Delicious red drops of MMO community goodness

What I object to is that in EVE the players with all the advantages are the leeches who pay nothing. In the F2P model the people who pay at least get some advantages over the people who leech. – Tobold

It’s an interesting take, and one that I 100% disagree with.

First, I’d never call the most successful EVE players leeches, as that’s just incorrect. In a sandbox, it’s that player base that DRIVES the content of the game. 0.0 stories? Yea, not driven by Joey Casual. Joey is also not planning a BBC-reported bank heist. Actually he’s not planning anything, he just shows up and does what his FC tells him to do. No FC, no goals for Joey. Now who’s leeching?

But maybe EVE is unique in this aspect, much like it is in just about all others. What about WoW?

That UI you enjoy so much? Yea, it’s not from Joey putting in the work. And no, it’s not from Blizzard either. A ‘leech’ created it. That dungeon you just completed? Thank a ‘leech’ for creating not just the dungeon guide you used, but the build you run and the guild comp you use. Because Joey Casual just logs in to collect his epics (once the content is nerfed down to his level).

Podcasts, web comics, and um, blogs: Joey Casual doesn’t creating a single one of em. The ‘leeches’ do. Forum posts that point out hard-to-find bugs, or imbalances, or lead to great additions? Joey, at best, just reads those sometimes.

Tobold is correct in that the F2P MMO model does indeed work in reverse. The more you play, the more you pay. Love an MMO so much that you want to see all the content and play it to the fullest? If it’s EVE, it’s going to cost you nothing. If it’s a traditional F2P game, enjoy paying $100s a month. Also enjoy knowing that while you do invest a lot of time/effort into the game, ultimately it’s your ability to spend money that determines how successful you are. I don’t know about you, but I feel like a real winner when I go to the store and buy a World Championship trophy to ‘proudly’ display at my house. Oh yes, real men buy accomplishments.

On a different level, which game would you likely get more into; the one you can eventually play for free, or the one that’s going to increase in cost the more you play? Now if we’re talking single-player games, I could care less. You want to blow $100s to collect all the Pokemon or whatever? Knock yourself out.

But MMOs are different, because they (should) emphasis community and player relations/interactions, and nothing crushes a community faster than everyone half-assing everything. The worse kind of MMO community is when everyone logs in once a week or less, and there is no continuation or momentum; just a bunch of random characters occasionally checking in and knocking something out before disappearing again. That’s so un-MMO it’s disgusting (remind me to blog about the whole “lets play five MMOs at a time” thing another day), and that’s EXACTLY what F2P encourages. “It’s free, hop in and out whenever you want, wheee” is just such a horribly unappealing sales pitch for an MMO. I want community, I want dedication, I want players who are INVESTED in the game. The more everyone around you cares, the more you care, and the better it just makes the whole thing.

Edit: Plus what exactly does it say about your game if your sales pitch is “Hey, we are fun for short bursts every now and then!” What’s that? SW:sRPG just called. Oh.

Casual and MMO don’t mix. They just don’t. At least not in the way I view an MMO. If your view of an MMO is an online collection of solo tasks and random names drifting across your screen that you occasionally get matched up with to roll over something as mutes, well, we are talking different genres. I don’t know what to call that style of game, but it sure as hell isn’t an MMO.

I like playing with the ‘leeches’. I like being around passionate players that drive communities and content forward. I like being around people who are invested, who care about what happens, and who ‘get’ what’s going on in the virtual world. It’s fun to log in nightly to pick up where you left off the night before.

That’s just me though, leeching away.

24 Responses to Delicious red drops of MMO community goodness

  1. Nils says:

    Why do you even comment on something like that ? ;)

    • SynCaine says:

      Because while it’s trolling by him, it’s how many approach MMOs today, or how many view PLEX from the outside looking in. I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself.

      • Angry Gamer says:

        Yes it is trolling I wondered if I was misreading it…

        He has this front that he is all intellectual and detached, then bam something like this drops.

  2. Dril says:

    Wait, wait, I don’t understand this.

    Wasn’t the argument grounded on the basis that top players could get there by spending MORE, not by paying anything?

    Also: isn’t it totally irrelevant, since they’re not “playing for free,” they’re simply shifting the cost onto someone else, and in return that player gets isk? It still balances out that everyone pays the same sub fee.

    • SynCaine says:

      They (being players who buy PLEX with ISK instead of paying money for a sub) don’t shift anything. It’s the player selling the PLEX who wants to pay more. That’s a pretty significant difference IMO.

