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[Column] General: Do Subscriptions Make a Difference in Community?

245

Comments

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,439Member Uncommon

    The answer is obvious image

    Is a stable community better? Of course. F2P breeds non-committance to anything.

    If somehow vets were all very gracious and helpful to newcomers it might be even with subs, but how can that even happen?

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Theocritus
    There used to be the perception that the f2p games lured in lurkers who were just out to cause trobule, but in my experience it really depended on the game, not the subscription model.....People make too much of this...Its like in RL where people think the rich are good people and the poor are scum.....Once again, in my experience I've met alot of nice poor people and alot of scumbag rich people......Whether a person pays or not has nothing to do with the quality of person yo uare going to get.

    yea I think the payment model has less to do with how a community interacts than how divergent and segregated by multiple play styles it is

     

    Partisanship is partisanship regards if your talking party affiliation or solo vs group; pvp vs pve; casual vs HC; easy vs hard

    most negative interactions I've seen in games are from different demographics clashing

    image
  • rygard49rygard49 Huntington Beach, CAPosts: 975Member

    I think a games popularity is what ruins its community. More players, more chances of encountering douchebaggery in some form. Free to play has a lower barrier of entry meaning, on average, more players in the world.

    That doesn't mean sub games won't suffer from this if they gain something near WoW level popularity, but that extra barrier probably does discourage a small portion of the trolls.

  • WightyWighty Westbury, NYPosts: 664Member Uncommon

    Well certainly... But non the in normal sense of the word...

     

    What subs do for one is keep the parasites, tourists, and leechers out. These are the players that generally contribute nothing, take up space and really have no vested interest in the game other than to plow through it's free content then move on.

     

    What a sub does is levels the playing field so that everyone is the same, and no one has any real advantage other than being a better player of the particular game.

     

    While yes games that are F2P may give the illusion of being prosperous because you may see a lot of people on especially in social areas like a town hub etc. The F2P player may even fill a hole in a group on occasion but more so while you are leveling through lower level content as opposed to the "end game" stuff where F2P gear restrictions usually weigh in heavy.

     

    So when you play a sub game, it doesn't all of a sudden make people less of an ass if they in fact are made that way... but players (while they may not always show it) share the same investment and respect for the game especially s the game ages... In sub game communities typically EVOLVE rather than F2P Devolving because once you get through the sub filter, as time goes on the players who are genuinely passionate about that particular game are the ones still playing it. This can in some cases can be said about games that WERE sub that converted to F2P... They still have that vested and passionate playerbase, and while there may be a sudden spike in new players and even some returning players for the sake of F2P these levels just normalize after time goes by anyhow leaving the ones who are passionate about the game still there.

     

    The community of F2P games are almost always the ADHD, content locust, leecher/parasite or tourist player...

     

    The ADHD player wants to play 20 games at the same time so a Sub would cost a fortune, rather than finding a game they can go all in on they spread themselves too thin for whatever fix or mood they happen to be in at that moment. Typically good players but unreliable.

     

    The content locust has been discussed over and over but they are the player that just blasts through everything "wins the game" then gets bored and moves on (also a trait of some ADHD player) They are also found in sub games too but are usually gone before the sub kicks in. (FF14 anyone?)

     

    The parasite/leecher is the worst... They just want to go whale surfing, and have paying members of the community carry them through the game while they invest nothing. they play the hell out of the game for the most part and contribute the very bare minimal if anything at all.

     

    The tourist is there just to test... you can almost call them trial players... Sometimes these players actually turn out to be great player who end up contributing to the game because they found something they really liked and decided to settle down.

     

    I am a firm believer in the Mark Jacobs philosophy where they would rather have 50k subs than 200k players that only 5% are contributing. The community benefits from this as well for the reasons mentioned above. Glad to see that the industry is moving in this direction with Wildstar and TESO... even if these game DO eventually end up free, the hardcore and established community will thrive on as has been the case (at least in my experience) in DDO, LOTRO, EQ/EQ2 and some others... Games like SWTOR seem to be just the opposite because they game lacked the content causing a mass exodus and never let the playerbase get established before moving on...

    What are your other Hobbies?

