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My 2 Copper's Worth

Well we're on a website dedicated to MMO's so I'll give you one guess as to what I'll write about. And no it's not mustard.

Author: ivan50265

From Pay to Free to Play: Is the problem quality or quantity.

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday July 12 2009 at 4:11PM
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   Hello all sorry I hae been a little less than on schedule so far this summer, but life is life and the real world ever requires more of me.  As things are strating to settle down I thought I'd find a little time to write a piece for you all I hope you enjoy it.

   So I coudn't help but notice that DDO and Chronicles of Spellborn are moving into the Free 2 Play market.  While I have no qulams with the F2P market really I find it interesting how it is taking shape here in the west.  We see the standard F2P game models showing up like Atlantica Online that were desinged for a F2P market, but we are also seeing the F2P market as becoming a last stand of sorts for western subscription games that are either losing their playerbase, or never really found it to begin with.   DDO and CoS are not the first and I doubt will be the last P2P to move into the F2P market, but as I see this trend continue I find myself asking the age old question: Why? Is it that we in the west are finally embracing the F2P model and these games are ahead of the curve? Is it that the subscription model is outdated? Are we as a community sick of buying retail boxes for our games? Maybe, but I tend to think there are other factors to consider two to be more presice that of quality and quantitiy.  So let's take a look at the two aforementioned games and see how these two factors may have come into play. 

   First let's take a look how quantity may have come into play here.  One game comes from an established IP the other an independently developed IP.  What do they both have in comon?  They are both set in a fantasy setting.  Some of you may have read an earlier post of mine comparing developing a fanstasy mmo to the flogging a dead horse as a way to illustrate how I feel the mmo market is over saturated with fanstasy mmo's.  Let's look at how this may have played into the equation.  

   You need look no further than the game list on this site to see just how many fantasy mmo's there are in the market already.  With an independently developed world we as the consumer have nothing familiar to entice us to their world like DDO, LOTRO, abd WoW have in their established IP's.  On top of that fantasy has been so over done in ths market you need to have something really special to set yourself apart.  CoS may have had this with their affecting the timeline and all, but that itself is high end content.  You have to grab your players early like within the first hour of play or you have a good chnace of suffereing the fate of geting lost in the shuffle.  DDO on the other hand had the IP tha we were familiar with, but how many of us had heard of Ebberon before DDO?  The issue here in my opinion is not as much with the fantasy end of things, but in the familiarity of the setting.  Would DDO be in this discussion if they had chosen The Forgotten Realms as their setting? Maybe, maybe not.  

    Then again maybe I'm completely off base here.  Maybe we all have some weird adiction to elves and woodland creatures written in our DNA.  Maybe it's a quality issue.  Perhaps these games lacked something in the quality and polish of their game that led players not to want to invest in the monthly script for the game.  So let's take a look how quality may have come into play with these games that led them to rethink how to gain and maintain a player base.  

  I've said it before and I'll say it again if you are going to try and develop a fantasy mmo in this market and you want people to pay for it you need to make something special and show us how special it is from the get go. On top of that we have entered into an era were the market in much more competative and mmo's today are tryin to lauch their title with something for every play style.  Where these games may have fallen short is in this area.  Let's look at where DDO may have fallen short.  Although there are more good things I can say about this game than bad there are a few areas where players may have gotten turned off by the game.  Being a PvE centered game would keep a PvP player from playing the game even though they had implemented an arena system most PvP players sek soemthing more than that.  I also think there was an issue with setting the gaem in a single city.  There just wasn;t alot of space to explore in DDO and again although they had added some open world spaces it still had an enclosed felling to it.  When it come to CoS I think there are two issues.  First CoS allwoed you to create the look of yuor charatcer and you can keep that look for the whole game.  The problem was that there wasn't a whole lot of choice and the fact that we take new equipment out of the equation and put in items to enhance the existing equipment players in a way cannot see the advancement of their character.  Secondly although CoS offered us a new idea that of affecting the timeline of the game itself I never really got a chance to see this game mechanic in the first 20 levels.  Though CoS and DDO both look good and have good mechanics I feel it is in the quality of content that keeps the games from keeping thier players invested.  

   In the end I think developers need to understand that there is alot of competition out there.  With that competition come the pressure to give we the players a game that really shines through with its features and gameplay.  I believe we are starting to see a split in the genre now where only the AAA of the AAA titles will be able to charge a monthly subscription for their games in the Western market and that other games that may have been good enough in the past to charge a script will have to look at other business models like F2P as a more viable option.  On a lighter side I like that develpers are not giving up on thier games and that they are looking at a F2P model to keep their games viable in the merketplace and allow them to se thier vision come to life.  

Well that's all I've got.  As always feedback is welcome below. 

Until Next Time,


Mystik86 writes:

The problem is both from my point of view. I think there are too many P2P games and none of them anywhere near next-next-gen quality. Not only that, I find that they just lack in overall quality for content, community and investment required to have fun...

Mon Jul 13 2009 12:59AM Report writes:
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