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Reader Comments (20)

Posted: Feb 14th 2012 10:57AM ArcherAvatar said

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Oh man! Total "tinfoil hat" moment there during the emails section when Bree's mic goes out a little bit... definitely indulged in a little bit of paranioa.

RE: F2P business practices
"You can't throw the baby out with the bathwater." was Justin's comment, and I would just like to remind everyone that babies are very light, and easily chuckable...
Your discussion seemed to imply that the horrendous f2p business practices you were complaining about did not necessarily have to be in f2p games, and shame on the publishers for putting them in there.
However, nearly all (is it actually ALL?) f2p games do exactly that sort of shennanigans which is why some players abhor them, and why "f2p" has such a negative connotation in the genre.
I've spent a few hours gently rocking back and forth in a quiet room so I'm ok now, but I admitt to being more than a little freaked out again at the thought of GW2 not having a sub. I've not played the original GW, but I have been reassured repeatedly by those who have that the cash shop in GW is not abussive, and players are not constantly spammed with pathetic pleading to make purchases by the publisher.

Are we really so naive that we think this industry (and this genre in particular) isn't just a massive cash grab anyway?

Posted: Feb 14th 2012 11:47AM Lt Cobalt said

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I don't play it anymore, but dismissing Darkfall as a crappy little game is just ignorant, and saying EVE doesn't count because it's BAD? If it's so bad, why is it the only MMO that's grown consistantly since it's release?

Posted: Feb 14th 2012 2:29PM Brianna Royce said

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@Lt Cobalt But it's not the only MMO that's grown consistently since release. That was a feature of many older games. UO and EQ, for example, had their peaks several years after their launches. And newer games that go F2P frequently increase their playerbases and profits. Until the last few years, WoW's subs rose consistently as the game expanded into new markets as well (something that CCP tries to emulate to a lesser degree; I've read that as western players leave EVE, players in other regions join at a slightly higher rate). And let's not mention the sub losses last year so drastic that CCP had to axe employees and cut spending on new games.

"Bad" is definitely just my opinion, though. I just don't want to clog up yet another blog/podcast with a huge EVE debate. We're on time constraints here, people! Hehe.

Darkfall (and a lot of of the PvP-centric sandboxes that have launched in the last few years) are definitely "little," no way around that. "Crappy" is also an opinion, but most of those games have cool ideas with crappy implementation. I feel bad saying it, but you know, every one of them that launches and performs poorly in the market (or worse, shuts down, see Earthrise) is one more signal to the market that sandboxes aren't worth making. As someone who actually wants to see a high-quality sandbox funded, I see this as a net negative.

-Bree
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 3:12PM Lt Cobalt said

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@Brianna Royce The point i'm trying to make is that, if my "little" you mean, doesn't have a giant marketing budget, or EA to throw money at it like SWTOR then I guess you're right, but the scope of Darkfall and EVE is bigger than most MMOs at the moment.

Also I think the reason that sandbox MMOs are doing badly is not really because they are terrible, because some of them are not, but because games like SWTOR that just shamelessly copy WoW are seen as easy money, and therefore that's where the publishers will invest.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 3:29PM Daemodand said

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@Lt Cobalt Darkfall is a crappy little game, and it's such a crappy little game that the devs are doing a 100% do-over on the whole thing.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 3:36PM Lt Cobalt said

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@Daemodand I'm aware it has issues, major ones, but regardless I didn't ask for your narrow minded opinion, but thanks, if I get the urge for one I know where to go.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 3:47PM Brianna Royce said

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@Lt Cobalt Actually, by "little," I was referring to playerbase (which often correlates to budget, but not always). Surely you don't mean to argue that EVE is a good game because it has a strong playerbase for an old game but TOR is a bad game because it has a strong playerbase for a new game?

I submit that playerbase isn't a very strong indication of quality, not for EVE or for TOR. Financial success is another matter. :D
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 4:07PM Lt Cobalt said

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@Brianna Royce I think that success is relative to the goals of the developer, if they want to make and sustain and hardcore, niche game and can do so, that would be a success in my eyes, the popular notion seems to be that the more profit it makes and subs it has the more successful it is.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 7:01PM StClair said

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@Lt Cobalt
In that case, whenever someone says "little", mentally replace it with "elite".

