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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:28AM (Unverified) said

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Excellent Article! It sums up a lot of my feelings!
Thanks a ton for it!
10 points!
I hope some people at some companies really do listen.

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:50AM Jef Reahard said

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Actually maybe my reading comprehension is poor, if that reply wasn't directed at me. Hard to tell in these comments.

/doh
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 1:33PM Lobotomist said

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Excellent article , but unfortunately its ... WRONG

First:
So called F2T you branded Turbine gives you your beloved FLATRATE. Yes if you pay 15$ sub. You will have exactly the same treatment as subscription payer in AOC. What AOC doesnt give you how ever is CHOICE.

Now you can choose if to pay sub. Or pay for individual content...or perhaps not pay for nothing at all (let say you just want to roleplay with your buddies)

Can you do it in P2P game? Answer is NO.
You have to pay 15$ even if you just want to say hello to your guild buddy.


Second: Imagine this scenario. You enter all you can eat restaurant. But you only want a salad. Waiter says "Its 30$ and you get all you can eat". And you say "But i am on diet , i only want a salad"..."sorry sir" Says waiter. "Your salad will cost you 30$"


So you see P2P is maybe good for hardcore gamer. But how about everyone else ? Or how about people that want to play several MMOs ? Or how about people that only roleplay, or chat. Or can log in only sundays ?

Taking in account that your P2T (silly name) gives you benefit of exactly same subscription as P2P.

Than I ask you. Is you wining only about having CHOICE ?
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 1:50PM Jef Reahard said

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@Lobotomist:

I get what you're trying to say, but it just doesn't add. Does Turbine's flat rate get you absolutely everything in the game, or will there be things in the cash shop that are exclusive to the cash shop? I honestly don't know the answer to that, but since they are going to be gifting VIPs with shop points, doesn't that indicate that there will be certain things that you can only get via the cash shop, regardless of whether or not you're paying flat rate?

That's the crux of my love for flat rate, that it is (or should be) 100% inclusive. Fallen Earth's flat rate is not, nor is EQ2's, nor Champion's, nor STO's. You really think Turbine's will be?

Secondly, your restaurant analogy just doesn't work. If I only wanted a salad, why would I willingly go to a place that serves a buffet that I know is $30? I wouldn't, I would go to a cheap salad place (i.e., I'd play a game that better meshes with my time budget instead of an mmorpg).

Its totally fine that we have differing views on this, it is the interwebs after all, but you've done nothing to illustrate the 'wrong'-ness of my opinion.
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 3:01PM mav1234 said

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No, for a subscription price, you won't get everything out of the DDO store whenever you want.

DDO's VIP service offers users a set number of points per month, in addition to access to all the content. It does not give access to all the features of the game, though many of them not granted by VIP are unlockable in game. In addition, you do not need to spend money to get Turbine Points, as they are also earnable in game (though it takes times to do so). Many VIPs go months without spending points, because frankly, you don't need to spend many points to play the game while at all if you have access to all the Adventure Packs. On the other hand ,you can go on a mad shopping spree and blow lots of money.

Many, many games already offer things outside of a subscription service, even without a cash shop. Many games offer things like server swaps which cost RL money. Other games, like WoW, offer in game items. Either way, these features are not included in your flat rate anyway.

The best thing about DDO for me is the choice I have between paying and not paying. I can either rent access to content, or own it. I like that.
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 3:09PM Lobotomist said

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@Jef

True. There are game enhancing items sold in Turbine shop. And i know its the only real point worth of "sharpening the axes".

But look... subscribers get so many shop points they can buy all of those items and plenty of them.

Also. Lets not forget its PVE game.
Buying extra power with cash in PVP game that is also subscription based. Yes I agree that is completely unfair. But since neither LOTRO or DDO are PVP games, we can not know how will it work for PVP model.

Dont forget. Even in P2P game you have your gold sellers. Which is basically the same thing.


As for All you can eat restaurant. I do feel its a perfect analogy.

