Posts tagged F2P
I woke up this morning to all sorts of articles in my RSS reader and twitter pretty much blowing up with news of the new model Funcom has adopted for The Secret World. However, I have a slightly different take on it. And I personally think this is a great move by Funcom and one that I really didn’t see coming at all. Not only did I not see it coming, but I don’t see it as invalidating their previous public comments on going F2P, which is always important.
There are still lots of questions out there, but here’s what we know so far about the model:
- You still have to buy the box for ~$30
- There still is a subscription option which includes the following:
- Daily 10% experience booster
- $10 monthly store credit
- Cosmetic item of the month included with the current DLC
- 10% store discount
In addition to these benefits, two others were announced for those who bought in to the game early on:
- GrandMaster pack holders (ie Lifers) will get an additional 10% across the board store discount
- Those who bought the Initiate pack will get a credit of 1800 points of store credit
The interesting part of this model, and why I’m not calling it F2P is that all future updates (TSW calls them Issues) will be purchasable DLC by everyone. That’s an important statement there, the DLC will NOT be included in either the subscription or the GM Pack, however we are led to believe that the $10 monthly allotment will more then cover said DLC cost. The CM (community management) posts have mentioned a $5 price point for the DLC, which would still leave half of your point allotment available for fluff. Each of the previous Issues (1-4) have included not just quest content but also system changes, which will be included for free for those who have bought the game.
I personally LOVE this move for a couple of reasons:
- it isn’t a F2P model
- they benefit from all the haters claiming they’ve failed
- assuming the DLC costs less then the monthly allotment, a subscription is MORE valuable
- Lifers get tangible benefits
- They know the pitfalls – aka power items and lootboxes which “won’t” be in the store
- players still have the choice of what they want to play and pay for
- what they’re including in that initial $30 is a HUGE amount of content including instances, raids, and role-play options
In addition to all of this, there are a couple other goodies out there:
- If you purchased the Initiate pack you’ll be granted 1800 points
- Issue 5 content will be included if you purchase in December
- otherwise it will be the 1st DLC available starting in January
When comparing my lifetime subscriptions (I have 2 for MMOs), I will take TSWs anyday – assuming the DLC price will remain around that $5 price point. I fully expect it to wiggle a bit based on what’s in the update but it should stay under that $10 allotment. Compare this to LOTRO (my other lifer):
- LOTRO requires me to buy expansions which TSW doesn’t have
- both offer store point allotments
- TSW offers a stackable store wide discount for both subscribers and lifetime members
The only potential downside I see to Funcom’s model is a hinted at 6-month lifetime for your accrued bonus points. As long as the DLC is LESS then the monthly allotment, this really isn’t and issue and also prevents the problems LOTRO is running into right now with lifers sitting on more points then they can spend.
Why am I so excited for this change? I now have the option to exercise one of the coolest part of TSW, the cosmetic system, to its fullest. I will now have a monthly allotment of points to spend on not just those toys, but also things like the Albion Theatre.
If you’d like to rage or praise this change, there is an official thread posted but like all threads I’d suggest you think before posting as this isn’t a model we’ve seen before in an MMO.
All of this positivity is of course based on the fact that I honestly do trust the Funcom development team much more then the Turbine team, but I’m curious what pitfalls do ya’ll see?
Don’t get me wrong, I actually really enjoy mounted combat and like the way it was implemented. I was holding out hope that we would see the system grow and evolve over time as an integral system to the game, like Skirmishes and Legendary Items. However, according to Aaron “Rowan” Campbell that might be quite a stretch for what they have planned for the system.
In an interview released by the folks over at LOTRO Reporter:
they get a preview of two of the three man instances. If you don’t want spoilers on the instances themselves you can watch the first little bit and then the Q&A session starts at around the 48 minute mark.
The first question revolves around Mounted Combat instances and Aaron’s answer is:
“It is something we’re thinking about, but is not in our current plans”
So there you have it, mounted combat instances will happen around the same time we see a new PvMP map. Now while you may suggest that this just means near-term, Aaron also states later on that they have very detailed and lengthy plans for the game’s future development. I realize that this is fine for many of you, but it really puts a bit of a sour note on the whole Rohan expansion for me. When looking at the expansion now, you really can’t consider MC (Mounted Combat) to be a new system, it is purely a side game to keep people occupied and have them learn something else. These mounts really won’t grow with us, nor will they be integral to our character progression at all, unlike systems introduced in other expansions.
Not to mention the shear lunacy of the cosmetic pricing of the war-steeds, coupled with the high cost of the expansion, and one could argue that this was Turbine looking for another way to earn money without having to solve some of the more complicated problems. They probably realize that cosmetics are a huge revenue stream for them, so why not put in a new kind of horse and charge people per character to do any customization on it. And unlike their other cosmetics which can be stored in an account wardrobe, everything we do to our horses must be done for every character. I think many people would have been quite content with mounts 3.0 that allowed you to obtain account bound (or store in a wardrobe) cosmetics that you could wear around on mounts that would behave like the existing horses.
