Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Is pay to win such a big deal?

I've always vehemently opposed any kind of pay-to-win, as it devalues in-game decisions. In a strongly pay-to-win game it doesn't matter what you do as long as you spend. In the meantime I usually turned a blind eye on "grind-to-win", despite putting in stupid hours is equally not in-game skill.

However what really changed my position is the fall of the Imperium in EVE. It's clear that they fell because lots of ISK was spent sending various groups after them. However you can buy ISK legally in EVE for real money via PLEX. If someone spent $150000 on PLEX in 2014 or 15, he'd get 10T ISK and could do the same. Destroying the largest coalition is clearly winning and with nothing but money you could do it. Ergo, EVE is as pay-to-win as it can be.

However I've spent four years in EVE and never found it pay-to-win, despite I was working on a project exactly to destroy them via money. According to the recent developer economic report, there are 3000T ($45M) worth of ISK in EVE and less than 10T made this difference. Which means that it's not some inhuman money that can only be purchased via PLEX, it's something present in the EVE world, just most people didn't use it well. I'd guess most of these 3000T are doing absolutely nothing and it's in the form of wallet collections and logged of supers that people built and use for nothing. "Using well" is an in-game decision. "Skill" if you prefer.

So microtransactions aren't an automatic "no" for my next game. It's still a negative, but other factors will be considered. We have to accept that the World isn't perfect and deal with it. Actually, I'd rather deal with an opposing group full of whales than a group backed by an abusive and corrupted community manager.


Marek Zaborowski said...

I think You missed a very important aspect here.

You can pay money to get ISK but You still have to decide how to invest said ISK to win. I am sure Imperium as a whole had much more ISK than 10T, but they completly misued their assests (TMC, cough, cough) and where they are now? They just cant throw ISK into their problem (dosent change the fact, that they tried - > White Legion). What they need is a good planning and reasoning to make their ISK work.

Now in most other mmos, You pay to get better gear (if our goal is to win in "classical" pvp) or get more exp/gold (when Your goal is being on top of server leaderboard). And that is obviously unfun advantage, cause it dosent account for Your reasoning or decisions, its just hang-out You "I win button".

Thus, I think we need to make a distinction between "pay 2 win" and "pay 2 power". In EVE You can buy power (ISK) but You cant buy win.

- Shor

Cathfaern said...

If microtransaction is not a problem then you really should try Black Desert Online. It's the most sandboxish MMO right now.

Anonymous said...

have you hear about Albion Online? what you think about that game?
You think to give it a try?

Anonymous said...

I think the real question should be whether the things you buy with real world cash can replace player knowledge and experience or simply enhance it. In Eve, you can buy PLEX with cash and use that PLEX to purchase high skill characters and fancy equipment but that is only a winning combination if the player knows how to use it.

The trillions of ISK spent on the current war have changed the political landscape but the players and institutions on both sides are still there - they will regroup and rebuild. Winning a war doesn't mean you've won the game, in fact, with DJ returning we may end up with two sets of goons instead of one!

Anonymous said...

Albion Online is a bit p2w, but I'd like to see Gevlon try it for economic/etc analysis.

Anonymous said...

Wonder why people define BDO as a sandboxish game. You can literally do nothing sandboxy in this game. No trading, no player structures, no meaningful crafting etc. People just got fooled by a few non mmo typical minigames and by the fact it doesn't have dungeons. Just because pvp is the focus it's not a sandbox.but however people will always misuse words for their opportunistic marketing campaigns.

dobablo said...

I think EvE is worse than pay-to-win. It is pay-to-be-a-moron-and-be-used. Instead of learning to play better, EvE encourages you to buy you way out of mistakes and ignore any potential lessons.

Anonymous said...

wait for Crowfall it may come out this winter. Until then maybe Albion Online?

Samus said...

You said "pay-to-grind" when I think you meant "grind-to-win."

IseeDeadPixels said...

Too bad the game is old and very childish looking but Dofus has a lot of things you were looking for.
Be it a market that you can control, a rewarding pve/pvp for good players (even solo), a world you can have impact on.

I don't really see any games out there right now with a challenging market.
Wow is litteraly not challenging at all and i doubt the expac will bring any vanilla/BC market control feels.

Anonymous said...

Playing against various opponents are good. Either they are better or you are better and either one learns something from it. Playing against a game developer who wants to win is bad - dev just cheats. In Eve its hard to cheat if you got unlimited money or are invincible. You will get noticed and told its unfair to everyone else. So you must make a cheat that is available to everyone but nearly impossible to use, exept some choosen characters. New jita is exactly that kind of cheat. Dev wants to win at cost of breaking the game for everyone else.

I really look out for economic perspective of any game you try gevlon. Intead of looking game whats perfect, you should point out what games there are and why theyr economy is broken. Im sure, if you point out, there will be minions who help you on command in any game if you ever need that. Just take something new and let Wow and Eve behind for good.

Cathfaern said...

@Anon @BlackDesertOnline
Yes Black Desert Online is not a sandbox but among the other themepark MMOs it has the most sandboxish feature. There is meaningful crafting (most high end gear have to be crafted and consumables also crafted and they have much impact on the game, not to mention enchant scrolls, gems, etc.). There are no player structures yet but there will be castles which a guild can own, others can take, etc. Trading is a bit crippled though with the 35% tax on the AH and because most item can't be traded personally (so you can trade only in the AH).
So among the other recent and big MMOs (I don't think Gevlon want to star playing with a niche low player count MMO: even if he prove something there, no one will be interested in because they no know the game) Black Desert Online is where you can have the most impact.