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Reader Comments (43)

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 3:02PM DarkWalker said

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@Puremallace
Blizzard (specially after the Activision deal) is either greedy, or incompetent enough that it needs to charge for things other games can afford to provide for free, such as server transfers. Why else announce cross-realm grouping as a premium service, not included in the $15 per month subscription fee?

GW is a MMORPG. If you can call DDO a MMORPG, then GW is also a MMORPG, no doubt about it. For what matters, plenty of WoW players use WoW as if it was a loby+instanced content game - they log, chat in city trade, use the LFD to run heroics, and from time to time enter a group for a raid, wait to be ported to the instance.

GW also have an online store, selling plenty of cosmetic and convenience items.

Lastly, GW's business model worked so well that after over 6 years the game is still going strong, with frequent patches, and ANet made enough money to be able to develop GW2, announcing since the start that it would use the same business model. Better than quite a few subscription-based games that went out of operation in much less than 6 years (Matrix Online, Tabula Rasa, the original incarnation of APB, etc) :)

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 3:09PM (Unverified) said

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I'll say it this way. I am personaly raider, not realy hardcore, but I tend to raid a lot. (WoW). I imagine as they are saying that endgame in GW2 starts with lvl 1 people can have their sweet time with it.
With SWtOR people will eventualy level up and look up to endgame content wich is pretty much raid encounters.
Maybe at start their will be fight for time, but eventualy they will level up in SWtOR and evaluate if its wirth to go on, same with GW2. But no matter what they decide, they will always be asking themself if it is worth ther 15$ per month, a question that will never be asked about GW2. And that is the one thing that stands out with GW2. It does not force you in any way to play it. People will sometimes say no to some game with monthly fee, just because they feel they are obligated to play, this does not come with GW2.

Personaly I am all for GW2, and those who play more then 1 mmo at one time they already know how to spend their time most efficiently.
What won me over was no trinity and Guardian, what can I say, I'm sucer for paladin-esque class to play, even tho now I am considering between warrior and guardian. They look great.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 3:12PM Irem said

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@Puremallace
Space Cobra summed it up well, but to add, the reason a lot of the big titles haven't gone B2P is that the subscription model works for them and they see no reason to change. Those games were designed with a sub fee in mind.

And pretty much any game is dependent on new players coming in to stay alive, because eventually people leave. If there aren't more new players coming in than old players leaving, there's a problem. ArenaNet doesn't even need to pile on the cash shop items to make a lot of money, though--they just have to provide things that people will want to buy, and people who are actually having fun playing are more likely to buy things for their characters. I'm not what you'd call a fan of microtransactions, but I've actually spent a lot of money in the GW1 cash shop because they a) sold me stuff I liked and b) didn't design their game around making buying things necessary.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 3:17PM jondifool said

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Doesn't ArenaNet already take the time competition in account with the antigrind philosofi and the flat lvl curve?

Meaning that a 300 hour a year player isn't lost compared to a 1500+ hours player.

And more important for ArenaNets buisness model. Players can comeback without being behind when new content is availble, meaning that the don't have that obstackle of being outleveled, if they have not been playing for a while!

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 3:29PM Utakata said

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@Puremallace

What's a ponzy scheme? I've heard of a Ponzi scheme before...but never a ponzy one.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 3:37PM Irem said

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@Puremallace
A bigger player base means more people to pay for cash shop items. If having a high population of players really meant astronomical overhead, F2P wouldn't be as popular as it is, since some of those games have very high numbers.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 3:45PM Khaal said

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So is it money or time? Or, is it both? Well, it's at least both. Honestly I think there's one other factor/resource to consider. Friends.

So, GW2 will be directly competing less on the monetary front as it's not in the sub category and its cash shop will be considerably less than the free-to-play shops. However it will be competing on the time front, but as you mention it won't be competing as directly with the sub category games as you can put GW2 down and pick it up later, but you can do that with FtP as well, so the competition there is more direct.

But, I mentioned friends. One of the interesting things we've seen is that players tend to do in WoW is leave for another game only to return a few months later. People are going to end up playing the game their friends play, even if it's not their favorite or the better game.

It's a position I'm sort of in. My wife and I have been playing GW for three years now, but I dislike some of the aspects of GW2. They're not dealbreakers, really, but we have a group of friends who play Champions Online, so we're in a funny position. If we can convince our friends to come to GW2, then we'll likely do that, but if not then playing a game I'm not really into with a group of friends will probably be still more fun than GW2. Friends are a big part of it. Arenanet needs to not only sell you, but five of your friends as well.

