The Age of Microtransactions: Why I'm getting off the MMO train here.

SlickieSlickie Registered User regular
edited October 2011 in MMO Extravaganza
I remember the first time I logged into Everquest. Even though the only thing onscreen was a flat field with a few cardboard-cutout trees rising out of it, the experience was so much more meaningful. I remember taking an excited, shuddering breath as I processed it all in my mind.

Right now, there are dozens - no, hundreds - no, thousands of other players in this virtual world with me. It's a world. It's a living, breathing world.

I did a lot of people-watching. It thrilled me to see other players going about their business. It was such a departure from the video games I had played beforehand. Even though early MMOs were almost ruthlessly difficult to advance in without making a massive time commitment, things were fair. Everything was obtainable ingame once you paid for the game itself and kept up its subscription fee. For a square $10 a month, the entire world was at your fingertips. Some things were extremely difficult to get, so difficult I'd never have a chance at it, but I didn't mind. It made sense to me. Not everyone could wield Excalibur or ride Shadowfax.

As time went on, MMORPGs became friendlier beasts. This was a divisive development. Personally, I quite liked it. My fondest MMO memories are from the middle of the decade, when World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, City of Heroes, and Guild Wars were all fresh and new. The frustrations I had often felt while playing games like Everquest and Final Fantasy XI were no longer weighing me down. I could log in and strike out on my own, without having to sit around in a town hoping a group would form so I could do something as basic as go out and level up. Things were still fair in those days. For a time it looked like MMORPGs might actually get cheaper instead of more expensive, due to the success of Guild Wars. I know a lot of people were hoping monthly fees might become a thing of the past.

It wasn't to be, however. We now find ourselves in the thick of the age of cash shops and RMT. An age where having complete and total access to your MMORPG of choice is more expensive than ever. An age where the game's rarest treasure were not hidden away in the world's most dangerous dungeons and wielded by the most dedicated (or obsessed) players, but instead purchasable with real-world currency and wielded by those with the most disposable income.

I can't do it anymore. The immersion and the joy of the genre has been sucked out of me.

What's worse, even non-MMOs are doing it with their constant streams of DLC. The days where you could buy a game (and/or subscribe to it) for a flat price are over. Pieces of content, ranging in size from entire new regions and play modes to cosmetic additions like pets and alternate costumes are constantly being released. The worst thing of all is that it's working. People are eating it up. There is a large crowd out there that doesn't care when developers excise content from their own game to sell it seperately, often at very high prices.

There was once a time where alternate costumes and stages were part of the flat-rate package you purchased, and you unlocked them by showing skill or spending time playing the game. Today they are sold in DLC packs that are often 1/5th the price of the core game. Going back to MMOs, I'm finding that developers are charging ludicrous prices for things that used to be part of the flat-rate package.

All of this would be easier to swallow if it seemed like all this DLC and microtransaction stuff was content that simply wouldn't fit into the core product. This doesn't look to be the case to me, though. MMOs are releasing less content less often these days, and yet they continue to increase the rate at which they pump out DLC and microtransaction items. These things aren't leftovers from the design process - developers are actively and intentionally spending less effort on the core game and more effort on the cash shops and downloadable content. The degree to which they favor one or the other depends on the developer, but the vast majority appear to be whole-heartedly chasing after the DLC and RMT models, because they make more money.

There was once a time where the entrance fee was all you needed to experience the entirety of a game. Now, most MMOs are like a theme park that charges you to ride some of the attractions on top of having you pay the entry fee. Some people have yet to realize just how lucrative cash shops can be. A single player who spends $60 a month in the cash shop is worth four players who only pay the $15 monthly fee. These players exist. I've been running into them every day - the players with the Double XP Buff, the Double Reputation Buff, the No Cooldown Health Potions, the full collection of faction mounts which you can either buy with real-life money or spend two weeks grinding a faction's reputation to obtain each.

There was once a time where every item, pet, mount, consumable, and buff was available for that same flat price. There were often interesting and challenging ways to obtain that item. They were often woven into the lore of the game in fascinating ways. Today, they're in the cash shop, an immersion-breaking window you can bring up and spend real money in. Excalibur is on sale right now for 1950 Store Points. Shadowfax, Gandalf's one-of-a-kind mount, is 1730 Store Points. Alternatively, you can grind Maiar reputation two hours a day for three weeks to get it.

