Category Archives: Sarcasm

DPS Meters can suck it [#Blaugust 13]

Today’s post is sort of a sequel to some of yesterday’s discussions, in case you’re confused. I know not everyone uses DPS meters in MMOs to be a jackass and harass other people in pickup groups (although too many do) – you’re okay!

Anyway, I just….I basically had to do this.




Let’s just say I reserve my epic right to “suck” in MMOs whenever I damn well please. Nothing is more annoying and tedious than running trivial daily dungeons with the leets who’ve been rejected by all the serious guilds.

P.S. Let’s go bowling.

The Deathbed Fallacy. Or: Spare me your Gamer’s Remorse, Thank You!

(This post is dedicated to all the happy gamers out there. And the unhappy ones.)

I have one more month to go at the current job, much to my great delight. Imagine my surprise then when today, somewhat late, I discovered a distant co-worker talking about his WoW raiding spree some years ago, when he was still a progression raider on his horde shaman. Unfortunately however, WoW had “gone wrong” sometime after WotLK (which is true of course) and so he stopped his raiding career of many years and approximately 172 days of total playtime. What a familiar story.

However, my initial fuzzy surge of ex-raider fellowship was short-lived; three minutes into the conversation, the topic shifted to what an utter waste of time it had been to play as much WoW as he had. How could anyone in his right mind spend that much time on games? And with nothing to show for after such a long time? Never ever would he do anything like it again.

Of course! I can never be that lucky….after all this workplace just sucks in all respects!

From there this guy went to explain how he’s rather playing online poker these days and earn some money – because that activity at least has some financial upside (and hence must be utterly worthwhile compared to playing silly fantasy games). Of course my mind was reeling from all the familiar, hollow argumentation at that point, but what struck me the most about this person was the way his enthusiastic flashback of past WoW days turned into such a fundamental condemnation of the once cherished pastime. His eyes had been shining brightly thinking back on his raiding career. There was grim pride in his words when he clarified he’d been one of the “real raiders” on a popular German progression server. Not to mistake with one of the casual crowd! He had killed Arthas on 25man and more. He had “had everything”.

And quite obvious to me, he had enjoyed that greatly. To such a point, a distant shadow of that past glory was still surfacing on his now frowning face. And yet, somewhere along the line that same mind convinced itself that it had all been worthless. An odd ambiguity bespeaking a battle between feelings and reason.
I was just waiting for him to say it: how none of us wish we had played more videogames on our deathbed. At least he spared me that particular cringe.

What none of us wish

Besides the obvious thing, that there’s an awful lot of things we won’t be wishing for when facing death one day, no matter how much we have done them, the truth is most of us will never ever find ourselves on that proverbial death bed. You know, that peaceful and solemn end-of-days contemplation as we feel the last flicker of life leaving our body. That perfectly timed moment of retrospective. And even if by some chance we did, we wouldn’t be thinking of having played too many videogames; in fact I have this wild hunch we wouldn’t think about games at all. This entire analogy isn’t even a thing, it’s nonsensical and construed. Anyway.

Sometimes I still wonder, in a brief moment of desperate frustration, how long is it gonna take? How much more established do videogames need to become in contemporary, western culture to be regarded just as any other hobby out there that isn’t necessarily making “financial profit”(?) That isn’t productive on a first-glance or physically tangible level (tangible on many other levels though). Heck, some hobbies are actually downright detrimental to your health and wellbeing and even those are more accepted than gaming. It’s nuts.

Not to mention of course all the upsides and benefits of videogaming as a hobby / passion. So often documented by gamers out there. Again and again. I’ve talked about it myself, At least twice. I don’t feel the need to revisit this topic. By now there’s a multitude of studies and hard facts out there on all the things that gamers are better at, from hand-eye coordination to abstract thinking, from organizational to certain social skills. And then, in case you missed it in 2012, there’s pieces like this one that actually deal, literally, with the deathbed fallacy in context of videogaming. Yeah, it’s McGonigal again – she’s an enthusiast. And she has a point.