One of the main reasons I’m frustrated by this is that I just don’t feel LOTRO is evolving as it ages. Sure we get little things here and there, but there’s not much of an actual progression. The only progression we have is the story (which I do enjoy) with everything else seemingly becoming more grind-tastic. If you look at this expansion as we know it now, all it really brought was more story and landscape, with some underlying mechanical changes. The way we actually play the game and what our characters can do hasn’t changed at all. I was really hoping that Mounted Combat would be that new mechanic that allowed you to really customize how your character played and have that actually matter. The reason why I tied this systems to Instances is that Instances are the only reason they’d need to make changes to the system to make it less of a DPS race. If you don’t have instances, there’s no reason to worry about things like agro and healing. Like I’ve said before, even the raid war-band can be solo’d and that along with this announcement show me that they have no intention of improving the system beyond what it is now. I was looking for Mounted Combat to provide a broader gameplay experience like other systems that have been implemented since launch. While you may argue about the utility of it, you can actually do a significant amount of tweaking using the Legendary Item and Skirmish systems to customize how your character plays. And while it is technically true that you don’t need to skirmish to play the game, it is a pretty significant portion of the end-game content.
Sadly it looks like I’ll add one more horse to my ever growing stable of horses I’ll rarely ride.
These are pretty short and sweet, but in addition to these there have been two posts clarifying the Hobby Horse fiasco, and I have to admit I’m not sure I like their response any better.
First xRaina comes out with the following post, where she also confirms the horse will not be live AT THIS PRICE, so I expect 1995 TPs:
From what you appear to be saying, something with a high price would have to have more of a use to it.
So this to me indicates the uber mounts or better gear is now on the table. I’m really not sure how you can possibly add more use to an item without breaking that concept. We shall wait and see, but comments like this from the Community Team will not go over very well.
As for the tone of her previous post on the feedback requested, she says:
The reason I don’t read the rants is that I can’t figure out what to tell the developers you don’t like from rants.
While I do get that point, I think the goal of the rant is to express frustration and dislike for some system, so while not directly useful they do a VERY good job of setting the tone of the community.
As for the actual patch notes themselves, a couple big things jumped out at me:
- Race specific loot in the Ettenmoors
- This won’t be your actual gear, but race specific trophies
- Yay, more stuff to fit in our bags!
- Changes to the Warden Interrupts are better but still not totally right
- Each interrupt gambit will have their own Cooldown which ONLY applies to the interrupt portion
- The cool-down appears to be independent of whether or not the interrupt actually works
- while this is better, you can still put trigger your interrupt CD if you try to use Wall of Steel for defensive purposes or Onslaught for DPS.
- Each interrupt gambit will have their own Cooldown which ONLY applies to the interrupt portion
- No mention of the Hytbold instance issues
- No mention of changes to the Yule festival
I’m not real sure what to take about all this, I like a lot of what’s coming with Update 9 but there are a lot of big flags there that cause me concern.
For those of you (like me) expecting this bag to be in today’s update, it was and it wasn’t. It made it into a later on delivered Store Update as confirmed by Celestrata. Sure enough, I did check and it was available for me to purchase at the expected 995 Turbine Points.
Now the real question – do you really still want it or have you gotten by long enough without it that you’ll use your points on something else?
I’ve wanted to write about this for a while as I have a few thoughts on what has happened and why this game is getting such a bad reputation. To me it is almost the perfect storm of both real world issues as well as design choices they’ve made. However, no matter how you slice it, it still is a quality game that I’m very excited to be getting back into. I truly believe this is a game that has been absolutely hammered by public opinion and while some of it is valid, I do think there are many things that just don’t reflect the state of the game.
To start off, I’m not sure of another company that has a worse reputation for game launches then Funcom. Some remember the Anarchy Online launch, and many more remember the fiasco that was the Age of Conan launch. Because of this, many people never even contemplated playing TSW at launch and were going to wait at least 30 days before even looking at this game. Because of this, I’m not sure there has been a more rumored to fail launch then TSW in recent years. This of course then scared away people who knew nothing about Funcom into not trying the game at launch either. Which is a shame as it was one of the smoothest MMO launches I’ve ever seen. But I believe this is one of the big reasons the initial purchase numbers were lower then they could’ve been as many swore off the game for at least 30 days. Other companies without much MMO launch history have had much rockier launches but because they didn’t have that history, people expected them to be able to pull off a launch better. But Funcom has proven that sometimes (I know its shocking) companies can learn from their past failures and actually fix the problems they’ve had before.
Speaking of launch day, it is never a good sign when you’re corporate CEO leaves on the day you’re launching one of your premiere titles. I have no clue what happened here, and in all honesty it doesn’t really matter as in the court of public opinion it is automatically a sign that your company, and specifically TSW, is in serious trouble. However, one thing I believe is that the problems going on at Funcom are not solely related to TSW – they do have other franchises both live and in development so we really don’t know which one is really causing all the corporate issues.