      Sure, in CCP’s eyes it’s all the same, they still sell X number of subs. But at the player level? Totally different.

      The ‘good’ players play well and have the means to not only play at that level, but also dump some ISK to others and play for free. The ‘bad’ players need to not only pay the sub, but also sell PLEX to get to the level they want to play at (successfully or not).

      • Dril says:

        The wording was a bit off but what I was getting at is that there aren’t any “leeches” per se, since there’s no net loss for CCP, as everyone pays the same overall.

  3. Spinks says:

    I’m sure writing a blog never stopped me leeching :)

  4. bhagpuss says:

    “an online collection of solo tasks and random names drifting across your screen that you occasionally get matched up with to roll over something as mutes”

    I like that. That’s pretty much where we’ve reached after a dozen years of the genre. Seems to me, though, that that’s just where one end of the piece of elastic stretches. The other end still stretches right back to pretty much the same place it was when I started back in 1999. Which is a good thing.

    There’s a choice between the competitive, co-operative, creative style or the asocial, box-ticking, by-numbers way through any point between and you can pick and choose depending on mood. Often in the same game.

    I don’t see it as an either/or.

  5. The Claw says:

    Hang on, you can get your WoW subscription for free if you make UI mods, or guides to dungeons and builds? This is news to me. This sounds like something I should look into, can you explain please?

    • SynCaine says:

      You never raided back in vanilla, did you?

      • The Claw says:

        Yes, I did. Are you talking about the days back before Blizzard prohibited adding PayPal donation requests to UI mods?

        • SynCaine says:

          That primarily, but even after the block top raiding guilds used pay-for mods (shady stuff).

          Not to mention that if you make a good mod, it’s pretty solid resume stuff for those interest in that path.

          Plus today with Youtube, if enough people watch your guide you can easily make the $15 sub in ad revenue, or post it on a blog with adsense. It won’t get you DF CPP cash, but it’s still something.

  6. bonedead says:

    your moms casual, on friday.

  7. SM says:

    Tobold has been QQing a lot lately, pay him no mind. Sign-up friend plans for free game time is the same thing (using existing player privilege to earn game time) yet he doesn’t complain about that. The equation is: “in-game rewards=game time”, yet he judges the opposite — “game time=in-game rewards” as being invalid somehow.

    To me, this is not a sandbox vs theme park argument, just a form of reverse-gold-selling, albeit a legitimate one.

    • SynCaine says:

      I enjoy watching his almost bi-monthly breakdowns, though this time around he mixed it up a little with his “I quit/delete comments/please be nice” post being just an all out trolling attempt. An entertaining curve ball for sure.

      We read blogs to be entertained, whether we are laughing along with the author or at him. Still lulz at the end of the day.

      • Dobson says:

        “We read blogs to be entertained, whether we are laughing along with the author or at him.”

        Spot on. Probably not the best thing for someone like yourself to point out, but spot on.

        • Rammstein says:

          “Dobson says:
          “June 3, 2011 at 9:55 am

          “We read blogs to be entertained, whether we are laughing along with the author or at him.”

          Spot on. Probably not the best thing for someone like yourself to point out, but spot on.”

          Spot on. Probably not the best thing for someone like yourself to point out, but spot on.

        • SynCaine says:

          Well played sir, well played.

  8. Noizy says:

    So Chribba is a leech, huh? For those who don’t really follow Eve, Chribba is a top player in Eve who makes Tobold look like a bloodthirsty PvPer. He also adds so much to Eve, both in and out of game. For example, if you have downloaded the machinima hit Clear Skies 3 using the link on the Clear Skies the Movie website, you used one of Chribba’s many services.

    I still wonder what would have happened if Tobold had joined Eve University and really learned about Eve.

  9. […] Syncaine eases my troubled mind by explaining why gaming bloggers are not leechers. What he’s actually getting at is that if you are really into a game or hobby, you probably prefer to play with other people who are similarly engaged. And this actually applies just as much to casual roleplayers as it does to hardcore raiders (he doesn’t make that connection, but it’s true.) […]

  10. Y||B says:

    just to add my 3 pence:
    most supporting software/tools is actually not written by the top-raiding/performing players, but by people who are able to program it.

    One day maybe some company will try out one day different pricing models and rulesets within one game. Like one server with the EVE payment model, one server with the regular F2P. Similar to PvP and PvE servers. I could even imagine separate easy-mode and hard-core servers. But then the companies maybe are not adventurous enough to try that out. The step to have F2P and subscription on the same server in some game is already a step in that direction.

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