Tobold's Blog
Monday, February 22, 2010
 
A short comment on Allods Online

Several of the posts in the open Sunday thread were about the rather high prices in the Allods Online item shop, and all over the blogosphere people are reversing their previously good opinion about Allods for that reason. Which is something that I find extremely strange: If the game was good *without* the item shop, and now the item shop is so expensive that nobody will buy anything there, isn't that exactly the same situation as we were in before?

Basically, if Blizzard announced tomorrow that World of Warcraft goes Free2Play, and opens an item shop in which you can buy a complete set of T10 armor for $1,000, doesn't that mean that you just saved yourself a $15 monthly fee? Why would the ridiculously high price for a virtual good have any effect on you, given that you're not going to spend that much?
Comments:
I think it's not only the prices in the store, also the patch notes, which show changes only aimed to increase inconveniences, like travel speed, death penalty, etc.

Inconveniences that can be circumvented via store :)
 
I read the preview of Allods Online yesterday. It looks like a fun game. It did make me wonder how they'll manage to make money from it if they don't ask a subscription.

If one in three people (an estimation) buy items that means that the average buyer will have to pay €39 to get the same profits.

Allods online however seems to go further than giving you a t10 set:

# Perfume x 20 = $13.50
Perfumes allow players to PvP and raid, for about half an hour. A set of twenty allow players to raid and PvP for a mere ten hours. Their function doesn't end there, though. Perfumes are also used to remove the "Fear of Death" (FoD) status, a de-buff that penalizes players for dying by lowering their offensive stats by 25%. Worse still, the effect stacks. Lastly, Perfumes are also powerful buffs, meaning they are incredibly potent and useful (to the point of being over-powered).

Players were absolutely furious at the pricing, especially when compared to the Russian versions pricing model, which is estimated to be some ten times cheaper.


I've always hated price discrimination. Seeing that I could get the item for two thirds of the price if only I lived in the US pisses me off. But ten times cheaper?

It seems like those potions remove your rezz sickness which you'll need to raid without getting gray hair. Let's do some quick math for someone who raids 10 hours a week. That's 40 hours a month or 80 perfumes. Great, you've spent $52. And what if the content is so hard that you need to use perfumes just to be strong enough?

There's nothing wrong with spending money on a game you like. But the overall costs shouldn't be much higher than the €13 you pay for the market leader WoW if you want to be competitive.

They'd be better of giving us a free leveling game. Then ask for money to do endgame content. You can ask me €5 a month to raid, €5 to pvp and €5 to do instances.
 
If the game was good *without* the item shop, and now the item shop is so expensive that nobody will buy anything there, isn't that exactly the same situation as we were in before?
From what I understood, they also made the death debuff much more potent, and one of the key items in the item store is a perfume that removes said debuff. The more potent debuff means that you either stay crippled for an extended period of time or pay much, much more. I think the perfume was also available from a daily quest, though.

In any case, this is an interesting case of loss aversion as work. If there was no death debuff and the perfume simply gave a powerful buff that dissipated on death, the outcry would probably be much more limited. Taking something away instead of just not giving it in the first place invokes a stronger response.
 
I think it's because people who don't want to buy, will feel forced to buy the expensive pixels, when other people do buy them (and they probably will).
Personally I'd like to see all pixel shops crash and burn as soon as possible. Imo we need to start playing games again to have fun, instead of paying for power and ingame entertainment.
 
The problem, as far as I was understanding it, is that thhe buyable consumables are largely indispensable. Things such as bigger bags, potions, and more importantly the method of removing resurrection sickness, all required RMT currency.

The root of the problem, I think, stems from the fact that these things were once affordable, and even when buying them, the cost was comparable to other subscription MMOs. Now, since the prices have increased 20x, it is no longer viable at all.

Imagine if, WoW was a F2P MMO, but every time you rezzed, even if someone rezzed you, you got ressurection sickness. For TWO HOURS. Now imagine the item to remove this sickness cost about $2 for a stack of, say, 10 charges. For an endgame PVE raider routinely wiping in instances, toss in some potion fees etc, it came out to about the same as your average subbed MMO.

These were the prices on the PTR. On release, the prices were suddenly raised by 20x or so, as I understand it. Can you see how it may become a problem worth complaining about?

Keen and Graev have an excellent little run down of the situation here:
http://www.keenandgraev.com/?p=3575
 
As I said before, I don't even plan to play Allods much, due to it having a PvP end game. But as far as I read the increased death debuff is something that was up to now only implemented in Russia. And the shop prices are still under review. So the whole uproar seems a bit early to me, combining a fear of not final prices with the fear of a potential future patch.