So, in case you still detect yourself in that thought process sometimes, privately maybe as you ponder how much “greater you could’ve been without videogames”, how games stifled your growth and progress in other areas when they’ve really just been an excuse from yourself, saving you from self-doubt and the realization that maybe you’re not going to be a big world changer, internationally acclaimed author, scientist or designer after all – here’s a short transcription from McGonigal’s 2012 TED talk:

“Hospice workers, the people who take care of us at the end of our
lives, recently issued a report on the most frequently expressed regrets
that people say when they are literally on their deathbeds. And that’s
what I wanna share with you today, the top five regrets of the dying:

  • Number 1: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  • Number 2: I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.
  • Number 3: I wish I had let myself be happier.
  • Number 4: I wish I had the courage to express my true self.
  • Number 5: I wish I’d lived a life true to my dreams instead of what others expected of me.” [source]

Now, I don’t think I need to further comment this list. I only wish you do yourself a favor: take it to heart. And while we’re at it: do me a favor and spare me from your goddamn gamer’s remorse.
If you feel the gaming blues sometime (I have), take some time off! If you aren’t enjoying games anymore, don’t play them! If you feel you’re spending too much time on games, play less games! If you feel you’re using games as an unhealthy outlet, ask for help.

….but spare me and the rest of the happily ever after gaming crowd. Spare me the underachiever complex and lamentation of failed grandeur which you so graciously bestow on everyone around you in one sweeping, condescending blow of rotten hindsight wisdom. I think videogames are fucking great – they have been for the past 28 years of my life! That’s for how long I’ve been playing them, so I think I too know a thing or two about the subject.

Just….SPARE ME. Thanks!

ArenaNet really needs character designers!

You’ve probably heard that ArenaNet is hiring character artists, a most prestigious kind of job! After long consideration and making first contact via twitter (to which they still haven’t responded, I can’t quite figure out why), I decided to run for the job and create a first piece of art to illustrate my fitness. The examples given on their page were very helpful pointers in that undertaking…ArenaNet will of course want to find the right type of artists who grasp the art style and aesthetics of Guild Wars 2, keeping things coherent. Luckily all of this applies to me.

(click image to enlarge)

So, what’s your opinion – I believe I have captured ArenaNet’s basic idea for the races and characters in the game? Also, keep in mind this was only a very fast sketch really. I admit I’m not great with the whole environment kind of stuff, but then they’re not looking for landscape artists! ArenaNet pick me, pick me!

The curious case of SWTOR and LFG

Imagine yourself the type of player who loathes the dungeon finder for many reasons; most of which can probably be summed up by “single-most detrimental feature to social interaction in MMOs” or “what really sent WoW’s community downhill”. Imagine yourself the player who would rather wait for the proper group (and go do other things), who’d rather start his own groups by taking initiative in zone/general chats, who’d rather re-think his role choice (in an MMO that enforces a trinity), look for a guild or form one himself, before seeing this type of feature implemented in his favorite MMO. If you’re not that type of player: imagine it anyway. Imagine yourself as someone like me.

In no conceivable MMO-future could I picture myself among those who actively ask for LFG; that would just be utterly bizarre. Unthinkable. Outrageous.

Or wouldn’t it?

Oh, teh irony…!

For several weeks now, I have kept an eye on my co-bloggers currently immersed* in the worlds of SWTOR, commenting among other things on the absence of LFG in the game. The thing that increasingly made me raise an eyebrow was the number of players calling it a grave oversight while blogging from the “MMO veteran corner”. Certainly not to be expected – what’s going on there?

The answer is frankly making my heart bleed. For most discussions, the bottom line is this paraphrased (also see one very recent example for this dynamic at Rohan’s):

“SWTOR being the type of solo-centric / solo-friendly MMO that it is, those players who usually look to group up frequently are left with not enough opportunities to do so. On a server where the majority of players are content to solo (alternatively stick to micro-groups) or use NPC companions, the traditional MMO player is faced with a gaping silence. The same crowd who used to condemn LFG is starting to require it.”

