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Reader Comments (45)

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:11PM (Unverified) said

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All i can say is that it is about (insert gratuitous amount of expletives here) time that someone wrote an article on this topic. Bravo to you, friend.

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:22PM (Unverified) said

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That was awesome. Personally I have always preferred playing my games rather than paying them. :D

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:27PM (Unverified) said

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I use some AFK leveling in games ( WoW and WAR ) because I already have a few max level toons and don’t want to put a ton of effort into playing through the same content I have done 3 times over.

Why would someone buy a game and not play it the way you think it should be played? Time constraints. You made the analogy to books, many people use books on tape while in traffic because of time constraints.

If someone wants to play with friends who are high level with more free time, gold farming / power leveling can be an attractive option. People are smart, if the leveling experience is fun you won’t have power leveling. When it is not fun people will pay extra to get to what they believe is the fun part, end game.

Your point of view seems deeply rooted from the perspective of someone that has a lot of time. Player motivations are much more diverse.


Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:36PM Seraphina Brennan said

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The funny part is that I have barely any time. I play for, perhaps, 5-7 hours a week... maybe. If I'm lucky.

Yet, I take my time and still have a blast with my games. I dunno how I do it then.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:58PM Petter M said

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In short, what you are saying is that despite not finding a particular game very fun, you want to be able to skip a large part of the content, thus ruining it for everyone else by feeding an industry that will spam everyone constantly in every MMO they ever try to play.

Good job! You're in the wrong game, or genre.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 4:03PM Thac0 said

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I also agree with you too Doc. if its fun you wont pay for someone to do it for you.
Its the entire level and time sink concept in mmos that has to go.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 4:40PM Jhaer said

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Comparing it to books on tape isn't correct. Because the book is produced in that form. I would not hold it against a player to pay for leveling IF it was offered by the game company itself. But it isn't.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 6:36PM (Unverified) said

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I completely agree with with your statement I have used the services and will continue to, because of working full time and going to collage full-time. When I able to mash up some free time to play games with friends I want to be able to log on to the MMO of their choice and play along, with out months of leveling and loot gathering standing in my way. This is the way i am able to play many other online games, but MMOs are just not time friendly. As far as gold farming ethics and profiteering, I don't care there are millions of other international ethically questionable issues happening like drug smuggling, human rights (i.e. child labor), and illegal dumping issues that I take more seriously than cheating in some fictional world; at-least when it comes to international ethics. Lastly I am assuming only the elitist online community has the most problem with cheating, and if i can anger a few "power gamers"( AKA self-esteem built on a game) it is all the better for me.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 7:37PM myr said

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I think this is a problem with MMOs becoming as popular as they are.

Oldschool gamers see the grind and think "Mmmm... juicy". They have fun on their way to level cap, and cannot understand why anyone would be so insensitive as to pay their way there.

Meanwhile, newer gamers see all their friends playing MMOs, and think "Hmm, this could be interesting. But it takes sooooooo looooooong to get anywhere..." so they open up their wallets to the RMT companies.

Some people see the game for what it is. Those people might not even want the game's design changed. Others only see the carrot at the end of the stick, and pay someone to hand it to them.
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Posted: Feb 12th 2010 10:40AM nomoredroids said

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*snort. So you're saying that the game isn't fun and you're on a tight schedule, so you want somebody else to play it for you?

Well there's a sucker born every minute.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:26PM Thac0 said

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I like your article and I hope some devs take your solution to heart!

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:33PM (Unverified) said

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Do you REALLY own a table saw, Sera?

That's so hot.

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:41PM (Unverified) said

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How do I get those Sarah Phoints?

Seriously, I wouldn't mind doing that for a movie from a theater....but, minus out the original ticket price. I mean, the price of the ticket is ridiculous for the experience of going there and listening to some dumbass woman's baby (why the hell did she bring a baby to an R-rated District 9 anyways?) and the 4 to 5 eye-blinding glows of retarded iPhone users (and the eventual beeping and tapping of them texting the entire fucking movie).


On topic, I do agree that it is obnoxious that people tend to pay to get a game played for them, but that's a design flaw as well as an economic flaw (they're spending money earned in America to China for gold farmers/power levelers, essentially outsourcing jobs).

But, you also cannot change the game's design overly too much otherwise you change the definition of what it is to be an MMORPG. Just look at Star Trek Online, where a player's Bridge Officer pretty much substitutes any grouping, most of the game is solo instancing, the PvP is maxed out at 10 vs 10, and their idea of "raids" is a maximum of 5-man-groups (this is not to be confused with their Public Group rip-off's known as Fleet Actions, which can have more). The game plays more like a singleplayer game with optional multiplayer (ala Hellgate London) that the charge an excessive service fee for.


But, the problem with game's like World of Warcraft (most likely one of the highest power-leveled/gold selled games) is that the developers have compacted most, if not all it's additional content to the game's end-game area to where the tediousness of leveling became a brick-wall into playing with other players. They tried fixing this by change the swap area (level 30 zone), but it was not enough to just change a single area over a 5 year period while still stacking on the end-game, instead they should have been continually adding in more level 20, 40, 50, 60, 10, and so on stuff. Maybe with Cataclysm it'll be such a different experience that for a time players will be more enticed to actually play the game's changed zones through instead of just hiring a power-leveling system.



