Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Let's continue the discussion from yesterday about what we can expect around MMOs over the next couple of years.  I won't finish today, but let's continue to build the frame-work for the discussion.  Warning: more big picture, barely EVE-related stuff ahead.

About three months ago, Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual opined that "the MMO Dark Age is ending".  It's a post that I've been revisiting every couple of weeks since he wrote it trying to formulate my own thoughts on this matter.  I started writing the post that you're reading now around the first week of May as my thoughts started to crystallize, and it's being published on May 30.  Then today -- completely by coincidence! -- I was surprised to see that Syncaine is again riffing on the "MMO Dark Age" ending.

In the first post, he celebrates the slow decay of WoW and the fizzle of SW:TOR.  He then looks forward hopefully to the genre being "an interesting place going forward."  In the second post, he says that the MMO "genre" is actually a small one that was, for a while, flooded with theme park-seeking "tourists" that were artificially increasing its population.

Errr... no.

As I recall, the Chinese had something to say about living in interesting times.  But let's come at the problem from a different direction, namely:

How much should a game cost?

Here in the U.S., we've gotten used to -- after much grumbling and gnashing of teeth over the matter -- a standard price point of $60 U.S. for a brand new AAA game.  Less ambitious titles, such as the typical XBox Live purchase, generally run about $15 U.S.  And the casual gamers are willing to put $5 U.S. or less into an iPhone or Android game, and often only as little as $2 U.S.  Our expectation of content is then set in alignment with those price points.  From a $60 AAA title, we expect 25 or 30 hours of game-play.  From a $15 title, we expect perhaps six hours.  And from our $2-$5 throw-away purchase, we expect to get through a boring train ride or the like.

As I've said on this blog lots of times, we're buying entertainment for our dollars.  A $60 AAA title that has only eight or ten hours of game-play (I'm looking at you, God of War 3) is therefore considered "too short" and is often dinged as a sub-par game for that reason alone.  Meanwhile, a AAA title that has a hundred or more hours of game-play (fus roh dah, Skyrim!) gets bonus points for this.  It's even likely that we'll consider it a "better game" for this reason.  Only if a short game is remarkably good or remarkably cheap will a short game be considered excellent.  Portal is the measuring stick we use for that, which is why people were unconsciously disappointed at its sequel... even though it was quite good!

Now in this way, gaming is already the cheapest entertainment around.  In my town, a movie costs $5 per hour and my cable TV service costs me around $6 per hour for the amount that I watch it.  Live entertainment costs far more per hour, as do virtually all indoor and outdoor leisure activities.  Most of us listen to a $2 downloaded song several dozen if not several hundred times, making them equally cheap.  Our non-gaming hobbies can run $10 per hour or more.

Meanwhile, games are costing us about $2 per hour.

And yet we all bitch that games are too expensive.  Some of us refuse to pay even that and pirate games to get them for free.

Yesterday, I had several people point out to me that my first post in this series was obviously about 38 Studios crashing last week, likely taking "Project Copernicus" (their intended Kingdom of Amalur MMO) with it.  That was only partially true.  As I said, I've been thinking on this topic for several weeks now.  When the situation with 38 becomes more clear, I'll probably have more to say about that specifically.  But Copernicus did have one aspect to it that prompted me to finally finish writing, editing, and publishing this series of posts.  It was almost certainly the very last game that will be developed for which the business plan was built around a $15-per-month subscription cycle.

Because if a $60, $15, or $2 game costs us $2 per hour, subscription MMOs cost us maybe a quarter of that per hour.  A half-dollar.  Per hour.  No wonder we all like them.  ;-)

But gaming companies are quickly coming to the realization that they can't live on that amount of money and still develop the games that all of us expect.  You might say that EVE is living on that 50 cents per hour, but it really isn't.  Because CCP is not only getting our 50 cents per hour, it's also getting PLEX money from those that want to buy that super-capital ship now now now only to see it die in a fire a few hours, days, or weeks later.  The fact that many of us routinely set $20 bills on fire in EVE is the only thing that's making the subscription model work on the very low number of paid accounts that CCP has access to.

