Premium currency, the money you can get in a game by paying actual money to the game. Almost every online game has this currency, even simple minigames. Today we are going to look at everything you can do with it and what is worth spending your hard earned money on, if it's worth spending at all.
Before you continue reading this, keep in mind that many games that work with a premium currency are often kind enough to give some of it, either when you start the game, when you achieved a certain goal, or when you've invited enough friends to play the game as well. Most of the times, there will be a limit of how much they intend to give you without having to pay for it. This article will try to help you in figuring out the best way to use that wee bit of premium currency, though it may also help if you plan on buying premium currency. And keep in mind, these are just suggestions and opinions, but only decide what your premium currency is best spent on.
Usefulness of premium items
Something you want to look into before getting started with a game, is verify how "Pay to Win" a game is. Pay to Win games are games that allow players to become that much stronger and skilled at the game than players who don't spent any money on the game. This could include gear that is stronger than any of the gear a free player could get, or temporary stat boosters that can be applied on top of other buffs. Games like this are best avoided, as you will either have to spent alot of money to be a professional player or deal with being mediocre at best.
Does that mean you shouldn't buy something useful? Not necessarily, but think about this first: How much and for how long would it benefit you should you buy this certain item? For example, let's compare a pack of 10 health potions to an experience scroll. One of those health potion would heal you quite alot, but you are able to get potions like this without spending premium currency, it will just take longer. The experience scroll would give you double experience for 2 hours and cannot be obtained other than using premium currency. In this case, the scroll would be your best option, because you can always get the potions through other means, and it's best not to rely on something you have to pay real money for. The scroll on the other hand will speed things up for you, so you'll need to spend less time grinding the same areas, over and over again. Eventually you will reach the highest level, but in the long run, you'll be happy that you've saved yourself 2 hours of time.
Costumes, skins and other non-practical things
These items don't make you stronger at all, but they do make your character look different, and don't lower your stats in any way either. This would be one of the best things to spend your premium currency on. Why? Because they will seperate you from casual players. Everyone can show off their heavy and shiny armor, but only a select amount of people will walk around in a tuxedo. In an actual fight, everybody will wear armor, but it's always awesome to see some casual guy with everyday clothes from a discount store beating up titans, alongside players that look like well-trained warriors. It reminds you of animes and cartoons, where kids, who have never been trained, have no problem beating adults in something they have been practicing forever.
As awesome as these may look, in practice they are completely useless and are most beneficial for roleplayers. Even so, wouldn't you want to have a little puppy following you around everywhere? Or travelling on the back of a majestic unicorn, instead of a brown horse like everyone else? Of course, if you don't mind looking fancy or you want to look like everyone else, you shouldn't buy any of these. However, these things are usually permantent, which means you will always be able to equip these things and show them off. The only time they won't be beneficial, if you no longer like the outfits, so when you intend to buy one, make sure you won't regret it.
Keep in mind, games update, so it's very well possible that you buy a something amazing today and something new and better looking arrives tomorrow. If you think there's ever going to be something better than what you currently have an eye, then wait a bit longer.
Instant finishing and reducing timers
There are games where you can work on something and in the beginning, this will take only minutes or hours, but as you keep playing, these things could take days, weeks or even months. When you're playing a strategic game, like Clash of clans, Ikariam or Forge of empires, this is usually the only thing you can spend premium currency on. If that's the case, then it's up to you to decide when you want to spend your premium currency. Of course, in most of these games, it's usually hard to make progress if you have to wait for a specific building to be build or upgraded, and waiting for it could make you lose interest in the game.
Is it worth spending actual money on? Not really. Games where you need to wait for buildings to be completed are designed to make you pay. And the further you get into the game, the longer it will take for buildings to complete and the more it's going to cost you. If you find joy in these games, feel free to play them, but from the moment you feel that you have to pay to make any real progress, you will either fall for the money trap or quit the game.
Some games however aren't about getting a building finished before you can advance any further. Let's say an MMORPG allows you to build a house, and it takes 30 real life days to complete. In those cases, it's recommended to wait and save your premium currency for something else, but if none of the other things you can persuade you, and you really want it finished now, then that's your choice.
The same thing can be said about Lives and Energy: If you run out of lives or energy (depending on what the game uses), you won't be able to play the game. Some of these games have features where you can keep yourself busy with the game, while not actually playing it or making any progress. Like trying out a new setup and speculating if it will work better than what you currently have.
Premium Currency and Ingame currency
Some games will also allow players to buy the currency they can earn inside the game, using their premium currency. Or they allow players to buy a specific item, which is available for ingame currency, with premium currency as well. The goal here is to tell players that there is more than one way: You could work hard to get the ingame currency, or take the easy way out and buy premium currency to buy the item you want.
This is a nice way to earn money from lazy and impatient players. However, if you really like the game, why would you spent money on this? Just keep playing and you will earn the money ingame soon enough. Of course, there are also MOBA's, where you can't play with a certain character until you unlock them. Before spending premium currency on this characters, make sure you have played them a few times. There's no use in buying a character if they don't like playing with them, or if they're just a terrible pick in many team matchups. Also imagine this: You might be able to unlock this character right now, but maybe that character has a special skin you can also buy, and that may look really good. If you intent to be a pro with this character, why not look like one? Again, skins won't actually make you better, but they might be able to intimidate your opponents, and give a good first impression, letting everyone think you've mastered the character and are a force to be reckoned with. Now it's up to you to prove that skill.
You must decide for yourself what is worth your money. If you want to spend money on a skin, or instantly finish a building, that's your choice. There is just one thing you must always keep in mind.
Look at the money you are willing to spend and think to yourself: "I could also keep this money and save up for another awesome game or headset, or something else I really want". Basically, you'll be choosing between adding more to a game you've already played for a while, and starting with something completely different. If you really like the game however, then feel free to buy the premium currency. Doing so will not only benefit you, it will also keep the game alive. It costs money to host games, and the people hosting them don't receive money from their games, they will eventually be forced to shut their game down.
Just remember: It's your money, and you choose what you do with it. Just make sure you won't regret it.