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

    
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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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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/

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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.

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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.

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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.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

So salty.

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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.

Mewmew
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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
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.

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.

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
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Patreon Donor
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

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
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Patreon Donor
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.

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
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

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

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Aaron Moore

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

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
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.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

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

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Aaron Moore

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

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
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

Have you watched no one play this game?

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

i play the game regularly and am in ptu

Reader
Aaron Moore

Have you spoken to no one currently playing it?

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.

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.

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.

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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
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

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

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
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
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

BURGER CITIZEN BW.gif
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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!

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Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Schlag Sweetleaf

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

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.

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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?

Reader
shear

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

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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

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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’.

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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
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.

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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
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.

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

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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

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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

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.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
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.

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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.

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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.

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Steven Williams

Ohhhh, I get it now. :) Thanks!

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Oleg Chebeneev

Edit: Pretty much comment below :)

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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:

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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.

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Oleg Chebeneev

None of them is P2W imo

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
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
Patreon Donor
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.

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Oleg Chebeneev

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

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
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
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
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Patreon Donor
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