Amusingly, even BioWare seems to have come to this conclusion pretty quickly.  Not long after SW:TOR was released, you could see them marketing it here and there in an unusual way.  "Want to play Star Wars The Old Republic 3, 4, or 5?  That's what we put into SW:TOR," they said.  The implication was clear: subscribe to our game for four months (so we can make our $60) and during that time get the 30-100 hours of content that you would have expected from a Star Wars The Old Republic 3, 4, and 5.  And that seems to be the direction that SW:TOR is going long-term.  It can't seem to break out of having about a million and a half subscribers.  People who played the game at launch get bored, unsub, and are replaced by new players curious about what they're missing.  BioWare seems to have given up on trying to live on $15 per month.  They're trying to live on $60 per player.

Anyone who needs proof that game developers can't live on your 50 cents per hour only need look at DUST 514.  CCP had the opportunity there to start a second $15 per month subscription game.  They said "no thanks."  And CCP has theoretically been living and succeeding on $15 per hour for almost ten years.  Except that like I said, they really haven't.  And they have no interest in doing so.

Which brings all of us to micro-transactions and the so-called "free to play" games.  Many of them are being built on the model of trying to extract $60 of your money before you get bored with them and move on.  But I'll have more -- lots more! -- to say on that topic tomorrow.


  1. I'm not sure your point about the PLEX market keeping Eve afloat is really valid. Since until recently, spending $15 on a PLEX just meant someone else wasn't spending $15 on their own subscription. Regardless of the number of PLEX bought/sold, CCP can only really count them as money earned when people either add them as game time, or someone else explodes them. Until then, they're potential liabilities (like a store selling gift cards, not all of them get cashed in, but you need to be able to cover them in case they do) which generally only get retired at a maximum rate of the number of subscribers per month.

    Things like the Alliance tourney and NEX store seem to be attempts to suck the PLEX out of the market for something other than game-time. Prior to that, PLEX were basically the same as game time, and CCP only get as many game-time units spent per month as they have active subscribers (paid in cash or PLEX). If CCP can find more ways for PLEX to be redeemed other than for game time, then they can increase the amount of cash they get per month without having to increase their number of subscribers. Which, if I were them, is something I'd be looking at closely.

    1. I'll grant you that it's hard to measure. Sometimes when a Titan dies, 100% of the ISK that was put into building that Titan came from in-game grinding.

      But I'll bet the amount of PLEXes that get set on fire is very significant nonetheless. As I said, hard to measure certainly. But definitely there.

    2. Hard to measure? You're completely missing the point. Whether someone pays 15$ a month directly, or buys plex from someone burning 20$ bills, the income to CCP still averages out to around (15$ * number of subscribed accounts) per month. The thing you are calling "hard to measure" is completely unnecessary to measure, you are being distracted by a shell game--although obviously it's not hard for CCP to measure, they know exactly how many PLEX's are purchased each month.

    3. A subscription paid by PLEX is worth more to CCP than a subscription paid for a year by credit card.

      As for the PLEX-sink, I don't think there's any doubt that the Noble Exchange was an attempt at sucking "Service Liability Tokens" out of the system. There must be more ways to suck a PLEX out of the system rather than subscribing for game time: the game time market is limited. The market for $70 monocles is only limited by the amount of ISK in the game that can change hands in return for PLEXes that can then be surrendered for a trolling device.

      Working from that angle, the NeX was pre-nerfed by offering only high value items. This way the accountants would be able to see a small number of high-value transactions, see the impact of those transactions on the market (in addition to the usual PLEX transactions for FanFest tickets), then start formulating future plans.

      Every Monocle, dress shirt, and synthetic eye in existence represents a number of PLEX that have been burned. I don't doubt that a large portion of the DUST 514 market is going to be fuelled by PLEX-bought items (i.e.: virtual items). I'm just hoping that the EVE economy is included in that system such that the virtual items are BPCs or NPC-supplied components of value in the process of manufacturing the guns, suits, turrets, tanks, ammo, health pots, etc as required for setting up the battlefields and proceeding to shoot each other in the face.

      This is one reason I'm quite keen to get into the DUST 514 trial: even though I won't necessarily enjoy the FPS aspect, I'd like to get some feedback into the system relating to the tie-in with EVE Online player-driven economy.

      I'm looking forward to your further writings, Jester.

    4. But plex don't turn into isk, they turn into game time. Strictly speaking, 100% of the titan did come from grinding, plex just alter who did the grinding.

    5. Alts! A lot of people use PLEX to fuel several alts they otherwise wouldn't have.

      Someone should bother CCP Diagos and get the average number of alts fueled by PLEX per account.

