Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Worst MMO Business Model of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Worst MMO Business Model, a dishonor bestowed upon Star Wars The Old Republic last year in this award’s inaugural year. As a counterpart to yesterday’s award for the best business model of the year, this “award” is intended to recognize an MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated a particularly awful business model specifically in 2017, regardless of its past performance. We expanded this award to include pre-launch MMOs with launched business models as well. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Worst MMO Business Model of 2017 is…

STAR CITIZEN

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I still can’t get back into ArcheAge because of its business model. Subscriptions, lockboxes, non-instanced land grabs, and server merges make for the perfect storm for keeping me away from a game. Runner up: SWTOR, mostly because its housing is instanced and therefore a bit safer compared to AA.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Star Citizen. Holy shit Star Citizen. Selling fake land in a game that doesn’t exist yet for real money. Enough said.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I don’t cavort with the trolls who insist Star Citizen is a knowing scam, nor do I think the studio is operating on its last penny. I also can’t knock the idea of crowdfunding, given that Massively OP wouldn’t be here without it. But the slow pace of this game’s development coupled with the incessant drip of paid and arguably pay-to-win pixel ships — and now pixel land claims — all from a multi-million-dollar company whose combined crowdfund all by itself is currently bigger than all the other crowdfunded MMORPGs put together? It has worn on my very last nerve.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): Boy, this was just the year of Star Citizen doubling down on “sell something that doesn’t exist yet but we promise will at one point exist,” huh? Systems that aren’t even yet in obvious development can now be bought in advance for a bunch of money! This isn’t shady at all! Runner-up: Guild Wars 2 and the amzing mount-skin lockbox.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Star Citizen. The longer that time goes by without a full game release, the more ridiculous it seems to be “selling land on the moon” (or pretend spaceships) that fans can’t fully enjoy right now. The expansion of this model to selling land claims was truly ridiculous and highlighted one of the big problems with many of these early access and crowdfunded MMOs.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): As much as I’d like to give this award to Star Wars: Battlefront 2, that doesn’t exactly qualify. But I can still say that EA has some of the worst business practices in all of video games. It shows in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Although SWTOR says it’s free-to-play, there is no good way to play the game for free, and every addition to the game seems to try to suck every dime from its fans and its developers. I’d like to see EA give BioWare a bigger budget and a bit more control over the business practices. Make a great game first, and monetize it after is my advice.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): I don’t know that any game will ever topple SWTOR’s free-to-play for worst business model ever. If you don’t sub, you probably shouldn’t really bother playing. You either pay through the nose for each little tiny thing or you really just have a really poor experience. I am grateful I can avoid the worst of it on the “preferred” level, but I’d never log in if I had the base F2P plan.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I have to echo the Star Citizen here because it really tops my naughty list of worrisome features in a business model: It stacks payment mechanics on like they’re sprinkles and the tiers and access is further convoluted by its early backer roots. I can’t see how its system doesn’t just boil down to rather confusing pay to win flashiness, in all honesty.

Star Citizen took our award for Worst MMO Business Model of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: Which MMORPG had the worst business model in 2017?

  • Star Citizen (59%, 1,294 Votes)
  • Star Wars The Old Republic (12%, 270 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (6%, 125 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (1%, 20 Votes)
  • RIFT (3%, 56 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (1%, 28 Votes)
  • Black Desert (2%, 34 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 19 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 22 Votes)
  • Revelation Online (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Riders of Icarus (0%, 0 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (1%, 13 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 (4%, 77 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 2 Votes)
  • WildStar (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar (2%, 36 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Chronicles of Elyria (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Warframe (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (0%, 4 Votes)
  • ARK Survival Evolved (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Crowfall (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (1%, 27 Votes)
  • Nothing (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments). (1%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,196

Loading ... Loading ...
Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought would be worthy.

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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174 Comments on "Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Worst MMO Business Model of 2017"

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Reader
Erik Malkavian

Couldn’t agree more about #ScamCitizen RSI and CIG deserve this award for this drawn out nonsense. Need a Refund? Go to this Sub-Reddit to learn how 1,000s have gotten theirs:

https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen_refunds/

Reader
Tithian

From the perspective of a business, SC is the best model out there: get paid serious dough and deliver the bare minimum. Maximum profits all around!

But yeah, SC reminds me of a politician that will promise you the stars to get your vote (wallet) and then blow you off with PR talk, while doing fundrasing events to fund his re-election for the next term. Absolutely sleazy. At least with the various fleecing F2P models you know what to expect.

Woetoo
Reader
Woetoo

Still got to give it to SWTOR rather than SC.

Primarily because there’s nothing hidden to what SC is selling. Players can see what it is they’re getting and decide for themselves whether it’s worth the price to them.

Personally, the constant scope creep that keeps adding features that (seemingly) delay the game longer and longer is an issue for me – but that’s not a business model thing. Plus I’d like to think that the people who design ship models and such, have long since finished their “critical path” work and are just adding things to keep busy. If CIG continue to monetise that, so be it. I won’t be buying, but as long as it doesn’t affect the game I ultimately end up playing – I don’t mind too much.

