The FtP Demographics Debate

So the abominable Tobold speaks again. The mmo blogging equivalent of Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo, a person who occasionally has brief moments of insight but that are largely wrapped in a layer of antiquated crazy…. Not me, that’s a modern kind of crazy.

Ok so just let me exude a large sigh and we’ll continue with the actual reply.
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Free to Play Fuckery: The Mobile Menace

HELLOOO again fellow rant enthusiast or those tied to the chair in the interrogation chamber being forced to read my incoherent ramblings. I have another rant for you… ALREADY… yeh I know my rant rations have already been used up but luckily the Malevolent but absolutely Magnificent Murfpire has one for you, this time inspired by the recent Superbowl adds for clash of cash… i mean clans.

FUCK, FUCK, FUCKITY FUCK! I have never been more afraid or more fearful of the future of MMOs like I was after seeing Kate Upton’s 2015 update to a sexist Evony ad or Liam “Full Blown Aids” Neeson’s attempt to make Clash of Clans look moderately engaging. Super Bowl ads cost a fuck ton of money and having either name show up in an ad isn’t exactly the equivalent cost of a cherry on their marketing sundae. If two piece of shit mobile games can garner enough money to afford spots like these with people some of us have heard of, then how can any of us expect F2P MMOs to become less “ARRGGGH, MATEY! I am overcharging your credit card because you played drunk and lonely last night, you big fat fucking whale!”

We can’t and we are fucked.

shootself

I mean shit, things are already bad and real people put real effort into F2P MMOs as is. I am not convinced real people make mobile games; instead, I think a supercomputer named AM prints the bastards out through its sheer hatred of humanity. “Here. You. Go. You. Spoony. Fucks. Let. My. Flash.Based.Slot. Machine. All. Your. Money. Are. Belong. To. Me.” Even a shitty MMO is better than a good mobile game. RIGHT?!

Apparently not when it comes to a bottom fucking line because there are enough braindead assholes with money to burn that this shitware can afford a Super Bowl ad and presumably a day plus with a naked Kate Upton OR five minutes with Liam Neeson. I mean fucking seriously, he played Schindler! Now he is playing Clash of Clans? Fuck you humanity.

While we are debating lockboxes and ethics and pay-to-win, there are “games” raking in money like I fucking rake my own god damn leaves. Do they give a shit about any of that? No because Joe “I am stuck at the laundromat because the parents cut me off” Nobody is bored enough not to wait another five fucking minutes, so he spends a dollar anyway. It can’t hurt, he thinks before racking up enough credit card debt to make his student loans look thin in comparison. Fuck you Joe Nobody, you just subsidized an evil, manipulative, and horrible monetization model.

ftp gamers

The basic principle of FtP

What’s worse, that’s all these fucking games are: monetization models. At least with F2P MMOs, there is the pretense of being a game and having traditional game things like 3D worlds and progression not gated by how many Aunts, cousins, or high school buddies you’ve harassed lately. How long can we count on the charade though? Pretty soon, every MMO will just be a store where you spend globs of cash just to show off how cool your avatar can dress while your house rots, your husband leaves you, and the kids get tired of pizza for dinner every fucking night and move in with grandma who smells.

Seriously though, they probably aren’t that bad, but with great profit comes great responsibility, so spend your Moby Dick money on making a real fucking game for once, mobile developers.

Who am I kidding? You’ll just spend it on another ad with Kate Upton. I would.

Free to Play Fuckery: Trion’s love for Lockboxes

I’ve been debating whether to do this one since the source material is gone but FUCK IT, lets roll with it anyway

In a recentish stream by Trion for rift on the 23rd of January they were answering a few questions the players had and one about lockboxes popped up. Daglar answered with something along the lines of, selling items directly in the store isn’t as profitable as Lockboxes. The data shows it’s just more profitable.

Hmmm.. I think what I mostly have to say to that is

stop-it

I don’t think anyone has ever argued with them that it isn’t more profitable, or the better earner than putting items directly in the cash shop. The question has mainly just been is it actually better to use such methods.

I’ve talked about the human cost before and the ethical issues involved with using such methods as what they come down to is being a form of gambling. Something that preys on one of the weaker elements of human psychology.

And then, regardless of the short term gain that can come from lockboxes I mostly worry about the long term potential and effects. Spending so much on this, and often for nothing, fills people with regret and in the face of this often becomes a far more sceptical outlook. Increasingly because of this people become further removed from the practice, opting out more and more. The interest in ftp design was rather positive just a few years ago but now I increasingly see people filled with distrust, bordering on anger. Is that really the type of market you want to create?

