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  • Star Wars Battlefront II or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and the Love the Loot Box - Michael Bitt

    This article is a good summary of what's wrong with people's mentality today.

    Games used to be creative experiences with a price tag on them. A team of people would come together and create something fun. Sometimes a publisher would try to cut corners and shift the vision, but in the end, you'd have an experience for a set price nevertheless.

    Movies are still like that. You pay a set price and get a set experience. Some box sets have bonus content, but the core experience is always there - whether it's a DVD, BluRay, TV or going to the movies. People wouldn't tolerate this excessive micro-transaction bullshit there, why do we tolerate it in games?

    When I go watch the new Star Wars movie, they don't pause the movie at the first big battle and say "We will play this battle 50 times. But you could pay $1.99 for a chance to go on with the story". If that was the case, people would walk out the cinema. They would not be writing editorials saying "I like these new movie lootboxes, before, I'd have to wait 2 hours to see the ending. Now there's a 0.01% chance I'll get to it right away! And if I'm unlucky, I can always watch the battle 50 times. Win win right there."

    These days, games are clearly money milking machines first, experiences second. Battlefront 2 is a prime example of this - the core design is literally about buying loot boxes, with a game play moulded around it.
    pantaroNycteliosIselinStjerneoddlaseritAlomarNildenmrputtsXodicSiugand 4 others.
  • DRM in games and angry pirates

    I think it's important to distinguish two types of DRM.

    1. Offline DRM - where you need to "activate" a game, but then can play without any server communication.
    2. Always Online DRM - where your game needs contact with the DRM server.

    In the case of offline DRM, I agree with the OP argument completely. Activating a game once is no hassle what-so-ever.

    In the case of online DRM, it may be a much greyer area. Let's say the game is not generating any new revenue in 3 years time. The developer may simply pull the plug on the DRM server and you'll never be able to play again.

    MMORPG closure is a sad event for all fans - quite frankly, it always sucks. This is something single player games did not have to worry about. Once you bought a game, you could always play it. That is, until the recent emergence of these "online" single player games. A poorly coded DRM adds this unnecessary caveat to single player games.

    Poor online DRMs may also cause disconnections mid-game, inability to play on launch due to heavy traffic and may lead to platform locking games. I recall several game launches, where legal owners of games could not play due to DRM, while pirates were happily enjoying the game with the DRM removed.

    That said, I'm not sure how many players actually realise these flaws with online DRM. From what I've read on Steam forums, many are simply throwing words around, without really caring about the flaws of DRM at all. Gamers, especially those on Steam forums, are quick to find a scapegoat and beat it to death.
  • Will Amazon Game Studios Reveal an MMO on September 29th? - MMORPG.com News

    Forgrimm said:
    Will Amazon Prime members get in-game benefits? ;)
    Expedited cash shop deliveries.
  • Why the outrage...I'll cover everything.

    The market definitely has "evolved". There is no question about it.

    When I was growing up, 20 years ago, most people didn't own a computer and didn't know how to use one. Internet was a luxury that noone had - it was something similar to VR today. Only people passionate about technology had it, because there was no consensus that it will actually be useful. So who do you think the target audience was for MMOs back then? It was a person who is a bit of an outlier in the community, someone who has a PC and internet. These people were often old school sci-fi and fantasy fans. They didn't care something isn't easy to use - they wouldn't have a PC with internet if they did. That was the target audience for MMOs, because there was no other audience out there. 3 people out of 20 in my class had a PC.

    Fast forward to my high school, 10 years ago. 29 people out of 30 in my class had a PC. Out of those, maybe 10 used it for gaming. The one person who didn't have a computer had to go to the school's library every afternoon to do their homework, which needed internet. Today, I am at university. Everyone has a laptop. Compared to my high school, gaming isn't a 30% of people thing. Everyone understands it on some level.

    I still have this thing in my mind where I think you should never mention gaming to others, as it is marginal entertainment. It's simply not true anymore. I was moving houses last year and a girl was helping me move the boxes, she had a car and I didn't. She wasn't nerdy at all, studying a business major, really into management. When she was carrying my console games, she was genuinely interested in them, saying she plays games every now and then herself. That was a big eye opener for me, as I realised the gaming market has changed substantially.