Whether the stuff like land and ship ultimately end up being worth the early access investment, I guess time will tell. I hope CIG stick to their intention that early access sales are just a way for dedicated players to throw some money into the pot and won’t end up creating a split community of “those who benefited by paying before launch” and “those who didn’t”. If it turns into a BF2 type thing, where it’s effectively buying power – then I’ll have an issue.

SWTOR is delivering less year on year and charging the same for it. So if it was bad last year, it’s a few percent worse this year. Nothing in their business model has improved and so “actually bad” beats “potentially bad” for me.

Reader
Robert Mann

SWTOR or AA. Maybe SOTA with the odd huge purchases and telethons. Star Citizen’s setup isn’t a business model, as far as I am concerned. It’s a pre-game issue, which is different. Such things can still drive me away from a game, but a business model, to my mind, requires access to an alpha/beta experience (usually called a beta, but sometimes at an alpha stage) at a minimum, with the monetary systems of a launch. That means a cash shop, things running under a subscription if one will be available, etc.

Several entries on this list thus don’t fit to me.

Reader
Aaron Moore

Star Citizen worst business model? Based on their earnings, it’s not only the *best* business model of any MMO in 2017, but arguably the best business model of any MMO ever. They’ve accrued almost 200 million dollars on a game that isn’t even out yet and earned the Guinness record for most crowd funded project of all time. I would say that’s a perfect example of a highly successful business model. One of the most successful of all time. Sooo…a fantastic business model, is what it is really. Because at this point, even if the game never comes out, it was already a success. A huge success.

cmdr_cotic
Reader
cmdr_cotic

So salty.

Reader
Aaron Moore

I guess you guys would consider it a better business model if it were less ethically shady but made very little money? Well, I hope that works out well for you in a real-world business context. Meanwhile, just keep voting the highest crowd funded project of all time as a bad business model. Lol. Right.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
mistressbrazen

I voted for SWTOR although I admit it was hard to choose. For me the difference is that Star Citizen has not released. Yes, the money grab is bad, sleezy even, but there is still a possibility when it releases they will be less sleezy. EA on the other hand is down right unethical. I am not a subscriber but I am ..what do they call it? preferred or something. Which means they take my money and tell me to go take a hike. My in-game credits are capped but at the same time I am not allowed to spend them on anything I want to buy. All of that must happen with Cartel Coins which I buy with real money, but at the same time if I buy coins and have a problem with the game or the purchase, I am not allowed to use in-game support. In fact I have to go to some player run forum to try and get an answer! Oh yes, I can email in a support ticket request, which is not acknowledged and takes a minimum of 7 days for EA to respond with a response that essentially says try reloading!. So yeah for me its SWTOR, cause EA will just straight out try and steal your real money.

Reader
Robert Mann

I avoided SC because, well, it’s not out. There’s at best crowdfunding shenanigans going on. Which remains something other than a business model.

So yeah, agreed.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

At first I saw and thought the same thing you did. ‘Star Citizen isn’t released, that’s not fair to include it.” Then after a moment of pause, I felt that thought was wrong. They’re not released, but they’re still selling all sorts of different things all the time. They already have a business model, selling all sorts of pieces of what people are hoping actually gets made and delivered. They have a pretty bad business model because of it. I think the game will be released and won’t be vaporware in the end but it’s still pretty bad.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
kanbe

I also had to go with Star Citizen. As much as I want to give this to SWOTR, Stat Citizen comes out ahead. No actual game is even out and instead of nickle and diming you every time you breathe, SWOTR, Star Citizen takes your whole wallet, or bank account, for the promise of a brighter future. Kind of remind me of a politician that way.

Reader
Aaron Moore

Yeah, they sure do take your whole wallet. With that 45 dollars it takes to buy the game.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

i mean, i dont even care one way or another about SC or whether it ever comes out. But speaking as someone with no investment in the genre star citizen is for..it looks real damned shady when every other week you presell yet another shiny item or promise yet another innovative game system thats going to cost more time and money to build while continually pushing back your actual game builds.

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Aaron, you are pretty hostile towards the folks that disapprove of the SC business model.

If every paying account was only asked for $45, this sucker would be bankrupt.

Bringing in good revenue doesn’t make a business successful.

Reader
Aaron Moore

How is stating fact without animosity, slurs, or insults equated with being hostile? I’m not even an active supporter of the game. I’m just trying to lay out the facts. The fact is, it costs $45 to buy the game. That gets you everything, every update. And all ships and items can be earned in- game. The people that have pledged more chose to do so, to help fund the project. Saying that CIG “takes your whole wallet, or bank account” is intellectually dishonest, at best. I could fully understand ridiculing or questioning those who have freely chosen to pledge thousands of dollars to the project, but to imply that CIG forces or requires this, is simply untrue.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

just so you’re aware – you won’t even be remotely viable to do anything at all in game if you only spend $45 on it.

you’ll also have no way to get around on planets which has become a fairly big focus of the game with the latest still in ptu milestone 3.0.

Reader
Aaron Moore

Have you spoken to no one currently playing it?

Reader
Aaron Moore

Have you watched no one play this game?