Oh, and I already see how Biowar's Star Wars The Old Republic deters this with it's chat-wheels and multiple pathed conversations. Who would want to hiring a power leveler if the way the power leveled your character actually could effect the way you character is at the end-game and how he/she is perceived within the game? The stories also help in that most of the stories in a Bioware game are so interesting that they shouldn't be passed up (but, many MMO"RPG" players don't like story, go figure).

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:44PM Vitamin Dei said

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I remember once upon a time I went to a Type O Negative show in Boston and had to suffer through a truly awful screamy punk fat dude opening band, on the way home I was complaining about the opening act to a friend and he commented that most people care less about enjoying the experience of the show, and more about plowing through the headlining act and putting it down as a notch in their belts.

While it may not be the perfect comparison, I do think it applies to gaming. People love crossing a finish line. We like wrapping up a book, game, tv series, etc., and we often savor the experience of relating these "conquests" to others more than the actual experience themselves. We have level ups and achievements for short term gratification, and all the while we're eyeballing the next thing. Internet discussion forums, news sites, and blogs like this one enforce this behavior to a degree, and depending on how much value you place on being part of the conversation they may inform your purchase decisions and the urgency with which you fly through your games in order to keep up with the herd.

For my part, I've been taking my time with Dragon Age and have been loving it so much that I'll be sad when I finally wrap it up sometime in the next few days, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't getting antsy to finally get to dig into Mass Effect 2 and catch up with the rest of the gaming populace who tore into it on launch day.

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 3:45PM (Unverified) said

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I'm guessing you debated on whether to post this in light of the fact it won't affect much change, if any?
Of course, I'm not disagreeing. You are saying what I and the hoi polloi have been wanting to say and know that a majority of people will read it.
People will base their arguments on opinions. Opinions that vary like fingerprints.
Some will be totally on one side, and totally on the other, and still love this article. But of course, I know, you and I both couldn't, shouldn't, and won't ever just "rant" and be more direct(we'd just loose our readers).
People are going to be approaching this with different background knowledge and beliefs on how the system(s) operate which will convolute and just continue the never ending debate today.
There's many rumors that people believe about developers wanting goldsellers, and a number of other ideas.
Players also play for many different reasons which they believe in. I'm sure you, as well as I, never go to game forums for discussion anymore. One person says this drop rate is too slow, the others say cash shop games ruin games.
Those are based on so many different reasons. But no one wants to back all the way up, and agree on a firm foundation to build the debates on, that you are now confronting.
So now players will just say "Well I do it because the game sucks, and the endgame is the only fun part", or vice versa.
But....I am still happy to read this. I think it was worth printing. We need reminders, and humor. You gave us both. Thanks.
I would just add that we as players...as people need to empathize. We have this wonderful tool called the internet. Let's use it to learn how to learn. Read about debates, about how to argue a point, read how people play these games for other than wanting to skip every level, so they can be max level and obtain the highest gear, to be the best on the server, and therefore think that's the point of the game, and everything that doesn't aid you in that is pointless. Read how someone who played a game for a year more than you and is still only mid-level and has no where near the gear you have, still is just as important as you, in that game and very well could have had a lot more fun playing the game than you, and that is the point of playing a game...to have fun.

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 4:08PM mightfo said

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I usually really like your articles, but spoiler alert: People want to get to the actual , often competitive, interesting part of the game. The developed pvp. The PvE raiding which they would much rather do than the leveling where they just slam attack buttons ASAP.
If you don't want to spend 6 minutes of boring for every 1 minute of possibly entertainment for those with good imaginations, skipping to the actual deep part of the game, the actual part comparable to fighting games and RTSes and Bullet hells in terms of being "Hardcore", is perfectly justified for a lot of games.

Posted: Feb 11th 2010 4:16PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Then developers should embrace this, yes? Get those systems to the players immediately, so they can have fun doing what they like to do. Make it engaging and the players will cease to turn to alternate sources.

And that's why the latter part of my article concerns developers as well. It's on both sides of the fence, and we're all liable for setting up games like this. Players shouldn't do it, but developers shouldn't contribute to it.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 4:44PM Jhaer said

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The only way to affect change in developers is to vote with your feet. If the game is boring, don't pay. Instead, find a game that is designed the way you want to play and pay them. Yes, that means you might have to go looking at smaller independent titles and not play the AAA blockbuster games, but by getting people to pay is the only way those independents can become AAA.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 5:22PM (Unverified) said

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@Jason - that's not really true. I wish people would stop saying "vote with your feet, and leave!" None of what's being discussed here is the kind of quick change you can toss into a game with a patch, these are broad, sweeping, philosophy-of-game-design kind of issues that really deserve to be discussed as widely as possible - by fans, by journalists, by programmers - before any one yahoo with a license for some beloved IP goes nuts with some half-baked new theory of design.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2010 9:58PM Jhaer said

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@datashade But it IS true. People just want it to be not true. If WoW isn't the game you want to play you need to stop paying for it because the companies funding games have only one metric that matters and that is profit. Want to know why there are so many WoW clones released and in development? It is because that is what people pay for. And despite the fact that most of those WoW clones will not be wildly successful, it's still where the money is being spent for development. Going 3rd party to fix or bypass the game you don't enjoy is rewarding "bad" design. You need to be out there rewarding the games that are games you want to play or else they are just going to keep making games that you'll have to pay someone to play for you.
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