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Old 2013-05-11, 06:39   Link #181
kyp275
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tbh, I've only logged in the ff14 beta a couple times just to see the visual and UI changes, I'm not really a fan of playing beta, I'd prefer not to spoil myself on the contents as to avoid being bored of it once it actually comes out.
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Old 2013-05-11, 15:57   Link #182
Xion Valkyrie
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Originally Posted by Keroko View Post
Got a source for that claim? I see numbers like these thrown around all the time, but most of the times it's just hearsay. Few can actually point me to a source.
This is from 2008:
http://wow.joystiq.com/2008/01/22/wo...n-subscribers/

2010:
http://www.mmorpgrealm.com/world-of-...istic-in-2010/

2011 estimates:
http://www.wowwiki.com/WoW_population_by_country

I guess it's actually more like 50/50 Asian/Western split, although I think even South Korea uses the pay by the hour/minute system as opposed to subscriptions.

I think this NerfNow! comic gives a pretty good insight into why F2P with cash shop is becoming so popular:



The majority of MMO gamers fall into that 2nd category now, and are more than willing to pay money for convenience items if it saves them time.

Last edited by Xion Valkyrie; 2013-05-11 at 16:12.
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Old 2013-05-12, 06:27   Link #183
Mr Hat and Clogs
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Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
People need to understand finance. Some MMOs can live with 500,000 subs if they are on 3 servers. Some MMOs can lose money if they put 10,000,000 people on 2,000 servers. If Blizzard built their servers to support 12 million players and suddenly it went down to 8 million, it need to to cut 20-33% of its support to match.

If not, they start losing money.
Is that directed at me, because I do understand the finances and the balancing act they have to go through.

Anyway here is a little about what actually runs the game from a few years back, IIRC Blizzard outsources their servers from AT&T. This is overall, not per server, there are around 500-ish servers. I'd say they optimally hold 4-5000 people, but they could probably go up to 10k for lagtastic fun times, but that's just a guess.

Quote:
Apparently, in order for you to be able to log in whenever you want, it takes roughly 20,000 computer systems, over a petabyte of storage, and over 4600 people. Using multiple data centers around the world, this works out to a total of 13,250 server blades, 75,000 CPU cores, and 112.5 terabytes of blade RAM. They even monitor the weather in the areas where the data centers are, just to ensure that the servers donít go down in the middle of that Naxx raid.

source
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Old 2013-05-12, 18:51   Link #184
ArchmageXin
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Originally Posted by Mr Hat and Clogs View Post
Is that directed at me, because I do understand the finances and the balancing act they have to go through.

Anyway here is a little about what actually runs the game from a few years back, IIRC Blizzard outsources their servers from AT&T. This is overall, not per server, there are around 500-ish servers. I'd say they optimally hold 4-5000 people, but they could probably go up to 10k for lagtastic fun times, but that's just a guess.
Most people on this board don't, they just do 10 million X 15 X 12 = 1.8 billion= a lot of moola and not recognize the actual value is only a fraction of that.

So it is entirely possible for blizzard to actually lose money if the cost are not controlled properly.
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Old 2013-05-12, 22:20   Link #185
synaesthetic
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Regarding that NerfNow comic, this is where I exit stage right. The genre has become too stupid for me.

Fortunately I'm not alone in wanting some oldschool multiplayer action without progression, grind, timesinks or any of that stupid crap--and with good ol' deathmatch fun.

Rise of the Triad is coming back.

Oh yeah.
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Old 2013-08-20, 12:38   Link #186
synaesthetic
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[mod edit: moved from other thread...]

I'm sorry, but F2P is the bane of the MMO genre. It's killing it and not that slowly, either.

All F2P games ultimately become pay-to-win, because "peacocks" (industry term for people who like to play dress-up) aren't numerous enough to support the leechers, so they have to sell power items to the tryhards in order to keep the business afloat.

All F2P games ultimately shift all development focus to the cash shop, because that's the only part of the game that directly makes them money. Every F2P game I've ever played has all but ignored general game content (dungeons, PvP maps, new areas and monsters and the like) in favor of adding more crap to the cash shop.

I've never, in my entire life of playing tons of MMOs, found an F2P game that treated its customers well. I've never found an F2P game that fixed major bugs with any sort of urgency. I've never found an F2P game that actually gave any fucks about its playerbase. I've never found an F2P game that was sustainable long-term; eventually the paying customers' control tolerance wears down to the point where most of the "whales" realize they've been had, and then promptly quit.
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Old 2013-08-20, 14:45   Link #187
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
I'm sorry, but F2P is the bane of the MMO genre. It's killing it and not that slowly, either.
I disagree with this. For two reasons. First, any of the MMO's that went F2P did so because they were dying. Dying because nobody was interested in their game enough to pay for it every month. This shows the subscription model is not the way to go unless your game is really something special.

