Jimquisition: Fee to Pay

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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."

This reminds me of when I spent a summer working for blockbuster way back. They made their employees aggressively sell there membership cards to an uncomfortable degree. My general policy was to ask if a customer needed help with anything and if they were receptive to talking I might slip it in but if they were in a rush or busy or angry I wouldn't bother. I had a boss get angry at me when they saw I wasn't bugging everybody that came in . He took me aside and made me watch as he aggressively went up to this poor family and badgered them into agreeing to buy a membership. I'll never forget how uncomfortable they looked. Nor will I forget the smirk on my bosses face disappear when he later tried to rub in his "victory" by asking the cashier if they actually bought the membership. Of course they hadn't and I don't think I ever saw them come in again either. Never had more fun quitting a place then there. My only regret was that I heard he was fired shortly after. Would have been nice to see.

I agree for the most part, especially concerning non-free games that are set up around micro-transactions (those can disappear and never return for all I care), but I can't get behind Tribes' FTP model. Back when I played, grinding took days just to unlock one gun. It didn't help that the basic guns were all boring and mostly sucked, but the unlockable guns were stuff like grenade launchers on the stealth class. Shouldn't spending money on a FTP game feel like taking a bite out of the forbidden fruit, rather than grabbing the fruit that everyone else has, and needs, to play somewhat decently?
I still prefer when FTP games only offer some cosmetic purchases or some convenience type carrots.

Nurb:

geizr:
The biggest take-away I got from this episode was at the end where Jim talks about how the developers, at least the ones he spoke to, themselves don't like all this stuff but are forced to build it into the games, that the developers are not able to make the kind of game they would like and enjoy making. The developers would prefer to just make a good game and sell it, very simple.

I have sometimes said some not-so-nice things about game developers in my past posts. But, this got me to thinking maybe I should give some apology to the game developers and reserve my ire for the publishers instead.

All those developers which now belong to a few publishers weren't forced into taking their money when they let themselves become owned and taken over by them.

They all saw dollarsigns and ignored the fine print.

I think you are oversimplifying the complete situation, but I'm too exhausted right now to argue. For some developers, what you say may be true; for others, it may not be or circumstances at the time were more complex.

Well sadly this is a trend that will continue. Companies aren't interested in making games any more they prefer to manufacture revenue streams by leveraging their creative IP.

But as always we have a chice. We can send a message to these ass-hat publishers by simply not buying their games. See I can get behind things like DLC, it's basically the modern version of the shareware concept of the last era and done right it can make the game more interesting.. Of course the way Fee to Pay works is that you buy the game and then pay microtransactions. Look gamers, if you want them to stop doing crap like that you're gonna have to bite the bullet and make a point to just not buy games that have that crap.. even if it's a franchise you like.

As long as you buy the game the charts will show that the feature does not hurt sales, heck depending on who's reading the chart they can even claim it helped sales thusly ensuring the feature will be shoe-horned into every game thereafter.

uanime5:
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).

Actually this isn't the case. The expansion to Starcraft 2 was not a full price game just like the expansion to Starcraft 1 not being a full price game.

Both expansions are built on the predication of adding more campaign and more units, however the expansions are entirely optional, you don't have to buy them should you so choose and you are free to play on Battle.net however much you want.

Thus far I've only come across this 'Freemium' scenario once, (DA:O). I'm thinking it'll just come down to having to wait for reviews for AAA games before I buy them, because I'd rather not walk into one of these.

It's nice that Jim clarified that F2P games are what they are - you have to expect it when you go in. Little annoys me more than people in the LoL community complaining that they couldn't purchase every new character on release with their in game currency.

Monxeroth:
Do you have any specific examples to where this principle works really well and where it does not (Dead Space 3 obviously)
Why, and why not?

What would your opinion be on things like League of Legends, TF2 or Dota 2?

To me, optional should really REALLY be very damn optional.
Even "convenience" to some extent i dont believe to be all that optional really especially not in a f2p game like World of Tanks where convenience IS the game and IS a huge part of it, the difference between a standard account and a premium can be like night and day despite all the "optional convenience" that the devs claim has little to no impact even though it very clearly does.

I'm curious about this to. How would you classify these? They're certainly not Fee to Play, but most likely Freemium to an extent. Though, to be honest, I'm typically more tempted to buy skins for my champions in LoL than anything else.