Anyway just an extra thought on it.

Josh

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 4:00PM jadylyon said

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I'm not convinced that a monthly subscription fee actually registers as a hindrance to gamers at all. With the understanding that gamer culture in this day and age is geared to adults with disposable income, who are supporting their habit (and likely their kids as well) on a bi-weekly paycheque, the thought that most are going to be stymied on WHERE to spend their $15 a month like it's even a question rings sort of hollow.

I spend that much on a movie and a tub of popcorn, so for my subscription fee, if I spend two hours a month playing I've broken even on the entertainment dollar - and even on a game I'm not jazzed about, I'll spend more than two hours in the course of thirty days. But when I stop playing Game X because Game Y totally has my attention, I didn't switch because of the almighty dollar hit my pocketbook too hard - I switched because I'd rather spend my *time* somewhere else.

Guild Wars 2 is going to be competing in the MMO marketplace based on the idea that we're all going to love it so much, we won't want to do anything else. That's where the competition is; not on the sub fee which is irrelevant to the experience.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 4:38PM Noviere said

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I plan to play GW2 and TOR. Time is certainly a factor, but I'll never have enough free time to be "hardcore" anymore... so taking my time and playing a few hours of each per week doesn't seem like a big deal.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 4:40PM DarkWalker said

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There's another issue regarding time, and one where I'm not sure GW2 is actually agreeable with my preferences.

Most of my playtime is in roughly 30-minutes chunks. This means that any wasted time when I sit down to play (such as having to hunt for some elusive event happening) is actually a big downside with me, and any content that can't be effectively "paused" need to fit inside those 30 minutes, including the time to travel to where I will be playing and waiting for the content to start.

It's a good part of the reason I finally left WoW, after playing for 5 years. I've mostly exhausted all solo content I actually care to play, and when even 5-man content (random Heroic PUGs) can easily take an hour or more, I was simply out of things to do that actually fit my play schedule, so I left.

I also dislike GW event system because it should be fairly unpredictable. This means I will not be able to play some favorite event when I would have liked to, and some times I might only have available events I dislike.

I will buy GW2 and SW:TOR both. But unless GW2 events are so plentiful I can be playing one within 5 minutes of logging, and short enough that I will be able to finish them before I have to log out, I will most likely drop the game as soon as I have played through the whole main story.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 5:52PM bulldozerftw said

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I think in reality with the amount of people currently hopping between mmo's there's about an average of around 1 million people only. The average hardcore mmo player would probably be willing to spend 3 months playing a game. Giving them time to play about 4 major mmo's a year. That means each company would receive anywhere from 50 to 95 dollars for one particular person. I agree that one might still be willing to go back to one game. But that means that there will always be a very limited number of competitors with the amount of customers like blizzard.

You also have to factor in burnout. I'm sure every mmo player will eventually get burned out of playing the same type of games about every 4 or 5 years. That means that the market has to severely change every 4 or 5 years in order for a company to continue to keep it's place in the game market. But with the way things have been in the past i estimate that it can take about 10 years for a game to get very mainstream.

Basically free to play games are ruining the market. Probably somewhere like 95% of people that play free to play games never drop a cent on them. Now a payment model like guild wars is acceptable for a free to play job because it allows them to get a similar amount which they would otherwise compared to a pay to play company not including the extra they might get from box sales. I guess their cash shop will help to get the extra money they miss from monthly fees. Arena net would still be hoping that every 3 months they will lose a customer or maybe sell an expansion pack. As a bonus I guess this means after a 3 month period when then get burned out from another game they might get their old customers back and they might spend an extra few dollars here and there.

A game company pays about say 80,000 dollars a year to an employee and has about 100. Say they need three years minimum to make a game this totals to 24, 000, 000 dollars. Then on top of that they have to pay other fee's like utilities: power computers, software, advertising and other things. Getting 1, 000 , 000 players in today's market is considered a huge success which equates to only 50, 000, 000 if all the money goes directly to the company in something like digital sales.

So basically game company's are taking a huge risk just to break even.
Free to play company's are spoiling 95% of potential customers into accepting games should be free. With the quality coming from new F2P games like firefall and raiderz for example might give these people no reason to ever want to pay a premium for their game.

