Archeage makes me hate free to play, and no that isn’t so kind of hyperbolic. I’ve always been rather partial on the payment model and even supportive at times as it does have many good points. Now I’ve ranted about this all before, a huge AAA rant of awesomeness with part 1 and part 2 still available for your viewing pleasure and I thought that would be the end of it. Unfortunately I find myself in the same position again of liking a game, or liking what it could have been but with a monetization scheme that does it’s best to ruin that for me and now I’m becoming far more negative about ftp in general.
It does have potential but it seems like the more the industry accepts the model as its default and the more it has worked with it the worse and worse it seems to get. The further we go from thinking about gameplay and accessibility to just a strong focus of Greed and getting out as much as you can as quickly as possible.
It seems the MMO genre is now being influenced far more from mobile design than really developing something more suited to itself. Taking a look through Gamasutra is rather telling in regards to this. A site that was once focused around game development and design has slowly shifted towards a focus on monetisation. How best to make money, and the most money from a product. Makes me reminiscent of a time when good games were usually the ones that used to sell well.
It’s just not a model I want to support anymore, the complications and issues are just too great and not worth the sacrifices that need to be made. It’s just development that becomes a slave to the cash shop and the kind of people that buy. Now there have been a few games that I have put a fair bit of money in and ftp games that i do support but the longer we go the more content feels like it is getting designed around the cash shop rather than being a supplement.
For Archeage there have been so many mistakes that really take away the feel of the game. It’s funny too that in this short amount of time within the game I’ve already easily ohuspent over $100 and that was only with the smallest package. That’s an amount of money that would last a long time for a subscription game and the really pathetic part is I’ve barely unlocked the necessities of my account. I have one character with the full bag and bank unlocks but my others have nothing leaving them feeling a little crippled. I’ve also unlocked only one extra character and haven’t bought much else from the cash shop.. well.. except for a certain item.
The thing is, me spending money hasn’t felt good at all either. I either feel forced or rather manipulated when I do and that’s not a nice way to feel about a game. For the Secret world I always felt excited to buy new clothing and pets yet here I feel more like a fool, a hopeless and abused fool falling for these stupid cash shop traps.
I actually like the Labour system. It creates a strong crafting and economy base where there is a sense of interdependence between players and between the different crafts. Everyone is needed in the economy to make things and because of the labour also adds extra value to crafts as well. You can’t do everything and must rely on people, not just to make but gather as well.
Unfortunately this whole system has been perverted by the cash shop system and labour pots. You run out of labour pretty regularly and if there was no way to replenish you’d just deal with it but here, and having that incentive is rather seductive. It’s always calling to you, constantly and when you have a few plants you wanted to harvest, a couple rings to craft or a tradepack to hand in it’s hard to resists. Add that into how you can use the pots on every character and you end up being able to sell quite a bit of them. Many have and are falling into this trap because when you aren’t it’s hard not to feel like you’re falling behind, especially when you don’t play as much as others.That isn’t even mentioning the issue of the ftp labour system.. it’s just terrible and basically pushes a subscription on you that doesn’t even remove give you a full game, or equal to a real sub only type mmo.
Of course there are once again lock boxes, the bane of my mmo existence. I just don’t understand the principle. Giving people a chance to buy what they want, it makes no sense to me. It works though, unfortunately and they sell but I’ve said before it just isn’t ethical and I think slowly people are getting wise to the idiocy of them.
With the popularity, as well as incompetence here in Archeage we’ve also seen just how bad the hacking, botting, gold spam and exploitative behaviour can be within ftp games. The one restrictive factor to many, the cost of the game itself is no longer there and they can continue to make throwaway accounts whose soul purpose it is to abuse the many games system. There is little concern them either, grab a vpn and launder the money through the auction house. Many of the hacks aren’t even getting registered as well so people are freely abusing it, of course that’s more Trions fault but still, if you had the cost investment many would be less likely to try.
And are we really looking at the cost of all these cash shop things. These can’t be called microtransactions anymore. We’re looking at a few dollars for just a short term boost. $10 or more for a digital piece of clothing or a horse, more for a glider here. I was looking at the Warhammer 40k founder stuff too and that stuff is running at a base price of 10, that’s just ridiculous. Since when was it appropriate that a simple cosmetic, something we used to get in game costs as much as a months sub, or more.
And then there is the other design decisions that were blatantly put in place for cash shop reasons. The expansive in game regrade scrolls, comprising of rare ingredients that is much easier to get from the cash shop and it’s also that the rarity of many items has been hidden behind the many bags that drop from mobs, it’s a way to completely control the market and make things more costly than they need to be, which in a way helps them sell gold through cash shop items or apex.
The biggest concern lately is just how far they want to go in order to make money, and it seems for Archeage, and probably the industry the answer is limitless. There are no limits to avoid, just the return in investment. The current problem was the archeum Sapling, and item that is planted with a 1 hour growth time, 10% chance for a thunderstruck as well as a far greater number and type of received Archeum than the regular version. It doesn’t even need to be watered like the in game version which takes away both the time investment and the gameplay around them. With these the need for tree farms, a huge part of my exploration enjoyment and Archeum watering, a activity around ganking and guilds is no longer needed. It’s taking away gameplay now just to make more money. That’s far beyond the mantle of convenience ftp gets championed for and this is what the genre is increasingly moving towards.
I don’t know. I still know there is some good in the payment model of ftp, and it could be more suited to certain games more than other styles but all I see, and all I continue to see is the model being corrupted, continuously. Going further and further into games being run by the marketing department and the investor overlords more than the developers themselves yet do they truly realize the errors they are making. The games they are choking of life, of enjoyment.
#Archeage #cashshop #ftp