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Reader Comments (90)

Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:20PM fallwind said

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/em grabs some popcorn and waits for the flames to begin so she can pop it.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:23PM Hipster said

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I dont think players mind a business making money. I think some players, including myself would gladly pay $30.00 for a subscription to an awesome mmo if you needed to earn what you have in game. The word "earn" being the operative word.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:29PM fallwind said

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@Hipster but where does "earn it" end?

should you have to level a char to max to unlock the next class, then level that class to max to unlock the next etc...

Start with a 1 slot bag and need to "earn" a bag that can actually hold things?

You can only equip swords until you "earn" the ability to use axes by killing the "Axe trainer" at level 30?

what should be earned and what should be part of the game?
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:35PM Hipster said

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@fallwind
Easy answer:

Earn means everyone starts the same and by completing challenges in game you are rewarded with items or whatever.

If a company wants to set up a pay for character slots that would be fine IMO as long as it doesnt go against the "earn" definition above.


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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:37PM fallwind said

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@Hipster so... no collector editions I'm guessing? no pre-order bonus? no store-specific mini-pets?
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:45PM (Unverified) said

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@Hipster
Lies, I already feel 15 dollars is too much for access to a game. If it was 30 a month, I wouldn't touch it. You can argue companies like Blizzard need to pay a lot for bandwidth and developement, but the reality is their gross income is in the billions.
http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/atvi/financials

Sure this isn't true for the lesser MMOs, and perhaps they are more deservering of my 15-a-month, but 30? I'd never pay that. They hiked my cable bill by 25 bucks and I cancelled it.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 1:11PM Hipster said

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@fallwind
This is just my opinion but...
-I dont like items with collectors editions or pre-orders personally.
-No mini-pets (they are predominately in younger age group mmo's -anyway(free-realms, wow, wizard101).

Again, companies are going to do it regardless of my approval. But it goes against what is important to me in an MMO( competition, over-coming challenges, survival. etc)
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 1:30PM rzero said

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@Hipster
But what if I have very little free time because I work all day? In your world, people with more free time should have an advantage in every MMO because they 'earned it' by having more time to progress in the game. But in my world maybe it's worth $5 for the convenience of jumping ahead to more advanced/more fun parts of the game.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 1:41PM aurickle said

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@rzero
That's a key point I was going to bring up.

Having to earn all advantages through game play actually has the effect of giving the greatest rewards to those who can afford to spend all day doing nothing but playing the game. To "win" at the game you have to lose at life.

I am fine with games that give me a choice. If I can get an advantage by paying with my earned real-world cash, I'm fine with that -- so long as the option also exists to earn the same advantage through some form of in-game currency. (And so long as the in-game time requirement isn't too different from the out-of-game time requirement. If something costs $10 in the shop but requires 100 hours in-game, that's certainly not fair.)
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 1:48PM Krelian said

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@rzero

Simple, you DONT PLAY MMO'S cause you don't have the time to ! Why is that so hard to understand ?

No one is forcing your arm to play. If YOU decide you want to play MMO's, then you should know they are time-consuming. If you don't have the time, well play something else. Not every game and not every genre is for everyone.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 2:20PM Irem said

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@aurickle
No, having to earn all advantages through game play is what makes it a freaking game. It's what makes it a virtual world. If you don't enjoy the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with the gameplay, and you think it's work and it's hard and it's not fun and you feel like you have to no-life in order to enjoy it (not the case in most modern MMOs anyway by a long shot), why are you even playing? Multiplayer combat alone has been done better by co-op games. I don't start out a damn game of chess and try to argue that all of the pieces should move like queens.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 2:26PM Cyroselle said

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@(Unverified) Hell, more cash goes into advertisement than into server upkeep for ActiBlizzard.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 11:30PM ShivanSwordsman said

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@Hipster

No, we wouldn't pay $30, and if anything, it's you willing to even pay $15 that keeps these companies going with the flow: Barely updating monthly (just enough to call it a patch), all while leeching $15 off you for access to the $50 - $60 game you just paid for. They say it's for "server costs" and "bandwidth". And then we look at ArenaNet, who has PLENTY of money, has been running Guild Wars steadily, with monthly events and updates, for HOW LONG? Yeah. I don't buy it.

Back on the topic at hand, as long as the grind isn't too big, I can stand behind a game that sells level 50 characters, or whatever the cap is. If you're that stupid, or desperate, then by all means. What I can't stand behind is Cash Shop items that can't be earned in-game, or by cutting off skills and the like with a subscription barrier (Everquest 2, City of Heroes, Wizard 101, Age of Conan, etc).

The worst idea of it all is, when a company DOES create a fair system (Turbine), those that latch on to the idea will look at it and say "Ok, how can we take this, and make even MORE money off it?". That's how we got free to play games like EQ2 and the others. They took a good idea, then they tried to milk all the money they could out of it. Earnable cash shop money with achievements? Yeah. Not there. Instead you get a free trial to end game... then you have to pay monthly for end game, rather than just buying expansions and getting constant access to it.