      PS: it would be awesome if we could use PLEX/Aurum in the EVE store (yes, for real life items). And no, I doubt RMTers would earn much selling EVE related T-shirts on Ebay.

    6. The real measure of the impact of PLEX is the number of subscribers that would not be playing if they had to pay for their subscription rather than grind for it. The PLEX program generates income by adding these subscribers.

    7. You are right that if a PLEX by default just shifts the payment. Bad player pays for the game time of good player.

      However PLEX creates money for CCP two ways:
      * Upkeeping accounts that otherwise wouldn't exist. I have 4 accounts now all paid by SOMEONE to CCP. Without PLEX 3 of them would not exist.
      * I have the shady suspicion that CCP cheats. Ther run bots that buy up PLEX from the market, providing ISK that comes from nothing. It would explain why so much ISK runs around. If it's true, then CCP is selling not game time, but directly ISK.

    8. PLEX can also be used to pay for character transfer; again that's in lieu of an IRL cost for the same service, so still not printing money, but like the case with alt accounts it's probable that the ability to pay for the service with fake space money rather than real currency makes it more widespread than it would be otherwise.

  2. Just so we're clear; you believe the 10m or so WoW players would play an MMO (how I term it) if the right one came along? That they are indeed interested in the type of game 04 WoW was and titles of that nature?

    1. So you believe every MMO other than WoW has failed, epically, right? Since they were only able to attract a tiny fraction of the user base.

      It also means you believe that the design behind WoW is 10x above anything else, rather than WoW benefiting from what I like to call a perfect storm in part unrelated to its design/merits.

      Just an interesting position to take, and not one I expected out of you.

    2. I have to respectfully disagree on that point Jester. I'm thinking back to WoW 04 and WoW now and I don't think that all of the current players would be willing to play the game in the far more grindy, less linear and less directed form it was back then. I can remember back during Vanilla levelling a priest and more-or-less running out of content around the early or mid 40s; I forget the specifics but I have unpleasant memories of having to visit the Hinterlands a couple levels early (and dying repeatedly to goddamn stealth wolves), with no breadcrumb trail leading me there, simply because it was the zone with available quests closest to my level. That's not to mention the grind-tastic endgame, farming molten and fiery cores and core leather from MC for fire resist gear, farming rep for the Hydraxian Waterlords and Thorium Brotherhood, etc, etc.

      On the other hand, I think Syncaine's overestimating the "tourist" level of the WoW population; there is a large group of committed players who make up the core of the umpteen-million subs and who have been playing WoW for several years from whatever version it was then to now. They like the gameplay, the setting and the art style (I've never seen much positive praise for WoW's extremely stylistic graphics, but it does a magnificent job presenting the half deadly-serious, half slapstick-comedy universe) enough that had they started out with WoW 04 they would have stuck just as hard to it as they did to whichever version they joined in (if they aren't WoW 04/Vanilla veterans themselves), and crucially that some of the new players WoW continues to attract are still these types of player.

      If I had to come up with a number - and this is drawn completely off the top of my head - I'd say maybe about 50% of the current player base wouldn't have been drawn to WoW 04, while 50% would have jumped in and loved it.

  3. Other thing is the vast majority of plex is more expensive than the same amount of game time. 1 plex or 1 month is 20$ vs 15$ and it never really gets any better as you go up in plexes. So I would say baseline CCP makes 20% more profit off of PLEX than it would a normal subscription cost.

    1. I usually sub for 6 months at a time, comes out to approx $12/month. A GTC for $35 translates into 2 months worth of PLEX at $17.50 per. That makes PLEX sold via GTC more than 45% more profitable for CCP. OK, maybe a bit less after commissions and fees to the GTC sellers (are there more than a handful of these?). Gametime is even cheaper if you sub for 12 months at once. I'd actually do that were it not for my (possibly) irrational fear of black swans that might leave me stuck holding the bag with unexpired months of game time in it after the servers are shut down for good.

  4. I think here you're focusing too hard on one half of the issue.

    The expense and slow throughput of making content is the killer, not the income stream.

  5. a suscription of USD15 with the infrastucture to hold 100.000 players is doable and profitable i bet.

    releasing a AAA title to acquire 2million subscribers the first month of operation is not sustainable with a usd15 per month price....

    the problem lies in the way latest games releases aim to achieve...