In principle I agree with you, but I disagree with the notion that its not optional because... psychology.

Sticking with the Dead Space 3 example, the game series works and has worked on a reward schedule where you are supposed to be at a certain power level at certain points in the game. In the previous titles, it was only on subsequent playthroughs that you were allowed to break that dynamic by bringing in power from previous playthroughs. Dead Space 3's microtransaction allowed you to circumvent the first playthrough limitation and buy extra power from the get go.

And that is okay. It didn't break the game and it absolutely wasn't necessary. And, most importantly, it didn't offer any power that couldn't be acquired in the game normally.

The place where they screwed up, imo, is that they decided to change the system with which upgrades were performed in order to accomplish this. In the previous Dead Spaces, power was essentially discovered through exploration by finding schematics and power nodes. It was also limited by inventory space and relative ammo cost (although cost was easily exploited to your benefit).

In Dead Space 3, they removed the exploration aspect of power upgrades and hitched them to, at least in part, a time based system. You had a limited number of bots and they always took a certain amount of time to reward their supplies. They didn't remove exploring altogether as there were still the robo hot spots and you could find the big chests of goodies in sub mission but for the most part, you were dependent on those robots to get a lot of the supplies.

If you played the game slow it wasn't a big deal because they would almost all be ready by the next bench. But for anyone who like to play the game fast, the time limitation was an impediment. In the previous titles playing fast didn't prevent you from finding all the power nodes, in this game it necessarily meant less supplies.

That to me is where they crossed the line, not simply at adding a purchasable way to circumvent the power dynamic but by actually limiting the power dynamic to time based rather than progress based.

anyone else think the thumbnail picture looks like that the Dead Space guy is taking it in the @$$?

couldn't agree more Jim

Lilani:
This episode kind of made me warm and fuzzy, thinking of the Final Fantasy XIV open beta starting soon and how Square has vowed to stick to the subscription model, for the sake of making sure they can produce a quality game :-) I'm just hoping later on down the line they don't go the way of WoW and give that up.

Square? Ummm?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danieltack/2013/01/17/final-fantasy-all-the-bravest-a-dlc-laden-abomination/

That doesn't sound anything at all like Square? I mean I'm pretty sure Square's Corporate mission statement is "Do the Opposite of what you just said"

So did you not go into detail on mass effect 3's "micro-transactions" because you know there not micro-transactions in the same sense as dead space 3? I've never played dead space, so I'm taking your word for that. I'm one of the few who enjoyed mass effect 3 overall(aside from the ending). The extended ending dlc was free. The only major issue I had with the way EA handled it was separating javik's mission form the main game when it was obviously meant to be part of it in its orginal form. If you're talking about that fine. The mission DLC packs(like leviathan and citadel) are more like mini-expasion packs and I fell I got my money's worth from them. I assume you're talking about the weapon packs and such. And no, they are optional and I never felt any need to buy them. Period. They don't effect the main game anywhere near to the point that the dead space 3 stuff does.

Bottom line is this. EA is a terrible company that has made a lot of terrible choices. If they go down in flames, I don't care. I enjoy mass effect and will follow it to it's end. There is nothing else I care about buying from EA.

PS-I am surprised you didn't bring up the recent World of warcraft scandal with the in-game store being added. I, once again, feel that it does not affect the main game(thought its a slippery slope that one day may reach that point), but since Activision-blizzard is on the hit list of hipster douche internet commentators like yourself, I'm surprised you didn't bring it up. Good day.

I've been playing a lot of Firefall recently. Their F2P model is about perfect in my opinion. You can unlock everything of worth in the game purely through normal gameplay. Of course, you can unlock it faster with "Red Beans" the purchased in-game currency but you really don't have to. The only things you can't get through normal gameplay are cosmetic items that don't have any effect on gameplay.

I have been thoroughly enjoying myself and haven't paid them a penny. I feel like I should though. Not because it would give me any kind of advantage but because the game is just THAT DAMN GOOD. ...and I want a cool looking hat

This is why I get annoyed every now and again when I go shopping. I have to research EVERYTHING just to make sure I don't get some annoying form of DRM or for brutal micro-transaction pushing. And of course, a lot of games just being very bland. Why? To copy something else that was popular before.

Can we find all these publishers and put their names on the net so we know who to hate? I know they'll feel the burn then.

