I’ll say probably nothing new for a thread that has over 350 responses, but still want to throw my few cents.
First of all - you can get gems for free easily, so it is not really “pay to participate”. You are not required to have your credit card attached to the account and buy 4.99$ tickets. So I don’t think “pay to participate” is valid, at least not in a sense of paying as with real cash. You can save your gems for the event pull, or you can play in raiding - whichever you find more valuable for you.
Very likely these players who are at the stage of the game where you struggle to get ascension mats for your 4 star hero, or whose benches are with like 5 complete heroes + 10 briefly touched have nothing to look for in the raiding challenge anyway. I don’t think anyone rational expected that the weekly raiding challenge will be a way to progress faster for those with poor, incomplete rosters who struggle to even complete the rare quests or seasonal ladders. I feel like over a half of the rants in this topic were coming from such players (no offense meant - but really, I am sick of reading on these forums how unfair the game is and how badly it treats poor people).
I do understand though that entry fee for gems will make many people angry, especially after excitement people started having after the New Year features announcement. It’s not difficult to realize there’d be a lot of negativity in the player base after such feature is implemented, so I wonder what were the reasons for SG to seriously think about it. Obviously non-spenders will not suddenly start paying, and the cheap 2 play will continue to gather their precious gems for summons, as whatever the prizes for raiding challenge are, I guess they are not heroes and heroes is the resource you need for almost everything in this game. My only idea is that this is their response for “events are unfair and benefit only very narrow pool of players who figured it out and can afford it” issue, but still they want to avoid breaking havoc by throwing rewards at random people uncontrollably (sorry if there isn’t such a word!).
Me myself I wouldn’t mind paying 100 gems for participation, even if the low-end rewards weren’t that shiny. It’s like one less Atlantis pull per month. I could live with that. But I wouldn’t like if this game suddenly started being hated on and have massive exodus due to people overreacting.
Again, I do not know what their primary reason for thinking of entry fee was (and I - perhaps naively - believe it wasn’t for the poor cash grab attempt), but I do think it would make sense to make this weekly raiding event as part of VIP package, if they want the pool limited, but still allow non-VIP to participate by spending gems on the entry. It could be a fine compromise. Too bad the “entry fee” already leaked and too bad noone from SG said anything about it yet (“Calm down people, we are just testing our options, nothing has been decided yet”) - it already caused a lot of bad blood, most of it probably completely unnecessary.