The City wants your money
It is now possible to buy respec:s for real money in City of Heroes/Villains.
I think it was last year that City of Heroes/Villains added the option to buy a server transfer or a rename of an existing character. A couple of other MMORPGs already had that option. While one can argue about the size of the fee, it seems fair to have some cost associated with it to avoid abuse and it does not affect gameplay.
Not long ago NCSoft added the option to buy more character slots – this means more storage used in some databases, which will have some cost for the company – again ok to get some fee for it, leaving the exact size of the fee as a separate topic.
NCSoft has also tried to introduced in-game ads into the game. As far as I know I do not think they have been very successful in attacting advertisers there, but I may be wrong. No fee and you do not have to see the ads unless you want to.
Now they have introduced a new service with a fee, and this does affect gameplay – a respec option that can be bought. A respec is the option to reselect which powers to use and how enhancements slots are allocated for these powers. Originally in game one had to complete a respec trial, a set of missions to be able to get the option to respec. When they introduced veteran rewards a couple of the rewards include a free respec also.
The veteran rewards have most likely reduced the number of people that would want to do the trial missions, which makes it more difficult for those that do not have any veteran reward respecs to actually to the trials and get the respec. I certainly think that the way the respec trials are done have some room for improvement. But I do not think that the company should take advantage of a design flaw like this to get more money from their customers. Fix the flaw instead.
In this case I think NCSoft is going in the wrong direction with monetizing the game. What is next? Buy double/increased xp ? Rare recipes?
But it is the same company that introduced the Bling Gnome in Dungeon Runners. Although in that case it is free to play as default and you have to pay for a number of improvements; but in essence the gnome is also taking advantage of a design flaw in my opinion.