Frontier drops a bomb with cash-shop ship nameplates
There’s probably not a single online game out there that doesn’t offer a cash shop for some cosmetic items or ingame commodities… But when you start seeing store exclusive game features - things tend to get ugly...
Up until now, every single Frontier store item was pure cosmetic. Stuff like ship skins, weapon color modifications, buggy colors or bobbleheads, and even though people kept arguing about their price or even the fact that the base game doesn’t offer a single free ship color variation (giveaway skins excluded) - all of those items were optional and didn’t change the gameplay in any way.
Sure, your Anaconda looks badass with that pirate skin in comparison to the bland greenish-brown stock version, but it didn’t change a single thing gameplay-wise. Weapon colors only change the visuals making your space lazors pew in glorious pink, or whatever color you chose…
However, recent interviews and forum posts mentioned a new feature that was talked about ever since the early days of the game - ship naming, and ship nameplates. The idea is to enable players to name their ships and have it displayed on the ship’s hull.
Unfortunately, Frontier decided to sell this feature as an exclusive store item. The problem is not the store item itself - it’s the fact that the ship naming is split in multiple parts where the main one is only obtainable with more cash.
First of all - you will be able to name your ship ingame for a fee (ingame credits), and that name will be shown to you, and you alone in the upper right HUD. However - you will not be able to display that name on your ship hull through any ingame means. To make things even worse - people who scan you will not be able to see your ship name nor will you be able to see other ship names if the commanders flying that ship didn’t pay real life money to Frontier for ship nameplates.
As you can imagine, a lot of people started a commotion on reddit and official forums. Now, if we all got a default nameplate with, lets say, some plain/generic font, and Frontier started selling fancy nameplates in the store - this wouldn’t be a problem - but when you lock an actual game feature like seeing other people’s ship names behind a paywall, it becomes a problem.
Take commander suits for example - with the upcoming patch, we finally get our avatars in their full glory, but we get a default spacesuit. There will be new ones in the cash shop 100%, but it doesn’t mean people won’t see other players who chose not to buy one in the store.
In a game about space and spaceships - having the ability to name and/or rename your ships is considered a basic extension of your profile, and not something you should be required to pay extra money for.
Frontier should really rethink the whole design because this decision alone goes beyond pure cosmetics and is actually behind a double paywall for those who didn’t purchase Horizons since you need to have the expansion to name the ship in the first place!
Hopefully they change their mind until patch release, and keep the store to what it should be - vanity items and cosmetics.
Edit: It looks like we got a solid reply from Frontier - things are not looking so dark after all!