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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

An MMORPG Players Worst Nightmare

Posted by Inktomi Saturday May 30 2009 at 3:01AM
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The office is brightly lit and impeccably clean and a large cherry wood desk monopolizes the center of the room. Behind the desk sits an older man, graying at the temples he sits comfortably in a large leather chair. Two sides of the office are windows that overlook a sprawling city bustling with life; its 9am and you have been called into your bosses “bosses” office. The man takes off his glasses and looks at you solemnly, asks you a few pointed questions on a project you’ve been working on for the past few years of your time at this company. You do your best to answer confidently and politely, he motions you to have a seat and you oblige. He starts to go over some facts and figures to sound like he is building a case for your dismissal. Life and time for you stop at that moment.


               As you leave the office you understand what your new directives are, the project you’ve been on has been making the company money and that has made you proud. You know the hours you have put in and the effort you and your team have made. Along the line the job has taken a personal connection, not only just to you but also your team that works with you and for you; they have been loyal. You realize that this decision is going to hurt your team and the community that has been built up from years of hard work. “It’s not that it hasn’t been making money, it’s not going to make enough to be able to redirect certain resources that are best used elsewhere”, are the words from the director that echo in your head. The word “elsewhere” stands out like a sore thumb in your mind. You walk into the office and slam the door, there is a hush over the area as your partner walks in and asks if you are ok. “They are shutting it down”, as the breath escapes your lips doing your best to look professional, “after all these years, it’s finally going to end. We need to let everyone know.”


Does it happen that easily? Because that is what I imagined when I read that The Matrix Online was going to be shut down today.


 This blog is not about The Matrix Online, it’s about how these game companies come to the decision and no matter at what human cost, it all comes down to the dollar bill.


 Regardless of what is going on in my personal life, my friends and the people close to me in real life and in game. What really set me off today was the anticlimactic announcement of The Matrix Online servers being shut down this summer. “And we are really proud that we lasted four years while other games released at the same time didn’t.” That also means that you have four years of a loyal fan base that is going to waste, Four years of experience and four years of information gone to waste.  And not to mention the time within that four years that players spent countless hours developing characters, exploring the game and building relationships. Because at the end of the day that is why people play MMORPG’s, if not then they can just play a single player game that at least they will own for life.


               What really bothers me is that there is never the precursor to these decisions, it just happens and the public is forced to accept it. It happened with Tabula Rasa, Hellgate:London, Earth and Beyond and many others. I found a list here after doing some research on MMO shutdowns


. It was actually disheartening to read all these names, even worse is the list of game studios that were shut down as well. Companies like SOE seem to be very systematic in their marketing, advertising and decision making skills.


        The fact that MXO being shutdown isn’t a surprise, but why no recourse for the fanbase or at least a rally to keep the doors open for a certain time longer. I understand what it’s like on all sides of this coin, the player, the worker, the director and the consumer. I have worn all the hats in one way, shape, form or another. I’ve had to make the decision that I knew was painful but best for the company and also to be the player to wake up to the news announcement that your game is going to be shut down.


                We are consumers and investors alike. As a gamer, we go and buy the software or download it online. That in most cases costs money, and then we start to invest our time into the game just to see if we like it. If we decide we like it, that expands into many hours upon hours of personal investment if not we are stuck with some software, QQ sell it on EBAY and buyer beware. This is time that we can be doing ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD, but we CHOOSE to buy and play YOUR GAME.


          Now I understand that there is a certain burnout rate for every game and gamer alike, I’ve been around MMO’s long enough to feel it myself. No one wants to acknowledge this but I don’t think it’s healthy or humanly possible to do the same thing repetitively for prolonged periods of time. That is what causes job burnout, relationship burnout and what prompts vacations, people in general need to change stimulus. OK, I’m getting to psychological here so I will get to my point. We have a choice and us, as a community have choices and with those choices come certain responsibility and power.


                How is that? Ok, for one take it money. All these games and websites cannot run without MONEY, it’s not humanly possible unless they have some rich benefactor that keeps it running. And we have the most important thing that is word of mouth, the power of reputation. As a society, and that’s what we are: A Society; word of mouth and reputation can make and break a game studio. Prime example is The Matrix Online, just didn’t have either the positive reinforcement from the GS (Gamer Society) or the company itself to survive.




               I was looking into MXO at one time, I was a huge fan of the first movie and the small set of animated shorts; the two sequels were not good in my own opinion. When I went looking for reviews the ones I found were:


 “The Matrix Online, isn't as innovative as it ought to have been. It relies heavily (unapologetically at times) on many of the genre's conventions, from class archetypes to loot to endless missions of errand running and extermination. In many ways it feels like a fantasy game in sci-fi clothing. For me, that just doesn't do justice to the potential inherent in the brand.” –

               From the community what I saw was the majority of “Fail, fail, fail. This game is hawwible don’t pway it!”

               So considering these rave reviews I stayed away from trying MxO, because quite frankly I don’t have the budget or hard drive space to try every single game I see. For $50 for the software and $15 a month, $65 for every rabbit hole is too rich for even my blood.

Dana Massey recently wrote, “Fact is, the players are as broken as the games they yell about.”

And to back that statement up I recently received a comment on a past blog where I observed Requiem:Bloodymare: They dont stuff the Cs down your throat cause theres no need to. The game is just eye candy disguised as a general gridnfest with little to do but go oooh and ahhh at the landscape till that gets boring! Crafting? What crafting? True balanced PvP? What balanced PvP? Grinding and running the same 3 dungeons all the time? Yeah they got that! So there you have it. I just made a review of Bloodymre without having to write a blog about it! Good Luck dude your going to need that sub to get to cap and even then youll puke of the grinding before you even get there!” -AmbushMartyr



My general response is who cares? I am having fun, I’m playing a game and it’s different. Who knows how long I will play and even if I will make it to cap. That doesn’t matter, what matters is how do I feel about my investment consisting of my money and time. All in all I spent a whopping $15 bucks on the game and that is a far cry less than the money that some other people spend on games such as MxO or even Runes of Magic.