Now, I don’t know how the situation is on every server. Nor do I claim to know how much of that felt lack of opportunity is actual lack of own initiative. Still, I can clearly see a problem for grouping-friendly players in an MMO that does not enforce cooperation; I think it can be expected too that with much lower overall numbers, finding suitable players for grouping during the same playtime as your own, is taking a big hit no matter how great your initiative (which can be expected to some degree if we still assume a player of a more oldschool persuasion). Especially in a game that still clings to certain group setup.

…With that, the remaining players are left with the wish (or rather: resignation) for LFG, lest they not miss so much of the group content and dungeon runs while leveling up. How deeply cynical is that? How completely upside down!

And once more, we must recognize how the old, non-chalant claim of “just play the game the way you like” or “it doesn’t affect you, just ignore it” is utter humbug. HUMBUG folks!

A couple of post scripta

  • P.S.: This is in no way a jab at anyone who enjoys soloing in SWTOR; Bioware obviously intended the game to work this way and at least some are having fun. Whoever is not, can only do the obvious thing and stop paying (and write rants on it).
  • P.S.(2): LFG still sucks. An MMO that makes types like me wish for LFG must therefore suck even more. Sodom and Gomorrah!
  • P.S.(*): Raph Koster actually says that immersion is for dreamers (ha-ha). I guess he’s enjoying SWTOR then! /sarcasm off
  • P.S.(3): I wasn’t looking to bash SWTOR in this article. But I guess it happened anyway.
  • P.S.(4): I will continue to bash MMOs I am not playing (and those I am playing) on this page and there’s nothing you can do about it. Objectivity is all about erm…distance. ^^
  • P.S.(5): Yeah, sarcasm wasn’t really /off there. I lie. Sometimes.

A call for MMO missionaries. Or not.

There’s a particular breed of people I am very weary of. Not scared in a jumping-ship kind of way, but more like “Uh oh…” as I see them approach or worse, join conversation in a social circle I happen to find myself in. Call me biased; but to be completely free of pre-judice is to never learn from experience.

Whenever a sporty person approaches, I am on guard. You can usually tell from the way they are dressed in forceful business casual, their ever-glossy forehead or intolerably energized gait. Not to mention the well-trained shoulders and legs, of course. But before you get the wrong idea – I am all for physical exercise. Indeed, I am making conscious, well-loathed but conscious efforts to stay fit as I am growing older. I am also dreaming of the day that VR helmet and fullbody motion-sensor suit finally arrive, so I can plug them to my PC and play MMOs while having to go through mindbogglingly boring workout routines. If anyone ever tells you they enjoy their workout: be weary. Be very weary.

I am not talking fit people here, but sporty sporty. The ones that will always inevitably steer the conversation to their favorite subject. The ones who have “seen the light” and really think you should too as you receive their well-meant, unasked for dieting tips. You don’t want to be around them, you don’t want them in your clique – they’ll make you walk instead of taking the bus to the bar or bring raw carrots to a movies night. No, I don’t think we mix particularly well, MMO players and sporty people. And I’m not in any way suggesting the ‘overweight, asocial slob’-image here some media are eager to spread about video-gamers. But err….we invented the WoW treadmill, okay? You get my point.

So anyway, there is that 37ish co-worker of mine who fits the profile perfectly. She’s recently been pregnant and ever since (1 year ago now) she’s been talking about her workout, losing baby-fat and how it took her nine months to lose the dreaded last four pounds. She is also thin as a stick, but now she finally radiates inner peace (and cravings for mars bars). Fortunately, she is rarely in the office when I am and I am rarely joining the “lunch faction” that meets up around the kitchen table every day at 13.00.

Only last Friday…I did. It started out innocently, with a chat between myself and my British co-worker who usually works in London and is the only other person with a sense of humor (figures) in the entire company. I was just having a coffee with her, when sporty person came in to join us. Too late to plan for a quick escape route. Rats.

