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Best Cat Cosplay Ever!

 

A short thought on mmos market state by eyes of a gamer

A short thought on mmos market state by eyes of a gamer I’ve spent a lot of time looking all up and down online games lists like Mmorpg.com, and even more time i invested in taking a look at those most popular games, reading their player community reviews and seeing the games with my own eyes. There are some basic tendencies i have spotted in the process, they are all well worth their own posts (i totally should write them sometime), but here comes the summary first.

1) All of the best games out there are – or, at least, were – using pay to play subscription model. Do i need to give examples like the world’s most popular mmorpg ever, World of Warcraft, using the pay2play strategy? The new generation games lure in their players certainly not by creating the best graphics and content out there…

2) The same time, pay2play games are slowly dying out (this tendency doesn’t affects WOW by reasons that I’d rather discuss in a separate post). Lord of the Rings Online that was pay2play switched to a mixed strategy not long ago, a step that allowed Turbine to double it’s revenue. No wonder they did that: there are so many gullible people that believes they’re really getting something for free and pay lots of money with this thought in their minds.

3) Actually, free2play model game would cost a player up 10-20 times more than pay2play did. There are games out there that require vast sums of money to play comfortably, like spending around $250 on PVP gear for it to remain up to date. I saw people who pumped in thousands of dollars in “free to play” games to dominate other players in PVP or by something else. Most of free2play games are made to lure wealthy morons (would you name an investment of $5000 into a single game a witty attitude?) with that illusion of “free to play” game, maintain this illusion up to some point until they are caught in the process, and then make them pay, pay and pay for their every breath.

At the same time, many not-so-wealthy people still think they’re playing a free game, spending 2-3 times more than they’d pay for a $15 subscription fee. I’m used to playing pay2play games so i hold nothing against paying for developer’s expenses, new content upgrades, servers maintenance, etc. – but dear god, not hundreds of dollars per month!

4) 99% free2play games use a working concept like this one: “to fleece as much as we ever could out of these idiots playing our game, and then let them go to hell – we’re going to get more new ones coming our way soon”. This concept is getting obvious when a certain game developer’s aren’t adding new content besides the item shop, keep ignoring bugs and player base complaints and runs a non-stop aggressive (partly using neurolinguistic programming) sales promotion and ads campaign. Some gaming companies went as far as hiring people who’d surf around the gaming community sites and post good reviews about their game (i found many of job offers like this on a variety of job site, you can search for them easily). These new games are like a rusty fish hook and you're the fish to catch and keep hooked for as long as possible.

5) For the end user this game aren’t exactly a “game” anymore – if we define a “game” as  something that makes you feel good, creates good emotions and overall is what would you do “for fun”. These new games are like a rusty fish hook and you’re the fish to catch and keep hooked for as long as possible. A variety of different psychological mechanics are used for this purpose, which are well known to any and all developers out there. The ideas aren’t new, but they’d been used more and more over the last few years, and some games use them in such amounts that it looks like their final goal is to stop making games at all and just show you the Hypnotoad and make you press “pay us $100″ button non stop. You’d still think you’re playing something.

Speaking of these psychological mechanics, i’m going to write a post about them sometime soon, because it’s really interesting theme and worth an own extensive post indeed.

6) There are still niche games out there that are being made by small or middle-sized development company (or even by a one or two persons). They have a really small player base, like, say, a few hundreds of players who pay for the game. These niche games are quite an interesting phenomena – when a wealthy player with lots of money to spent and inferiority complex the size of a house hits the game, he becomes king of the hill. They get into position of being not just a simple gamer like everyone else, i.e. a person who plays a particular games, but a part of the development process and the final target audience of this process overall. It means, if he pays the developers would implement what he wants first and other gamers are experiencing not what the developers meant them to, but what this particular gamer with money wants.

There are even more weirdest situations, like an old mmo running on itself with no upgrades  or new content, the old player base keeps paying for it but new players simply can’t get in (they can’t register or can’t start paying), or the game goes really free to play, i.e. no item shop, no subscription, but getting into the game aren’t easy and requires someone to tell you how-to. As a particular example, Reakktor Media owns a game like that  – Neocron, a cyberpunk mmorpg. It was released back in 2004, but after ads of games containing sex, drugs and violence were banned on gaming portals, it went free. I never even knew they had an mmo published before whatever the-space-simulation-mmo-eve-online-rip-off-thing they’re going right now.

The Saga of Ryzom or currently just Ryzom

Another example is a long story of the Saga of Ryzom (currently renamed to Ryzom). This game was made almost ten years ago by a French developer Nevrax who went bankrupt, then was sold several times, went free after one of its new owners went bankrupt too, then went totally offline, was bought by a team of its former players, went back online and currently is pay2play and being upgraded from time to time.

You can consider this post a summary of whatever themes i have in my pocket ready to pick up and write about, and i think, they are interesting. Especially i’m looking forward to writing about free2play games hooks and trick that they use to keep the audience (un)happy and paying.

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