Right now the games I play may be shut down next week and that will be ok. I played the game and enjoyed myself for what it was even though I walk away having not owned anything, I paid for an experience. That is what these MMO’s bring us is the “experience” of playing a different role for a certain time, and I realize that nothing lasts forever. But what would bother me the most is that if they shut them down without at least reaching out to the community and offer it a chance to survive.



               It’s wildly brilliant people like AmbushMartyr that make this community an interesting place to be. And the large game studios should be grateful that we don’t stand together as a collective instead we go around like a snarling pack of wolves trying to rip each other’s throats out. Because the alternative to that would really put the power in the players hands, and that would be scary.




Play safe,



Are Video Game Stocks Worth Buying?

Posted by Inktomi Wednesday May 27 2009 at 3:02AM
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 My answer is: yes, but contains a lecture. I am sorry but are you ready for it? Ok great! Please grab a pen, sit down and get comfortable.

               In a recent forum post someone asked if buying NCsoft stock was worth buying. Being a stock market veteran I quickly gave some information that I felt might have helped this person. Much to my surprise I was met with angry, belittling and withering responses, it quickly made me angry. And it takes a lot sometimes to make me angry, so I called an old friend who is a research analyst that covers software companies; talked for almost an hour and we went over some of the more popular names in the industry. What exactly is a video game company? They are software and programming companies in the technology sector of the stock market. In my opinion and the opinion of many professionals such as my buddy, the technology sector is one of the more risky parts of the market to invest in.

               These types of situations that involved buying into a company on anticipation that a certain product is going to earn them a tremendous amount of money is something called “story stocks”. You’re buying into the story that they will be the best, kick butt and take names with their newest widget (generic term for product). Each company out there performs a service or sells a product that will make them money, more money means the company is doing well and the stock grows. Which means you’re betting on that product/service and also the guys running the company? The closest comparison is gambling at a casino; you hope that the next card is going to give you four of kind and you will win.  This in turn makes the stock market seem like a legalized casino, ‘nuff said.

Go Blizzard, Go!

Let’s take a look at Good ‘ole Activision Blizzard, this is the combination of two successful brands come together to form one, they trade under ATVI. In recent announcements the CEO and co-Chair sold about $60 million in Activision shares last week anticipating Gamestop’s earnings fumble.  In my opinion that was  a smart move and even smarter: last October they initiated a stock buyback of 1 billion dollars that show give them estimated 125,000,000 shares when the stock was around $8 and now it is $11+;  that made the company roughly $375,000,000 profit alone. See how this works?

Acti-Blizz has a great product pipeline that consists of two very successful franchises, Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft are the leading breadwinners for the company that seem that can do no wrong. They have many games in the pipe such as the new DJ Hero and the greatly anticipated Starcraft II series and also has Diablo 3 coming farther down the line. Right now you would say to yourself, “Hey, how can I go wrong! They made a $189 million dollar profit, reaffirmed ‘09’s earnings and Diablo 3 is going to be a killer!”

Again, this is all centered on technology and environments are always subject to change.


               Your need to know your risks and how much money are you willing to risk to make more money; that’s the law of the west. I am not going to sit here and give you a lecture on Investing 101, with the average video gamer age in the US being 33 I feel that the larger part of this audience knows what they’re doing with money or knows how to find people that do. What I will say that if and when I did buy Activision-Blizzard as a stock…

1)      It wouldn’t be the only stock I would own,

2)      I wouldn’t put my whole life savings into it,

3)      I would buy a little at a time, not all in one shot; I would use a technique called “Dollar Cost Averaging.”

If you do let’s say you decide to buy NCsoft that trades in Korea under the presumption that Aion is going to be the next HUMONGOUSGAMEZOMGITKILLEDWOW. It might or it might not,  be ready to take a risk and be ready to lose money. Because you are betting on one card from one dealer to win one type of hand, anyone who plays Hold’em can identify with me. 

Quote myself: NCsoft isn't a bad stock and hasn't been for a while; I think you have the right idea, Aion is going to make the stock go higher. It probably will but just be careful, anyway I hope this helps.

               Now let’s take a look at another picture that isn’t so pretty, it’s Take-Two Interactive; trades on the NASDAQ under TTWO. In a recent article from Gamasutra the company commented on its recent second quarter earnings announcement…



The company saw its second fiscal quarter revenues more than halved at $229.7 million, compared to $539.8 million for the same period last year when the game launched -- Take Two's second quarter ends April 30. The company also saw a $10.1 million loss during the quarter -- last year, it reported $98.2 million in income.


         They also delayed two games until 2010, now if you were betting on GTA IV holding up sales and continuing on being the best thing since sliced bread then you might make money, the stock is up 14% this year to date. But you are taking unnecessary risk and not seeing as much reward, Activision-Blizzard is up 21% year to date so far. The fact is you could have made more money with Activision than Take-Two, but you are taking the same risk with your money, do you follow me so far? You are putting one company in one hand and one in the other, your measuring your risk against your reward for both and hopefully getting the better one that will win.

        Talking about investing and Take-Two, recently billionaire investor Carl Icahn has taken a 2 million share position in this company. He is currently owning 2.5% of the company and has been known to create situations that led to companies he has invested in to being bought out by another. This was on the heels of a failed takeover bid by Electronic Arts, he might have something up his sleeve for Take-Two.  

Investing in Pizza.


Ever open up a pizza pie box right before you were going to sit down and scoff up a few slices?


                  And see the biggest slice that you are trying to get your hands on, on the other hand in the bottom left corner; you see that one tiny slice? The runt of the litter you can call it, the one your little brother is going to get stuck with. That should be the amount of your entire investment portfolio that video game stocks should consist of, just that much. What is a portfolio? Consider your video game collection and all the different types of games such as RPG’s, Shooters, real-time strategy and of course MMORPG’s; that is your own personal portfolio of games. I hope you don’t have such a small collection and you play just one type of game. That would be boring.

               Anyone should, and I repeat should have many different types of investments, ranging from Real Estate and Government Bond to Common Stocks and even in the private equity market. (That’s for another story) “Don’t put all yer’ eggs in one basket”, your father always told you. Well he was right. Make that little slice: Video Games and that bigger slice (talk to your own broker for this one, J)

Speculate, the scrabble word of the day.

