The Daily Grind: Should more MMOs offer ‘season pass’ style content?

    
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Its seems as if we’ve been fielding a lot of email and podcast questions about season passes the last month or two. Paid season passes that unlock content and have become a popular way for multiplayer game studios to monetize games that don’t really have a virtual world or long-term progression hook. But we haven’t seen a deluge of this type of monetization or content in the MMORPG space itself until recently. ArcheAge and RIFT are probably the most prominent, although Star Wars The Old Republic is preparing to launch its own season tracks too, only partially behind paywalls.

Personally, I find these types of content tracks annoying at best, and I don’t particularly want to see them in MMOs in lieu of MMO-centric content. At best, I see them as the extension of dailies. At worst, they can become just another way to quadruple-dip players.

Let’s talk season passes and season pass content. Is this something you want to see more MMOs explore? Is there a way to do it that doesn’t make you wanna grind your teeth? Should more MMOs offer “season pass” style content?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Saluka
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Saluka

If there is a list of past seasons and rewards obtainable through non time gated means then sure. Don’t mind having a set list of things to do but I do mind if I have to do it within a certain time frame.

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Schmidt.Capela

Well, if your game leverage FOMO for either player retention or monetization then it can go die in a fire for all that I care.

In a nutshell, I already dislike time-limited content even when it’s provided for free, to the point of usually staying out of the game until the time-limited event is over; seasons are worse, because they actively leverage FOMO, either as a way to retain players or to drive up monetization.

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Bruno Brito

I am completely against FOMO systems, specially if you’re paying. I still have a deep loathing of Anet for pay-walling storycontent.

THAT being said, there’s a difference between Season passes who are mostly just added value, to real content. I’m still not fond of them ( specially in MMOs ) but they are a bit more acceptable than just again, paywalling story.

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Stormwaltz

I am absolutely not a fan of systems that prey on a player’s fear of missing out.

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Kanbe

I hate FOMO so my ideal thought is no. If you need to pressure me into playing your game constantly I’m more likely to just walk away because I’ve got enough else going on I just can’t deal with that.

That being said, if a battle pass is needed, what Warframe does with it’s Nightwave missions is the best example I’ve seen of this. Playing casually, even with month long breaks, I’ve been able to get as far as I cared about in their rewards tracks. So at the very least, it doesn’t pressure me to spend all my gaming time on Warframe which I greatly appreciate.

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Bryan Cole

I like season passes if they are free and if I can choose the season to play on my time. Not sure if either of those exist yet, but that’s what they should be. If they don’t do that, they run the risk of losing my interest altogether in playing at all, so it will behoove developers to come up with innovative ways to deliver season pass content the way I stated above.

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Kawaii Five-O

Personally, I really hate feeling pressured to play something regularly within a given time. That just takes the fun out of it for me and usually ends up feeling like a chore, which ultimately turns me off of the game.

Occasional events are fine, because they generally give you a very generous amount of time to complete them. However, these season passes where you’re basically forced to commit a certain amount of time nearly everyday (and often doing very specific activities) within a set period of time (usually spanning a month or more) or lose out on limited time rewards? Not for me.

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Arktouros

As usual it all depends on the rest of the game’s monetization. If it’s just a “quad dip” scenario then yea it’s kinda shitty.

Then there’s the issue of what’s actually offered. I remember being extremely unimpressed with GW2’s season pass offering. It’s an easy opportunity for games to cram all sorts of useless cash shop purchases you’d never make on your own but they can say “$50 value for $10!” even though it’s $40 worth of garbage (basically the “lockbox” scenario).

However plenty of games use them very well. A great example is Destiny 2. For $10 you get a full set of armor cosmetics, season content, high stat armor set, other cosmetics (ghost shells, emotes, etc) and lots of materials for upgrading stuff. You also get extra bright dust to make even more purchases in the cash shop as it rotates around.

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Holden Nagata

when did gw2 add a season pass o.O I logged in the other day and didn’t see anything like that in the store

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The Doctor

I’ve been playing GW2 off and on since launch and I know at one time, if you weren’t there for one of the story launches or whatever it is called or didn’t log in when it was going on, you had to purchase it later. Not sure if they still do that.

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Dug From The Earth

Under the right conditions, it can be a very rewarding thing. Those conditions would be:

1. Absolutely NO 2nd tier for paying users only BS
2. No “pay real money to catch up” BS
3. Make progressing through the seasonal ranks linked to actual activities people do in the game on a regular basis.
4. Allow for additional advancement for doing out of the way activities.
5. Rewards should only be cosmetic in nature (mount skins, mini pets, outfits, titles, emotes, home decorations, flair, etc)

If these 5 things are followed, it becomes a nice additional form of progression in the game, netting fun rewards that arent essential to playing the game. Removing any and all real money interaction will remove artificially time gates designed to make players feel the need to pay, rather than play.

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Utakata

They sound innocent enough. But so do lockboxes…

…so yeah, no, too.