Global Chat: Is there a gaming middle class?

Here’s an interesting thought for the day: Is there a gaming middle class, one that exists between those with plenty of money or time? In An Age posits that there is — and that this “middle class” is getting the raw end of the deal.

“If you fall somewhere in-between, then you essentially get the worst of all possible worlds: pwned both by the time-rich players able to dedicate more time than you, and the money-rich players who buy every advantage,” he writes.

While you digest that and perhaps come up with a response of your own, check out some of our other featured MMO blog essays. Thoughts and opinions concerning Dark and Light, FFXIV, DDO, and more await you below!

MMO Bro: The strange saga of Dark and Light

Dark and Light struggled to live up to this ambition. It languished in beta testing until investors, hoping to finally see some return for their money, pressured it into launch in 2006. Reception was not good. The game was obviously unfinished, with poor graphics, incomplete features, and numerous bugs.”

Aywren Sojourner: It’s official — I love my FFXIV squad!

“Me being me… this is far better than running with randoms. I know I’ll catch flack for not being social in an MMO. But I still strongly dislike running dungeons with a random party of unknowns — I’ll do it if I have to, but I wouldn’t choose it over running it solo like this.”

GamingSF: Puzzling a solution in DDO

“So rather than give up, or immediately check the wiki, I thought about what I could try to get past it. I completed the remainder of the dungeon, handed in. A quick trip to the marketplace to visit a friendly potion vendor and I took the quest again on the next higher difficulty to try again. I’m well versed enough in D&D to know that potions of bull’s strength will give my character a chance at opening stuck doors. That turned out to not be enough either as my rather waif-like Elven Artificer wasn’t strong enough still. Rather than give up however, I did some more thinking while my character rested at the shrine. If you can’t go through a door, what about over it?”

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Grimoires of Supremacy: You know what’s missing from WoW?

  • Let us have some neck items that actually show up on characters! Not just necklaces either, but things like ruffs! Ascots!
  • Player housing for the love of god.
  • PANDAREN WARLOCKS.

Lina’s Biscuity Burrow: Labeling RP as light, medium, or heavy is futile

“I am sometimes asked what kind of roleplaying I engage in myself. I am usually at a loss for an answer. The reason is that no-one really knows what the labels mean. Or rather, players interpret the terms differently.”

Contains Moderate Peril: Game graphics — a question of aesthetics and personal taste

“Gamers often have preferences regarding graphics based on far more emotive considerations. One must never under estimate the power of consumers personal preferences and tastes. We are a species that rightly or wrongly, place a great deal of stock on aesthetics.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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Alex Malone

I could be considered gaming middle class. I’m 32, work full time and have reasonable disposable income.

However, the lack of good games is a far greater issue. I won’t play F2P MMOs – I find the whole business model has resulted in lower quality games and unethical monetisation. So, that leaves very few possible MMOs to play.

Beyond that, MMOs have been dumbed down so much that nothing is a challenge. It takes a maximum of 1 hour after acquiring a new skill to master your class in it’s current state, usually only 5 minutes. After that, its just a case of putting in the hours to develop correct muscle memory (action combat boredom) or dealing with player psychology (fun in pvp, irritating in pve). I’ve yet to play an action combat game that remained fun past the first few hours.

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Zen Dadaist

Yep, this is where I am. I have a day job (admittedly one with quiet bits which enable me to be sitting here, typing this stuff right now…) and something of a social life. My disposable income is stretched, and I dislike pay-to-not-play schemes anyway. I make up for not having a zillion hours or a zillion quid by being efficient with my gaming time. And, uh, not getting perhaps as much sleep as I should.

I do notice the difference when playing with people who can drop 18hrs a day every day on a game, or hundreds of £/$/etc, so I have to try and compete in my own way. Sure person X nolifes it and sneers at those of us who haven’t yet run the brand new content hundreds of times. I’m still having fun and they’re burning out :p Yeah person Y has the newest shiniest gear from the cash shop which will take me quite some time to grind, but they really don’t have any idea how to maximise their use of it and I can still outperform them.

Fact is, that’s the way the games are designed these days. It can be highly frustrating for there to be such time-limited events for rare rewards, or monumentally long grinds designed specifically to coax all but the most masochistic into the item shop. Honestly until fairly recently I’d have said it was more the Item shop sales driving the deal – but it seems it’s now lockboxes that are bank. And that will break not only the folks in the middle, but the folks on either end too.

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Mewmew

There is definitely a middle class of spenders anyway (a bit different than what the article was saying), and they usually do get the raw end. Lock boxes and systems are set up in two ways – one is to reward people who spend minimal amounts in order to get them to spend those minimal amounts, the other is to get whales to keep spending until they get what they want.

