Jimquisition: Fee to Pay

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Unfortunately what Jim didn't remark on is the true "Free To Play" games which are free to download etc but then in game utter cripple you to the point where you have to spend money to make it even slightly enjoyable or get you in game and then drop a billion shiny/cool and vastly more effective DLC items on you but you have to pay to have them.

One example of this was Never Winter. I was suckered into this game being such a D&D fanboi, I even bought the Hero of the North pack for $200. Once in game it was shallow, badly made and what you got with THON pack was very obviously worthless. Then the entire game seemed to base its content on player made content and every update was just new stuff for the micro transaction store rather than game updates. Then the entire economy was exploited and the in game currency which was the main selling point for the THON pack was rendered worthless as well.

What I've also noticed is the operating attitude of true F2P games is basically players are ignored or told to get lost and have no right to moan because they aren't technically paying customers and if you do spend money in their store that was for specific items not the gaming experience. The entire F2P model is a con to strip players of their consumer rights while exploiting them to extract more money, basically less risk more gain and to hell with quality.

Subscription isn't a dying model, it's a fairer and more responsible model but only for the customer.

This is really a non-issue because if no one buys the optional extras companies will see that it doesn't make money and stop using it. It also has an upside as games are becoming more challenging because there's a mechanic that allows people with no patience to skip the part of the game they don't like.

Also Blizzard is already making games in separate parts, yet charging you the full price for each game (such as a Starcraft 2).

I bought two copies of both Mass Effect 3 and Dead Space 3 so I could play them with my wife.

Dead Space 3 Micro Transactions are completely unnecessary, I never even considered buying even a single micro transaction. It was never needed and it didn't slow us down at all. I feel bad for anyone who did buy any since I don't think they got even a time bonus out of it.

Mass Effect 3 I must admit I did buy the occasional Multi-player pack. Mass Effect though was kind of insulated from it in that the purchased packs were an optional part of an optional mode. Playing the main game all the way through it wouldn't even come up, it was just for the hard core multi-player crowd. Given where these elements were and how it was done it never bothered me. It was just something to spend left over points on.

More annoying is origins system for buying points. how can they list an item for 7.50, but only let you buy points in 5 or 10 dollar bundles!?!?!?!? That's a scuzzy business practice right there.

Jim hits the nail on the head once again.

The whinging about having to pay 60 whole dollars for a game in some of your videos recently is getting annoying. Aussies pay more than 80 in USD for new releases. You're not ripped off anywhere nearly as badly as you seem to think.

Is it wrong that at this point I think we're going to have a have a full scale video game crash to get any of this sorted out?

Never played the Dead Space series, not my thing really, but I had Mass Effect 3 and saw how this affected the multiplayer portion. The difficulty curve was stacked so that you'd start thinking about buying the weapon/equipment packs to be able to keep up (or you'd be hoping to be in teams that had one member who'd been splurging on them to even the odds a little). Or worse, you'd be the one "free" member of a "paid" squad, which meant you spent a lot of time as dead weight because the game was basing it's attacks on their level - not yours.

Waddles:
The whinging about having to pay 60 whole dollars for a game in some of your videos recently is getting annoying. Aussies pay more than 80 in USD for new releases. You're not ripped off anywhere nearly as badly as you seem to think.

That is completely and utterly missing the point. He mentions $60 because that's the cost in the country he lives in. What he is really saying is "We shouldn't be charged full recommended retail price for a game and still have these micro-transactions". How much specifically that is, $60 or $80, the point is still the same, he is complaining about the principle, not the price tag itself.

Jimothy Sterling:

Fappy:
Jim, what could they really sell you if they added such elements in a Dynasty Warrior game anyway? An ability to one-shot Lu Bu? The ability to climb ladders faster? Mounting horses in midair like in the opening sequence?

Then again, I am sure they'd just use it for uninspired "quality of life" crap. If John Riccitiello published a Dynasty Warriors game he'd probably let players pay a dollar to add an extra ten seconds to the Musou.