You wouldn't want all those other lame people in your game anyway. They'd just water it down with their uncoolness until it sucks, like all those other big stupid games out there.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 12:55PM Donau said

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EVE doesn't have lifespan development cycle like other MMO's; it wasn't built with being replaced in mind.

That's why EVE has outlasted most of its MMO generation, will outlast this one, and conceivably the next.

Posted: Feb 14th 2012 2:49PM Halldorr said

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I actually liked when those gold spammer bans were broadcast in Warhammer...I used to like that developers were actively trying to squash it and making it transparent.

The comments on EVE felt way off the mark as well...

Posted: Feb 14th 2012 4:09PM infrared said

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How did I know that suggesting a livestream was going to end in a discussion about pants? :P

Sadly, the F2P "crate-gambling" is here to stay until one of two things happens: 1) players vote with their wallets and stop making it so profitable, or 2) publishers stop being lazy and evolve the business model.

1 will likely never happen. People like gambling, and when done well they make buckets of cash (see TF2's crazy 20-30% conversion on their cash shop http://www.joystiq.com/2011/10/25/valve-has-no-idea-why-almost-30-percent-of-tf2-players-spend-cas/ ).

2 is already starting to take shape thanks to clever developers. As game makers learn more about F2P, they can start crafting games where what they sell doesn't undermine the gameplay they want to create. Riot has done this particularly well in LoL and has been rewarded handsomely for it. Soon, publishers should realize that F2P isn't a one size fits all business model. Give your players something they want and value and they'll reach for their wallets.

Posted: Feb 14th 2012 4:45PM Mikx said

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On the Cardie lockboxes, I have no proof, but I actually think they increased the droprate, its like a day or two into this someone thought if we drop them like candy we can sell more keys.

The first day or two, I wasn't getting many of them, and now, you just get so many of them, I've killed 15 or so enemies and I've gotten 4 boxes. I imagine that with the small stack size, they're also serving to sell bank slots so you can keep them in your inventory.

The second thing is there are actually two versions of the lockboxes: standard and rare, which supposedly have a higher chance for the ship and a couple other things that aren't in the standard box. I have to wonder how many people used lots of keys on the standard boxes before they realized the rare boxes existed.

Finally, for all the spam broadcast on your screen, I have never seen a player actually pilot one of these.

On women in mmos, I have to believe that a big reason why women play them is the avatar customization: not in a dress up barbie sense, but simply that you can actually create a female character. Its changing somewhat, but many games still feature a single, male protagonist.

Posted: Feb 14th 2012 7:25PM Brianna Royce said

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@Mikx What a great comment, and I'm so happy you drew a line between playing dress-up and playing someone with whom you can identify. (Not that both Justin and I aren't getting in our fair share of dress-up, but you know what I mean.) MMOs are so much more inclusive on that front, but boy do we still have a long way to go. I mean heck, in the TERA articles today, there was a guy lamenting the fact that the influx of women in MMOs meant a decline in the gratuitous sexism and exploitation he'd been enjoying. Sigh. :D
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 6:59PM Graill440 said

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F2P. I chuckle at the people using that term like it actually means what it implies, exactly like the emperors new clothes, as long as you are told by the big manufacturers, it must be so. This is where common sense and simple reason need to come to the forefront.

Nothing is free to play. The term as it is mixed with games is a fraudulant attempt at drawing in the unwary, the stupid, the people with to much money, ya, money, to spend. The companies preying on the undisciplined.That is the whole point of calling something free, people will come in before thinking things through.

The good thing about this? Lawyers are working up cases, i have contacted a number of lawyers in different states, i am not the only person to do this, "turning them on" to this fraud and what it could potentially mean for them in terms lawsuits. Let me tell you, when they smell potential money they grin like fat kids eating cupcakes.

The games are MTS, or microtransaction based money models with the sole purpose of tricking people into paying into hype and the wow factor whent hey release something, take the fiasco that is STO and its drop box, lots of drops, but you have to buy keys. No amount of grinding in the game will get you a key for example, someone has to buy them, then put them on the exchange for those "free players" to grind millions of ec credits to then buy a resale key.