It’s the medium spenders who spend far too much money and just get mostly repeats and junk, spending shy of the amount that would get them the better stuff, and then they get owned by the whales still anyway while not really getting much better than the people who spend minimal amounts.

There is a different problem on mobile games where the medium spender really gets hurt. There are people with more time who re-roll over and over on mobile games that give you a bonus to start. People with days to re-roll and then they end up with better stuff than people who just want to play and spend a few hundred on paid rolls – yeah, a few hundred is a low medium spender on mobile unfortunately.

What the medium spenders need to do is transition to minimal spenders, although realistically many of us don’t have the time or patience to re-roll for days on mobile for those mobile systems that start you out with free rolling currency.

Sadly it seems that playing games without lock boxes is a more and more niche thing. Mobile is definitely worse, but it started on PC to begin with. You can’t blame mobile, it was a PC thing from the start that mobile just copied. It’s just that it really took off on mobile big time (into the billions) which made everybody think they wanted a piece of it so it circled back around to become much bigger in PC stuff again too (and everywhere else, console etc).

On the time issue – well I won’t start writing about the medium time players as well as I want to cut this comment off now so I’ll just leave it about medium spenders for now :D There’s actually a lot more to say and get in depth about the situation but is more something for a discussion board than a comment.

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MurderHobo

It’s quite a stretch, even for an analogy, but for those who see the way monetization has driven development, I can understand wanting to blame the whales as well as the hardcore no-lifers. It still seems like a contrived boundary.

I could as easily say that console and handheld gamers are the lower class, PC gamers are the middle class and the e-sport/custom-PC enthusiasts are the upper class.

It’s just a bad analogy used to set up a false dichotomy as far as I can tell. Talk to me about class when we have property rights in our gaming worlds.

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thirtymil

By definition, if you fall between the cash-rich and the time-rich players then you probably have a bit of both – and since cash & time are largely interchangeable in some games, you’re probably on an even footing if you commit a bit of each.

If you don’t have cash or time though then – as pointed out below – you’re aren’t going to keep up and that’s really only to be expected.

Xijit
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Xijit

uhm … I don’t really understand the question.

are you asking for a Middle class in terms of how much they are willing to pay into the game, or are you asking for a middle class in terms of something between the Super Hardcore VS Filthy Casual demographics?

Xijit
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Xijit

I guess either way, the Middle Class you are looking for is the “Actual Dedicated” players who continue to play the game (and probably pay for some stuff, but won’t pay to win the game) long after it stops being a pop culture title.

… Games like Rift & Everquest & Champions & AION & Mabinogi & Planetside & Ultima Online.

There are hundreds of games out there that fail to cross the threshold of being “newsworthy” (even by MOP’s standards) but also still maintain a healthy, dedicated player base of “middle class” players who don’t care if they ever “win” the game, but also are willing to invest more time and money than the casual “MMO tourists.”

Xijit
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Xijit

like … who honestly remembers that “Perfect World Entertainment” is actually named after their flagship title “Perfect World,” which was actually so big that it had a sister title “Forsaken World?”

The people who still play both of them and keep the games profitable enough to stay open is who.

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Veldan

It’s a silly discussion. If some people are able to put neither time nor money into a game, why is it bad if those players don’t progress as much as others? If it bothers them, they should swap to more casual games.

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Bryan Turner

This only applies to pay to win games, the best game out there for the gaming middle class is WoW, $15 a month, tons of gold for an additional WoW token (lets be honest here if you’re a middle class adult you can afford to buy a token or 2 a month), no matter what kind of time investment you can make there is an End Game Tier tailor made just for you. That’s where I’m at now, GW2 Devs have been fucking with my main the Necromancer for too many years and that Scourge ‘bug fix” and lack of attention to tiered raiding are the last straws.

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Robert Mann

Applies so long as the game either sells power, or has a power curve that time played affects. If it doesn’t sell power, then the money spent is of no concern (there are some minor effects in games where you can get achievements faster or whatnot, but you aren’t really ‘pwned’ by not getting world first kill 10000 *2500 with cash shop item!* of X.) The same applies to time based rewards, if the amount of time put in is a major power advantage, sure the game doesn’t give you as much as somebody else (although balancing that is another problem entirely unless you remove levels and gear increments from content… aka make a whole different design.)

Moreover, unless you really care about epeen (which is unlikely for most ‘middle class gamers’, I’d guess) or are in PvP none of it really matters. As soon as those things are opened up, yes, there’s a problem. It’s part of why I don’t PvP on standard MMO design much. There’s too much dependence on gear and class (and in some cases cash shop purchases.) If you really want good PvP, I don’t understand why you’d pick a standard style MMO… but that’s me. Some of the actual sandboxes are okay, some are rather wonky on that end, but there’s easily dozens (hundreds, thousands?) of games that are far more skill focused.

