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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: Nov 20th 2011 1:45PM Irem said

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I'm with Jef on the sparkle pony. It's still amazing to me how many people were willing to defend that like they were standing up for a close, personal friend as opposed to giving a huge company carte blanche to charge a premium for anything cool they might make going forward. It's even more amazing--and horrifying--to see players happily putting forward the idea that a sub fee isn't for -content- any more, but just for -access-, so we should be grateful for what "free" content we're given. I'm sure Activision-Blizzard, and any other game companies who have implemented that model, are pretty happy about that; they've hardly had to do any work!

On the subject of Glitch, it really is an amazing game. I was expecting MMO-lite due to my own preconceived notions of what a browser-based game is like, but it's not like that at all. There are a bunch of things I'd love to see other MMOs borrow from it, from the ability to affect the world just by leaving things around to the truly cosmetic-based payment model to the character customization and outfits (avatars are genderless and can wear any piece of clothing).

Posted: Nov 20th 2011 1:54PM Utakata said

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That's funny, if Mr. Reahard would of posted that over at WoW Insider on a similar appropriate subject, he would of likely been downgraded to the ground, a long with been given a number of unflattering insults, then may have McCurley or Sacco further berate him with driveby oneliners, which are followed by hive fives and further insults. I'm really surprised they don't have a virtual option over there to have the you burned at the stake....

...so this is why I come mostly here now to read and post, instead of over there. Because most commentors and staff over here understand the problems and issues WoW has. And they don't get shot down and dragged around by a lynch mob mentaility for saying their views. I know this odd coming from a journal that posts very little about WoW. But I am just really glad I found this site.

My only point to Jef's statement...I think Cryptic Studios beat WoW to the punch over that with Champions Online. But I agree the WoW's Sparkle Pony really sealed the deal when it comes to subs with cash shops.

Posted: Nov 20th 2011 2:44PM Averice said

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I'm going to have to disagree with Jef, and then with Irem.

First: cash shops in sub games were already around before the sparkle pony ever hit. But that's not what he said, he said "opened the flood gates". That's debatable. Blizzard probably made it more "acceptable" than it had been before, but when every other MMO was already starting to do it, did Blizz really need to make it acceptable? I just feel that Jef made a loaded statement off hand.

Second: I feel that there is a major psychological difference between having a cash shop in game that's got a big 'ol button for you to press that then gives you bonus xp, bonus damage, better healing pots, etc. Compared to an out of game shop that you buy items for with CASH and not some special kind of points system that you previously paid cash for (for the sole purpose of making you feel like you have to spend it due to sunk costs); Blizzard cash shop is essentially non existent, and I would go so far as to not call it a cash shop at all. You can't buy anything except a FEW cosmetics, that don't even effect game play at all. I'm not a fan of cash shops in any shape or form, but to write off Blizzards cash shop as just as bad as Cryptics or any other shoddy f2p game is really grasping at straws.

Now I am still pissed at Blizz for their macro transactions, but on the micro transaction front, to me, they don't even have a cash shop, it just doesn't exist anywhere in my field of vision when I play their game.

As for Glitch: I registered like a month ago when beau was talking about it and still haven't gotten in, so w/e on that game, now I'm just happy with mah mine craft mmm

Posted: Nov 20th 2011 3:54PM Nenene said

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@Averice
Cash shops don't belong in a game that charges a sub fee. At all. And it IS a cash shop. Don't kid yourself.
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Posted: Nov 20th 2011 2:45PM Nenene said

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WoW Insider didn't have Reahard summarily executed for daring to impugn the purity of Blizzard's motives in adding a cash shop ON TOP of a sub fee?? Wonders will never cease!

Posted: Nov 20th 2011 5:29PM (Unverified) said

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Theoretically, the sparkle pony wouldn't have existed if they hadn't commissioned it for the sole purpose of selling it as a "cash shop" item. Your $15 a month doesn't entitle you to unlimited content. Developers still have a budget, and there are certain things that wouldn't have priority in the normal development cycle that can be added as a bonus if they are supported by one-time cash purchases.