It is all carefully planned. One would think forcing F2P out would be a no brainer, but sadly fraud and stupidity go hand in hand in the gaming world.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 2:13AM Space Cobra said

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Okay, gotta talk about this (pointedly a bit at Justin):

Players in different regions: particularly, Asia (and possibly your experiences in FFXI).

It seems like the older games had less region-locking than they do now. Actually, I sorta grimace seeing a tab for another block of servers on another region because I do want to play there, but admittedly, it may be a bit harder on me, what with time zone differences and even language. Given that, I do not like hard region locks and, as Justin points out, it is neat to talk to someone elsewhere and broaden one's mind.

In regards to Asian players, I have always seen a bit of "us vs. them" mentality on both sides and it can get quite fierce (I especially noted this in PvP games, like the original release of Lineage 1 mainly in Asia).

You get tired and focus, but you kinda have to extend your hand and help out. Granted, they may only talk in Korean/Chinese/Philipino/etc., but sometimes you can break language barriers. Of course, they have to be open to the fact, too. I think the "random acts of kindness" tends to help; giving out free buffs, letting players loot a chest and not Ninja-stealing it, etc. Just practice gamer-polite decorum. it used to be so much easier to talk to Asians on MMOs and now not so much: We got a whole plethora of MMOs just for Asian markets and the same with Western ones.

It's like the Phantasy Star articles you brought up; I met some Japanese players online and it was great (the name I used there and still use (but not on massively) is a niche popular name among Japanese live-action fandom). That got some doors to open in terms of communication. Granted, it takes time out from playing, but I enjoy such chatting.

Posted: Feb 16th 2012 12:16AM (Unverified) said

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I feel the same way about Diablo 3 in regards to upping the difficulty. When you simply increase the numbers to make them more "difficult" it just makes it more of a slog to get through the enemies. You feel weaker and not really more accomplished for beating them since they act the same. I had that issue with Torchlight. Even on its hardest difficulty I was getting bored.

Eep, speaking of Top Score: I had bookmarked that site a while ago, and I still haven't listened to it. It's funny how bookmarks can build up and get buried behind a drop-down menu.

Posted: Feb 16th 2012 3:05AM stompfoot said

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First time posting here, but I've been visiting the site for a few years and I've been listening to the podcast for a long time. I was really sad to see Rubi go, I always enjoyed listening to her, she's such a vibrant enthusiastic person. To be blunt I think Bree was a poor replacement for her and I would have preferred to have Shawn come back instead. Bree's comments on Eve being a 'bad game' and talking about the other indie titles as 'crappy' games gives the pod cast a bit of a sour note and she comes across a bit immature and unprofessional. 'EVE is a bad game'? do you mean 'I personally didn't enjoy this type of game?' or that Eve doesn't meet the expectations that it has promoted itself as. I don't currently play Eve (have played on/off for about 12 months) but I think it's well made game and does what it's meant to. While I don't like Dark Fall's full FFA pvp style I did trial it and I certainly don't think it deserves the slander 'crappy' (especially compared to something like Wurm online). In fact if had adopted some of the features of Eve (empire/secure 1.0 space) I'd be playing it right now, which is why I am very interested in Path Finder. I probably being too harsh, but I really really miss Rubi.
Justin - I think you're fantastic and I enjoy listening to you, keep up the good work.

Posted: Feb 18th 2012 5:26PM sjheiss said

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Justin, is this the fallacy you were trying to think of? I blieve so.

"Affirming the consequent – the antecedent in an indicative conditional is claimed to be true because the consequent is true; if A, then B; B, therefore A."

From Wikipedia.

Posted: Feb 25th 2012 3:46PM NBForrest said

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After STO went F2P I played it for 4 weeks. I wasn`t very impressed with the game. Their F2P business model is the worst i`ve ever seen, and I`ve played a lot of F2P games.The final straw that caused me to pull the plug on the game and leave after 4 weeks is when I discovered that you have to pay cash money in order to use the community forums.
The big drawing point and attraction of a MMO over a singleplayer game is the interaction with other players.It`s bad enough that they try to nickle and dime you for everything in the game but charging to use the community forums in a MMO is just absurd and goes way over the line, that was the game breaker for me.

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