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All Posts by Vercinorix

All Posts by Vercinorix

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53 posts found
Originally posted by Lucioon
Originally posted by ariboersma
Originally posted by Wayshuba
Originally posted by ariboersma
...snip...

4. You are very wrong here.. the ONLY area I heard this from was human. Norn and Char because they are close together and perhaps more fleshed out with events I was never the same lvl as what I was doing. I was only under the few times I went to the high lvl area of the zone I was in skipping the lower part. There is no reason to be max lvl right away.. this isn't a game where you OMG NEED TO BE MAX LVL TO DO END GAME ZOMG TIER GRIND!

No, Norn too. Can't speak for Charr since I only did Human and Norn. By the time you did the raven and snow leapord stuff you were about level 3 or 4. Bear was up next... and what level was that? - 6! Got hit with the event there with about 10-12 people and more than three-quarters of them died. Most Norn I was in area with keep running the snow leapord hunting and raven riddle events over and over until they got to level 6... real exciting.

Then you crossed the water and did the same cave over and over again (grabbing food, bringing it back, then defending it) until you could move on once again. I saw quite a few comments about grind the Shaman's cave repeatedly and that XP was a bit off.

 

then you were not exploring and doing event because I was easily 2-3 lvl above what I was doing.. as Norn

There is no Grind, just by walking around the cities, you are gaining experience, just by randomly killing beasts you come across you are gaining EXP.

If you were just gonna do one quest then move on, without following the chains, then yes you will be underlevel. But thats the way you want to play. Even as Human and Norn I was able to outlevel the mobs fairly quickly once I decided to explore the region and do the quests. I only did two chain events, and already I was level 7.

You play the way you want, if you feel that there is Grind and its not your game, then don't play, really !! whats so important to like a game and that make you have to play it. Does someone somewhere dies if you don't like a game.

Is the world's salvation depends on everyone playing GW2 and liking every aspects of it. I just really don't understand it, I like a game, I play the game, I don't like the game, I don't play the game. Its a very very easy concept.

Just because you feel its a grind, doesn't make it a grind to everyone else. I didn't grind, and I out level the area, you grind and you out level the area. I enjoy my BWE, you didn't. Do I care if you like it, nope, do i care if you know I like the game, NOPE.

Discussing about aspects is okay, but when the discussion goes toward of speculations and whether or not it will make someone like the game then its going way off course. Because no one cares if anyone else likes the game, its more about the principles of Cash Shop, and none of the principles of Cash Shop for GW2 needs any discussion.

Discussions about game play and mechanics and where to get materials, how to more efficiently utilize your time is a much better discussion topic.

By the way, I disagree with your assertion that some topics are better than others to discuss about a game. As long as the topic being discussed in fact DOES relate directly to a game and how it is being run it provides valuable feedback to smart developers and companies who try to get a feel for what their audience wants/expects.

This is exactly the same principle as 'every vote counts'. If people do not express clearly what they want/expect, any company is just guessing at what they have to do to meet their customer's needs and earn their money.  The simple fact that this thread is now up to 40+ pages so fast should be a clear warning sign to ANet that they have to tread vary carefully with their cash shop.

Please note: I am not trying to be partisan for either side here. I like so far what ANet has been presenting about their game, but have not prepurchased it yet.

Originally posted by OldMMOGamer
Originally posted by Volkon

BTW I'm not raggin on the game, just curious is all.  BUT, how will this game stay afloat if most people decide they need not buy anything?  If there are a million players lets say for example, and only several thousand purchase from the shop a month, will that be enough to keep the servers going for the hundreds of thousand of other players not paying anything?

 

Simple. By removing the "need" to buy things you increase the "want" to buy things for a lot of people. If there were necessary things to buy in the shop I'd likely not bother playing and be highly disappointed. But, with it as it is, I can see a few things I'll likely buy just because I want to.

That makes sense, never thought of it that way.

I'm going to reply to your original post as well as several of the continuations. In my original post I mentioned that you can see what Blizzard's costs were in their quarterly reports on their websites. I just checked there again for real numbers to use as examples and can no longer find those reports. Either the reports are buried or are no longer being listed on their website. So I am going to have to go by memory. If anyone still has access to the real reports and wants to correct me, feel free. =)

The information I was looking at was 4 quarterly reports from around Q2 2010 to Q1 2011... IE they covered the release of the Cataclysm expansion. What struck me was that the income from Blizzard's non P2W cash shop was roughly equivalent to the amount that Blizzard received from their subscription fees, and that BOTH the subscription fees AND the cash shop revenue was approximately 15x greater than total (non advertising) operating costs. This pattern was consistent across all 4 quarters.