Like I said, the "buy level ups for gold" thing is something that sounds designed ENTIRELY for free-to-play. Never used to, but it'd be the perfect way to add microtransactions into DW, given how many characters they are and how long it can take to get them all to level 99.

However, since DW is a real videogame, it didn't do that.

You have to admit, Jim, that the DW series and its cousins sometimes feel like they're designed for a free-to-play system (I'm looking at you, Warriors Orochi 2).

Legion:

Waddles:
The whinging about having to pay 60 whole dollars for a game in some of your videos recently is getting annoying. Aussies pay more than 80 in USD for new releases. You're not ripped off anywhere nearly as badly as you seem to think.

That is completely and utterly missing the point. He mentions $60 because that's the cost in the country he lives in. What he is really saying is "We shouldn't be charged full recommended retail price for a game and still have these micro-transactions". How much specifically that is, $60 or $80, the point is still the same, he is complaining about the principle, not the price tag itself.

I think you misunderstood my post. He has quoted that number ad infinitum in several of his recent episodes not just this one. Generally something along the lines of "we already pay 60 fucking dollars." I don't dismiss the main topic of this video in the slightest.

Weresquirrel:
Sadly, I can believe all to well that the developers don't want any part in this. I used to work for a high street chain who shall remain nameless. Said chain mandates from head office that every customer must be asked whether they want "Any of our special offers" from the till. Needless to say, the customers usually say no. Some are more vitriolic in their dismissal. But when a member of the board was being interview on the radio or TV or something (I forget which), someone phoned in the question on why they insist all cashiers ask that question every time. Their response? "On no, our cashiers LIKE asking you that. They ENJOY it."

I doubt developers want to be involved with underhanded practices that publishers mandate, because the developers put in the work, take a lot if not all the bad PR for including it, and receive none of the money gained. Developers are usually paid a flat amount for the game and all sales and micro-transactions go to the publisher. And it's not like they can say no, developers have been tricked into a system that makes them dependent on publishers to fund games that prevents them from avoiding these bad deals.

Your store example is an example of this. Your store has to ask the question even though they probably don't because of corporate. The store itself gets paid and sends its profits to corporate who mandated the question. When asked, they say you wanted to ask. It's the same as the publisher/developer relationship.

Waddles:
I think you misunderstood my post. He has quoted that number ad infinitum in several of his recent episodes not just this one. Generally something along the lines of "we already pay 60 fucking dollars." I don't dismiss the main topic of this video in the slightest.

The other thing to remember is that $60 US is worth more than $60 Australian, at least currently.

This is my problem when people bring up Dead Space 3. You can get the premium currency in game by means of scavenger bots. YOU CAN GRIND FOR THEM IN GAME WITHOUT SPENDING A SINGLE PENNY.

So, if you want to bring an example of problems how about you bring up one in which you can't get that premium currency.

Its a nice thought, but where is the blame to be placed? The company putting in free to play elements to bilk players out of money? Or the players who in the past have made similar transactions elsewhere that gave them the idea to put it in their product? Its still a supply and demand market and if there is no demand for games with such features because they are not profitable, then the supply of games that cater to that demographic will wilt away until they are back at sustainable levels.

How dare you Jim... HOW DARE YOU(!?)... call All the Bravest a "game"

Jimothy Sterling:
Fee to Pay

It's time to talk about why "optional" microtransactions in games aren't really optional, and why they're especially gruesome in games we already paid for at retail.

Watch Video

When team fortress 2 rolled around with their optional pay to get hats model i kinda liked it. The Fans liked it more then Valvle could've imagined and buried them alive under mountains of money...

I kinda liked the optional micro transactions in games; until my flimsy brain managed to string a very pessimistic and dark thought together:
"What if companies where to make the games harder and/or more tedious in order to convince more people to cough up money to be able to beat the game?"
Surely i was being way too pessimistic, right?
Well, about a million companies said "Nope!".
I downloaded exactly two games from the google playstore this year. "Army of Darkness defense" in which you play Ash defending the necronomicon in the castle from the undead Hordes.
And another game i quickly uninstalled and forgot about.

