Live Forum Q&A with Raph Koster, 10/16

124

Comments

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Burntvet
    Hey Raph, With crowd funding being a something newly available in the game development field, would you consider doing a crowd-funded MMO or other game? And if so, how much would/does it take to do something "worth doing" and could it also be a factor in getting outside financing for a larger project (since people who crowd fund are neither stock/shareholders nor investors, and thus not "at the table" in terms of being an impediment to returns on outside investment)?

    My main worry is that outside of Star Citizen, there hasn't been any crowdfunding effort anywhere near large enough to make an MMO with, especially not to today's graphics level. Shroud of the Avatar is doing some interesting endruns around that issue, I must say.

    Successful crowdfunding does increase the ability to get cash from other sources, no question.

    The other thing, for someone like me who is currently just me and not a team, is that crowdfunding pitches today have a lot sunk into them from the get-go. They are mostly for finishing things.

    But sure, if the time was right, and it looked like it would succeed and enough money could be raised, I would totally do it. I HAVE thought about doing it. :)

    As far as amount... Just the platform for Metaplace cost like $2.5m to make. The content for a full game... you need $10m maybe? Tooling has gotten cheaper, for sure. And there's ways to reduce it. But yeah, it's not cheap, you know?

     

     

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Foomerang
    Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions. I will check out that book you mentioned :) Looking forward to playing your next game

    If you mean Theory of Fun: http://www.theoryoffun.com.

    A new full color revised and expanded edition will be out by the end of November/start of December as well: http://www.amazon.com/Theory-Game-Design-Raph-Koster/dp/1449363210/ref=la_B002BM7D3M_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381975111&sr=1-2

     

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORMember UncommonPosts: 5,613


    Originally posted by Raph
    Originally posted by Foomerang Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions. I will check out that book you mentioned :) Looking forward to playing your next game
    If you mean Theory of Fun: http://www.theoryoffun.com.

    A new full color revised and expanded edition will be out by the end of November/start of December as well: http://www.amazon.com/Theory-Game-Design-Raph-Koster/dp/1449363210/ref=la_B002BM7D3M_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381975111&sr=1-2

     


    hehe well I was actually referring to MY TINY LIFE. But I will check your book out too :)

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by MikeB
    Hi Raph, A friend of mine asks: "What is the difference between a huge MMO and a smaller, boutique one? Budget can't be the only limiting factor to an MMO's success, and player count seems like a result more than an actual goal. Is it subject matter? Level of detail? I don't think those are the only criteria, obviously. Or is it more a function of specifically targeting a (relatively) small segment of the market and designing THE game for them? If that's the case, it sounds a lot like EVE is a wildly successful boutique game for people that like economically-driven PVP sandboxes, no?"

    All of those play into it. Appeal of the theme and concept. Accessibility of interface. Complexity of systems. All that.

    Budget does matter too. A smaller budget would be wise to target smaller audience and consider themselves lucky if they hit it big (cf World of Tanks). A big budget chasing an inaccessible, complex, outre theme? Wasted money, right, you'll fail to get enough users.

    And yes, Eve is exactly a case of a small budget satisfying a niche, and growing over time. I think a huge part of Eve's success arises out of it being targeted at an audience of highly aggressive young males who love to crush in guilds. ;)

    It took a looong time for Eve to build up to that audience, though.That used to be a much smaller group of people, cf Shadowbane.

     

  • BurntvetBurntvet Member RarePosts: 3,465
    Originally posted by Raph
    Originally posted by Burntvet
    Hey Raph, With crowd funding being a something newly available in the game development field, would you consider doing a crowd-funded MMO or other game? And if so, how much would/does it take to do something "worth doing" and could it also be a factor in getting outside financing for a larger project (since people who crowd fund are neither stock/shareholders nor investors, and thus not "at the table" in terms of being an impediment to returns on outside investment)?

    My main worry is that outside of Star Citizen, there hasn't been any crowdfunding effort anywhere near large enough to make an MMO with, especially not to today's graphics level. Shroud of the Avatar is doing some interesting endruns around that issue, I must say.

    Successful crowdfunding does increase the ability to get cash from other sources, no question.

    The other thing, for someone like me who is currently just me and not a team, is that crowdfunding pitches today have a lot sunk into them from the get-go. They are mostly for finishing things.

    But sure, if the time was right, and it looked like it would succeed and enough money could be raised, I would totally do it. I HAVE thought about doing it. :)

    As far as amount... Just the platform for Metaplace cost like $2.5m to make. The content for a full game... you need $10m maybe? Tooling has gotten cheaper, for sure. And there's ways to reduce it. But yeah, it's not cheap, you know?

