Global Chat: Business model first, game construction second

    
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Welcome back to Global Chat, the column where we reach out and give props to interesting and well-written articles from the MMO blogosphere. Today we’re going to kick off with a positive piece about Crowfall, as Kill Ten Rats’ Ravious is particularly pleased with the decision to announce its business model up front.

“One of my favorite devs, Jeff Strain, wrote way back in 2007 some of the most important words for MMO creators,” Ravious posted. “He said, ‘Decide on your business model first, and then build your game around it.’ So simple.”

Was this a good move for Crowfall? Read the rest of this week’s entries and then debate it in the comments!

TROVEFIELDNerdy Bookahs: Trove open beta impressions

Want to get some first-hand impressions of this sandvox title in its current state? Look no further than this article, which weighs many of the pros (crafting, adventuring) and the cons (user interface, no PvP).

Paeroka also discusses whether or not Trove is pay to win: “There are items that you can buy which give your equipment stronger stats or a better stat combination faster. However, it’s just ‘faster.’ You can also get there by simply playing the game. Additionally, in Trove, you always work with your fellow players, not against them.”

Inventory Full: Hope you like our new direction

The recent layoffs at Daybreak cause many a blogger to analyze the situation and try to discern if there was a silver lining in the event. Bhagpuss is one of those saying that it could indeed be a portent of a brighter future instead of a darker one, even though it was painful to lose so many devs.

“As David Carey said, ‘SOE needed a shake up/new direction’,” Bhagpuss wrote. “We all knew it. We’ve all been saying it. Now it might just be happening.”

MATERIALMaterial Middle-earth: Melody of the west — a fond farewell

Here’s a bittersweet goodbye from long-time Lord of the Rings Online blogger Nathrien, who is signing off from her blog after years of posting creative and gorgeous cosmetic outfits from the game.

“Four years ago, I started dabbling in cosmetics,” she wrote. “Three-and-a-half years ago, I began to share outfits with some close friends, embarrassed to admit I played ‘virtual dress-up,’ as I had once put it. Three years ago, I began sharing them with all of you… and it’s been a glorious three years.”

Casual Aggro: The Star Trek Online conundrum of tier 6

There’s been an ongoing, raging debate in the STO community about the new tier of ships that came with Delta Rising. Blogger Ocho has a lot to say in regard to the subject — and not all of it is kind.

“Acquiring the best gear is a huge part of why we all play! They know this, though. They know the psychology of MMO players just as much as we obey it. If there is a huge upgrade to a key piece of gear and it is within our reach, we will go after it,” he laments.

Star Citizen holotableI Has PC: Too big to NOT fail?

Isey is quite nervous about how large Star Citizen’s fundraising has become and fears that it may be setting itself up for a fall: “The reason I am linking the two stories — Godus and Star Citizen — is that I am worried that Star Citizen could be the project that destroys consumer confidence in crowdfunding. If it is, it could have disastrous implications to the entire Kickstarter ideology.”

Ash’s Adventures: On saving time

Are you trying to rush through dungeons as fast as you can? Ash has a sage piece of wisdom to share with you today: “”At this point I’m not sure where I first heard it, but I find when it comes to dungeons in Final Fantasy XIV, the following is quite true: ‘Nothing wastes more time than people trying to save time.'”

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UncleTopher
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UncleTopher

I just cannot help but think what an exciting time this is for MMO’s. So many ideas and models and inspirations are coming to the surface. Some IP’s from new, unheard of until now, companies and individuals and some from old names in the industry once again rising to the challenge. Between Shroud of the Avatar, Crowfall, Pathfinder and yes, Everquest Next….there simply isn’t enough time in the day.

RNGenius
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RNGenius

Star Citizen as has been laid out in the design document will never happen on the CryEngine. Their idea is so insanely ambitious in complexity that i don’t know that there has ever been a game engine advanced enough to handle it. So I don’t get how anyone believes in the 2016 delivery date. It will take such a massive revision of that engine to even begin to encompass the gameplay ideas they’ve laid out that it was totally irresponsible of them to put most of those ideas out there. The core game is possible yes. The rest is daydreams.
The arguments for justifying SC point to the execution of the core flight model, but the people are buying into a vision of a game that’s so much more than that core. And all I see with each stretch goal is the scope creep the article talked about and another promise to be broken.

RagnarTheDrunk
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RagnarTheDrunk

Greaterdivinity RagnarTheDrunk I’m not sure how you can say that P2P games are designed as skinner boxes and use that statement as a contrast to how F2P games are designed, but I’m not willing to do the research and draw the parallels so I don’t expect you to either. Life’s too short. Game on

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

RagnarTheDrunk How the impact you is subjective, but the fact remains that in the what I’d say is the majority of them, you can experience all the content for free.
Again, what you’re commenting on is subjective, to a certain extent. Some games do put these grinds in, others don’t. But that’s hardly specific to F2P games. Look at WoW, for example. It makes very heavy use of time-gating to encourage player retention, exploiting design and its business model to maximize revenue in the same way that some F2P games use “pressure points” to encourage players to spend money. The difference is that you have to pay to continue playing WoW. You don’t have to pay to continue playing a F2P game.
It’s hilarious you mention Skinner Box, because that’s literally been the design of every major MMO that’s launched as a P2P game in recent years, indicating that it’s more indicative of second generation MMO design as a whole rather than any kind of business model. And the game that’s primarily driven this design as the dominant method? A subscription game, World of Warcraft.
Nothing is free? Damn, man, I guess I’ve not actually been spending a few years playing STO without spending a penny, then. I mean, I know others are paying, but I’ve not spent a cent. Just as the money I’ve spent in Rift or TSW subsidizes free players.

RagnarTheDrunk
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RagnarTheDrunk

Greaterdivinity RagnarTheDrunk I’d argue that “perfectly playable” is different than fun to play. And even if you’re subbed to a F2P game, all of those little mechanics affecting grind to get you to buy XP potions still affect you. 

They have to give a reason or motivation for you to want to visit the cash shop. Usually this means they’ve introduced mechanics that make playing either boring or a pain in the ass. I’m sorry, but if a dev is introducing boredom on purpose, they are no longer making a game, just a cash shop tread mill built on top of running here and there and clicking on crap. 

“Free” or not, playing in some sort of behaviorally engineered skinner box isn’t fun and training your brain to squirt a little dopamine by buying digital clothes probably isn’t very healthy.
The whole scheme is fairly transparent. Nothing is free. Welcome to the machine.

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

Styopa Yup. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll gripe about some of the silly restrictions for free players in SWTOR, but at the end of the day I still get to log in and dick around whenever I want without needing to spend any more money (subbed for a month to get Makeb).

Styopa
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Styopa

Greaterdivinity RagnarTheDrunk Which, modern-sense-of-complete-entitlement aside, let’s all remember is pretty frikkin’ awesome.
Seriously – you can play most online games for FREE.  OK, maybe not every jot and tittle, or not the highest levels, or newest content, but damn….free is nice.

NCsucks
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NCsucks

thegirlwiththehair NCsucks It was said CoH made more money at F2P then P2P and was doing ok, still got the hammer.

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

RagnarTheDrunk In some games, you have to play the cash shop. In others, you don’t. SWTOR doesn’t force you to pay it, provided you sub. Aion or Tera don’t force you to pay it, even without a sub.
You’re right, there will always be encouragement to spend money. But the vast majority of F2P games are perfectly playable at anything except possibly a hardcore level without spending a cent.

thegirlwiththehair
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thegirlwiththehair

NCsucks thegirlwiththehair

exactly.  How a company makes money is kinda important.