If that pattern is at all representative of human nature, it shows that it is quite reasonable for anyone to expect that there will be more than enough people willing to buy cosmetic/convenience only perks to give ANet a quite respectable profit stream with no subscription fees.

As an aside, the revenues from selling Cataclysm alone would support Blizzard's existing (non-advertising) operating expenses for YEARS. So yeah, assuming any decent sales of the GW2 box client (and given how much this game is anticipated atm I think it is a fair assumption that GW2 will sell well) ANet could indeed keep the servers running for quite some time on the box sales alone. Am I mad that ANet has decided to put in a cash shop on top of that?

Hell no. Why?

Because ANet should be able to maintain enough of a profit with the cash shop to internally fund their NEXT project. Which will allow them to keep being creative and innovative with the games they make. I would not be at all surprised to discover that the GW1 cash shop is the reason why GW2 isn't a WoW clone. Which is good for me because I personally would not buy or play GW2 if it was a WoW clone.

For me I'm pretty sure I can get by with only spending for the box for quite some time.

I also happen to be one of those crazy packrat types as well. I have no problem with cash shops so long as actual exclusive items that affect a character's ability to kill things are NOT sold in them. If people want to pay for frills I could care less. As a matter of fact, more power to them if it means I don't have to pay a subscription fee.

Yes, it does cost some degree of cash to maintain servers and bandwidth and support. But honestly, the rationale for subscriptions were supposed to be that they covered those things AND a fair degree of new content. The reality has been that in most games that I have seen or heard of, the amount of extra content generated in between paid expansions never came even remotely close to being equivalent in value to the amount of cash paid in subscriptions during that time frame. If you want an idea of just exactly how much profit can be generated from subs, go to the Blizzard website and look at their quarterly financial statements. It is pretty clear that most of the subscription fees are pure profit. After that, I find it really hard to personally justify spending that extra $15 per month.

As far as using in game gold to buy cash shop items... the questions really become how easy it will be to get gold and what exactly you can get with just gold in the game that is worth spending gold on. If gold isn't really all that useful then there probably won't be a lot of players buying gems with real money and then trying to resell them for gold. Keep in mind if ANet's goal is to marginalize the 3rd party gold sellers, pretty much all the perks will have to be cash shop items and the item per hour ratio of using in game gold to buy gems will have to be so bad that just paying the cash up from to ANet to buy the gems will be practically a no-brainer.

Only time in game at release will tell how it all works out though.

I think it depends quite a bit on the size of the servers involved and how the game in question organizes play. Really large servers create a faceless sea of anonymity, it is very hard to have any sense of a larger community if you are likely to run into any given player only once.

Most games that I have played created many smaller sub-communities rather than a single overall one.

I tend to agree that new MMO games need to break away from the WoW clone model. My interest in them is directly proportional to how much any new game manages to do so.

IMO, too little effort is spent these days looking at what has gone before and attempting to learn lessons from it. As an ex WoW player, I really don't want to play WoW again, but with a few changes. Fresh and seriously innovative will attract my attention.

With that said: If you want to write an essay it pays to take the extra time to organize your thoughts and how you choose to write them down. Your goal should be to present yourself as an objective observer. The original poster did not manage to do this at all.

I am going to throw a curve ball here. How about we consider some games that have been more popular and enduring than any computer game ever made? Games like Go and Chess.

People from many different cultures have been playing games like these for centuries for their entire lives. It seems to me that computer game designers might want to consider why that is so and try to emulate their example :P

Originally posted by dronfwar

Investors should go and invest in Walmart and fuck up the food prices or something. Gaming is a harder busines. Traditional market rules of maximizing profits doesn't apply here. It is a virtual product and not an essential need. They try to artificially create need by marketing and all kinds of stupid business. People just stop buying if they don't like the quality, so they have to deliver. The quality is the only thing that sets it apart...

There is always the option to invest in car polish. Dirt reinvents itself. There is always great demand for car polish. Go and sell car polish in the pedestrian zone.

You had better be prepared to forget about MMOs then and go back to Tetris, Pac Man or Breakout. There is no way programmers are going to get millions of dollars of other people's money up front without it coming from investors looking to make a profit.

It depends on who is running the company, how big that company is, and how expensive the projects under development are. If you have a publicly traded company whose upper management are all buisness school grads from the lst generation or so, don't expect anything else to be a factor except short term profits, because that is all most of these folks have been taught to do.

Creative risks will rarely be taken by large public companies. Thats the basic rule of thumb.