     

     

    Thanks for the answer.

    Personally, I think there are enough fans of your work and virtual world design philosophy, that were you to announce involvement in a crowd-funded endeavor, the crowd-funding would do very well.

    Especially in terms of a full-featured MMO, in the classic sense of the word, because the market space is there and more or less open. Plenty of light-weight games being put out these last few years as you mentioned, but not much for people that want more than that.  (Usually, it is hard to identify a place in the market space to be successful, here, the market space is there, but none of the larger "players" want to put money behind it).

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by jtcgs

     Not on the attack here man ;-) My post was based on your questioning if it can make money or not. the term F2P is based off the original use, by Nexon back when you were making UO (I believe it was called Kingdom of the Winds), yes as you can see I have been following it for a long time as well. Freemium however is a recent invention by both Turbine and Sony when LoTRo and EQ2 ended their exclusive P2P model. In Asia, Freemium is near non-existent outside of Japan. You are either paying a sub, or the game is free with a cash shop. The market data has already shown that Freemium games make little compared to F2P. Which makes sense. You have a game that is sub based, its losing players fast so the idea to save the game and get its popularity back is to cut the game into pieces offer parts of it for free and think you are going to somehow get people to want to sub again for the entire game...that was losing players because it wasn't good enough to pay for? never made sense to me. went on a tangent there.

    No, no, sorry, I know you weren't attacking. I was genuinely confused.

    Nexon started going with free models big time with Kart Rider, not KotW, far as I know. The business model for the earlier MMOs such as Lineage, KotW and Dark Ages was something else again, because it was tied into licensing fees with PC baangs (internet cafes). Not the simple model we know today. For a while, subs were even subsidized by the apartment complexes in Seoul! It was a perk ("move in here, you get a swimming pool and all the Mabinogi you can play!")

    It seemed like you were saying that F2P only sold cosmetic items, and that is definitely not the case.

    I agree that the idea of having a sub tier alone doesn't work. That is not what I was referencing. I mean stuff like having an f2p game, full on -- then have things like "join the elite club for $X a month, get a coin stipend and access to these N perks!" That model is alive and well and works fine. It isn't as common as it could be, actually, mostly because you can usually upsell those perks directly for a much higher price. But it's friendlier to consumers in some ways than going with a pure f2p.

  • DenambrenDenambren Montreal, QCMember UncommonPosts: 348

    Hey Raph,

     

    Do you still keep track of anything going on in the MUD world? And if so, any recommendations on a game to check out?

    I still play Armageddon MUD now and then - it's actually the game where me and my wife met before getting married. I also remember chatting you up back on Legend MUD when you were Ptah, where we discussed the player conversation system (the one carried over to SWG). When I first saw the SWG conversation system, I was like.. hmmmm, finally someone managed to steal Legend MUD's idea. Then I later found out you were the same guy from Legend MUD.

    What are your feelings on the state of communication and expression between players in current MMOs? Early on, SWTOR didn't even launch with chat bubbles. Are there other MMOs out there that you're aware of,  that have matched or exceeded the level of expression you were able to get out of a simple "say" in Legend MUD and SWG?

     

     

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by jtcgs

    My post was based on your questioning if it can make money or not.
    Oh, and I totally do not question whether it can make money. I absolutely think it DOES make money. I started saying that the industry here was going to move entirely to it a LONG time ago. Used to be on panels about it back in like 2002.
  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Oxon Hill, MDMember RarePosts: 2,609
    Originally posted by Raph
     

    1) I argued in favor of downtime here: http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/socialization.shtml

    And of interdependence here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2008/04/22/interdependent-systems/

    And of inconveniences here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/03/20/do-auction-houses-suck/

    And of interaction here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2005/12/09/forcing-interaction/

    Basically, you're stating a lot of stuff I have said for a LOOONG time.

    These are important social architecture tools. In the name of making the games more accessible and more fun, we removed them, but in the process lose subtle social dynamics. It's a line to walk. We want shorter sessions, why not have teleporting? Because travel is a chance to converse or bond. Overcoming obstacles together is what drives that bonding, and yeah, some of those obstacles are tedium.

    I do think it's hard for someone weaned on the quick gratification to get into a game that doesn't offer it. They probably bounce off. Which is why I said above, it might be better to target a niche.

    Assuming that even the niche hasn't gotten spoiled by dessert before dinner, if you know what I mean.