To those who don't have a problem with this - that's grand and I'm genuinely happy for you. I wish I didn't care so much. I wish it didn't matter so much to me that the coolest and rarest items are no longer earned by playing the game they are in but by wiring money to the developer. Unfortunately, I do. They did it right for so many years that I've grown weary of their new approach.

There was once a time where games felt like living, breathing worlds rife with opportunity. There was an in-game path to everything - every weapon, item, and companion. Now games are starting to feel more and more like half-filled display cases, with plenty of slots and spaces just waiting to filled - if you've got the money to spare.

Slickie on
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Posts

  • reVersereVerse Attack and Dethrone God Registered User regular
    Monthly fees are the devil. I for one welcome this new brave era where I can play a game whenever I want without having to pull out my credit card first.

  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Free to play isn't inherently bad. It all depends on the attitudes of the developer and how they use the revenue model. It can suck, or it can be really cool. It is just one model among many for a company to stay in business and turn a profit.

    We are the skeletons in our closets.
    We are the monsters under our beds.
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    This beef about microtransactions is getting kind of tired, isn't it? It's all about money for enjoyment, and all things being equal we ought to like the microtransaction model because it lets us make that decision with more granularity. We're willing to pay 180 bucks a year on top of however many expansion boxes, which is a not-inconsiderable sum of money, but paying a similar amount of money via micropurchase is apparently intolerable.

    I think as the mmo market continues to fragment and diversify the pure subscription model is probably going to become less and less tenable for any but the largest games.

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  • hoodie13hoodie13 punch bro Registered User regular
    As I have less time nowadays to game, I'll take whatever systems will give me a leg up.

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  • SejarkiSejarki Registered User regular
    Slickie wrote:
    For a square $15$10 a month, the entire world was at your fingertips.

    Just to point out Everquest started out with a $10/month subscription and add to the sad.



  • SlickieSlickie Registered User regular
    Sejarki wrote:

    Just to point out Everquest started out with a $10/month subscription and add to the sad.

    Thanks for the correction, I had totally forgotten. Everquest was indeed $10 a month until 2003 when the price was raised to $13. It was raised again to $15 in 2005.

  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    And an extra $40 a year to buy the expansions, which you're forgetting about.

    Why aren't you railing against expansions, by the way?

    Garthor on
  • SlickieSlickie Registered User regular
    Garthor wrote:
    And an extra $40 a year to buy the expansions, which you're forgetting about.

    Why aren't you railing against expansions, by the way?

    I felt my post was quite long enough without bringing expansions into it.

    I feel that expansions are fine as long as the amount of content in it is reasonable for the price tag.

    I don't think a $10 mount in the game's cash shop is quite the same thing as a $40 expansion that adds a dozen new regions and dungeons. I think it's important to distinguish between the two - though technically any addition to a game is 'expanding' it, for the sake of clarity an 'expansion' should be reserved for a significant addition to the game.

  • CorehealerCorehealer The Apothecary The softer edge of the universe.Registered User regular
    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    F2P done right, like ArenaNet/Valve/Riot right, is an excellent alternative to box prices and/or subscription fees in any game, MMOs especially. They make money, they aren't aggressive and they give you a free game, no strings attached.

    F2P done wrong, like Cryptic/Activision/Turbine(kinda)/Korean/Zynga wrong, is an affront to nature and gamers everywhere because it creates artificial barriers to content and/or sucks more money then a sub ever would in the long run by foisting way too many game breaking upgrades or garish collectibles in your face.

    It's more complicated on a case by case basis, but that's the bare bones of it.

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  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    Slickie wrote:
    I don't think a $10 mount in the game's cash shop is quite the same thing as a $40 expansion that adds a dozen new regions and dungeons. I think it's important to distinguish between the two - though technically any addition to a game is 'expanding' it, for the sake of clarity an 'expansion' should be reserved for a significant addition to the game.

    I agree. One is a purely cosmetic option that players are free to purchase or not purchase according to their own wishes, without impacting their overall gameplay. The other is a $40 fee on top of the $50 I paid for the game and the $15 I've been paying each month in order to continue actually playing the game without being left behind in an abandoned ghetto.

  • reVersereVerse Attack and Dethrone God Registered User regular
    Slickie wrote:
    I don't think a $10 mount in the game's cash shop is quite the same thing as a $40 expansion that adds a dozen new regions and dungeons.

