Time, Money, and Glowsticks

Between my post about new MMO pricing ‘methods’ and EA bending SW fans over with their $150 (more in EU)  CE, money has been the topic of late.

My plan for SW:sRPG is to pick it up for $5 on a Steam sale a few months after release. At that point I’m sure most will have moved on and I can enjoy the game in peace, without the hassle of others to ruin my immersion*.

I mentioned in my previous post that Gods and Heroes was crazy to expect most to pay $15 a month for what they have. I mean, unless having a few minions with you is just your absolute MMO dream, the ‘must have’ appeal here is pretty damn low. But that got me thinking: how low exactly is it? After all, the game was in open beta not long ago, and I could not even be bothered to spend the time to download it. If the sub price drops from $15 to $5 a month, how many people are going to see that and jump in?

For me, and I suspect many others, time is a much bigger factor than money. My bank account won’t noticed the difference between $15 and $5 a month at the end of the year, but with my limited gaming time (granted, it’s not THAT limited, but certainly more limited than my money when we are talking MMOs), I don’t really care to try out every MMO that comes along, lower price or not.

This begs the question: is there really a niche for something like Gods and Heroes or games like it? From the outside looking in, it sure sounds like yet-another-fantasy-themepark + minions. I’d really love to hear from a current G&H player and find out why they would rather spend their time with that game and not themepark X. I’m just not seeing it, and I’m also just not seeing how the people behind that game imagined things working out. During the early stages, what exactly was the “sales pitch” here?

*It’s a multi-layered joke. One: Immersion is a long-running inside joke. Two: While I jokingly say that I’m looking forward to playing an MMO solo, the sad truth is many today hope for just that in their Massively Multiplayer games, and SW will make Cata look like a sandbox. Three: Barrens chat will look tame compared to SW general chat in the first month or two. Not only are SW nerds the worst nerds of all, but you just know every Huntard is going to take their unique brand of ‘gaming’ to SW and making the most (worst) of it.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in beta, MMO design, Random, Rant, SW:TOR. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Time, Money, and Glowsticks

  1. Gank says:

    I played in the early beta and was quite shocked that they:

    A. Launced at all given how much work it needed (so kudos to them I guess if they worked out all the bugs)

    B. Decided to charge a monthly sub.

    I think they had a chance to do something great here but it would have meant abandoning the themepark style and going sandbox. The Roman setting is pretty unique but the entire feel of the game is one we’ve seen over and over and over and over….

    The minion thing? Guild Wars done it a long time ago. The setting? Interesting eye-candy for those of us interested in all things Rome, but honestly? Kill 10 crabs for X NPC and get X piece of gear as reward? Nothing to see here..move along.

    Comine the Roman setting with the freedom to do what you want- Senate politics, general, soldier, merchant, gladiator, player housing, farming, boat maker, animal breeder, etc in a sandbox setting and I think they could have attraced a decent amound of players who would have stuck it out for a long time.

  2. Oh, but it will never be on Steam. It will be an Origin exclusive. Until, of course, EA sees more pennies to be collected by changing their mind.

    And the Barrens Chat potential for SWTOR is huge. I can barely resist the temptation to make a Trek-esque name just to stir things up. Set phasers to fun!

  3. Werit says:

    Wouldn’t know about the chat, it’s the first thing I turn off.

  4. theJexster says:

    “Unique in-game vendor with a dynamic assortment of items available only to purchasers of the Collector’s Edition.”

    So without defining this, it could be snake oil or it could be something that is really cool…but to sucker in the purchases your not telling are you?

    And we still don’t know the monthly do we?

    Or release date?

    But we have to act quickly before the limited item goes away…got to love consumer manipulation. Worst of all, people are marks, and it works, and further encourages more companies to do the same.

    • SynCaine says:

      I am praying the vendor sells insta-gib items that completely break the game, but are exclusive to CE users. The rage tsunami would be delicious. Those without would cry that they can’t access such power, those with would cry that the game is too easy, and the devs would ultimately do something as stupid as introducing the vendor in the first place.

      Oh one can dream.

      • theJexster says:

        At this point it shocks me they put the effort in to have a vendor in the game. Apparently they spent 200mill on the trend setting, totally original idea of story (never seen that before) and went cheep on the rest. What they seem oblivious to is that story ends, community doesn’t. Then again I still keep thinking of it as an MMORPG, my fault.

  5. bhagpuss says:

    Nail on the head re the time thing. I have way more MMOs already on my desktop than I can begin to do justice to, and I play a lot. I keep downloading new ones because I’m academically interested in the genre and I can’t resist a new sample to analyze, but even apparently simple MMOs still take a lot of your time if you plan on seeing anything other than the tutorial.

    The niche thing is intriguing. Just how many players does an MMO need to keep the lights on? I’ve got MMOs on my HD that weren’t just on my last computer but the one before that, or even before that again. I still drop by some of them now and again and they’re mostly still running. Not only that, some of them seem to be as busy as some of the newer MMOs I’ve played recently.

    I just went back to Ryzom again this week and was amazed both by how good it still looks and how much fun it is to play. And it was busy, at least in the newbie are. Lots of people in chat announcing it was their first or second day. I betaed Ryzom in 2004. It began development in 2000! It’s gone bust at least once, but it’s still up and running.

    I could make a pretty long list of MMOs that you’d think no-one plays but which have been around for many years and are still running. The list of MMOs I’ve played (and I’ve played a lot) that have closed would be a fraction of the length.

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  8. Gaugamela says:

    As for God&Heroes for me it brings something very interesting: a fantasy MMO based on Roman/Greek mithology instead of the usual Tolkienesque fantasy.
    I really don’t understand how no one tries to take advantage of this niche with so much great novels based on this period from Steven Pressfield, Bernard Cromwell or great TV shows such as Rome or Spartacus or great movies released recently as Gladiator…

    Its a breath of fresh air in that aspect… But for the rest I don’t think it is anything special.

    • Drew says:

      Agreed, that’s an underutilized genre in the grand scheme of “fantasy”. I just wasn’t going to check out G&H at a full box price + sub.

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