    As far as the difficulty of building a crafting system like that... the key challenge is learning to think in the right ways. If you start there, it's not that hard. I mean, a tough balancing problem, but not like an insane complex thing.

    SWG crafting started with the idea that we should extend UO's resource concept. The first thing was, we should have turnover. Thenm let's have resource types in an inheritance system instead of simple types. Then let's add stats to them.

    Once we had that set of concepts, it's really a matter of data. Lots of speccing out pieces, effects, etc. The idea of blueprints fell out of the concept of use-based XP. That ended up not being in the final game, but the idea of it is why we did blueprints. Plus it dovetailed with the notion of offline play.

    So these pieces all fit together based on initial vision items, and then the rest arose naturally.

    And when I say naturally, what I mean is MONTHS of painstaking speccing, balancing, and scripting work by Reece Thornton. We kept coming to him worried it had gotten too big and complicated... maybe he'd added too many stats? Too many components? It came in late, but it came in very nicely :) He deserves full credit for how the system ended up working.

     

    I fully understand.  I go to the mall and totally lost if I split up and someone has no cellphone for communication.  Like I didn't go the mall for years without one before hand.   

     

    The crafting system was brilliant.  Sadly we don't have many virtual worlds out here.

     

    What is your opinion horizontal progression vs. vertical progression?   I have always believed that hard vertical levels have been a limiter on game play due to the nature of advancement dominating the game world and play time and style.   Combined with streamlined game play your spend tons of money worlds and quest but being so easy you have players completing this content in days to weeks making most of your content throw away.  In the design of quest hubbing majority of your world also thrown away because it's out leveled.   

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Foomerang

    hehe well I was actually referring to MY TINY LIFE. But I will check your book out too :)

    Haha, it's here: http://www.juliandibbell.com/mytinylife/

     

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Burntvet

    Personally, I think there are enough fans of your work and virtual world design philosophy, that were you to announce involvement in a crowd-funded endeavor, the crowd-funding would do very well. Especially in terms of a full-featured MMO, in the classic sense of the word, because the market space is there and more or less open. Plenty of light-weight games being put out these last few years as you mentioned, but not much for people that want more than that.  (Usually, it is hard to identify a place in the market space to be successful, here, the market space is there, but none of the larger "players" want to put money behind it).

    Well then, maybe I will have to look into it. Buy enough of my little games so I can spend time building an MMO prototype enough to crowdfund with. :)

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Denambren
    Hey Raph,   Do you still keep track of anything going on in the MUD world? And if so, any recommendations on a game to check out? I still play Armageddon MUD now and then - it's actually the game where me and my wife met before getting married. I also remember chatting you up back on Legend MUD when you were Ptah, where we discussed the player conversation system (the one carried over to SWG). When I first saw the SWG conversation system, I was like.. hmmmm, finally someone managed to steal Legend MUD's idea. Then I later found out you were the same guy from Legend MUD. What are your feelings on the state of communication and expression between players in current MMOs? Early on, SWTOR didn't even launch with chat bubbles. Are there other MMOs out there that you're aware of,  that have matched or exceeded the level of expression you were able to get out of a simple "say" in Legend MUD and SWG?

    Haha! Wow, how awesome to see you here :) Someone who played Legend! It's still running, you know, you could go play it again. :)

    I poke my nose in occasionally, but do not keep up with muds regularly. So I don't have any other recommendations :( There's the Iron Realms stuff, still going, has always been good.

    As far as I know, the only other VW that had something like LegendMUD and SWG was There.com. I lifted some elements of There's system for SWG actually. :)

    And we did have elements of that same stuff in Metaplace too... gone now, of course.

    A lot of SWGs chat bubble implementation is now basically the default. We actually had a bit of a battle with some folks over chat bubbles on SWG, they fought against the way we did them...

    But what I haven't seen to that degree is stuff like the moods system affecting character idles, automatic parsing of the text and emoticons to play animations and tie in emotions (inspired by MS Comic Chat, but we went way farther), eye tracking (we got that piece from There), the depth of say alternates, all that stuff.

    It makes a difference, and makes the place seem way more real and human. But of course, it's seen as a frill compared to the combat system -- or likely, never even considered at all.

    Second Life has people able to extend the chat system in various ways, and there are "RP HUDs" you can put on your avatar.