               If you want to invest in video games companies, buy a couple of different ones, not the one that you think is going to be the next ZOMGWOWKILLERLOL! Cut that little slice in to smaller slices and invest because in a few years this company will have grown and so will your bank account along with it. These are all growth stocks that are the riskier of the bunch and the tech market is still growing. I feel that the video game market is in another expansion phase and consider that more people play video games than watch movies.

      In my humble opinion I feel video games, preferably the online type may grow faster than all other types of entertainment. Farther out I feel that TV and the internet may merge to combine the ultimate in interactive TV, picture being able to actually interact with actors and actresses such as interacting with NPC’s on a quest line. That is my form of way out speculation on the future growth of the MMORPG.

 According to Eric Sweeney, Epic Games founder who told Gamasutra in a recent interview that video games will have picture-like quality in 5-10 years. Now wouldn’t you want to have bought a company that is pioneering this Next-Gen Technology from its’ infancy stage? Imagine buying google’s stock when yahoo was the number one search engine. That my friend is the type of speculation which has driven men to take chances from all the way back to gold rush era. Investor’s young and old, we are all just speculating on who is going to be the next big, big, BIG thing. Many investors dream of owning that stock, it takes off on a one way ticket to the moon and make someone into a millionaire. So…

               Grab your dice and play safe,



Update: Bill Roper sets teh bar for Champions Online.

Posted by Inktomi Monday May 25 2009 at 4:16AM
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Champion Bill 

I recently posted a long blog about Bill Roper's attitude towards the amount of subscribers that are feasible for a standard MMO. However due to recent announcments the release date for Champions has been pushed back to September 1st. This is confirmed, however I found on this website some new information on some upcoming content , which to me is a good sign. The original article by Bill Vauhan can be found on 

“The big news this past week is the shift in our release date to September 1st. We've been getting some great feedback from all of you, and you've been seeing us implement changes based on it. We now have the chance to take the time to get things done right. This means adding a few last things to really smooth out the play experience, as well as doing huge amounts of balance, tuning, and polish.

- Courtesy

  Meanwhile, while on the subject of super heroes: Recently I have been gaming with my younger nephew and he has gotten me into Spiderman:Web of shadows.  The game itself is okay and a steal for $30, but the most important thing is that we are having a great time together while playing it. Then one day I fired it up after he went home and played by myself for a bit, I said "Hey, this is pretty fun!" This made me consider looking into the old City of Heroes/Villains, but right now I can't bring myself into another MMO becase I'm "playing the field" with games right now. And I can't see myself commiting cash to a new game unless I am either going to own it or play it long term. I also couldn't see myself playing a super-hero MMO, but then I said "Why not?" like Dana Massey asks us all the time, let's "Throw out the rulebook!"

     It seems that Bill is and might be onto something BIG and it seems that he has learned some old lessons about rushing a release. He details some of the fix's and tweaks that the dev's are working on. Some of the highlight's include upgrades in travel and crafting. He also describes Patrol Mission's which sounds to me as instanced dailies, but that's my speculation. also has a Hands  On Preview of Champions that you might want to check out also. 

 I sometimes have an intuition on things, I was the one who raved about Fallout 3 Pre-release to my friends that are diehard XBAWX-shooter types. Yes you Mr. Halo-head and Mr. Left for Dead or bust the guys who rolled their eyes at Elder Scrolls:Oblivion; they are the ones who are still playing FO3 long after I gave it a rest.  When I confronted on why they love it: Because it was different to them was thre reply.   And that is what this community is looking for, something we haven't done before. Am I right?

The Thirty Million Dollar Free Realm   

  This is supposed to be a financial blog and I am doing my best to uphold that. Even though I believe that it is the attitude of the company and it's developers that can make or break games at the end of the day. It does take alot of money to create these games and I nearly fell over when I found out it took $30 million to create "Free Realms" that has blew up the 1 million subscriber  number in one month that took Runes of Magic months to do. 

It’s going to take a pretty large- paying user base to break even on “Free Realms,” which cost between $20 million and $30 million to make. But Smedley thinks “there’s a lot of money to be made from this market, and that we’ve made an awesome game.” - Courtesy MSNBC

 The bottom line is that it cost's millions to make these games and I could just imagine the budget that's going into Champions Online. All I hope for is a compelling game that forces me and millions of other people to drop a $50 bill and commit to a $15 a month bill each month. Personally, I feel that this is a gamers market right now. With the Onslaught of new games set to be released by the end of this year it will give the average gamer tons of choices and the right to say "I don't want to play this!", which is the risk that many game companies face. 

Striking Oil Online

  I don't know if anyone realizes this but creating a new mmo is sort of like the old west gold rush days and the oil drilling boom's of texas. These companies raise and invest millions into IP and creative talent; the staff to actually create these games along with equpiment not to mention the  thousands of man-hours in pay. Hoping, HOPING, HOPING and PRAYING that this is the big one! That the game it took them years to create will catch the hearts, minds and wallets of the millions of people out there. That their games have a long shelf life and be succesful enough to not only break even, but to keep the doors open for another year or two. If not someone loses mliions of dollars and many people lose their jobs; we have seen our fair share of game studios close in the past few months.

  At the moment we are in the era of expansion for online games, this is not a new space by a long shot and has been around for many years now. But in recent reports state that more american's are playing video games than going to the movies, this was stated in a recent articel from Gamasutra:

NPD’s study “Entertainment Trends In America” said that 63 percent of Americans have played a game in the last six months. Just 53 percent have gone out to see a movie during the same time period. The group said that the audience for gaming is expanding as consumers can access games through new outlets such as social gaming networks or digital storefronts. - Courtesy: Gamasutra.

Also stated that in a 3 month survey that the average gamer that was used in this study spent $38 dollars a month for the average of 3 months. I don't think they count in buying software, do they?

Dear Mr. Roper,

     I've been inadvertantly playing games that you have had a hand in for many years from Starcraft all the way to Hellgate:London. Which I loved and could've puked about what happened to that game, but I've decided to put the past in the past because I can see how much effort your putting out there for CO. Not only for what's going on behind dev's doors but the publicity drive you have been making to almost every popular MMO website on the internet. You are not only putting your name on the line but you are the face and the frontman for Cryptic Studios, which is more than most game studios ever do. Hat's off to you and I wish you all the luck.