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

i play the game regularly and am in ptu

Reader
Aaron Moore

Why would you have no viable way of getting around on planets with a $45 package? I watch streamers land on planets every day in $45 starter ships. All of my friends who own the game own $45 starter packages and land on planets (actually moons, as there are no full planets in yet) all the time. What, exactly, makes you think that you cannot land on planets with the ships that come bundled with a starter package? Also, these same friends regularly take rides in others’ larger ships, can currently spawn any and all ships and ground vehicles that have ever been developed for the game at vehicle retrieval stations – whether or not they own said ship – in the current version of the game, regularly steal others’ ships, and will be able to buy any and all ships and vehicles with in-game money, when the next phase of SC is rolled out (when players stop being able to spawn any and every ship at will, as it stands currently), so what in the world makes you think you can’t do everything for the $45 package? It’s very obvious that you are not following this project closely, or…at all.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

sure you do m8. sure you do.

Reader
Aaron Moore

Okay, tell you what. I’ll purchase the game right now with a basic $45 dollar package, download it, and stream it to youtube, during which time I will use every ship, every ground vehicle, and land on every moon. Will you watch? If so, I’ll give you a link to go to in exactly one hour.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

i don’t think you realize you can’t do that by spending only $45.

Reader
Aaron Moore

((Deleted by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

umm no you can’t.

you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. so please stop spamming me lol.

Reader
Aaron Moore

I mean, you could just watch any of the hundreds of other such videos already up on youtube, but it seems you haven’t done that yet, or are unwilling. So, allow me to show you?

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

idk why you were spamming me with this. i actually play the game. regularly.

Reader
Aaron Moore

((Deleted by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

yeah i totally don’t have 20+ hours in PTU and hundreds over the past 4 years in every major patch of the game.

those videos are all make believe.

XD

btw mr i watch youtubers trying to sell the game for referall points so i know better, you won’t get access to 3.0 if you bought to day without spending extra money. so even if you did spend $45 this minute you wouldn’t be “flying every ship and driving every ground vehicle” anyway. which not all ships are even avialable for everyone to test with in PTU anyway, just a very specific set of ships.

Reader
ichi sakari

in the time of gamble-boxes, Robert’s failure was to deliver as hyped while throwing in everything like FOIP and land claims, but the actual business model is pretty fair considering you can get access to the game (in its current alpha state and when it finally releases) for less than the standard AAA price.

I know lots of folks who have put less than $50 into SC, and a dew who have spent more than a grand on it. They’re all mostly happy with that purchase/pledge/bet, but most want Chris to focus and pump out the game as promised.

Overall I’d have agreed with an award for slowest delivery or most unrequited hype, but there’s so much wrong with the monetization of so many MMOS that that I can’t agree with the consensus view.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

if all you spend is $45 on SC you won’t be viable in any thing the game offers. and that will remain the status quo for the foreseeable future as their most recent statements on balance passes is that they are hostile to doing more of them during alpha.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

I think it’s accurate in the fact that his money raising schemes get more hairbrained by the day – with hardly any content to show for the entire year. Even I couldn’t have imagined that they spent 2017 basically doing nothing – relative to normal software industry practices.

Reader
Aaron Moore

If you really think they’ve been doing nothing. Go to my channel and watch my videos playing star citizen in 2016, then watch my recent 2017 plays of Alpha 3.0. It’s like a completely different game.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

yeah it’s even harder to find the gameplay now and when you do find it it tends to be bugged out.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

BURGER CITIZEN BW.gif
Reader
Bryan Correll

I dunno about this one. CR wouldn’t wait till Tuesday to get paid for those burgers. Plus those burgers are ready to be eaten.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

Dude this is one of my Schlag all-time favorites! Nice work!

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Grats on that Patron pin:) Looks good with that new avatar.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Lmao at all the SC hate. A game where you are only forced to pay 40$ for starter package and have full access to everything in PU.

Voted for FF14, because I dont see clear P2W games on the list, so voted for the most archaic and outdated MMO model – subscription based (at least wow has tokens).

Also not sure what MMOs that arent even released are doing on the list. Developers can change model before release, why speculate?

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

if all you spend is $45 on SC then you won’t be viable in anythign the game offers gameplay wise except maybe the absolutely terribad fps arena module. lol

Reader
Bruno Brito

> Voted for FF14, because I dont see clear P2W games on the list,

Neverwinter;
SWTOR;
Archeage;
Secret World Legends;
Lord of The Rings Online.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

None of them is P2W imo

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Vunak

If you don’t think ArcheAge is p2w, a game you can literally drop $$$ into the cash shop, convert it to gold and buy the best gear in the game, you are a very very delusional person or you are hitting some majorly serious shit and need to puff puff pass.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

“nothing can be pay2win”
-oleg 2017

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

“I hate all computer games because Im a hater”
-deekay_plus

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

okay

XD

i mean i have 20 hours or so in 3.0 already and don’t hate it but right, everyone criticizing the game is part of a vast conspiracy led by derek smart and goons to ruin the game forever.

we’re all just plants on this site, commenters, staff alike, placed years before the game was announced to hate it and ruin it for everyone for all time.

kfc is illuminati confirmed.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Well, since you started “pulling quotes out of the ass” contest, I decided to play along.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

by your standard literally nothing is pay2win tho.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Not true. I consider Age of Wushu pay2win even tho I like it.

Reader
Steven Williams

You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re putting FFXIV – a game that justifies a sub with a clear, ongoing and almost always-met content release model, isn’t pay-to-win (minus the arguable-but-vastly-underselling jump potions) and provides an excellent, transparent service for its paying customers… as having a worse payment model than SWTOR and Star Citizen.

