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Reader Comments (76)

Posted: Jun 11th 2010 11:15AM (Unverified) said

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Is there an editor at Massively with a dissenting opinion?

Has there ever been an editor at Massively that's written an article criticizing a move by any of these game companies? Obviously there have been some mistakes in the industry, because games have crashed and burned in the past. Have any of the editors seen any of these things coming?

If there is someone there with a not-so-rosy developer supporting opinion I'd like to hear from them too, because this is all starting to sound like an extension of Turbine's PR department.

Posted: Jun 11th 2010 11:29AM (Unverified) said

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God, I'm so stupid - AOL owns Massively; Time-Warner owns both AOL and Warner Brothers. Duh!
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 11:38AM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, obviously Justin's getting fat envelopes of cash in the mail for supporting F2P lotro.
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 12:08PM (Unverified) said

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I wrote that too quickly. I'm suggesting anyone is being paid off to write what they write (other than a normal paycheck from Massively, hopefully) and I don't think anyone is evil or lacks integrity. It's just that if you've ever worked for a major corporation or a division of a major corporation you know they generally frown upon employees publicly dissing the plans of another arm of that same corporation.

Not that he cares, but I like Justin's writing. In this case I disagree with what he says, but I wasn't criticizing him. I just thought with all of the editors listed down the right side of the page it was very strange that they are all in love with the F2P model and all see this as a good move for LotRO. I was asking "where's the balance?"
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 12:09PM (Unverified) said

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should read *I'm NOT suggesting anyone*...

we need editing :)
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 12:17PM Brianna Royce said

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I'll bite. I'm an editor who is not particularly impressed with LotRO F2P. I loved AC, but I didn't like DDO before or after their transition. And I don't think much of LotRO's new free-to-play option. I did want it to go F2P (and we did see it coming), but, to be frank: the "free" part as it stands reads more like a limited, barely playable demo. It doesn't match the accepted definition of a free-to-play game. It's looking more like a free-to-peek game. While I don't mind cash shops in general, I do mind when they invade the game itself, ruining my immersions; given how bad that sort of thing is in DDO, I am concerned for LotRO too.

On the other hand, for $15 a month, it seems I can get the game I was willing to pay $15 a month for all along, and since I'm not a snob, I don't see the harm in an influx of other people testing the waters and playing their own way. No real reason to get worked up over it, I just wish Turbine were handling it differently in a way that made the "free" part actually desirable and viable.

But then, I'm an editor, not a writer, and yes, columnists usually like the games about which they're writing -- or they stop writing (when they also stop playing) because no one really wants to write hate mail for a living (except our commenters, who are happy to do it for free). Regardless, it's rude to suggest we're being influenced or bribed. We're most certainly not, and neither Aol nor anyone else has any day-to-day say in our content.

-Bree
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 12:34PM Ocho said

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Are there any other government conspiracies we should be aware of, too, Hippie?

The writers enjoy MMOs and their topics. So guess what? Overall, they're going to have a more positive attitude in their articles, and that really doesn't stop them from criticizing, either, but I've noticed that before they criticize they show reason and purpose to do so, like good journalists.

If you want a negative article written about the LotRO shift, I saw Keen (link is in the article) had a particularly scathing one...
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 1:17PM Brianna Royce said

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"God, I'm so stupid - AOL owns Massively; Time-Warner owns both AOL and Warner Brothers. Duh!"

While I'm thinking about it -- this isn't even true. Aol was split from TW last year.
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 9:25PM Seraphina Brennan said

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I guess I never wrote that article where I called out Blizzard on the overpriced 25 dollar mount.

I guess I never wrote that article that said Aion was a horrible game.

I guess I never wrote that article where I called out NCsoft for canceling Tabula Rasa so suddenly and abruptly after their huge marketing campaign.

I guess I never wrote that article that said Champions was hurting in a bad way, and that I was canceling my subscription because a patch literally broke the game and they were initially charging for Vibora Bay.

Yes, I've written mean things about game companies. Really. Really really. Why does no one remember that stuff, and why are we always being paid off by everyone?

~Sera
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Posted: Jun 12th 2010 10:53AM (Unverified) said

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The only people that will save money under any F2P/ Cash Shop plan are those that aren't interesting in playing 100% of the game.
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Posted: Jun 12th 2010 8:12PM (Unverified) said

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See, I guess I see exactly the opposite - people ending up paying more than a sub fee in F2P games.. sure it is a choice to do so, but right now I get everything and I know what it'll cost me every month up front.

I lived through the era when, for example, internet was charged by the minute and view the change to the monthly sub as an evolution that was good for consumers. I've had enough experience that if I'm offered an 'all you can eat' for $x vs an ala-carte deal, I know that the nickel and diming will generally cost me more in the long run.

I watched while Cryptic removed content that was available in beta and added it to the cash shop 2 weeks later and I would guess that most of the DLC you're buying for Dragon Age was already built up front too, so I'm very suspicious of argument that cash shops will encourage developers to create more content. I think it'll encourage them to with-hold content to charge more later.