Play safe,


PS on Random Stuff

- I haven't been able to buy Darkfall Online, I made the account and sat there with my credit card for an hour friday and some time tonite. I can't find the game anywhere online or Ebay, it's nuts.

- I've just finished playtesting two more free to plays and one of them is going to surprise you. It didn't come from and  I am not surprised why it's not on this website because it qualifies as MMO.

- Muhahaha! I found Freespace 2 for only $6.99 on, but I'm still too cheap to buy a joystick. LOL! If I can pull a good one for under $20 I'll do it, any recomendations?


Disclaimer: I am always open to constructive criticism, if anyone feels that I can improve or have any ideas for content please feel free to hit up my email.


Just how free is free to play? Requiem vs. Runes: Round 2

Posted by Inktomi Thursday May 21 2009 at 10:41PM
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If I had to compare the two graphically I would use movies as examples, think SAW (1,2,3,4,5…) vs. any Disney flick. That’s how different they both really are; Requiem: Bloodymare has this edgy style that I didn’t expect when a buddy from Runes rec’d to me. Free to play, and in my opinion it is one of the more “free” to play games out there. There is a cash shop, but more interestingly enough they have a subscription system that gives you many bonuses that Runes doesn’t. For $15 I got the premium package and had enough points over to buy a mount.

A breakdown of the subscription system and one of the mobs you’ll face in your 30’s.


           Or you could buy points that break down to .007 cents per point, seems to be on par with RoM’s Daimonds. I realize that most of the functions other games give you for free but they are livable without, Region chat is for talking smack to someone you just PK’d or looking for groups. And as far as the inventory is concerned, they give you 4 slots and one bank off the bat; the last bag slot you can buy permanently for 500 points or $3.50. Requiem’s crafting system is wholly based upon gear upgrades. No potions or materials to take up your slots and the quest items are simply added into your quest log. Just like it should be and as Dr. Williston stated in his article, “the problem with CRPG’s”.

A breakdown of the point-buy values for Requiem’s cash shop.


500 Points

           4.99 USD


1050 Points

           9.99 USD


1650 Points

         14.99 USD


2300 Points

         19.99 USD


5200 Points

         39.99 USD




            Instead of points I opted with the 30 day sub, so I went to my friendly neighborhood Target (pronounced Tar-Jay) and bought a $15 card; I’m supporting the game since I played it for free for a few weeks now. I’m almost level 40; quite frankly, I haven’t had to even look into the cash shop since then. It does offer some interesting items, but nothing is a game breaker that I couldn’t do without. No, that doesn’t exactly make it free to play, it was just my gaming style is that I always “tip the bartender”. I’m not expecting buybacks but I would like to see some updates and new content. However unlike other “free to play” models it doesn’t shove the cash shop down my throat and in fact Gravity Interactive has recently made an announcement that they are lowering their rates on June 1st, 2009.

How many times have you seen that happen in a MMO?
 Rolling a rogue.


Another comparison is the racial system here, it’s very simple and cut and dry. This race is either class A or B and can upgrade to level C past level 50, top level is 71.

RoM: Human, human or human.
“But the dual class system made some very interesting combinations.” - Quoting the recent review by Sean Bulger.

         I wanted a DPS class this time and decided that I felt better as a Kruxena Female rather than the androgynous anorexic French male model look of the males. You get 4 racial choices, 2 sexes and up to 6 endgame class choices, not a bad deal in my humble opinion. Although none of the looks are overly customizable, the gear is statistically upgradeable and you can read more on this handy-dandy wiki. The downside is that there is a failure rate which means *gasp* and you can lose the item.
A few other people felt the same as I did. ):L

         I’m not going to fan boy Requiem but if you are tired of running around the cartoon network then it’s a pleasant change. You really don’t have to spend a cent and it’s a good alternative while you’re waiting for your MMO’s of choice to be released.

         But…I am hereby making an announcement here, due to the indepth coverage of the Paragus Rant blog on DFO politics and the overall attitude of negativity towards Darkfall; I have decided today that I am going to play Darkfall. After comparing it to the player driven content of EVE with the gritty graphics and the thrill of being pwned and looted like a level 2 wolf adds some excitement to the game. I didn’t realize the depth of that game from a political standpoint; unfortunately I bought into the hype like everyone else does. I am going to crack open the padlock on my wallet and go buy the game. Pay the 15 bucks and see for myself what all the drama is all about.

And getting the software will be a triumph enough.
Until then…
Play safe,



Just how free is free to play? Runes vs. Requiem: Round 1

Posted by Inktomi Wednesday May 20 2009 at 10:59AM
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    Before I get into the article I want to say that I am always open for suggestions, on my writing, grammar, ideas and outlooks. Anyone can send me a mail and I will be appreciative to any input, so please just don’t hit the bury button before you think about why you are pressing it; Because I may benefit from what you have to say. If you’re still not happy with what you read here, then bury me to death.
Thanks for reading my posts, I’m enjoying writing for almost as much as playing the games…almost. – Ink

     Now let’s get down to business here. I started out playing Final Fantasy Online for about 2 years and I paid my $15 a month subscription religiously, I had 1 main character and 3 mules in which one turned out to be a very good alt. After I moved on to wow I was buying 6 month packages for 80 bucks and I felt I was getting more for my money. In the long run I was paying the same amount and getting a heck of a lot of game for $15, and then my gaming came to a halt…girlfriend.

    I recently got back into the MMO scene about a year ago and my first impression was that there was so many good games around I had to budget myself. I just couldn’t run around playing all of them and found myself combing websites like to find cheaper alternatives. That’s where I found Atlantica Online which was in essence my first free to play game, I had signed up for the open beta and got accepted. I was excited, I downloaded a full game FOR FREE and opened an account FOR FREE and I was playing right away. This article was originally supposed to be Atlantica vs Runes, but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison, Runes of Magic is a 3S game meanwhile AO is a Turn base strat. 3S is my personal term for Single Sprite Sandbox, like wow or Lotro that you get one character and an open world to roam around in. 

What's the price for Paradise?