    You're right, you never have to buy that $10 mount to progress in the game, but you must buy the $40 expansion.

  • DibbyDibby I'll do my best! Registered User regular
    This beef about microtransactions is getting kind of tired, isn't it? It's all about money for enjoyment, and all things being equal we ought to like the microtransaction model because it lets us make that decision with more granularity. We're willing to pay 180 bucks a year on top of however many expansion boxes, which is a not-inconsiderable sum of money, but paying a similar amount of money via micropurchase is apparently intolerable.

    I think as the mmo market continues to fragment and diversify the pure subscription model is probably going to become less and less tenable for any but the largest games.

    This. I mean, take a look at Guild Wars 2. Very high quality game, could easily attach a subscription model to it, but they're not. They're going the microtransaction route. Cause I mean, let's face it. Would you rather buy a game once at box price, and never have to pay for anything again? Or would you buy the game at box price, and continue paying a monthly fee?

    A lot of MMO players often feel "married" to one game cause of the subscription model. "I'm already paying for Game A, I want to play Game B but that'd be another 15 bucks a month." If that monthly sub wasn't there, it wouldn't even be an issue.

    That aside, it is very easy to completely screw up with a microtransaction model, this is true. And my personal viewpoint on the whole thing is that I'm fine with vanity-based microtransactions, but once you can buy The Sword of A Thousand Truths for $5, that crosses the line. Going back to the GW2 example, I'm pretty sure they said that it's going to be stuff that doesn't affect/break gameplay. Mostly vanity stuff or stuff that can already be obtained in the game. Not 100% sure on that, but something similar.

    Really though, no matter how you slice it, servers aren't going to pay for themselves. Content isn't going to pay for itself. There needs to be some type of income, and I would much rather be able to play a game without having extraneous fees attached to it.

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  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Is it me, or have recent MMOs started to move away from the "buy the client first" thing, even though they charge a monthly fee?

    We are the skeletons in our closets.
    We are the monsters under our beds.
  • korodullinkorodullin What. SCRegistered User regular
    edited October 2011
    We're willing to pay 180 bucks a year on top of however many expansion boxes, which is a not-inconsiderable sum of money, but paying a similar amount of money via micropurchase is apparently intolerable.

    If "F2P" games were designed with the idea that you'd just pay $3 or so every few weeks for a hat or some experience boosters or something, I would agree with you. But if you realize that all of the Western subscription to F2P conversions have been made with the goal of getting far more than $15 from each player a month through a series of "micropurchases", then that doesn't really hold much water.

    Corehealer wrote:
    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    F2P done right, like ArenaNet/Valve/Riot right, is an excellent alternative to box prices and/or subscription fees in any game, MMOs especially. They make money, they aren't aggressive and they give you a free game, no strings attached.

    F2P done wrong, like Cryptic/Activision/Turbine(kinda)/Korean/Zynga wrong, is an affront to nature and gamers everywhere because it creates artificial barriers to content and/or sucks more money then a sub ever would in the long run by foisting way too many game breaking upgrades or garish collectibles in your face.

    It's more complicated on a case by case basis, but that's the bare bones of it.

    This is my precise stance on it.

    I don't even mind so much the average Korean model, where a small number of paying players can subsidize the game for the rest of the people who don't ever pay anything because the games are cheap to make and cheap to maintain. At least they're honest about what they're doing.

    It's the Western method that I find off-putting. Turbine tosses you a crippled client (in both DDO and LOTRO) and charges you out the nose to un-fuck it while putting in very inelegant paywalls that kill dead the fiction that what you're doing is "free to play" in anything but a technical sense. For Champions, Cryptic spits out a dozen C-store costume sets month (which, lately, have often been little more than reskins of basic tights with some bump mapping) that people constantly lap up with the grossly mistaken idea that buying them will encourage Cryptic to make more content for players to actually play in the game while preventing even paying non-subscribers from accessing one of the only two reasons to even touch Champions: its custom class system. Zynga's all about designing a barely tolerable grind tailored to tap into some of the most basic addiction triggers humans have in the hopes that, you'll break down and buy their cash shop stuff, either through sheer exasperation or peer pressure. And they're all extremely aggressive and in-your-face with their cash shops, integrating them very heavily into their UIs and usually taking every opportunity they can to put up another button to the store.

