End of the World… or Maybe just a change in Payment Styles

I don’t usually cover these big news events since you probably have already heard them like a million times already… How much could I add to the collective conversation, I’m also usually later with my reply than others, so which is worse, old or iterated news because that’s the way these things go. But this time I feel the need to ramble a little as I actually have a few points to add they may or may not be interesting to some.

TSW is changing up its payment style in record breaking time, which although I am a little sad about as it points to the monetary failure of the mmo I just can’t say I’m surprised. I love TSW, that should be plainly obvious by now. I have written a bit about it with some of my best rambles being related to the many things it does exceptionally well but I knew of it’s many failings as well. When I was being particular critical of TSW I noted that it was a pretty poor mmo and likened it more to a single player RPG as it shares a similar focus in some regards. In the comments the other day Merecraft said it felt like a very schizophrenic game, he was talking about the story elements but I think its more that. You can see a kind of conflicted approach conflicted approach in many of the mechanics, mmo tropes being crammed into areas they just don’t fit. Single player aspects in their obliviousness to constantly breaking apart groups for certain instances missions as well as a story that is best when given time to enjoy.

The biggest conflict between the two approaches has to be the leveling system, you have a strong sense of customisation with skill decks with many of the beginner options being comparable to the outer wheel. There is also the ability to quickly mix and match your focus to suit the challenges ahead and a system that let’s you theoretically get end game gear without levels holding you back. But then it turns around and has a huge power difference of monsters between zones, a system at the beginning that can block off gear acquisition (AP), and the fact it is a complete gear grind at the end with it all being mostly bind on pickup. Their mission statement at the start was excellent and then somewhere along they may have experienced some pressure to compete or just plain forgot, whats clear though is that near the end of development they chickened out and added mechanics that just don’t belong here. The good news is they seemed to have realised the error of their ways as there has been very little power creep, even the new raid is left pretty accessible to anyone who has required minimal dungeon gear.

The other issue I think was that TSW was incredibly content light, what was there was of incredible quality and a very focused experience but it did little to impress an mmo crowd who expect hundreds of hours of gameplay (no matter how terrible or repetitive though) and got maybe a quarter of that. It all added up to a non mmo feeling mmo but one in which I think very much suits it’s new payment model. It has the focused experience of a single player which now is available for a good price without the need to sub and their model with updates of being regular packs of new missions.. ie issues seemed to be tailored from the start to be bought as DLC… hell $5 for one of those issues is freekin amazing, I was expecting about 10 and considering there is quite a few poo games out there selling map packs for far more it is very very reasonable. End marketing Plug… I swear I’m not on the take <_<…>_>

If they get a bit more active making new and interesting costumes, pets, theatre props and other fluff items they could possible do ok out of the change, at the very least they will do better then they are now as the influx of new purchases looking to have a try will maintain the game for a little while to come. Sadly while I love the experience and will probably remained subbed to TSW’s until it’s last dying breath I don’t see it becoming some smash overnight hit and with the cost of maintaining servers and such as well as developing new content it just isn’t possible to pull an Eve and eek out a meagre existence until you can gain a decent following. A great loss for the industry.

Well anyway all I can say is pick it up like right now and play the ever living hell out of it although take your time, forget the sub par combat and just stop and contemplate the world, read the amazing dialogue (it really is that good), and really think about the themes and morals that it weaves throughout.. then thank me later.

Wish you the best of luck Funcom and all of the TSW developers who have had a part in the development.. you have made one fan for life from me and no matter what happens in the end just remember that even if you didn’t create the best game or even mmo you created one of the best gaming experiences out there.