 60$ seems to be the current going rate for AAA, for... 15 random chances that you might get something... uh... cool? but, has the purchaser actually made that association? and then there is the well i have only done this 15 times... that is not a lot.
giving out free ones, once in a while, to get you into it. hum... that sounds like drug dealing.
side note: here is the most i could find about what you might get from them (current boxes being given out):
limited time purchases, example: an orc house currently on ESO. encouraging impulsive spending on a house:
13000 unfurnished i think that is approximately 150$
16250 furnished for 185$?
in part, the evil aspect of this is disassociation... how much have i really spent and did i really get ANYTHING that was worth that? another being you can only get it for a limited time... all the types of things that IMO, the reps from HI i think are spot on: gambling. also, that in the real world, for most states that is something you need to be of drinking age to do.
not only that... they have the right to basically take this all away from you in the future and leave you with nothing. ie: shutdown the servers, or ban you. in SWTOR (another EA game) there was a massive server merge down to two in NA and in that:
"If you have Strongholds from more than one Legacy coming together, both will be added to your list. If you have more than one of a specific Stronghold (such as multiple Coruscant Apartments), they will both be retained and accessible. If the combination of the two Strongholds takes you above the cap of eight, they will all be retained. However, you cannot activate new Strongholds until you return to a number below the cap."
strongholds are in game housing. so basically if you played on 3 servers and had 3 houses on each, one of those had to go... even though you payed for it. granted, given that there are only 6 total at the moment, that does mean you had several of the same ones. i bought all mine via subscription cartel coin (IGU) rewards... so didn't bother me.
anyway... i am getting off topic.
i don't have kids, but this just seems wrong. as an adult (50+), i am pretty good at keeping track of what i am doing with my money... as a kid i am not sure i would have been. so, i hope that some form of what the reps from HI are talking about does happen. i think it would be a good thing.