I can't honestly see a F2P company actually making enough profit to fully make their own game's that have the quality to compete with today's market. I just cant see that 5 % of people that choose to donate to the game who are either total fanboys or hard workers that would rather have a casual game since they don't want to spend the time. The only items that can be in game shops should be cosmetic items or maybe double xp scrolls or discounts of in game purchases. Maybe they can buy up old game's and get their amateur team's an example they can learn from and possibly make their own games further down the line.

Between the need for getting a constant flow of new customers and F2P games destroying the market I truly believe cash shops have no place in the western market. Here in africa it's somewhat common to see beggar's doing favors like, watching your car in the parking lot to make sure it's safe while you buy groceries. In return they expect a small tip. The idea of being friendly for the sake of money is just a hypocritical idea that will never work.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 5:59PM cray said

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I would have to disagree with ArcherAvatar's time vs money argument. I think a person doesn't manage they playing time around which game(s) or how many games they can/will play. It's merely an afterthought of how and when. There are new games released almost on weekly basis, there's nothing that prevents a person from buying the next hot game. GW2 is much like any typical video game in that amount of time invested is purely subjective. Wherein a subscription-based game the time invested is in the forefront of player's mind.You can buy both GW2 and SW:TOR, but the latter is where time and money are effected. You can buy GW2 and not install it until a year from now and not be effected by time and money. The fact that ArenaNet only needs box sales for it to be successful is where there's no competition. You don't buy a subscription-based game unless you have intentions of paying the monthly fee. Ultimately SW:TOR is going force the time vs money issue on itself because it's business model deems it to be so. GW2 is just going to be another new game of the week.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 7:00PM C Rose said

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@Puremallace

My friend you are often harsh and negative with your criticism and this is no different. Go pay $30 (or less) for the entire Guild Wars Trilogy and have an unbelievably polished and fun gameplay experience for years and years and tell me it's a gimmick then.

And I'll even concede that Guild Wars was not really a "true" MMO, but Guild Wars 2 most definitely will be. And it may be the best MMO to date. But that's just my speculation, although the facts about the game seem intriguing to say the least.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 7:56PM Samhayn said

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Well after reading the reveiws and coments on SWTOR, If GW2 can truely bring a new feel to combat and questing then it has a strong chance to win the time and money game.

Also if ArenaNet truely has PvP in the game as more then an after thought like most curent triple "A" tittles then it will pull in a player base that has been floating from game to game since DaoC (hears to W v W v W not sucking)

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 8:36PM ArcherAvatar said

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@Rubi
Your point that financial considerations factor strongly into the decision to play one game or another is very salient. My major point was that the finances were not the only, and in my opinion, not the greatest factor in those decisions.

I've read through all of the comments posted here (prior to my own) and it's pretty clear to me that these two folks really understood the point I was trying to get across.

Quote: "But when I stop playing Game X because Game Y totally has my attention, I didn't switch because of the almighty dollar hit my pocketbook too hard - I switched because I'd rather spend my *time* somewhere else."

"Guild Wars 2 is going to be competing in the MMO marketplace based on the idea that we're all going to love it so much, we won't want to do anything else. That's where the competition is; not on the sub fee which is irrelevant to the experience." - jadylyon

Quote: "...there's another very important side to this argument, and that's wanting to play the game." - Rubi

One of the reasons I enjoy this website as much as I do is because I'm almost assured of finding perspectives on issues that differ from my own (both from the staff as well as the other readers/commenters) and personally, I consider that a very valuable thing. It's always a much more interesting conversation when two people don't necessarily agree with each other on a topic, but can enjoy discussing (even debating) their differing viewpoints.

It's also very rewarding when someone clearly "understands what you're trying to say" even if they don't necessarily agree with it.

I know there is a segment of the gaming community who self-identify as "vagabonds" or "tourists" with respect to their MMO playing habits... personally, I find those folks both fascinating and very, very strange. My own gaming habits are very monogamous. There is always one game that I enjoy more than the others currently available, and that game inevitably ends up getting my full attention. The reason is simple; it's more fun to play... so that's the game I play.

Although I spend time in MMOs on "solo content" that's not what draws me to them. I enjoy socializing in online games. It's one thing to "slay a minotaur" in a game... it's another alltogether to slay that minotaur right before it would have wiped your group, or even just killed a friend. The degree of satisfaction rockets up significantly when your actions aide others imo, and that in a nutshell is the vast majority of the appeal of MMOs to me. When you make friends and allies in MMOs the way I do, then skipping around to a circuit of games is a much less attractive concept.

