Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pay to not lose

"Pay to win" microtransactions, when you can pay to overpower other players aren't successful. The players hate and avoid them, so paying players (whales) have no respect either, so they leave. But the opposite isn't just cosmetic microtransactions. You can buy spaceships in EVE by buying PLEX and spend the ISK on ships. Or on implants to get more skillpoints. You can buy faster XP gain and gold tanks in World of Tanks. You can buy faster XP and IP gains and champions in League of Legends. Yet these games aren't considered "pay to win". What are they then? Let me coin a new term "Pay not to lose". To understand the difference, we must understand winning and losing in an MMO. These games doesn't have a "game over, you lost" screen or a nice endgame cinematics celebrating your victory. There is constant progression in the games, you gain XP, skillpoint, wealth, gear. There can be bumps on the path, minor setbacks when you wipe all raid on a boss or lose a battle. But you grow and grow.

So does everyone else. The speed of growing varies between players. The average or the median defines the "decent player". Not too bad, but not great either. Below him there are is the "n00b". Above him, the "l33t". "Pay to win" games allow you to buy your way to the "l33t" by getting upgrades that matches or outperforms what the best can get. "Pay not to lose" games on the other hand allow you to buy your way out from "n00b" into the "decent".

It's not really hard to get tank XP in World of Tanks to upgrade your tank and don't run around in a weak stock tank. But you can completely skip that by farming XP in a gold tank and converting it. Average players both fly ships they like in EVE and farm for it. Flying a battlecruiser won't make you exceptional. However paying money will save you from the farming part. You lost it? Replace it instantly! Playing with a champion you have is what every League of Legends player do. You want to play with a champion you don't have, no need to farm with your old, buy it instantly!

"Pay to win" means you can't beat a whale. "Pay to not lose" games on the other hand give no such advantage because there is no such thing as "competition for mediocre status". The whale is hiding between the countless average players, flying under the radar.

PS: lovely bits from wormhole space:
- There is no visual timer for the polarized effect. The only way to know is warping to the WH and then getting a popup that you can't jump.
- Hip-hip-hurrah! to CCP Rise. Thanks to him, the T2 transport ships have less cargohold than the cargo-focused T1 industrial and less tank than the tank-focused T1. But almost double muss. So worse in every aspect!
- If you leave your hole or just switch ships, you forget all scanned signatures. Bookmark them!
- The best cargo unit in a POS is the X-large assembly plant.

Some hypocrite would say "these things makes us wormholers hardcore. I say, these are design oversights and shouldn't be there. "Hard" means decisions with consequences. No one chooses to jump polarized. Getting a stopwatch isn't "elite", it's annoying.


Anonymous said...

Turn on timestamps in local, then when you enter the hole you will see what time it is, just add 5 minutes and you're ready to jump

Anonymous said...

T2 industrials have not been rebalanced yet, as far as I know, so there's no reason to whine about them. Just wait to their turn. As for bookmarking - that's the absolute basic thing you do in a hole.

Anonymous said...

Any session change will drop your scanned results, otherwise the client would have to keep track of thousands (10's of thousands?) of WH and K-space sigs, pretty sure it'd kill the server, take notes, BM everything.
Pretty sure the BEST cargo unit is a GSC farm inside the shields... makes warping to your pos by cloakies a potential threat as they will assume the cans are outside to decloak them, and as a bonus they use zero cpu/PG, might be helpful to number them to keep inventory straight tho.

Unknown said...

What are these comments?
GSC farm yay, put a alt with a orca inside works too. He is talking about the best cargo unit in a PoS.
GSC, orca,... whatever you think about is not PoS related. Also what will you do with big volume items? Grab a hammer and crunch them to size?

If no one mentions the mistakes or points of vieuw CCP will have less information to base their patches on. They will still patch them, they will still make changes. But we all know that if you give good and constructive comments it will help. Even lesser comments like just a "Arghhh this ship sucks" matters. Cause if 90% of the player base mentions the same frustration CCP will notice and have a look.

Bookmarks are indeed important, but even docking up resets sigs.
A small "memory" would be indeed something I'd love aswell. 1h or 30mins. It's not vital as a change but thats why it's a oversight not a big bug or mistake.

Timestamps... changeing system gives no local time stamp. So you must speak in a private/corp/alliance channel. But to really feel how bad this situation is occurs when your being hunted or find entity's on both sides. Your focus points are elsewhere. Warping at a distance selecting the wormhole could indeed show a timer. Again oversight/usefull fun utility. You can always click dock after a warp maybe they should remove this aswell. You can time things bookmark things etc. Oh since we are at it lets remove the timer on triage/siege and whatsnot use a stopwatch.

Goblins remarks are valid. He did not mention these are MUST change now! Just lovely bits nothing more nothing less.

anonymous said...