For some MMO might be all you can eat restaurant. And you are very hungry ( read - you are hardcore gamer )

But for others are on diet (read casual gamers, family man, working man) still they love the MMO. Why should they be penalized ?

Dont you understand that Only Hardcore are allowed to enter hurts the genre and companies. There are simply not enough hardcore gamers to go around.






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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:28AM Birk said

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As a business student and budding entrepreneur (budding, I boast no practical experience aside from what is learned in the classroom - and I concede that that is WAY, WAY under par with the real world), I completely agree with everything you have said.

I will, however, say that if AoC ramped up the sub fee to 29.99 for full access to the game, I would say goodbye forever.

It's a fantastic game, but $30 a month is getting close to the cost of a new cellphone. I love MMO's, but I only sub to one at a time for a reason.

I also don't purchase things in cash shops. Not because I'm not tempted - I played Atlantica online for maybe 10 hours total, and 6 hours of that was spent deliberating if I wanted to buy the cool costume packs (which were RANDOMLY generated, by the way! NO guarantee that you get what you pay for! HA!). Seriously, the game sucked, but the shinies roped me in.

And then I sat down and had a beer, and thought to myself:

"Oh...hell no."

I can't justify the creep. It breaks immersion and it breaks the satisfaction of earning a brand-new item. Yes, some things are just vanity items. That's fair, and I'll tolerate it. I'm a completionist too, but as long as there is a large majority of the game's vanity items available with sub, and not exclusively in the store - I'll let it slide.

But it's a slippery slope. The more you pay, the more companies see the bottom line on their paycheque growing. And don't get me wrong; I WANT Funcom to see that bottom line growing. I LIKE their stuff. If there was a Funcom guy standing in the mall asking for change, I'd throw him a buck. But I DON'T like it when companies charge me, in addition to my fee, for items that I would far rather earn by myself.

This goes for F2P titles too; I would rather pay you 15$ a month, and EARN your items by actually PLAYING your game, than purchase them a la carte in your little twisted hell-menu.

And let me be clear; I don't want some other Joe to be able to buy it a la carte either. Does it cheapen my experience by seeing fifty other folks walking around in the "vanity hell-armor from the frozen plains of Avalon, stolen from Hardonix, King of the Aether", when I know they paid $2.99 for it?

Hell yes it does!

Items have an innate value! If all these folks are paying $3, or $30 to be walking around with an item that is supposed to be exclusive...then I don't want it anymore! Call me an elitist, but I'm not. Throw a particularly difficult solo chain in to the game; those that are bothered to complete it can go about wearing it, and I'll nod my head respectively.

But for chrissake, an army of little Tommy's and Duke's walking around, clad in their parent's credit cards just makes me sick.

I'll apply a metaphor, that I always have, for powerleveling services, RMT money buyers, and now cash-shop purchasers:

There was once a game named Myst. The ENTIRE game was based on puzzle-solving. It was pretty damn hard; but when you solved a puzzle, you very near shat yourself.

There was a cheat for it, that allowed you to beat the game. Completely bypassing every level! You could be the Myst master, for nothing! You didn't even need a credit card; there it was, the Myst fame for you to grab! You could screenshot that badboy, and show it to all your friends. And, because it was 1995, they boggled at your greatness as they themselves bashed their heads against that infernal astrological puzzle.

And guess how much satisfaction I got out of that proud moment?

None. And I never did beat Myst.


/rant

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:33AM DrewIW said

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You sure are mad about pixels.

Why do you have such a sense of entitlement about make believe things?
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:49AM Jef Reahard said

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@Drew:

Entitlement? Really?

Wow, either your reading comprehension is poor or my writing is my poor, maybe both, as entitlement is one of the things that vexes me the most about gaming and our culture in general.

Nowhere did I state I was entitled to anything, I simply don't believe that F2P helps customers over the long haul. If all these games go that route, I'll simply stop playing. I hope it doesn't come to that, but I'm mystified as to where you managed to pull entitlement out of what I wrote.
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:51AM Jef Reahard said

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Er, wow.