Which is reason number two. What's really killing the genre is over-saturation combined with a lack of diversity. To put it bluntly, "if your game is just like WoW, why should players pay for your game over WoW?"

LotR online reported their income triple when they went F2P. Triple over a subscription model. If situations like that don't show the subscription model today is only reserved for only a select few MMO's who actually manage to make something special, I don't know what will.
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Old 2013-08-20, 17:11   Link #188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keroko View Post
I disagree with this. For two reasons. First, any of the MMO's that went F2P did so because they were dying. Dying because nobody was interested in their game enough to pay for it every month. This shows the subscription model is not the way to go unless your game is really something special.

Which is reason number two. What's really killing the genre is over-saturation combined with a lack of diversity. To put it bluntly, "if your game is just like WoW, why should players pay for your game over WoW?"

LotR online reported their income triple when they went F2P. Triple over a subscription model. If situations like that don't show the subscription model today is only reserved for only a select few MMO's who actually manage to make something special, I don't know what will.
Of course, subscription games that go F2P do so as a last resort to save their business. However, that usually means all their regular loyal customers will bail (which is what they want to happen) and become replaced by the F2P gamer, the gamehoppers, the hackers, the botters, the griefers, the trolls.

The game ceases to be something you can play for years on end and becomes something played by the "locusts" who swoop in, destroy any semblance of community the title has, and then move on to the next F2P game to do exactly the same thing.

I agree that those game developers who try to copy WoW are doing it wrong. WoW wasn't successful because it copied the most successful game of its time; WoW was successful because it took all of the best parts from all of the successful games of its time and did away with all of the worst parts.

WoW moved the game away from the grind of EQ1 and FFXI, took the best aspects of those games and put them into more accessible form, and took early EQ2's quest leveling and refined it.

If a modern MMO developer would do the same and take the best aspects of all the current and successful MMOs, they would be the new Blizzard, and reap astonishing success as a result.

Lastly, games that go F2P make money because they stop spending money, not because they're actually pulling in more revenue than a subscription-based game. They sacrifice regular content updates, customer service and long-term support for focusing their efforts on cheap ways to make money... vanity items in the cash shop, power boosters, experience boosters, mounts and pets and other collectibles. These things cost very little money to make, so it turns out to be very profitable in the short-term.

If you've got a P2P game that has 100,000 customers at $15 a month, you're pulling in $1.5 million a month, steady and reliable. If you've got an F2P game, you might make three times that in one month, and nothing at all the next month. In order for F2P games to remain profitable, they have to "cut the fat" by laying off existing staff, shrinking their workforce to a bare minimum maintenance crew and focusing all remaining development efforts on trying to get people to buy stuff from your shop.

Honestly, if P2P dies out I'm just done with MMOs in general until the F2P bubble bursts. After that happens I think we'll see some really interesting new games, especially considering how it'll likely happen when WoW's alleged decline starts to become real.
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Old 2013-08-21, 05:51   Link #189
Keroko
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Of course, subscription games that go F2P do so as a last resort to save their business. However, that usually means all their regular loyal customers will bail (which is what they want to happen) and become replaced by the F2P gamer, the gamehoppers, the hackers, the botters, the griefers, the trolls.

The game ceases to be something you can play for years on end and becomes something played by the "locusts" who swoop in, destroy any semblance of community the title has, and then move on to the next F2P game to do exactly the same thing.
You have numbers for this, I suppose? Because last I checked, the community of LotR: Online was tighter than it ever was before. The original Guild Wars is still going, despite Guild Wars 2 being out. Which also does well, I might add. Even has these 'regular content updates' you imply are only possible with a subscription model. Or Runescape. Runescape should be long dead by now according to you.

There are many F2P games that keep on going, while most subscription based games that exist now only do so because of their status and hardcore userbase (WoW, Lineage) or being niche enough that no real competition exists (EVE).

But how many subscription based games created in the post-WoW era still exist as subscription based games today?

I will withhold calling doom on Wildstar for their choice of business model for now, but I have already heard many previously enthusiastic voices around me go "Oh... subscription? That's too bad..."
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Old 2013-08-21, 06:09   Link #190
MeoTwister5
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I think people also need to try and look at it from the perspective of gamers from less developed and opulent countries where the subscription model isn't feasible for shelling out 10-15 a month, and where F2P is what allows these people access to games they otherwise can't afford.