I think what everybody should do is play Allods Online without paying anything, for as long as that is humanly possible. And then, once the next patch is applied and the item shop is open, everybody has to do a simply calculation of how much he would *NEED* to spend in the item shop every month to play, without counting the "nice to have" and fluff stuff. If that calculation really ends up with $50 per month, better quit before paying anything.

But my point was that people now start badmouthing Allods Online as being a bad game, which is somewhat silly. If Blizzard tomorrow raised the monthly subscription fee for WoW from $15 to $50, a lot of people would quit. But the game would stay the same! So why wouldn't the same be true for Allods pre-maybe-patch? As long as the item shop is closed anyway, why would the prices in that should matter at all to whether you are having fun playing this for free?
 
"I think what everybody should do is play Allods Online without paying anything, for as long as that is humanly possible... "

Think about what you're saying here Tobold. Gaming time is precious.
Do you really want to spend it on an MMO you will very likely have to abandon once the patch hits?

"If Blizzard tomorrow raised the monthly subscription fee for WoW from $15 to $50, a lot of people would quit. But the game would stay the same! So why wouldn't the same be true for Allods pre-maybe-patch"

Ah, so you assume the patch is "maybe" - but it is not. Unless the developer backpedals which seems unlikely based on public announcements.
The game doesn't stay the same -- and in ways which make the item shop absolutly required!
Case in point is the death penalty. This has been covered by other commenters before me so no need for me to rehash but I'm getting the feeling you didn't understand the issue here Tobold.
As someone else has said, go read Keen and you will get a good overview of what is going on here.
 
The high prices aren't the sole issue.

The other is a set of anticipated patches that reduce character efficiency, so for example healers can no longer resurrect people without the death debuff being applied.

Coupled with other changes, this means it isn't feasible to play the game without paying anything, a promise the developers repeatedly made.
 
I think the real unspoken issue here is that most of these people want to play a multi-million dollar game and never have to pay a cent.

The whole concept of free-to-play is so obviously a misdirection that it's laughable. Clearly the developer/publisher has to recoup their costs. If the game is free then it goes to follow that they will be making money another way such as advertisements or RMT.

If you're a developer what would be the point of making a great game where there was absolutely reason for people to ever spend money in your RMT shop? The answer is that there isn't one.

This is the true drawback to a F2P game with RMT. The developer has every incentive to design the game to pressure you into using the RMT store as much as possible without making you quit. Whereas for a subscription game the developer has every incentive to design the game to pressure you into playing the game.

So in the end a F2P game is all about getting you to spend as much as possible but a Sub game is about getting you to play. In the former it's all about putting things in your way so you spend money and in the latter it's about ensuring you have as much fun/satisfaction as possible so you come back next month.

That's why hearing a game has RMT is the deathknell for me.
 
I think you're looking at it from the wrong angle here. Lets ignore the people who would not have paid anything anyway (the "freeloaders") and focus on the people who were planning on spending money on this game....

Those people are most likely to be super upset, because it would be like raising the sub price from $15 to $50 from open beta to release on a game you've pre-orders and were ready to sub for.
 
No, it's not the same.

In Closed Beta everyone knew some of the inconveniences were there but they put up with them because CB was of limited duration. Bag space, for example, was a major nuisance, but for the short duration of CB people were prepared to accept it because they knew that when the game launched they would be able to correct the problem with a small payment.

When that small payment became a very large payment, the temporary problem was converted into a permanent one. Just as you might be prepared to drive 50 miles in a small car with insufficient leg-room but wouldn't contemplate a trip from New York to Los Angeles in the same vehicle, so a minor inconvenience became a game-breaker.
 
Part of the outrage has to be that the prices are ten times cheaper if you're Russian. A small home-country advantage could be argued away, but this...?
 
Part of the outrage has to be that the prices are ten times cheaper if you're Russian. A small home-country advantage could be argued away, but this...?

Welcome to my world. If you and me both buy the same game from Steam, with exactly the same service, I will pay 50% more than you (if you are American), just because I live in Europe.

Of course a Russian can't pay the same for Allods than a US player. If we compare countries by GDP per capita, the US version should be about 3 times more expensive than the Russian one.
 
So in the end a F2P game is all about getting you to spend as much as possible but a Sub game is about getting you to play. In the former it's all about putting things in your way so you spend money and in the latter it's about ensuring you have as much fun/satisfaction as possible so you come back next month.

I find that too simplistic. Free2Play need to ensure you have as much fun/satisfaction as possible so you come back next month too, otherwise you won't spend any money next month.

And Free2Play has one advantage: You pay more if you play more. I find that a lot more fair than the monthly subscription model, in which people who play very little pay the same as people who play a lot.
 
@All: the lack of precision on your views clearly shows why you all fail while i prevail.

Or, as a social would say: l2think.
 
