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the Lonely Altar

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

#72 Is Alpha the new FTP?

Posted by Tierless Friday January 10 2014 at 9:10AM
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5 years ago asking me to pay for Alpha would have resulted in mass LOLs. ALPHA, who would PAY to help make a game?!?! LOL. Now DayZ just made major cash for selling it.

...

My oh my how quickly things change. First it was “make a world to live in”, then it was “make a WOW clone”, then it was “make a FTP”, not it’s “crowd source” aka get them to pay to test your game!

This genre is full of trends and it’s fun to ride them. I remember when making an MMO meant making a world sim! Devs were terrified at attempting such a feat! Then in came WOW and everything changed. Suddenly you could make a typical a to b game BUT have it be playable with your friends online. WOW that is a lot easier and it sells! Lets do that!

Pretty soon it wasn’t WOW but rather Whales. Turns out a lot of gamers have addictive personalities (no ####) and too much “fun” cash. In the blink of an eye the monthly sub was considered “dead” and buried LOL. PTP is DEAD! TESO and Wildstar want you to PTP, OMFG they will fail! No one wants to do that! OMFTP!!!

No. The gamers have always been happy to drop $15 a month as long as we felt like we got $15 of improvement or content back. It was when companies got greedy and started putting that money into other things rather than improving the customers experience that we rebelled against the $15. The funniest part is they thought their games failed because of the $15 LOL. No again. We were simply exercising our consumer right to quality purchases. I’ve never heard one single MMOer complain about the 15 if it was going to a game and company they thought was worth it. One that had their back. One that they KNEW loved their game as much as they did.

Do not confuse the lack of desire to put $15 into a sub par game with the desire to put it into a game that is actually worth it. What a crazy concept! FTP is a shark jumping act of desperation. It’s an ever increasing battle over an ever shrinking market. It’s days are numbered and the next QUALITY mmo to ask for my $15 will get it with a smile. Sadly I haven’t seen nor played one since nilla WOW that was worth it! You want my money, offer me a product that is worth it. You tell me you want me to have it for free, that tells me what you think of your product now doesn’t it? So good you have to give it away, riiiiiight.

Back to alpha. Gamers LOVE being first. Exclusive information will ALWAYS make someone feel above the rest and it will always have a value. See human history. Will I pay for someones alpha? If I trust the company and think I will get my moneys worth yes I will. Do I think MOST companies are worth a paid alpha, no. BUT if it means more MMOs and chancier MMOs than I am all for it. I worry that too many bad paid alpha experiences will ruin the concept for everyone but hopefully that won’t be the case.

We are at a pivotal point in the genre. WOW’s success is failing. As it does it will get harder and harder for devs to convince owners to fund such an expensive type of game. Yes that means as much as many of us hate WOW for what it has become, a MMO genre without it means a much less funded genre. Besides, deep deep deep deeeeeeeeeeeeeep down at it’s core WOW is still good. It’s thoughts of money betray it, deep down I can feel the good in it... As WOW fails more and more the burden will fall to us, the MMORPGers to fund our own games! If there was one type of gamer that I think can handle the burden, it’s us. We are simply a different breed of gamer, maybe of person. We march to a different drum. We are entertained by different things. We ask more of our devs than other gamers, and it turns out we will make it happen, together, for us, by us! Dev and fan go hand in hand to the dawning of the new era. The paid Alpha crowd funded, crowd sourced MMO era. MMORPGs and Alphas for all!

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