I've been saying this since we started seeing multiplayer in EVERYTHING. I can't help but wonder how many games have had online multiplayer shoehorned into it just so the publisher can have online passes or MS can sell some more gold subscriptions.

Reyold:
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?

I totally agree. Now a days they make you make what they think will sell, not what would actually make the best game. This is likely why games have recently lost a good portion of the color pallet, and most kinds of genres.

Sadly I don't have an answer to that, as it's just an image I found on an image board one time when random animated gifs were being posted. I am guessing an anime of some kind, given the style of animation when seen up close.

faefrost:
Square? Ummm?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danieltack/2013/01/17/final-fantasy-all-the-bravest-a-dlc-laden-abomination/

That doesn't sound anything at all like Square? I mean I'm pretty sure Square's Corporate mission statement is "Do the Opposite of what you just said"

Regardless of what the other divisions of Square Enix have been doing to the other Final Fantasy games, everything they've done for FFXIV since it first launched (and failed) in 2010 is to improve the game, and a lot of it was based on player feedback. Hell, they just finished up the third phase of the closed beta and will be entering an open beta of the game in the next couple of weeks.

It also says a lot about their dedication to the project that when the first version of the game failed, they didn't just abandon ship and close up shop. They shut the whole thing down and have rebuilt it basically from its foundations. That is a HUGE undertaking. It sort of makes sense since the profits from an MMO come from long-term customers rather than short-term sales, but still they didn't have to be this thorough. They could have tried to do it in patches, but nope, they shut the sucker down. And during this time as F2P models rose and they were asked about it, the director of the game said they would be sticking to the subscription model because they felt it was the best way to serve the players and offer the experience they wanted.

But the online Final Fantasy games have always sort of been the odd ducks of Square Enix, I think. FFXI was very community-centered, and the players have a huge effect on what sort of events happen. At one point, Square added in more out-of-game tools for in-game communities to stay connected--completely free of charge to players. And FFXIV seems to be gearing up to have the same sort of open relationship with its community as well.

I'm not saying all of Square is like this. In fact, with the shitty mobile games that have come out lately, I'd say the other divisions of Square could learn a thing or two from them. But somehow, the teams that run their online games have been allowed to have free-reign and keep things open.

Once again hit the nail on the head. Although I will say most F2P games that aren't TF2 have their own disingenuous factors that damage the game even though it's 'free'. But yes, doesn't matter if it's optional, paid-for games should not have these elements in them. Players deserve not to be tempted all the time or encouraged to spend more money than they already have.

Tumedus:
In principle I agree with you, but I disagree with the notion that its not optional because... psychology.

Sticking with the Dead Space 3 example, the game series works and has worked on a reward schedule where you are supposed to be at a certain power level at certain points in the game. In the previous titles, it was only on subsequent playthroughs that you were allowed to break that dynamic by bringing in power from previous playthroughs. Dead Space 3's microtransaction allowed you to circumvent the first playthrough limitation and buy extra power from the get go.

And that is okay. It didn't break the game and it absolutely wasn't necessary. And, most importantly, it didn't offer any power that couldn't be acquired in the game normally.

The place where they screwed up, imo, is that they decided to change the system with which upgrades were performed in order to accomplish this. In the previous Dead Spaces, power was essentially discovered through exploration by finding schematics and power nodes. It was also limited by inventory space and relative ammo cost (although cost was easily exploited to your benefit).

In Dead Space 3, they removed the exploration aspect of power upgrades and hitched them to, at least in part, a time based system. You had a limited number of bots and they always took a certain amount of time to reward their supplies. They didn't remove exploring altogether as there were still the robo hot spots and you could find the big chests of goodies in sub mission but for the most part, you were dependent on those robots to get a lot of the supplies.

If you played the game slow it wasn't a big deal because they would almost all be ready by the next bench. But for anyone who like to play the game fast, the time limitation was an impediment. In the previous titles playing fast didn't prevent you from finding all the power nodes, in this game it necessarily meant less supplies.

That to me is where they crossed the line, not simply at adding a purchasable way to circumvent the power dynamic but by actually limiting the power dynamic to time based rather than progress based.

I'll start off by saying that it seems like you've actually played the game, which is a step up from half of the haters around here (that includes you Jim.)

However, I don't view the bots as a ball & chain. The spots were typically more than 10 minutes apart, and in the instances where they weren't you had already found your 2nd one. But even so, that's just a part of the dynamic. You could still find these resources through more traditional means (drops off enemies, co op missions, in someone's locker, etc.)