It took exactly 5 minutes for our conversation to go from holiday plans to running shoes. I have since been trying to reproduce the exact order of events but have failed miserably, twice. I don’t know how she worked “so, what brand of sports shoes are you using for running?” into our talk on bed&breakfasts and English cuisine, but I found myself in the lucky position to be asked that exact question. “Ummm….I don’t know”, I answered. “You do have running shoes, right?”, she persisted. Helplessly, I looked down on my two feet. I was wearing my black work shoes, a pair of semi-high heeled, no-name boots which is what I wear half of the year. I guess, I could run with those. For the rest of the time, I wear my comfy five-year old Adidas sneakers. That’s one myth about shoes and handbags dispelled for you.

“I have some shoes….sneakers.” I added. – “What type?”, says she – “The comfy one”, says I. The spotlight beaming at me from the interrogation lamp started to flicker. I could tell she was giving up, but I somewhat saved the situation by mentioning Adidas. At least I was not completely ignorant – too bad that didn’t stop her from educating us both on suitable sports shoes for city jogging for another 15 minutes. Just when I recovered my will to live and was about to mention how utterly moronic and counter-productive running on concrete in the middle of city traffic is for your health, the phone rang for her and she left. Annoying people always get the quick exits handed to them.

Where are the MMO missionaries?

That whole experience got me thinking on my way home later (when highly philosophical, mental monologue frequently occurs). I was trying to remember one single time in my life where somebody tried convincing me to play video games. Or for that matter, any situation where someone, a co-worker or other acquaintance might have picked up the topic in conversation, trying to engage others. Why are there no MMO missionaries? Besides the most obvious answer, that missionaries of any kind are in fact insufferable folk, really – but, where are the video game enthusiasts? Why are they nowhere to be heard, talking about their hobby, infusing others with their interest to the point of truculence?

It’s not a mainstream hobby, I get it. It’s not srs enough for boring work conversation. It’s still a little geeky. But really, how is the world ever going to be a better place without any of us talking about gaming? Do you want a planet ruled by business casual city-joggers?  


So, I’m making this official: from this day on, every week, I will at least once bring up the topic of video games outside this blog, to non-gamers. I will share my positive experiences and encourage others to give it a go sometime. If the topic isn’t going my way, I will make it. I will say things like “…our conference call line? Wait, ever heard about ventrilo? It’s a great, free voice comm tool for PC, people actually use it to play online games together. You know, WoW and stuff right? No? Well, let me tell you…”.

Easy. One recruit a week and soon enough, when I log on to the game in the evening, to unwind and recharge my batteries, I will be surrounded by co-workers. The excel-specialist that never shuts up, the guy with the golfball keyring……the city-jogger….


…I think I just remembered why we want no MMO missionaries!

“Keep it secret – keep it safe!”

Happy Monday to all of you out there, enjoying the peace of united geekdom at their PCs.

The Future is Panty-free

Yeah, it’s an old story – and you don’t wanna hear it anymore. I don’t want to either, heck for most of the time I act as if the topic was water under the bridge. We’re way past that, the genre is, videogames are. This is almost 2012 after all!

You wish.

I get it: panties are exciting! To a few men, mind not many grown-up men but a few, seeing virtual panty (Japanese; pantsu) in a videogame is a bit like omg-christmas, outrageous and cheeky and *tehee* *blush* *chuckle* – add your random IRC emote…I guess we all have to accept that. I don’t even want to ask the reasons why, although I have a sound theory or two, about being stuck in infantile phases of boyhood, of over-sexed media or for the opposite case, cultures where social corset and conformity are so strict that everyone must turn into drooling lechers in front of their PCs at night, to restore at least some balance and mental sanity.

I don’t know. You dwell on that.

This is the important part: In MMOs I do not care to see panties. Let’s repeat this: In MMOs I do not care to see panties. I don’t think they do anything much for a female character’s credibility. Or for a “heroine” battling vicious fiends, for that matter. Still, they are out there and never quite out of fashion: plate bikinis, swinging hips, breasts the size of a small country. It’s not just the omni-present fake portrayal of the female form; nothing feels quite as unimmersive as having to play a combat class that looks as if she was on her way to a lolita dress-up party. Any player, male or female, looking for serious consistency in setting and atmosphere in their MMOs want to see proper armor in sync with their class and the world they are playing it in.

