The Game Boy: You Paid For It, But It's Not Yours

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Architek9

 Nathan Grayson this is a load of crap

You sound like an elitist talking down to people from your high horse

 

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sladeofdark

Too wordy, a bit jovial, but maybe that is to be expected from a gaming article.

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h e x e n

Very well written Nathan. You explained in detail why I never buy these sorts of games. MMO's are "pay to play" experiences, which, I will never endorse nor understand. Your experience IS at the whim of the creators. It's THEIR game, THEIR servers, THEIR code and you own nothing of what you accomplish or create. I have never touched an MMO and I never will. Pay to play is not the way, and if it is, I'm taking my ball and going home.

I think the Rollercoaster Tycoon and Sim City series, for example, are more creative, more in depth and offer a much broader value than any MMO. Why take control of a single person when you can create an entire world, and not have to pay monthly for it?

Sandbox games are my MMO's, and are massively superior than any paid experience in my opinion.

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willthegreat

I created an account for the sole purpose of posting this comment.

No.

No no no no no.

I mainly take issue with this statement here:

"In reality, however, developers are well within their rights to turn game worlds on their heads, and you're probably not going to like it. But it's also what you signed up for, so don't be surprised when developers tell you to shut up and enjoy your scorpion army."

As I said above, 'no no no no no'. To borrow your analogy, if I sign up for a housecat, I think I should be surprised when I get an army of scorpions. See, because what I signed up for was a housecat. Scorpion army by definition is, in fact, *not* what I signed up for.

You seem to be arguing that it's expected for an MMO developer to make a change to the core mechanics of their game for the sake of "innovating" and keeping things "fresh". What you fail to take into account is that doing so alienates the people who got you to that point, the people who bought that housecat knowing it was a wonderful ball of fluff that they could cuddle with every night. All of a sudden they have scorpions, and that's just not the same.

Here's a quote I've been throwing around a lot on the EVE Online forums lately, by Scott Jennings of Broken Toys regarding the infamous "New Game Experience" of Star Wars: Galaxies:

"At some point someone – your producer, probably, that being his job and all – should have sat everyone down and said “you. can’t. do. that.”

Those 200,000 customers – customers - you blithely dismiss as “dregs” and “weirdos” – are paying your salary. You can’t just blow them off for the mythical millions of people looking for a better game."

Heck, even in the blog post Jennings is responding to,  Dan Rubenfield had this to say:

"Can you change an MMO drastically after it launches?”

Categorically, NO."

So there you go. Even one of the game designers responsible for the il-fated NGE disagrees with your position, and he'd know, having replaced a housecat with scorpions and then watched in horror as the subscriber money vanished overnight.

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jnwoll

Are you saying they don't own the game then?  The players do?  Well, actually the players don't. 

 

The makers, since they own the game, are allowed to change whatever they want, whenever they want.  What happens after the changes... Well, they hopefully should have done research to account for what will/could happen.  

 

Yeah, it's totally okay to get upset.  That's fine.  But, the reality is, is that they do get to make the changes they want whenever they want.  If everyone bails on the game, well, hopefully they accounted for that.   

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willthegreat

No, I'm not saying that. Don't put words in my mouth.

Yes, an MMO developer can make whatever alterations to the game that they want. The question is, should they make a colossal change to the core elements of the game if it means their subscribers will take off into the sunset?

Don't misunderstand, it's not a question of what's ethical or what a company has the right to do. It's a question of what is just plain good business sense. If your entire customer base says to you, "If you do this thing or continue to do this thing, then I will no longer want to play your game," is it not in the company's best interests to accomidate that?

You seem to be arguing that if a company changes a game and the subscribers abandon it in droves causing the game to sink like the Titanic, then that's okay because the company did the "right" thing. The purpose of a company is to generate income. Tell me please; how can a company increase profits by alienating their target audience?

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aarcane

Games of course must evolve.  they must get bugfixes and character balances.  However, no developer should ever IMPOSE major changes on clients.  If your old game is getting stagnant, it's probably time to develope a new one.

When thinking of single player games like Diablo 2 or 3, or even the impending Rage, It becomes obvious how change should be handled.  Bugfixes and Balance changes are inevitable, however, for the solo warrior, it's important that they not be FORCED, but ALLOWED to play the most current up to date version.  If you release a patch that significantly changes solo play, you MUST allow the player the opportunity to play with the old version if they wish, and even to roll back or revert to that version if they upgrade and don't like the changes.  This of course does not apply to online play where all users, for fairness' sake must play by the same rules.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

If you took the time you spent playing one of those online games and instead invested it into studying a musical instrument, you would have something no one else could take away, and something that might get you laid instead of laughed at.

 

Just a thought.

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zepontiff

Umm you can totally get laid playing an mmo. Its so not as cool as playing a musical instrument though.

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jnwoll

you're totally right!!  There isn't one guitarist in any rock band that ever got laid.  Plus being able to have 100,000+ people sing your guitar solo back to you as you play it is pretty awesome.  I'm sure in an MMO you can be equally worshiped.  But, keep in mind, it's a fictional character that's awesome, not the player. 

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profdlp

Except that you actually need to possess at least a little talent to play a musical instrument.

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NineRaven

You are gonna tell me with a straight face that games require no skill at all. So what if you can play an instrument. Look at me I can play an accordion dancing around looking like a jackass. Its the football argument all over again. Both games and football are nerdy as hell but for some reason one is more accepted than the other. Look at most guitar players or musicians these days and tell me their not total pricks full of themselves. I dont get why musicians are somehow more accepted than gamers.

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bloodgain

I think making changes to an online game is fine, no matter how big the changes are. Of course, you take the risk of pissing some people off, especially if you cripple or destroy their in-game persona. When that's a few over-powered players that need nerfing, that's an acceptable risk -- just don't make everybody start over.

This, however, is also why I argue that the game software for MMOs should be free. The real profit is going to come from subscriptions, anyway, and by removing the upfront game and expansion purchases, you increase the number of possible subscribers. Then players can't throw too much of a fit when you change the game -- they only paid for the time the game was what they wanted to play, anyway.

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