    Five years ago nobody would stand for this. Today, too many people with too much disposable income and poor impulse control have been conditioned by things like DLC (and I would even go so far as to say phone bills and bank statements with bullshit fees have contributed to it) and are more than eager to plunk down money without thinking about any sort of value.

    Dibby wrote:
    A lot of MMO players often feel "married" to one game cause of the subscription model. "I'm already paying for Game A, I want to play Game B but that'd be another 15 bucks a month." If that monthly sub wasn't there, it wouldn't even be an issue.

    Of course it'd still be an issue. Most people won't have time to really commit to two MMOs (you know, all those people who say they want to just pay their way through everything because they don't have time to play a lot?), so a second MMO is unlikely to be feasible anyway, regardless of the price. They'd start playing Game B, find they don't have the time to get what enjoyment they want out of both games, and quit one game to focus on the other.

    korodullin on
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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Well, obviously the goal is to make as much money as possible. And it could be that what we're really annoyed about is that we're willing to pay a lot more than $15/mo for a game we enjoy, and the micortransaction model is able to extract the difference.

    I guess what I object to is the implication that this is nefarious in some way:
    Five years ago nobody would stand for this. Today, too many people with too much disposable income and poor impulse control have been conditioned by things like DLC (and I would even go so far as to say phone bills and bank statements with bullshit fees have contributed to it) and are more than eager to plunk down money without thinking about any sort of value.

    So go take your money somewhere else! Everybody who makes different value judgments about content than you isn't an overpaid troglodyte. I don't play any zynga games and I can't really see why people would, but lots of people seem to enjoy them. If it turns out that people really do hate all this stuff then the games will rapidly fail and companies will try something else.

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  • TK-42-1TK-42-1 Registered User regular
    Look at steam sales, for example. Because it costs them nothing to get you the game (minus some bandwidth) they can sell games for a really low amount of money. So selling 100 copies at $5 is better than 15 at $50. This is the essence of microtransactions in that they lower that inhibition to spending money. If something is $1 that looks cool most people have no problem forking that over.

    Regardless of what you might think, or any sense of vestigal entitlement you have, gaming is a business. A business that has exploded in the last few years. It's not going to change for AAA titles any time soon.

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  • BasilBasil Registered User regular
    Can I have your stuff?

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  • am0nam0n Registered User regular
    I agree, OP. It's why I am likely to be exiting MMOs after SW:TOR.

  • BasilBasil Registered User regular
    I'll take your stuff, too. I've got room.

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  • BasilBasil Registered User regular
    Curses! Foiled again.

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  • am0nam0n Registered User regular
    You can't have my stuff, you silly fox. My stuff will rot forever in my tomb!

  • JediNightJediNight Registered User regular
    My problem with microtransactions are this: (Somewhat covered before)

    - Many of them build misery into the game and "force" you to pay for item shop stuff to make it less miserable. (Not good, just less) (mostly an asian MMO issue)
    - DLC is many times included on the disc but left out to pay for later. Many times its for an amount of content that would have been included or provided free before
    - I don't want to have to constantly deal with pulling open my wallet or mull over if it breaks my budget for the month to do something. I want to just pay a flat fee and play the goddamn game.
    - F2P is often an excuse to provide a sloppy gaming experience, while actually extracting as much or often more money than a subscription model does. Less content, large balance problems, sloppy design work, bugs, etc. "It's free to play, you can't expect as much..."
    - F2P can have a larger initial cost up-front than a traditional MMO in some cases. Especially on a cost vs. content provided ratio. Many require a lot of money invested up front to get your character going (at least without a lot of wasted time or "misery" grinding)

  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    Your complaints are, in order:

    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.
    - Basically irrelevant to MMOs. Regardless: the content is presumably developed by team members who are essentially budgeted for via DLC earnings. The choice is zero-day DLC or no content... free content is not on the table, here.
    - A valid complaint, which could easily be solved in better micropayment systems.
    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.
    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.

  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    Well, obviously the goal is to make as much money as possible. And it could be that what we're really annoyed about is that we're willing to pay a lot more than $15/mo for a game we enjoy, and the micortransaction model is able to extract the difference.