Not nerd-raging, just confused and a bit confounded. And I can’t say the business model isn’t archaic.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Edit: Pretty much comment below :)

Reader
Steven Williams

I guess I’m the type of person who would rather buy the product and have access to all of its features than be teased and constantly barraged and annoyed by various gameplay limitations and “buy our gold membership” style popups and messages. I think the quality and service of B2P and P2P games vastly outperform F2P options. FFXIV is the only pay-to-play game I can really support, due to its 1.5-month patch cycle (major content patches every 3 months, expansions every 2 years).

But that’s just me, and I see where you’re coming from. :-) A lot of my friends won’t join because they’d rather play/already neck-deep in B2P or F2P games.

EDIT: Just saw your edit lmao c:

Reader
Bryan Correll

I’m pretty sure Oleg meant he would have voted for a model that was clearly pay to win, but that he didn’t consider any of the games listed fall into that category (exactly what people consider pay to win varies a hell of a lot from person to person.) So instead he voted for FF14 not because it’s pay to win, but because he doesn’t like the ‘classic’ subscription model.

Reader
Steven Williams

Ohhhh, I get it now. :) Thanks!

Reader
shear

Star Citizen is a clear P2W game. Are you blind?

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Owning a big ship wont make you win anything. Ships are specialized and alot of times fast small ship is more useful for a task then Idris. All ships that are sold now will be available to buy ingame.

So no, SC is not P2W

Reader
shear

A better more expensive ship will outperformed a less expensive ship in the same field.

Do you know how I know it’s pay to win? Because there is a correlation between better and more expensive, and we are talking about real money. Case and point.

Star citizen is pay to win.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

You dont know, you assume. Its different things.
In SC ships have different roles. And more expensive bomber for example will be in huge disadvantage against cheaper fighter. Because bomber is specialized to fight against big ships while fighter is great at striking ships like bomber. This is relevant for all ships. Some very expensive ships wont even have any weapons on board.

So you can repeat how SC is p2w from dusk till dawn, it wont make you more right.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

i’m not assuming. with few exceptions spending more money gets you a better ship in combat or the specifc role of th eship youre buying.

and spending the minimum to acces shte game you won’t be viable in anyting the game offers that involves space ships. and you won’t be able ot travel on planets very effectively.

Reader
shear

That’s why I said in the same field. So say bomber v bomber fighter v fighter.

Star citizen is absolutely pay to win.

Super hornet will rip the poor poor Arora or mustang to smithereens.

Star citizen = P2W

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

When a super Corp buys a massive ship and is at a staggering economic and power advantage from day 1. PTW.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

How the hell Aurora is in the same field as Super Hornet rofl? Aurora isnt even a combat ship while Super Hornet is a full military. Even keeping this in mind, it all comes down to pilot skill. Aurora can absolutely beat SH if pilot is much better.

Also funny how you keep repeating its P2W like you gonna convince somebody

Reader
shear

Um. Not here to convince you boy. Any person with any common sense knows star citizen is pay to win.

Yeah if super hornets pilot is asleep maybe.

What about combat variant of mustang v hornet. Both pilots are of equal skill. Please I want to see the mental gymnastics.

Why are some ships more expensive then others, is it because some are better than others or do they just come up with the prices for fun. Pick a number, out of the hat.

Star citizen = P2W

Reader
Steven Williams

Even if it weren’t pay-to-win, I have an issue with charging for more stuff during development like this, especially given how slow development is going and the crazy amount of money they’ve gained already. I don’t like the idea of it, just like I didn’t like Ark releasing an expansion for an early access game. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, goes against my values, and sets a pretty cruddy precedent in a market already chock-full of companies cooking up new ways to screw us over.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

And all of this is just theory, because you can’t really pit those ships against each other yet in a real game environment. I’m just sayin’.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Well, wrong again. There are like 40 ships already fully done and flight ready. And players can fight each other and they do.

Reader
Zora

Meanwhile, at Bioware…

“Boss… BOSS! Dire news, people think our very game has the worst business model in the entire industry”

“Relax, Steve. Thanks God there’s Star Citizen out there… somewhere. Protecting us from the outrage.”

“Yes Sir. Long live Chris Roberts, Sir!”

“Long live. Now get those loot crates for next week’s sale in production, you scoundrel…”

Reader
Psi

Nominating Champions Online, here. The lockboxes are getting out of control. Not only because you now only have a chance to get a piece of one of the costume sets within. But you also only have a chance to get the new ultimate powers with a low drop rate, but if you miss that lockbox then you have to pay out of the nose to get it from the in-game market.

This all ignores the way they treat their free players vs their subbed players. Having to use incredibly subpar archetypes vs freeform is pretty crappy.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Can you really call SC’s model bad? Yes it sells non-existent things, but it makes very clear they’re non-existent and people still want to pay for it. I don’t blame SC for this. It’s not gambling, it’s not preying on addictive tendencies in our brains, only on people’s refusal to think before they spend. That’s fair game imo. If people really want to be stupid, by all means, let devs fund their games off that.

