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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] The Secret World: A Complex Issue for Funcom

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  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 14225

 
OP  8/14/12 5:57:51 PM#1

Last week during a stockholder meeting, Funcom admitted that The Secret World had not lived up to all of the expectations that the company had hoped it would. In our latest Secret World column, we take a look at the shareholder meeting, the news that was disseminated and what it all means. Read on!

Some folks were saying that this was a resurgence of the “Failcom” monicker that Funcom acquired through their MMO practices. A number of people mentioned that this might be good for them, as it meant that the game would go undergo a free-to-play transition sooner and thus allow them to play without paying. A smaller subset of individuals was basically wishing it would go free-to-play simply because The Secret World came from “Failcom,” and that's exasperating to read.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s excellent analysis in The Secret World: A Complex Issue for Funcom.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  Zealow

Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/11
Posts: 6

I am the law!

8/15/12 11:10:34 AM#2

Great article.

While Funcom indeed comes from a troubled past, there is no doubt that the secret world is by far their best mmo yet. It has had one of the smoothest launches in mmo history, the players that invest some time in seems to love it and at least as far as the 2 first months go, they seem to be on track with their monthly content updates. 

Heres to hoping it will pick up some steam (hah, see what i did there), and get the describer base it deserves and needs to keep the world alive, growing and evolving like they planned.

 
  jawali

Novice Member

Joined: 8/05/09
Posts: 195

8/15/12 11:15:17 AM#3
imo TSW is a good game with bad pvp and combat. Overall I had a good time in this game but subscription+ cs is imo a bad idea, anyway I have lots of fun in Rift atm, so mayebe I give this game a try in the future

  Dakirn

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/04
Posts: 375

8/15/12 11:19:19 AM#4

This was a good article.

 

I'm so tired of hearing people wishing that a game will fail.. they don't even take into consideration what they're asking for.  They're asking for hundreds of employees to lose their jobs and ability to provide for their families.. simply because they don't "like" the game or have some deep set grudge against the company because of a game you played 5 years ago.

 

If you don't like a game, state your reasoning and move on.. don't spend your time bashing the game and wishing for failure.  It doesn't help the industry at all.

 

MMO developers have to be some of the most selfless people on the planet to work such long hours for very average pay to make a game that so many people end up hating, wishing for the failure or of wishing personal bodily harm to those who work on it.

 

It's sad to read so much, especially on this site.. especially in an industry where something "new" is rare.  Everyone wants a company to try something different and then hope for their failure at the same time.

  Kuppa

Novice Member

Joined: 9/24/10
Posts: 3443

The problem with censorship is ********

8/15/12 11:20:33 AM#5
The aricle was OK. But I could not stand your f2p rant, I just don't agree with it. You basically made the f2p transition look like the greatest evil that could happen to a game.


  unknown769

Novice Member

Joined: 7/19/12
Posts: 46

8/15/12 11:25:55 AM#6

great article even funcom already prepared to have TSW being f2p it thing dont go right ,cause they either way see it coming too ,and already say it will be change (like aoc) and gonna try to fing a way to take theyr money back lol hilarious. but life its like that just deal whit it some people dont like game it become f2p then its kk do wtv you want  to whit the game  ,at end its not our foul like they pointed its theyr for try to make a profit game by sub  fee whit no potential at all.

--------------

you can be certain that an F2P shift will change things. By then it could indicate that investors want to make their money back, and will work towards treating gamers (and the development and community teams) like dollar signs and less like people. It could mean that content may become gated by pay walls. It could also mean that the folks who make the decisions and are in charge of turning a profit on the game would try to further the use of psychologically deceitful practices that prompt us to engage in addictive behavior rather than the pursuit of fun. 

(ilove that part dont get me wrong but they really see it coming)

 
  LoboMau

Novice Member

Joined: 9/07/07
Posts: 404

8/15/12 11:26:21 AM#7
Great article. I agree with almost everything. By the way...F2P is not so EVIL! :)
  Superman0X

Elite Member

Joined: 3/28/06
Posts: 1149

8/15/12 11:31:37 AM#8

Your article is interesting.. as it is very self contradictory.

 

Funcom clearly expressed that negative reviews are going to have an effect on sales. This in turn is going to have an effect on stock price. Nothing about this should be a surprise to anyone, nor should be any real concern. What should be looked at is WHY this is true for this game, but not others (i.e. why is this actually news).

 

When a game is P2P, money is made by convincing someone to pay for the product first, then find out if they enjoy it. This is done via marketing, of which a big contribution to this is reviews. Players read reviews to find out about the game, before deciding if they want to spend money.  The release of TSW was not as successful as predicted, because the reviews were not as positive as predicted.

When a game is F2P, money is made by convincing someone to pay for the product after they have tried it out. This requires less indirect marketing, and reviews are not as important, as the customer can try the product, and decide for themselves first.

 

One of the reasons that F2P is suddenly in vogue (the current popularity is very fadish) is because customers have had very bad experiences with P2P in the recent years. They have paid for games (like Age of Conan) based on reviews, only to find that they did not actually enjoy the game. At this time customers are even MORE critical of the reviews, and are looking to form their own opinions first... which is supported by F2P.