    I guess what I object to is the implication that this is nefarious in some way:
    Five years ago nobody would stand for this. Today, too many people with too much disposable income and poor impulse control have been conditioned by things like DLC (and I would even go so far as to say phone bills and bank statements with bullshit fees have contributed to it) and are more than eager to plunk down money without thinking about any sort of value.

    So go take your money somewhere else! Everybody who makes different value judgments about content than you isn't an overpaid troglodyte. I don't play any zynga games and I can't really see why people would, but lots of people seem to enjoy them. If it turns out that people really do hate all this stuff then the games will rapidly fail and companies will try something else.

    I dunno. It's microeconomic manipulation of human behavior. If consumers organize against it and demand we get delivered content to us in bigger chunks for flat fees, we get more value for money. Consumers of video games were able to do this for decades. But people are falling for it. That's why I refuse to pay for DLC for Dragon Age 2 or ME2.

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  • RialeRiale Registered User
    One definite positive of the F2P surge in my mind is that it has allowed for a lot more MMOs to exist in the market alongside behemoths like WoW without just being overwhelmed and shut-down. If it wasn't for the F2P model I'm not sure games like LOTRO, DDO and STO would still be around today. Additionally, I've seen a lot of games I used to enjoy (and still do) get a pretty nice surge in players due to a switch to F2P (City of Heroes is a good example of this). Although in some cases it has lead to shitty business practices, it is now easier than ever to try out a game and see if you want to spend money on it before plunking down cash each month (or even buying a box).

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  • marty_0001marty_0001 I am a file and you put documents in meRegistered User regular
    Yeah it's pretty much just capitalism at work here. Companies are going to use different methods to make money, and if you don't like it, you don't pay for it, same as anything else. You aren't entitled to complain that some model isn't fair: it's not about fairness, it's about profit. If that affects the game, well that's a bad game and you won't play it.

    Like you could imagine if diablo 3 were to become a subscription/microtransaction based game, people would still pay because it's such a high quality game. All the old fans would whine and create a ruckus, but too bad; blizzard is a business like anyone else and their number one objective is profit, not satisfying past consumers.

  • TK-42-1TK-42-1 Registered User regular
    exactly. why do you think sc2 is 3 separate $60 games?

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    kaliyama wrote:
    Well, obviously the goal is to make as much money as possible. And it could be that what we're really annoyed about is that we're willing to pay a lot more than $15/mo for a game we enjoy, and the micortransaction model is able to extract the difference.

    I guess what I object to is the implication that this is nefarious in some way:
    Five years ago nobody would stand for this. Today, too many people with too much disposable income and poor impulse control have been conditioned by things like DLC (and I would even go so far as to say phone bills and bank statements with bullshit fees have contributed to it) and are more than eager to plunk down money without thinking about any sort of value.

    So go take your money somewhere else! Everybody who makes different value judgments about content than you isn't an overpaid troglodyte. I don't play any zynga games and I can't really see why people would, but lots of people seem to enjoy them. If it turns out that people really do hate all this stuff then the games will rapidly fail and companies will try something else.

    I dunno. It's microeconomic manipulation of human behavior. If consumers organize against it and demand we get delivered content to us in bigger chunks for flat fees, we get more value for money. Consumers of video games were able to do this for decades. But people are falling for it. That's why I refuse to pay for DLC for Dragon Age 2 or ME2.

    consumers have never been able to do that, structural limits in distribution just forced companies to sell games that way.

    Again, I reject this idea that consumers need to "fall" for something to want to spend five dollars on some ME2 dlc. Either the content is worth it to you or it isn't, and it's easy enough to make that determination based on one or two purchases or reviews.

    One upside of microtransactions is that if we are smart, they potentially let you experience the content you want in a way that is cost-efficient. In the cast of stuff like ME2 DLC, the alternative to the a la carte model isn't all of the content shipping with the original game for the standard sticker price, it's Zaeed and the rest being left on the cutting room floor. Now consumers have the option of paying to access that content.

    At the same time, if you paid box price and a couple months of subscription for one of the various failed mmos in the last couple years, you might justifiably feel like you got a raw deal. A hypothetical microtransaction mmo avoids this problem.

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  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    I only play two MMOs, CoX and LotRO, both of which have gone f2p with microtransactions. Which I am hugely happy for. In fact, after seeing it in lotro I was asking CoX to do it for a long time. I was able to just plunk down for a lump sum of points in lotro months ago and keep playing off of that, and the only thing keeping me from doing the same in CoX is the lack of an option to point-buy Incarnates.

