Pay-2-Win is fine

I’ll post more about SOE being SOE with EQN once I’m not fiending on XCOM, but I just wanted to throw something out real quick; P2W is fine. Lots of games across history have had the P2W model and been very successful/entertaining.

Magic the Gathering for example is a super-expensive P2W game. Oh you didn’t think it was because you and your buddy never looked at it that way? Sweet, ignorance is bliss. Take a look at the game when its online and get back to me on that.

So yes, P2W is fine, sometimes it can even be fun. The key is to just be honest about it. Don’t pretend not to be P2W SOE.

41 Responses to Pay-2-Win is fine

  1. Jenks says:

    I never played those card games for that very reason. Pay to win may be fine for some but it’s not something I could ever motivate myself to enjoy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    While casual MtG with pre build decks is p2w, it also offers a lot of “game modes” not being P2W, like draft and limited. And in tournament settings it never really were P2W, because even for the game modes requiring you to bring a pre build deck you were just required to buy the single cards anyway, just as you have to buy your equipment for other “sports”.

    • kalex716 says:

      Well MTG is a game that has win conditions, and it has product that costs money. So of course if you want to win a game, its going to cost you money. How much you are willing to spend, also dictates what you’ll get out of it as a system.

      I can’t wait to see how you explore this commonality with whatever it is SOE is planning on doing with EQ: next.

      • kalex716 says:

        I mean Syn, not you anony.

      • Rammstein says:

        “Chess is a game that has win conditions, and chessboards and chesspieces cost money. Therefore, how much you are willing to spend on chess, also dictates what you’ll get out of it as a system.”

        Pardon me, I just fell off my chair laughing.

        • Sjonnar says:

          Thank you for making this argument before i had to. True, MTG standard is p2w, but the real game is draft and sealed. Then it’s just luck and skill.

        • Matt says:

          Wrong. Chess has set pieces, meaning once you buy a set there is no benefit to spending extra (other than impressing your friends with your solid gold chess set). The game is also predicated on a level playing field at the start with respect to the board, though you can purposely handicap yourself if you have more skill. MTG isn’t even in the same ballpark. You’d be right if you bought chess pieces in random packs and getting a queen were a 5% chance or something.

        • Rammstein says:

          “You’re right, Rammstein. Sealed Deck Magic tournaments have set cards, meaning that once you buy your deck there’s no benefit to spending extra (for that tournament(other than impressing your friends by obtaining a deck with all extra-collectible shiny bonus graphics, or vintage equivalent cards)). Sealed Deck Tournaments are also predicated on a level playing field at the start with respect to the allowable deck makeup, though you could purposely handicap yourself if you thought you had the skill. Hot Air Ballooning isn’t even in the same ballpark. You’d be right if you bought Hot Air Balloons in cheap packs, but they actually cost thousands of dollars.”

          FTFY.

          I agree, Hot Air Ballooning is p2w, and magic is not. ~_~

        • Rammstein says:

          and crap, I was referring to Constructed Deck tournaments, which is what I used to play and what most people think about when they think of Magic, Sealed deck tournaments, as Sjonnar referred to just before, are even less p2w, but I was trying to defend the more difficult format to defend, and then ruined it with a typo ~_~

      • Anonymous says:

        M:tg is pay to play not pay to win. The randomness of the deck cant be bought. if there was a way i could pay to stack the deck thats p2w its pretty simple really. if u dont see the difference between pay to play and pay to win im sorry for u

  3. Ragelle says:

    My favorite MtG story is shortly after I took up the game with a friend. We each spent about a $100 on cards to start building decks and played against each other to the point where with the cards we did have we were pretty sharp.

    Another friend took up the game — the kind of guy that if you spend $100 he has to spend 10x that just to let you know he can. We both go over to play some games and we get out our decks, narrowed down to 60 cards or so and he gets out all $400 of the cards he bought in one big deck stacked 10″ high. In this case it was Pay-to-NOT-Win. I love pay to win in PvP — the money doesn’t overcome stupidity.

    • Derrick says:

      Seriously, I hate this argument. It really bothers me.

      The problem I have with it is that there’s an assumption that the guy who’s paying more is somehow a worse player, but unfortunately the two factors are entirely unrelated.