 

You end the article on two points:

F2P could/would bring in bad elements (treat gamers like $, use of psychologically deceitful practices). Your statements here show clear bias, as these same elements are used in P2P games to make money.

 

You should form your own opinion (and not rely on reviews). This is actually the unique selling point of F2P (vs P2P).  What you should be suggesting is that Funcom could overcome the poor reviews by making changes to the game (fixing the issues that caused the poor reviews) and then promoting the game via free weekends (i.e. start moving towards F2P) so that players can make up their own minds.

 

It is clear that you wish good things for this game. However, it is also clear that bais towards the changes that might make that happen are not exclusive to the business unit.

  victorbjr

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/13/10
Posts: 165

8/15/12 11:36:12 AM#9

Hey folks! Victor here.

Just wanted to drop a quick note to the commenters worrying about me making F2P sound so evil.

As it stands, the nature of free-to-play gaming is also a complex issue deserving of discussion, because there are many ways to implement a non-sub based payment matrix. There are some nice ways to do it (cosmetic cash shop, non-intrusive cash shop interface/notices), but there are also some pretty bad ways to go about it (focusing on gameplay that rewards addictive behavior, gear unlocks).

I personally fear for the worst policies mostly because the direction of F2P gaming tends to lean closely towards that model in a number of really good games that have made a sub to F2P transition. 

A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  Elsabolts

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 2696

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of those that would threaten It

8/15/12 11:37:27 AM#10

Funcom will never change until there Suits and upper Managment are and will continue to Hype and others will continue to fall for it and buy advertizement. Its the nature of the beast.

  palulalula

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/07/11
Posts: 679

8/15/12 11:37:31 AM#11
It is over with golden time of mmo. In fact only Blizzard can survive all of this mess. Next big mmo will be ''Titan'' or first in the line of virtual reality mmo's. Sad, but for all other companies only solution is F2P and cheap products. Maybe mmofps can profit from this, who knows...
  hfztt

Elite Member

Joined: 5/31/05
Posts: 703

8/15/12 11:39:58 AM#12

F2P done wrong is EVIL!

F2P done RIGHT in the RIGHT game can be a good thing.

Most F2P seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle though, which I suspect is not a total coincidence.

  Tibernicus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/15/12
Posts: 437

8/15/12 11:47:15 AM#13
Originally posted by Zealow

Great article.

While Funcom indeed comes from a troubled past, there is no doubt that the secret world is by far their best mmo yet.

Uhh, what?

I mean, as a standalone game, in a vacuum, sure, it's interesting.

But judge it as an MMO? No way. It's got almost none of the features that MMOs are supposed to be about. It feels more like a singleplayer game. In fact, its made by a singleplayer dev, and probably would have done better as a singleplayer game with optional COOP. But then they wouldn't get to charge a monthly fee, and that's what its all about. Pretty much the same deal with SWTOR.

The reason TSW isn't doing well is because it's just not a very good MMO.

  remyburke

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3054

I liked MMOs better when gamers didn't play them, and just geeks did.

8/15/12 11:47:39 AM#14

I'd still rather just pay $15 a month and be able to earn EVERYTHING in game, than be able to go into a store to obtain it. It breaks immersion. ...and I know, no one cares about immersion anymore. I know.

 

And in my humble opinion, TSW is living proof that most customers don't want challenge or complexity in their games anymore. 

MMORPG.com member: 10th Year Anniversary. Where has the time gone...?


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  Tibernicus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/15/12
Posts: 437

8/15/12 11:47:55 AM#15
Originally posted by palulalula
It is over with golden time of mmo.

That time ended in late 2003.

  victorbjr

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/13/10
Posts: 165

8/15/12 11:52:21 AM#16
Originally posted by Superman0X

Your article is interesting.. as it is very self contradictory.

 

Funcom clearly expressed that negative reviews are going to have an effect on sales. This in turn is going to have an effect on stock price. Nothing about this should be a surprise to anyone, nor should be any real concern. What should be looked at is WHY this is true for this game, but not others (i.e. why is this actually news).

 

When a game is P2P, money is made by convincing someone to pay for the product first, then find out if they enjoy it. This is done via marketing, of which a big contribution to this is reviews. Players read reviews to find out about the game, before deciding if they want to spend money.  The release of TSW was not as successful as predicted, because the reviews were not as positive as predicted.

When a game is F2P, money is made by convincing someone to pay for the product after they have tried it out. This requires less indirect marketing, and reviews are not as important, as the customer can try the product, and decide for themselves first.

 

One of the reasons that F2P is suddenly in vogue (the current popularity is very fadish) is because customers have had very bad experiences with P2P in the recent years. They have paid for games (like Age of Conan) based on reviews, only to find that they did not actually enjoy the game. At this time customers are even MORE critical of the reviews, and are looking to form their own opinions first... which is supported by F2P.

 

You end the article on two points:

F2P could/would bring in bad elements (treat gamers like $, use of psychologically deceitful practices). Your statements here show clear bias, as these same elements are used in P2P games to make money.

