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Reader Comments (39)

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 6:33PM Autarch said

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PLEX may be a way to subscribe for in game currency, but I also find that it cheapens the game's experience when you can simply buy that shiny new ship, or a high skilled character, or rare module for essentially real life money via PLEX.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 8:29PM Joaquin Crowe said

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@Autarch wouldn't that make it pay2win? /ducks
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 11:16PM Kalex716 said

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@Autarch

Yea but once you come to the understanding that someone buying plex, is just sponsoring someone else to go out and grind that isk, put the time in skilling characters, and getting faction points for implants it ceases to be as bad IMO.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 6:45PM malaclypse said

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Who decided that subscriptions are on the way out? The only time i touch a f2p game, is when i'm in between real MMO's that i expect to devote say..enough time to reach end game to.

Usually when a game goes f2p i don't get excited, i assume it's all gone titsup and they've decided to try to squeeze every bit of microtransaction out of it, before quietly unplugging the servers.

15 bucks a month for a game, if it's the only game you're going to be playing during that time period, is not that big a deal. If an mmo is worth playing regularly, and will keep your attention more than a couple weeks, it's certainly worth investing the price of an hour and a half movie, or lunch for 2 at a fast food joint.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 7:19PM KTrell said

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@malaclypse
I agree, the game needs/could to be free to play limited (also endgame) so you can interact with players, check out whats going on and stuff, and if you want to play one day just pay, lets say 3 bugs for 1 day or 15 a month.

But as I said I agree, some games needs the free to play to survive because the content is not perfect enough for endgame players to stay, (like sto) other games have a hard time because there are too much competitors so you have to lower the "give it a try" (like tribes)
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 7:24PM Brendan Drain said

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@malaclypse The reason that we see so many free-to-play conversions is that investors and publishers are seeing ludicrous income coming out of them and want in on it. If subs are on the way out, it's because they're no longer the most profitable option and investors/publishers care more about profit than any particular game.

It occurs to me that EVE should be resistant to this as it's essentially self-published, so as long as the CEO wants to keep the sub model and EVE is in profit, it could stay that way indefinitely regardless of how the market reacts. CCP has a great deal of freedom of operation that most studios don't, and whether CCP chases money or opts to keep the game quality high appears to be entirely up to management. If Crucible is any indication, then at least for the moment it looks like they've chosen game quality. Hopefully we'll see that trend continue.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 7:24PM KTrell said

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I used to play eve via grinding isk for plex took me a weekend for one plex back when it was 300isk now it's 450 and too much grind for me. (nothing bad with it, it's just getting boring after you have the plex as the motivation to grind after that is gone)

Posted: Feb 13th 2012 3:59AM zgomot said

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@KTrell If you run incursions you can EASILY make 500m in an evening, playing for a few hours.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 7:26PM smartstep said

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"We've established that a free-to-play EVE could potentially be viable"

Who's this "WE" ?

If you talking about commentaries from readers then I think we're living in alternate universes ,cause mixed response would be stretching it.

Most was against

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 7:46PM Brendan Drain said

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@smartstep It's the "royal we", I'm referring to last week's EVE Evolved in which I established that a free to play EVE could potentially be viable by devising a hybrid model based on previously successful free-to-play conversions.

Just because you don't like the idea doesn't mean it's not financially viable. In fact, the fact that it COULD be financially viable means it's a very real possibility, making it even more important that you argue against it if you don't like it.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 10:37PM smg77 said

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@Brendan Drain

Apparently you didn't read any of the comments to last week's column. *You* decided a f2p system could work...not many people agreed with you.

F2P is awesome for games where you can't really have an impact on the game world. Eve is not one of those games.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 11:26PM Brendan Drain said

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@smg77 There's a HUGE difference between saying EVE shouldn't go free to play and saying it can't. When you say that it's not viable, you're saying that either it's mechanically impossible or financially impractical. When I say that a hybrid model would be viable for EVE, I'm saying nothing more than that it is mechanically possible and would work financially.

That's an incredibly important distinction to make, because if it were impossible to make EVE free then there'd be no need to worry about it. But if it's possible (which I assert that it is), then we need to argue the case for why it shouldn't happen. Because CEO Hilmar himself said in his apology letter following monoclegate that "monthly subscriptions are increasingly becoming a thing of the past." If DUST takes off and CCP finds itself no longer financially reliant on EVE subscriptions, this discussion will undoutedbly be on the table for real.

The points made in the comments last week were all great arguments for why EVE shouldn't adopt an alternative business model, but they're not arguments for why it physically can't. Your own argument was an assertion that free to play would ruin reputation-based gameplay, but even that in no way makes it impossible -- if anything it just makes the consequences of such a conversion all the more dire for current players. The same goes for the argument that it would piss off the current players, which is a moot point as every free to play conversion has ignored existing players for the promise of new ones.

Only a few people actually brought up real mechanical incompatibilities like how the realtime skill training system would interact with free accounts, or highlighted that it's not financially viable to take that risk right now as CCP is wholly reliant on EVE subs, or pointed out the technical challenges with handling the kind of population increase free to play would provide. Those are arguments for why it's not feasible, but each of those challenges is possible to overcome.