  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    One thing I am curious about is what games you have been playing? Everyone agrees there are a lot of shitty games and a lot of shitty publishers out there. Farmville and Allods have done the marketing of F2P no good at all. But there are some positive exceptions that still give you that feeling of terra nova and that feeling of being part of a larger world that evolves around you with or without your input. Or at least, games that give you a game without having to keep paying.

    I am worried about the feeling I get every time I pay for something in LOTRO, I get a 500 funbucks stipend per month for being a lifetime subscriber and I would not like to spend more money on the game. Every time I buy something from the store* I feel like the publisher has cheated me out of money. Why do I feel this way? I guess I just don't trust the publisher enough. Sure, now it's a 3$ item, next time it will be a 4$ item. They might tell me they won't do this, but a faceless corporation has the ultimate pokerface. How can a publisher restore trust? If only I knew. When I buy a record I know I will get the songs listed on the cover, I can put them on my iPod, I can listen to them on my PC and I can listen to them in the car. If in ten years time a new audio device is invented, I can put the music on there (probably via some sort of converter) and still listen to it. Now the music industry is as shifty as an investment banker but I still gladly pay for an album, safe in the knowledge that the music on it is mine for the listening. As long as the gaming industry fails to build trust, I will always think twice before spending a dime extra on a videogame.

    Another problem I have with cash shops is that it is hard to pay for what you really want: more of the game. So far the only F2P title I have spent money on was Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine. At the time I was really charmed by the game and I wanted to vote with my wallet. This game deserved a bigger budget and more attention from other gamers, I thought. So I spent ~30$ on it over the course of a few months. When - after a while - I got tired of the game and its many flaws I moved on and came to regret the money I spent on it. Most of it was spent on temporary items that would fade by the time I'd get back. I also bought new gear that was far better than anything I could get from doing quests or whatever. I came to realize the whole in-game economy was dependent on people like me buying stuff with real money and selling it on to other people for in-game money. Sure, I had a lot of fun with the game, but this left a very sour taste in my mouth. What exactly did I pay for? I didn't get any content? All I did was encourage the publisher to make more stuff like what I bought, even though I would have preferred to send the company money for the game it self. That way I would have given them the incentive to make more of that game, instead of more gear and convenience items. In LOTRO I paid a large pack of money for a lifetime subscription, which gave me access to all content, all I had to do was pay for any big expansions (like the current one providing 10 new levels, 3 new zones and quests that take you to a dragon's lair and Orthanc.) I hope this money gave them the idea that people are willing to pay for their game, but now all the new items they're releasing are convenience items, cosmetics and items that you can't really get anywhere else. This isn't really what I want out of my game and I have no idea how we - as consumers - can change this without deciding to stop playing games we enjoy.

    Now I figured I'd list some games that manage to be free, while having a cash shop, but without making it obligatory for the casual player. Unfortunately these are rarer than good (in my opinion, at least) free MMOs. Mostly because a good game can be published by a company with some bad business practises like I've listed above (looking at you, Aeria and Perfect World!). SO I guess that leaves us with indie games. I've copied the entries of these two titles. Give them a whirl, unless you really want to play them for hours every day, I think you will find the cash shop to be an ignorable option for you.


    Kingdom of Loathing
    Hilarious in-browser MMO. The graphics are amusing, the fact that there is a haiku chat channel makes the game awesome. You only get a limited amount of actions per day and you navigate the world from screen to screen.

    Realm of the Mad God
    An in-browser rogue-like with cute retro graphics. You get dropped in a world at level one, you hit stuff with your left mouse button and launch spells with shift+LMB. Go apeshit on the wildlife or rather: the wildlife will go apeshit on you. Death is permanent, but a new char is rerolled in 2 seconds. Try to survive for 20 levels, find the best gear possible and take on the mad gods of the realm. You will die. You will die a lot. You will die some more. But you'll come back for more anyway, because it's simple, yet challenging.


    *and let me assure you, for all the "only non-essential stuff!" talk there sure is a lot of essential stuff on there. Books that increase stats with +10 go for roughly 3$ each. Sure you can play the game without them, but a few of those books together are like wearing a third bracelet or a second necklace.