Of course, in 137 years when the game launches, if it turns out that people who didn’t buy stuff during development are at a huge disadvantage, then it’s a different story. Then it’d be a weird form of crowdfunding P2W.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

I’m just waiting for Squadron 42, wish they’d get a move on with that.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Star Citizen. Holy shit Star Citizen. Selling fake land in a game that doesn’t exist yet for real money. Enough said.

So how do I buy you a drink, sailor?

Woetoo
Reader
Woetoo

Oh, I don’t know.

I wouldn’t buy the land. I’m not sure I would even buy land after the game goes live.

But I’ve read books like Snowcrash and Reamde, both by Neal Stephenson and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and can see the potential for a land grab, not by players but by businesses. The sort of companies who want to display themselves within the virtual world(s), right where players initially start their journeys. Or the sort of people who want to buy in early, so they can sell their plot to Amazon somewhere down the line.

I’ve also played virtual world builders before now. Not all land is created equal. It’s really hard to create a world, where the centralised area isn’t “worth” more than outlying areas. Landmark (Everquest: Next) might be the latest example people would be familiar with.

And if like ships, anything you can “buy” now, can be “earned” later – Well, I guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed it ends up being fair to new players who haven’t spent thousands pre-launch.

All that said, I’m not a “pixels for cash” person. I hated That Retarded Horse when it was launched in WoW and I’ve never bought a cosmetic item. For me, cash buys me access to the thing I enjoy. My enjoyment comes from playing a game, not paying for ways NOT to play that game.

Reader
Steven Williams

I’d pay an extra $5 for an ingame old-timey sailor outfit.

Reader
Sally Bowls

IMO, the articles and commenters are blurring model and implementation.

If you wanted to argue that SWTOR implementation is bad, I would disagree but not too vigorously. I get some arguments for that view. OTOH, that does not argue against the model. There is no monetization that makes a bad game a good value. In the physical world, you may compromise: you know the $175,000 Porsche or $5,000 Zenga is better but you choose value. But nobody is going to play a bad game even if it is 100% free.

The other side is WoW – a great implementation that millions like. YMMV. But it is hard to argue that it is a great model; I don’t think any non-small MMO could launch with that model in 2018.

IMO, YMMV, I like a lot of the SWTOR model (not game implementation.)
I see SWTOR as a sub game with a best-in-class trial account. Casual friends can investigate the game by playing for free (then preferablely $5) without the barrier of an upfront box. Departed friends can return, chat. and do some stuff before deciding whether to sub or wander away again. Lootboxes are a minor/non-issue for me; I can buy what I want, without RNG, from the GTN using credits.

wandris
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wandris

SWTOR. Remove the credit cap and it would still be bad, but at least you could actually enjoy that little thing called economy, one of the cornerstones of most games. Escrow vouchers, what a bad joke. Maybe add in some support for your paying customers, just because you couldn’t be the next WoW and have had a shameful performance you shouldn’t treat half your customers like shite. Perhaps do not falsly advertiser yourself as F2P and sell unlocks when you even your devs admit the game needs a sub to be properly played and enjoyed, thus invalidating any F2P purchases.

SWTOR the game which guaranteed to generate buyers remorse. A game which pits the subscriber half of the community into insulting and degrading MTX customers like they are filthy beggars.

Star Citizen does not deserve as much critism as they are doing exactly what people want with the only business model which will allow it. An actual high budget next gen game which is more than a visual upgrade over old systems. A game which puts the time and effort into building something that no corp could pull off, or would even attempt. A game that is not suppose to be limited by a time factor that results in an inferior broken product. However this public pressure may result in exactly that. A star citizen that gets pushed out early with problems. Really if they have gone this far what do people really have to lose by waiting?

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Thomas

SWTOR, by a country mile. The game has a “F2P mode” that’s so onerous and distasteful that it’s not really even playable. I have occasionally subbed to SWTOR for 30 days or so, and then I unsub. But play the F2P version? Not on your life.

Nick
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Nick

I voted for Star Citizen. But I have a special vote in my heart for Marvel Heroes for accepting money when they knew there was a strong chance of the PC not being renewed, and then for accepting money after they knew it was being shut down.

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Chosenxeno .

I voted for WoW and FF:XIV…

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Sally Bowls

I don’t get the surprise at SC still funding; why did you think it would stop? Nearly three years and $100M ago in Wired:

Beyond that, how does Roberts explain the $77 million secrets of Star Citizen’s success? “The big thing is the thing that we didn’t do,” he says. “Most crowdfunding campaigns engage some people, convince them to become backers, and then the campaign stops. We didn’t stop.”

So three years or $100M in the future, I expect SC to still be crowdfunding.

P.s,: FWIW, I in no way think SC is a scam.

The Peter principle … selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “managers rise to the level of their incompetence”.

He noted that their incompetence may be because the required skills are different, but not more difficult. For example, an excellent engineer may be a poor manager

The best players are not always the best coaches and it is not guaranteed that the best designers make the best CEOs.

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Tufao

Why SC is competing here? Wasn’t be a match between games?

SC is not even a game. Calling it a game it’s an offense even for other Alphas been worked on in the game industry, or even those in conceptual stage.

And not calling a scam is an offense to anyone who understand the consumer law just a little.

LoL

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Castagere Shaikura

I think they put it here so they won’t have to pick SWTOR again.

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Rumm

You can go play the Alpha like…right now. There are many examples of valid criticism in this thread, but this isn’t one of them.