I'd love to be able to say it's not possible for EVE to go free and we have nothing to worry about that possibility at some point in the future, but that would be a colossal lie. In fact, I don't think there's even such a thing as an MMO that can't be adapted to a free-to-play model in some way.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2012 12:46AM Kdapt said

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@smartstep
I'm with you 100%. You, me and seemingly all the commentators on the previous article were pro sub and anti f2p. I think that Mr. Drain is using the royal "We", or possibly reffering to himself and Beau who seems to pop a boner over f2p anythings.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2012 6:31AM smartstep said

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@Brendan Drain

Hey. Thanks for answer.
Yes I was also referring to last week EvE Column.
You missed the point though.

I was not arguing if hybrid model would work or not for EvE.

In my point I was arguing using "WE" phrase.

"Royal we" ? Sorry I don't want to be rude, but you're not goverment , religious,etc official , so "we" implies you+readers.


I was journalist as well in past (changed my mind about what I want to do for a living though) so I know why you did that ,but still...

Imho best to not use figures like that - it is bad for your creditibility.

Not trying to flame or to be rude ,just trying to be honest. Hope you don't feel offended.
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Posted: Feb 7th 2012 3:32AM smg77 said

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@Brendan Drain
I'm saying that Eve can't go F2P. Not without throwing away the entire sov system. Is that your ultimate goal? To make Eve a theme park game where players can't change the game world?

F2P works great in games like EQ and WoW where everybody runs the same content and PvP has no consequences. In a sandbox game like Eve and especially the empire building in nullsec F2P and pay to win would literally break the game.

It took the current CSM an entire year to drive this point home to CCP. Let's all hope your articles don't distract them.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 7:33PM ImperialPanda said

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Article misses the entire point of "F2P". F2P, or more accurately, microtransactions, gives players the option of paying for exactly what they want. It does not force potential players to overpay for stuff they don't want and it does not let other players get away with underpaying for extra content, therefore maximizing revenue and profit.

What you sell is irrelevant to the benefits/drawbacks of going microtransaction. And there's no rule that says the only thing you can sell are "convenience" items or vanity items. If you have a developer making a grindy game and then selling "convenience" items to skip that grind, it's just because the developer sucks, not because of any shortcoming of microtransaction games.

Making a grindy F2P hoping that people will buy convenience items is the same as making a grindy P2P hoping that people will pay more subscription fees to grind it out.

If you can't think of other things to sell, well, again, that's your fault, it's not a shortcoming of microtransaction.

Many games atm are P2P to F2P converts, which are poor examples of microtransation games. You don't take a compact car, put a trailer behind it, and expect it to work the same as a truck or van. Soon, inevitably, games will come out that are designed to be microtransaction from the ground up. And the successful ones will vastly outperform any current subscription MMO, including WoW.

Subscription has no benefit over microtransactions.

Just a final note, microtransaction model does not preclude a subscription on top of it. It just gives people options for different levels of financial commitment to a game. And that is the key benefit and why it's infinitely better than subscription only.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 8:01PM psycros said

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The problem is that if EVE becomes F2P, it will very shortly become P2W as well - we all know that's the case. And the minute that EVE becomes pay-to-win, its no longer EVE. It will lose most of the hard-core vets almost immediately...and gain a million+ kids looking for WoW in space. The only question is, what's CCP more loyal to: their supposed ideals or the bottom line?

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 8:03PM Xilmar said

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Why can't we all just get along?
As a random eve player, i'd be very happy to pay/plex my sub and then purchase some fluff if i feel like it (read as drunk). As long as it's possible to use plex in some way and it is at a reasonable price, because i'm bad at eve and lose a lot of ships.

The thing about a sub mmo is that it doesn't just encourage fun gameplay design, but also sets the bar when it comes to player commitment. I'd rather know that my corp mates are dedicated enough to the game to at least fork over 15 dollars each month, than have people log in 1 hour, 3 times a week. Or even worse, play for 2 weeks and never log again.

Lastly, i really doubt that something like an endless trial would do much for CCP's income or player numbers. As it is, you can finish all the tutorials and get a good collection of ships and skills in the first couple of days, plus some decent isk. Flying destroyers on the second day, with 3 weeks (not even counting the 2 month trial) to mess around with, is more than enough time for the majority of players.

Tweaking the trial so the limit is X hours logged in rather than Y weeks period, that might be an alternative. Give every trial 200 hours of game time, that should be more than enough to hook anyone. And this way it opens up the possibility for older trials to be reactivated. Some marketing campaign a few times a year (1 month after expansion, during fanfest, etc) with the option to add a smaller number of gaming hours on an existing trial account might work in some way. That way people can still check out the new stuff or whatever without creating another trial account, and CCP can manage their resources by setting everything up as it works best for them.

tl;dr I'm drunk and bad at commenting.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:57PM Brendan Drain said

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@Xilmar I like the idea of a time-limited trial that gives you so many days of logged in play time, but it'd be tricky to integrate with skill training. Vendetta Online did something similar, but that game trains skills y use rather than in realtime.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 10:44PM smg77 said

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@Brendan Drain
As a goon I would love an infinite number of low skillpoint alts I could use for suicide ganking in highsec. Excellent idea.
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