MMORPGs generally feature a certain balance between convenience and inconvenience in your characters activities. For instance travel may be easy at high level but relatively slow and difficult at low-level. Likewise accessing your mail could be the main reason you have to go back to the nearest town, or rested experience the reason you always log off in a tavern.
Playing WoW over the years there has been an increasing amount of ‘earned convenience’. So you could go through the trouble of leveling engineering and have a repair bot to create a temporary your dungeon group to repair damage and sell their grey junk items. The effort to level the skill, find the recipe and the materials to make this one-use item was well worth it if it saved your whole group repeated trips out of the dungeon to repair broken gear. Later in the Wrath expansion they introduced the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth which featured a repair NPC and a vendor for common spell materials – this one was sold in at the main base city for the expansion but was (at the time) very expensive.
Guild Wars 2 has many built-in convenience features like the right-click deposit for all crafting materials to put them into the shared account bank. Also mails can be sent to other player’s characters from anywhere in the game. There are still ‘earned’ conveniences such as the armour repair canister or the temporary bank access item. These items can drop from an achievement chest but they are also available to buy from the gem store, an inducement for the lazy to buy these conveniences with real money.
I’m struck that I really appreciate ‘earned conveniences’ in games, but think a lot less of built-in or cash purchased equivalents. The first time I earned the Bree port in LOTRO I was really happy to have unlocked a different destination from my normal milestone skill – it gave me a choice of destination for my map skill at a time when travel was still a very big factor in normal questing. Now of course I have unlocked three different milestone skills on my main and have the extra ones, like the racial Bree port on top of that. The world feels a lot smaller and the skills I’ve unlocked via my monthly stipend of Turbine Points do not mean anywhere near as much to me.
Perhaps it’s an artificial distinction in this era of free-to-play and buy-to-play gaming, but once in a while it’s nice to feel like you’ve earned the shortcuts!