Showing some MMO dev support

M J at Massively has a post about showing support for the dev team at SoE. Most of my gaming time is spent these days in free-to-play MMOs. So in terms of showing some support via real life cash it comes down to my discretion on what I feel is worthwhile paying for – it’s not the old-school monthly subscription.

I’m usually happy to invest in expansions as they offer more content to play through. I’d rather pay for good (and regular!) content releases than be ‘forced’ to pay for unlocks to necessary features or to remove annoyances. This brings in a discussion about Guild Wars 2’s model versus that of the original Guild Wars game that I read on the Inventory Full blog. The GW1 campaign model is one I like, the devs make new self-contained story arcs and get paid for doing so.

Cash shop spending is more tricksy, I generally limit myself to only spending money in my current ‘main MMO’s store. It’s hard to justify spending money in a game I am barely  playing. That does leave me occasionally feeling a twinge of ‘guilt’ for the other virtual worlds I’ve inhabited but that are currently on the shelf where my gaming time is concerned.

For example I logged back into LOTRO fairly recently after reading a post on The Ancient Gaming Noob and was quickly reminded why I’m not currently playing the game. Despite my issues with it I would be very sad were the game to ever shutter. With limited free time though I would rather play Everquest 2 and The Secret World at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to return to Middle Earth sometime in the future to continue my adventures.

The issue is whether it’s still around for me when that time comes…

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2 Responses to Showing some MMO dev support

  1. When I read that post over at Massively, I certainly felt that it did not capture my relationship with developers. I exchange money for entertainment, and I am generally happy to do so. SOE’s early access approach is very literally asking for users to support the game, in that SOE wants money up front for something that they fully intend to give away for free, and for that money they will allow people to wander around their game while they finish it over the next couple of years. It is paying to be a pre-beta tester. Some people are excited to do that. I am not.

    You can pretend that, as part of your early access, you have some influence over the game, with special forum access or whatnot. But Dave Georgeson has already said that for a lot of the things they put up for discussion, they already know the eventual answer they will announce, they just want to publicly discount the alternatives as they pop up before they go to the predetermined result. Or they were doing that for a while. I understand they have gone a bit quiet on that front of late.

    When people complain about cash shops or what not, we often here the retort that studios are business and that they need to make money, another concept I am fine with. That does not mean that I must be happy about every money making scheme, especially when said businesses try to act like charities.

  2. My favourite business model is TSW’s: buy the game, buy new content, all other expenses optional. It’s clear what you’re paying for, you don’t have to support any content that doesn’t interest you, and it incentivizes the developers to continue offering high quality content.

    When it comes to free to play titles, I don’t really have any hard and fast rules. I won’t spend on a free game until I know I like it, and I don’t like supporting punitive business models that make you miserable if you don’t pay.

    In practice, it almost works out to a kind of reverse buy to play, where I spend based on how much fun and enjoyment I’ve experienced to date.

    Money is tight for me right now, so that also has a big impact. I’d spend a lot more to support the free games I play if I could afford to.

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