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.

 

Couch Podtatoes EP30: Izzy in a Tizzy about Hizzy

HEHE..

This week we debate the around our interests with H1Z1 and the current controversy surrounding Early Access issues and the Airdrop Mechanic. WE were both on different sides of this debate; IZZy the defender of the Apocalypse and Me, the dejected Hater. It was a mostly respectful debate though and no where near as hostile as you might think.

Anyway ENJOY..

Download / Libsyn / Itunes / Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 30: The H1Z1 Controversy (runtime: 1:01:05)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:25)
Discussion: H1Z1 (starts at 8:11)
Idiots on the Internet: HotS (starts at 44:35)
Community Spotlight: Aywren (starts at 54:10)

 

Idiots on the Internet Article:

http://www.polygon.com/2015/1/20/7861633/the-heroes-of-the-storm-founders-pack

Community Spotlight:
Clean Casuals
The Article – discussing MMO story styles and interest.

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Doone
Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @trredskies

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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Cracking Open the Cash Shop: Part 2

Content Styles

Now here is where things get a little harder to determine the actual effect of the various payment styles. They certainly do well in bringing more people into the game and genre but, as was said by the writer, you don’t have the pressure to like the game. Easy for the potential player to jump in and jump out at will with little forethought about the game. It kind implies that you wouldn’t feel the need to stick around if you faced any sort frustration or inconvenience; in the face of those the potential FtP player is likely to give up and go on to other titles.

This is an obvious change in the style of development we see in these newer FtP mmo’s. Everything is made just a little more easy and directed with removing the chance of the player feeling lost or confused. Quest are more streamlined from one to the next, markers are that much more obvious.. they even have bright glowing trails to follow or in some cases it will take you to the right place for you. It is a system that is slowly removing any sort of player input to the circumstance as well as requiring little thought to complete. A simplistic pez dispenser in most cases; hop on the ride and enjoy the loot.
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Cracking Open the Cash Shop: Part 1

So this shit has got to stop. I’m so very tired of seeing this same argument spewed forth constantly within the media and across the interwebz by gamers blinded with greed and some sort form of temporary insanity…hmm, we can only hope it’s temporary. A subscription is not evil and a micro-transaction system has many MANY flaws as well. FtP isn’t even a proven payment model yet as we really haven’t be able to see its long term efficacy in the west in terms of titles designed and released with this model in mind.

So lets stop spreading this stupidity… please.
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The Fate of Being Free

It seems the unsavory elements are slowly infecting my calm little beach front villa of New Eden. Being free to play has come with certain consequences and one of the most obvious is the quality of the players entering in the this open Beta phase. With the floodgates open and no barriers to entry anyone is allowed in and with little consequence to those not invested it just leaves a space ripe for idiots, a holes and trolls to make their mark and I see them now more than ever. Being an fps also seems to bring in more of that kind…you know the ones.

I knew this was coming eventually as it happens to all ftp games but it had taken awhile to have an effect this time around. Firefall isn’t one of those hugely marketed AAA titles like Neverwinter so it was never going to get the sheer amount of mouthbreathers disturbing the peace but it is starting to happen and unfortunately may be influencing the future of community interactions. The community up until now, being insulated and sheltered from the storm has actually grown reasonably close, relaxed, and helpful. I don’t know whether it’s the result of the usual small community effect or that this one is just better than a lot out there because of the people and Red 5 themselves.

Usually people would freely invite nearby players to their squads to share resources and get a little bit of help in the process. Now there are certain griefers who purposefully send thumpers back eaarly to start the cooldown, place their own and then leave group as a way of securing resource nodes all to themselves. I have seen a bit of griefing going on in the ares missions as well, some players purposefully set off all the respawns as a way of wiping people. Then there are the mobs being trained onto thumpers and the usual trolling and discriminatory remarks in chat. That just seems so uncharacteristic of what we are used to, and a community built on being friendly and helpful are starting to notice these happenings more often and becoming more reserved because of it. I hope this doesn’t change things. One of the main pro’s of a niche game is the better community and interactions you have…without that any mmo seems a lot more unwelcoming then and Firefall doesn’t have the vibrance of a large population as back up.

People are discussing no longer inviting people within their group unless they know them and that really does seem like it could be rather detrimental if it becomes the dominant thought. One of the main ways I have made friends within Firefall is through thumping. The way it’s designed with waves, the usual down times, the hectic moments, the participation rewards and just how it is all so visible on map have really helped in getting people together and providing opportunities to talk. I met a really friendly guy just last night and we chatted about random cartoons and tv shows for over an hour while thumping (that reminds me to google frisky dingo). It is those moments that I would really miss if the community suddenly did become more insular and I probably wouldn’t enjoy the game as much if it did.

I don’t see much way to fix this though as Firefall is freely available for anyone to try, and there are no restriction on new accounts. There would be no sort of repercussions on these griefing types either as they can just make a new account and start over. They’re not worried about anything in their inventory and are unlikely to have purchased anything so it’s easy to start all over again. Purchasing something usually creates an investment to a product that kind of limits this sort of action, not many people would be willing to waste their money having an account being banned and even less would be likely to buy a game solely to grief the playerbase. These acts aren’t really serious enough to get banned though, they just create a more negative atmosphere to play in. It’s a tough problem to solve.

I hope the community doesn’t crumble under the pressure of the cretins and create an unsocial game space, all I can hope though is that they hold out for long enough as I’m sure that crowd will either get pushed away from the game based on the more complex mechanics and investment needed to progress or they will roll on to the next free shiny to be released and corrupt that poor game. I’m still not sold on Free to play as the new and apparently “better” payment model for mmo’s and experiences like this just make that more certain. It seems there are many more consequences to having this style that can completely outweigh the benefits at times. I don’t think that’s nostalgia talking either but I think we shall see in a couple of years time were this payment model takes us.

The Frocalypse

Terrible title is terrible but anyway. In a recent interview by Mark Jacobs over at VG24/7 had the remarkably claim that free to play games are heading for some kind of apocalypse in the years to come. It is great to see Mark talking about his payment model more as it is a very important discussion point regarding the game with many being rather apposed to it. It definitely makes a very promising buzz phrase that Wilhelm of the Ancient Gaming Noob claims, that will create some much needed media attention and maybe more potential backers but unlike Lord British’s outlandish comment this one I think has an element of truth to it.
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Replay: Tera Take Two

If you haven’t noticed it yet right on the side there.. yes just over there —> I have been uploading purty pics which won’t be everyday because I lie terribly but hopefully will be most days. And if you have been observent you may have noticed the Tera pics.. yep I’m jumping back for another round.

I have honestly been want to jump back in for some time just to see the world more, enjoy a little action combat and maybe toss my poor mystic into the pvp modes which I have never tried. There has just been so much to play lately and I wasn’t going to sub for something I would never have time to play. And now as of a couple weeks ago it is ftp so time to once again meet my furry friends.
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