Expectations

Quick item I found interesting from the CCP/CSM meeting notes: EVE New Player Experience according to CCP =  The first six months.

SW:TOR entire player/pillar experience: One month.

Both games use the same business model.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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5 Responses to Expectations

  1. saucelah says:

    This is about the point I’m always trying to make. It’s not that I think anyone’s automatically an idiot for playing SWTOR, it’s not that I think anyone’s an idiot for enjoying theme parks, but I do think it’s not all that great a sign of consumer savvy to pay full price and a sub for a game that barely justifies the box price and, given the other options on the market, doesn’t justify the subscription at all and hasn’t shown it can add meaningful content at any kind of respectable rate.

    That decision affects all of us. Not only does it encourage companies to avoid innovation, it puts a giant flag over our heads for all the marketers and publishers to see that screams “these people will give us money for anything!” And I think that’s why we see games like SWTOR asking for subscriptions, and the same reason why we see games like Mafia 2 break off so much content as DLC. As a group, gamers have shown we will pay full box price and continue to pay for extras we used to get for free (or in the case of subs, that used to be justified by the state of technology and the small playerbase for the genre).

    The more gamers that actually give them money for these products, the more products we will see that don’t deserve the money. And that irritates the hell out of me and occasionally makes me look down on veteran MMO bloggers who should realize they are getting scammed out of cash but gleefully keep handing over their credit card numbers.

    • Liore says:

      “makes me look down on veteran MMO bloggers who should realize they are getting scammed out of cash”

      Maybe people are paying for the game because they are having fun playing it! Those jerks!

      • saucelah says:

        I didn’t say they weren’t. But that fails to change (or relate in any way whatsoever) to the fact that the more they are willing to pay for fun that they can get elsewhere cheaper, the more they encourage publishers to shove expensive games down our throats with little to no return of content for money.

        And we’re talking specifically MMO vets, who have been there and done that and should have enough brain cells to realize they are paying more for an experience they’ve already had or could get cheaper elsewhere.

        I wish I was in video game marketing. They must spend their days in tears from laughing at the consumer habits of gamers.

  2. Remianen says:

    “but I do think it’s not all that great a sign of consumer savvy to pay full price and a sub for a game that barely justifies the box price and, given the other options on the market, doesn’t justify the subscription at all and hasn’t shown it can add meaningful content at any kind of respectable rate.”

    Consumer savvy? What about those of us who try everything? I believe every game brings SOMETHING to the genre, even if that something is a different take on a familiar feature. I bought a box for Sword of the New World/Granado Espada (years ago) because of their take on the ‘companions’/’henchman’ feature. What happens when the value judgment is different from your own? I live in NYC. If I go out to dinner one night, I will have spent more for that couple hours than the box + a month’s subscription to even a crappy game (and if that place is Peter Luger, two boxes and two months of subscription, easy). Which offers a better value? Who gets to make that decision?

    I see what you’re saying. The market (as a collective) speaks and developers (and their bean counting overloads) listen and parrot whatever they believe is the consensus. It’s where we’ve gotten the ‘casual player = I want it without any effort or time spent’ paradigm that seems to have consumed the genre.

    Honestly, I’m okay with the a la carte/DLC model games seem to be so enamored with. As a vet of EQ1, there were many (many, many, many) expansions I bought for full price when I only wanted a couple of included features. I didn’t buy Luclin for freakin’ cats on the moon or monk shaman hybrids. I bought it for Vex Thal and Griegs and Sanctus Seru and the Nexus ports. But I paid full price (x3) for it because I had to. That’s a value judgment I didn’t have a choice in making. Now, when games release new powersets or doodads as paid add-ons, I can skip them and wait until something that interests me comes along. When I paid for Legacy of Ykesha, it was for the added bank space, not frogs. If I could’ve paid for the additional space (like I can now), I probably would’ve spent MORE for it (because I valued it higher than the expansion’s cost).

    I just see it as a business progression. I mean, there was a time when candy bars were a nickel and were bigger than they are today. Again, I get it and agree to a point. But developers were churning out crap back in the early part of the century so that’s nothing new. It’s just more common now since everyone with a million dollars has ‘MMO’ in their eyes.

    • saucelah says:

      Comparing MMOs to MMOs is not anywhere near as difficult and subjective as comparing an MMO to a night out in Manhattan.

      I see it as business digression. As believing they have identified what the market wants while ignoring all the other things that made that particular item, WoW in this case, popular to the public at its time of release.

      On Syncaine’s next post, I talked about the period of time when publishers believed FPS games could only sell if they had competitive multiplayer modes. Anyone who really wanted a single player FPS was just behind the times and didn’t actually want what they say they wanted, and even if they did want it, they were a minority. Designers were told single player FPS games would never ever ever ever ever ever sell again. Except they did. And many are incredibly popular.

      All it took was a few publishers acknowledging that the numbers aren’t the entire story of the market, and letting the designers, who are more often a part of the audience they create for, go with what the designers believed would be entertaining. So we got Bioshock. And we got Fallout 3. And we got a whole host of other FPS games that have no multiplayer and still had great sales. And now there are no more publishers insisting that FPS games that aren’t multiplayer won’t sell.

      They had simply made an assumption that the numbers appeared to support and ran with it. They believed in it so strongly that they refused to even test it, and a number of games failed that could have been worth playing, if only the devs had been allowed to put more time and effort into the game they wanted to make rather than the game they were told to make.

      Business progression will come later, when someone makes a polished sandbox that blows up big and the “sandboxes are all dead and no one likes open worlds anyway” crowd disappears and tries to pretend it never existed.

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