 

You should form your own opinion (and not rely on reviews). This is actually the unique selling point of F2P (vs P2P).  What you should be suggesting is that Funcom could overcome the poor reviews by making changes to the game (fixing the issues that caused the poor reviews) and then promoting the game via free weekends (i.e. start moving towards F2P) so that players can make up their own minds.

 

It is clear that you wish good things for this game. However, it is also clear that bais towards the changes that might make that happen are not exclusive to the business unit.

 

Heyo. Just saw your comment after I posted. :)

As far as I know, Funcom is working on resolving issues with the game and with that single-server tech/chat issue thing. The issue 2 announcement that was also recently unveiled seems to bode well for the game, as they're trying to fix and add to existing gameplay systems (ROCKET LAUNCHERS!) :D

Anyway...regarding your points Superman, I must admit that you have an excellent assessment, but it's predicated on the idea that game reviews and sales are causally linked.,  I'm gonna state here that my writing was based on the idea that a casual relationship between game reviews and game sales has yet to be firmly established, and I should have said that earlier in the piece. Apologies. 

As of today, I believe, they've also got a 3-day trial set up for people, which should help increase visibility of the game amongst interested parties. :)

Lastly, I will agree that even Sub games work on some level using an addition mechanic to keep some people playing. :)

That said, thank you for the comment. 

A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  TalulaRose

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/27/12
Posts: 455

8/15/12 11:59:21 AM#17
Originally posted by Dakirn

This was a good article.

 

I'm so tired of hearing people wishing that a game will fail.. they don't even take into consideration what they're asking for.  They're asking for hundreds of employees to lose their jobs and ability to provide for their families.. simply because they don't "like" the game or have some deep set grudge against the company because of a game you played 5 years ago.

 

If you don't like a game, state your reasoning and move on.. don't spend your time bashing the game and wishing for failure.  It doesn't help the industry at all.

 

MMO developers have to be some of the most selfless people on the planet to work such long hours for very average pay to make a game that so many people end up hating, wishing for the failure or of wishing personal bodily harm to those who work on it.

 

It's sad to read so much, especially on this site.. especially in an industry where something "new" is rare.  Everyone wants a company to try something different and then hope for their failure at the same time.

This site needs to start doing a better job at moderating its community. Most of the times its a band wagon mentlity of trashing a game for lolz.

  gaeanprayer

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/08
Posts: 2360

8/15/12 12:04:55 PM#18

"The third main point was that user scores were relatively high at 8.4 out of 10 on Metacritic and other sites and, according to Funcom, was “a positive indicator of high customer satisfaction, and a solid foundation” to build The Secret World on due to the greater possibility of a stable subscriber base."

 

What people are forgetting is that TSW starts off on an incredibly high note. It just doesn't end that way. Those metacritic scores mean nothing for just that reason, and they (and you) are silly to base any opinion on the game's potential on them. Just because someone rushes over to talk about how much they love the game doesn't mean they're going to go back and adjust their scores should their opinion of it change. By then it's out of sight, out of mind.

 

Right now TSW is facing the same dilemma most MMOs do, great at the beginning and by mid-game you're just trudging along toward an unfulfilling endgame. That's why they're already bleeding people despite the "positive indicator". That'll probably take care of itself after several months of updates, but that depends entirely on Funcom's speed in pushing out content. Up to this point, a fraction of recent MMOs managed to do so fast enough to avoid the inevitable F2P conversion: Conan, DCUO, CO, SWTOR, most likely TERA, etc.,etc. Due to the nature of TSW's core content and the amount of effort that goes into creating it, specifically those deep storylines and investigative missions, I don't see TSW being able to keep up with the demand.

"Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  Tibernicus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/15/12
Posts: 437

8/15/12 12:05:11 PM#19
Originally posted by TalulaRose
Originally posted by Dakirn

This was a good article.

 

I'm so tired of hearing people wishing that a game will fail.. they don't even take into consideration what they're asking for.  They're asking for hundreds of employees to lose their jobs and ability to provide for their families.. simply because they don't "like" the game or have some deep set grudge against the company because of a game you played 5 years ago.

 

If you don't like a game, state your reasoning and move on.. don't spend your time bashing the game and wishing for failure.  It doesn't help the industry at all.

 

MMO developers have to be some of the most selfless people on the planet to work such long hours for very average pay to make a game that so many people end up hating, wishing for the failure or of wishing personal bodily harm to those who work on it.

 

It's sad to read so much, especially on this site.. especially in an industry where something "new" is rare.  Everyone wants a company to try something different and then hope for their failure at the same time.

This site needs to start doing a better job at moderating its community. Most of the times its a band wagon mentlity of trashing a game for lolz.

Trashing a game because it's a bad game.

We hope for games to fail so that there's a positive change in the industry. Those developers will ultimately be the ones to suffer either way, so long as publishers that don't know what they're doing are dictating what the devs are making.

  BarCrow

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/25/07
Posts: 2225

8/15/12 12:09:21 PM#20
So..whats to keep publishers (or whoever) from making "arrangements" with metacritic to report just shy of a bonus enducing score..leaving developers stiffed of deserved revenue (in the form of earned bonuses) ...while the extra cash remains in the pockets of those less deserving?
 
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