    1. Yeah, that'll be what I talk about tomorrow.

  6. Just a quick note that I didn't see mentioned: we know that players have two accounts on the average. So, even if it is $15 per account, it is $30 per player per month.

    Awfully simplifying the whole argument, you can have your gaming company launch a game per year and earn $60 per fan, or you can launch two expansions per year in your subscription-based game and have each fan activate both their accounts for one month in each occasion, thus also adding to $60 per year per fan.

  7. www.achaea.com and all of their ilk. I would venture to claim they are one of the orginators of 'micro-transactions'. I know people who play who think nothing of dropping thousands of dollars into the game. Literally. I myself while playing for about a year probably dropped in $600. And I was a pretty low spender.

    1. I played tht game for a while, after a while finally realised theres extremely high chances i wont get anywhere without buying credits. Extremely tempting tho, it is a very good example of a company tht utilizes micro-transactions.

  8. Unless you suggest CCP cheat by bot-buying PLEX in Jita, increasing ISK inflation (and we do have a case of rampant inflation), PLEXes don't introduce ISK in EVE, they only redistribute ISK between the players.

    Put simply, CCP get the same real money they would by monthly taxes (plus a tiny tiny extra for PLEXes destroyed in PvP, or even PvE if anyone ever was retarded enough to die to rats with a PLEX in the cargo). Put less simply, PlEXes may have encouraged, or discouraged, long term pre-payment for EVE, influencing CCP real money balance in a more significant way.

    Now, should CCP secretly bot-buy PLEX in Jita, they'll be making more than the equivalent of 400,000 monthly payments in real money. The downside of this practice would be a massive jump in inflation that will hurt all players by devaluing the wallets, and additionally hurt players who participate in ISK "printing" activities (mission, anom, incursion runners).

    The players who bought PLEX from the CCPbot will be hurt by the overall inflation too, but they will be considerably ahead in terms of personal purchasing power. The main reason for this is the fact they just got a big chunk of ISK. The secondary reason is that the imperfection of the market favors the first hand source during inflation surges, a fact Wall St bankers are very happy about.

    Miners and industrialists will see their wallets devalued, but their products will eventually catch up with the increased ISK supply. Same goes for services, which amounts to ISK-paid mercenaries, red frogs, ISK-paid explorers and such in EVE. Ratters of npcs whose value is mostly in non-ISK (sleepers, faction/officer hunters, and drones in the good old times) will adjust for inflation as well.

    True traders will manage to adjust too, as while their gains are measured purely in ISK, they are able to increase those margin-based gains during inflation surges, unlike the basic ISK farmers. However, presuming a higher wallet percentage in total worth for traders than for miners/industrialists/service providers, traders who fail to be fully and regularly invested during inflation surges will lose more of total worth.

    1. The idea of CCCP secretly buying up plexes is completely brilliant. If I was their financial controller I would implement it straight away. To do it properly they would need to find a secret way of sucking isk out of the game so no one would notice. Any suggestions? Adjusting spawn rates of bounty mobs perhaps? A stealth tax on market transactions?

    2. Banning botters and removing isk?

  9. Hi Jester, I'm not sure where to put this, so I'll drop it here, although it has very little to do with this specific article: www.tentonhammer.com/eve/spymaster/79

    My opinion of Mittens switches around wildly, but I think he makes a good point, and the acts in there are further increased in strength by the article you wrote a few days to week ago (maybe a bit more, my memory is fuzzy) about the ganker and the miner in hisec who freaked the fuck out and wrote a post on the forums.

    With a few other 'theme park' MMO's collapsing, do you see this becoming more of an issue? I find these clueless, ornery and entitled players to be the EvE equivalent of rich little brats in real life, and are quite trying to deal with.

    On an on topic note, I do disagree with your analysis of the PLEX. Regardless if someone buys it, it's still used to keep an account open (with the exception of the ones used on AT10 and the flop that is the NeX), and while a month of PLEX is a few dollars more expensive than a sub, I don't think that the difference in revenue gain is that important to CCP's fiscal state.

  10. I don't know how to articulate it without spending some serious brain time taking it apart, but I feel your idea about PLEX being something other than a 50c per hour subscription is wrong. At some point it may become more, the NEX was certainly a step in that direction, but currently. No. The only thing special about PLEX is that there is a middle step between buying game time and activating game time; bartering that game time to someone else.

