Growing up I always hated movie tie-in videogames. I think part of the hatred was fueled by what magazines like EGM were writing at the time, because the guys working had to actually play those games to review them, and you could easily tell they hated it. But it also came from the fact that poorly made yet ‘popular’ titles were taking attention and sales from stuff I liked (namely RPG games prior to FF7 making RPGs cool).
Fast forward to today and this here MMO blog, and things haven’t changed all that much now have they? Back when liking WoW was cool, I was here railing against it because that game was drawing away attention from stuff I liked. Of course history shows I was right, and mimicking post-TBC WoW set the genre back a decade, but that annoyance of the crappy-but-popular thing still remains.
Only today instead of movie-based games, we have “popular because popular” based games like the Kim K iPhone game which is making truckloads of money. Who could have guessed that someone with a giant following of idiots could make a product designed around parting idiots with there money (F2P trash titles) and turn that into a cash cow. :shakes fist:
Not all is sad and lost however. A surprising number of readers here have followed my wise advice and gotten into Clash of Clans, and I think so far everyone has been pleasantly surprised by the quality and depth of the game. And as more people join up (clan is at 27 members now), the social/team aspect increases as well, which as we all know is the secret sauce to turn a good game into something really great.
The game, from a social aspect, also has a bit of old-school 40 man raid culture, in that a few more dedicated players can assist or ‘carry’ those who are more casual, and the group as a whole can still progress and succeed. It’s almost impossible IMO to find a large group of very dedicated players who also like each other. Usually either you are hardcore and tolerate each other based mostly on skill rather than personality, everyone is casual and derpy, or you have a mix. But the mix only works if the game supports it, and thankfully CoC does.
Joining note: Clan name is “Supreme Cream!”, in your message just mention the blog or I’ll think you are some random. Only ‘requirements’ are that you are active during clan wars (use your two attacks), and that you aren’t a complete puddle when it comes to improving your layout/strategy.
The fact that you like Clash of Clans so ardently, is one of the most interesting sides to your web based personae Syn…
I have to admit, I find your fascination with that game extremely thought provoking when it comes to your stance on how to properly monetize the various mediums of video games.
I’d dare say it represents a chink in your armor regarding F2P and what they could some day be actualized as in the broader market place.
CoC follows the LoL F2P model in terms of what I like; the game is fully playable without paying, and the product itself is high quality (and not “high quality for a free game”). It’s easily the best mobile strategy game IMO, with depth deep enough to put most strategy games to shame (and I mean all games, not just mobile), while not requiring you to play for hundreds of hours before you feel comfortable (unlike, say something like Eador or Civilization). Easy to learn, hard to master is exactly what CoC is.
CoC is also P2W, but it’s not sneaky “we swear we are not P2W” P2W like so many minor-league MMOs these days. It’s right-up-front “pay to skip ahead” P2W, but that has limits since ‘getting ahead’ just puts you against others at that level (and there is a cap that can be reached ‘reasonable’ without paying). If anything, it makes me all happy that CoC is raking in the money, because it (like LoL) shows that not only is there a market for F2P beyond shovelware with math-tax, but that if you actually make something solid you reap the highest rewards.
Plus as mentioned, as solid as it is solo, it gets deeper/better when you have a solid clan, the social aspects work well (sharing replays, asking for base reviews, etc), and it can be played for 5 minutes or 5 hours at a time.
Realistically, the main thing holding the game back from being bigger than it already is (and it’s mega-huge anyway) is the general perception of mobile games; cheap, throwaway time-wasters that beg you for a few nickles. I think that’s why so many readers here were so surprised when they tried it; it’s not only a ‘real game’, it’s a pretty f’n amazing ‘real game’ at that.
The pay to skip ahead model that CoC has was brilliantly dubbed “Pay to Lose” (or P2L) by the Banner Saga community.
To be honest I’d much rather play an upfront priced game, but CoC is really good in spite of its payment model.
“CoC is also P2W, but it’s not sneaky “we swear we are not P2W” P2W like so many minor-league MMOs these days.”
I’d be interested in knowing which games you consider to be major-league MMOs today.
According to always correct and 100 % accurate Xfire, the second most popular MMO currently is Guild Wars 2, but it has 3 times less active players than the most popular one (let’s all wonder together what western MMO that might be now). Can GW2 be a major-league MMO with so much fewer players? Then again, compared to EVE, GW2 has almost 3 times more players than Excel in Space, so does that make EVE a minor-league MMO? Or are all games in, say, current top 10 of Xfire (the only correct source of MMO statistics) major-leaguers?
Quick, think of one difference between an EVE player and a GW2 player that might make the 3x number not as relevant?
Usually EVE players multibox and GW2 players don’t?
Still, that wasn’t the point. In your opinion, is EVE a major-league MMO and if so, why? What about GW2? How about all other games in Xfire stats between GW2 and EVE, which ones are major-league and which ones aren’t and why?
No, the point is every EVE account (500k+) is worth ~$15 (more if they PLEX) every month. Every GW2 player is worth a one-time box cost, and some of they might be worth a few more nickles in cash shop junk.
Apples to oranges, which is why EVE has the dev team it has, while minor titles like LotRO have the skeleton crews they have.
Ok, so clearly you think that eve is a major-league MMO. Surely wow as well (right?). And you’ve established lotro as a minor-league MMO.
What about gw2 that we discussed about, the game that has the greatest amount of active players after wow? Is it a minor-league MMO, because even though it has 3 times the amount of major-league eve, it’s not a subscription-based game?
What about eso, which already has less players than minor-leaguer lotro? Is it still a major-league MMO because it’s still a subscription-based even though it doesn’t have that many players?
Or are wow and eve only major-league MMO games and all other games are minor-league?
Now you’re getting it.
All your points are great. I agree with them. Clash of Clans is a fantastic representation of a game that found a proper way to leverage the low barrier of entry “Free to play” part, while putting in monetization hooks that are both necessary enough for them to make bank, but not so intrusive to the savy player that they undermine the depth, feedback, value and compulsion of the game play.
It’s indicates future possibilities for developers in even the MMO genre to “get it right” by doing the proper design work.
Liking WoW was cool? I must have been sick that day.
Vanilla WoW was where all the cool kids spent there time. The nerds were stuck in unplayable EQ2.
I started playing CoC due to this blog (new Android device, lets try these things out) and I’m impressed with how well it transitions from “here’s an action every 30 seconds” to “plan your army composition for what result you want in your next attack”. Also the micro-transactions aren’t “You need these to play”, although I’m currently saving the gems up to get a 3rd builder… but it feels like an upgrade to unlock.
Currently at level 33, upgrading my town hall to level 6. I looked up “Supreme Cream!” and hovered over the join button, but I didn’t press it, because hey, I’m an internet random.
Commented on blog != internet random. Apply.
Your posts convinced me to try it. It is much more than I expected.
Is it a disadvantage to me or the clan if I live in a EU time zone? I’m thinking coordination of actions etc.
Not at all. I think we already have some EU people, and I know we have some AUS. There isn’t all that much coordination, other than troop donations, and that doesn’t seem to be an issue for us.
EU is fine, I’m playing from the UK and asside from wars starting at random times there are really no issues. :)