Yet, they keep coming. Lineage and TERA are my all-time favorite examples, but the bare midriffs can be found in plenty of more recent places, even in a perfect world. How cynical.

And I wonder: can we get over this yet? How many female online players worldwide will it take until a Blizzcon panel deems a large portion of their player base worthy of more than a flippant answer? Worse yet, if a company with a few million female players won’t care – who will?

I guess Dwism had it right all along:

Whatever you think of their response to this (and mine is in the comments on both posts), there is one thing painfully obvious for me, about these panel talks.

Every single employee with anything worth saying at Blizzard, is: 35+, white, a little overweight (some more than a little), balding and likes metal. And they only ever talk to other people like that.

It’s not about players, male or female. It’s about the men who make these games. If nothing changes up there, nothing will change down here. For now, enough devs don’t seem to care, not even for the underlying message of their indifference, which can only ever inevitably bring me to the following two conclusions:

A) MMO(RPG) developers are emotionally immature lechers in desperate need to get laid.
B) MMO(RPG) developers consider the majority of their male playerbase emotionally immature lechers in desperate need to get laid.

I don’t know about you, but as a male player I’d feel offended.

P.S. With all that in mind, I am officially and exclusively launching MMO Gypsy’s “No-Panties MMO seal of quality”, for a better and hopefully more serious online gaming future! You may spread and copy at will!

How videogames make you sick

I happen to be one of the lucky people who spend 60+ minutes per day (which is an alltime low too, so pity me) in public transportation to get to work, five days a week of buses and trams. After so many years of commuting I have come to loathe it with a passion, being crammed into tiny spaces with lots of smelly people I never chose to meet in the first place, breathing down my neck or smashing their bagpack into my face as they pass my seat; preferably a single one, if I can help it. And it strikes me: PT is a little bit like the “massively multi-player” promise – lots of people, no real cooperation. Everyone is ever eager to catch an empty compartment before having to share one with somebody else.

I am the last one to complain about that, though. I consider it a twisted joke of fate that I should be so dependent on PT, truth be told I am a misanthrope on most days which is why I play MMOs and run an internet blog to reach out to the world behind the veil of blessed anonimity. Right.
Anyway, there I am sitting tired and wet in the tram (gotta love the rain) at 6PM on my way home, when I am joined by a 40-something mother and her little son. I usually stare out of the window, avoiding all eye contact, but I couldn’t help noticing the weird hairdo of the woman – the sort that makes you think somebody put a chamber pot over his head and then cut along the edges. The thing that cracked me up was that the kid had the exact same hair as she did, which made the pair appear like the freakish twins of some monks order on planet Zork or something. Hillarious.

Contemplating fashion trends in far-away galaxies, I was not ready for the conversation which ensued between the 5-ish years old kid and his mother. It was, you guessed right, about videogames and made me wonder fairly soon whether I had not indeed blundered into some fucking parallel universe without me noticing. But this was still the real world, I did check on my smartphone and the internet never lies.

So, the little boy started asking mommy if he’d be allowed to play “the game” tonight. Sadly, I never got enough info out of the conversation to guess at what game it might have been, Kirby’s Wonderland or Call of Duty 3 (which I doubt considering the mother’s hairdo). He kept nagging her about it, you could tell he was really into it. Mom not so. When ignoring him and the continuous repetition of “no, you won’t tonight” didn’t show desired effect, she started explaining: “No, you can’t play honey, these games will make you horribly sick again.” Instantly I did wonder: had this kid maybe played Wii-Sports at zero degree temperature in the backyard? Had he accidentally swallowed a button from his XBOX pad?

“Yes you will honey, they make children horribly sick”, she continued. “You remember the nightmares you got after that evening at Samuel’s house? That’s what the games do. You get really bad dreams and you can’t sleep anymore”. So, there you got it – only it didn’t end there. She went on explaining how games really spread this mysterious sickness and how it had befallen most of his friends in pre-school, that it was horribly contagious. And I could see it before my waking eye: the evil cyber-virus, spread by Koopa Troopas and piranha plants shooting out of green pipes. Beware the contagion!