     While I was playing Atlantica I received closed beta invite for Runes of Magic from a guildmate, he coined it as “the poor man’s wow”. And I played RoM from Closed to open beta all the way to release. I wasn’t until release then I found out just about how much the game had begun to cost, it’s not that it’s not good, it just wasn’t worth the money. RoM has an interesting system of Microtransactions, and that’s how these “Free to plays” make their money. Cash shops and personalization’s of your characters is what they depend on to pay the bills, I don’t blame them because this is a business. Here is an example of what the rates are for Diamonds on RoM, diamonds is what you buy stuff ingame with. They recently hit the million dollar player mark, my hats off to them for that milestone





100 Diamonds







Cost per daimond



200 Diamonds



500 Diamonds



1000 Diamonds



2000 Diamonds





Now this is a quick breakdown as per what you are paying per diamond on the Rom Exchange, obviously you get a better bang for your buck when you buy mere. There are not any subscription packages for RoM, it’s all a WYSIWIG cash shop. Now let’s take a look at what you will be using it for. They first thing that you face is storage, or the lack of it to be more precise. You start off with 2 bankslots and 2 bagslots that cost you anywhere from 22D for 30m days to 80D for 6 months. I read in Dr. John B. Williston’s blog The problem with modern computer RPGs” that his biggest problem with RPG’s this day is the fact that quest items take up a lot of space in your bags.

       Some CRPGs require quest items to take up precious inventory space; others “remember” that you have them but don’t display them in the inventory. Either way is painful. The former sort of game effectively punishes me for every additional quest I accept, while the latter makes it difficult to figure out what I’ve collected and what yet remains to be done.  – Dr. Williston.

In a game like RoM that space is critical because you are holding on to weapons and gear for 2 classes not one, they have a unique double-class system. Akin to FFXI but you don’t get half of the abilities but only some are usable by your primary, ANYWAY. Here’s what they are charging you for storage, you can go for 3 days for 5D or a week for 22D or go all the way out 3 months for 50D. Now if you bit the bullet and bought 1000 daimonds, you big spender you! Here is your choices…


Time in days


Realmoney cost @ 1000 Daimonds

X 8








$ 2.88






















 Doesn't seem like alot, does it?

The difference between S&^t and stuff. (its a link)

       Now let’s just say you are holding armor to use for enchants or Heaven’s forbid you are a crafter, you need all your bags and bank slot opened up. That’s where the X 8 column steps in because that’s the max amount of bagslots you can have. And you would probably say that they give me a free house, a free chest and I will buy furniture.


One piece of furniture will run you anywhere from $2.00 to $2.76, but you will own it and it looks nice it makes sense because no one likes an empty house or a cluttered inventory. Now how are we going to ride around? In style I hope and here comes the mounts…

Vanity Plates

Now the perma-mounts...

       That really cool Wartiger Mount: $12.00
Designing it in the vanity window: $4.00
Looking cool while riding out of Ant Daily: Priceless.

T.I.M.E. - Things I Must Earn.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not some cheapo that play a free game and doesn’t spend a dime. When I play a game and spend my TIME on it then I always support it with some money. I’ve spend my fair share of money in RoM, but my point is that if you went full throttle to get the most out of this game and really enjoy it, now you’re talking about spending over $41.00. And that’s just the beginning, the people over at Frogster have put all sorts of goodies in the cash shop, from potions that allow you to take no death penalty (for 64 cents a day) to enabling you to reset your dailies to really get the grind going.

             My problem with RoM is that it makes the game too cash shop dependent especially in the endgame phase where I was before I left. Some said you HAD to use clean mana stones for crafting stats on your armor, which cost close to $5.00 a pop because you needed three and you needed so much stamina just to survive some boss fights; you had no choice but to stack on the stamina. At the end we were just grinding for stats and putting clean enchants on armor for $5.00 a shot. That can quickly rack up big bucks and in the guild I was in it was expected if you wanted to raid, there is a knight that has over 25,000 hit points. He has the most HP in the whole game, his name is Azurans and his guild is Uncensored on the Mach server. Go check him out, he’s a cool guy and he’s got some awesome gear, but it cost him a pretty penny to do so.

         I drew the line with RoM because Frogster released an instance that dropped all these little chests, and in these chests where items and such. They required a key that sold on the cash shop for 6D each, not a lot at .002 cents each. But you would get anywhere from 20- 30 per run and that’s when I had had enough. I was getting frustrated with the game, raiding constantly for gear and so much BS with stamina and this dungeon and that dungeon you need this. I ended up yelling at my Gm, who was a really good friend and got kicked from the guild. They actually did me a favor, I’ll use one of Beau Turkey’s lines I was “clocking in” and not having fun; he recently wrote a great article about virtual value, check it out.

Moving on

       About Requiem; That to me is the dark horse of free to play, it’s surprisingly very good and even more surprising it’s really free. The publishing company Gravity Interactive has recently announced that it is lowering it’s rates; I never heard of a F2P that got cheaper, I didn’t know you could make a free game free-er.

              The angle I am coming from is not to sit here and QQ or cry about having to spend money on a game, I never had a problem with that. My point is I am a budget and time conscious guy and I’m sure a lot of people are these days, we have a flood of new games coming out and many people are in between games looking or waiting for a new virtual world to “call home”. The bottom line is the value is in the time, play time and the time it cost to make the money to play the game to get the Uber this or super-duper flying mount. No matter what your time is important and you have a choice on how you spend it. There has been a lot of criticism about free to play games lately, I’m just giving my experience and giving you the financial heads up.

         This blog has gotten quite long so I will continue tomorrow when I take a look at Requiem: Bloodymare to see just how “free” this free game is. Until then…
Play safe,

It really is a Perfect World!

Posted by Inktomi Monday May 18 2009 at 6:50PM
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       Reported from Yahoo Finance Chinese software developer and publisher of Perfect World and Ether Saga Online MMORPG's (PWRD) Perfect World Co. released 1st quarter earnings today first-quarter, earnings rose 36 percent from a year ago despite a drop in the number of players. Beating Wall Street expectations by 16 cents.

The Money

The Beijing-based company behind games like "Perfect World" and "Ether Saga Online" said it earned 215.4 million yuan ($31.5 million) in the three months ended March 31 compared with 158.4 million yuan a year ago.