      I strongly dislike pay2win specifically because of that. There’s lots of people with both cash to burn _and_ the skill to compete. As such, you’ll just lose.

      Syn: MtG is indeed P2W. That doesn’t make P2W fine. It’s the nature of CCG’s, though, and there’s not really any way to change it and still have CCG’s work.

      However, P2W never adds anything good to a game. I’d still be playing MtG if that wasn’t the case, but after years of collecting cards and realising that if I didn’t continue to collect cards with every new set that was released, I’d fall ever further behind and be unable to have resonably balanced games.

      And hell, I don’t even play competitively, just friendly matches with friends.

      • Rammstein says:

        “However, P2W never adds anything good to a game.”

        EVE, PLEXes, you’re wrong.

        Of course the best thing about PLEXes is that people don’t see it as p2w, for a few reasons. In this case, the ‘anything good’ which this type of P2W adds is that it aids in the fight against botting/rmt, which functions as illicit P2W, and licit P2W is better than illicit RMT in that it adds longevity to the game, and in an MMORPG, longevity is a good trait.

        I don’t really have another example, but I enjoyed M:TG at the time, which raises the question, would I have enjoyed M:TG as much if they’d sold the cards for much much cheaper, instead of making huge profits off of it? Probably, yes. At what price point per pack would you say the game wasn’t P2W? Cardstock isn’t free, printing isn’t free. So where’s the line?

        • Noizy says:

          One reason that people don’t see PLEX as pay to win is that a Russian millionaire actually did try to win by throwing money around. Despite paying for the best equipment (including Titans) for his alliance, he wound up losing. Good thing he was a millionaire.

        • Derrick says:

          What the heck are you talking about, Rammstein? How is PLEX pay to win? It’s just a way to either pay to play or play for free, but buying PLEX doesn’t gain you an andvantage over players that don’t.

          Likewise, having to pay for magic cards in the first place isn’t what makes it p2w. Everyone has to pay something to play at all – purchasing the game, basically. What makes magic p2w is that you can just buy better cards. It’s made worse by NE cards coming out having constant power creep requiring you to keep buying.. . Though you could argue it’s basically like a “subscription”, the fact remains that a player who spends more will be able to build a far better deck.

        • Anonymous says:

          My apologies. I sort of misread your post, then my phone crashed just before i could save my edited post. Too much of a hassle to re-edit it.

          Anyways, plex isn’t p2w because it doesn’t confer an advantage you couldn’t achieve in regular game play. It does allow faster progress, but a player could compete fairly through regular play.

          I define p2w narrowly as above for a specific reason. If you define it too broadly, it becomes a useless term. However, when defined more narrowly, it can better be used to delineate problematic game design.

          It plainly socks if you can, say, pay for 10% more damage dealt in attacks if a player cannot obtain that without purchase. You have to assume equal skill, so the player coughing up extra money simply wins.

          “price of entry” fees (subscriptions, game costs) don’t count, as everyone has to pay them equally.

        • Rammstein says:

          @Noizy: yea, I’m familiar with that story, hazily, but you told it better than I would have; and yes, that and similar stories are the main reason in my mind as well why it’s not a very serious P2W situation–too much skill involved, and there’s no nontransferable meta 35 ammo to buy with real dollars or what have you.

          @Derrick: “What the heck are you talking about, Rammstein? How is PLEX pay to win? It’s just a way to either pay to play or play for free, but buying PLEX doesn’t gain you an advantage over players that don’t. …What makes magic p2w is that you can just buy better cards.”

          You can buy PLEX with real dollars, and buy better ships ingame with the PLEXes, it is word for word the same situation in EVE that you yourself called p2w in magic:the gathering. Do you even play EVE? No one really thinks of EVE as P2W in the classic sense, because it’s not, but the fact remains that you can buy PLEX and trade them in for better ships–I’ve played M:TG and EVE both, and I know firsthand that both are ‘technically’ p2w, and both have enough skill involved that the players don’t think of them as really being P2W.

        • Rammstein says:

          When I played M:TG back in the day I was trying to make the pro tour, and nearly did a few times, no one at that level thought anyone else at that level had any advantage from having more/better cards, it was purely skill and luck–a new player playing me casually might have thought it was pay2win, just as a new player to EVE might think the same, but the term as a social construct of the established players has a different meaning.