"Army of Darkness" can be beaten with not a single penny paid, no problem. You can pay money to get extra points for extra upgrades but you can pretty much upgrade everything to maximum without paying.

The other game gets immensely hard and i'm virtually certain that you can't beat it without paying money.

And now i have about enough games on my phone. I wont be searching for more games because i don't want to drag myself halfway through the game only to find out that this game isn't hard because the developer wants to present me with a challenge but because he wants more of my money.

Free to play is no longer a nice distraction financed by one in a thousand paying a buck or so, you will find some hook in which you will be all but forced to either pay money or stop playing in many games and i can not be bothered to hunt down the free to play games in which i pay when i want to pay.

TA well designed?... wait, what?

Waddles:

Legion:

Waddles:
The whinging about having to pay 60 whole dollars for a game in some of your videos recently is getting annoying. Aussies pay more than 80 in USD for new releases. You're not ripped off anywhere nearly as badly as you seem to think.

That is completely and utterly missing the point. He mentions $60 because that's the cost in the country he lives in. What he is really saying is "We shouldn't be charged full recommended retail price for a game and still have these micro-transactions". How much specifically that is, $60 or $80, the point is still the same, he is complaining about the principle, not the price tag itself.

I think you misunderstood my post. He has quoted that number ad infinitum in several of his recent episodes not just this one. Generally something along the lines of "we already pay 60 fucking dollars." I don't dismiss the main topic of this video in the slightest.

I'm kind of reminded of his "Better does not equal good" video. Does he have it better then people in Australia? Yeah, games are more expensive in Australia than in America. Games are still really expensive in America though, going down from $80 to $60 makes the price better, but it doesn't make it good.

All of those "The Devil's Advocate" images made me giggle like there's no tomorrow for some reason.

This is not necessarily the doom and gloom Jim is portraying, selling games pieces separately could be beneficial by making the entry level cheaper. For instance there are plenty of games where I never play the multi-player, if they wanted to charge that separately I just wouldn't buy it.

I went easy on ME3 and their day one DLC for the reason I thought that the mass effect games were so good that they actually deserved to be more expensive than the rivals, so I was happy to pay more for the "complete" experience while the people who perhaps didn't want the edition character didn't have to pay for it. Granted the unfortunate people who wanted the complete package but couldn't afford it missed out, but that as they say is capitalism.

Alternatively the publishers could just increase the asking price. Both are free market solutions, we are just arguing about the most elegant/preferable.

xPixelatedx:
This is why I am getting into the indi scene rather then even attempt to hop aboard one of the sinking ships that are the current giants of the industry. Not only will I not get to make the games I want to make, the way I want to make them, but all of this has the stench of death. Nothing could be so obviously desperate and indicative of a coming crash then the ridiculous things the industry is currently doing just to try and stay afloat.

I want to make games one day, but I don't want any part of this "house of cards" that makes up the industry of today.

Same here. I'd rather invest my creative talents in a game I make myself, or at least one I want to get behind, instead of taking orders from a corporate overlord who hasn't a single clue about good games. Creativity and corporate idiocy don't mix.

Also, I don't normally ask this, but... where does that magnificent avatar of yours come from?

And then there's EVE. Pay once for the game, free expansions, buy game time with in game currency, have a premium currency, which can also be acquired with in game items.

M'kay, I've heard similar arguments made regarding microtransactions and "free to play" elements and the one thing I've consistently been left thinking when I hear a lot of these arguments is this:

What. the FUCK. are people blathering about?!?!

Okay, now to explain what I mean. I get that people think it's stupid to pay for a single or co-op game and then be required to pay more money for special content Sometimes it's not even special content; it's -required- content to get the full experience of the game. And I agree, that's a colossal dick move by the games industry when it comes to games that don't have continual replay value and are instead a self-contained experience that will come to a definite conclusion, only to be replayed for the same reason one re-reads a book or watches a movie more than once.