  11. I don't know, Jester. You seem to be "out there" with this post. You've come to accept that CCP makes "50 cents per hour" from EVE players as something that's set in stone. You say CCP is surviving on $20 bills EVE players routinely burn in order to buy shiny and expensive stuff.

    What is the actual average number of hours EVE subscribers play per month per account per character?

    How many PLEXes does CCP actually sell every month?

    You got all that info under NDA? Or are you just pulling numbers out of your ass?

    1. CCP is surviving on the combination of the two, not subscriptions or PLEX money alone.

      Is there another subscription-based MMO, other than EVE and WoW, that's survived?

    2. Karbox DelacroixMay 31, 2012 at 7:23 AM

      What length of time is considered survival? Lasting forever would probably not be the ideal answer. You would want something like return on investment taking into account the competing uses of their time, resources, and talent.

    3. Final Fantasy XI (smaller player base than it used to have, but still about the same number of active players as Eve)

      Final Fantasy XIV (not a very successful launch, but still retains a significant number of players)

      WURM Online (subscription fee of 5$/month, so retains steady subscription base)

      The Secret World is launching in a month with a subscription + extras model (essentially the same as Eve + Aurum) We will see how that goes.

    4. Unless they've changed, then off the top of my head:

      Dark age of Camelot
      UO (I think)

      Not a lot these days

  12. I know you read Failheap, so you probably read this already:

    Avoiding the low-hanging fruit.

  13. One thing I think you might be missing or I haven't seen it clearly explained:

    Only in EVE is an account an appreciating asset, in all other games, your avatar is a depreciating asset as more items, gear, content and levels get added. As the difference in time needed between equalizing a new account to an old one diminishes people place less and less value on their account.

    When WOW or some other MMO add new material, they lower the perceived asset value of all current account characters. With EVE's real time training mechanic, this is never a problem. Even if new content is released in EVE, the challenges to a new account versus an older one are more consequential from a time perspective.

    EVE also wisely developed a method to deal with the rl trading of their in game currency for cash while maintaining a subscription model. I couldn't even conceive of playing a theme park MMO again, unless it was with my kids when they are older.

    1. Interesting argument that I think has merit in this discussion. The fact that characters have an inherent and escalating value as they mature is unique and in a way might drive off casual play but encourages long term loyalty. Even those folks that unsub find themsevles drawn back in on occasion becuase they know that those high SP toons they have are still there.

      Also something not being mentioned regarding PLEX that should be considered is the fact that there are thousands of purchased PLEX for sale in the market currently. Thousands bought right now and not redeemed. CCP is not restricted just to the monthly tithe we pay because they already have the money in the PLEX that has been purchased and not redeemed. I personally PLEX 3 of my 4 accounts but I rarely have more than 60d of game time on any of them.

      With the PLEX market CCP has created liquidity for themselves by embracing and in essence managing RMT. The corollary to this is they get to take the high road on illegal RMT and they align themselves with the players in combatting it becuase its mutually beneficial to do so.

  14. While I agree with your calculations in general I feel the need to point out that for gaming you also need to include the price of the computer and internet connection (which will vary depending on where you live...).

    User psychology is probably why MMOs are moving from a subscription to a micro-transaction type of game because its easier to get people to part with $2.00 repeatedly than $20.00 once.

  15. First I think active accounts and "payed subscriptions" are the same. All those plex going into market because someone wants to by his machariel, nightmare, officer Fit Titan or what ever, there is a waiting account which was unsubed and is now reactivated. Of cause there is some "stalled money" since there are hundreds or thousands of plex waiting for a buyer but sooner or later they lead to someone "subscribing". That might be his second, third or tenth account but it is still nothing more or less than an active account.
    (OK some statements from you in your comments i must agree with, there are people who loose plex in a t1 frig docking or undocking in jita. also you have NeX and the charity events were plex are taken out of the game, but i still think most of the plex is just a "payment for the future". They are placed in marked and wait until someone needs the time the offer)

    Did i mention it was a good reading and I'm looking forward to the follow up? Keep it coming.

    The greatest benefit eve has over other mmos is that it isn't static. Anything you earn or achieve won't be lasting and can be gone very quickly. Back when I played WoW (about 6 years ago now) there was just the character. maybe a twink or two you've been upgrading but all in all you just kept one set of gear maybe a second to switch for different jobs. But that gear was never lost. From time to time Blizzard pulled out a new area and new items could be found. But once they moved the level Cap you come to the point where your shiny epic gear is not much better than the blue stuff dropping at +5 lvl regions.