Love this comment system. Anyway, see my comment above Drew if you weren't in fact addressing that to me.
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:52AM DrewIW said

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Jef, that comment was for Birk, not you. Specifically this gem "Does it cheapen my experience by seeing fifty other folks walking around in the "vanity hell-armor from the frozen plains of Avalon, stolen from Hardonix, King of the Aether", when I know they paid $2.99 for it?

Hell yes it does!"

If you happen to agree with that statement, then I guess you need to lighten up as well v0v
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:53AM Jef Reahard said

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Yeah, I just realized that, hence my comment spam trying to correct it. My apologies for misunderstanding.
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 12:53PM Birk said

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Not to start a flame war here, but criticizing me about my "sense of entitlement" isn't really pertinent to my issue.

I'm pretty sure that everyone places value on items in-game, do they not? Furthermore, I'm not talking about a specific instance of any item, so I don't feel "entitled" to anything, except for:

1) the ability to gain items, in-game, in exchange for actually playing the game, at a reasonably challenging level, without having those items devalued by other folks who have simply "paid a premium".

Everyone has the right to choose their own motivators. It doesn't make me "self-entitled" because I feel that, if an item became nothing more than an excuse to swipe a credit card, I wouldn't want to grind my ass off for it.

It's the equivalent of running a marathon. Would I train for years of my life to dominate in a chosen field, when someone else can simply pony up $10, or $100, or $1,000,000 for a pair of cybernetic legs?

No, I would find another sport. Or quit playing sports, and play more videogames.

I don't think its necessarily fair to tell me to "lighten up, it's just a game". Sure, I realize that. But it's something I pay for. More in time, than in money, mind you. And that's fine, because at the end of the day, I think that many, if not most, of us play for a sense of achievement.

Now if YOU are okay with paying a premium for goods and services, well that's your choice. You want to pay to experience content at a different rate than I do? It's your choice, once again. The content of the article dealt with why the author thinks that cash-shops and F2P games are beginning to swing cash models in an unfavourable way, so perhaps I took my argument too far in the field of "Pay vs. Play"

You are, of course, entitled to your preference.

But so am I. And if a game that I love begins to cheapen the items that I actually want to "play" for, by making them widely available at a premium...well, I won't play that game anymore, because the incentive is not there. Call me "self-entitled" all you want, but reducing content (ANY content) to nothing more than a representation of how much extra money you have to throw into the game, takes away from the value of the item. It's undeniable!

It takes it into the realm of "real-life" economic viability, and away from "in-game achievement". Do we not play games to achieve something?


Anyways, I'm not pretending to be right or wrong. It's a matter of opinion. No, I don't measure my level of personal success by how many pixels I can accrue in a video game. But MMOs are the same as any hobby; we play them so that we can have fun, and ultimately achieve some level of mastery. It's the same reason people played Pac-Man...for the high score, of course. Who doesn't want to succeed?

Don't tell me to lighten up, because someone at the Pac-Man contest used a cheat code to beat my high score. I'm not going to kill myself over it, but I'm probably not going to go back to that contest. And if every Pac-man-a-thon has folks cheating for a high-score, I'm probably not going to keep playing it and trying to get better...because achieving that goal is not as valuable as before.

Subsequently, don't tell me to lighten up because someone got the "cool vanity pet" that I really covet because they can pony up the additional $25 that I would rather actually work for in-game.

I want to earn stuff, simply put. If you want to play the item-mall game, then more power to you. This article is concerned with AoC, a game that isn't item-mall currently, turning into one. I don't play it for an item-mall, I play it to earn the items that I wear.
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Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:30AM (Unverified) said

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This article is hilarious.

*deleted by editor for crude comment* Check. Blatant misrepresentation? Check. Insulting your readers? Check.

"Oh Funcom, thank you for the -privilege- of letting me pay you for a substandard game!"