But to call that pwned? Somebody is a frustrated PvPer with low time and funding.

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Paragon Lost

An example of where I bought a bunch of keys for lockboxes was Lotro recently. My Rune Keeper was getting his ass handed to him repeatedly in the fourth zone of Mordor. I was sitting on over 20 loot boxes because I had been saving them to see just how many I got. Yeah I had the storage space so I was curious.

Anyhow my champion had gone through the same areas with little to no issues. Slow going but no real issues and also wasn’t dying numerous times a game session like my RK was. Anyhow I bought those 20 keys because I knew that the damn loot boxes had ashes and 300 plus item level gear in them or could have the gear. I ended up getting a few items that were usable but the main thing I got was a shit ton of Ash which I used to buy gear for him.

Did I want to do that? Nope, but I tend to solo in LotRO these days because the players at least on my new server Arkenstone just tend to make me want to strangle my monitor. The community that I once knew in LotRO I don’t see on this server. Not often and it’s overwhelmed by really ugly crap in chat and in group play.

Anyhow I was posting this because I wanted to point out where I did it out of a sense of frustration and not wanting to out epeen anyone else since I’m soloing most of the content currently in LotRO. I just wanted to have my damn RK stop failing and dying so much. :/ Maybe I should have just walked away from LotRO and went to go play GW2 since I snagged the new expansion and haven’t played it. The completionist in me though failed his saving throw.

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Paragon Lost

Think you all need to take a look at what “rich” is. I’m sort of getting rather tired and frustrated with these ongoing critical articles that make it sound like someone is rich if they have free income to pay for their hobbies.

We aren’t rich or wealthy by governmental statistics. We do qualify as upper middle class for most areas we would live in. There’s a wide range of factors that can affect that up or down regardless. For example we have four kids in college (though one just finished her 4 year degree and is taking a break for a few months in order to figure out her next step) and we help them with a lot of their costs.

We save money, we have other hobbies besides gaming and yeah we can and do spend money on gaming. As I said I am growing rather tired of the ongoing snippiness and basically name calling that goes on here and other websites due to the fact that some people have more free income for their hobbies.

Hell in my case it’s the best of both worlds, free income for hobbies and free time to game. I gotta be that one blogger’s ultimate insult. (shakes head). Most of you haven’t heard this weeks podcast yet unless you are a patreon but around the 45 minute mark while going through listener mail I actually was quite irked with Justin, Bree and the listener’s mail question and all three of their attitudes.

Basically they somehow feel that if an mmo is doing well that the mmo developer doesn’t deserve more of their cash. Seriously, that’s what was being implied. Wow, so tell me guys, the mmo you and others are playing are doing so well that they’re making a lot of money. So your point of view is to basically ding them for it. But hey the struggling mmo is good to go and you want to give them money.

While listening to that last night I felt that all three were missing the point. Shouldn’t you want to reward and mmo that’s doing well? You know, positive reinforcement? Thanks for making a great game developers! Oh you’ve got a silly mount for sale for real cash? Sure I’ll buy it! Or maybe I won’t. I won’t begrudge you that you’re selling it though, and wish that struggling “X Named” mmo should be selling it and getting the money.

Seriously we have a problem in this country where we’re not happy when others do well. Personally that disgusts me. When I see others do well, I say good for them, bravo. Hey I even might wish it was me, but I don’t wish them ill. Or get pisy because they’re doing well, whether a person, company or part of government.

Long winded, sorry about that, I’m just growing very frustrated with the tone and comments lately on the site by writers and posters. Not all and not all the time, just often enough to make me wonder why I bother to visit the site at times.

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rafael12104

Nah. We need your perspective. Nobody should be ashamed to spend what they want. It’s just these damn loot box shenanigans that skew the conversations these days.

I am a gamer. It is my main hobby. I spend money on it. It is an avid pursuit. I don’t know how much I spend, but non-gamers would be shocked I think. But then, people spend quite a bit on their hobbies.

And hey, if devs make money, all the better. All things being equal.

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Paragon Lost

I hate loot boxes and have said so repeatedly I also hate the whole F2P model. It’s ruined the mmorpg genre with the impact it’s had on developers scrambling to make money now that no one wants to pay for subscriptions. :/ I’m just frustrated.

Bonus, today is Oct 24th and those of us who are into touring motorcycles have been waiting for months for Honda to fess up and release the info on the long overdue revamp of their king of the touring motorcycles the Honda Goldwing. It’s basically been the same model with small tweaks for 15 years. Talk about being old tech!

So yeah I’m excited to see if Honda can tempt me into trading in my 2015 Road Glide Special for a liquid cooled touring bike. lol (twitch) Err back on subject. I do worry about the mmorpg genre the mmo genre that most interests me, the nasty cash systems that have crossed over from different genres of online gaming are really ruining it.