People were giving Allods a good feedback during the stage where FoD was unexistant, so no, the game wasnt "good before but bad after the cash shop".

Allod was:
- good before the implementation of CRIPPLING techniques to force you to pay to enjoy
- bad after said implementation and,
- terrible after making the items to un-cripple your char more pricy than buying your girldfriend a tiffanys wed ring.

if you run an opinion blog, is it too much asking you to inform onwhat you are commenting about?
is it?
 
Haha, Allods waste of time.
 
If you have fun playing for fun, play. If it ends up being so hard at end game without cash that it's impossible to have fun daily, quit. There are an immense amount of people who will not pay the current pricing, so you will have plenty of level ground.

Either way, the game is still free. If you are enjoying it now without paying anything, keep enjoying it. Noone will know how "needed" the cash shop things are until endgame hits in OPEN BETA. I don't care what you have heard from RU or the CB, not enough people have actually tried playing end game for free.
 
Personally, I was very interested in seeing what Allods PVP was all about. Now it sounds like PVPing without massive debuffs is going to be more expensive than a monthly sub to WOW or LOTRO. I am not THAT interested in Allods PVP. In addition, the PVE is not so good I can't live without it. Therefore, I will wait and see how the pricing pans out. Q.E.D.
 
[...]The number one reason you should hate the Microtransaction model like I do is because it benefits developers to create demand for Microtransaction products.[...]
Microtransactions: Why YOU need to hate them like I do
Serial Ganker (Sid67)
 
Bah.. Screwed up the linkback... Where's the moderation?!?! (joke)

Microtransactions: Why YOU need to hate them like I do
 
part of it for sure is the feeling of being _gipped_. Like, Allods offered this genius open-beta of their fairly polished game to generate tons of buzz, and then dropped the cash store bomb on their loyal players who were eagerly awaiting its debut.

I'm also fairly certain that the store's high prices are temporary. This lets them extract as much profit from the Allods-obsessives as they can, plus get the "$10 --> $5 XP potions aren't so bad" positive news once they rollback the store's prices; all the while papering over player expectations that it should've cost say, $2.

But really tbh, followers of a F2P model should expect this. That price model makes the developer adverse to the player, and results in development time devoted to coming up with creative ways to nickel and dime their customers. A subscription game at least puts the developer's interest in retaining customers as long as possible; i.e., generating content.
 
F2P MMORPG companies have been using cash shop items to solve EVERY issues in the game.

For example, at the begining of Global SUN Online, players have been complaining about the fact that when a player is PKed in red zone, his item may drop and the drop rate is very high. What Wezben did? After one week of complaints, they added an unfair cash shop item that avoids the drop of item in case of death for PK.
A casher, in this case, could simply stays in red zone waiting for non-cashers players and try to kill them, without worrying about losing their items, in case of death.

Another bad cash shop implementation was "Talisman of Assembly" on Global MU Online, where this item avoids the loss of an item in case it fails in the Chaos Machine. Chaos Machine was made to be fun, to make you very happy or to make you very sad.
If you're lucky you don't lose your item and create a very nice item. If you don't have luck, your item should disappear forever.
But rich cashers are now able to cheat the Chaos Machine by trying to up the same item, infinitely times, without worrying about losing it.

Cash shop items implemented by companies that dont care about the game, but only with money, destroy totally the fun of the game.
 
Blizz should buy this fantastic game (seems to be the same coding as WOW^^) from GAIA/AstrumNival and bind it into their Bnet/Sub-plans for WOW(II)/DiabloIII/SCII etc. ;)

Allods as a game is too good to perish.
 
@ Tobold,

Free2Play need to ensure you have as much fun/satisfaction as possible so you come back next month too, otherwise you won't spend any money next month.

Isnt this just another way of saying that developers still have to include design elements to force participants into buying items from an item shop?

Is this debate over price, or is this a dabate over tactics and/or marketing? Maybe what we are seeing are the growing pains associated with setting acceptable price points for virtual items when valued in real world dollars..??

As soon as we get away from the notion of calling these things "games", the sooner we'll all be on the road to recovery, so to speak, in terms of what the actual debate points should be where RMT/Microtransactions are concerned.

However, one thing is certain, in that as long as we continue to call these things games, there will always be those who consider that games should have level playing fields, where everyone has the same chance of success based on skill, aptitude, devotion and most importantly - time.

Remove the usage of the word "game", and let's start calling these things what they really are: Virtual microcosms of either real life or a fantasy world. Then the amount of real world money assiciated with virtual items becomes meaningless, and people can mimic their real world wealth through their virtual avatars without any notion of being able to buy an advantage by any means.
 
I think you have hit the nail on the head with this post
 
Personally I'm turned off from F2P MMOs and Micro Transaction MMOs.

