Paragon players rage over ‘pay-to-win’ monetization changes and loot crates

No exaggeration: The Paragon subreddit is in absolute uproar over the MOBA’s newest monetization tactic. The board is currently covered with dozens of threads angry over the game’s new buyable packs as dedicated players express rage over what they’re saying amounts to pay-to-win, mobile platform strategies – a moneygrab.

The most expensive pack, the Diamond pack at $150, does include a ton of stuff. But what it doesn’t include is a guarantee that the loot crates tucked inside it will actually grant all the unlocks, meaning you could shell out a ton of money and still be outta luck.

Redditors are also speculating on the decision-making process itself, pointing out that the game’s former director, Steve Superville, who left Epic after 15 years with the company last spring, was adamant that the studio would never sell cards and heroes, that they’d be earnable only through gameplay.

“Vote with your wallets,” one Redditor urges players. “This game cannot thrive with a P2W platform, and the best way to prove this is to NOT BUY THE PACKS.”

Here’s what players are looking at:

Source: Reddit, official site. Cheers, Sorenthaz!
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61 Comments on "Paragon players rage over ‘pay-to-win’ monetization changes and loot crates"

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John Kiser

And yet if people bothered reading the pack inclusions it is largely skins and loots crates. You can earn a lot in the game just by playing it often enough as is. The cards can be crafted for that matter as well. This just seems like people expect no monetization model at all and for this game to be 100% free somehow. The packs are literally just bundles of shit that has been there for ages now already.

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kimowar101

one of the many reasons I wont touch f2p games….

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Bhima Jenkins

I played Neverwinter for a short stint, and while I enjoyed the game, it is chock full of pay-to-play the content. I then moved to Fortnite. Ohhh man. I actually still find quite a bit of enjoyment out of the Fortnite game loop, but that game’s monetization tactics are among the worst in the industry. Looks like they modeled the success from Fortnite and moved it over to Paragon.

I think I’m just going to go back to GW2 where I don’t feel like I’m getting it in the rear, and maybe check out Destiny 2 once all of its monetization schemes have been fully laid out to scrutiny.

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Armsbend

Fortnite was an overnight flash in the pan. No one is talking about it; no one is watching it; no one is buying it.

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Jack Pipsam

Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Wonder when the whale oil will run out for the industry as a whole.

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Hirku

I’d be happy to grab a harpoon and speed things along.

kalamari_
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Greaterdivinity

Good outcome, but it’s troubling that such a major “mistake” would make it through all the various processes and out in the public. I’d definitely feel better if they went a bit more into how this occurred given how major of a “mistake” it appears to be.

The “learning as we go” bit is kinda BS, though. Epic isn’t some new studio that’s never made games. They’re not some tiny team with a shoestring budget that can’t afford to hire extremely talented, experienced folks to work on their titles. I get that there is always going to be a certain level of learning going on no matter what, but these are the kinds of things that they should have learned from dozens of other studios making similar mistakes on. This is the kind of thing that their staff experienced with F2P models should have flagged immediately and ensured didn’t make it live.

Ultimately, it’s pretty much the best outcome that the community can hope for, so I don’t want to be too harsh on Epic. But at the same time, if I was a player I’d sure as hell want more information on how this nonsense could get through their processes and end up being the PR nightmare that it’s ended up being. That doesn’t put on a good look for Epic at all, especially with their recent Fortnight monetization controversy.

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Sorenthaz

Epic had like 40% or so of their shares bought by Tencent and a majority of their big names (Cliffy B included) dropped out from 2013 onward. For all intents and purposes they’re a shadow of their former self and even project leads for Fortnite/Paragon were switched out at one point I believe, which is when things started shifting in negative/more cash-grabby directions.

That and let’s be real: they haven’t done any real games Since Gears of War Judgement in 2013.

Still they have very little excuse for playing the “Early Access” card and acting like they’re a bunch of small indie developers making games for the very first time. It’s like they’re abandoning their legacy by doing that junk.

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Greaterdivinity

They didn’t even do Judgment solo, that was primarily developed by People Can Fly (Bulletstorm folks).

It’s just so strange to see how they’ve changed over the years. I mean, Sweeney is still around kicking ass and doing great work on Unreal Engine, so at least that’s pretty consistent.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah but he’s even gone out and publicly defended and supported the way Fortnite’s monetization has been done, so… it’s pretty clear he’s fully condoning the way things have been going.

Almost comes off as Epic being in need for $$$ because of the high production costs and Daddy Tencent not being happy with their earnings.

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Arktouros

“Voting with your wallets” doesn’t mean anything anymore. Many games are designed to accommodate “freeloaders” in the system but most importantly utilize them as content for other paying players to enjoy. So even when you don’t pay for anything all you’re doing is having a sub-par experience while providing content (cooperative or competitive) for other paying customers.