  • JediNightJediNight Registered User regular
    Garthor wrote:
    Your complaints are, in order:

    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.
    - Basically irrelevant to MMOs. Regardless: the content is presumably developed by team members who are essentially budgeted for via DLC earnings. The choice is zero-day DLC or no content... free content is not on the table, here.
    - A valid complaint, which could easily be solved in better micropayment systems.
    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.
    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.

    I'd rather micro-transactions not exist, than have them continue to be a pox on gaming in general so that the 5% of games that use it correctly make revenue that way. It's easy to see that the system is abused more often than not. As some people have mentioned above -- it becomes an excuse for them to merely extend the item shop, rather than work on the core game.

    This business model drives game development into a bad direction IMHO. The temptation to abuse is too great for companies and ruins immersion with the constant "whats this gonna cost me?" thoughts having the item store nickel and diming you.

    Reminds me of this pic... http://i.imgur.com/oAGkE.gif

  • AstaleAstale Registered User regular
    I hate MTs but I wouldn't really care if they didn't effect the MMO - and now bloody single player due to DLC - games. They're replacing 35-40$ expansions to games (well, HAVE replaced, I haven't seen those in years now) that were of varying value with 20$ DLC packs that have less than a tenth the content in many cases, or for even a single "sparkle pony" or whatever. I saw Cryptic mentioned and yes, in Champions there are plenty of ridiculous sets. Ten dollars for the ability to be a werewolf clone or shrink for a bit! Five bucks for a reskin of some tights. THAT is what they spend their time on rather than any real lasting content, because "real lasting content" is much harder to develop and more likely to cost them badly with a failure. So let the artists churn out a pair of shoes in a weekend, and if it fails no biggie.

    So unfortunately, this trend is actively affecting my experience with the game. It promotes laziness and gouging for dumb vanity items in the shop. In a game like WoW they have time to do both, cash shop and real content. But the smaller the game gets, the more the focus is on the cash shop. Games like Champions only have so many people around to do so many projects, unlike WoW, and so when they sit down and decide what they want to do, they do what makes them money.

    And as I'm sure someone will point out yet again, and has been mentioned a dozen times already I'm sure, yes that's where all the money goes. Good for the people paying for it! I'm not one of them, however, and as such the entire MT thing has been nothing but a drag on my gaming experience.

    Alistair wrote: »
    I use Dog as a cover for when I put dead animals in Morrigan's underthings
  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    JediNight wrote:
    Garthor wrote:
    Your complaints are, in order:

    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.
    - Basically irrelevant to MMOs. Regardless: the content is presumably developed by team members who are essentially budgeted for via DLC earnings. The choice is zero-day DLC or no content... free content is not on the table, here.
    - A valid complaint, which could easily be solved in better micropayment systems.
    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.
    - Related to bad games, not microtransactions.

    I'd rather micro-transactions not exist, than have them continue to be a pox on gaming in general so that the 5% of games that use it correctly make revenue that way. It's easy to see that the system is abused more often than not. As some people have mentioned above -- it becomes an excuse for them to merely extend the item shop, rather than work on the core game.

    This business model drives game development into a bad direction IMHO. The temptation to abuse is too great for companies and ruins immersion with the constant "whats this gonna cost me?" thoughts having the item store nickel and diming you.

    Reminds me of this pic... http://i.imgur.com/oAGkE.gif

    You've yet to explain why we should treat micro-transactions as a pox on gaming in general as opposed to a tool able to be abused by bad companies. Which would have been bad companies regardless.

    Or why it's different from us putting up with companies straight up lying to us about why the monthly fee exists. "Server maintenance!" ahahahaha. Is good joke da?

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    I love microtransactions. My flat, anecdotal experience is that I spend less money over all, and I have more control over which companies get a share. I've been able to try way more games than I would have bought in the previous model. And when I play two games, but love one more than another, I can dictate how much wallet share each company
    gets from me. The biggest improvements that need to be made are in better purchase/store systems.

    What is this I don't even.
  • SeidkonaSeidkona Had an upgrade Registered User regular
    I've been playing LOTRO off an on since the game came out. I went back to it a few times and each time I didn't really play it much. When the game came out as a f2p in September I picked it back up and have not been away that long since. Everything I bought was content. I felt like I could choose when and where I spent my cash on for my play experience. I could do it when I had the cash and not in some arbitrary monthly billing cycle and I could do it in the amount I felt I could afford at the time.

