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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: A Lack of Free Trials?

Posted by MikeB Monday June 17 2013 at 2:57AM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Why are newer games backing away from giving trials?" by Razeekster.

Razeekster says:

None of the new games that that have come out the past couple years give them. For example, to play Guild Wars 2 or the Secret World your only option to be able to try it out is to wait for one of their very rare free weekends. I just don't understand why these newer games wouldn't want players to try them out for 10-14 days like other P2P games do (or to level 20 like WoW does and like RIFT used to do before it went free to play). I mean, they'd probably be getting more customers that way because people may go, "Oh, hey, this is pretty fun! I'm going to buy it/pay for it now!"

So, why is it that there seem to be fewer free trials these days? Find out what the community had to say below!

WereLlama (awesome name) brings up pattern filtering as a possible reason:

This has been discussed on Gamasutra.

I believe the summary is that due to there being  so much competition, demos or trials have become an opportunity for would be players to pattern filter the game away. They are much less likely to try the final version.


Oh its isometric, Next.

Oh its first person, Next.

Oh its tab targeting, Next.

Oh it has cartoon graphics, Next.

Oh they have a in-game shop, Next.

Then women have clothes on, Next.


If the Dev's wait until the game is done with a viable emotional investment model, they can get the players to stick it out.

You get 30 seconds of the player's attention, tops!


Quizzical offers an interesting take:

You don't want everyone who will ever play your game to get in on launch day.  Rather, it's much better to maintain a fairly stable playerbase, for a number of reasons.

Different players will time when they start a game differently, for reasons of their own.  Some want to play on launch day, others want to wait for a free trial before potentially buying a game, and still others will wait until a game goes "free to play".  Each of those events, as well as releasing expansions and certain very major patches, can bring in a flood of new or returning players that causes the playerbase to spike upward.

Thus, if there are a number of events that you know will cause the playerbase to spike upward, and you can time then to whenever you want, you try to time them to happen when the playerbase would otherwise have been sagging.  That will keep the playerbase steadier than if you caused a spike in population when it was already going up.  And in particular, you don't want to time two of the events too close to each other.

So first you release a game without a free trial.  Then you offer a free trial later, once the playerbase is declining and you feel the need to do something about it.  And which are the games that you're noticed don't have a free trial?  Precisely the newer ones--that is, the ones that haven't gotten to the point where it makes sense to offer a free trial just yet.

dumpcat blames the gold sellers:

It's because of gold sellers. Same old story...a few bad apples ruin it for the good ones.

The reality is that developers and publishers will offer free trials when it is most advantageous for them to do so. It's just that simple. These are typically timed around new patches or maybe dips in population or any number of situations. In any case, as more and more MMOs go the F2P route, the need for a free trial is becoming obsolete. I can't really tell you why Guild Wars 2, as a B2P title, doesn't offer them more frequently, but I wouldn't say that because GW2 isn't doing these often that other B2P titles down the line won't. It's frankly too early to say. The sample size is just too small at the moment.

What's your take? Share it with us in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: The Best Necromancers

Posted by MikeB Sunday June 9 2013 at 11:21PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "MMORPG with the best Necromancer class?" by Larloch.

Larloch says:

Which MMO has the best Necromancer class? If you want you can list and rank the ones you have played. Explaining why would be great. Thanks guys.

khamul787 picks Guild Wars:

As with a lot of people here, I'm saying GW. My necro was one of my mains for about 1000+ hours and I absolutely loved the feeling of being a true minion master. Micro managing nearly a dozen minions with buffs and debuffs, keeping them alive, using them to keep me alive, body blocking... I just love the class ^ ^

Dragim (and many others) vouch for the EverQuest Necromancer:

I would say Everquest, because it was a heck of a lot of fun and they had usefulness (well, at least in the beginning) besides just being damage output.

My corpse is lost, can someone help me find it?!

Can someone summon my corpse for me?

Necro was so so so valuable.

Vahrane feels the Vanguard Necromancer doesn't get enough credit:

  While I loved EQ and its necros were fearsome I'd have to say that Vanguard necros have always seemed more fun. Unlike EQ necros they have access to multiple pets at once and take the body parts of mobs, like skin grafts (mentioned by 1!! Only 1! poster earlier) as well as other limbs, of differing qualities with different bonuses and REALLY make your pet. WTH is with all the necro players that haven't touched Vanguard? Seriously?