But the area microtransactions tend to show up the most are in MMORPG's or online multiplayer games. These are game intended to have extended staying power and an ongoing storyline or changing game environments. But the general impression I've been left with is people lump these games in with the Dead Space 3's and condemn their microtransactions all under the same premises with the same arguments.

But this is fucking STUPID. People need to differentiate between the growing practice of encouraging gamers to pay to make a single player or co-op game easier and paying to add cosmetic or convenience features to a persistent game. Take Guild Wars 2. You do have to buy the game, but I think that for a professional-quality game, there does need to be some minimum return made to ensure it at least lasts some time past launch. It also has microtransactions for things like armor skins, special items to gather crafting materials that won't break to replace having to buy new gathering tools when the old ones wear out, and so on. Yet there are people who still bitch because a company is trying to encourage them to buy things from them. News Flash people: THAT'S WHAT COMPANIES DO. If they didn't try to encourage people to buy products they create, they'd go out of fucking business! Even in single player games, I'd call this practice "greedily catering to the lazy players" rather than "forcing you to pay more money under the illusion you have a choice." Unless the items being purchase are the sole viable way to progress in the game, nobody's got a gun to your empty skulls.

There are also people who claim that if you buy frequently enough from a game's cash shop, it negates any savings from not having a subscription fee. Yes, waste enough money and it will be more of it gone out the window. But if a player can be patient, do without a few luxuries or enjoy a game without having to have every trendy cosmetic or gimmicky feature out there, there's money to be saved with this model. Also, even if you do wind up spending as much as you would have if you'd been bled for $15 a month, at least you're spending it on features YOU WANT rather than being tossed a grab bag. With a subscription, the company takes the money from you like clockwork and whether or not you get the bang for your buck you expected each month is no concern of theirs.

In conclusion, I think microtransactions are a method of sustaining an online game that's still got some bugs to work out, but is proving viable and of potential benefit to both the company and the player. But it's a method that has no place in single or co-op games.

Fappy:

This reminds me of a recent trend I've noticed in some 3DS RPGs that sell "grind" DLC. I suppose that's sort of the same principle. If you're not familiar with it it's not much of a departure from what you discussed in this episode. Basically you drop an extra $3 and are transported to the land of super fast grinding (such was the case for FE: Awakening and SMT IV). I'm kind of on the fence about it as these kinds of shortcuts never existed in JRPGs before (that I am aware of) and the game doesn't seem balanced around their existence. Then again, I kind of feel that it sullies the spirit of the game a bit.

Would you say it qualifies as a dirty money-grubbing tactic, or can it be justified?

I don't know about JRPGs, but Knights of Pen and Paper pissed me off when I saw their deluxe edition had a special farming map. Then again, this is a game I think fits Jim's definition: it charges you (admittedly, a much smaller amount than 60 bucks), then makes itself grindy and tries to sell you power through microtransactions.

And the updates before and to the +1 edition made it worse.

Jimothy Sterling:
Snip

I have found one Free to Play game that actually feels like spending real world cash is just an option. Spartacus Legends. Although not a great game, it is servicable enough for an F2P. What they get right though is the money system. Without exception, F2P games are built on a dual currency mechanic. One currency that you get as a reward in game, and another currency that can only be obtained with real money (after the obligatory first small lump they give you to show you how great it is to have that currency.)

However, Spartacus Legends GIVES you that secondary currency everytime you level up, and the gear that was available for the paid currency eventually becomes purchasable through the standard in-game currency.

This method should be recognized more for it's consumer-friendly approach. Too bad it's just attached to such a sub-par fighting game.

Great Episode Jim!

On a side note I feel horrible that I am actually going to say this but SE needs to die as a business. They have become nothing more than a zombie. An undead nightmare that has the only desire to chase you down and rip the flesh from your bone until you are dead.