     

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Vermillion_Raventhal
    What is your opinion horizontal progression vs. vertical progression?   I have always believed that hard vertical levels have been a limiter on game play due to the nature of advancement dominating the game world and play time and style.   Combined with streamlined game play your spend tons of money worlds and quest but being so easy you have players completing this content in days to weeks making most of your content throw away.  In the design of quest hubbing majority of your world also thrown away because it's out leveled.   

    I have always strongly favored horizontal.

    http://www.raphkoster.com/2005/12/16/do-levels-suck/

    http://www.raphkoster.com/2005/12/22/do-levels-suck-part-ii/

    http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/databasedeflation.shtml  (this from 1999!)

    The way I have expressed it is that power differentials between players cause a multitude of issues, and it's largely from slavishly following the levelling model in D&D rather than the one that Bartle had originally.

    I also disagree with quest hubbing, of course. I don't think an MMO should be a series of themepark rides in a sequence. It's nice to get on a ride, but the value of an MMO is in the place itself.

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    OK, we're at 31/2 hours just about. Last call for questions, I need to go find dinner :)
  • MahavishnuMahavishnu BerlinMember Posts: 336

    1. Did you ever think of a "character-engine" that emulates the reactions of NPCs in a game? Do you think, such a thing is possible?

    2. I believe that item-progression is a big problem in MMOs - some kind of a dead end. I don't want to go into the whole casual vs hardcore debate, time sink, etc. What is your take on this?

    3. When you think of video games in the 80s and 90s and compare them to current games. Isn't it a little disappointing, that there have been only very few new ideas?

    Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONMember UncommonPosts: 3,099
    Originally posted by Raph

    I also think the right book can make a big difference. I have been working on and off for almost ten years on this concept of game grammar, basically the idea that there are underlying rules underneath ALL games of ALL types, and if we can figure out what they are we can design better, communicate better, and experiment better. At this point a lot of people are working on that sort of problem, and if it gets solved, that can make a big difference.

    ug.  *thousand-yard-stare of a burnt-out ex-mathematican who once had delusions of being the one who was going to invent such a grammar*

    How did we get into a situation where video games in general have such sophisticated math behind the rendering of graphics, yet so little modeling/simulation of elements like motive and story?  Is it as simple as graphics being judged more quickly/harshly by consumers than the dynamics of worlds?  Is there a bias from other entertainment that stories and characters are passively observed rather than interacted with?

     

     

     

     

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILMember Posts: 1,777
    Originally posted by Raph No, no, sorry, I know you weren't attacking. I was genuinely confused. Nexon started going with free models big time with Kart Rider, not KotW, far as I know. The business model for the earlier MMOs such as Lineage, KotW and Dark Ages was something else again, because it was tied into licensing fees with PC baangs (internet cafes). Not the simple model we know today. For a while, subs were even subsidized by the apartment complexes in Seoul! It was a perk ("move in here, you get a swimming pool and all the Mabinogi you can play!") It seemed like you were saying that F2P only sold cosmetic items, and that is definitely not the case. I agree that the idea of having a sub tier alone doesn't work. That is not what I was referencing. I mean stuff like having an f2p game, full on -- then have things like "join the elite club for $X a month, get a coin stipend and access to these N perks!" That model is alive and well and works fine. It isn't as common as it could be, actually, mostly because you can usually upsell those perks directly for a much higher price. But it's friendlier to consumers in some ways than going with a pure f2p.

     Actually I looked it up, it was Kingdom of the Winds. First F2P game, it was in 1996. It was free until you hit max level :p

    But yeah man, actual F2P games only sell Cosmetic items, vanity items and buffs(see Atlantica Online or Runes of Magic). The idea of a free game with sub options started in the west, long after F2P became popular in Asia and grew into a monetary powerhouse. Turbine was the first successful Freemium with Dungeons and Dragons Online but even they stated they are making far more off their fluff cash shop items than anything else.

    The idea you are talking about, which is rampant in SWTOR is still questionable. As a long time MMO player which goes back to a short stint in NWNO back in 1992 (yeah I used AOL so WHAT? I got them free hours out of it!) I see that kind of setup as a division, a wall set up between players. Is it really a good idea to take your consumers and place them into different catagories along the lines of a social class? Also, it comes off as a cheap stunt to trick players into spending money. It isn't needed.

    Is it not possible to just instead take that content and just place it on the cash shop individually? Why create "clubs" that will make a portion of your player base feel pressured into spending when it can be done in a way without that pressure? If the content is good and priced right, they will spend anyway.

