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VirginWorlds MMORPG News
Host: Brent
VirginWorlds is a weekly news podcast covering Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Eve Online, Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online and many many more. The VirginWorlds MMORPG Podcast is the flagship podcast of the VirginWorlds MMO Podcast Collective found at http://www.virginworlds.com

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   Cuppycake




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VirginWorlds Podcast #91.4
Fri, 2 Nov 2007 04:50:00 GMT [download/play]



Mini-cast lesson #1: Sometimes the news is scarce and one must resort to contesting ideas that other people blog about. (Sorry Cameron and Cuppy!)

Topics in today's show:

- Warhammer Online further delayed.  Hang tough, it'll work out.
- Station Launcher tour
- Blizzard is building something... but what?
- Not everything can or should be free (plus the Free-Triple-A-Challenge)

Enjoy and thanks for listening.

Links:
To MMO or not to MMO?
Blizzard Is Making a New MMOG


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Episode 91.4 Discussion Thread

'In the World of MMORPGs, You Get What You Pay For' by James
Submitted on 2007-11-02 09:58:17 CST
I don't think there is any payment model superior to subscription fees at this point in time. Viable alternates will come soon enough, but the ones companies propose now just turn me off altogether.

"Free" in my mind = in-game advertising or microtransactions. Firstly, advertising destroys immersion in any fantasy/historically based MMO, and advertising on loading screens is just plain tacky. Like paying for HBO, I'd rather shell out some extra bucks not to be bombarded with ads during my leisure time.

Also, once you have advertising in-game, you have to factor in the concerns and demands of whoever is paying for the advertising--which can potentially detract from the creative freedom of the devs. Sure, this hasn't been a major factor yet, but there also hasn't been a major MMO that uses advertising as it's main source of income yet either.

Microtransactions imbalance the playing field according to how much real world dough you can throw at your weekly entertainment. This wouldn't be a problem for me as a single adult, but not very fair to the teenager who's paying their way through college and doesn't have the disposable entertainment income we crotchety old farts do--or the gamer with a husband/wife and kids to support for that matter.



'Limits' by mchris
Submitted on 2007-11-02 10:16:11 CST
Nice commentary as always, Brent.
Clearly the subscription model has a top limit which producers might feel is a waste of potential, but are they forgetting that there is a lower limit as well?
The subscription model guarantees X amount of cash per month and I think the software industry should be satisfied with that.
Other payment systems just stink of shameless profiteering to me.

If we are prepared to pay to play great games we have already purchased (and we quite clearly are), then all publishers need do is provide us with great games.

WRT Cuppy; I can't really see her point unless it's "gimme free stuff". Although publishers swapping "online" for "MMO" so they can charge a monthly fee is bloody cheeky if you ask me.

Err... My first post here, so, Hi everyone :D



'Free trials' by Fraeon
Submitted on 2007-11-02 13:36:23 CST
I think Far Cry (the FPS) is free these days with ads. That's AAA, I gather.

And free trials...? A lot of MMOs offer free trials. EvE, WoW, Ryzom...and all their bastard stepchildren from Korea offer them. This point I actually agree with. If I can test the game for free for a week or two, I have a good way of determining whether I want to plop 50EUR + possible monthly fees on it. It's the same reason I'd rather wait for a demo of a game to come out than paying for something that could be a hyped piece of turd.

The last request is a tricky one, though. I'd personally rather pay a monthly fee and get access to all the content I want rather than having a micropayment system that nickle and dimes you for every extra feature you want in your game. Want better armor? Pay us more. Want this new instance? Pay us more. Want potions that stack? Pay us...well, you get the point.



'Payment for games' by Gigawatt
Submitted on 2007-11-02 16:48:32 CST
I'd gladly pay $30 a month for a single game as long as it was a AAA title that offered nearly everything I desired...

Let me explain further. Lately games have been getting released that are more or less the EXACT same game as other titles out there, but with 1 minor change. Tabula Rasa for example..."twitch" combat? No. More action oriented? Meh, maybe. Hold down your mouse button instead of pressing 1-9 keys? Yes.

Other than that it's the same old stuff. When this happens I jump from one MMO to the next, but only tend to stick around until the new feature appeal wears off. What I want is different than the next person, but the fact still remains they are churning out the same garbage.

It's like when you make a batch of delicious chocolate chip cookies. One does not have enough chips, while another is overloaded. One looks somewhat rounded, but the other looks like Jay Leno. There is a variety; but when you eat them, they're all pretty much the same.

Take a more original approach companies and win my higher subscription cost. Yes I understand it's hard to do, but if it wasn't hard, you'd only charge $15.



'payment options' by Sente
Submitted on 2007-11-04 19:15:44 CST
The problem I think is not necessarily whether a game chooses a subscription model or a micro-transactions model - it is that there is generally just one option. Either I pay a subscription and can play as much as I like, or I play for "free" and pay for extra stuff in game.

There are many types of players nowadays - those who spend time with just one MMOG, other who spend time with a couple of them. People may spend loads of hours in one game or perhaps just a few hours per month.
They might care very much about getting cool gear and stuff, or it is just not a big deal.

What should be considered more I think is to provide more options so that players can find a payment model that feels better for their particular case. Comparing with mobile phones for example - I can sign up with an operator to pay a fixed fee monthly and do not have to pay any extra to call. Or I can pay for every single minute I call, but only for those. Or some combinations in between - pay a subscription fee which allows calls up to a certain limit and then pay for the time above that.
Or if I use other services from the same company I get discounts or extra benefits in various ways.

Not all games are the same to everyone. Even if one game was the perfect game for one person, another would still think that it sucked or just was a bit meh.

And how could game companies what the perfect game would be? At least I cannot even say what the perfect game would be for me - I can say some things I like, but that is very different from specifying how it all should work together in a really good way. If I listed all the pieces to make a car, that would not necessarily be enough information to make one that I really would like to drive and use and for a long time.



'heh.' by Cuppycake
Submitted on 2007-11-05 03:41:47 CST
Thanks for the plug Brent.

From now on I'll proofread my posts better, and think about them harder than 5 minutes before submitting them...now that I know they're subject to your review. ;)

And yes, I was meaning that all games should have free TRIALS. But hell, as a player who spends little to no-time in a game nowadays...I like the microtransaction model. Sue me =)

And no, it's not Areae koolaid. My work and my play are separated tyvm. =)



'blizzard mmo' by throwaway
Submitted on 2007-11-05 04:22:17 CST
3 teams

1&2: one is on wow, expansions live team so on, and the other is starcraft 2, may do expansions or may turn into this new project whatever it is in the future

team 3: working on project hydra which is diablo related, probably only an mmo in the sense hellgate london may be

possibly they are launching a 4th team to work on a real mmo



'good stuff' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-11-06 11:12:26 CST
Thanks for all the thoughts on business models. Some good stuff here.

@ Cuppy - aw come one, there's not reason to be shy. Post away. Flame away. :)

@throwaway - Are you a Blizzard ninja or something?