Because honestly a lot of the subscription purists scream elitist exclusivity to me. Not all F2Players are uneducated trolling imbeciles.
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Old 2013-08-21, 18:53   Link #191
Veviticus
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
The game ceases to be something you can play for years on end and becomes something played by the "locusts" who swoop in, destroy any semblance of community the title has, and then move on to the next F2P game to do exactly the same thing.



Lastly, games that go F2P make money because they stop spending money, not because they're actually pulling in more revenue than a subscription-based game. They sacrifice regular content updates, customer service and long-term support for focusing their efforts on cheap ways to make money... vanity items in the cash shop, power boosters, experience boosters, mounts and pets and other collectibles. These things cost very little money to make, so it turns out to be very profitable in the short-term.

If you've got a P2P game that has 100,000 customers at $15 a month, you're pulling in $1.5 million a month, steady and reliable. If you've got an F2P game, you might make three times that in one month, and nothing at all the next month. In order for F2P games to remain profitable, they have to "cut the fat" by laying off existing staff, shrinking their workforce to a bare minimum maintenance crew and focusing all remaining development efforts on trying to get people to buy stuff from your shop.

Honestly, if P2P dies out I'm just done with MMOs in general until the F2P bubble bursts. After that happens I think we'll see some really interesting new games, especially considering how it'll likely happen when WoW's alleged decline starts to become real.
Any good game can be played for years regardless of the community, especially if they release regular updates and expansions.

P2P games are also capable of focusing their efforts on cheap ways to make money... vanity items in the cash shop, power boosters, experience boosters, mounts and pets and other collectibles. It's not sacrificing all content updates but any effort and money put into the cash shop is less effort and money put into content patches.

Higher subscription numbers doesn't lead to more content patches. WoW at 12million subs then and 8million subs now, I'm still seeing 1 new raid per patch. Content is also prolonged by gating and dailies. Raids with their low drop chance for gear, gating and one kill a week. Other content with dailies for tokens for items with incredibly high token costs that takes months to purchase everything. Btw, if 12million down to 8million is not a decline, then I don't know what is.

But yeah, P2P games have much better customer support, account security and recovery. And that is very important for any customers who put money into games.
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Old 2013-08-22, 01:46   Link #192
synaesthetic
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I personally won't put any significant amount of time in a free-to-play MMO, no matter how "non-evil" their cash shop is.

RIFT, for example, recently went free-to-play. Their cash shop is one of the least offensive variants I've ever seen and the prices are extremely reasonable. But I won't play it, I won't put the time in, for a few reasons:

I don't like to be harassed to buy stuff. I don't want to see reminders, popups, sale notifications. I'm the kind of person that runs adblockers on everything. I adblock my smartphone, my laptop, my desktop. If I want to buy something, I will buy something.

In order for an F2P game to make enough money to be profitable, it is required to put pressure on the leechers to buy something. I personally prefer the pressure that is a monthly subscription--pay to play the game, don't deal with the game limiting you inside the game, and then showing you ads inside the game.

Another issue is average expense. F2P games make money through many means, but nickle and diming their customers is one of those means. I'm sorry, but I'd much rather pay $15 a month and get access to everything than have to pay $30-60 a month in microtransactions to get access to everything, or pay less to get access to part of the game.

The biggest, most glaring issue though is selling power. All F2P games will inevitably sell power--they have to, because selling cosmetics is unsustainable in the long-term.

F2P games may start out with relatively inoffensive cash shops selling vanity items, costumes, mounts and such, but eventually the playerbase will stabilize. Eventually the players who wanted cosmetic items will have already bought cosmetic items... and then the revenue will dip sharply. The developers will be forced to make up that lost revenue somehow, and the only reliable way to do so is to require some type of item, usually a consumable power boost, that the players will be required to purchase regularly in order to make any sort of progress in the game.

This is what bugs me most about F2P games. Not only am I forced to spend much more per month on some consumable power booster, but these things rarely have upper limits, enabling players with more money than sense the ability to completely break the game (especially in regards to player vs. player content) by turning it from a skill challenge into a credit card arms race.

It basically comes down to this: I can't afford free-to-play games. They're just too damn expensive.

Let that sink in for a moment. When the absurdity of the statement is that extreme, I really feel sorry for all the poor sods these games are pulling hundreds of dollars a month out of. The same poor sods who complain that $15 a month is too expensive for them.