All the while, mirrored in the window glass, I watched the little boy’s face. You could tell that he bought his mother’s shit and that it was really her humbug tale more than anything that started to scare him. I wondered how I would’ve felt if somebody had tried to convince me that Pacman and Wonderboy were out to get me at the age of five; how it would’ve poisoned one of the few places in my life that were safe – an untouched shelter, an island of my own. I wondered too, briefly, if I might get away with smacking someone straight in the face in the middle of a crowded tram, but scratch that.

I hate people like that; people who think to protect others is to scare them. People who scare others because they are scared and ignorant themselves. Parents who won’t give their children the chance to deal with the reality of the times they are born into, so they can be outcasts among their peers. People who don’t think or choose the lazy way. People cruel enough to cut their son’s hair like Matthew Broderick in friggin’ Ladyhawke.

I wonder what wild tales she is going to tell him when he starts asking to watch TV. Or play rock music, uh-oh. I hope Samuel invites him back real soon and that he has the sense to tell his mother he’s off to play football.

F2Ps are more social?

Related topics: Tesh, Nils, Tobold, Syp.

Many of the current free-to-play arguments are based on assumptions; on certain player mindsets, on certain items up for sale that then can, will, could, should,might affect somebody somehow sometime. Or not. I’ve a bit of a problem with that in general because I believe MMO players are grown-ups and if they are not, they shouldn’t be handling credit cards. Either way, it’s not for me to tell somebody how to live his life, real or virtual or how to spend his own money, in “right” or “wrong” ways. Down that road there are only double standards wherever you turn.

That aside, common misconceptions about the F2P payment model are “players will buy items because they have to” or “if a player buys nothing, it’s clearly because he couldn’t afford it”. My favorite is the classist fallacy where really poor players are apparently excluded from F2P, but not from sub-games. I hope you perceive just how many hypothetical assumptions are needed for this to be true.

Instead, let me elaborate on why I actually believe that F2Ps might be the more “social” games like that, social in the sense of caring for more people than yourself. For argument’s sake, let’s assume too that there is such a thing as a poor MMO player in desperate, existential need to optimize his money, rather than players who are simply unwilling to shift around priorities (for whatever reason):

1) F2Ps are open to everybody. Unlike a sub-based game that already pre-selects the player base from the beginning and excludes players who might not be able to afford subs, F2Ps actually let everybody partake. In some MMOs this means almost a full access, few extras excluded (such as endgame relevant boosts) that a more casual player might not even care for. In other MMOs, the item shop matters more but either way everyone gets to play the game first and a casual player can still hang out with his more dedicated friends. No money doesn’t mean not your party!

2) In F2Ps, some players pay for others. Realistically the percentage of players spending any or much money is (currently still) low, compared to the mass of “freeloaders”. Since the game can be played for free by definition, some players will finance a system others benefit from without same contribution. Now that might vex you, if you belong to the big spenders. OR you could look at it this way: Those who have more and/or want to spend more, fund those who will not and/or cannot afford the same. This would be called the principle of solidarity in a social state. You can’t afford to play an MMO? Well, I can and I’m happy to take you along! (This is very European!)

3) By offering you to buy that backpack rather than to grind for it, F2Ps make it easier to include players with less time. Time is a currency; in fact it is the currency in MMOs; if you have more time to play, you have more time to progress and more time/opportunity to make money – potentially. The player who works a lot more or simply has more on his plate of real-life “duties”, is at a disadvantage. The item shop allows him (if he so chooses) to turn some of his real money into a time gain, by buying a useful item straight away, avoiding a grind someone else might enjoy. While I’m no fan of short-cuts in MMOs, there are “grinds and grinds” and there are good and bad types of short-cuts. Here, it’s an added choice that caters to different players and makes for happier co-existence.

Still think sub-games are fairer in handling players, when our circumstances are not equal by nature and never can be?