          –assuming the anon just above who posted at the same time as me is derrick, sounds like we agree now.

        • SynCaine says:

          The difference between MTG and EVE is in EVE, ISK can either be bought or acquired, and ISK itself is only one means of getting more powerful items others can acquire through various means (not the least of which is scamming), while in MTG only cash earns you cards (and I suppose the real-world illegal act of stealing, but lets not go down that path), and more cash = better cards.

          That MTG has a max amount you can spend (all of the best cards at the current time, which goes down the drain when the rules change or another card pack is released) does not mean its not P2W. If you want to call it capped P2W, cool.

        • Rammstein says:

          Is that reply aimed my way, Syn?

        • SynCaine says:

          General comment about MTG vs EVE.

        • Rammstein says:

          I don’t have a problem with either definition of p2w, the broader one or your more narrow one. I have no problem using either definition depending on the one being used by those I’m talking to at the time, just like I’ll use “round” as a noun, verb, or adjective; ain’t no thing. However, if we want to talk about why the ‘average’ player of EVE doesn’t think EVE is pay 2 win, being specific about that distinction is not very relevant. That average player looks at the winners of recent Alliance Tournaments, he looks at who has control in Nullsec, and he sees that the consensus is that those winners are skill-based, and that those winners are actually profiting in ingame ISK terms from winning. Consider automobile racing, where building and maintaining the cars costs many millions of dollars, and it’s difficult to get a spot with talent alone; but once you get a spot, talent will out. That’s not generally considered a ‘p2w’ sport, although it qualifies by either the broader definition or your more narrow one. I have no doubt that if either M:TG or EVE required significantly less skill, you’d call that game not only P2W, but “bad” P2W.

          Thought experiment: EVE introduces gold ammo, but you can’t use it in PVP of any sort (or let’s say it works just like regular t2 ammo in PVP, which makes more sense), and using gold ammo is less effective for earning ISK, per real dollars spent, than simply buying PLEX and converting to ISK, no matter whether we’re talking about incursions, sanctuaries, lvl 4 or 5′s, whatever. EVE is now P2W, by your more narrow definition. Do you seriously feel that change is a meaningful or serious one?

        • Rammstein says:

          That racing example wasn’t worded very clearly, what I’m getting at is that people think that Schumacher, or Jimmy Johnson, are skilled drivers who won because of skill, not that they paid to win–they ended their careers much richer than they started, in fact. That’s precisely why I thought it was a good analogy to magic, because both are things where a good proportion of people see it as p2w, and a good proportion think of it as more skill based–because both are both, they’re not mutually exclusive, but people tend to focus on one or the other.

        • Rammstein says:

          ppps. that gold ammo in the thought experiment is nontransferable, either by trading, the market, contracts, getting blown up in space, whatever. completely nontransferable and obtainable only by RL cash.

        • SynCaine says:

          Whenever I get around to finishing the post, one of the points is that P2W =! god mode, which is one of the weaker arguments people brought up when World of Tanks had P2W gold ammo.

          Your EVE gold ammo example is poor. Why would anyone buy that ammo instead of PLEX if they wanted to buy ISK? If its to say they have gold ammo, then its a fluff item, which isn’t P2W. If its to make PvE easier, but at the cost of actually making more ISK per $, then its just a math tax trap.

        • Rammstein says:

          “Your EVE gold ammo example is poor. Why would anyone buy that ammo instead of PLEX if they wanted to buy ISK? If its to say they have gold ammo, then its a fluff item, which isn’t P2W. If its to make PvE easier, but at the cost of actually making more ISK per $, then its just a math tax trap.”

          The example was perfect. It was designed to satisfy Derrick’s definition, in a way that showed he didn’t actually believe his definition as written. What you perceive as flaws in that example, are intentional aspects of its design. It’s like you’re saying the glass protecting a fire extinguisher is flawed, because it cracks when you hit it hard to try to get out the fire extinguisher. That’s a big negative, the glass is perfect for its function.

          If you gave a clear definition, I could either agree with it, or give a similar example for your definition; but currently you haven’t given one, which is fine, as I haven’t given one either. (At least I’m not seeing one here, have you given one in an earlier blogpost that you could direct me to?) Without a clear definition, your confident pronouncements categorizing games are pretty much meaningless, so I’m assuming you have a working definition, I just don’t see one here, and don’t want to search for one in your entire blogging history, possibly finding an outdated one that isn’t your current one anyway.