If anything, the bots were a way to ensure that you were going to be able to procure the resources necessary to get through the game (but without flooding you with resources, hence the 10 minute limit), where the prior installments required you to scavenge for it entirely. If anything the bot was the way for you to guarentee that you never ran out of ammo, health packs, etc. Now when you consider that you're playing Dead Space, a franchise that has made a pretty clear distinction between itself and the "survival horror" genre... it wasn't that bad of an idea.

The only downside is it made it pretty easy, especially when you were experienced with the scavenging aspect, resource management, not missing shots, sharing health with co op partner, and efficient bot use. But for the less experienced who blow through a clip and a half to kill one necromorph, the bot was their saving grace so they weren't screwed for the rest of their playthrough.

In other words, they did exactly what they said they were going to do: appeal to a broader (and less skilled) audience.

My only issue is how Jim once again is trying to spin this whole aspect as being another get rich quick scam by the oh so terrible EA. And the drones who didn't play the game will happily chime in with "herp derp there's mandatory microtransactions."

I don't mind cosmetics, additional mission/quest and stuff like that being dlc even when made along side the game for that purpose not made post release unless they are leaving holes where those things are suppose to be and assuming the game you bought is worth what you paid.
However selling convenience items and and intentionally making shit annoying so people buy them has not place in anything outside of games that are actually Free to Play. Certainly not in single player games.

I was a bit annoyed and perplexed when I reading through the dlc list for Tomb Raider and saw "headshot reticule" and "agility skill" (makes you climb faster and fall from greater heights without damage). They want me to pay $1 USD for a fucking headshot reticule?

Chessrook44:
I'm actually curious about your opinion of Guild Wars 2. It matches a similar kind of model... you buy the game at $60, and it has microtransactions all over in it like many F2P MMOs... and yet, it seems to do it right. Most of the items you buy are cosmetics, services, and convenience items. At the same time, however, in-game gold can be purchased with Gems (Money currency), and vice versa.

Well not completely right IMO. The items are largely cosmetic, you can buy it with in game gold and it is an mmo with continually updated content so the fact that they encourage pay more than the store price isn't so bad but every time they release a weapon skin they don't let you just buy it. They make it limited time and tie to RNG coffers with a very very low chance of actually getting the skin (and they won't tell you what that chance even is) and give you utterly useless crap the rest of the time.

Here is another fee word that Im surprised you didn't use Jim, "feecal-matter"

Monxeroth:

Even "convenience" to some extent i dont believe to be all that optional really especially not in a f2p game like World of Tanks where convenience IS the game and IS a huge part of it, the difference between a standard account and a premium can be like night and day despite all the "optional convenience" that the devs claim has little to no impact even though it very clearly does.

I used to play World of Tanks and never bothered buying gold and I cant see how it "ruined" my experience at all. (I used quotes even though you never used the word ruined but thats the general idea behind criticism of micro transactions) I'm sure I could get get a Tiger faster but so what, I'm still driving around in the same Leichttraktor as everyone else.

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."

Did you have to sign the, "you will not mention the company and their practices when conversing online" too? I have a similar situation with the same rules and I had to sign that recently.

rembrandtqeinstein:

However what will prevent me from buying any more content is the fact that the motherfuckers running gearbox think it is OK to advertise paid skins in the appearance change machine.

That breaks immersion, makes the game less fun, and will make me go somewhere else for my future entertainment needs.

I don't like buying skins based on a pic or screenshot so the ability to view what it looks like in game from different angles was a benefit to me.

It's all just price hikes in the end.
They've let their production (and advertising) budgets spiral well out of control, but they know that if they start charging more up front, they will make less. So instead, each game pushing closer and closer towards a loss leader gambit where the point is to hook players in and then twist their arms as hard as possible with microtransactions.

In my childhood, top-bill games cost 40 USD+, which was artificially inflated due to Nintendo having a monopoly at the time. After the market recovered, through inflation, the price eventually hit close to its optimal level in the PS2 era.

Inflation has marched on since that time, along with a near-total economic collapse. Combine that with the fact that AAA games need to sell positively ABSURD numbers of units to remain profitable (up front) and it's clear that the 60 USD priceline is not good enough for AAA anymore. At least, not on its own.