    The shiny things you earned are suddenly less valuable and you don't feel proud to have it. Your "god" decided to make it crap and you need new stuff. In eve, nothing has become worthless (some exceptions of course) but everything you have might be destroyed. We got used to that and invest time (and money) to get us new toys to play with and replace those we lost.

    You keep loosing stuff in eve all the time. You loose a [insert ship here] but you replace it because it was not the "game god" who made it vanish (or worthless) but another player (or your stupidity) which encourages you to make it better next time.

    Hopefully that will never happen but: Do you think, eve would have a (constant) higher population if it was cheaper or free to play?

    How much should a game cost?
    The problem is that most of the time you don't know if it is worth the money it actually costs. I can understand the people who "pirate" the game to test it and buy it later once it is fallen in price. In an ideal world you could play every game for free and just pay those you feel whom made a good job. Getting back your money afterwards is impossible at current state. You just stay there disappointed.
    Crowd funding a game is a nice way to do it IMO.

  16. I can't say I agree with your analysis although I agree with your facts.

    I think people don't like the be nickel and-*dimed to death nor do they like the fact that people (seemingly) glide through a game that they enjoy by using a credit card (check the Star Trek online forums).

    I had a longer post but I'll stick to this.

  17. Hello, My name is Knug Lidi and I am an EVE online player.

    Hi Knug !

    EVE costs me $200 bucks a year. I've done a bit of comparing. We've spent more than that on Wii games for my sons, more on that buying books for each individual family members. We've spent almost exactly the same on movie tickets.

    We spent more than $200 bucks on tires. On topsoil, mulch, ornamental stones, and new plants & flowers for the garden this month alone.

    Now you could say that $200 spent on Eve benefits just me, whereas some of the other discretionary spending above benefits the whole family, but I think it is rather plainly obvious, that the "bank for the buck" that EVE represents is unmatched.

    My wife, although she does refer to EVE as "the other woman" on occasion, will tell you that knowing where I am, what I'm doing, and that me doing it isn't likely to burn the house down, damage the car, or increase my risks of physical injury, makes it easier for her. She'd much rather I spend $200 bucks a year on EVE and keep my brain active and engaged, then smoking, out drinking, racing cars, sky diving, SCUBA diving, and a host of other activities with slightly higher risk factors.

    All in all, EVE is great entertainment value. Now, is it a greater entertainment value than a free MMO ? I can honestly say, the ftp MMO's I have played paled within a few months and none can compare with EVE.

  18. For 30 years now, I am playing computer games and since 1993 only online games. Nothing else.
    Theme Park MMOs as you call them have totally lost any appeal to me. PvE games too.
    Subscription fees never were an issue, they are (too) cheap anyway.
    Sandbox based games are the "endgame" where every serious gamer will sooner or later end. So, in my opinion, there is a lot of grwoing potential for Eve. The gamer heavy generation are only yet evolving. Old farts like me, that started playing at an early age are very few. Eve was maybe a bit too early on the market, but as it is still here, I see a LOT of growing potential.

    The only thing that could ruin it (and will ruin it for me) are minitransactions. Maybe some twisted sense of ethics? I don't know. But I cannot play RL money for a virtual gun. No way. I can pay $100 a month or more for a subscription.
    And I also know that many people think that way.

    So: Minitransactions are the biggest threat too MMOs and gaming that ever existed. I hope the industry will soon get over it, or the genre might very well die completely.

  19. Every game out there has a method to deal with the trading of real life money for in game assets and frankly, pretty much every one of them is belligerently retarded. If I spend my TIME to acquire an asset, in this case, in game ISK, x ship hull, y deadspace officer mod, then I should be able to sell my TIME to aquire such an asset where and when and for whatever I choose too. Because, in the end, that is exactly what you are selling or buying, time. My time has a certain value, other people value their time more, still others value it less, this is the nature of life and business.

    At some point, someone is going to have to put up a good lawsuit based on restriction of commerce against one of the major game companies in regards to limiting the trade of the time necessary to gain in game assets. Now, I can hear the screaming now about pay to win and so on as well as all the crying about how "unfair" it is and will only promote Russian bots and so on. Well, grow up, as long as games have time sink asset producing activities like daily quests, missions, resource farming and so on, just like real life, there will be people farming then and others willing to pay for the time to do it.