"Pay not to lose" misleading in my opinion. It's more like "Pay for your saved time" or simply "Pay for time". As everything you can buy in such games can be simply earned by bigger time investment. (Not including cosmetic items)

Gevlon said...

"Pay for time" isn't accurate as one could say that "as you can farm the best item with time, there is nothing wrong with selling it".

The point of "pay not to lose" is only average-mediocre items that are available to most players are for sale.

anonymous said...

"The point of "pay not to lose" is only average-mediocre items that are available to most players are for sale."
In EVE you can buy titan for ISK converted from PLEXes, in WoT premium shells are mandatory at clan wars (you can buy them from earned gold, buy for credits as of one of updates and of course buy for money), not mentioning creds farming is done in premium tanks, not in tier 10(or in tier 6, and much longer). I didn't played LoL, so won't say anything about that. In many other games you can buy XP and game currency multipliers for money. What is this if not a "Pay for time"?

anonymous said...

Also you didn't mentioned second part of my post: "As everything you can buy in such games can be simply earned by bigger time investment."

No matter what quality that items are, you can save your time buying them, and of course that items mustn't be top, commonly they provide higher ingame currency gain, or faster start.

Von Keigai said...

As nony up there said, you get a timestamp in local every time you jump wormholes. (I don't recall turning this on, but maybe it is an option.) So check local, add 5 minutes and you know. It is true this is not obvious. I don't find it oppressive. Some things should not be given, and it's not like wormholes are supposed to be technological constructs.

The non-blockade-runner Transports do indeed suck. Stay away from them until they are rebalanced.

It would be nice if sig-scanning-state were retained for... a while. For most wormholers, retraining them for 1 day would be plenty. But on the other hand, it is obvious what is happening in this case, and the bookmark system does exist. Adding a bookmark per sig is not unduly taxing.

The X-large Assembly Array is not necessarily "the best", because it has higher fitting requirements than some parts. However, generally what you are getting at is true. Currently all production units have storage, and some of them are superior in some or many circumstances to the nominal storage units. I think ideally one would buy production and storage separately, and link them. But we all know CCP will do nothing with the POS system, ever.

Kate 'On said...

It's the model that FtP is supposed to use. If you can buy a win, it comes across as inherently unfair. If you can only purchase vanity, than theres no point. he middle ground is to pay to make grinding easier, or otherwise save time, valued more than your money.

Eve has done something that normally isn't done. the ultra rare officer spawn mods are good, but expensive, too expensive to work with the current meat grinder method of item use in PVP.

Same idea in real life. You could buy that 1000 pair of shoes, but it makes more sense for girls to buy 40 dollar shoes and replace them every few months.

If those officer mods allowed one to basically PVP and never die, than they would have the same effect here, but luckily, two or three tristans can destroy a 100bn dollar ship, so it's not good on a cost:power balance

Anonymous said...

But isn't EVE different that you can buy anything - not just mediocre gear but the best.

The typical PLEX seller hopefully buys more frigates than titans but they are available.


There are some aspects of EVE where complexity is a nice way to separate the players. but IMO there are a lot of times where simple and time consing are being defended as sophisticated or complex.

Gevlon said...

But titans won't make you win the next AT or become the next Mittani or Shadoo or top the killboards or anything. You just bought a very expensive taxi.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 22:06:

Bigger is not better. A titan won't "beat" a battleship even though it's over 100 times as expensive. It's an expensive space taxi.

Giannis said...

I am an average player or a decent player in your example. I hate f2p games. I agree with your article but my problem is not that a noob can pay his way to the decent players, is that all the systems the game creating and all the setbacks/obstacles it put to me to become a decent player without pay, just to give a reason to a noob/whale to spend money.

Not that I cannot overcome those obstacles/setbacks and the systems that designed to annoy me enough in order to pay to skip them. Is just breaks my enjoyment for the game..

anonymous said...

"But titans won't make you win the next AT or become the next Mittani or Shadoo or top the killboards or anything. You just bought a very expensive taxi."

"Bigger is not better. A titan won't "beat" a battleship even though it's over 100 times as expensive. It's an expensive space taxi."

A titan won't win AT or make me Mittani or something, but its definitely gear. And top gear, otherwise why alliances build them?

Lucas Kell said...

"But titans won't make you win the next AT or become the next Mittani or Shadoo or top the killboards or anything."
That's pretty much the same in all "Pay to Win" games though. Most of them you can buy stuff to make it drastically easier, but that won't guarantee a win. I've played many a "P2W" game without paying and stomped all over the competition.

P2W really just means you can pay to have an advantage, so in that sense EVE already is P2W. You can buy a character and ships with isk, you can buy isk with plex and you can buy plex with cash. You can just keep yourself in ships for eternity with enough cash backing you. Of course you can't pay to suddenly be the best in the game, but name a P2W game you can start new, pay cash, then be the top player... It doesn't happen. At some point in all games, your level of dedication and skill comes into it.