Thus, the price hikes. All of those little schemes, microtransactions and increasingly back-loaded DLC.
All crammed into games with the broadest, "safest" pandering possible.

xPixelatedx:
Sadly I don't have an answer to that, as it's just an image I found on an image board one time when random animated gifs were being posted. I am guessing an anime of some kind, given the style of animation when seen up close.

Shit, I spent several minutes searching for it before deciding to be annoying and ask you but noticed that you had posted twice in the same thread on your profile and correctly assumed that you were replying to someone inquiring as to where your avatar came from, alas to no result. :-(

OT: Mechwarrior: Online has sorta got this thing down but its broken gameplay cannot be recommended to anyone at the moment.

Saulkar:

Shit, I spent several minutes searching for it before deciding to be annoying and ask you but noticed that you had posted twice in the same thread on your profile and correctly assumed that you were replying to someone inquiring as to where your avatar came from, alas to no result. :-(

OT: Mechwarrior: Online has sorta got this thing down but its broken gameplay cannot be recommended to anyone at the moment.

Someone was kind enough to send me a private message answering the question!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxP5k6KFOO0

OMFG the Dinosaur uses it's tail to!! I need to get an animated gif of that as well XD
I freaking love japan.

Yeah this is why as rule of thumb i don't touch microtranaction games any more, never realised it until it was said explicitly but the testing of my patience brought on by micortransactions just is not enjoyable.

Also i now have to go watch once more with feeling, again.

Monxeroth:
Do you have any specific examples to where this principle works really well and where it does not (Dead Space 3 obviously)
Why, and why not?

For what it's worth, despite hating the industry crap so much I've personally turned my back on the lot of it, I was, and continue to be, a huge supporter of the way ME3 did it.

What people always forget about that game is that for a solid year, they totally payed forward any money you may or may not have spent on their MP. Map packs, weekly challenges, new game styles, LOTS of character classes and weapons, the introduction of titles and emblems... It's not any kind of exaggeration to say they basically tripled the size of their MP for every user, for free. Never even mind how community focussed they were. Playable Volus and Vorcha characters? Platinum difficulty? I wrote on BSM for these things and then they appeared. Unreal.

Yes it was a microtransaction system, and I can see why some people would write it off just for that, but that MP was, imo, one hell of a fine union of consumer, developer and business interests.

Yeah a worrysome reality :!

The only F2P MMO I put money into is well Furcadia, a social MMO. And even then they say in the shop "It are just pixels". See you can be a horse, a cat, a wolf, a.. a furry! But they also have if you want other avatars that are premium. If you want you can buy those and for a while you are able to look like a DRAGON.

Do these avatars mean anything? Nah! There are no stats connected to things, there are no gameplay elements. It is somewhat between a 3d world and an IRC chat. So you can be a free horse avatar and play as a dragon. Just put in your description that you are a dragon ;)

Why put money in there? Well it is nice, social, and it keeps the servers running. Servers cost money! People programming and running the game costs money.. I don't mind at times, for some pixels [mmm fairies are kewl] to put a bit of my money into there. Again you don't have to and that is nice to play with all those who.. really can't spend money on things like characters. They are decent players to so a fair thing. And in the end "It is just pixels" it is a look.. yes these premium avatars are cute but he.. they are not really super expensive. And they keep the server running so I am happy about that.

But yes so many games out there, so many MMO's really NERF non paying players. It is just sad really, oh yes we have allot of kewl races you can play.. 7 of those are behind a paywall though. Here play a human! What okay we also give you this stinking goblin like thing you can play for free to.

For my big games, I rather pay up front and well then use in game points/credits/gold to upgrade my character. I totally agree!

Furcadia is pretty much the one exception I make ;)

I have followed the Diablo III fallout wow, talk about pay to win!

Ukomba:

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 know that you could choose your difficulty, and that the rounds were supposed to be based on that. But as time went by I found more and more that if I was on a squad with players who had either REALLY done some credit-grinding or had purchased extra "rare" equipment, it really did feel like the units sent against us were tougher - sometimes MUCH tougher - than the selected difficulty level. Might have just been my experience, but it really did seem that way to me.

Jimothy Sterling:

Chessrook44:
I'm actually curious about your opinion of Guild Wars 2. It matches a similar kind of model... you buy the game at $60, and it has microtransactions all over in it like many F2P MMOs... and yet, it seems to do it right. Most of the items you buy are cosmetics, services, and convenience items. At the same time, however, in-game gold can be purchased with Gems (Money currency), and vice versa.