Perfect World earned 58 cents per U.S. share, or 62 cents excluding some items. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were on average expecting earnings of 46 cents per share, an estimate that usually excludes items.

Sales were 425.1 million yuan ($62.2 million), up 40 percent from 303.2 million yuan a year ago. Analysts were expecting sales of $57 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

The People

             Perfect World shaves off 45,000 players from last years amount of 660,000 which is close to 7% of it's entire playerbase. Perfect World said that on average, 615,000 people were playing its games at any one time during the quarter, down from 660,000 in the same quarter a year ago. The number of active paying customers was also down, while the average revenue per user was up 62 percent, as the company became more aggressive in getting rid of cheaters. - courtesy of


           Proving a fact that the Free to Play microtransactional business model really works. PW and ESO was making more money off of less people which in turns means a higher ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).

      You can read more about the effect of ARPU in Richard Aihoshi's Free Zone: Community Matters, he goes indepth about the value of MMO ingame communities and how they effect a game. This recent earnings announcement backs up what Mr. Aishoshi is saying about the value of an ingame community because 62 million smackaroos just doesn't fall out of a boss monster's loot box.

The Bottom Line

Love 'em or Hate 'em Free to Play is succesful and is not going anywhere anytime soon, it might not be for everyone and you can't please everyone, especially the gamer community. If you could then it would really be a perfect world and that just doesn't exist.

Have fun and play safe,



Video Games are the Rescue and Recovery of the U.S. Economy.

Posted by Inktomi Sunday May 17 2009 at 11:37PM
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          I totally believe it to be true and my point is that even though things may be tough all over, consumers like us are the driving force of our economy. Eventually, we will buy and play our way to a better economy, even though the job market is our weakest link, increased consumer spending creates jobs that will put America back on it’s financial feet again.

             Am I an economist, please no. I am a stockbroker that has worked on Wall for long enough to know when the handwriting is on the wall. I saw it in 2007 when many of my customers were selling entire portfolios to buy overpriced real estate. Noone listened then and most likely no one is going to listen now. So I love my games, it is my jump off from a long day of being the “SERIOUS ADULT”, I get to go online and have some laughs while connecting with my younger nephew. It’s what makes life, alive.

             Along my travels I started to really look into the toy industry and the electronic part of the entertainment market. In short I realized that games and the “internetz is serious business”, even though that is a running joke online; unfortunately it is true.

The Big Fish in the Small Pond.

               The depression of the 1930’s saw the boom of the movie industry, people were so upset about the state of the country and the war that they spent their days in theatre watching silent films. It took them away from their sad lives and gave them a short term reprieve to the daily grind, it helped Hollywood become what it was today. I believe the same thing is happening now with video games, instead of the big players being MGM, RKO and United Artists. Instead the big players are Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft to name a few. I recently stumbled upon a website that details the top 100 most successful game studios , click on seeing it in Issuu for the full effect. It’s really nice.

               In a blog for CNET news written by Dan Tierdham he quotes a member from the Hollywood Interactive Group, "There are a couple of reasons," said Ron Meiners, director of community for the Hollywood Interactive Group. "One is the traditional value of entertainment during tough economic times. Like the great fantastic musicals in the 30s. Movies did great, because they took people's mind off of the troubles they were facing. (And) video games have great value as entertainment. The number of hours of solid entertainment that comes from a video game purchase is much greater than a movie, for example, for very comparable cost."

Big deal…

    Yes, you are right. How does that effect me, I am just some ____ that wants to play games?  Well, these companies know that and it is there business to A) keep you playing and B) keep you playing their games, that’s why you see the same people crank out titles rocksteady month after month. I believe that video games, the MMORPG market to be more specific is in a booming market right now. You can read all the way back to October 2008 that sales of VG were basically shrugging off a crappy economy environment. That continued until January ’09, but Christmas sales are always a boom time for VG sales. People are still buying up games like crazy in February, so this strength and growth continues all the way until recently that April that things are starting to slow down and sales are slipping (reported by Reuters News). That is the plateau and will not last for long, maybe things will slow down a bit in the summer but we have a huge Fall schedule in store for us that will rock all the way into next year. This can also be part of the fact that this year’s sales is going up against last years that contained GTA IV and Mario Kart for the Wii.

The Barometer

            Is us, it’s our spending habits, our cash reserves and our money. Gamers or the “Game Consumer Community” can make or break any game company if we (as a collective) decide that “this game suckzors”. How many companies have you seen basically fall off the map for no rhyme or reason, many times it happens before the game is even published; take into effect what’s going on over at Cheyenne MT./Firesky the group that’s making the Stargate Worlds MMO. The worst part is everyone found out through his wifes blog, that is a problem you can only see in the internet age, lol.

I dun’ care, STFU and GTFO!

               Yes, I know. But some of us do, like Douglas McIntyre’s article in TIME magazine "Why Video Games Are an Excellent Economic Indicator", he states:

               Video games... [are] inexpensive enough so that they should be a reasonable proxy for consumer discretionary spending.
           The signals from the video game industry in April were troubling. Sales of games dropped 23% and game console sales were down over 40%... The slide in console sales is so extreme that it is a clear sign that sales of consumer electronics are in a flat spin. When people cannot spend $300 on a console or $50 on a game which can be used for hours and played over and over again, the money for discretionary spending has dried up. –

  I personally disagree with Doug for the reason is that the MMO market it booming and you can see this from, which goes in-depth to describe how many subscribers for almost all the main stream and substream MMO’s. 

               You should look at the other games that also are rated and charted by number of subscribers.
The World of Warcraft brought in over $500 Billion in sales for 2007 and continues to break records with the release of the Wrath expansion. Not to mention the other games that they have in their pipeline such as Diablo 3, all three issues of Starcraft 2 and the new MMORPG they are working on. Also to see some realtime numbers of VG sales go to the VGsaleswiki, they have a wiki for everything now. 

How do I come into this?