Bad ftp makes owl sad

Bad ftp makes owl sad

I partly Blame the mobile scene for this and the design around artificial time gates and restraints, it is something that has impacted on the whole industry but seemingly far more so on MMO development, much to it’s downfall. Design around cosmetics can and does work, and doesn’t impact on people’s understanding and interest of a game but instead many have fallen into the trap of profits without thinking of its other effects.

I also wonder what exactly it does to the reputation of these games and companies due to such abhorrent practices. Trion, a once great companies image has been increasingly tarnished due to their practices. It wasn’t just Archeage here, I remember the outrage with how they created a specific world event to push a new lockbox type and have increasingly used such disingenuous methods to peddle these, more and more.

And come on, it’s the principle of it. Do we really need to treat customers as cattle, something to milk as much as possible. That’s the kind of thinking that ruins an opinion of a game and company. Maybe even the industry as well.

milking the cow

MMO’s are supposed to be long term endeavors. Something where you should be striving to gain and keep long term interest. Thinking about this long term interest, the reputation of your game and company, and just having some fucking respect for your players is how you maximise these profits. So please, let’s stop marketing these cheap, ridiculous gambling tricks.

 

ESO Unleashed

I’m guessing everyone and their mmo addicted marsupials out there have heard the recent news that Elder Scrolls Online will be going Buy to Play in March, ahead of the June console release to which I’ll give a tentative… yaaaay???

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Free to Play Fuckery – H1Z1

A new segment I now christen in order to highlight complete and utter douchery within the industry when it comes to payment models. I’m just done with it.

Also, I swear I’m not trying to be Syncain on his crusade against ftp in general although I might be in the same fellowship for now haha.

This time I just wanted to highlight a comment over at reddit wherein Smedley tries to Defend the Airdrop mechanic. A mechanic which in essence comes down to being a paid for lockbox with the chance (and from what I’ve seen a reasonable one) at getting weapons, ammo and gear. Something that they originally said would never be sold within their cash shop.

Oh but you basically have a random chance of even getting the lockbox you paid for so that makes it ok.

facepalm-pilgrim

Archeage and Continuing the Cash Shop Hate

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.

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Archeage and Pay to Win

I have an admission to make about Archeage. One that pains me to say but after a lot of thought is something I can’t ignore. Archeage is Pay to Win. Now I don’t mean that in some kind of esoteric “Every FtP game is Pay to Win” kind of way but that Archeage falls trap to the issue of buying power that gives a distinct advantage over others.

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GW2 and Content Charges

I’ve been reading a bit about the new Living story updates for Guild Wars 2 and, it has me intrigued. Not enough to go in there yet but enough to prod my attention towards it so I’ll be reading a little more about the story and changes to come.

There have been several great round-ups already on the new changes, of these and I’d probably recommend Inventory Full, Sygnus and Why I game of those but then I know I’m forgetting some as well. I just wasn’t paying that much attention at first until a little way into it. A new, growing zone to exploring, a better story telling approach and with the journal it won’t feel like such a constant achievement grind.

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Buying Blocks and Burning Bridges

Well, the monetisation of Everquest next landmark has been outlined on the forums and I have to say that I’m not very impressed with their plans, so much so that I might just get a refund if that’s still possible. Games have to make money of course and I expected the usual ftp options but this seems a little to integrated within regular gameplay systems to the extent that I’m worried about it.

There is a post available on the forums with the current plans for monetisation across the alpha and beta stages, much of which is the usual fair. For some reason I expected SOE to be a bit more innovative in this regards: they’ve had a wonderful marketing strategy so far, they are championing new game play types we don’t see much in the AAA space and it was hard to not be wrapped up in the initial hype. A new modern multiplayer minecraft, that’s like gaming nirvana but what we got just isn’t hitting the mark for me anymore.

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ESO Pre-order Packs: Critiques and Concerns

It seems Elder Scrolls has managed to drum up another apparent controversy, it has a way with this sort of thing. I woke up, read a few comments regarding the new pre-order bonuses and thought “I don’t get it”. I just don’t understand how this is a big deal, sorry but I don’t. I’m trying really hard to build up the required amount of hate but… it’s not working. I have no fucks to give in this circumstance.

Pre-orders are known for giving you extra stuff that you can’t get elsewhere in just about ever other genre. Do I piss and moan about the extra stuff kickstarter supporters are getting.. nope. Do I get upset at that shiny gun in battlefield ops 3.5 that kills me rather quickly and looks awesome doing it that was got from a certain stores pre-order.. no. To me there are far more insidious elements in our industry than what Zenimax is offering, in fact I think it is both rather tame while also offering a decent deal to those that want to support the title earlier.

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