I'll stick with subscription-only--at least then I know ahead of time that all I'm going to have to pay is $15 a month.
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Old 2013-08-22, 02:07   Link #193
Westlo
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
F2P games may start out with relatively inoffensive cash shops selling vanity items, costumes, mounts and such, but eventually the playerbase will stabilize. Eventually the players who wanted cosmetic items will have already bought cosmetic items... and then the revenue will dip sharply. The developers will be forced to make up that lost revenue somehow, and the only reliable way to do so is to require some type of item, usually a consumable power boost, that the players will be required to purchase regularly in order to make any sort of progress in the game.

This is what bugs me most about F2P games. Not only am I forced to spend much more per month on some consumable power booster, but these things rarely have upper limits, enabling players with more money than sense the ability to completely break the game (especially in regards to player vs. player content) by turning it from a skill challenge into a credit card arms race.

It basically comes down to this: I can't afford free-to-play games. They're just too damn expensive.
Did Guild Wars do that? Did LOTR? Has TOR? I know TERA didn't, I doubt GW2 will and same with RIFT. Just because a few bad F2Ps pulled that shit doesn't mean you can smear the entire genre.
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Old 2013-08-22, 02:11   Link #194
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TERA did, GW2 did (making your BiS gear is just about impossible without using the shop or botting), I don't know about TOR...

And GW1 had a different payment model. They were pay-to-unlock-content, not pay-to-win. I actually consider GW1's model to be the very best non-subscription model. They release new stuff, you pay for the new stuff. It's fair and equitable and honest. It's not sneaky, exploitative and it doesn't rely on twisting human psychological blind spots in a way that makes my insides churn.
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Old 2013-08-22, 02:36   Link #195
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I dunno about Tera and TOR but GW2 you could farm dungeons, do guild missions, fractals, achievements, events etc for your gear. But it does take a lot of repetition so I see how it would feel like botting.
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Old 2013-08-22, 03:12   Link #196
Mr Hat and Clogs
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To even breath in TOR you need to spend money in the cash shop. The cash shop in that game is quite possibly the STUPIDEST thing I have ever seen. Want to raid, pay for it, want to wear the gear you get in the raid, pay for that to. Want use basic UI functions like extra action bars? Well guess what, bend that wallet over because here come EA to violate it.
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Old 2013-08-22, 07:40   Link #197
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F2P and sub is just a business model. Frequency of updates and content depends on the developers commitment and team size. Just going sub doesn't necessary meant you'll get frequent content updates if you look at old MMOs and WoW while being F2P doesn't mean it's all cash shop items (GW2, Planetside).

At the end of the day, it's going hinge a lot on player population management and managing expectation. Having an upfront cost barrier is going to limit player size and hopefully Carbine and NCsoft have their expectation in check.
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Old 2013-08-22, 11:36   Link #198
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When F2P advocates speak, this is what I hear:

WAH WAH I DON'T WANT TO PAY $15 A MONTH FOR THAT GAME IT'S TOO EXPENSIVE

I'LL JUST GO PLAY THIS FREE TO PLAY GAME AND SPEND $50 A MONTH IN THE CASH SHOP BECAUSE IT'S FREE AND STUFF

*facepalm*

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F2P and sub is just a business model. Frequency of updates and content depends on the developers commitment and team size.
And these things--developer commitment to content creation and team size--depend on payment model. F2P developers do not keep staff around; they can't afford to, because they cannot make accurate projections about what sort of revenue they're going to bring in next month. This month they brought in a few million, but next month they might get squat.

Considering how a company will never sacrifice its own profits to make the customer happy, do not expect to see an excess of new content from any F2P game. Aion's content release schedule is the norm; expect new stuff (that isn't tied to the cash shop) once a year.

F2P is not "just a business model." It fundamentally and radically alters the entire game itself, both in-universe and in meta ways. Some people are okay with these radical alterations. I am not.

I can't wait until the F2P bubble implodes and we start seeing more microtransaction-free subscription games again.
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Old 2013-08-22, 14:00   Link #199
Mahou
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Never spent a single cent on cash shops, but then again it depends heavily on preferences. hardcore gamers, be it pvp or pve, may give in faster to stay competitive or whatever, but for loctuses like myself, who simply play for leveling (a minority, I assume) and don't care the slightest about endgame (and/or elitism), I pay once - in case of GW2 - and can play any time I desire. The only annoyance with cash shops is stuff like character slots when there are more classes than initial character slots available
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Old 2013-08-22, 14:20   Link #200
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The only thing that bugs me with subscription based things is that I feel guilty whenever I'm not using it because it feels like I'm wasting that time. With f2p, at least I can be in control of when I want to play and not feel guilty when I decide to play one week out of a month and come back to it later.

But yeah, there's always the quality control issue with f2p games, the communities certainly seem different.
It would make sense, since a lack of a barrier to entry would greatly influence the community.
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