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My biggest gripe with subscriptions based MMO's

Discussion in 'Gaming Arena' started by Soylent, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    You see what I mean about having absolutely zero impact on those not already converted to that position?

    And another waste of time.

    And we have a trifecta!
  2. Packetdancer

    Packetdancer Addon Cupcake

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    Honestly, I don't feel super super strongly about subscriptions, but I detailed my personal reasoning why the subscription model doesn't bother me. Hence why I qualified it with that I ask myself the question about whether my $11/month towards WildStar gives me as much (or more) enjoyment than the caffeine and sometimes a breakfast sandwich I pick up at Starbucks. This is not logic everyone is required to hold to, but merely my own personal logic when deciding if I want to spend the money on a given thing or not.

    For instance, while I enjoy Age of Wushu enough to play it periodically, if I had to pay $15/month to play it, I wouldn't. Because I'd do that math—do I get as much enjoyment out of $15 towards Age of Wushu as I do other things I can spend $15 on—and the answer would honestly be 'no'; I'd honestly get more enjoyment out of spending the $15 on, say, a really good SF/fantasy novel on my Kindle.

    For WildStar, the math of "do I get as much enjoyment out of this money as I would out of spending the same amount on something else"—be it coffee in the morning, or a book, or whatever—comes out in WildStar's favor for me. Moreover, in this particular case—and admittedly, I'm biased because the math does balance out that way for me—I'm happier with WildStar being subscription-based, because it means we are not going to see a cash shop that is constantly tossing upsells in my face like "pay $5 to unlock these travel points!" or whatever, or demanding my wallet in order to let me unlock loot I get in game.

    (Side note: lockboxes are the monetization scheme I loathe most about modern MMOs. I usually consider myself a reasonably calm and polite person, but after about the fifth time I get a lockbox that demands real money to open, I turn into a foaming Hulked-out crazy lady.)

    I tend to make these same assessments on every game I look at, and as I mentioned above they don't always come out the same; for Age of Wushu, I'm happy enough to have the option to play for free, and probably wouldn't play otherwise. Conversely, for WildStar, I'm happy to have a subscription model because it probably means I'll never have to deal with those bloody lockboxes. Based on a lot of what I hear, others are in that same camp with me, which also makes me happy; not because I want to be "right" (though, let's be honest, most people do), but because people willing to pay subscriptions to WildStar bodes well for the future of a game that I would kind of like to be around for a while.

    But these are purely my own opinions; no one else is obligated to hold them. Heck, no one else is even obligated to agree that my conclusions are logical! I've just more or less already come to my conclusions on my personal value-math on WildStar, and I've yet to see any data (in this thread or otherwise) that invalidates that mental formula I use.

    Hopefully that clarifies more what my little pithy $11 Starbucks comment was meant to illustrate.

    That said, and I'm going to digress here for a moment, your previous post smacks of trying to 'win' the discussion, a need to sway others' opinions—something I admit I'm sometimes prone to trying to do too—and I have to point out that forum threads are not generally things that can be "won" in any meaningful sense.

    I mean, I've gotten into some pretty intense theorycrafting and policy discussions on other forums with people about stuff like cosmetic clothing (diehard raiders being furious even about dye systems being in game, much less the option to have your outfit not appear like your gear, diehard RPers liking as much costume variety as possible) or the benefits of open/closed tagging systems, or PvP balance or whatever where you'll end up with one person there who won't even acknowledge anyone else's arguments or consider a middle ground. (There are whole swaths of the SWTOR forums I just won't even read anymore...)

    When that happens, you have to just sort of eventually accept that, or feel like you're getting a concussion from running into a brick wall. Mind you, since I am prone to tilting at windmills in debate perhaps more than is healthy/sane/wise in hopes of drawing people towards a compromise between divergent camps, I spend my own fair share of time crashing into those brick walls. (Maybe concussions build character...?)

    At any rate, not everyone's going to be convinced by arguments, no matter how impassioned. And honestly, not everyone needs to be convinced; if everyone on the internet agreed on everything, I'd be really worried!

    (Also, things might be dull, but mostly I'd be really worried about brainwashing or what'd been put in the water.) :)
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  3. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    I used to feel that way, but I quickly outgrew it. Now they are just something that take up a slot in my inventory, waiting for wild Black Lion Keys to drop from time to time.

    It's more a matter of saving time. Too often in these sorts of discussions people try to make comparisons about "how cheap $15 is," and I just wanted to get those out of the way, because they don't help anyone with anything.
  4. Packetdancer

    Packetdancer Addon Cupcake

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    Having not played much GW2, I am unfamiliar with their specific lockbox implementation. STO was where I ended up most rage-y over the system.