    Gaming is Dirt Cheap compared to this...

  • SiveriaSiveria Saint John, New BrunswickPosts: 1,200Member Uncommon

    IMO they don't you still get children, assholes, asshats etc etc no matter whether its free to play or a sub. Been playing mmorpgs for 14+ years myself and I've played both sub models and free to play's and never really noticed any diffrence in the communities. Its just generally bad all around now a days.

    I blame it on the fact mmorpgs are far far too soloable these days, so most players never treat any other player with any sort of respect, because they never had to really team up for stuff till they hit level cap. before FF11 became easymode with Abyssea and such if you were an asshole or really disrespectful you'd never get a party for anything, because ff11 was heavily group based and people talk to each other, its the same if you were a bad player, you'd not get party invites. You could solo in ff11 back then but it was a very slow and boring process. Bacally my point is FF11 forced people to behave themselves since once you got a bad rep your time in game became all that more harder to get anywhere.

    Where-as today, everyone (or most players in general) are/is generally rude to everyone else because they have a mentality of: "Well I can solo it so eff those guys" bascally.

    Its sad the state mmorpgs are in these days. I don't know if they will ever recover. I hope they do, But I do not see this happening unless some major formula changes happen to them as a whole.

    Being a pessimist is a win-win pattern of thinking. If you're a pessimist (I'll admit that I am!) you're either:

    A. Proven right (if something bad happens)

    or

    B. Pleasantly surprised (if something good happens)

    Either way, you can't lose! Try it out sometime!

  • HatefullHatefull Posts: 773Member Uncommon

    I am 50/50 on this topic.  I believe the community is far more important in developing it's self than the subscription model.  Let me explain.

     

    In any MMO if a community bans together to 'black ball' bad players, crafters that undercut and over charge, tanks that can't, healers that won't etc etc, I feel like the community that makes these people known, and shut them down is far better off than a community that does not.

     

    Having said that, I have seen this far more in subscription models (SWG, EQ 2 to be exact, I feel WoW was just too big for this to be effective though my guild black balled people a lot).  Not to say it can't happen in the F2P or freemium model, just in my experience is it more common in Subscription.

     

    Also, in subscription games, you have something to lose if you get banned.  The last year of monthly fee's you paid is going to look pretty significant when you can't log in any more because you were an ass and the community reported you.

     

    In closing, I don't feel subscription is 'utopia' people claim it is, but I feel it does help a community maintain their manners to a better extent than the F2P model.

    If you want a new idea, go read an old book.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,994Member Uncommon

    From my recent experience, I'm going to say no, or not very much.

    I've had no better and no worse community experiences in any of the recent P2P (TSW, SWTOR, RIFT when they were still sub only EVE) and F2P titles (AION, Lineage 2, EQ2) all pretty much the same.

    In fact, one of the better communities as of late has been on a DAOC freeshard, where no one pays anything at all, but that doesn't have anything to do with making it a better social experience.

    Look to other changes in MMOs to help improve the community, such as creating some sort of interdependency (even if you have to force it) in order to get players to rely on each other more and in turn, be nicer. (hopefully)

    Last night in my shard my group was preparing to take down the Keep Lord which would have granted us some nice realm points and experience, when another group sent our leader a message asking we hold off until they could get there to share in the rewards.

    Now there was a bit of grumbling from a few, saying how we did all the work to take the keep and they wanted to come and ninja the reward, but we reminded everyone we were all on the same team here and it wouldn't hurt us in any way (other than 5 minutes or so)  to wait for them.  And everyone agreed.

    That's a difference really, communities that start looking out for the welfare of all, something I think is largely lacking in modern day MMO design.