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:29AM (Unverified) said

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FINALLY, someone with some notoriety comes out and says it. Expect to be flamed to hell and back, because the "F2P faithful" have their heads firmly entrenched in the sand, and seem to be zealously devoted to thrusting their wallets at companies for no reason thinking that the have their best interests in mind. I've been trying to relate the exact same thing to people for the longest time, and they refuse to grasp the concept that what's good for business, isn't necessarily good for them as gamers. But people buy into it hook line and sinker, as evidenced by the millions of fools who spent $25 on a reskinned sparkle pony that took maybe an hour or two of an interns time to complete. The ignorance of the MMO community is frightening, as they're quickly pulling the wheel in their direction, and driving the genre off a sheer cliff.

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:30AM (Unverified) said

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Your aversion to choice is saddening.

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:33AM (Unverified) said

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i too have nothing against ftp models in MMOs, nor against developers who produce quality games making money. i also agree with everything stated above (and i reread it to make sure, because i almost never agree with *everything* anyone says). $15/month has been a fantastic value for a long time, and should it become obsolete i will miss it terribly. it's the single reason i've been able to justify my gaming obsession to the rest of my family on occasion... how can you beat 30 days of unlimited gameplay (or anything else, for that matter) for only 50ยข a day? the answer, quite simply, is that you can't.

i'm glad Turbine has successfully resurrected DDO by going with an alternative payment model. as a gamer, it does my heart well knowing that someone's favorite game (even when it's not mine) gets a second chance at success and new traffic to the community. when the same announcement was made regarding LotRO (still no surprise since their recent Warner Bros. acquisition), i was just glad that i walked away from that game a while ago. if you're interested in my full thoughts on that subject, you can find them at http://min-dist.blogspot.com/2010/06/nazgul-are-corporate-executives.html

i only hope the observation here that this new bandwagon of microtransactions is, in fact, only a fad and will not last. the idea of being in the midst of gaming bliss, only to hit a gateway that requires me to alt+tab and hit the cash shop before continuing onward into different content makes me shudder. i've tried many (and more) ftp games and so far haven't found one that offers my ideal gaming environment (and this has nothing to do with categorizing players into some kind of ptp/ftp cookie cutter mold, an idea which i haven't found to be completely accurate in my experiences). it's just that my ideal gaming environment is one in which i pay my fee and do whatever i feel like doing within the game for the remainder of my paid time. perhaps this is an idea which is on it's way out... but i too don't want to be left with nothing but memories and concept art.

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:36AM (Unverified) said

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Lots of spergin going on in here, Turbines system is nearly perfect and makes the most sense both business wise and consumer wise as well. It upped their player count from nearly dying to thriving and adding servers, people are mostly content with buying adventure packs once or twice a month for new content and not paying a monthly fee for a game you might not play in a while.

Dont like that method? Keep your subscription and play like you've always played, with the added bonus of getting some points to spend on crap you wouldn't have gotten anyways if the game didn't have a shop.

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:38AM (Unverified) said

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I used to laugh at people who spent $50 on a game and then continued paying a fee to play it. If this trendy little thing becomes the normal thing with all mmo's then I'll be done playing them.

Posted: Jun 13th 2010 11:40AM Ephe said

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Thank God one writer on this site understands. I was worried about the wall of approval that has been put up for LOTRO going F2P.

Every casual and multi-MMO gamer loves the model and thinks it's great, but they'll only take a peek and do some quests for one or two days a week. For faithful people who spend hours daily on the game, going F2P is a big deal. It ruins the game's image and the credibility of the company. Instead of releasing content that's completely accessible and ment to be fun for the players, it is released to milk more cash from them.

The sad truth is that traditional MMOs will slowly die out. There is so little innovation going on and mechanic-wise they're like copies of eachother set in a different world. Going F2P might be the last option they have instead of shutting down eventually, as much as I dislike it. If GW2 triggers a revolution of the MMO genre, there will be interesting days to come. Games like AoC and LOTRO with traditional game engines and systems will require a major investment to keep up with the rest, or be forced to broaden their player base by making the game accessible and free.

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