I feel as though the game is designed in a way to trick me into paying money.
 
This reminded me of how in WoW all the complaints people have about 15-20 minute dungeon queues have cropped up. When before LFD it could take you upwards of an hour (if not more) to find a group.
 
I'll preface this with saying that the unread posts in my RSS reader for Massively.com, my usual source for general MMO news, is now ballooning past 200 posts. I've been out of the loop on all the recent news on Allods.

However, your response seemed odd given your preview a few days prior in which you said:

"Once the game officially launches, I'll have to have a look at the item shop to decide whether I like it or not. That is always a critical point for Free2Play games, some are well done, others are ripping their players off and destroy the game balance with their item shops."

It would seem that the blowup in the blog-o-sphere is an instance of the possible negative reaction you highlight in your preview. The only difference is that others are reacting to patch notes and stated, developer intentions rather than what the released product actually is. Frankly, I can't blame people for doing so in our current paradigm of open beta = release + small-last-minute-improvements.

Again I am like three weeks behind on the MMO blog-o-sphere save your blog and a few WoW blogs I follow, but I did find the apparent inconsistency between your preview and the criticism of others' reaction to something you had highlighted in that preview striking.
 
Hm, I find the Plush Toy+Ingame Pet deal for 25 US $ == 25 EUR equally annoying.

While I wouldn't be totally against this, and I'd surely had bought the Pandaren Monk for 10$, there's NO WAY I'm paying 10 EUR (or 25 for the package).
 
I did find the apparent inconsistency between your preview and the criticism of others' reaction to something you had highlighted in that preview striking

In my preview I wasn't talking about price, but about the structure of the microtransactions. A bad item shop sells best-in-slot items directly, thereby destroying the reward structure of the game. As far as I heard, Allods doesn't do that. Actually people were quite okay with the items on offer as long as they thought they'd get them for 10 times cheaper.

So the problem with the Allods Online item shop is not one of bad game design, but one of pricing. That resulted in the curious reaction of "this game is good, but too expensive for me, so I'm going to talk badly about the game", which I don't think is fair. A Ferrari is a nice car *even if* I can't afford one. Badmouthing Allods just because it is too expensive sound a bit like Aesop's fable of the sour grapes to me.
 
Badmouthing Allods just because it is too expensive sound a bit like Aesop's fable of the sour grapes to me.
It's more like having established that Allods is about "putting obstacles in the game you have to buy your way around" and we're just haggling about price at this point.
 
I started playing Allods just before this all came to light, and I have to say the discovery that this nominally f2p game is currently charging US$1.35/hour for endgame content (with the option of a single daily quest that takes 1/2 an hour to complete which awards a single perfume that gives 1/2 hour immunity to FoD) was unwelcome.

A f2p title with a store that offers luxury items like pets, mounts and cosmetic items is fine with me. But having an endgame that requires RMTs (the current implementation of FoD has a duration of around 50 minutes at level 40) kind of leaves me wondering how they can justify calling it the game f2p.

Your analogy would be more accurate if Blizz, upon making the game f2p, changed res sickness so dying reduces your stats by 25% each time, stacking up to four times. Then make the duration of this new res sickness increase up to 50 minutes at level 80, but allow players visit a spirit healer and pay gold to have the the debuff removed.

If the player dies in a dungeon he can be in a rather difficult position, as leaving a dungeon now locks you out of it for the remainder of the day - fortunately, being ressed by another player removes the res sickness at the moment, provided of course someone who can res you survived the encounter.

The duration of the debuff is also problematic. You see, it doesn't count down if you're not logged on. So that's 50 minutes where you're (at best) subject to a substantial penalty in PvE and PvP combat.

You can craft and harvest though - just be careful of harvesting near hostile mobs, as that could be deadly (and another stack of res sickness would be counter-productive).

Apparently PvP isn't quite as bad, provided you're happy to travel to a spirit healer and pay to remove the debuff after each death, then run back to where you're fighting.

I'm left in two minds about the game. It'd make a nice pay-to-play title, which to be honest, it is (even at $1.35/hour). But when they're advertising the game, pay-to-play mechanics and all, as a free-to-play title I'm left with little confidence in the integrity of the publishers.
 
Since people are already quite willing to pay a sub perhaps they should allow players to do exactly that, and grant the conveniences expected of a sub model for a monthly fee.

At the same time they can retain the cash shop where non subbing players can still play for free and buy those conveniences piecemeal along with other assorted random goodies. It would be fair imo if subbing players receive an overall discount as compared to non subbers.

I do not see how F2P and P2P are naturally conflicting when viewed in this manner, except only when a dev chooses one over the other.
 
I agree, wait and see how much it will ACTUALLY cost for a decent gameplay experience and THEN decide
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool