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All Posts by Axehilt

All Posts by Axehilt

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Originally posted by Moirae

Except they WERE good games or people wouldn't still be playing them. You do realize that people get disatisfied with what their playing and go back to their old games right? There's a reason most of them haven't been shut down yet. 

Wow, you are all stretching to make excuses. 

Uh, the games you're talking about have incredibly miniscule player counts currently.  They had small player counts even in their prime. Which is why companies haven't spent much money chasing after the oldschool type of MMORPG.

No "excuses" are being offered here, only an accurate look at what has happened, and what is happening.

 

Originally posted by Moirae

And?  

Why can't a good game, with more than just linear game play and pvp and pretty graphics make money, exactly? Oh wait... it can. It just takes longer to develop, but these greedy companies want immediate pay offs. The thing is, that kind of mind set is going to bring about the end of MMORPG's. It's only a matter of time. There's a reason people keep jumping from game to game. Because sometimes you want some meat on those bones. 

Of course good games make money, but we're reflecting back on Old MMORPGs, which weren't good games.  They had some traits which could be polished up with modern sensibilities, but the old atmosphere of high-timesink for low-gameplay and big inconveniences all dramatically reduced the potential audience.

"Longer to develop" is the exact same as "bigger budget game".  Which again is going to be driven by the expected audience size for a game.

As for immediate payoffs, that's a separate issue.  A game which manages to successfully be fun long-term will be substantially more profitable long-term.

Originally posted by Moirae

So let me get this right... you will take anything handed to you, no matter how bad, because its popular? Well, I guess that explains why Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus are in the news then. Makes me sad for the human race. It also explains why other countries are surpassing this one in every way but money.

You don't seem to have gotten it right.

Businesses invest in product development relative to perceived upside: Products with big audiences receive big budgets (and vice-versa.)  This doesn't mean niche products aren't made, only that they will inevitably have smaller budgets (small audience = small budget.)

After those products are created, the one I "take" is the product which is most closely aligned with my own interests.

Originally posted by DrCokePepsi
So damn true, the market is just confused right now. It's catering to the wrong crowd.

The market isn't confused.  The market sees two groups (one huge, one tiny) both of which will give them money if the developer creates a game suited to them.  Big surprise that they choose the larger group, satisfying more players and earning more money.

The primary confusion is if players want big-budget games created for niche-sized audiences

Game budgets fit audience size.  You can find plenty of niche-targeted indie games, but they're going to have niche-sized budgets (which rules out many forms of MMOs.)

Originally posted by c0exist

Yes gratification is the point.  But the genre was based around you building up your character and working for your weapons and gear.  It was always a different experience than playing a console game.  Their was depth, it took a while to learn the game; you actually explored to find the next area.  You met friends along the way because you needed them to progress.    the genre has completely changed both styles are gratifying its just sadly only one of those type of games exists anymore.  Things took time to accomplish because these are not games that have an ending; working hard for a rare weapon or piece of armor was extremely gratifying.  Most importantly it was an honor to be a high level and to get access to high level areas not a right like it is now.  The content was the world and not the next cut scene.

Eh, I don't think I'd call early MMORPGs especially deep.  I can't speak for EQ or UO, but the ~10 pre-WOW MMORPGs I did play were fairly shallow games.  Sometimes you'd get a glimmer of an interesting deep mechanic (AC1's progression system) but it'd be sort of an isolated example (buried underneath hours of super-monotonous, shallow AC1 combat grinding.)

Originally posted by UNATCOII

A lot of self-promoting these days. Look who Blizzard hires (let alone other publishers) after all.

Uh, Blizzard hires the same type of people any gaming company hires...

...or was your point to intentionally not sound like a knowledgeable insider, in order to distance yourself from who you were describing?

Originally posted by worldalpha
Instant gratification defines this generation of gamers.

Gratification is the point of gaming, and there's rarely a good reason to hide the gratification from players.  (Being shitty at gratification is actually why early MMORPGs did so poorly.)

Meanwhile games can be casual-friendly and still challenging.  They just need to offer the right difficulty options.

1H+Shield is OP.

But I agree with the other poster, that the series really go into enough details to really make the call.

Originally posted by UNATCOII

Ah, the amount of trading done on the AH would mimic what trade is done in EvE by millions.

It's a terrible trade system, though. Horrible. The EQII broker system is 10x better, as a crafter doesn't have to actively manage his trades like a day trader (items are for sale as long as you log in every week). If you have hundreds/thousands of items for sale, do you want to reserve bank toons for it, especially every 48hrs for all of the junk sent back via mail to do it all over again?

Much better to "set it and forget it" while playing the game itself...not the market itself. Crafters already have their own time sinks.

Right, exactly.

For crafters they want to spend time engaged in the crafting side of things.

For traders they want to spend time engaged in trading -- and not necessarily the massive timesinks associated with trading (EVE trading.)

But it's awkward to discuss these as two separate groups, because there's probably more overlap than not.  Still, a popular mainstream economy game wouldn't really play like EVE.  It'd be more like the Stronghold or Settlers series, where you're making a constant series of important decisions regarding how your economy is run, but you're rarely just waiting on something to happen.  There's a lot of waiting for things to happen in EVE, which makes it a pretty awful trading game.

Originally posted by UNATCOII

Does that sound like EA and Activision-Blizzard?

It really doesn't, at least not from what friends who've worked at those places indicate, and what I can infer based on the end products of both companies.

I mean especially with Blizzard you can tell their unwavering goal is fun gameplay, which is why they've developed such a rock-solid, non-stop track record of smash hits.  That track record creates so much player loyalty that even their weaker offerings (like Warcraft 3 and Diablo 3) are still smash hits (and admittedly even these "failed" games are far more fun than the alternative experiences at the time.)

Without that underlying goal, Blizzard would've never got where it is today.

It's harder to defend EA the same way, but they're certainly not at all similar to the situation you're describing.

If anything it's Rockstar which is closest, and only in terms of the "shitty working conditions with bad management and witch hunts" aspects of your example.

Originally posted by FoeHammerJT

So for the record: Auction Houses are popular. I don't like Auction Houses because they have eliminated trade between players for a majority of the time.

Next point: I feel like there is a rather large difference between Trade and Crafting.  You need not do one to do the other.

I hardly believe Auction Houses are friendly to crafters.

Point of fact: Since the advent of Auction Houses, gathered materials have tended to out trend craft items. There has been some progress in this area, but in GW2, WoW, EQ2, gathered materials tend to sell for more than a finished product. FF14's HQ and complex crafting system, long grind, and fairly significantly learning curve (all good things by me) are making some impact. By further eliminating the randomness in gathering they have made some progress towards goods being valuable vs materials and that's great!

I still think Crafters are better off without an Auction House, but not necessarily traders (And certainly not gold farmers!) This is my opinion and probably not the opinion of the masses, we are talking about the same masses lining up to instant queue and play Call of Duty 76: Yellow Ops Part 4, and instant queue for instances with people they neither speak with or will adventure with again.

You might want to re-word your stance on how Auction Houses eliminate trade between players.  Because that's all they are.

As for the price of gathered materials, that has nothing to do with Auction Houses.  It's purely the fact that materials actually have more value than finished goods, because they're more flexible.  A material can be several things.  A finished product is only that one finished product.

Certainly you can bake more value into a finished product by making crafting take longer (significant craft times measured in hours or days) or rarity (if a recipe is hard to earn or even just time-consuming to unlock.)  This will increase the value of the finished product, sometimes causing it to be worth more than the ingredients in spite of their flexibility (much like the real world.)

As for who's better off without an AH, you seem to have it reversed.  If a crafter wasn't interested in trading, then it's mostly just a net-negative for them to have to spend more time in the minigame they aren't as fond of (trading) which deprives them of time where they want to be (crafting).  Whereas for a trader, removing the AH makes their game that much more involved.

Hopefully you're not making the mistake of thinking that because WOW is popular, it's specific style of crafting and auctions are what's driving that.  Those are support systems, intentionally kept light and efficient so that the developers could spend more time polishing and improving the game's core systems (questing, grouping, raiding, and PVP).  So the type of crafting/trading game the masses would be interested in would be substantially different and more involved than WOW's.

As a FB friend pointed out when that article was linked, the "formula" is a bit wonky but has a grain of truth behind it.

Mostly I feel happiness is largely a matter of attitude.  And a big part of having the right attitude for happiness revolves around having an accurate perception of how the world has worked in the past, which carries forward to accurate expectations of how the world will work in the future.  So I suppose I don't exactly disagree with the "formula", but it's a little awkward to discuss it the way it's presented.

Attitude is tied to success too.

About 13 years ago, I got my start in the games industry by tagging along with a friend who interviewed for a testing position at Nintendo.  Both of us got the job.

While there, I took the job seriously and acted professionally (despite Nintendo's testing dept being something of a joke at that time.)  My friend did not, and had a loudly disappointed attitude.  He's one of two people I've known, in all my time in the industry, who has probably played as many or more games than I have, but instead of working with the system his attitude of entitlement made him (and those around him) miserable, which resulted in his being laid off.

Fast forward 13 years and I have extensive experience in the industry as a professional game designer, while he took a break to go to college and now makes Facebook posts about how frustrated he is that he can't break back into the industry or get a weakly-presented Kickstarter game backed by anyone.  It was a difference in attitude which caused us to end up on these entirely separate paths in our lives.

Originally posted by nariusseldon

Why is it not useful? Now we have a category that includes LoL, and not BF4. It is perfectly clear which is which. Size has little to do with this categorization, it is based on common usage.

"Wrong"? A definition cannot be wrong. If we called this category A ... no one will object. The only reason you are objecting is because the use of the label "MMO" has been changes. It turns out no one has a claim on the English language.

So you say it is wrong. This site, and others also listed LoL as a MMO. I will change the usage when you get all the sites to delist it and change the labeling. 

It's not useful because it lacks a use.  There isn't really a situation under which that specific slice of games (all actual MMOs, plus LoL) is particularly useful, and if you have to take the time to specifically explain that's what you mean by "MMO", then why bother using the term to attempt to describe the grouping of games in the first place?  It's inefficient, wasted effort when you could simply say "all MMOs, and LoL."

If millions of people decide to use the word "up" to mean down, language changes because it's a shared thing.

If a handful of irresponsible or under-educated people decide to use the word "MMO" to mean all online games (except CoD, and BF4, and...), language doesn't change: they're just wrong.

Originally posted by nariusseldon

It is not misleading if the categorization is clearly stated.

"Online games" does include COD and BF4 so the label "MMO" is a smaller set, and that is why it is useful.

It is not poor methodology if that inclusion is what their customer wants. I am sure they can easily re-cut & dice their data according to customer needs. 

It's a little ironic that you claim the term is useful because it includes LoL (a 5 vs. 5 game) and doesn't include BF4 (a 32 vs. 32 game.)  It's also wrong, since there's really very little actual usefulness to making the distinction (and certainly no usefulness to using an entirely inappropriate and illogical term to describe that subset of games.)

That's why it's poor methodology.

If the customer (the person(s) requesting/purchasing the research) wants research on a certain set of games, that's entirely appropriate.  But calling things by unclear, misleading, and outright wrong terms is just sloppy.  It has more to do with researchers being unfamiliar with what they're researching than a decision made with conscious, knowledgeable intent.

 

Originally posted by nariusseldon

It does not have to mean anything to be a label for a collection of games. It is still useful because it refers to a subset of games, instead of all of them.

For example, if you read a market research firm report of the MMO market ... the category MMO usually includes LoL but exclude facebook games. That is useful even if the categorization is somewhat arbitrary because you know exactly what the numbers correspond to. 

It's not a particularly good label if there's a simpler pre-existing term (like "online games") which better describes what these games are.

It was just poor methodology for that firm to call it a report on MMOs, if it was going to include LoL.

Dividing things into useful categorires isn't a problem.  But that can be done without misleading, false labels for things.

Originally posted by Boneserino

Seriously Axe!  Are you trying to make us believe that every time a game ( any game!) drops it price you are going to run out and play it?

That is essentially what you are trying to tell us will happen.  Explain why I see no MMO's doing this, but rather going straight to F2P.  Because no amount of price drop is going to get me to play SWOTOR.  However if the game is free I might try it.  thats why you don't see MMO's going on sale.  Now if it was tomatoes and the price dropped I might buy one because even though I don't need one, I might need it later.  Food is a necessity.   Buying a game is a discretionary item and people buy these items for completely different reasons.  Certainly price if comparable to other similar games is not going to be the major deciding factor.

You can't simplify the situation by removing all extraneous factors and then state that since X occurs, Y must follow.   This is the real world.

This simple concept has been explained over and over and over:

  • If WOW dropped its subscription price, more players would subscribe.
  • That's more sales.
  • It's not necessarily more revenue.  You need to sell two $7.5 subscriptions to equal one $15 subscription.  Revenue is price * buyers.
Optimizing for price will produce results like this graph.  As price increases (x axis) the number of sales (orange line) decreases.  And the blue line is revenue (number of sales * price)   Note that there's a single price that maximizes revenue (the top of the "hill")
 
MMORPGs have a similar graph.  In fact, each game has a separate graph because each game is a distinct product.  With each game there is a curve where there's one price that is the optimal price.
 
The thing is, to draw the entire curve you need data points.  Right now we know about one data point: $15.
 
Without additional data points, we really have no clue what the curve looks like.  $15 could be near the top, or it could be languishing down towards the bottom.  Without additional data points, we simply don't know.  All we'd need are 3-4 different data points to really start to predict where the optimal price is, but any given MMORPG isn't experimenting with that many price points.
 
And you don't need to experiment with the entire userbase, only a statistically significant sample size.  But that gets back to the original problem: you can't really offer 10% of your userbase a $10 subscription and another 10% a $20 subscription, because players would be like "WTF?!" and wonder why they're paying twice as much as the other players say they're paying on the forum.
 
Originally posted by lizardbones
I am suspicious of the OP's premise. I think the people complaining are mostly complaining because the entire game isn't group focused, not that grouping itself is hard.

Yeah historically threads like this are complaints that soloing is a viable playstyle.

Also, it might be important to note that at least for Heirloom-geared players, soloing is faster leveling again in WOW (as I mentioned earlier, it's gone back and forth over the years; currently it's in a bad state.)

I didn't believe it at first after I ran a DPS friend blazingly fast through a dungeon with me tanking, but then I compared the XP rate on my own heirloom'd character and found that he was right.

Granted, I think it's probably still true what you said about a coordinated group grinding XP in the world (that's how World First Max Levels always happen with each WOW expansion after all.)  But in terms of the common grouping most players do, soloing seems better currently.

Which sucks.  I like WOW best when grouping doesn't feel like I'm gimping my own advancement speed, because I like WOW's grouping more than any other part of the game.

Originally posted by Velocinox

[some stuff]

  1. "Pricing doesn't make a difference" was literally the first thing you said in this thread. The link confirms it.  What on earth are you confused about?
  2. I did read what you wrote, but you seem to fundamentally misunderstand (or are intentionally trolling) a very basic, high-school-level fact about economics.  The fact that you sidetracked with average income, rather than realizing all individuals exist along a distribution (and that cheaper prices enable more and more people to afford a product) is pretty irrelevant.
    • Humorously, you're actually supporting my earlier point about subs being luxury goods.  Earlier you insisted they weren't luxury goods.  But with your last two posts you've been so eager to prove me wrong (rather than listen to what I'm actually saying) that you took my posts to mean that we should sell subscriptions to homeless people, and you made fun of how ridiculous it was -- obviously implying that subscriptions are luxury goods that not everyone can afford, given the costs.  Thank you, that was exactly my point: price matters, and as it increases you prevent more and more people from being potential buyers.
  3. Calling my recap of the OP's post "wrong" when it's nearly verbatim what he posted is sort of par for the course for you: a simple, obvious truth exists, yet you deny that truth in the face of indisputable evidence.
The entire thread is basically, "Pick one game.  With that game, would it do better with a cheaper pricing model?"  Your tangent about game quality has been off-topic from post #2.  He's not asking if FFXIV would've done better if it was WOW instead.  He's asking if FFXIV would've done better itself (same game; same quality,) with a different pricing model.
Originally posted by Velocinox

"Pricing doesn't make a difference." Who are you quoting?

"Pebble in Orbit" The average disposable income of the top 28 nations with recorded disposable income (28 Hungary @ $12,843, up to 1 USA @ $42,050) is $26,800. Of that an $8 savings month to month over an entire year ($96), is 3.6 tenths of a percent of their income. This is what I would define as a pebble in orbit. 