        • Derrick says:

          “Thought experiment: EVE introduces gold ammo, but you can’t use it in PVP of any sort (or let’s say it works just like regular t2 ammo in PVP, which makes more sense), and using gold ammo is less effective for earning ISK, per real dollars spent, than simply buying PLEX and converting to ISK, no matter whether we’re talking about incursions, sanctuaries, lvl 4 or 5′s, whatever. EVE is now P2W, by your more narrow definition. Do you seriously feel that change is a meaningful or serious one?”

          EVE is, even with that system, still not Pay To Win by my definition.

          My definition is simple, and clear:
          When paying real money gives you a direct advantage against other players that is not available by in-game non-RMT methods, the game is pay to win.

          That’s it.

          Pay to Progress Faster != Pay To Win and is not a bad thing, for the same reason that my ability to play 20 hours a day isn’t unfair compared to your playing 2 hours a day. I’ll progress far faster than you, but progress in an MMO isn’t a race. You can get all the same things I will, but it’ll take you longer.

        • Rammstein says:

          “When paying real money gives you a direct advantage against other players that is not available by in-game non-RMT methods, the game is pay to win.”

          A. That’s a new definition, unless you’ve posted that previously and I just missed it; I was arguing against your old definition.

          B. What does “direct advantage” mean, precisely? Does it mean “advantage in PVP combat”? That means that any MMORPG without PVP can’t be pay2win, under your definition, which makes your definition very unique. Or does it mean something else?

        • Derrick says:

          “A. That’s a new definition, unless you’ve posted that previously and I just missed it; I was arguing against your old definition.”
          This has been my meaning all along.

          “B. What does “direct advantage” mean, precisely? Does it mean “advantage in PVP combat”? That means that any MMORPG without PVP can’t be pay2win, under your definition, which makes your definition very unique. Or does it mean something else?”

          Direct advantage means in a proper contest – that is, a contest that exists as part of the game design. Most frequently, this is PvP. That is, if two players are of equal skill, and can contribute any arbitrary (and not necessarily equal) amount of time, in a direct contest the player who wins is not determined by who spends more.

          The idea is that it sucks to lose because someone has a thicker (RL) wallet than you. In a game with progress, you have to expect uneven rates of progress, though, so players will be at different points that way no matter what – some will progress fast, some will progress slow. Things affecting progress speed will allow one player to become more powerful faster, but in the context of an individual contest, things are otherwise balanced. Including rate of progress in this would be useless, because that’s already shot out the window by many factors.

        • Rammstein says:

          Are raiding guilds, in WoW, competing to down a boss first, engaged in a “proper contest”? Are two players in EVE, seeing who can first complete a certain DED complex, solo with only 1 pilot logged on at a time, engaged in a “proper contest”?

        • Derrick says:

          “Are raiding guilds, in WoW, competing to down a boss first, engaged in a “proper contest”? Are two players in EVE, seeing who can first complete a certain DED complex, solo with only 1 pilot logged on at a time, engaged in a “proper contest”?”

          No. “Direct advantage means in a proper contest – that is, a contest that exists as part of the game design. ”

          Competing to down a boss first is not a part of the game design. It’s a contest players are making on their own accord. This is different, for an important reason: It’s the game designers job to ensure that contests between players are fair, but only those contests which they are responsible for. You can’t create your own arbitrary contests and expect the developers to support them.

          The contests you mention above are entirely player-created ones. As such, in the creation process, it’s the player’s job to set the rules. In your second example above, you do this (solo, with only 1 pilot logged on at a time) – those players can also add “without XP boosters”, or whatever else, as the contest is of their design in the first place.

        • Rammstein says:

          “Competing to down a boss first is not a part of the game design. It’s a contest players are making on their own accord…You can’t create your own arbitrary contests and expect the developers to support them. ”

          What would need to be in WoW, that currently isn’t, to make competing to down a boss first part of the game design? It’s my perception that the developers intended, and still intend, for this to be a contest, making it not arbitrary and indeed part of the game design. You seem to disagree: so what is missing from WoW’s raiding game server/world-first competition that makes it somehow not part of the game design, in your view?