FF: ATB is one of the most offensive and disgusting games ever made with the support of a AAA publisher and if SE is considering more games like it then they need to go out of business and fast.

Once a F2P title starts forcing to grind for days with no progress unless I pay money, I stop playing. Planetside 2 did this after less than a day of gameplay. Got to the point where I needed missiles and jammers for the Mosquito (the key being NEED, as survivability was measured in single-digit minutes without them). I could pay $30, or grind out in-game currency for a week (as I figured from my income rate).

So I stopped playing altogether. Which reminds me I need to contact SOE and demand they remove my information from their server (seeing as how I no longer agree to their TOS, they're not entitled to retain my data anymore).

But I do wonder how many people just sold their copies of Dead Space 3 to Gamestop because of all the in-game microtransactions.

Ukomba:
Mass Effect 3 I must admit I did buy the occasional Multi-player pack. Mass Effect though was kind of insulated from it in that the purchased packs were an optional part of an optional mode. Playing the main game all the way through it wouldn't even come up, it was just for the hard core multi-player crowd. Given where these elements were and how it was done it never bothered me. It was just something to spend left over points on.

Personally, my problem with ME3 was how the point packs were implemented.

The MP was actually very fun (much to my surprise) but since couldn't buy specific upgrades, it was painful. For the 8 people that didn't play ME3, in Multiplayer, you purchased a "baseball card pack" that contained random upgrades. The baseball card packs could either be bought with real money or in game currency (which was ssslllloooowww to accumulate). Each weapon had 10 different upgrades to itself (so a "Big Daddy Shotgun lvl 1" was just slightly weaker than a "Big Daddy Shotgun lvl 2" and multiple customization options (which all had their own levels). If you found a weapon that you really liked, you couldn't necessarily keep using it because a "Crappy Shotgun lvl 8" was significantly better than your preferred "Big Daddy Shotgun lvl 2". Ergo...it was really annoying. On the harder difficulties you were required to use better weapons to compete as the difficulty ramped up very quickly.

The entire system was designed to convince you to spend money. I bought a number of the packs before saying "f' this" and quit altogether.

Frustrating. Very. Hate you EA.

I was saying something similar to a friend earlier today, weird how that goes. Anyway I think you're right about it, I bought the game, now let me play it without needing to spend anything more on it. If you add more content (an interesting story/angle that compliments the game) then I might be persuaded to part with cash but I don't want it to feel like you're paying for something that feels like it should or was part of the game that they snipped out for various reasons.

It really saddens me to learn about the not triangle publisher thinking of doing that, I really liked a lot of it's games which I will have to not buy lest they think we love micro transactions.

Merklyn236:
Is it wrong that at this point I think we're going to have a have a full scale video game crash to get any of this sorted out?

Never played the Dead Space series, not my thing really, but I had Mass Effect 3 and saw how this affected the multiplayer portion. The difficulty curve was stacked so that you'd start thinking about buying the weapon/equipment packs to be able to keep up (or you'd be hoping to be in teams that had one member who'd been splurging on them to even the odds a little). Or worse, you'd be the one "free" member of a "paid" squad, which meant you spent a lot of time as dead weight because the game was basing it's attacks on their level - not yours.

What are you talking about? There was no difficulty scaling with N7 number with mass effect. Difficulty was constant and only depended on what difficulty you chose.

I've never played dead space 3,
but ben yahtzee said the game was so ridiculously easy paying would be a joke. Now he's a crap source (LOL). No really. and yes Jim, as a guy who plays Diablo 3, i get the "temptation" angle.

Accept when your doing it with one game it's generally easy to not do it with another.
Further more.. if a game is free to pay as you put it.. Christ just cheat LOL.

Set the console timer ahead and cheat. Theirs a face book game called jack pot party casino.. And I spent about 12 bucks on it to get gold to use the slots
and than i found out there was a way to cheat. I have all the games unlocked and i'm level 300 something.