IMO, a lot of expectations depend on how long you've been an electronic gamer. Are you from the Pong era? The 80's, 90's or a post 2000 gamer? If you've been around since the beginning, the current state of games is likely a big letdown because gameplay has been stagnant for well over a decade. We just get the same old stuff regurgitated every so often with a new wrapper. The younger crowd doesn't know any better though, because this situation is all they have ever known. It seems normal to them.

The budgets for a AAA game are also just too big now (especially for an MMO) for the final fate of a game to rest on the programmer's discretion alone. The folks in control of the purse strings are going to have a decisive impact, and the odds are those people have no clue about games.

 

For me, I tend to move games with a group of gamer friends. If we leave a game, its likely that we're not coming back because we've gotten fed up with fundamental elements of the game and it is never likely that any game will change that much after release. Couple an already hard sell to having to sell the game again to a group instead of an individual.... yeah we're basically gone for good.

Whenever a gme is being played, whether a virtual computer game or a physical one like football, if it involves other human beings those interactions are 'real life'.

The proper response of a non sociopath upon hearing that W was suicidal would have been "Look, if you're really suicidal, then playing this game isn't for you. you should find a different game and seek help to deal with your problems."

What actually happened was very different. As has been pointed out earlier in this thread, Alex had prepared a slide of W's message to him in advance of the presentation that was on YouTube so the whole idea of this being a drunken indiscretion goes out the window.

Alex is extremely lucky that W didn't actually commit suicide... the court of public opinion is harsher than any legal court of justice. If Alex is in fact an american lawyer he REALLY should have known better; at the least if the law firm that he works for gets wind of this he will most likely be fired.

For me its not just whether I will like the game, its also whether enough of the group of friends that I play computer games with like it enough to stick with it.

That is a lot harder to figure out. Though Arenanet has made it a lot easier for us by laying out so much information ahead of time, as well as their thoughts and reasons for doing what they have done with GW2.

Reviews, professional or amateur, really won't be enough to sway me either way. I've learned that professional reviewers almost never can give me the information I really need... which is the viability of the endgame. This is because they can never play the game in hardcore mode; they just don't have the time. As far as amateur/forum reviews go, the people most likely to post on forums are those who have issues with a game. The happy people are playing.

The only way I'll really know about a game is if I play it, and play it enough to make an informed opinion. Same goes for my friends.

A good sign is that Arenanet seems to be showing players the endgame in the beta (unlike many other betas have done). Most of the elements of gamepay that many of us have been looking forward to are actually present, so it is likely that enough of us will want to try it out. 

Playing Dark Age of Camelot again atm.

I will get and play D3 when it releases, a lot of my old DaoC and WoW buddies are going to play D3 so it will be a good way for me to catch up with them and have a 'beer and pretzels' night.

Originally posted by Monorojo

Why would anyone plan to purchase a pay to win game like Guild Wars 2 and bash any other MMO?

 

It seems completely backwards.

Were you referring to my post?

If so I would like to point out a few things.

 1) I said that I am not willing to pay a subscription fee on a game that will not hold my interest (or my gaming friends' interest) long term.

2) I explained that my decision on SW:ToR was based on the information that the developers/producers made available in advance on their game.

3) I believe that the industry as a whole would benefit from the approach of customer engagement and openness about their product  that Arenanet has been following with Guild Wars 2. I would like to encourage this approach, hence I will buy the game. I will never buy a game again where the information regarding the game is basically 'its cool, trust us.' It is refreshing for me to see a company show "This is what we are doing, this is why we are doing it, this is exactly what you are going to get."

4) 'Pay to win' generally describes a version of the F2P model where a player can buy items which have a direct in-game effect on actual play, not cosmetic-only enhancements. Since Arenanet has specifically and repeatedly stated that their cash shop for GW2 is cosmetic only, it is a misrepresentation to call GW2 'pay-to-win' at this time. If the game goes live and the cash shop is NOT cosmetic only items will it justify a 'pay to win' label.

Originally posted by jpnz
Originally posted by Vercinorix

@ OP: Success breeds imitation, not innovation. While I agree that continuing to buy MMO games in a forlorn hope that 'maybe this one will be different' is a bad idea, if people stopped buying MMOs in general the most likely fate is the death (or extreme marginalization) of the genre (Flight sims anyone?), not a rebirth into glory.

Science fiction gave us a glimpse of the holy grail of MMO experiences decades ago via the Cyberpunk and related subgenre stories, but we're probably just as far away from that type of MMO becoming a reality as it has taken for the 'flying car for every household' futurism of the 50's.

The things I rarely see in gripe threads like this are specific detailed examples of how to improve new games. Things like 'lackluster worlds and/or graphics, repetetive combat' sound like they mean something but really don't tell a developer what you want to see instead. 