               Now let’s look at EA’s Warhammer Online, only 300,000 subs and they take a 1 billion loss due to Need for Speed. Now that 300k pay what, 15 bucks a month? That works out to be 4.5 million smackaroos a month in revenue and $54,000,000 a year in subscriptions. Not to mention sales of the box that is a onetime charge of maybe $40-$50 and brings in 15 billion. That’s a lot of potatoes, and how much does it cost to develop and run these online games. I’m sure that a game ompany that published a game that had the words “Dark” and “fall” in it’s name would kill for 300,000 faithful subscribers. (cheapshot)

         That is where the new jobs come in, growth in any industry will take manpower to make it happen. And the growth in the software engineer (commonly known as dev around here) is going to grow 49% this year alone. They also make over $50,000 to start with an U.S. Average Salary of $80,000. Yep, its true! Read it in And to top it all off all you need is a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, that 4 years in college and you can work at any of the new or established game software companies. It’s a long road and sometimes you have to eat crow to get your foot in the door, actually Sanya Weathers writes a great article on working in the customer service pit. Hey, it’s a job and a start! Take a look on Gamasutra to what is out there.

The Bottom Line

         Just keep doing what we are doing, playing games, buying games and having a great time doing it. The rest will work out for itself but we can’t forget that someone has got to pay for all this stuff and make it happen. From the girl who spends too much in the cash shop on Runes of Magic, the chronic cheap game buyer who goes to gamestop twice a week and crawls the bargain bin to the diehard Raider in World of Warcraft we are continuously pumping money into the economy. We go to our respective jobs and come home to relax in front of a screen or a console and not knowing that we are really part of a very big picture that is getting bigger every day.


Anyway, thanks for reading my drivel, I am going to be busy tmrw and wanted to get something out to you. I'll catch up with you all later.

Have fun and play safe,


Champions Online release date pushed back to September 1st.

Posted by Inktomi Saturday May 16 2009 at 3:13PM
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 Reported from, Executive Producer Bill Roper speaks about why they pushed their release date for the much anticipated Super-Hero MMORPG Champion's Online. - 

"It is critically important for an MMO to be as good as it possibly can be at launch. Through our constant dialogue with our vocal and supportive community of beta testers, we quickly realized that in order to implement certain features that we all considered important the development of Champions Online would require more time. So that's what we're going to give it. Cryptic has a proven track record of releasing solid games and we want to maintain that with Champions Online."  Full Article.

I think they are doing the right thing, however that is going to put them in direct competition with the Aion:Tower of Eternity release.

They better bring it,

'Nuff said.

IMHO:Bill Roper sets the bar for MMO's?

Posted by Inktomi Friday May 15 2009 at 12:42PM
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Bill Roper

Image courtesy Cryptic Studios

I really coulnd't pass up writing about Bill Roper and the challenge will be to keep to my word and stay completely ambigous or in short term un-opinionated.

Bill Roper is  Executive Producer at Cryptic Studios who are soon to be releasing the new Super-Hero MMORPG Champions Online. In his latest interview with Gamasutra he states the having an MMO try to hit the 11 million mark is way out of realistic conception. Mr. Roper says the 300,000 subs is a more realistic goal when creating an MMO, "I don't think any game at Blizzard, we never sat around and said, 'Oh, we're going to sell six million copies of the game.'"

"No, that's one," he says. "That's one game that's done that. No one else in the West has been even close. And I think it's challenging from the standpoint that gets looked at as an expectation or a goal to hit. It's a totally ridiculous goal to try to be hitting -- 'Oh, we're gonna go build an MMO that's going to compete with that.'." - Gamasutra

Gamasutra also has a five page article about Champions Online and a take on the game market from Bill's perspective. 

Now I dug through some old links I've got stored in my bookmarks folder and pulled this one from, where he explains in depth his side of the story about the Hellgate:London/Mythos debacle. I think all of know Bill Roper from his Diablo claim to fame and Hellgate.

I am very not the Roper Fanboy President or Club Member.

He gets honest about the hybrid model mistake: We knew before we launched. There was enough feedback from people where we realized, yeah, we probably made a mistake. But at that point...the train had left the station. We didn't have enough initial content in there to [switch directions]. We might have been able to back off and go to a free-to-play-only model, but we didn't have anything in place to roll right into doing an expansion. Everything from the development side to the business side was set to this model that we'd put together. We hoped that it was going to actually work, and we told ourselves that maybe it'll work better than we think it's going to work, right? But there was just a lot of confusion. -

IMHO: Take from this what you will, I am so not the Roper fanboy but it seems that he is setting the bar for himself and his game very low. Why not shoot for the moon here? If every game company goes into with the attitude of "oh we can't do that" then what are their chances of real success? If the best is too far ahead of you and clearly 11 million is a dominance, then who is setting your goals? Who does Cryptic set their goals by?

What do you think and how did I do on staying neutral?


Posted by Inktomi Thursday May 14 2009 at 12:45PM
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     I just cant get enough of Sony today and felt as if I needed to write my opinion after reading through all the articles today. So here's my .02 copper for what it's worth...

  Sony is a very strong company with good relationships with other good brands such as Sanyo and Square-Enix, this gives them a range of products from household appliances, DVD players and MMORPG's .

They have been losing the console wars to the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's XBAWX. The Wii is just fun and Microsoft has been dominating with exclusive titles such as Gears of War, Fable 2 and Halo.             

Yes, they do have some great games that are exclusive like the Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts, but it just doesn't seem to be as overwhelmingly popular. In this tough economy and not everyone  has the money to buy games for 3 systems, let alone to buy the 3 systems!

  I remember when I was working in the game industry and they released the PSone, it was such a great time and they had literally no competition. However things have changed since then and unfortunaly it's starting to show. Sony needs to adapt  to this new economy, new competition and the new gamer. 

We are a tough crowd to please.

Have fun and play safe,


mM$ Morning Note:Sony has a Bad Day.

Posted by Inktomi Thursday May 14 2009 at 8:27AM
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I want apologize for just the cut/paste job this morning, but I wanted to print something before I ran off to school and sony's earning's were just to big of a story to wait on.

But here's the dilly: Sony posts their first billion dollar loss that they've had in years and nude pictures of the new PS3 model was leaking onto the internet.

Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin Asset Management comments in an interview with Reuters news, "I see Sony's branding power weakening." That sets the tone for the days articles on Sony (SNE) but the stock is acting positively amidst all the drama. 

