Another day, another F2P dev digging a way out of his grave

My notes while watching the video. It’s 45min and about Age of Empires Online, but worthwhile if you have some time to kill and enjoy watching another hotbar salesmen stumble around. (Credit where credit is due, his presentation style was solid, as where his slides. It’s just the base material that he is working with that’s the problem).

Game sucks, but the biggest problem for the F2P dev? Can’t feed the whales.

Delusion; “built a good game” when 90% of your players left in the first month (and more likely, the first week or day). But F2P isn’t about making a great game, it’s about making a great delivery model to catch whales.

Changes made that got positive reviews; basically undoing the F2P influence of P2W, grind-or-buy, etc.

New items; P2W consumables. (Which all sounds incredibly lame and not at all in the spirit of the game, but whatever, whales!).

Same player base, triple revenue: “I feel good about this”.

“Generous with the in-game currency to win players back” – IE, screw them later or when we can afford it.

“Today you can play the game completely free, you have to have a lot of patience, but you can”. Ringing endorsement…

“You can’t sustain a game on vanity” – Wrong. You just need a good game to do it in, like LoL.

Finally, the major lesson learned is something that anyone who has spent a day in an MMO has known since 1997; expensive one-off content doesn’t work, regardless of the quality. Good job SW:TOR, 4th pillar ALL THE WAY! (To the F2P hotbar trash bin).

13 Responses to Another day, another F2P dev digging a way out of his grave

  1. Davis says:

    Age of Empires Online was an abomination of a game. From everything I heard, it was being made by old Age of Empires devs, making AoE 4 with realistic graphics, set to be a remake of AoE 1.

    Microsoft got wind, took over, and wanted to make it a FTP Farmville like game. It lacked even the basic functionality of the 90s AoE games, and virtually everyone hated it.

    I never met a single person who enjoyed playing that game.

    • Davis says:

      Also, wtf? They call it an MMORTS? That is laughable, insulting, and sad. You couldn’t even play with more than 4 people at once.

  2. Jenks says:

    I saw both, and thought this was the better use of my hour:

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/203802/Video_Creating_the_social_game_satire_Cow_Clicker.php

    Amusing and depressing, what more can you ask for?

  3. Mekhios says:

    Siegel delivers some ridiculously delicious quotes.

    “But I don’t know how possible that is, or how soon it could happen, or whether it’s even possible for it to happen on Facebook anymore,” he adds. “All I know is I’m done trying.”

    Well you lazy shit time to be a real game designer.

  4. Anti-Stupidity League says:

    Here’s a funny fact: F2P games are a way, way more popular than Subscribe-to-win games are.

    For example, did you know that even at its lowest, the number of people playing SW:TOR has never dipped below Ultima Online’s or DaoC’s peak numbers since its launch?

    Yes, that’s true. Even when Ultima Online reached it’s peak player amount, that number was nowhere close to the number of people that were playing SW:ToR during its biggest slump.

    I bet you didn’t know that. Now you know.

    • Raelyf says:

      Did you actually just write this? With a straight face and everything?

      Here, let me try:

      “Here’s a funny fact: sub games are a way, way more popular than pay-to-win games are.

      For example, did you know that even at its lowest, the number of people playing WoW has never dipped below SWTOR’s peak numbers since its launch?”

      Holy balls, I can point to useless facts that seem to support my point if those reading them eat a great deal of paste as well! Thanks, Internet!

      Seriously though, you’re comparing your modern failure to games released in 1997 and 2001. I’m pretty sure the earth’s crust was still cooling back then. Napster was a new thing. How fucking irrelevant could you get? That’s like comparing a shitty PS3 release to a Sega DreamCast shooter and declaring the FPS genre dead.

  5. Antivyris says:

    I think the QA session of his talks, however, is the best piece. I think it quickly speaks volumes. “You ignore your core base at your own peril”. F2P or not, that is truly sound advice. EVE/WoW is a success because they keep EVE/WoW players happy. I mean, getting new players is good and all, but your base is your base. Ask the Democrats and Republicans how important their base is, and what it can get you. Hate them if you want, but both will be alive for a very long time because of that, not because they are subscription games.

    Honestly, it’s easier for F2P people to point to sub drops as ‘failing’, because subs are easy to track, and in some cases transparent on earnings reports.. A lot harder for players to track how well a F2P game is doing, all we can do is go off if we like it or not, and create new formulas on how to track how well it’s doing. Of course, formulas can be doctored. Subs is a little bit harder to doctor.

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