It's my opinion that a lot of people are being led down this 'F2P is the future' path and not really thinking it through. The developers wouldn't be switching if they didn't think it would make them more money and if all of these new players are playing for free, where is that 'more money' coming from? It'll be coming from those people who play this particular game as their favorite or only game and want to see all of what the game has to offer - basically, the current subscriber base.

Anyways, there's a fairly balanced article about why we P2Pers and F2Pers aren't seeing eye to eye right now over here: http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/feature/4310/Player-Perspectives-The-Future-is-Now.html
Maybe you'll get something out of it - it made me a little more understanding.
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Posted: Jun 12th 2010 8:32PM (Unverified) said

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Rereading both of our last two comments, I think I've identified a key point here:

F2Pers seem to be coming from a perspective of wanting to play a lot of different games simultaneously - basically touring MMOs while P2Pers seem to be coming from the perspective of having One MMO that they like to be immersed in fully - kind of adventure and socialize in just one world.

That would also explain why people who cover MMOs seem to lean towards the F2P model too - they cover a lot of different worlds, not just one.

I think this change in LotRO will make it cheaper for MMO 'Tourists' for sure, but more expensive for 'Residents.' It's kind of like if you work downtown in a tourist trap town and the town council changes your monthly lot to a '2 hour free parking' situation in order to encourage tourists to visit the shops, but forcing residents to park further away because they need more than 2 hours.
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 11:35AM Stormwaltz said

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You may consider it "hysterical and silly," but the fear that F2P will change the community has a basis in demographics.

LotRO's playerbase tends to skew older. Possibly this is a result of the source material; the people who play because they've loved the books for decades. That's supposition on my part, though. F2P games appeal most strongly to 18-25 year-olds. They have a lot of free time, and little disposable cash.

Whether you consider it bad or good, the sudden influx of younger players *is* going to have an effect on the character of the community.

Posted: Jun 11th 2010 11:46AM SgtBaker said

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It's a rather interesting thesis - do you have any links or numbers to support the age split?

Self-anecdotal evidence: I'm 40+, I've been a fan of the books for - well *cough* .. a long time - and I feel strangely attracted to F2P Lotro. But then, I'm weird :-)
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 2:07PM (Unverified) said

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I understand your worry, but for now, it is just that. The community does skew older. I am not convinced that the MMO heathens everyone seems so scared of are going to be interested in Tolkien or our community. I think that for every 10 immature players that try and then give up the game, we might gain one mature Tolkien fan that sticks and adds to our community. Honestly, I know some Tolkien fans who never envisioned buying a video game. Nowadays, they feel more comfortable with online social sites and will probably give this a try as a way to join an online community of Tolkien fans. A 10 day trial never appealed to them because they were afraid they would like it and get sucked into a subscription. They now can get sucked into it in a more benign way :)
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 2:34PM (Unverified) said

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you base these *facts*on what source material?
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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 11:39AM tenfootgoatman said

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In LOTRO current players seam, to be evenly split about this some think it will be for the good some for the bad . The thing is this hybrid model really is the best option for most mmos and really should set the standard . The 15 dollar a month sub really has'nt been that successful for any game ofther than Warcraft . The only currernt way to break WoWs dominance of the market is for not only LOTRO but every fantasy game that is struggling to maintain a decent population to go free to play . When that happens it will be a real game changer and about time too .

Posted: Jun 11th 2010 8:51PM Tom L said

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LotrO really isn't $15/month. 3 month subs are $29.97. Only month-to-month subs are $14.99. The game is already $10/month for anyone even remotely interested in it. So, moving a game that is already reasonably cheap (with XPacs costing only $20) to an extended unlimited trial isn't that great a switch. It's more marketing than anything else... good marketing IMO.

If they price the quest packs well vs. the cost of a monthly sub, much like they did with DDO, then it will work very well for those that have an aversion to subscribing, if only b/c it overcomes the psychological hurdle of paying for a subscription. They'll generate revenue while being able to play in whatever way they feel comfortable. If that budget is just $5/month, then so be it.

I have a friend who is in this camp and this move might be enough to get him to play LotRO. It worked for DDO.

Ta,


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Posted: Jun 11th 2010 11:39AM (Unverified) said

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The fact is LOTRO was normal sub game. Now it'll still be a sub game but with added free account and cash shop. Until I see it done I'll be careful about opinions.

The bad news is - Turbine cut the content and put at about 1 year into P2P -> F2P transition. This means they want Your purse now. Either from all players (this includes VIPs) - if You assume that free account is unplayable for long term - by offering "optional" cash shop content. Or if You assume You can play casually by using free account by adding majority of new content(to buy of course) for new free players, rather then for old fans.

The good news - this will bring new players and money which hopefully(but not necessarily) will change to more content and more updates in the future. In the ideal vision paying people will sponsor game for casual freebies and lifetime VIPs and bring enough revenue to Turbine at the same time.

Still will wait and see it done, until then haters about game being ruined and fanboys saying it'll be even better both sounds inane.

Posted: Jun 11th 2010 6:06PM (Unverified) said

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It has been done. With DDO.
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