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April-Rain

I don’t think this one was ever in doubt but SWTOR is a dam close 2nd and its the cash shop and nickel and diming is why I no longer play that game or would consider going back.

Dam I regret that collectors edition purchase.

François Verret
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François Verret

I’m throwing my vote behind Rift, because the game is currently the worst example of trying to get as much money out of their players as possible, in my opinion. Special mentions go to TOR, who’ll always have the worst F2P model, to GW2 for taking everything into the game and trying to put it into the gem store for real money, and to LOTRO for worst expansion business model.

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wratts

SWTOR gets my vote, only because it’s an actual game that I would play if not for the business model. The idea that I can’t even get my quest rewards if I don’t sub is unacceptable.

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Alex Malone

Voted SW:TOR (again), not only because of the endless nickle-and-diming, but also because even if you do shell out a ton of money to unlock everything, the end result is still a shit game.

Star Citizen certainly seems worse, but it’s not actually an MMO yet, still in development and hasn’t reached release. So, I would say they are still fund-raising, it’s not actually a business model for a game.

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Jacobin GW

Ashes of Creation because it opened the door for profit sharing MLM with Kickstarter donations leading to affiliate spamming.

MMOs are already tainted with shady profit models and this just made it worse by turning everyone into get rich quick spammers for a promise list.

They also deliberately misled people by passing off UE4 scenes as MMO gameplay. A slightly higher brow asset flip.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Star Citizen.

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rafael12104

Hmm. I don’t know. The worst Business Model?

Well, if SC had a Ship Lootbox? It would win hands down in perpetuity. We would just have to rename the award to The Star Citizen.

But, as I have voiced my displeasure with the entire industry recently, I see no reason to stop now.

  • There is BDO. Well, a B2P, F2P schizophrenia.
  • There is GW2, Forgotten hand caught in the mount cookie jar.
  • Rift, who is, apparently, testing out new ways to piss off players with their monetization.
  • SWTOR, first to implement progression in a lootbox,
  • Destiny 2. You don’t get what you pay for approach.
  • Should I go on? That’s EA, ActiBlizz, Trion, NCsoft, Kakao, and we are just getting started.

    Worst Business Model? The entire fucking industry, in general.

    Might be easier to list games who don’t have a shitty business model.

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    Rumm

    Should group these by company, IMO. I refuse to support Trion in any way after how poorly they handled Archeage, Rift, and Devilian. I can’t really vote on any single one because they’re all really bad, and under the umbrella of the same company.

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    BalsBigBrother

    Well I am just dropping by to wish Bree the best of luck with the moderation after you all essentially poked a bear with a stick and a pointy stick at that. o7

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    Sally Bowls

    Amen. Although I think perhaps not quite as many or vigorous as two or three years ago.

    (Which is of course quite naive but it’s the holidays and pretending for a but that things might turn out well is not that bad of an indulgence.)

    Polyanna
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    Polyanna

    Star Trek Online

    What the actual fuck. You left this off the best model poll but included it in this one?

    It may not be the absolute best around, but for an F2P game it’s up there among the most generous in terms of content you get for free and least annoying for being comfortable to play without spending a dime.

    Not saying it should have won either of these, but I call bullshit on the nominations.

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    Sray

    Just going out on a limb here, but maybe they noted that STO had been left off other polls and they corrected this on their generic list that they copy and paste for all of these polls. I’d like to point out that Destiny 2, which I consider to have the best model, was not on the list for best either but was on this list after I mentioned it in the last column; and I’m not in the least bit offended, nor do I feel these are bullshit nominations.

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    Alex Malone

    But Destiny 2 isn’t an MMO, so surely it shouldn’t be included anyway?

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    Sray

    Yes it is. Massive concurrency? Check. Persistent world and character progression? Skill point and gear based character progression? Check. Ability to interact with other players? Check.

    It hits all the major points on the definition checklist, thus it is a MMO. MMORPG? No. MMOFPS? Yes.

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    Alex Malone

    None of those things you listed are required to be an MMO. The only thing you need is a massive amount of players within the same virtual environment.

    D2 caps at 16 per zone right? Thats not an MMO, thats just standard multiplayer. Which is probably why Bungie have always outright said that their game is not an MMO. Because it isn’t an MMO.

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    Sray

    Actually, yeah all.of those things are required for an MMO as I define them, and large numbers of people in a single environment is not part of that, as many MMOs cap the number of people in particular zones at double digits. I’m not the only person who defines Destiny as a MMO. Bungie avoids calling it that because the term is marketing cancer: ESO also refuses to use the term.

    It doesn’t meet your definition requirements? That’s fine, but the fact that a lot of people do consider as a MMO means that definition is a bit subjective.

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    Wilhelm Arcturus

    As much as I enjoy seeing Star Citizen taken to task for its dubious funding schemes… if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the fake real estate market… I think this article would have had more value if it had been limited to live MMORPGs that the average gamer might be likely to pick up and play. By this point most people either thing SC is a scam or it isn’t and bringing it up again is just belaboring the point.

    Basically, can we talk about games we can actually play here?

    Polyanna
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    Polyanna

    With the way the market works today, SC is as legit an entry on this poll as plenty of other games out there that have made careers of dicking around in never ending “early access,” including some that now have shut down, or may as well have, without ever even bothering to launch.

    It’s certainly worth discussing the implications of a “business model” based on the simple but cynical premise that animates SC: Why bother to make a game at all, when there are plenty of people willing to pay you plenty of money to not make a game? It’s not alone in this; plenty of high profile games are doing the same, to the point it is becoming the new normal rather than shocking or anomalous.

    It’s also worth discussing what the implications are of relying on what basically amounts to accelerated revenue (i.e., cannibalizing post-launch sales) to fund the the up front cost of development, rather than relying on proper capitalization.

    That is “a business model,” or at least a pretty big part of this one. Not a good model, but a model nonetheless. And the consequences of that model are going to play heavily into the future of this game.

    By the time it launches, it’s very possible that SC will have made all the money it’s ever going to make, which is going to lead to some pretty painful choices down the line, for a game that has promised that it’s going to be around for a long time.

    If you think the wailing and gnashing of teeth is bad now, just wait until we see the actual post-launch revenue management strategies that this model is going to dictate, when it comes time to figure out how to keep the lights on beyond launch day.

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    Armsbend

    One of the backer’s biggest arguments is that SC is playable.

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    Wilhelm Arcturus

    The other one is that it isn’t a scam and I don’t buy that one fully either. You can split hairs and go either way.

    But sure, if they want to argue that it is a playable game, then it should be treated as such with reviews on Meta Critic and all that jazz. I’d love to see that. But then the backers would start waving the criticism deflecting “alpha” flag, which is what they do every time anybody talks about any problem with the current state of the game.

    In a world where SC backers want to have everything their own way and be free from criticism, I’d rather just ignore them and talk about MMOs that are actually playable.

    deekay_plus
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    deekay_plus

    it’s definitely in early acces and has been for a long time now.

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    Tobasco da Gama

    So, the worst business model is a game where you pay $35 and get everything. The best business model is a game where you pay $15/mo for the privilege of paying $40 a year for new content.

    Ok.

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    Oleg Chebeneev

    So true. Gives me chuckles

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    rafael12104

    You have a game where you pay 35 bucks for nothing. Nothing but the opportunity to buy ships that don’t do anything.

    Sorry Tobasco. There is no game yet. I wish it was otherwise.

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    Tobasco da Gama

    For that matter, Camelot Unchained doesn’t exist. They’re selling $425 founder packs. But they get a total pass in these discussions. Why? Because people like Mark Jacobs more than they like Chris Roberts?

    The “business model” discussion around here is completely inconsistent and, frankly, hypocritical.

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    rafael12104

    Fair enough. Bias is inherent in just about everything we do. I don’t hate SC in particular, but it seems to me that their business model, given the amount of money that has poured in, has delivered little thus far.

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    Oleg Chebeneev

    Whats wrong with 10k donors club?
    Also whats wrong with ship sales if people want them and willing to pay money for them? WoW sells pets and mounts. Yet you called it the best MMO model ever.

    deekay_plus
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    deekay_plus

    what’s good about being able to buy the progression years before the game ever launches or in game progression is at all possible years after early access has begun?

    being able to obtain any of these ships through actual gameplay is a barely mentioned after thought that has been mentioned just once in almost 5 years of early access testing.

    in world where people complain about ark getting a meaty $20 expansion months before it actually launches, somehow we give a pass to SC which does a dozen more more MT presales a year without being able to progress through gameplay?

    okay.

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    rafael12104

    Oh, hello Bree.

    Ok. I stand corrected. Now, can I go? Because I’m a little scared right now. ;)

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    rafael12104

    Lol. It’s fine. Give and take in the comment sections is a great thing.

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    Utakata

    If this where my MMO blog, I would be /featuring this. <3

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    Mark Jacobs

    Thank you Bree, that was very kind of you.

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    Mark Jacobs

    Bree,

    Thanks for that too. And yeah, fleecing people is kinda against my principles. As you pointed out above, that’s one reason wouldn’t have felt right asking Backers for more money to cover the overage due to our delay.

    I hate, with every fiber of my being, some of the things I see in the industry today. I don’t think most of them are, or should be, illegal or even truly immoral (but some come very close) but I refuse to follow them. I want use to make great games, build a great company, and if we “leave a little money on the table” because we didn’t add fees on to things like the airlines and some publishers do, I can live with that.

    And that’s never going to change. I ran things that way from my first online game, and it will be the same till my last online game.

    Have a great weekend!

    Mark

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    Mark Jacobs

    As you know, I don’t engage in any SC (or other dev) bashing but CU does exist and we’re testing its progress with Backers almost every day now. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be part of the discussion about CF/KS/etc., but to say we don’t exist isn’t correct. Your other point is correct, we are selling Builder Reward Tiers so we shouldn’t get, nor do I ever seek, a free pass on that concept.

    And we don’t have RMTs or anything sold separately for our game (other than the lifetime sub). And the higher tiers come with lifetime subs with is almost 50% of their cost which is probably why we haven’t gotten the same level of criticism as some other games.

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    Tobasco da Gama

    Mark, I think you’re well aware that I singled you out because your game is well-regarded, not because I think it’s bad.

    I’m simply trying to highlight the hypocrisy that I see here, where some unreleased games with big-ticket founder packs get a pass and others don’t. At that point, the ranking is clearly not about the business model itself, it’s about something else.

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    Mark Jacobs

    Tobasco, no worries, all good, I know you from the threads. :)

    I wouldn’t have commented other than you said we don’t exist yet. If you said we weren’t a fully operational Deathstar, I mean game, I wouldn’t have responded.

    And just so you know, as a KS-backed game I’m rooting for Chris to succeed, and rooting for him in a big way. We all need SC to succeed if we want KS-backed games to continue to be a thing. OTOH, I’ve also said that all KS-backed games, including mine, also need transparency, open communications, and some level of financial disclosure to backers. This is NOT a ding at/towards/about SC, I’ve said the same thing since the beginning of our KS. We all (devs and players) have a good thing with KS if, and only if, we (devs) don’t f-it up.

    Again, all good between you and I.

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    Tobasco da Gama

    👍

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    Tobasco da Gama

    Wonder what I have installed on my hard drive, then. 30 gigs of zeros?

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    Bryan Correll

    It’s probably about 15 gigs each of zeros and ones.

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    Armsbend

    You have no idea what their pricing will be. I do know what it won’t be – $35. That is assuming it will release which is a huge assumption.

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    Tobasco da Gama

    I know what the pricing is, right now. That’s literally the only thing that anybody knows. Declaring something “the worst business model” because you believe without evidence that it might change in the future is simply deranged.

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    mike foster

    How many moons do I get with $35

    deekay_plus
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    deekay_plus

    you can buy about 7 aurora skins for $35 but i don’t think that will get you access to the game.

    for $45 you can buy a ship package with your choice of two not viable in any of the game ships tho. but planetside you’ll just have to walk.

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    Zora

    Wait, can we pick as worst model a… “something” not-yet-a-game that isn’t actually released? I agree with the fact that if you accept money for it, you are released… but this certainly stretches the paradigm to uselessness.

    Lacking that, I agree with SWTOR despite loving the game. A pig with lipstick still is a pig, just because I have a fondness for porks it doesn’t mean I can recognize what is what. Sigh…

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    Sray

    I am so torn between the top two vote getters. On one hand, after five years of collecting an average of 30 million USD per year, Star Citizen has very little playable game available (yes, there is something actually available to play), and huge trouble getting another sliver of playable game out the door; while keeping in mind that the new playable sliver is still an alpha build. On the other hand, SWTOR and EA are just… barefaced greedy.

    After typing out the above, I’ll have to go with Star Citizen: they’re a Gordon Geko telling you everything you want to hear in order to get your money. At least EA is a plain dealing villain.

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    MesaSage

    Ima troll but I don’t think SC is a scam. I just think it’s pushing the envelope of that term. I’ve got an idea what their issue is, but that’s well worn territory. Making too many promises eventually comes back to bite ya.

    I voted for SWTOR. I just wanted to give it a try a few years ago because I love the IP. I couldn’t get out of the starter areas without laughing my ass off every time it wanted to sell me something.

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    Alien Legion

    I would love to vote for Shroud of the Avatar. With huge chunks of, what I consider, basic game play missing or sorely lacking, they are selling toilets and holding a brain-damaging number of telethons. Selling a ton of decorations, to a very few people, which no one will see because the game population is basically zero.

    However I cannot vote for SotA, because for as bad I consider the game to be, it is a game. By that I mean it’s playable. There is something there to log in and do. Unlike Star Citizen.

    Sure, there is a basic demo, fly from A to B and look around but for five years and almost what, $200M dollars, they have delivered just this side of nothing.

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    Armsbend

    “trolls who insist Star Citizen is a knowing scam”

    The term troll is tossed around so much I’m not sure what it means any more. Does it mean someone disagrees with the most popular opinion? Does it mean someone is looking for a forum fight just because? The latter is my definition and that’s what it was from the first time I saw the term more than a decade ago.

    I don’t know. I do know that I, who thinks Star Citizen is a knowing scam, do not fit MY definition of troll. I believe it is a knowing scam. It’s possible it didn’t start out that way but today – it is.

    Good choice though. EA my second choice seeing how selling 10s of millions of $60 games isn’t enough profit for them any longer.

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    mike foster

    I honestly don’t think SC is a scam, or if it is it’s a sort of hoodwink to keep the studio afloat and hopes for finishing the game alive more than it’s a “take all this money and run” thing.

    RSI is right across the street from my office. I can see those folks going in and out, workin all day, etc. They’re working on SOMETHING. And I think they’re working in good faith.

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    Armsbend

    I think it’s a scam in the sense of they don’t want to complete the game. The game has such bad press now that very few people think it’s a marvel and probably even fewer are willing to try it out when it comes out due to whatever stupid pricing they’ll have to balance out these backers insane donations. If this thing came out tomorrow I think they’d lose revenue not make more.

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    Alex Willis

    SWTOR, for all the reasons above, and only beating out Star Citizen because, like, it’s actually a game.

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    strangesands

    Star Citizen needs to stop selling and start delivering.

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    Armsbend

    When you are probably going to make $200 Million USD without having any deliverables why? When people are stupid enough to keep giving you money while you produce so little what is the incentive for delivering anything but a trickle of information? The backers are enabling CIG at this point. It is a pyramid scheme where the backers don’t get anything except hope.

    wpDiscuz