    I know one thing, if I am playing a game and it seems as if all players are not on equally footing, I tend to want to stop playing...creating elite clubs creates an "in" crowd, a community "class" structure where if you are not rich...you are poor. It isn't necessary in a F2P game. Believe in your product, do it right, it will sell itself. No gimmicks needed.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Mahavishnu
    1. Did you ever think of a "character-engine" that emulates the reactions of NPCs in a game? Do you think, such a thing is possible? 2. I believe that item-progression is a big problem in MMOs - some kind of a dead end. I don't want to go into the whole casual vs hardcore debate, time sink, etc. What is your take on this? 3. When you think of video games in the 80s and 90s and compare them to current games. Isn't it a little disappointing, that there have been only very few new ideas?

    1)

    If you mean, AI that has deeper and more plausible reactions, yes, of course. The big challenge there was, even going back to UO, whether we should invest effort in NPCs, or instead, shift the roles NPCs historically had over to players, to allow more roles for players to play in the game.

    In other words, do you work on awesome blacksmith AI, or enable PC blacksmiths instead?

    In UO we had 275 ways for an NPC to just say "hello." They were broken out by level of intelligence, nice vs rude, and some other axis I don't recall. There were component-based libraries of knowledge that could be attached and detached from a given NPC. And all NPCs had basic stuff like whether or not they showed respect to high level players, ability to give directions, likes and dislikes, and more. I wrote a lot about this here (sorry to keep pointing you all to old articles, but I am realizing how much people don't know about the work I have done in documenting stuff like this!):

    http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/06/09/why-dont-our-npcs/

    The underlying resource system, which I also wrote about a lot (google "uo resource system") was meant to hook into AI, so that NPCs could be even smarter.

    By the time we got to SWG, the emphasis was instead on having players take those roles. So NPCs were pretty barebones.

    2)

    I dislike an overemphasis on equipment in general. I super extra dislike all forms of binding. I prefer equipment to be disposable -- still valuable, but not effectively a permanent buff or whatever. I have many reasons -- I want players to engage in trade. I want to have narrow power differentials.

    3)

    I started making games back then. I am still a total neophiliac for new mechanics. Of course, everything was being invented back then. Now a new mechanic is actually a new genre.

    I actually look at games in terms of mechanics that way, that's what game grammar is about (for a jillion articles, see http://www.raphkoster.com/tag/game-grammar/)

    All the new games I am doing are NEW mechanics. I am not making "a platformer" "a match three" "a shooter." I am only interested in inventing NEW GAMES. So I have five of them going right now, and am pretty confident I can keep inventing them at a rapid rate :)

  • Acebets70Acebets70 Millbury, OHMember UncommonPosts: 266
    Huge fan Raph!!!  Since playing EQ and SWG for years nothing has filled the void because i refuse to settle for mediocrity do you think the days of an Epic mmo are gone? 
  • Nee4emuNee4emu Santa Barbara, CAMember Posts: 5
    Originally posted by Raph
    OK, we're at 31/2 hours just about. Last call for questions, I need to go find dinner :)

    I'd just like to say THANKS once again, for answering my previous questions as well as for answering everyone else's questions and for your visions with SWG & UO.

    Personally i've found this entire Q&A thread to be both interesting and inspiring.

    Really hope to see your 'signature' stamped above (or below? ) another MMORPG someday.

    Best of luck to you sir.

    Until next time... ./tiphat, Nee

    p.s. Don't shut the proverbial 'door' on Star Wars all together just yet.  The Force is ever-lasting after all.  ./grin

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by maplestone
    Originally posted by Raph

    I also think the right book can make a big difference. I have been working on and off for almost ten years on this concept of game grammar, basically the idea that there are underlying rules underneath ALL games of ALL types, and if we can figure out what they are we can design better, communicate better, and experiment better. At this point a lot of people are working on that sort of problem, and if it gets solved, that can make a big difference.

    ug.  *thousand-yard-stare of a burnt-out ex-mathematican who once had delusions of being the one who was going to invent such a grammar*

    How did we get into a situation where video games in general have such sophisticated math behind the rendering of graphics, yet so little modeling/simulation of elements like motive and story?  Is it as simple as graphics being judged more quickly/harshly by consumers than the dynamics of worlds?  Is there a bias from other entertainment that stories and characters are passively observed rather than interacted with?

    You'll be glad to know that there has been significant progress made on game grammar. Not by me necessarily. See this site: http://www.jorisdormans.nl/machinations/

    I do think that as games started to tilt to story, the pursuit of emchanics fell way off. The pursuit of new systems and models fell off. As amazing an achievement as Half-Life was, it also set a template. The way in which Nintendo games control everything the player does, also set a template. And so on. And that template leads through FMV games and right to the heavily narrative experiences we see today.

