It seems blizzard still isn’t happy with its Scrooge McDuck money pit and is aiming to fill it to the brim, maybe start making a flowing money river with its new cash shop service aimed at the rich and ignorant fans.
If this was a ftp game, at this price people would be losing their minds. Whenever another game says they are going for a cash shop of services and fluff like this everyone goes insane yet, none of that has ever approached the insanity that is Blizzards greedy practices. WOW does it and most seem overjoyed, some are even going so far as to claim this is not nearly enough…. You shitting me? Everyone just bends over, cops a paddling from the Blizzard marketing machine and then asks for another. What’s next now? What else can the get away with while still also charging a subscription? I’m guessing a lot of the housing functionality coming up with the new Expansion.
Such a price makes no sense. It is the price of a new release, a pile of Indies or games on sale. That’s many hours of entertainment there where this money could be going. Wow is all they know though, which is just so fucking sad if you think about it. I get that people really enjoy this hobby of ours, and I understand the attachment you can feel toward a mmo but $60 for a simplistic service where there are many valid free or cheaper alternatives to take instead, one that they actually just killed too. Then there is the fact you’re basically saying that the majority of the game isn’t worth engaging in.. although, that’s probably another argument.
There are many motivations for it but so far they really don’t make sense to me. It’s not going to entice people back because that’s a huge amount by itself. It’s not going to get new mmo players because they already bitch just about having a box price. It just seems for those already heavily invested and wanting more options at end game to stave off the boredom but, the thing is, without that time investment they would probably stay subscribed for less time.
If this was happening within a vacuum of blizzard games, or during the worship of the wow shrine in a basement somewhere then I’d be fine with this. Consider it another addition in their long line of taxes focused on the stupid but this isn’t happening within a vacuum, WoW and blizzard itself is not an island unto itself. The decisions blizzard makes for its product are very often repeated around the industry in some form or another. They shape the industry around them and having such blatantly overpriced account services as it shows to others that this might just be an appropriate model. It’s not though, only WoW is able to get away with this bullshit but we will probably see overpriced “services” for a long time because of it.
Now, I actually don’t have an issue with the service type itself. The demand is there and there are many valid reasons for players to want it although it has many issues as well. I would prefer if a mmo was designed not to need these, that most of the game remained useful but in the usual linear path it suits fine I guess.. everything’s already obsolete in some way. There are better ways to go about it but I guess this is the path of least resistance for developers in an ageing game that would take far to much to overhaul into something more meaningful.
I don’t even have a problem with the price per se, it is the companies prerogative as to how much they are going to charge for whatever they have. I would never buy certain things because of that pricing but, it’s there for others and there are enough mindless masses there to buy it. What I do have an issue with is how this practice and the pricing of digital goods and services will have an impact on the industry. Premium Pricing for digital goods and services needs to be the exception, not the standard practice.
The Pantheon Pitch
There has been a lot of talk about this product, both positive and negative regarding its various features and the way they were being implemented. Throughout I’ve been sceptical, bordering on being a bitch and I think that will probably continue right up until it’s eventually abandoned, which will happen…. the crystal ball says so.
It was a very weird Pitch. Spawned from a couple vague promotional concept pieces and then a rather confused Kickstarter that neither looked interesting or set to bring anything new to the genre…. at all and that right there was the problem. The Cynic Diaries has a good post about why Pantheon failed as well as a few suggestions that could have improved its pitch and while I agree to a certain extent my opinion differs a little.
To be honest, I don’t think it failed because it lacked scope or ambition, or that it wasn’t as fantastic in its claims. The issue was that, in a realm where we have had a lot of Kickstarter mmo’s lately it just didn’t have a defined pitch that made it stand out. We have Shroud of Avatar focusing on some sort of community appeal with dialogue options, Camelot Unchained for all that AvA goodness, and Star citizen for well… a fun Eve.
Pantheon was just there shouting out that it was Hardcore, a notion they really didn’t bother to define and that encompasses a wide range of different interest that differ immensely between groups. There was nothing special about the project except for this vague ideal; nothing unique in how they were presenting it and nothing interesting about the mechanics they were presenting for this ideal. It was, and I guess still is a tired iteration of older mechanics without any sort of modernised interpretations or understanding of the why and how these things changed.
I listened to the recent Game on Podcast which interviewed Brad Mcquaid after this recent KickFail and it becomes quit obvious that this man is delusional. Delusional as to the appeal of his project, delusional about the appeal of these mechanics and delusional about why it failed… hard. That is not to say I would not want some of these older mechanics to come back, in fact we need them back but just not like this.
The thing he was a bit right about was creating a better source for those wanting to understand the project. Looking at the kickfail I really had no idea what the focus of this Frankenstein monster was going to be. A wealth of mechanics that neither should have been apart, or should have been incorporated but were stuck up the rung of stretch goals. Perhaps if they created and outline an improved the Pantheon Pitch it might have lived long enough to get the plans for this game more concrete, maybe even enough for some gameplay.
I don’t think so though.
It seems we are once again flying the feminist flag about character design, or lack thereof around this upcoming dungeon crawling title, The Deep Down. Now I understand why some people would once again, rallying against the lack of some sort of playable female character and of any important female characters. The responses given were also the same nonsense we usually hear when developers get questioned about their lack of female Characters: “Oh, it doesn’t fit with our made up story that could easily be changed to be more inclusive,” It would be too expansive to add an extra character model or devote time away from the male ones”, and, my personal favourite “that’s not our marketing demographic”.
That’s all bullshit. Most competent people with the minimum of available brain power understand this and it’s something that needs to change within the industry if it ever wants to gain a wider understanding in the popular media but do we really need to form a lynching mob for every single game and developer that doesn’t adhere to this new world diversity index.
Sometimes I truly believe you can be a little too politically correct. Railing against every game like this does make it look like one gigantic feminine agenda to have total control over inclusively. These arguments add to that growing demographic of male gamers contesting these change as a legitimate concern for the industry, against a change forced on everyone and every game. They are spouting a ridiculous hyperbole, that much is obvious. Diversity of stories from both sides is, and always has been the aim instead of world domination however arguing over every little slight makes it look like this hyperbole is true.
I just wish we could pick the battles a little better. That issue with the metal gear solid developer Hideo kojima and his super special comments needed to be debated. The ridiculous characterisation in the mmo Wildstar was another. Long running franchises that continue to not have meaningful female playable and npc characters and many more cases both from the games themselves and the treatment of female gamers from developers and the general population. There are a wealth of far more overt, covert and in your face (literally) issues that serve as a far better targets than The Deep Down… do we really need to go after every single one? I don’t mind being a bitch occasional and cooking up a nice rant but this is a little much.