Having said that, I'm not fully convinced that Blizzard is really in that position. While what I said is true for smaller MMOs, I don't believe Blizzard is really re-investing in their game to their fullest potential. I'm sure their profit margin is an extremely wide one. They could easily double the amount of content they already make and still make a good profit, but they are in the state of minimal effort for maximum gains.

Posted: Nov 20th 2011 9:28PM Nenene said

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@(Unverified)
Running game servers isn't that expensive. That $15 a month is more than enough to pay not only for servers, but salaries -and- things like the sparkle pony.

It's a very convenient industry myth that they need that ENTIRE $15 just to keep the game running. In short; if you really believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd love to sell you.
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Posted: Nov 21st 2011 2:08PM Dblade said

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@(Unverified) The $15 a month hasn't changed in about 15 years. Normally subs should have gone up in price to meet the increased costs, but no one wants to adopt that. Instead, cash shops become sort of a tip jar to make up the difference.

With something like WoW though I'd think sheer volume would deal with it, and WoW still sells retail boxed clients too. So with them its just needs more cash, period.
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Posted: Nov 20th 2011 5:54PM (Unverified) said

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I'll have to echo the Glitch sentiments. I just tried it out and found it pleasantly charming. It's more of a game to dip in when you feel like it rather than logging in at regular intervals which is a great change for me. I imagine I'll play it here and there for a while. The users I've encountered are nice and charitable. It's wonderful what happens when a game is designed to have players work together instead of in direct competition.

Posted: Nov 20th 2011 7:29PM Threecubed said

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@(Unverified)

Precisely! I wish I had elaborated a little more earlier, but when co-operation is encouraged, people tend to be much more friendly.
I was amazed when I mined for the first time and another Glitch walked up and started mining *my* node!

How dare they!

But what's this? I got an extra 5 chunks of sparkly from their help, and it cost me 0 energy?

Some elements of Glitch are great, and the people there are almost entirely awesome. People hold parties, there are groups for collecting Cubimal pets, writing Glitch poetry to leave around, all sorts of things. It makes me think of the type of activities that I heard would go in sandbox MMOs.

I really hope the co-operation aspects end up leaking into other games, since working together isn't rewarded much outside of dungeons, and even then, you're competing for loot much of the time. There's a lot of potential, and it's really exciting to think about.
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Posted: Nov 20th 2011 7:31PM Threecubed said

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EDIT:

The bonus sparkly didn't cost more energy than it does to mine in the first place. These type of bonuses are all over in Glitch.
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Posted: Nov 20th 2011 8:18PM Dblade said

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I'm still going to disagree about Glitch. I think people are saying "Ooh, how indy!" and forgiving stuff they wouldn't if it had a different name slapped on it. Glitch reminds me way too much of Metaplace to be comfortable with.

Posted: Nov 21st 2011 2:17AM (Unverified) said

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Try to read the entire comment next time.

In Blizzard's case, the money they make from subs is certainly well beyond the amount they re-invest in game development. However, that's very unlikely for a game that only has, for instance, a hundred thousand subscribers.

My point being, I'm not morally opposed to the concept of the cash shop sparkle pony. Whether or not it's a fair thing for an individual developer to charge for is dependent on how well the game is doing and how much of that sub money they are already re-investing into game content.

Also, you'll have to forgive me if I don't take your word on how much it costs to host and maintain an MMO.
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Posted: Nov 21st 2011 2:20AM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)

That comment was directed @Nenene above. How it ended up here is a mystery. Why I am perpetually unverified is another mystery. Speaking of companies not re-investing in the health of their product ...
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Posted: Nov 21st 2011 7:38AM Rubi said

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@(Unverified) The unverified bug drives us as crazy as it does you guys. :( We've reported it to Aol's bug-fixing team what feels like a billion times trying to get them to fix it, and nada. (Unfortunately, that sort of thing is way out of our hands -- we literally do not have the access required to get in there and fix it ourselves.)

Shawn made a post on our forums about it with some suggestions for possible workarounds, maybe give them a try: http://massively.enjin.com/forum/m/1607038/viewthread/1047251-when-will-massively-fix-its-comment-system
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Posted: Nov 20th 2011 10:22PM DeadlyAccurate said

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She, not he. :-)

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