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Reader Comments (46)

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:10PM Thac0 said

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You know what they say "The road to Mordor is paved with good intentions."

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:13PM (Unverified) said

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"However, right now the problem is that nobody can prove one way or the other whether the influx of free players will help or hinder the community"

What about the DDO community? What have they proven?

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 10:11PM Icemasta said

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The starter areas became troll haven, the later areas were pretty intact. The difference is that LOTRO has custom chats like "GLFF" for Global looking for Fellowship, while it is often used for off-topic, from my experience, trolling is a minor occurrence, and I'd call it light trolling. It won't take long before new players hear of it and it will become unusable and IMHO, GLFF is one of the greatest tool of LOTRO as you meet the most known players and have a chance of discussing with them over several topics, although most of the times it is about pie or bacon or both.

Now, I'll use a part of my thesis about the psychological process of a troll. A person who trolls generally does this act for attention. Now, person who seeks attention will often compete with each other for it, my best example here is WoW. When one troll starts and someone is baited, others will jump to the occasion to get their share of attention. In environments where other such person are rare, the amount of trolling will be minimal, and the person will often act more mature than they would in a situation where many trolls were known. This often happens in P2P MMOs and low pop games. Trolls encourage each other when they witness their action as they make their behavior acceptable since others do it. The same can be said of the opposite. People who mostly act appropriately will give the impression to those who seek attention to do it via proper manners, such as starting discussions on popular topics.

To give an example of what I am saying, I used to be a little prick when I was 12 in MMOs until I joined a MMO called Darkages by Nexon in 1998. I initially acted the same, then I was met with people ignoring me, and my conduct wasn't appropriate, and I wasn't encouraged to continue because everyone around me was giving a good example. 3 months laters, my grammar went from "hi can u help me plz" to "Could you please help me?". If the majority of players you play with act proper, the chances of you acting proper are increased.

I like to call this the "noise" effect. People are more likely to act like the people who speak/act the loudest. In P2P MMOs, the majority and loudest are standard players, and thus this encourages others to act as such.

Then you have F2P games, where the minority WILL troll, but will sadly be the loudest of the bunch, and thus teach other players that trolling is an acceptable behavior, even going as far as encouraged, as a way of seeking attention.

About the teenager part people often bring, sadly, a lot of kids lack the attention they need from their parents, and that's something they can't get from TV, and they often seek it online. It's becoming a trend to get it from MMOs.
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Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:13PM (Unverified) said

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I really enjoyed this optimistic outlook on integration.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:16PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with the last paragraph. It's be stronger if you hadn't spent the previous paragraphs doing exactly what you warn against, by separating current players into two categories of elitists and hospitables.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:31PM (Unverified) said

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One other major difference between SOE and Turbine is that it looks like EQ2X will be Pay To Win, selling stat gear in the cash shop. Doing that, along with walling off the new players from the veterans, will just be a mess. Cutting off the flow of new players to the regular servers is very likely a mistake as well.

Having just started playing LotRO (along with a lot of others if all the new players asking questions on Landroval is any indication), I've found it really helpful for picking up tips on how to play from the current players as others ask questions. I think having that community of knowledgeable (and friendly) players is a major advantage, something that SOE will be missing in their attempt.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:53PM (Unverified) said

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Honestly, I think SOE was simply responding to their community which cried out against F2P players on their servers. Sadly, those servers are fairly low pop. I think LOTRO didn't have a huge population issue (I play both games) But more players in the world generally makes it easier to complete all kinds of content.

In this case I feel EQ2 is going to suffer by not getting a surge of new players on their regular servers. If anything, I could see the playerbase wane somewhat as veteran players copy characters to the new EQ2 extended servers and spend more time playing there. Ultimately the game would be healthier with a single community rather than a fractured one. I love this game, I'd love to see more people playing without needing to transfer me and my entire guild to another server.

While I don't expect it to be a popular opinion I definitely feel that SOE has decided to listen to the whining child that does not want a shot, instead of doing what is best for the kid.
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Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:42PM Seffrid said

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SOE will be merging both sets of servers before long, that has been made clear. There's no question of them running two separate systems alongside each other beyond the very short term.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:46PM (Unverified) said

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So now all that end gamers have to do is login, get credit card ready and basically purchase their way to max level in one day.

They should cut development cost and just create a game that starts up with a label saying 'you won!' or 'you almost won!' depending on how much money you give,

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 1:48PM Dranaerys said

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Funny how all these high profile MMOs are releasing F2P schemes, for lack of a better word, to compete with the possible fall release of Cataclysm. I really hate how WoW seems to dictate the rythm of the MMO industry. I sincerely hope GW2 manages to shake things up a bit next year.

