World of Warcraft is notorious for this. Making items “no longer available” in the game.
Why should an item become “no longer available”?
The item must be kept in the client forever. Yes FOREVER, since some players will have the items and they must be displayed or otherwise operate correctly when they are used.
If an item is truly “removed” from the game, it must be replaced by something of equal value and there must be an overwhelming reason to remove it. I’m having a very hard time thinking of a reason that would call for an item to be permanently removed from the game.
Removing an item is not the same as changing it. If a weapon or armor piece or set is too powerful, or too weak, then one can easily change the stats on it to make it more in line with the play styles of the game. This is done all the time.
Here are some of the Excuses that game designers have used to remove items from the game, and the reasons that none of them hold up.
Reasons that Items Have Been Removed
The items are part of a “Founder’s Pack” that is no longer available since it is no longer possible to become a “Founder”. Well hog-wash. These items should then be easily available, after some appropriate period of time. It seems to me that as a “Founder” spending way too much for the game at it’s launch, one might expect the exclusive right to some item or items for a limited period of time. But what sense does it make to permanently retire that cool mount after 1 or 2 years? Even the founders should have moved on. Of course, having a “Founder” title is another thing. Sure. Nobody else can have a Founder title or achievement. But that cool “Founder Mount” or armor or weapon should be available to everyone after some time. Charge in the store, or not. My preference would be to put “Legacy” NPC Merchants around in some place in the world where one could cheaply buy “Antiques” of this sort. After all, either the specs are surpassed by the modern mounts of the day. Or Far Far surpassed by the modern level 100 gear of the day.
Limited Time Events
These are a bad idea in the first place. World of Warcraft thought that Cataclysm was a good idea until they did it and spawned the resurgence of “Pre-Cataclysm” underground gamer sites.
Guild Wars 2 thought they were a good idea and it tore up the world with the Tower of Nightmares and Scarlet’s destruction of Lion’s Arch. I think they have learned that limited time events that can never be played again, and that do permanent destruction to the world is a bad idea.
I’m all for the new reconstruction of Lion’s Arch. But I’m sad to have missed the Scarlet event and to never be able to play it.
Apparently the reason for many items disappearing from the World of Warcraft game is the recent, or not so recent, Siege of Orgrimmar event. I’m not clear why this was not designed so that it needed to be removed from the game, or why the items that were rewards from the event were all made forever unavailable. After all, with Warlords of Draenor and the upcoming Legions, these items are shortly truly antiques.
I suspect that this is the primary reason. After all, once you’ve messed up your game with a limited time event, and then removed it, it’s actually a little more work to create some NPCs somewhere to sell those antiques, or put them in the cash shop. Want to wait a decent interval for the folks that worked hard to get the items to enjoy them? Fine. Wait six months and then add the shops. Or wait until the next expansion makes that nifty gear a total snooze.
Well I have a wonderful idea. Pick an out of the way place, like Desolace, and have a bunch of NPC Merchant’s standing around selling antiques. Nowhere better than some ruin’s for these NPCs, is there?
And while we are at it, what’s up with “Limited Storage”? Why only 7 bank expansion slots rather than 20 or 50? Why limited Void Storage? Or why make Void Storage different than just more bank slots? Design the interface to allow lots and lots of bank slots. The only thing getting cheaper faster than disk storage for databases, is old gear in the game when the new expansion adds 10 to the level cap and makes all current gear obsolete.
Artificial scarcity of digital goods and services is a total crock.