The only actual way to have an impact is to stop playing entirely. I mean I don’t realistically expect people to go that far but that’s what it takes now. F2P/P2W/etc systems give players really no options other than continue to play and directly/indirectly support the business decisions you disagree with or quit entirely.

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Utakata

I support games I enjoy that have fairer models. /shrug

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Arktouros

And if you play games with less fair models then you support their model by being content in it for other players regardless if you financially support them or not. /shrug

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Utakata

To which I don’t. I am not sure that’s some cryptic comeback…I know you got /upvoted for it. But I don’t see how this is relevant when I stay away from games with less fair models, as they tend to cramp my overall enjoyment of the game. (Also see: Champions Online.)

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Arktouros

There’s no cryptic message in there. I don’t really pay attention to updoots because people upvote for too many myriad reasons to draw any conclusions of meaning behind them. I didn’t really see how replying that you support games that you enjoy that have fairer models had to do with my original point that in a F2P model style games, which Paragon is, redditors claiming to vote with their wallets is meaningless because the entire monetization system is designed to accommodate that stance by using them as content for paying players.

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Utakata

And I am just indicating the actions regarding a disingenuous cash shop model may end up driving game’s paying customers to the competition. I am pretty sure that’s not good for the game’s bottom line. /shrugs again

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Slaasher

This game cannot thrive with a P2W platform, and the best way to prove this is to NOT BUY THE PACKS.”

The BEST way to prove this is to not play the game

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Sorenthaz

The dilemma of course is that people who supported it and enjoy it are basically being told ‘don’t play it anymore and give up on it’ in order to get the message across to Epic.

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Arktouros

That’s inherent in every system however. For example when people “voted with their wallets” in a subscription MMO games it meant they’d lose access to the game.

The critical difference in a F2P title is there’s the temptation there to continue playing even if you decided to stop paying. Except by continuing to play you provide content for those who do pay and thus support the game’s business model you dislike indirectly.

Now that’s your decision, by all means continue to play, just realize that means your criticism means very little since at the end of the day they know you’ll keep playing regardless of how loudly you are barking against their changes.

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Slaasher

People should do what they wanna do. But in the end the only real bargaining chip we have as gamers is to play or not to play.

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Dug From The Earth

After the lootcrate success in Fortnite, why wouldnt Epic carry it over to their other game?

/s

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Sorenthaz

I am honestly half expecting there to be a hidden $100 ‘Challenger’ or ‘Master’ or ‘Ultimate’ pack that only shows up for those who buy the Diamond one.

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BDJ

The bottom line is this. They need to make money. If people were spending money on the game, they wouldnt have to resort to this. Everyone thinks they should get everything free in life. Whales exist because of freeloaders.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

There’s no “need” here.

Fortnite, a game that plans to be free in a year, is doing something very similar.. and go figure, they’re from the same company.

Epic Games is owned by Tencent, who are huge and rather profitable. It’s not a coincidence both of these games sell rather expensive up-front packs, and then load on the P2W add-ons once you’re in game. In the case of Fortnite, those add-on packs are fairly heavily tied to the game’s progression. Sure, they might fix it in a year or so.. but by then they’ll have milked most of their player base.

This double-dipping of up front costs, on top of heavy P2W packs once you’re in game, isn’t a sign of need. It’s plain greed.

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ozzie

Even if people were spending money on the game, things like this would still probably happen. It’s hard to say no to more money. Sure, it would hurt the game in the long run, but I don’t think these guys are considering a long run.

Reader

Of course they need to make money so why not just actually give the items that are being claimed worth $150 when someone pays $150? Why is there the chance to shell out “a ton of money and still be out of luck”?

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Utakata

“Everyone thinks they should get everything free in life.”

You say that if it where a bad thing. o.O

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Armsbend

You will never succeed in a moba if even the slightest perception of p2w exists. Might as well pull the plug today.

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Greaterdivinity

There’s a balance to walk between needing to generate revenue and harming your game by overly aggressive monetization. We’ve seen this again and again, and while many (I’d argue most) folks are sympathetic and understanding of a companies need for revenue, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be happy to have their game monetized to hell.

It’s also on the companies to set reasonable revenue expectations for their titles to ensure that they don’t find themselves in positions like this. From everything I’ve seen, Epic made a pretty huge investment with this game, despite the MOBA space being pretty crowded and having well established players. I can’t fault them for trying, but their execution has been incredibly inconsistent over the months from what I’ve seen as a casual observer, which is likely a result of the games struggles and their continued efforts to position it as a major, AAA MOBA.

And no, not everyone thinks that they should get everything for free. That’s a nonsense non-argument.