    If game designers don't want to have bot powered asset farmers, there are some simple things that can be done to limit their usefulness and that will help level the playing field. No game wants to use them since they all would limit the about of time you would NEED to play the game in order to keep up with the Jones-es. Simply limit the amount you can collect or do in a 24 hour period. Games don't want to do this since they want everyone playing as much and as long as possible and if you only had to spend an hour or 2 to make the maximum amount of farmable game assets, then many would not play more than that.

    It would also be a very precarious balance in the economy to make that work, but hey, that's what Socialism is about, everyone is equal.

    Honestly people pay to play today, they will continue to do it in the future and no matter if it is subscription, micro transactions or what, people will pay. And the nanosecond that you make it possible to gain a play advantage by shelling out RL cash to the game company, you will see the end in sight for the game as the player base shrinks to those that can afford to pay for the best items and so on since all the rest will be non-competitive.

    The subscription system is fine, the issue with WoW is they keep dumbing down the whole game and rehashing tired old content (missions anyone?) and Ghostcrawler is a moron. Eve has the current potential to support the casual player, the hard core and all points in between assuming CCP can pull their head out of their orifice and stop trying to force everyone out into null space under the umbrella of Sov that people don't want to participate in. Hell, people now days don't want to participate in real world politics that has very definite consequences, why do you think they would want to do that in a leisure activity?

    If null sec alliances didn't treat everyone that comes through like a target to be harassed and attacked (much like the old Soviet Union) and took a more casual, business based approach to it to welcome others to come, do things, provide services, pay TAXES and so on, then they might get more people to come to null. Instead, it's more like a bunch of gangs fighting over blocks in a city and for most people, there isn't enough money in the world to make them go deep into gang territory for any reason.

    This is rambling so I am going to stop now.

    1. Nullsec alliances already do what you want them to do.
      You can rent space from them for instance. You will be set to blue status and are free to do what you want to do.
      Most times you will even be protected when being attacked.

      Also -A- just gave a complete station (HED-GP) to Chribba. Just like that. Everyone is free to dock. But of course you might be attacked. And probably will be. After all it was a move to bring more small gang PvP to the region.

    2. I think you're missing part of his point. It's the politics that is the problem. Possibly the issue with NBSI as well.

      Please name a major 'blue' block in Null, that will allow a corp full of miners and other dedicated industry types to work unfettered, and still be defended by the local populace (while NOT being considered second-class citizens / pets). Other than the old Provi block I don't know of any offhand, and even regulars there needed to keep an eye out (which is OK with me).

      Name that and I'll get extremely interested. I have the added marketable skill of Logi V (Scimi, Basi) but would need training in it. But don't expect me in a combat ship in Null regularly; I barely end up in one in High Sec now.

  20. I hate when RL friends tell me, "I would never pay for a game; that's why I pirated Skyrim and only play LoL."

    Gaming is literally the cheapest form of entertainment.

  21. I think both subscription and free2play model are important for a company. It is not that one is good and other bad, but both are vital.

    There is a given amount of players you can get into paying subs and you fight for it. If game is good enough and create social ties, it keeps you longer. But we all had those moments we unsub and move those money elsewhere. Succesful are those MMOs who are able to keep their base. Those others convert into F2P as they cannot live from crumbles and use micro-transaction to get into player wallet with a lie: "I will pay it just once..."

    Finally, there is enough examples out there. Blizzard did not release Diablo3 on subscriptions, because it would canibalize its own WoW market. The same was clear for Dust514 and EVE Online. Shear success of WoT was heavily unexpected, but it fit well in--innovative, not asking for sub when we flee there tired of our-MMOs and high-level of addictivity through the social level. WarGaming.com created a new market niché and not just another WoW-clone and hidden subs into premium-account purchase, making it more than simple to average Joe to lie himself into "I will get premium just for 1 month".

  22. Regarding extreme FTP models (your other post), look up Travian's Gold system. It caters to versions 2 and 3, though you can argue its going for version 3 if you want to be seriously competitive there.

  23. just 2$ per hour for a game, just 200$/month for a car, just 50$ a week for a tv, that's the way you gotta see it to ruin yourself. However it's the best way to save money... Mcdonald saved millions just by taking away a 0.10$ pack of ketchup per meal !


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