Posted: Jul 31st 2010 2:35PM wjowski said

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Don't blame WoW, blame the other developers for being too cowardly to buck the trend.
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Posted: Jul 30th 2010 2:00PM Wisdomandlore said

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One of the most interesting effects of the F2P switch is how it's affected the LOTRO community. Just look at the two ways you describe it:

"one of the most welcome, patient and helpful gaming groups"

and

"The elitist attitude says that the game is fine the way it is right now, that all the people currently playing constitute the "real" fanbase, and that if they had to play the game a certain way, everyone else should as well. They resent what they see as moochers"

Sadly LOTRO has seen an influx of trolls and morons. They're the elitist players who think they're better than everybody else, refuse to welcome new players, and scorn a decision to bring new money, and thus development to the game.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 3:04PM ScottishViking said

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I agree. As a lifetime subscriber since just after launch, I have seen the community grow and evolve and now, showing the beginnings of stagnation. I think this influx will breathe new life into the community, in the process making more money for WB of course. That these two ideas -- a rebirth of the community and the making of money -- are mutually exclusive, is a suggestion made only by those who, as Justin suggested, fear change. And as you say, Wisdom, there's been a lot of poor behaviour on the subscriber side.

The irony is that in a chat with devs at a conference, over a year ago, I was suggesting F2P as a means to breathe new life into PvMP by allowing F2Pers to play Monster Players. They balked at that suggestion, which confused me. F2P communities LOVE PvP. I understand that they'd have to fiddle with how you actually get a Monster Player -- currently you have to level a Freep to 10 -- but it would seem to be a beautiful way to bring in a HUGE community from outside.

They've still not moved down that route, which is so disappointing.

Anyways, my only hope is that the "new content" that arrives with the F2P influx won't just be superficial sops to the microtransaction system -- new items, etc. I'm hoping for substantive developments, and that means new boundaries for endgame. I'm not sure the F2P community will facilitate this directly, but here's hoping some of the funds go in that direction.
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Posted: Jul 30th 2010 2:07PM Suplyndmnd said

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I think Turbine has the right idea. Putting all the free players on their own servers just makes them lesser players. Those not good enough to mingle with the subbies (I'm making it a word). However with LOTR:O the free players get to interact with the subbies and there is more potential in those free players becoming pay players if they like the community enough.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 3:24PM Ocho said

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I agree. Although EQII will have its own positives, I think Turbine has the better approach. No need to open up entirely new servers, and the current players show what the community is really like and have an effect on all new players to show them what the community is like. EQII... yeah, all newbies, all the time (which I will most likely be one of them, I won't lie...) will be like Lord of the Flies and end up being completely and totally different than the sub servers. Once they both go F2P, I will be playing both of them.

Too much good stuff is coming out that I don't feel right about locking myself into a sub anymore. Like most people have alts, I would love having multiple games... if I could I'd play STO, Fallen Earth, WoW, and SWtoR simultaneously... but that'd be about $60/month in sub fees... craziness. I am faithful to my wife, but I am a playa when it comes to gaming...
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Posted: Jul 30th 2010 2:27PM MisterCode said

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If Star Wars Galaxies NGE debacle had never happened, I'm sure SOE would have pushed to get all servers into full shop modes. Of course, if the NGE had never happened it is very likely that EQ2 would have had all servers forced into PvP when that was released. And the servers would also have likely all been turned into Live Gamer servers. Both of those were rejected based on the fear of having most of the player base run away screaming in disgust... and rightly so.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 2:48PM Dblade said

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The reason why to choose a separate server model for EQ was not a matter of hospitality. The devs themselves said the driving reason was their feedback that people do not want "pay to win" servers-they don't want people being able to buy power. Smokejumper said:

"As I said in that interview, we will not be changing your subscription model. We've heard you folks loud and clear that you do not want items with stats introduced, you don't want players buying their way to power, etc. Your world will stay the way it has been and we will continue to support it with new content, items, etc."

That was the reason. It's not about the caliber of player but about how cash shop games selling items affect gameplay. It's the same reason why not every server in EQ uses Station Exchange to allow real money trading of items.

As for community in general of course F2P segregates them. They may be on the same sever but pure free players and limited MT ones wont be able to do quests, or instances, may not even be able to use features like shout or zone chat, can't often form guilds, and may even have zone restrictions. They may not be able to level to max cap, or the gear they can get may make doing some raids impossible. If you think just putting them on the same server matters you have another thing coming.

Most F2P games they self-segregate even worse because of power differential amplified by the cash shop.

It's a hell of a lot more complex issue than simple hospitality.




Posted: Jul 30th 2010 2:57PM (Unverified) said

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I think the LotRO model is going to work better for the game in the long term than the EQ2 model. What SOE is doing is overly complicated and the fragmentation of their playerbase is going to wreak havoc on server populations. EQ2 may not require a high population of living breathing players the way WAR servers do, but no MMO is fun when there's nobody else around.

SOE needs to cut the member options down too. Just have free players and sub players. Someone who buys a year sub is still a sub player. FFS though, make your year subscription obviously a bargain over month-to-month. Throw in the station cash for free or don't include it at all, geez.

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 3:43PM Pingles said

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I think the FREE players in an F2P game serve an important purpose. Whether it is to fill out groups, buy your auction items or simply just to run around the cities filling them with life I think it's a mistake to segregate them from the paying players.

And as far as their argument about the premium players not wanting folks to "buy their way to power" how about not having that be possible in your item shop? The developers design what's in there! Don't have overpowered items or ways to speed up progress!

Posted: Jul 30th 2010 4:01PM SkuzBukit said

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Pingles "gets it".
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