My advice if your in a pay game? Cheat your ass off.

say it with me now kids
up up
down down
left right left right
select ba start. ^~

The really sad irony of Dead Space 3 is that if I'm fed up with the game's slow vanilla speed of resource collection, I don't have to pony up cash for a resource pack. I can - but if I'm a PC gamer, I can simply use a trainer and supercharge my resource values. Ergo, absolutely no need to pay for more than the initial sixtyburger.

On the flipside of things, there's Blacklight, DOTA 2 and Team Fortress 2. Blacklight and TF2 each start you out with an adequate arsenal, and the game isn't so woefully unbalanced as to more or less demand that you hork up more cash. I've never purchased a single thing for TF2, working exclusively with my item drops and my rare crafted items, and I'm doing just fine. I know newcomers who work with the vanilla loadout for each character and who do quite well, actually.

DOTA 2 does things even better, as purchasing items is purely cosmetic in nature. You aren't paying to get a leg-up, you're essentially paying to show your appreciation to both Valve and the custom content creators that end up featured as part of the game's store of purchasable items. That's the kind of price I'm willing to consider, as it's more a donation or thanks being given than you trying to pay your way past the metaphorical gatekeeper of the Land of Decent Kill/Death Statistics.

For those that suck... Planetside 2 is a horrid case of that. You absolutely can play the game in its barest form without paying a dime, but two thirds of the essential features are locked out, and the complete loadout remains something that's just *there*, teasing you with upgraded stats.

Then there's World of Warcraft. I really don't know that the core game's expansions warrant additional charges of twenty bucks per purchase, on top of my fifteen bucks per month. Most other studios release huge content patches or updates for free, so why doesn't Blizzard do that, other than to have an excuse to suck at our wallets a tad more?

In any case, if I ever get into WoW, don't expect me to buy the whole kit and kaboodle in one fell swoop. I'm more liable to stick with 'nilla WoW and work my way through that, and *then* buy the expansions, one after the other.

All we have to do is not buy the games to make a point. The problem is a lot of people keep buying them anyway.

Aggieknight:

Ukomba:
Mass Effect 3 I must admit I did buy the occasional Multi-player pack. Mass Effect though was kind of insulated from it in that the purchased packs were an optional part of an optional mode. Playing the main game all the way through it wouldn't even come up, it was just for the hard core multi-player crowd. Given where these elements were and how it was done it never bothered me. It was just something to spend left over points on.

Personally, my problem with ME3 was how the point packs were implemented.

The MP was actually very fun (much to my surprise) but since couldn't buy specific upgrades, it was painful. For the 8 people that didn't play ME3, in Multiplayer, you purchased a "baseball card pack" that contained random upgrades. The baseball card packs could either be bought with real money or in game currency (which was ssslllloooowww to accumulate). Each weapon had 10 different upgrades to itself (so a "Big Daddy Shotgun lvl 1" was just slightly weaker than a "Big Daddy Shotgun lvl 2" and multiple customization options (which all had their own levels). If you found a weapon that you really liked, you couldn't necessarily keep using it because a "Crappy Shotgun lvl 8" was significantly better than your preferred "Big Daddy Shotgun lvl 2". Ergo...it was really annoying. On the harder difficulties you were required to use better weapons to compete as the difficulty ramped up very quickly.

The entire system was designed to convince you to spend money. I bought a number of the packs before saying "f' this" and quit altogether.

Frustrating. Very. Hate you EA.

I won't argue with you there. It improved a little later when they let you pick packs that improved gun drops, or class drops, but it was still irritating. It was especially off putting to new players towards the end that had all the updates to get too. If they let you buy specific things with cash and spend the in game currency on the random drops that might be better.

Payday 2 had to make the same distinction as you mention with Dynasty Warrior 8. The Career Criminal pack mentions that it offers a distinct on prices to stuff on it's ingame store, and initially people freaked that it was going to have microtransaction, when it's just the shop you use your ingame currency in to pick what guns/armor/utilities you unlock at your own discretion.

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