"MMO players in the bread line." The US poverty line for a single person household is $11,490. That same $96 per year is a massive 8 tenths of a percent of their income. For those with an internet connection, (which I am sure even you will concede, if they don't have internet connection they aren't a part of this discussion at all.) then a year long entertainment budget of 8 tenths of a percent of their income compares quite favorably to most other forms of entertainment. I would think that if someone at this income level truly enjoyed an MMO and their price jumped from $7 a month to $15, they would still consider the 8 tenths of a percent extra an acceptable increase in their budget. And this is one of the smallest demographics of MMO players, and it would seem by your logic it would affect them the most. But in truth it is still quite a bargain in relation to other forms of entertainment. This would indicated that the change in this demographic would be less than average, not more as you contend. In the end more players would come and go based on their remaining interest in the game than $8 a month. 

Now if you mean 'bread line' to mean the even more destitute than the examples I present above I would think the whole issue of not having an internet connection, or a computer, or electricity, or a home would be a far greater issue than an $8 drop in an MMO's subscription. But, then maybe you have stumbled on to an untapped market. If we can get these homeless people computers, electricity, homes, and finally an internet connection, we might be able to market our game to them... if we just drop the subscription by $8... because that's what is really keeping the homeless from playing those tanks we always need in raids, the $8, not those other things. 

"The discussion has always been about whether changes to pricing alone will improve MMORPGs revenue."

No. It hasn't. And here you show you have no grasp on the topic. The discussion is will it trump the draw of the game. 

Are you kidding me?  "Pricing doesn't make a difference" is literally the first thing you said in this thread. The context at that point was, "Would games make more money at a different price point?"  And in that context, yes pricing would make a difference.

Your "pebble" bit is sort of hilarious. Averages! You crack me up!

We're talking about individuals, whose income is a distribution weighted towards the bottom, and whose entertainment budget is an even tighter version of that distribution (since necessities come first.)  Which is why pricing matters, because the lower your price gets the more individuals are enabled to purchase the product.  The average income isn't very useful because it leads you down this false path of thinking "Oh, the average person can afford it so changing the price doesn't matter" which is of course wrong.  

As for what the topic is about, read the OP again.  He's asking whether FFXIV would've made more if it was free with a $7 subscription.  He's pointing out how three $7 subs is worth more than one $15 sub.  He's pointing out that GW2 at $60 wasn't worth it to him, but the same game at $20-25 might've been.  It's all exactly the stuff I've been hammering on, and you've been avoiding.

Let's say someone asked the question "Would FFXIV make more money if it was free with a $7 subscription?"  and someone replied, "It would make more money if it was a better game."  Do you honestly feel the question was actually answered as it was asked?

Originally posted by Boneserino

Lets not forget the phenomenom called the "Power Leveller"!

If there is one thing I hate in MMO's these days it is this guy.   You know the guy who starts at level 1 and immediately wants to group with you so that he can do level 50 content in a group while achieving ridiculous amounts of experience points as well as skipping the majority of low level game content.  

And he does all this just so he can get to endgame and complain that there is not enough content to keep him amused.

But aside from that I agree with most here, in that I don't really see grouping being punished in the games I have played.   If grouping isn't necessay to do the content then generally there is always some bonus offered as incentive to group.  But it shouldn't be excessive as other have stated.

Well powerleveling still happens for sure (every time WOW releases a new expansion, it's a grouping player who hits max level first) but what you're describing hasn't happened in MMORPGs for years, maybe even a decade.

I think Asheron's Call is the only MMORPG where a level 1 player could actually benefit from lugging alongside a level 50 player, and actually earn rewards for doing so (and I'm not even sure how good that was; I might just be mixing it up with the vassal system.)

Arguably you could do something similar in City of Heroes too, but that game maintained the difficulty with its sidekick system. Basically you would have the stats (health/damage/etc) of a level 50 player, earn rewards about equal to your own level's content, but lack any of the higher-level abilities.  So it was actually a bit harder (considerably harder in some cases) to do the level 50 content while sidekicked up, but it wasn't so hard that you weren't a worthwhile group mate.  Because MMORPGs should let friends play together, you know?

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