For me, it's the City of Heroes Necromancy Mastermind.  You had a total of six pets out at once and they ranged from a couple of zombies to an awesome CC-loaded Lich.  Like any other Mastermind, you could pair up this skillset with any of the other powersets available to the archetype and this allowed you some interesting levels of flexibility.

What is your favorite implementation of the Necromancer class? Share it with us in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Reticule vs. Tab Targeting

Posted by MikeB Monday June 3 2013 at 12:32AM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Reticule VS Tab target - your thoughts?" by Mkilbride.

I see alot of threads about how reticule is the future of MMORPGs, that action combat requires more skill and somehow has more depth. That all MMORPG's should adopt such a system.

I personally don't believe this. I thought it was so, years ago when Vindictus game out, I was super amazed, and Reticule can be very fun. However MMORPG's really are meant for the long-haul and I find it can become tiring after awhile, being constantly vigilant. You got a scratch? You can't or you die. You wanna eat a snack while grouping? Can't. Wanna mindlessly grind some task? Can't.

Then there is also the debate about how it's more "skill based." one could make this argument, but I disagree again. I am a lover of games like Jedi Academy, Devil May Cry, Chivalry, Mount & Blade. But really it becomes almost the same after awhile. Press keys 1-4 for your attacks, or RMB / LMB top perform a combo. It ends up just being as monotone as Tab target can be - except you've got to put alot energy into it.

Tab target on the other hand, allows for better animations, more interesting skills, and depth that you can't have with action based combat. They both have their ups and downs, but after years of believing how action combat such as Vindictus was going to revolutionize the MMORPG, and how it must be more skill based, I've played alot of new MMOs since then and changed my opinion on the matter.

Both require skill. That's why I dislike fans of reticule who say they won't play a MMO without "action combat", because it's not skill based. I also dislike fans of tab target who won't do action combat because they say they don't want twitch based skill in a game. One requires dexterity, the other theoretical thinking. Both require their own type of skill, neither is more skill based in the end, I find.

What are your thoughts?


What's the community think? Read on for a couple of highlights from the thread!

pauly6478 can see the benefits of both:

I like both but I do like the mechanics of aiming my skills because it does take more skill. Having to aim a skill is and will always be much harder then auto lock. Its like playing a shooter with autotarget and manual target. One is just easier. 

But I do agree it does tend to get tedious after awhile aiming all the time.

I like both but I think most players now are just tired of the same ol garbage so they like having to aim now.

AlBQuirky is a fan of tab-targeting:

For me, tab targeting hands down. Like others, I get overly tired in action combat games. I do like the dodge mechanic, though. Tab Targeting handles this as a dice roll (Random Number Generator) if there is a dodge skill, which is fine for me.

Neither Tab Targeting nor Reticule handle misses, though. How far does that arrow or bullet go after missing the target to the left? Does it hit another monster in another close area? No. It misses and disappears, falling harmlessly to the ground "somewhere." Would reticule targeting be as fun then? Having mobs adding onto a fight when a player misses would cause all kinds of grief.

The biggest reason I prefer tab targeting is that my character, not me, is doing the combat. My mouse control is not good. Hopefully, my character is much better at aiming than I am :)

reeereee seems to lean towards reticule aiming:

What are you people even talking about with typing?  If you're typing while fighting in a tab target game you're either doing well under optimal dps/tps or the global cooldown is ridiculously long.

I find action combat game changing for PvP.  In games like WoW or Aion winning and losing revolves around the proper use of cooldowns, because among other things there is no dodging in non-action land and defensive cooldowns are used to simulate that.  I find it incredibly freeing to have character positioning rather than who pressed a cooldown button when determine the outcome of PvP.  I really can't imagine ever going back to a tab target game unless the content was mindblowing, and even then maybe not.

I'm going to be lame and say I don't really have a preference. I took great pride in my ability to excel in Age of Conan PvP due to the difference in raw player skill provided by the free targeting of that game's combat system, but at the same time, I don't really mind tab-targeting as I play SWTOR on a regular basis. I feel there is room for both, and as another user mentioned, it's really just about flavors. The trend right now is leaning towards a more reticule based "action" combat, but I think things will come around and find a nice balance with options available for all crowds.


What's your take? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!