It's just like the korean stamina system. Square-Enix saw that people would play it, and they created a Pay To Play game with Stamina in it. You could only EXP so much a week in FFXIV. Inevitably, in the name of profit, and with the backing of stupid people, companies will take a good, fair system, and make it suck, all in the name of maximized profits. I think we fear that they'll somehow make selling power no one else can get a staple. Kind of like how EA started yanking dedicated servers out of their shooters, now every company wants to be Mr. "Our MP only lasts a month or two" shooter guy.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2012 5:25AM cursedlegend said

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@rzero
no-one said you have to be the best?
if you want to compete with the top you've to work for it, like everybody .
not just pay to get too that point
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:23PM Anax said

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I won't argue that developers have a right to use whatever kind of payment models they like and that gamers in their millions clearly choose to play F2P and RMT games. That said, I personally find that RMT ruins the immersion in a game as well as the fun of aspiring to gain some item. I struggled so hard in EQ2 to have a full suite of Master-level spells. I never achieved it. If it'd been a matter of paying $20 to SOE, I might have succumbed to my baser instincts and given in. And that would have ruined all the fun of the struggle for me. I prefer games in which I don't have to think about money every ten minutes. I've tried playing Order and Chaos, for example, but I find it unfun to sit there thinking "Well, I could grind for item X, or I could go dig out my credit card." It's not a fun model for me. Or millions of others.

So, I don't think there's any question of whether Bigpoint's payment model is 'okay' or not, only of whether it's fun for everyone.

I think I'm okay with games like EQ2 and LOTRO that use a hybrid payment model, so that those who want to subscribe can do so, and also get some 'cash shop' points every month.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:24PM Ceridith said

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Glad you can justify it to yourself; I'm still not going to play any game that has a pay to win option.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:28PM Plastic said

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I agree that there is no reason to badmouth a company for maintaining a revenue-generating scheme that doesn't appeal to you (unless it's legally or ethically questionable), but I think you are muddying the waters a bit with your dismissal of a player's desire for fairness, and your attempt to analogize it with real-life wealth distribution. I think that any reasonable person, even us money-grubbing capitalists, can understand why sitting down to a game of monopoly would be slightly less appealing if your real-world wealth dictated your ability to purchase property.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 4:35PM Brianna Royce said

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@Plastic I don't think Monopoly is any fairer an analogy. When you sit down to a game of Monopoly, there's an understanding that everyone will be investing the same amount of time, an hour or two. If someone must leave the game, it's probably over. That isn't true of an MMO. MMOs continue whether you're actively playing them or not. Purchasing power in an MMO is a way of correcting a time-imbalance that does not exist in a typical boardgame.

Monopoly is also a direct PvP competition. Not all MMOs are. It doesn't really matter whether Billy bought his sword of doom if your gameplay never overlaps with his.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 5:01PM Plastic said

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@Brianna Royce

You don't think it's more fair to compare one game to another game, than to compare a game to the mundane, unavoidable drudgery of real-life? Jeez, is this what happens when your hobby becomes your job? =p

I joke, you make a good point that I brushed over; selling power in a cash shop is much more tolerable when the game isn't competitive and/or can be achieved in-game through a reasonable amount of play-time.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2012 12:28PM Dril said

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I won't get into how you've spectacularly missed the point (that seems to be a common theme in many of your articles where you start out with a grand idea of changing minds and then fail, in a rather impressive manner, to even address the actual issue that is a real problem head-on) nor on the frankly confusing point about TOR.

What I will say is this: you're paid to write. At the very least, you should be able to utilise the actual definition of "fair", or, if you're going to use the vernacular, you should, instead, find a word or phrase that *actually means what you think it means*. Selling power or exclusive power-building items in MMOs is a dreadful idea, and Bigpoint are a dreadful company because of these conditions:

1) the general principle that MMOs are, despite all their shortcomings, intended first and foremost to be alternate realities that are closed to the outside world beyond necessary interference; i.e. your actions in the game and the game alone dictate what you achieve. This is *especially* important in anything of a competitive nature, but even to the everyday player it's hugely demoralising to see something that is only available if you have real-life money (which, as I've just pointed out, breaks the idea of these being alternate realities) or which you've worked hard for in the game in the hands of someone who did nothing but enter their credit card details.

2) hence, making items exclusively/selling power for people who have money in real life is distinctly UNfair (and using the only two definitions that are applicable) because it does not fulfil this criteria:
"free from bias" (because you are using extreme bias to prevent those who lack money from obtaining an item).
"legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc" (because you are using a source other than the game world to acquire an item or power, thus making accomplishments in game obsolete and meaningless when they can be bought).

3) thus, the term you were probably looking for was "selling cash shop items offers everyone an equal opportunity to acquire the item/power, it's their choice whether to spend money or not"; well, if that's what you honestly believe, then I can't change that. But if you really think MMOs would be better if they offered such a choice across the board, then I don't think there's any point in having MMOs; we might as well play games that don't try the pretence of being alternate universes.

Also, your point about choosing the competition is irrelevant, because most MMOs have unique features or experiences that can't be replicated in another MMO, and thus it becomes "my way or the highway" rather than "here's some options".

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