Tobold's Blog
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Open Sunday Thread

Time for your questions and suggestions again. I could swear the last week was considerably shorter than normal. :)
I just read something on the net about the Allods cash shop debacle. Buying something ingame for 7000 dollars (which could almost buy you a small Romanian made car in my country) doesnt really register as a micro transaction in my book. What happened here? Is it a deliberate attempt to derail the launch of the game (for reasons obviously obscure to the outsider), a perception of NA/EU gamers which doesnt compute at all (we all swim in cash here), or just a clumsy attempt to skim the market?
The Allods shop was only open for a short time, and has been closed all weekend. Thus I'd reserve judgement over the prices until the shop is open with the final prices. I'm still not sure the first version wasn't just programming mistake.
I suspect it's a clumsy attempt to skim the market and that they're probably confused by the results.

On the one hand there's widespread indignation, calls for boycotts, forum flames and so on.

On the other they've probably sold quite a lot of bags.

I suspect they don't know what to do but will try for some damage mitigation PR and "concessions" while keeping base prices high.
Hey I just read the new patch notes and I am half happy and half upset.

Lets talk about the upset part...Tailoring CD removed, and 15 min Kick Out CD removed from Random. Tailoring is already a dead profession and I see no future with my alt getting badges through random. GearScore finally wiped us all!
I would like to ask about PVP in MMOs. You've often said that you simply don't care for PVP, and sometimes referred to that as a purely personal, and therefore unassailable, opinion. I think it would be a valuable discussion to try to understand why some people do or don't like PVP. It's something I've been thinking about lately.

What personality types or game design decisions are needed for PVP to work? Do you believe that the personality types drawn to PVP are necessarily negative? What's made a game like EVE stand the test of time relative to the other sandbox PVP offerings?

I think trying to understand the differences between PVP and PVE game design and community better would also lend more weight to future reviews that reference your dislike for PVP.

Maybe they are not willing to admit it was a programming error. Supposedly the patch will also force people to use perfumes for end game content. This is turning into quite the horror story and giving the anti-RMT crowd a lot of ammunition.
I would like to see you post about what MMOs could learn from single player games. Specifically, single player RPGs. With the recent release of Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age Origins I really feel like MMOs have too much grind and not enough story.

But, that is just my opinion.

What do you think MMO game devs could learn from single player games?
What are your thoughts on all the info that we've been flooded with for the next WoW patch. A New raids, changes to profession, classes being tweaked, a big change to the BG system, big auction house/economy changes, and, my personal favorite, confirmation that Blizzard are least looking into extending dungeon finder to 10 man raids.
I have a suggestion for a topic. I would be very interested in seeing something about the various currency systems in games. In WoW, this would include badges of frost/triumph/etc, honor, arena points, and gold. Some of these are easier to exchange for other things (loot, other currencies, etc). Do the differences in the different currencies reflect the differences between the parts of the game that each serves? In other words, why not make everything gold-based?
I don't think it's that Tobold doesn't like all PvP. He doesn't like non consensual PvP and has often admitted to being bad at it.

I think those two factors would be enough reason for anyone to avoid a MMO targeted at a PvP only style of Gameplay.
The topic of how a F2P game can be sustainable is interesting in its own right, and Allods is a case-in-point.

I wrote a short blog post on the economics, including two very interesting articles you'd like.
The problem with F2P MMOs is that they aren't really Free. The companies are still trying to make a profit but they present their game as free to try and suck people into buying things down the road.

I think it's the fact that they are attempting to try people that makes it so unpopular.

They need to present the game as a no monthly fee game but be very upfront that we anticipate players paying X amount a month for items on average.

I think it is a reasonable business plan that just hasn't been worked out yet. I don't think it will ever be used on a AAA type game but it could be used to turn a profit on a good game.
Have you noticed recently the influx of the term 'no lifer'? Generally it's of a derogatory nature meaning you're a raider with so much time on your hands and that's why you have better gear. No lifer, has no job, lives in mom's basement - raider.

Well, obviously those aren't labels folks want to have nor, probably, would it be a label that Blizzard would want folks to have that have experienced their fabled 25 man instances and current end game dungeons.

Do you think Blizzard will come up with a different strategy to combat this 'no lifer' theme that's going on today? Perhaps making changes to allow the masses vs the 'no lifers' access and participation to their 25 man raids and latest and greatest dungeons.
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