Three popular counter arguments

A) One popular counter-argument in this context is the question of meritocracy; players should earn their achievements without any “assistance from real money” in the game.
This type of reasoning is based on the assumption that MMO players aren’t already affected by real money or time to begin with. I’m not sure how I “earned” that access to the sub-based game other than with real money. I’d also argue that purchased items like backpacks or cosmetics don’t equal a heroic reward or actual ingame accomplishment. Items are not the same as achievements, although that is a common mistake as they usually correlate in MMOs (certainly do in WoW). You can rest assured nobody will confuse them so easily in a game where everyone knows which items are shop exclusive (if this exists) and which are raid epics for example. Anyway, meritocracy is no social concept to begin with.

B) There is a particularly cynical argument, that goes something like “an item shop is disingenuous to the players who can’t afford it”. – So much more generous to exclude the person right away, assuming subscriptions are the alternative? If we assume a “poor player” like that, we should assume he can either afford a sub OR some ingame items. There’s no reason to suggest an F2P is forcing players to spend any or more money than that, in fact I wonder if you’d even get up to those 140 Euros / year which are roughly what you would pay for 12 months of WoW subs plus half an expansion. If you do, it’s likely that you were “tempted” by extra shinies in which case you don’t qualify as a poor player. Case dismissed.

C)F2P will disadvantage the less liquid player at later stages / endgame”. Still assuming this was a pro-subscription argument: if an F2P is designed to require (and that in itself remains questionable) micro-transactions in order to be competitive in endgame, we might as well assume the same player would never get to see end-game in a sub-based MMO to begin with. We established that he was already turned down at the door. If however we agree this awfully poor player doesn’t exist, B) applies once more: the player would only be excluded at endgame if the item costs greatly surpass what he’d otherwise pay for subscriptions. For such an F2P we could actually say a player gets everything for free but endgame, whereas in WoW he gets everything for free, full stop. Only that in WoW’s case there is no choice to skip paying for an endgame he might not care for.

Now, Nils would tell me how this last line is faulty; while you might pay for everything by default in WoW, it actually means you get everything. I’ll explain:

The F2P player might choose what he wants to pay for more consciously – but that also means he has to pay for it. If you skip endgame, you will spend that money elsewhere because the game offers the best RP items in the shop too, or the best PvP items. The WoW player on the other hand can play just as selectively, but he never gets asked to pay more or less anywhere. If he wants to have it all, it costs the same as if he only chose to RP. From this point of view, paying a sub wins IF

  • the player gravitates towards many play styles and has generally lots of time for the game
  • the player plays in that same way consistently
  • the total costs of required or interesting items for his purposes are higher than the subs

In this case, a subscription is the best deal for you. If you’re however part of a wider player base who has restricted time, exclusive interests, changing schedules, then F2P might suit you better. Not surprisingly, this gets more popular with an aging audience. It can create choices where a subscription cannot. Which is why both models have their up and downside, or rather their target audience.

Requirements, Restrictions, Read my lips

Today, just briefly.

You want meaningful choices in your MMOs?
Then you have to accept that the game will come with requirements and restrictions.
It will have hard caps and benchmarks, it will have overall lower accessibility and bigger punishment. To some extent. Choices have no meaning when anything goes, no matter what the variety in choice is before you. If everything is flexible, your choices matter shit and it ain’t even their fault.

You want memorable content?
Then you have to accept that the game will come with requirements and restrictions.
Content feels less generic if it appears to be more unique – to state the obvious. How can it feel unique? For example by being unexpected, random, less obvious, limited, exclusive, not easily accessible, especially taxing or God forbid, almost out of reach. Oh, you don’t want to miss anything and you don’t want to deal with random or taxing? Then don’t expect anything to stand out in your memory. It doesn’t work that way.

You want rewards to be epic?
Then you have to accept that the game will come with requirements and restrictions.
An epic reward is the opposite of easy and numerous. If you want items to be special, expect them not to be a dime a dozen. Expect to work long and hard. Expect to miss out because you cannot always own everything that is special out there. If you did, it means everybody else does too and we both know you don’t want that.

…You want everything always with everybody?
Then you have to accept that the game will come with requirements and restrictions.
You can’t have any of the things mentioned above. But hey, at least you got everything always with everybody, right?

Balance, such a beautiful thing. Almost we forgot that everything comes at a price.