     

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    In general I'd say "Yes" although it's not an absolute. It's true in other areas of life, as well. The more someone has invested in something, the more care they are generaly likely to treat it with. Supply people with free flower vases, and you'll often find them broken in the trash......make them pay $50 a pop and not so much. This isn't universaly true....there are people who are careless with thier possesions no matter what......there are people who behave rudely no matter how much they've paid for something.....there are even people who feel that spending money ENTITLES them to be rude.... and there are people who will be freindly, helpfull and polite no matter how little they spend on something. It's also true that money is FAR from the only (or most meaningfull) way to feel invested in something. So what we are really talking here is just statistics and averages....it's not an assurance of what sort of community a game will have....just a higher or lower probabilty.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    I've never noticed a difference in the community of games before and after F2P transitions, so I'd have to say "No". There are always differences in the populations of games, but that holds true whether the two games being compared are F2P, P2P, B2P or some combination of the three.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • cnutempcnutemp Fairfax, VAPosts: 229Member Uncommon

    No,

    FFXIV.

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,439Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kyleran

    From my recent experience, I'm going to say no, or not very much.

    I've had no better and no worse community experiences in any of the recent P2P (TSW, SWTOR, RIFT when they were still sub only EVE) and F2P titles (AION, Lineage 2, EQ2) all pretty much the same.

    In fact, one of the better communities as of late has been on a DAOC freeshard, where no one pays anything at all, but that doesn't have anything to do with making it a better social experience.

    Look to other changes in MMOs to help improve the community, such as creating some sort of interdependency (even if you have to force it) in order to get players to rely on each other more and in turn, be nicer. (hopefully)

    Last night in my shard my group was preparing to take down the Keep Lord which would have granted us some nice realm points and experience, when another group sent our leader a message asking we hold off until they could get there to share in the rewards.

    Now there was a bit of grumbling from a few, saying how we did all the work to take the keep and they wanted to come and ninja the reward, but we reminded everyone we were all on the same team here and it wouldn't hurt us in any way (other than 5 minutes or so)  to wait for them.  And everyone agreed.

    That's a difference really, communities that start looking out for the welfare of all, something I think is largely lacking in modern day MMO design.

     

     

    This is true. MMOs could greatly benefit from having features that make communities stronger, making players act on the greater good of their faction or race, and set aside the personal achievement treadmill(that we have all done so wearily from game to game).

  • RemianenRemianen Brooklyn, NYPosts: 37Member
    Originally posted by azmundai

    subscription model has only a minor effect on communities.

    modern mmo developers don't care about communities, or they care enough about allowing everyone to solo 90% of their game, or instantly queue for content in their game, that their thoughts on community are irrelevant.

    community will never exist again as long as instant gratification is a pillar of design.

    But is it instant gratification or catering to a particular playstyle (that being the "time starved" gamer)? The changes you note were implemented as a way to attract the oft-mentioned, never defined "casual gamer". The people who apparently didn't have the time to wait for group formation but still wanted to be able to progress. (Yeah, I don't get that either. You want to progress but you don't want to invest what everyone else is investing to do so?)

    I don't blame the players as much as I blame the developers for pandering in the most misguided ways. Instead of creating social hubs in games, they basically strip the interdependence out because of some misguided view that the "casual player" with the deep pockets (because of their sheer numbers) didn't actually want to spend time playing the game, they just wanted the rewards for doing so. So you throw out things like NPC group members, content with below standard difficulty but standard reward, group queues, etc. Most of the people I know who call themselves 'casual gamers' wanted none of that, since to them, the social side of these games were one of the best features. They just wanted to be able to get on, jump in a group of friends and play, without necessarily worrying about meta stuff. That ship has sailed since meta has basically become a core part of the game. Unless you're with friends, people in PUGs will often judge you by your gear and because you don't have this or that talent or chose to focus your build in a non-standard way (a dps who focuses on utility rather than all out damage, for example), they'll refrain from inviting you. So, bring in NPC groupmates who eliminate that bias and will group with you no matter what.

    Seems like a spiral to me. I'm curious to see where the bottom is. Since most MMO vets know that EverQuest used to have the nickname "EverCrack" because it was often the social bonds that hooked people, I wonder what happens when those bonds no longer exist. I remember people saying they hated EQ....but they still played it. Why? "Because of my guild" or "My friends are still playing". We're in the age now where guild tags are meaningless (whereas in ages past, many people identified themselves, and others, by their guild tag), they're disposable for the most part. Friendships don't seem to form as much without the shared experience (not XP) of grouping. With consoles now getting into the act, I think there's a lot more room to fall as far as community quality is concerned. Developers don't care about community (and most don't even have community reps with any design influence so features that might foster community almost never get implemented). Where's the bottom though?