        • Derrick says:

          Actual rewards, built in support for it. Blizzard encourages guilds to race for world/server firsts, but doesn’t design the game around that – and for a very good, serious reason. It’s a game that a ridiculously small and ultimately irrelevant portion of their player base can reasonably participate in. If that was an important aspect of game design, it would exclude far too many people.

          That’s very clearly not an integral part of the game design, and rather an emergent contest between a small number of players.

        • Anonymous says:

          syn its not pay to win in magic you have to draw u can own all the cards and u still lose if u dont know what you are doing or AND HERE IS WHY ITS NOT PAY TO WIN. if u get a shitty draw and the other player draws good your fucked no matter how much u spent. Thats not pay to win lol its more like pay to compete. its as much pay to win as plex lol. i guess the real difference is everyone would have to buy magic cards where as plex allows u to not PvE. So in a way PLEX is more skewed. Shouldnt we really be more concerned that the PvE is so bad that alot of ppl just would rather buy plex then play the game.

      • Derrick says:

        As Syn said, eve is nothing like mtg. You can earn and use in game currency to buy ships, you can’t gain newer and better mtg cards with anything but cash.

        Hence my more narrow definition of p2w: eve is not, because money can’t buy you anything in game currency can’t, mtg is because money is the ONLY way to get better cards.

      • Rammstein says:

        “Actual rewards, built in support for it.”

        You mean like the titles and achievements for faction/realm/world first? The ingame rewards granted from those achievements, mounts/pets etc? Putting realm first bosskilling guilds into ingame cinematics accessible from a monument ingame? Using world-first guilds to do their official closed beta testing of new raids?

        That’s just what they were doing many years ago when I still played(WOTLK), I’m guessing they’ve added even more in by now.

        So what you’re saying is that under my thought example and your definition, EVE isn’t pay2win, but if EVE added a bunch of floofy achievements like WoW did, that change alone, combined with the thought experiment’s special ammo, would make EVE pay2win? That’s quite counterintuitive, and shows a real disrespect for the sandbox of EVE. I would argue that a definition which applies so poorly to a sandbox shouldn’t be applied at all to said sandbox. Thanks for the discussion, but I’m going to change my earlier statement about being happy to use anyone’s definition of P2W, to being happy to use ‘most’ definitions of P2W, it doesn’t seem that you and I can come to an agreement on that term.

  4. carson63000 says:

    Personally, I’m loving the “clash of cultures” inherent in the recent flurry of F2P online card games – Hearthstone, Hex, Duel of Champions, Rise of Mythos, etc.

    Few things are more guaranteed to cause epic dramaz than pitching a trading card game – traditionally the pinnacle of P2W – at the F2P forum warriors that foam at the mouth at the slightest hint of P2W.

    • Anti-Stupidity League says:

      But hey, at least paying for multiple Eve accounts each month is completely okay and not p2w, because of reasons.

  5. sid6.7 says:

    I think Pay-2-Win is fine when that’s the only method of advancement. MtG is a good example.

    I think where it starts to break down for me is when you mix methods of advancement. If I put in X hours of work and that work is immediately trumped or invalidated by someone who paid cash.

    • Derrick says:

      I have to disagree. I’m fine with “pay cash or time to progress” because there’s options for everyone. When you can only progress via cash, or cash gives you an in game advantage that you cannot meet via time investment is where problems lie.

      Who cares if the guy you’re playing against got to where he is by paying or playing? What does it matter? You can compete on even grounds either way too. Maybe he works a lot, and can only game for 2 hours a week, and you are a slacker student who can drop 8 hours a day playing video games. It just levels the playing field; as both players can compete evenly.

      Pay To Progress Faster is not a problem at all. Pay for an ingame advantage is.

  6. TierlessTime says:

    Land-a-mark and Next are games being made for the SOE marks to take advantage of them the same way Star Wars fans get taken. They know you will buy it, so the prop it up with some fluff to try convincing you you have a real say in it. That you have a hand in it just to play off the Kickstarter trend and hopefully get you to spread word of mouth for them while you make the content for them while you pay them to let you start making it early with your special axe. SOE is gonna SOE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 151 other followers

%d bloggers like this: