An extensive Twitter thread from former Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert grappled with the timely and touchy topic of lockboxes and microtransactions from the perspective of one who designed them.
Schubert said that designers can make lockboxes that aren’t pure evil: “I’ve been working in free-to-play games for four years, and lootboxes are pretty crucial to that business model working. But it is possible to do them ethically, and they are super easy to f**k up.”
“Good [microtransactions] design is an art,” he continued. “It requires designers to be equal partners with product managers to come up with something that is perceived as fair and is celebrated […] MTX will fail if it doesn’t feel good to spend. It will fail if it creates a poisonous environment around the game instead of excitement.”
A colony founded through a magical nexus, Meridian 59 had it all going on — until, that is, the portal to the colony collapsed and it was left to fend for itself. Monsters swarmed over the land, politics split the community into factions, and adventurers were called to rise up and become the heroes that were desperately needed. And all it took was $10.95 a month and an internet connection.
Welcome to 1996 and one of the very first graphical MMOs to hit the scene. Meridian 59 may not have been one of the biggest games in the genre, but it was arguably one of the most important, the John Adams to World of Warcraft’s Abraham Lincoln.
While bigger titles have toppled and fallen, Meridian 59 defied the odds to continue to operate even today. This week we’re going to look at this fascinating title and how it helped to pioneer the graphical MMO industry back when the world wide web was still a newfangled toy to the public.
The latest salvo in the ongoing free-to-play culture war comes courtesy of former Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert. In a GDC talk titled “Embracing the Paradigm Shift: Converting a Premium Team to an (Enthusiastic!) Freemium Team,” Schubert advocates for a terminology shift from the word “whale” to the word “patron.”
“These people are very important, and we can start by treating them with some fucking respect,” Schubert told his audience.
GameIndustry.biz summarizes the presentation, which saw Schubert advance the narrative that F2P is the future. “Imagine if you will that EA and DICE manage to figure out how to make a true Battlefield 5 experience that is actually a good free-to-play experience,” he said. “They’ll have an increase in profits, they’ll claim the free-to-play first-person shooter experience, Call of Duty will have to flip, and then the whole genre will flip.”