If you want change, take the time to think about what you want to see done differently and say exactly what you want, in excruciating unambiguous detail.

HIstorically and financially the highlighted text is false.

Success breeds innovation because competition fosters it.

Recent case is iphone / Ipad / iPod.

 

It is an acceptable fact in the business/financial  world that 'everybody is greedy, therefore innovation happens only if company can make money'.

Actually the highlighted text is quite true, both historically and financially. Although I should have clarified it and been more specific: "Success breeds imitation and incremental innovation, not revolution."

Revolutionary games are few and far between, but when they succeed they spawn a genre.

As a couple of examples: all modern FPS games are incremental advancements of the original Castle Wolfenstein --> DOOM line. How many coin-op arcade games were Space Invaders clones? How many clones of Tetris are floating around?

vs. How many times do you see a Simcity or Spore come onto the scene?

Even though the root of MMOs came from MUDs, the defining model for the industry at present has been Everquest... a never ending grind.

The problem for developers seeking to innovate and produce the next big smash hit is figuring out what the mass computer gaming audience would really like, then convincing the people with money to back them. Like it or not, folks like us on these boards represent the tiny minority of gamers that are vocal: we are a few thousand among millions. Even then, we can't agree on what we want.

Let us look at this from the investor's point of view. The questions that are asked are along the lines of: What is the size of the market? Is this product going to compete for existing market share or does it have the potential to expand the size of the market? What is the likely lifespan of the product? What will the costs be? How much of a return on investment will there be, and when?

Computer games take a lot more money to make these days, and the people who have that money are still mostly from generations that do not understand gaming and gamers. Trying to find backing for a top flight revolutionary game is extraordinarily difficult as a result. We will probably have to wait until there are enough venture capitalists around who are also gamers for that to happen. 

@ OP: Success breeds imitation, not innovation. While I agree that continuing to buy MMO games in a forlorn hope that 'maybe this one will be different' is a bad idea, if people stopped buying MMOs in general the most likely fate is the death (or extreme marginalization) of the genre (Flight sims anyone?), not a rebirth into glory.

Science fiction gave us a glimpse of the holy grail of MMO experiences decades ago via the Cyberpunk and related subgenre stories, but we're probably just as far away from that type of MMO becoming a reality as it has taken for the 'flying car for every household' futurism of the 50's.

The things I rarely see in gripe threads like this are specific detailed examples of how to improve new games. Things like 'lackluster worlds and/or graphics, repetetive combat' sound like they mean something but really don't tell a developer what you want to see instead. 

If you want change, take the time to think about what you want to see done differently and say exactly what you want, in excruciating unambiguous detail.

Let me get this out of the way first: I didn't buy or play SW:ToR.

I didn't buy it precisely because of the information that was (and wasn't) available before the game released. At this stage of the game industry, there is zero excuse not to give plenty of information about what your game will be doing ahead of time unless the developer / publisher is trying to hide something from the consumer, not the competition. The long lead time in development means that there is no way that the competition can 'steal your thunder' by changing their plans midstream and pre-empt you.

EA/Bioware was willing to give plenty of information about the SW:ToR leveling experience but very little about the endgame activities or PvP. The problem is, it is the endgame and PVP experience which justifies a subscription fee. A storyline driven leveling game doesn't bother me, but I am not willing to pay a subscription fee just for that.

What raised red flags for me was the lack of information on endgame play, combined with the fact that Bioware had zero prior experience creating MMOs and the evasiveness displayed by Bioware employees when asked in interviews what effect (if any) WoW had on their design choices. Personally, I had zero desire to play another game where the endgame content was a WoW clone.  

Every one of my friends who I have played MMOs with who did buy and play SW:ToR stopped playing after they hit the level cap, which leaves me rather relieved that I trusted my instinct to avoid this game.

In contrast, I DO intend to buy Guild Wars 2. Why? Because the Arenanet team is actually bothering to explain their thoughts, design philosophy, and game ahead of time to show me why I should spend my money and time on their product. If GW2 is a success, other publishers and devlopers might actually learn from the example and knock the genre out of the stale rut it is currently locked into.

1) Define exactly what you are looking to do, both for yourselves and your audience.


2) Don't call a stress test or prerelease test drive a 'beta'.


3) Pick your first rounds of beta testers carefully. It isn't that hard... just look for the folks on your forums who take the time to wrote out thoughtful, logical topics or replies. Invite them. Those people are in turn likely to know people who wouldn't be a waste of time. Let your proven testers invite 5 more people. Simple.