    I have spent at times $50 for a pool of points and other times I've gone months without spending anything. It's very flexible for me and I like that. When I have played monthly fee games I start to resent the money I am giving them because in the end I am only renting the game time. With LOTRO I bought almost all of the content I have access to and anything I did not buy I simply got lucky and won a lifetime. By the time I won the lifetime I had actually purchased all the content save one or two skirmishes, so I almost had a lifetime anyway. But it's mine. I can come back and play it whenever. I bought it and it's mine.

    I'm not against paying money for things but I don't like renting things either.

    Mostly just huntin' monsters.
    XBL:Phenyhelm - 3DS:Phenyhelm
  • SlickieSlickie Registered User regular
    Fiaryn wrote:

    You've yet to explain why we should treat micro-transactions as a pox on gaming in general as opposed to a tool able to be abused by bad companies. Which would have been bad companies regardless.

    Or why it's different from us putting up with companies straight up lying to us about why the monthly fee exists. "Server maintenance!" ahahahaha. Is good joke da?


    I can't speak for the other fellow but I don't think microtransactions and RMT are inherently evil. They're not like a cursed sword that ensnares and corrupts innocent developers.

    But they're certainly very lucrative, and money is the great persuader. I have to disagree with you when you say only bad companies who have been bad all along abuse cash shops.

    Blizzard had a very good track record up until the sunset days of Wrath of the Lich King - when they started selling mounts half the price of a full-fledged expansion pack. Turbine was also very respectable, but no longer - they've just released an overpriced expansion pack that raised the game's level cap but failed to provide any endgame dungeons or new features.

    As a business venture, all this microtransaction stuff is great. If I were the sort of person who derived enjoyment from seeing game developers make truckloads of money, I'd be really happy about how much money everyone is making. For some reason, though, I don't seem to care. All I care about is the ratio of the amount and quality of content to the money I spend on it, and that ratio has been taking a nosedive for several years in a row now. Things that used to be free now cost money. Income that developers used to spend on the core game are being spent on designing new microtransactions. We're paying premium prices for a generation of MMORPGs that are creatively bankrupt, all of them aping one successful model instead of innovating like they were in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Microtransactions and cash shops might not be 'poxes' but the overwhelming majority of developers utilizing them are using them in unethical ways. The money is simply too good to pass up and I get no personal satisfaction out of applauding them for their shrewd business sense. All I care about is where my money is going and how much of it I'd have to spend to get the complete experience like I used to as recently as four years ago.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    I don't think you know what unethical means

    NREqxl5.jpg
  • PoketpixiePoketpixie Registered User regular
    The thing with MT is that I don't feel like I'm wasting my money if I don't feel like logging in and playing. Also, I don't feel tied down to one game. The downside is I have yet to see a cash shop that didn't make me cringe.

    Allods had an absolutely diabolical set up. Theirs was an example of what not to do. WoW's cash shop is borderline exploitative with how overpriced the goods are. LoTRO is probably the best setup I've seen so far but it still makes me grumble at how much I'd need to spend to get everything.

  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    Slickie wrote:
    Turbine was also very respectable, but no longer - they've just released an overpriced expansion pack that raised the game's level cap but failed to provide any endgame dungeons or new features.
    The game does include a 12/24 man raid and gives an incentive for players to do raid-level skirmishes that were ignored beforehand. My kin is only just starting out on skirmish raids and we have been enjoying ourselves. Sure, it's a bummer that it does not include more fellowship content and as you can read in my previous post I have enough complaints about Turbine, but if you are going to call foul on companies you should not base yourself on pre-release angry forum posts.

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Is it me, or have recent MMOs started to move away from the "buy the client first" thing, even though they charge a monthly fee?

    At best, they'll have a price for the client early on then dump it ASAP. Turns out if your game's barrier to entry is $40 THEN a monthly fee, you lose to World of Warcraft. Rift, for example, launched earlier this year at $50 I think, and now you can buy the client for $5... just a matter of time before it's free (or just the same price as a month of subscription, with a month included).

    Even when your barrier to entry is just a monthly fee, you'll probably still lose to World of Warcraft.

    I think the only upcoming MMO that's not going to follow the trend is TOR. Guild Wars 2 as well, I suppose, but they operate on a very different revenue model.

    Dehumanized on
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