    But really, my philosophy is "either make me pay for access, or sell me stuff to make my game more fun/easy, but don't take stuff I earned through playing and then hold it hostage until I pay you real money."

    Stuff I have to pay for is fine, be it things like SWTOR's Cartel Packs or LotRO's various shop stuff (I officially spent way too darn much on war steed appearances and armor). Stuff I have to earn through playing is fine as well; nifty raid armor, PvP awards, weapons that are reputation-restricted, whatever. Stuff I have to earn through playing AND pay for afterwards? That just grates on me, because it's mixing two models

    It is, however, probably one of the more effective monetization methods, I suspect. Many players hate obstacles, and will throw money at the screen to make them go away.

    As for the $15 comparisons, they may not be useful to you, but lots of us do find that sort of mental math quite helpful! As I said, I do that mental math for every game; is the necessary buy-in something where it's one where I will get an equivalent or greater amount of enjoyment than spending that money on something else (including, potentially, some other game)? If yes, then it's worth it to me. If not, then either I play F2P or I don't play.

    That math is, to me, not only not some trite saying to trot out in discussions, it's actually a very useful tool for me to see if I am spending my entertainment funds effectively. ;)
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  5. Malisent

    Malisent Cupcake-About-Town

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    A million times THIS. I know this concept of a month of gaming being less than a night at a movie doesn't work for a lot of folks - I totally get it. But games that are constantly begging me to spend cash or that actually would cost me 30 or 40 bucks a month of store purchases to play at the competitive level I want to play Wildstar make me batty (I want to join up with Packetdancer to throw lockboxes into the fires of hell).

    I think for me that's the difference... the sub seems cheap to me. I paid around the current WS planned sub price for Asheron's Call 13 years ago when I was broke. But I'm not the type of player that will switch to another game and back every couple months. I also don't want to pay for multiple subs, so I have to make a choice there.

    So I get that subs stink for those that want to dabble in all sorts of games. But when you have a game committed to the elder game being engaging — in my mind, that is the one place where the sub money goes. Pick your money spot. If you don't want a sub at all, then you really aren't expecting to participate in progression (and by progession, I don't mean just raiding/pvp, but the the crafting, paths, exploration too), you just want to pop in and out, and I just don't see that's how a game like Wildstar will make that type of player happy, regardless of the payment model.
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  6. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    Yeah, that's how I thought at first, but it just takes a shift of perspective. You didn't earn the contents of the Chest through gameplay, you just had an ad pop, click it or not. You don't earn the contents of the BLChests through gameplay, you earn them by buying keys from the cash shop. Until you do that, they aren't a thing you have access to, they are a thing that take up space in your inventory. You can destroy them, you can hoard them, you can even sell them on the AH for a modest amount, but you haven't earned the rights to what's inside. Is it a bit of a marketing trick? Sure, but it's an old one, like sending coupons in the mail. And besides, there are several ways to earn the keys in game if you absolutely must, not to mention that you can buy gems with gold, and then keys with gems, so for about 13 gold you can buy 5 keys if you like, but personally I've never found the contents of the chest all that compelling.

    If they bother you, they bother you, but as far as reasons to not enjoy a game go, they are a fairly poor reason in the grand scheme of GW2.

    It's also worth noting that the BLCs are not something you should really care about "earning" ingame, since you can buy them off the trading post for about 4 copper, they are almost literally "junk" as far as "earning" them through ingame activities, you can pick up thousands of them for the price of a good sword. It's not like they are ascended weapons that drop and then require unlocking.

    It's a "speaking to the choir" argument though. If you're cool with a subscription, you're cool with it, and those arguments make a lot of sense. If you're not cool with a subscription, those arguments still make a lot of sense, they just don' shift your feeling on the matter, and the sub is still a bad thing. I highly doubt that the argument has ever actually changed anyone's mind on the issue, and they're therefore a waste of time to bring up, except for pro-sub people competing to come up with the most interesting examples amongst themselves.
  7. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    None of the cash shop items offer a competitive advantage though. . .

    Yeah, fair enough, but what if you don't WANT to participate in raid progression, but you do want to play the rest of the game? You still can't if it's a sub game. You're asking people to pay for features they want no part of.
  8. Malisent

    Malisent Cupcake-About-Town

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    Have you met Neverwinter? :p

    I specifically stated that not all progression is raid and pvp. Progression CAN mean the growth of our characters in any aspect... as farmers or as merchants for example. It may be a 'feature' that folks don't want, but if progression is presented as part of the game up-front, than no one is paying for anything they did not expect. While the early and middle game are meant to be engaging and get you to level, I'd expect even the most casual merchant will have more fun in the Wildstar elder game.. as that's where the main growth will be.
  9. Packetdancer

    Packetdancer Addon Cupcake

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    They bother me. It may not even be entirely rational, but they really, really grate on me in most implementations I've seen them done.