And there is always one game that is just more appealing to you regardless of what your criteria are... most folks are going to want to spend their time on that game. A wide array of criteria may factor into that decision for each person - cost $, friends, aesthetic appeal of the graphics, one particular system or game mechanic being present or absent, but the bottom-line once all of those other factors are weighed and measured is; which one am I going to spend my TIME on? And, my premise was that even if two games are not competing with each other in ONE of those other areas for consideration, they are always competing with each other in the final area: time.

P.S. Thank-you very much for the kind words Rubi. I was honored to hear your opinion of my comments. You are a favorite of both myself and my better half, and I can't tell you what a special treat it was to watch the expression on her face as she read this Flameseeker Chronicles... btw, she agreed with you. ;-)

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 9:18PM Asterai said

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Other commenters have stated that the average gamer has plenty of disposable income. This is true, but there is still a large segment of gamers that don't. I border on this category; as a grad student, I have money to throw at luxuries, but not a lot of it. I have to be selective, especially if I want to whittle down my student loans, or save money (and I do). Much of my technically disposable income goes into eating better food than, say, cold sandwiches with mustard from a yellow plastic bottle.

Other gamers are not even as fortunate as I am. My teenage brother has no income to speak of, except for birthday and holiday gifts. My parents are not gamers, but have to bargain-hunt to afford games as gifts to us gaming children. Gamers like us are not the dominant force on the market, but we are a segment, and we do spend - when we can afford it, on carefully selected games. Money is an issue for some people, and for us, a lack of subscription may not be so much a "selling point" as a necessary but not sufficient condition for buying a game.

Time is also an issue, but I think this works differently for me than for some other gamers. I play games obsessively, with an amount of attention and care I am embarrassed to admit to my friends, just as I read books obsessively, voraciously. One obsession at a time is about as much as I can maintain and still function as an employed human being. Two would be completely untenable. I switch games infrequently, and I pick each one with care, knowing that I can (and will) sink hundreds of hours over the course of several months on a game that is a good fit - or is simply the best thing I have access to. I want those hours to be well-spent, doing things I enjoy. I want to be satisfied, or at least in an improved mood, when I finish a play session.

In short, time and money both matter to me. Some players have more of one than the other, but in any case, the game must have qualities that make it superior to other games if either resource is in contention.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 9:54PM Popplewell said

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GW2 may be a high profile game amongst avid MMO followers but beyond that?

TOR can attract the attention of the millions of Bioware's RPG fans and Star Wars fans and they will have TV advertising and plugs on the Star Wars website and during the fourth season of the hit animation show etc.

While there may be some overlap, I just don't think they are aiming at the same demographics.

Posted: Jun 13th 2011 10:34PM j3w3l said

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@Puremallace
the reason that most companies give for having a monthly sub is for server maintenance but i don't think you realise how little this actually costs. last estimate i read was about 3$ a month per person. This cost also goes down dramatically as more people and more servers are getting rented/ maintained.
The only reason companies are using this model is because it is seen as the more profitable, and that is true. But far more many ptp games have failed in far shorter time than btp or ftp. also having the btp or ftp model also guarantees a more steady influx of new players.

Posted: Jun 14th 2011 12:22AM BarGamer said

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If Star Trek Online has proven anything, it's that rushed development, restrictive game balance, and formula-based quests is going to make fans turn on you. By their own admission, STO devs said at the launch of their game, "Come back next year."

Star Wars is no different. I'm not even sure that a Bioware-designed interpretation of STO's Foundry (community-created missions) would be enough to keep subscribers coming back, month after month.

GW2, on the other hand, is not going to rush development, despite however much we beg them to. Game balance is a genius mix of developer and meta-game. Outside of the personal story, there are no traditional quests. We don't have Jar-Jar Binks, we have Vekk. We don't have Wesley Crusher, we have Gwen.

Best case scenario, SWTOR comes out significantly before or after GW2, and after a brief flash-in-the-pan, fans pick up GW2 again, and the MMO revolution begins. The planet is united in joy and peace. War is replaced by World VS World PVP. Poverty and unemployment is eliminated as people integrate gaming concepts into daily life, including education. (Shameless plug for the Extra Credits people.) History will say that the Age of Silicon ended, and the Age of Karma began.

Posted: Jun 14th 2011 1:13AM ArcherAvatar said

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@BarGamer

You sir... are a man of vision! WvWvW PvP serving as surogate for warfare... brilliant. (no pressure or anything ArenaNet... just um... make sure you get the balancing right ya know?)

I have but one guardian to give for my country (but my thief and necro alts are both at level cap too, and I'm working on a mid-level ele.)
/salute
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