4) Make certain that the bug handling process is as transparent as possible. Feedback to the community is MANDATORY. As others have explained earlier in this thread, nothing discredits developers and a company more than having issues reported, ignored, then left unresolved for long periods accompanied by a communications blackout. That type of behavior is common, and sends a tremendously negative set of messages to the community.


IMO the current situation can only change when a company can demonstrate breakout success on a WoW or better scale with a truly innovative game.


The point where player preferences come into the picture is that such a game may not be possible if it has to include top end graphical effects.


A lot of gamers do not understand that there is a huge difference between a 64 player FPS server and one that is attempting to manage thousands of concurrent connections. MMOs are the bleeding edge of consumer computer science, there are no business apps even remotely as nasty that use off the shelf computer technology.


I tend to agree that the suits in management are the primary blame for the mass of WoW clones... they are not willing to risk large amounts of money on an 'unproven' system and do not understand gaming in general.


One avenue that I think needs to be explored: game companies were smart enough originally to hire economists to help set up their in-game economies, but apparently never thought of retaining psychologists to trouble shoot the game concepts. Advice from professional psychologists could have prevented many many serious errors in every MMO ever made so far.


Originally posted by Disdena
Originally posted by cbdudek

I guess I wanted to get your thoughts on this kind of model.  The main reason why is it seems that people who invest and play in an MMO are less likely to look at it this way.  If they buy the game ($50) and invest 2 months into it (first month free, 2nd month $15), play for 40 hours for 2 months, and then quit, they think their time spent was a waste.  Didn't they get a full 2 months of time out of the game?  Did they not play for 40 hours and enjoy the game?

Your thoughts?

This is part of why the long-standing standard payment model for the last 12 years (box fee + monthly subscription + expansion packs) stopped being the standard and is giving way to many other kinds of payment models. For most of the lifespan of the MMORPG as a mainstream genre, there has been a tremendous gap between the people who are getting the most for their money and the people getting the least for their money.

At worst, you have people who bought the game, played 5-10 hours and then quit in their free month. Or people who continue to subscribe but only play for a few hours every other weekend. In both cases, you're looking at multiple dollars per hour. At best, you have people who log 60+ hours per week without fail. Over the course of the half a year, the box price becomes a negligible component of the overall expense and the average is only 10 cents per hour, and it goes even lower from there over time. That's without even getting into how many more resources hardcore players require  (content, bandwidth, customer service) compared to the quitters and occasional weekenders.

For a typical MMO with a typical payment model, the majority of the profit has come from the customers who disliked the game enough to stop playing it immediately, and from those who only like the game enough to dabble in it. They probably don't break even on the customers who eat, sleep, and breathe the game—the cost to provide them with the game is higher than the money they charge them to play. Is it any wonder that the people making these games would want this model to change? And is it any wonder how the most devout MMO gamers (who have had a very sweet deal all along) would oppose such a change?

I think you are a bit off base with this analysis. You are offering all opinion with zero numbers to back it. We, the public, do not have access to the data needed to do factual analysis of this type of thing. Companies only release data that they feel will help them, or are forced to by SEC rules. Only the SEC filings are 3rd party verified to be accurate.

Just for fun, I checked up on Activision-Blizzard's SEC filings for 4th quarter 2010 (release period for WoW's most recent paid expansion and 3rd quarter 2011 (most recent quarterly filing). Activision-Blizzard was kind enough to isolate WoW's revenues and expenses from the rest of the report. Here is what was there:

4th quarter 2010 revenue: $366 million US dollars. 4th quarter 2010 costs: $73 million US dollars.

3rd quarter 2011 revenue: $359 milllion US dollars. 3rd quarter 2011 costs: $59 million US dollars.

The report defined that revenue was from the following sources: "* Revenue from online subscriptions consists of revenue from all World of Warcraft products, including subscriptions, boxed products, expansion packs,
licensing royalties, and value-added services. " (author's note: value-added services presumably being cash-shop)

It did not further break down exact revenue amounts from each of these sources, nor did it do an exact breakdown of costs composition.

The only absolutely solid conclusions you can make from those figures is that WoW makes a LOT of money, and that their revenue is a LOT more than their costs. Everything else would be speculation.

It doesn't matter because odds are you're not going to get it.

The fate of EQ2 coupled with the almost universal fading subscription base of older MMOs *as well as the disunity of the fanbase in forum threads like this one* fairly screams a warning to developers (and investors) that nostalgia isn't enough to guarantee success in the MMO market.

Planeside 2 might be an exception because the argument can be made that the original was a game before its time, and was badly handled upon release. It also has effectively zero competition from any other MMO game currently out there.

Edit: added the line enclosed in * *.

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