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rafael12104

First, the important stuff. Awesome to hear about the Road Glide and the Goldwing temptation! I know exactly how that feels. Traded in my 2009 Road King in for a 2015 Heritage. The reason? The newer Heritage had more features than my old touring Road King. Lol. Those Goldwings are beautiful bikes.

Agree, the cash systems are having a detrimental effect and it will be felt in the long run. But big companies don’t care much about the future. A common sentiment across many industries, I fear.

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Paragon Lost

But keeping those white walls clean! (flails) Drove me nuts on my Softail Deluxe! Also tube tires gets old. heh. The new 2018 Heritage with the 114 engine is pretty damn awesome as an aside. The rims would have to go so I could go tubeless, but I digress. I think I see Bree and Justin eyeballing our off topic meanderings! LOL

As I said in another post, Pandora’s box has been opened, or in this case her loot box. There is no going back now. :/ Cash shops and loot boxes are the for the time being the way things are. (sigh)

Oh and quick off topic, I found on Twitter that Honda is making their announcement at 7pm PST. Was a bit annoyed that was only a bit over two hours ago. They could have put that time on their website.

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Robert Mann

I agree there is a slant on terms. I would like to see it stop, but I also get the frustration with most games going with the same style of thing over and over again (it’s a recurring theme that the problems in the gaming industry are about lack of variety even within genres as everyone chases one idea, at least from me.) Personally, I believe it falls under the insult/personal attack thing… which is not at all cool. Debating the pros/cons should be fine, but the tone of things is, agreed, wrong.

At the same time, I’m very much opposed to playing games with the lockbox business model. I’m happy to pay a subscription to a game that does a good job, and fits my tastes. I’m happy to support developers and buy their product at fair prices, or buy something off their store if I want to support them. But I fully expect to be able to pick and choose what I want in their store. I’m okay with a game that monetizes new areas, cosmetics, mounts, pets, etc. so long as they don’t change the ability to play the rest of the game.

What I’m never okay with is anything that makes one player have a strong advantage over others. Reduced achievement times? Whatever. Ultra leet gear +10% > non cash shop scrub? Never. Silly schemes that are there only to make cash off those who can’t resist, with a poor game built around it? Never.

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Paragon Lost

Yeah I’d rather not play an mmorpg with them but it’s becoming really hard to find one that interests me that doesn’t have them or cash shops. :/

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A Dad Supreme

Yeah I’d rather not play an mmorpg with them but it’s becoming really hard to find one that interests me that doesn’t have them or cash shops. :/

Yep.
It’s like what happened to me after I stopped playing SWTOR and FFXIV; I just haven’t found an MMO that’s either interesting, monetized correctly in terms of money out/content in or that isn’t old in the tooth.

I used to think it was a good thing that I avoided consoles like the plague for so many years and was among the “PC Elite” able to play any game I chose. But what good is having a watercooled, Titan carded, beast of a rig when the MMOs you’re playing on them don’t benefit and are pretty shitty anyways?

So now I have anywhere from 5-10 years of console games I still haven’t played waiting on Ebay, Amazon, Gamestop, etc. Games like Witcher2 and up, Mass Effect3 and up, all of the Borderlands games (which I’m playing now) and tons more. The best thing is I’m usually able to get a “Best Of” edition with all DLC of these games for far less than the regular price of them when released.

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Paragon Lost

Ditto on that. I still don’t really care for console controls all that much but yeah I am thinking that I made a mistake not getting into them in recent years. Buy em for the kids, just didn’t get into them myself really.

Btw on a side note, my wife’s newer Nvidia GTX 1080 gpu blows (might be bit hyperbolic there, but it definitely out performs it.) away my three plus year old Nvidia Titan Black Edition gpu. lol. Much cheaper than my gpu was to boot! (stares off)

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Ket Viliano

Yea, the Pascal chips are nearly twice as powerful as the Maxwell series. Just get one good one though, unless you really need display port plugs for more monitors. I got two 1080ti, with the HB bridge, total waste of money, due to the software setup being lousy. The Nvidia control panel does not support profiles nor remember prior settings in any way, so every time you go to launch a game, or after you turn it off, you need to reset everything just to get your multimonitor desktop working right.

Mo money, mo problems; at least the problems feature more variety.

:P

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Paragon Lost

Yeah I’ve just never been a big fan of multi-gpu’s honestly. I’d rather get the top end of one card. They’re better than they were, but I still think that they’re little niggles and issues at times. Or a lack of proper support for them with some games. :/

The current system works well, but after seeing how her 1080 looks I’ve been pondering replacing the Titan with one. Her screen just looks a bit crisper and better over all. I’ll probably hold off and just replace the system next year or the year after depending on what I see performance wise in the games I do play. (Shrugs)