GW2: The new F2P champion has arived

August 31, 2015

I feel like I should post about GW2 going F2P, only I can’t call it a ‘downgrade to the minor leagues’ because the game wasn’t a sub MMO to begin with. Side-grade I guess? Which, thinking more about it, is right in line with everything GW2; it’s not outright bad, just some middle level of meh.

The business model change, along with what the expansion is bringing (raiding, and basically other ‘end-game’ stuff), is of note however. Out of all of the game’s many flaws, the biggest one IMO is the lack of long-term interest/progression. At the start, Anet wanted it both ways. They wanted the business model to be like a single-player, one-off purchase, but to support the game like an MMO with frequent updates and players sticking around long-term, without actually designing the game to support long-term playing. This change confirms that wasn’t working out, even after the in-game cash-shop was greatly expanded after release.

The root problem circles back to why the sub model is really the only model for successful MMOs; in order to support your game like an MMO, you need a constant source of revenue, which is what the sub model provides. A cash shop is great at hooking whales, and if you hook enough of them you can get a huge, though most often temporary, boost in cash (that you will likely make a big PR release about only to go silence after). But long-term the model simply doesn’t work in the US/EU (Asia is very different) for MMOs. Either you let sales diminish, or you try to keep them up by escalating the cash shop. Either way, things will eventually come crashing down.

MMOs aren’t League of Legends with its 100+ million active players. MMOs aren’t LoL where selling skins fits perfectly with the game, and where creating skins has zero impact on gameplay and the drive of the other developers to improve things. MMOs have a very difficult time not slipping into Pay4Power with their cash shop, even if the intended goal is just to sell ‘convenience’. MMOs also have a hard time convincing people that selling ‘convenience’ isn’t driven by making the free part of the game cripplingly terrible if you don’t pay. There are no hotbars to sell in LoL.

GW2 is likely, almost by default, the best F2P MMO out, and it’s fitting that the ‘best’ F2P MMO is one that most try, find decent, but ultimately don’t honestly care all that much about. That ‘achievement’ is the ceiling for F2P; you made something people don’t hate. Huge congrats. Now make something people actually like, and that $15 a month will start rolling in, consistently, for years to come.


Fantasy Football – Need one more team!

August 29, 2015

Our Fantasy Football league (NFL, not the kickball and pretend your injured activity) needs one more team. Post a comment here with your email (email can be in your profile, not in the comment Guess WP changed that, leave email in comments or email me directly at the email found in the top right) and I’ll send you an invite. Our live draft is tomorrow at 1pm EST, so this will get rolling quickly.

One new player will make it a ten player league, but it can go to twelve if three people express interest.


CoC – Activity tracker link

August 28, 2015

Here is the link to our activity tracker that Delpez put together. Bookmark it!

I’ll be using this to remove inactives to free up spots for others, and to keep the clan as active as possible for wars.

Also, our clan currently has a few open spots, so if you are interested in joining up just find “Supreme Cream!” and mention the blog in your app.


ARK is free this weekend, come see why its awesome

August 27, 2015

As the title states, ARK is free to play this weekend via Steam. It’s a very fun game to play with a solid group, so if you have been on the fence, or are worried about buying an Early Access title, I highly, highly recommend giving it a shot while its free.

If there is enough interest here at the blog, maybe we can get a Tribe (guild/clan) going. Even with just 4-5 people playing somewhat actively the Tribe can achieve big things.

Please post in the comments here if you are up for a tribe, just so I can get an early indicator of interest.


ARK – A micro-MMO

August 26, 2015

My obsession with ARK continues, and it has now bled into the MMO-thinking part of my brain. To be very clear, ARK isn’t an MMO, but in a lot of ways it certainly plays like one.

The big thing is progression; you certainly have it in ARK, between your own character’s level, the base you build, the dinos you tame, the blueprints you collect, and the ever-expanding scope of stuff you can do as you progress and get more powerful. What’s funny is in an MMO like WoW, you can go from fresh character to the level cap in less time than it would take in ARK, and then both games have a lot of different stuff to do once you are at the cap, with a key difference being that levels help in ARK, while levels are required for ‘end-game’ content in WoW.

The main reason ARK isn’t an MMO is scale. Servers currently max out at 70 players, while an MMO server can hold thousands (or tens of thousands if we are talking EVE). ARK also has trouble handling more than ten or so characters on one screen, while again in an MMO that is common and expected. But the question in my mind is how often, when playing an MMO, does that matter? When you run a dungeon, it’s just you and the 3-5 others with you, and literally nothing else matters. Raids are bigger, but basically the same thing. An auction house is something thousands of players interact with, but unless you are deep into playing the auction house, do you actually care that the goods are listed and bought by others, or would your experience be mostly the same if bots did it?

In fact, one could argue player interaction in ARK is more important than it is in a typical MMO. The obvious example is PvP; raiding someone’s base has a huge impact, larger than killing someone in WoW or even blowing up a ship in EVE. A lot of things are easy to replace in ARK, but there are also a lot of things (high lvl dinos, rare items or blueprints) that aren’t, and losing those hurts. Plus base raiding has various degrees; someone blowing up one wall and looting one room stings, but a rival tribe leveling your base is a rage-quit level event.

PvP aside, even living near someone else has a large impact in ARK, while your garrison in WoW has nearly zero impact on anyone but you. In ARK resources don’t respawn near a base, so having 2-3 bases in close proximity not only means a large void of respawns, but also increased competition for the remaining resources. It’s comparable to mining in EVE, where you show up and the belt has already been stripped, only in ARK resource availability plays a more major role, and it’s not as easy as simply flying to the next belt.

ARK makes me wonder if a lot of the design problems of an MMO can be solved by going micro-MMO, especially if going smaller results in MORE player interaction.


It’s in the books, FFXIV is the largest sub MMO out today

August 21, 2015

The troll job from SquareEnix using ‘registered accounts’ for subs continues, this time to announce that the game has crossed the 5m sub mark. As WoW has likely continued to bleed subs since the 5.4m announcement, I think its rather safe to say FFXIV is now the larger MMO in terms of paying players.

So, who had August 2015 as the date WoW was dethroned?

I will admit this is a bit anti-climactic, mostly because Blizzard dug their own grave rather than being beaten while they were still putting up a fight. Sure, FFXIV is a great MMO, and the fact that it’s basically a modern-day vanilla WoW is especially fantastic, but if Old Blizzard was still running WoW this doesn’t happen.


Trion being Trion: Trove edition

August 20, 2015

Trion’s statement: One million monthly users.

Scott’s clarification: It’s anyone who has ever created a free account since launch.

Trion launched July 9th.

So Trion it hurts.


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