    It comes across as if I were getting freebie gifts in the mail from Amazon (i.e., normal loot drops) for doing something, maybe Mechanical Turk tasks, and I might or might not like that but hey, it's the established pattern. But then suddenly one day when I open the box it's a locked container with a message of "now go purchase a key from us to get inside this box!" And I can't see what's in the box to know if I want the key! DAMN YOU, AMAZON! Why did you change this pattern on me?!

    Since it's all digital, I grant that you're correct there's really no difference between a lockbox that says "to open me, buy a key from the store!" and a digital "coupon" that said "this entitles you to purchase one Box Of Random Junk from our store!" Either way, it's a pick-up-in-the-world object that requires you to then obtain something else—possibly with real money—for it to be useful.

    But it still bothers me. Within the construct I willingly put myself inside—i.e., the game world—that's a container of Stuff. Stuff that I picked up in that world, and then you're asking me for money from this world in order to open it.

    Really, though, it goes beyond lockboxes, even if they're the monetization method I dislike the most.

    I just dislike the difference in 'feel' between the games (despite the fact that I will periodically play a game I don't feel is 'worth the subscription' if it's F2P); for a subscription-based game, their economic incentive is to make the game as absolutely fun as possible so that I will keep paying the subscription, but for an F2P game, their economic incentive is to find as many ways as possible to extract money from me while I'm in the game. To some players—me included—it ends up feeling like the difference between engineering the systems to make them as fun as possible (to keep me around) and engineering them to be just fun enough to keep me around while also being just obnoxious enough/tossing enough obstacles out there to encourage me to spend real money to remove those.

    But again, that's my opinion. Some quite prefer F2P and microtransactions, because they feel like "even if I spend an average of $50 on microtransactions in the cash shop in a month where I do play <F2P game X>, if I don't play one month then I'm not there to spend that money, and so it's not wasted. Whereas if I spend $11/month on <P2P game Y>, if I don't play a month I've wasted that money because it just goes into the void!"

    And if that's the math they use to calculate what games are most 'worth it' to them? Then that's a valid opinion as well. I do genuinely know people who'd rather spend more in a month but actively be playing during that month than spend less for everything, but feel like the money's just been thrown down a pit when they can't play for a month due to work/school/whatever.
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  10. Dedlaw

    Dedlaw Cupcake-About-Town

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    I pay way more for my gym membership than I do for subbing games, and even then I feel like some days I need to force myself at gunpoint to go.

    If your guilt-tripping yourself into playing, your doing it wrong IMO
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  11. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    Oh, I meant in GW2, maybe they do matter in NW. I'm just pointing out, there's no reason they should have to, it's a purely optional design mechanic.

    Yeah, but still, they're SUPER cheap. I mean, they're only worth the lamest junk loot available. By endgame even junk loot is worth 4-8 times as much as a locked BLChest. You earn enough coin in game within the first hour to buy a few dozen BLChests! The contents are random, so it's not like each chest you get has something specific waiting for you, all it gives you is another pull at the slot machine for mostly junk stuff. There's really no reason to be concerned that you're missing out by not opening them, and if you can't stand to hold on to them waiting for a key to drop, just chuck them into the Trading Post and make your 4c per.

    Or to use ingame currency to open it, whichever.

    Again, not for the good ones. They need you to be playing, and to enjoy playing, just as much as a Sub one does, because if you aren't enjoying the game, you aren't likely to purchase things that only exist inside that game.

    Plus there's no reaosn why you should have to spend $50 per month. I may have spent that much my first month or two in GW2, on new character slots and bank slots, but I've since spent very little, and could easily continue to do so. I'm considering spending some more soon, more as a gift to ANet than because I feel compelled to by design. Over the course of the past year, while I've been playing daily, I have spent well less than the $180 it would have cost me to play a sub game over that period. Others have spent more, and I thank them for it, but each player's participation is their own business.
  12. Lsya

    Lsya Cupcake-About-Town

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    Paying per the hour has already been done in the western world. During the AOL and Compuserve dial-up days, many games charge several dollars per hour to play online. Yeah, that sounds outrageous; but people did it. Obviously, that high of a cost wouldn't work today.

    But, the pay per hour model isn't anything new. It's actually quite old. There's a reason it's not used much anymore. If it was profitable, it'd still be used. But, F2P with microtransactions and subscription plans have shown to be more popular and profitable.

    Now, having the option to purchase a month's worth of hours that are used up only while playing, I don't see a problem with that. But, the company would have to determine if modifying the accounting software would be worth the time and money. Would the ROI be worth it to make the changes? I don't know. I don't have the data to answer that question, but IMHO I doubt it.

    It's an interesting idea, but I'd be surprised if it's implemented.

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