    There's a FANTASTIC presentation by Matt Worch on this. If you are interested and have an hour to kill, I highly recommend it: http://www.worch.com/2013/04/24/talking-to-the-player-how-cultural-currents-shape-and-level-design/

  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Oxon Hill, MDMember RarePosts: 2,609

    How possible do you think what I kind of call quest threading is possible?  To explain in more detail questing that's based on random pool of quest triggered by random NPC encounters and based on decisions made.  For example you interact with a NPC and compatible for that NPC quest #2 out say 100 or so is an option.  Taking this quest and depending on your success/failure + choices your limited to another random quest  from another pool of compatible quest carrying the story.  Sorry for the jargon but random quest that kind of thread your own story vs. going to an NPC and getting the same question as everyone else.  

     

    Do you believe that the MMORPG genre will grow beyond the path laid by World of Warcraft?  I know MMO's in general have grown a lot but it seems that we're been stuck in 2004 when it comes to actual MMORPG's.

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by jtcgs

     Actually I looked it up, it was Kingdom of the Winds. First F2P game, it was in 1996. It was free until you hit max level :p But yeah man, actual F2P games only sell Cosmetic items, vanity items and buffs(see Atlantica Online or Runes of Magic). The idea of a free game with sub options started in the west, long after F2P became popular in Asia and grew into a monetary powerhouse. Turbine was the first successful Freemium with Dungeons and Dragons Online but even they stated they are making far more off their fluff cash shop items than anything else. The idea you are talking about, which is rampant in SWTOR is still questionable. As a long time MMO player which goes back to a short stint in NWNO back in 1992 (yeah I used AOL so WHAT? I got them free hours out of it!) I see that kind of setup as a division, a wall set up between players. Is it really a good idea to take your consumers and place them into different catagories along the lines of a social class? Also, it comes off as a cheap stunt to trick players into spending money. It isn't needed. Is it not possible to just instead take that content and just place it on the cash shop individually? Why create "clubs" that will make a portion of your player base feel pressured into spending when it can be done in a way without that pressure? If the content is good and priced right, they will spend anyway. I know one thing, if I am playing a game and it seems as if all players are not on equally footing, I tend to want to stop playing...creating elite clubs creates an "in" crowd, a community "class" structure where if you are not rich...you are poor. It isn't necessary in a F2P game. Believe in your product, do it right, it will sell itself. No gimmicks needed.

    KotW was subsidized by the cafes, I'm telling ya. :) They paid by the seat. That was the early baang model. And Lineage for example, did have subs in Korea for a long time. If you didn't pay at a baang, you had to pay a sub fee.

    It wasn't until later that they added in the notion of selling items directly. And yeah, some of them were permanent at first. But of course, selling buffs became standard because they were consumable and you could repeatedly ding the customer.

    The reason why I say that a sub tier can be more consumer friendly is because it effectively sets a lower cap on max expenditure there... you're not being upsold constantly, so there's less manipulation. It's like paying to remove ads on a site or app. Think, paying for HBO, versus only being able to watch stuff On Demand a la carte. Depending on how many movies you watch, HBO can be a better deal for you. But operators will prefer everything on demand, because it ends up costing you more.

    Remember, players are being divided into separate classes ANYWAY. On the backend, the game operators absolutely know who is a payer and who is a free player.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't have a dog in this fight... I don't really care one way or the other. :)

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Acebets70
    Huge fan Raph!!!  Since playing EQ and SWG for years nothing has filled the void because i refuse to settle for mediocrity do you think the days of an Epic mmo are gone? 

    Kind of depends on the definition of epic. There's certainly some stuff that looks epic to me.

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAMember UncommonPosts: 150
    Originally posted by Nee4emu
    Originally posted by Raph
    OK, we're at 31/2 hours just about. Last call for questions, I need to go find dinner :)

    I'd just like to say THANKS once again, for answering my previous questions as well as for answering everyone else's questions and for your visions with SWG & UO.

    Personally i've found this entire Q&A thread to be both interesting and inspiring.

    Really hope to see your 'signature' stamped above (or below? ) another MMORPG someday.

    Best of luck to you sir.

    Until next time... ./tiphat, Nee

    p.s. Don't shut the proverbial 'door' on Star Wars all together just yet.  The Force is ever-lasting after all.  ./grin

    You're welcome!

This discussion has been closed.