  • FusionFusion VaasaPosts: 1,391Member Uncommon

    Now that MMO's are mainstream "thanks" to WoW, i'd probably have to say NO.

    Gametime cards also allow kids to play sub-games with candy-allowances.

     

    Currently playing: -

    Waiting for: Class4.

    Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  • Arathir86Arathir86 CanberraPosts: 442Member Uncommon

    Oh here we go, another thread on P2P vs F2P.

     

    Of course we will get the obligatory "P2P is better!" posts.

     

    Truth is most P2P games are centered around raiding or progressing through content as a group, so the reason you see more 'well behaved' players in subscriptions games is because its a necessity for them to be accepted by their peers as someone who will help the group succeed, but the motives for helping eachother are still self-centered and greedy at their core.

    There was a time when I once enjoyed playing the Tank, being the pillar of the group that everyone relied on. It was only when my guild recruited a more well-geared tank than me that I realized people dont hold loyalties in subscription games, they only care about what helps them reach their goals, as fast as possible and as easy as possible. I was promised raid slots because I was a veteran of the guild, but gradually I was left out of more and more raids because this newly recruited tank had better gear than me.

    So there I was, left with this character I had invested hundreds of hours into to help my guild progress, but which was utterly useless at solo'ing content. Sure I had alts which I could solo on, but none near the level of gear my tank possessed. So I quit.

    Subscription games form an elitist culture, one which ive grown to loath and despise in my years of gaming, I still like playing MMO's but I no longer look for the traditional trinity or sub models because of what I have described above.

    F2P model games tend to be more solo friendly, and people generally play them because they are fun not because they are Free.

    So the lesson I learned is; If its Fun, its worth playing, but If it feels like a job which I might lose at any moment (or worse, be ridiculed for) then its not worth my time.

     

    So have fun with your Elitist Jerk guilds, I'll be playing the games which are fun, regardless of whether they are P2P or F2P.

    "The problem with quotes from the Internet is that it's almost impossible to validate their authenticity." - Abraham Lincoln

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kreedz

    Oh here we go, another thread on P2P vs F2P.

     

    Of course we will get the obligatory "P2P is better!" posts.

     

    Truth is most P2P games are centered around raiding or progressing through content as a group, so the reason you see more 'well behaved' players in subscriptions games is because its a necessity for them to be accepted by their peers as someone who will help the group succeed, but the motives for helping eachother are still self-centered and greedy at their core.

    There was a time when I once enjoyed playing the Tank, being the pillar of the group that everyone relied on. It was only when my guild recruited a more well-geared tank than me that I realized people dont hold loyalties in subscription games, they only care about what helps them reach their goals, as fast as possible and as easy as possible. I was promised raid slots because I was a veteran of the guild, but gradually I was left out of more and more raids because this newly recruited tank had better gear than me.

    So there I was, left with this character I had invested hundreds of hours into to help my guild progress, but which was utterly useless at solo'ing content. Sure I had alts which I could solo on, but none near the level of gear by tank possessed. So I quit.

    Subscription games form an elitist culture, one which ive grown to loath and despise in my years of gaming, I still like playing MMO's but I no longer look for the traditional trinity or sub models because of what I have described above.

    F2P model games tend to be more solo friendly, and people generally play them because they are fun not because they are Free.

    So the lesson I learned is; If its Fun, its worth playing, but If it feels like a job which I might lose at any moment (or worse, be ridiculed for) then its not worth my time.

     

    So have fun with your Elitist Jerk guilds, I'll be playing the games which are fun, regardless of whether they are P2P or F2P.

    That premise only hold if all guilds/clans/kinships are created equal.  There are of course progression guilds who perform this way, it is also true there are progression guilds who do not.

    image
  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by Plageron

    no

    subscriptions don't make a game better.

    In many ways it makes it worse...as I have played so many games and seen so many parent buy games and subscriptions for their kids its not funny.

    The games may say 18+ or require a subscription but I still wind up playing with a 6 year old.