Guild Wars 2 is an interesting case, especially since it's also an MMO, which brings with it its own set of considerations. On the whole, I feel like GW2 is full of examples of how to both do F2P *and* MMOs correctly. I've not spent one thin dime on anything on GW2, but had a total blast, and if I get back into it, I may well buy things -- not because I feel I have to, but because I want to.

And that's when you know a game has done microtransactions correctly -- when you want to go out of your way to buy a thing, not when you were bullied and funneled into doing it.

I think the cardinal rule of the cash shop, especially in MMO's, is sell what people WANT not what they NEED.

It used to be that consoles were the place of just paying 60$ and getting a game w/ no bullshit, but as you've said in previous eps, this is no longer the case. I heard a few weeks ago that the next Ace Combat game will be free to play as part of NamcoBandai's new line of f2p games. It's just... unfortunate.

Do you think there is an important point in the argument against ftp games that publishers should listen to? Even the whisper of WoW going ftp starts wars on the WoW forums and other MMO sites. People reacting negatively to the possibility of them NOT giving publishers money. You'd think that would be something publishers would be listening to, but nope they have to nickle and dime everything everywhere, because business...

Chessrook44:
I'm actually curious about your opinion of Guild Wars 2. It matches a similar kind of model... you buy the game at $60, and it has microtransactions all over in it like many F2P MMOs... and yet, it seems to do it right. Most of the items you buy are cosmetics, services, and convenience items. At the same time, however, in-game gold can be purchased with Gems (Money currency), and vice versa.

I disagree. GW2 doesn't remotely "do it right" and it suffers from the exact problems as console games like Jim mentioned here. The "Gem Store" has unabashedly sold power since day 1, and calling them "convenience items" doesn't change that fact. Paying $3 for an hour of double-XP or $10 for infinite resource harvesting is certainly "convenient."

And it's just as "not optional" as Jim's Dead Space 3 example, especially when you consider the Cash For Gold exchange. Years ago, when they first announced the ability to pay cash for gold (via gems), I knew it was going to be a conflict of interest. Sure enough, I'd called it: NCSoft/ArenaNet don't have the integrity to resist constantly twiddling with the in-game "economy" when they have a financial interest.

The Jimquisition wouldn't be the "Jimquisition" if he wasn't being critical about something, but in this case I think there's no real problem to complain about. The thing about games with both pay walls and micro transactions is they can be done well and really poorly. It's based on the game itself. I don't also buy into the idea of anything above retail spent on a game is a bad thing, optional or essential to the gameplay experience. Some games are free, some cost $10, some $60, some you can spend thousands on.

The only things that matter here: are you willing to pay for it? And are the publishers setting their game at the most acceptable price to be making money? For me a CoD game anything above free in price is too expensive but I think a game like Dota 2 or LoL would be perfectly fine with a $30 initial fee, micro transactions and all so long as it turned out to be a viable business model.

The only time pricing becomes an issue is when the industry has become in any way monopolized. Like Australians and the purposeful control on prices here (although that's easy enough to subvert). In a free market pricing etc naturally equalizes due to competition and bad pricing models tend to die.

Real free to play is actually a really nice thing. I get to try out the game on the PC and if it's something I really enjoy playing then I don't feel so bad shelling out some money here and there because it feels like I'm giving a bit of money to a company providing me with an entertaining experience.

But I agree there is a good deal of bad free to play out there. Paying $60 for a game and then having to pay to win, screw that money pit. The games where you must pay to have a chance at winning are also games not worth my time.

Merklyn236:

Ukomba:

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 know that you could choose your difficulty, and that the rounds were supposed to be based on that. But as time went by I found more and more that if I was on a squad with players who had either REALLY done some credit-grinding or had purchased extra "rare" equipment, it really did feel like the units sent against us were tougher - sometimes MUCH tougher - than the selected difficulty level. Might have just been my experience, but it really did seem that way to me.

I can't see how they could do that since even people who have been playing forever and splurging aren't always all powerful. Even a player with a huge N7 rating and several maxed out guns/mods could enter a game at level 1 with relatively weak weapons. I know I did that a lot when going for the various achievements.

What REALLY effected difficulty was the teamwork. I've seen teams with high N7 ratings wipe on silver and teams with low N7 sail through gold, just because of the teamwork difference. Class choice is important too.

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