  During the preceding twelve months the company's revenue dropped by 12.9 per cent to JPY 7.73 trillion (USD 81.0 billion), with the company blaming "factors including the slowdown of the global economy, the appreciation of the yen and the decline in the Japanese stock market." - Elliot (

A Sony spokesman told Reuters group that  the number of workers affected by the decision was included in the 16,000 job cuts and Sony aims to boost sales of its PlayStation 3 game console by nearly 30 percent to 13 million units. (Reuters)

Which brings me to my next story, seems that not only did they have to claim a During the fiscal year, Sony said it sold 10.06 million PS3s, a 10 percent year-on-year increase from 9.12 million. PSP was up 2 percent to 14.11 million, while PS2 declined 42 percent to 7.91 million. (Gamasutra); that there was a leak from a chinese factory and pictures of the new PS3 slim are in circulation.

Aww, isnt it cute? Someone is going to lose there job over this, Just add him in to the 16,000 other people. Full story from on PS3 leak.

mMO MONEY! Breaking news: Head of Stargate Worlds Studio Leaves.

Posted by Inktomi Wednesday May 13 2009 at 8:13PM
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 This just in!

Reported from, Dan Elggren head of Cheyenne Mountain/Fireksy leaves for Gazillion Entertainment. Who buys Netdevil almost a year ago under cover, what do they have in store besides the release of Jumpgate Evolution.

Rumors of Cheyenne Mountains financial problems have been circulating for some time now and it seems that this new development can not sound good for the company. What is in the future for the Stargate Worlds MMO? 

As quoted from Kyle Horner of Massively, "Frankly, it'd probably take a funding miracle to finish the project and in this currently downtrodden economy most investors probably won't be taking much risk."

Ouch >.<


mMO MONEY! Wrap up: Blizzards new, NEW MMO and BIoshock 2 Multiplayer.

Posted by Inktomi Wednesday May 13 2009 at 5:00PM
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 Multiplayer Mayhem

      Reported from that Blizzard has a new MMORPG in the works and is a totally new Intellectual Property.  Read for yourself.

   We have nothing to advertise for the new MMO because it’s a shell of a game thus far. We’ve already stated it’ll be a brand new franchise, which means the lore, art, and game play are being developed entirely from scratch. It’s an overwhelming process, but a process through which we excel. Our track record supports this. - - Blizzard Ent.

    Meanwhile at Camp Take-Two, 2k talks about The Rapture Multiplayer Experience.  “The fans asked for a multiplayer experience and we answered,” said Christoph Hartmann , reported by Businesswire. (IMHO) I'm sure this will get fans of the first Bioshock will be excited, I know I am.

    It seems that more of the larger game companies are taking stock in what their fanbase is saying, in a article EA discusses how it turned to the gaming community for input on their new sequel Army Of Two: The Fortieth Day. Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello believes that the game industry will bounce back in 2009. Stated in an interview that game retailers will "remain conservative," the CEO added that they are becoming "cautiously optimistic," -

  (In My Humble Opinion): I'm sure many retailers are skittish about investing in another game title that might take up shelf space until it makes it's way into the clearance bin. I know that as a consumer I have my own shelf full of "why did I buy that"? Everyone does, however with the game companies aware of the strong voice (and opinion) that the community has, they will listen more to what we want. And I know that we have been looking for something new, which Blizzard currently has in the works. The future looks bright for gaming, it's been an exciting day so far.

Until tomorrow...

Have fun and play safe,



mMO' Money quick take: Atari pulls out of E3

Posted by Inktomi Wednesday May 13 2009 at 12:22PM
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 Joystiq reported that Atari reported that they are going to pull out of the upcoming E3 convention. Atari is exploring other marketing and selling techniques for their upcoming games  Ghostbusters, Champions Online and "other to be announced titles. Could we be seeing Pitfall Online one day?

 Good Morning,

If you lost server on wow last night it's due from server company The9 sudden server shutdown for maintanence. 

Reported from JLM Pacific: Server groups for 3D MMORPG World of Warcraft were temporarily suspended on Tuesday evening and re-opened Wednesday morning, reports Sina quoting confirmation on Wednesday from The9 (Nasdaq:NCTY) and Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq:ATVI). The9's WoW server groups were suspended again at 10:50 a.m. on Wednesday.

Expect more server issues in June when Blizzard switched to Netease: The9 said that WoW servers will officially close at 2 p.m. on June 6 and that it won't be easy for NetEase (Nasdaq:NTES) to ensure a smooth transfer of WoW gamer information, reported from JLM. Full story HERE. Good luck guys, don't schedule any raids in that time. ATVI trades on the Nasdaq market.

Perfect World lineup for the E3 Convention is unvieled and a sneak preview of a unnanounced new game, reported from  Gamezone. On the line up is Torchlight, Jade Dynasy, Ether saga and of course Perfect World. You can follow PWRD on the Nasdaq as an ADR (Foreign stock that trades in America)

In China, Shanda Interactive is looking at buying the company HURRAY!, a Chinese seller of ring tones and games for mobile phones, sending their stock price higher. Sources say this buyout could happen within the next two weeks, reported from How is this going to affect the people that play Maplestory? It shouldn't unless they own shares in HURRAY! or looking to play Maplestory on their phone. (HURRAY! company snapshot)

Outside the MMO Arena...

EA reported earnings May 5th and posts a net benefit of $251 million related to the recognition of deferred net revenue for certain online-enabled packaged goods games and digital content. So, I guess all that downloadable content is paying off. EA trades under ERTS, watch it on google finance.

Last but not least: Sumner Redstone who was a major shareholder in Midway Games along with the Board of Directors is being sued by their creditors for over $90 Million, reported from Gamasutra. Ouch!

In my humble opinion: I'm eager to see what Runic Games is going to show at E3 with their upcoming game Torchlight. I was a big fan of Mythos and I personally root for Travis Baldtree and his crew. EA continues to grow into a bigger beast than it already is, they are making good money from charging players for downloadable content. I hope that concumers are getting a fair shake for everything sold online has virtually no overheard compared to if they had to make a product to sell in stores. No wonder they are making so much money!

Have fun and play safe,