    I agree - my sister ignores mmo age restrictions for my 9 year old nephew

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    Tera was p2p and had a terrible community. It's general chat now is still bad but the long time players are mostly good people.

    WoW had one of the worst general chats and community of any mmo I've ever played.

     

    It's not the sub that does it. It's the long time people who are invested in the game that make a better community. They get hidden more in f2p games but the same douche bags are in both types of games.

     

  • RPRavenRPRaven Kennewick, WAPosts: 1Member
    I don't try subscription games anymore. It takes a while to figure our the community's culture and in my experience, unsubscribing is very difficult...criminally so.
  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    I completely disagree with this article. Not everyone is happy with the move to F2P. I'm not at all happy with it. All those games moving from subscription based to free have, in the majority, done so because they were failing to retain subs. Most of the time that was due to the simple fact that the game was poor in too may areas.

    Poor mechanics, poor graphics, dated gameplay, too casual friendly i.e. too easy, too fast to level to the cap, too much hand holding, too stuck on rails, too many goddamned wow clones etc.

     

    The whole problem with the genre is this move to support more casual/solo play. MMO's need to be harder, they need to be taken more seriously and they need to require a commitment from those that play them. Perfect for the subscription model.

     

    Those that want to cater to the casuals can stick with F2P if they want but I want a serious MMO that takes time and effort to progress through and I'll pay for the privilege of playing it.

     

    In answer to the question, yes it makes a difference.

     
  • crack_foxcrack_fox WellingtonPosts: 402Member
    Bored players cause problems. It doesn't really matter what they've paid or how they've paid. Busy players have better things to do than spam shit in GC. An increase in games that combine super-rapid leveling with limited 'end-game' content has gone hand-in-hand with a decrease in the perceived quality of game communities. F2P may have grown in parallel to this degredation, but it is not necessarily the cause.
  • OSF8759OSF8759 Riverside, CAPosts: 284Member

    If you think asshats don't have $15 a month to spend, you're greatly mistaken.

    F2P LOTRO has one of the best communities in MMO history. Subscription WoW...doesn't. This fact alone disproves the idea that subscriptions are some kind of community quality gatekeeper.

  • benseinebenseine HaarlemPosts: 243Member
    I have to disagree that subscriptions give developpers a steady income with the rate I've seen ppl quit mmorpgs.
  • Burdoc101Burdoc101 Fort Campbell, KYPosts: 281Member

    I have to say that even sub based games you will still find gold-farmers and you will find kids playing the game. I say remove the general chat to macro buttons to reduce spam and create a polite environment. And if the community is poor within an MMO I would say that the MMO is a poor game. Create a great game and you will have a great following.

    Here are some threads I created on this site about a month ago discussing this very topic.

    The MMO Community: Complaints and Solutions

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/394087

     

    Do pay systems really effect MMO Communities

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/393483

  • TorrmwyreTorrmwyre Wilmington, DEPosts: 66Member

    WoW's community has been pretty terrible, and that's been a subscription game since conception. People are so eager to forget about it though. The term "Barren's chat" has been used multiple times to describe channels in other games. Let's jump over to another game, SWToR and critique that. The fanbase defended it violently, often crucifying people with minor problems or criticisms.

    The ultimate result here is that: if an immature person wants to play an MMO, he will FIND a way to play it. Subscription or not, these people will be present. The best we, as players, can do is ignore them, report them, and not get all worked up about it.

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member

    I think they can, but alone they can't.

     

    LotRO had one of the best communities I'd ever seen in an MMO back before it went F2P (I'm not saying it has a bad one now, I just simply don't know). However, WoW had a bad community always. Asheron's Call had a pretty good community, but the DT server had a pretty bad community.

     

     

    I've seen a far bigger link between PvP and the quality of a community. The more PvP involved in a game, the worse the community tends to be (now go look at MOBAs and see how horrendous PvP communities can be). I think that is why LotRO had such a quality community, everyone was there to PvE as the game didn't really have PvP.

     

    I think a subscription adds a little bit of consequence to people as in a F2P you can pop up on throw away accounts to troll and harass without consequence unlike when you pay a fee. But again, look at some games like WoW and see that even with paying money, the community can be trash.

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