    In terms of MMOs, they reflect this change. They still class as MMOs - if a mass of players share the same virtual space, it's generally called a MMO. They do appeal to different audiences today though! Some games still go after the niche market of tech enthusiasts who want deep non-trivial systems. EVE Online is a great example of this - this is just a guess, but I'd say majority of EVE players are similar to the MMO player 20 years ago. But you also have other MMOs, those that try to capture other player bases. Games like WoW are still MMOs, but they go for the mainstream fantasy fan. This means making the systems easier to understand - after all, the majority of people aren't tech fanatics and won't have the patience to invest days or weeks into understanding one system a game has to offer.

    I'd say a veteran player today has two options. Either accept the market has grown, leave people enjoy their entertainment and find a place for yourself, in this big pie, that you enjoy. There is a huge variety of games today. Saying no MMO has anything to offer is probably not true.
    The alternative is to be bitter about the change, trying to build a stone wall around your idea of what a MMO should and shouldn't be. I personally think this is exhausting and not fun, so I'll do the former.
  • Jobs Posted for Unannounced First-Person Project - MMORPG.com News

    Murloc VR
  • Your Moneys Worth - Hours to Dollars Ratio

  • #10MillionStories Campaign Celebrates 10 Million Unique Players - Elder Scrolls Online - MMORPG.com

    And here I was, hoping they're giving 10 million away for logging in.
    You can't count on anything these days anymore.
  • Guild Wars 2 - Bill Murphy - ArenaNet and the Wisdom of Not Doing Anything - MMORPG.com

    If I responded to a student I teach in a similar way, even without any media coverage, I'd be suspended at least. My contract would not be renewed and most likely, I'd be fired on the spot.

    To try force a gender narrative onto the story is comical.

    What's even more absurd to me, is gaming outlets presenting this as a situation where ANet somehow harmed a developer or set a poor precedent. If you jump off a cliff, don't blame the ground for becoming a smudge.

    We have no idea what happens at ANet internally, but from the tweets we saw, the victim case the employee was making doesn't hold water.
  • So, I tried to craft a saddle...

    davcha said:
    That's dumb. So it's a game where the gameplay is a screensaver ?...
    I've never played it like that. The "afk only" narrative you hear is exaggerated in my opinion. Yes, quite a few people leave the game fishing overnight. Several systems benefit you leaving the game on, but it is by no means the core of the game.

    Crafting is in large part about building up infrastructure. You have to create a robust network of workers and processing houses. Setting this up is quite an active process. The same is true for gathering/farming. On release, I used to be consistently in the Top 3 in terms of farming (actual farming, not grinding content). This used to be so time demanding that I decided to drop farming altogether. It was great fun being at the top for about 3 weeks, but managing all my plants was taking 90% of my game time.

    Contrary to popular belief, I think it's a game that lets you play in several different ways. For me, that hardly ever included staying AFK.
  • The curious case of ZOS integrating RedShell spyware into ESO

    RedShell basically links your in-game identity to your website identity. As far as I can tell, it doesn't spy on you in any additional way besides making that link. This can have endless applications, from ones most people would agree with, to dodgy ones most would object to.

    After linking your website id to an in-game id, Zenimax might see if players buying the game on Steam visit their website first. This to me seems completely fair game. It will inform the company where and why the purchases are being made.

    A more contentious implementation may be checking the size of your friend-list in game and then serving you website adverts based on that information.

    A dodgy implementation would be measuring your risk behaviour based on how you play and then serving you gambling adverts if you pass a threshold.

    The thing is, all of this is extremely common these days. RedShell simply links two identifications together, which is charity work compared to what happens elsewhere, across all sectors. Even indie companies have dedicated people to measure behaviours in game. I recently met with an artist from a studio of 8, one of whom is responsible for nothing but optimising retention.

    I've also had numerous talks on similar practises at university. These talks were quite revolutionary 5 years ago, but are very common today. Two months ago I heard a talk from a person employed by the "nudge unit", a governmental institution set up by the UK government. They do things like send customised bills based on your predicted personality - if you are from a pro-social area, your tax bill will say "91% of your neighbours paid the bill on time.", if you are from a different background, it will say something else. They also do things like optimising marketing campaigns to change the number of people doing a behaviour in an area. For example, they often work in schools to change the behaviour of young kids, which is possibly a morally slippery slope too.

    Last year, I met with a consultant who was tasked with optimising a restaurant. It's a chain that does running sushi - one of the places where you can pick plates from a belt and then pay for what you grabbed at the end. They wanted to optimise this, so they hired this person to develop an image recognition system. It will track what people are picking up and when. You will then get patterns of food on the belt to maximise your spending.