You then couple that with the fact that being a public company, they have to release all their financial data. They’re forced to release the numbers of how many copies they sold at launch, and this just fuels the fire. If they could’ve said something like “we didn’t have as big of a launch as we’d like” it would’ve been much better then putting an actual number on how low things were. This then let all the “haters” come out of the woodwork and say how right they were that this game was a failure. This also vindicated all the people above who waited to see how launch went as they now have “proof” that this game is a “failure.” I look at a company like Turbine which for all of its issues has never had to release its numbers so we have no clue what the subscription numbers look like. They can make vague marketing claims and we have no way to challenge them because we just don’t know. Companies that don’t have to release this kind of data are at a distinct advantage because it is quite hard to really get a feel for how many players are actually playing a game.
However, even with all the issues and the lower then expected numbers, they have turned the corner and are in a position where they’re making money on the game. Granted, this came at a hefty cost of a good portion of their staff, but if they can get Update 3 out on time things will be really looking up for TSW. I know many are waiting for the day TSW goes Free to Play but I think this points to a sign that they don’t need to go F2P. If (and yes, I realize this is a big if) they can continue on this path and put out quality on time content, their subscription numbers will definitely climb. This will put them in a position where they can choose which path they want to pursue and make a switch to F2P if it makes sense from a business perspective.
Finally I think the biggest issue with TSW is that the game requires thought and attention, and in the days of Facebook games and all the mobile games out there, I just don’t think the majority of gamers are interested in playing something like this. I know that I haven’t had enough time to play the game as I would like to – but I did buy the GM pack and as such have a Lifetime Subscription. Like I’ve mentioned before with lifetimes, it does change my mindset such that I can play on a more casual basis and not feel rushed to get the most out of my investment as I have plenty of time. But I know even myself I have reached for more of the “popcorn” gaming as opposed to TSW, as I know if I hop into TSW I will either get drawn in for a long period or want to spend a good chunk of time trying to figure stuff out. This puts TSW in an interesting problem where there are people like myself who want to play this game but either get scared away by the time investment or just fall back into the more comfortable routines. As I get back into it, I’m really going to pay attention to this and see if I can work out a mix of the “popcorn” sessions and the deep dives.
Because of this complexity, it is easy to miss some of the plot-lines (I’m sure I’ve missed some) and not follow all the conspiracy theories and such that surround this game and just look at TSW as a horror game. I’ve heard this complaint numerous times, and while there are lots of horror aspects to it, there definitely is a whole other level there that is very intriguing and detailed. If you get into the typical MMO quest routine and don’t read every quest line and pay attention to what people say in the cut scenes, I can completely see how you could look at TSW as just a horror MMO. I will admit that I have fallen into this habit on a few occasions and really have to remind myself that I need to pay attention. It took me a while before I realized there was a way to turn on sub-titles for the cut scenes such that if I didn’t feel like putting on my headset I wouldn’t miss anything.
I also think that this complexity hurts it even more when people have to make decisions about other games launching around the same time period. TSW is not only competing with the new shiny Guild Wars 2 but also the comfortable familiar of expansions to both WoW and LOTRO. I’m sure all games run into issues when other games launch around it, but I think that TSW suffers even more because of the attention required.
For all of you who have complained about games being dumbed down or becoming too easy, I think you should be concerned with what’s going on with TSW. Maybe I’m in the small minority who don’t want super easy games, but it seems like many frequently complain when some system is made easier in whatever game they’re playing. It almost seems like many games are replacing this kind of complexity and difficulty with more grinds. Which as a gamer, I’m getting more and more tired of pointless grinds. I don’t mind grinds if there’s something there at the end, but grinds just to grind are getting quite old. I’m not saying you should all go out and buy a copy and lifetime subscription, (although it would certainly help) but when they open up the game for free weekends or a trial period I would highly suggest checking it out with an open mind.
Needless to say I want this game to do well, not just because of my investment in it, but I truly want to see online games that require some level of thought succeed. At the end of the day, the issues surrounding TSW are less a reflection of the game itself, which is really quite good, and more on the current state of gaming. Not only did they release a quality game, but they’ve already put out 2 updates within the first 2 months after launch. These first 2 updates have added content to all areas of the game (not just the top level, preventing empty starter areas) and also resolved other issues people have had with the game like character models. I think TSW has a real chance of actually growing a community instead of losing it like every other MMO does after they launch. I see them doing things many other games are being praised for, and yet because of the initial issues they’re just being brushed aside. I don’t expect it to appeal to everyone as I know it won’t, but I believe there are many people who would like the game if they gave it a fair shot. If you do decide to give it a go, take your time and pay attention to what’s going on around you and make sure you read everything. There is now (maybe I just missed it) a 3-day trial available, check it out on the TSW main site on the right side-bar.
What about you, if you’re not playing TSW, why aren’t you? And if you are what’s keeping you in game?