Discussion of monetized combat advantages

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Pax Empyrean, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Pax Empyrean

    There is a lot of talk about whether Planetside 2 is "pay to win" or not, and most of the arguments made on both sides are pretty poor, amounting to little more than baseless semantic claims about the phrase itself. To avoid that nonsense, I'll simply use a different phrase that isn't so loaded with emotional baggage: "monetized combat advantages."

    A player who buys station cash has an advantage over a player who does not within any time frame you care to choose. Early on, that advantage can come in the form of weapons that lack counters, such as having rockets on an ESF while the infantry does not yet have AA missiles. It may come in the form of greater versatility due to weapon choice, such as having access to the Lynx or VX6-7 for an indoor fight, where these weapons are significantly more effective than the weapons that other players typically have access to (my Lynx is like a firehose that shoots murder in a concentrated stream even without aiming down the sights). Later on, after the non-paying player has had enough time to unlock the weapons he wants to use, he is thousands of certs behind the player who simply bought them and has put the certs he didn't have to spend toward upgrades for armor, weapon attachments, or whatever else they felt was a priority. The only way these players will ever achieve power parity would be for both of the players to run out of things to unlock, thus nullifying the combat advantage by having both players reach the end of the power curve. Keep in mind that Planetside 2's business model is dependent upon always having things to sell to people, so actually reaching the end of this power curve isn't ever going actually happen for anyone if SOE can help it. The player who bought himself an early lead is always going to have those certs he didn't have to spend to unlock the weapons he bought.

    This isn't to say that players don't want anyone to have an advantage. Someone who can play all day is going to have more certs than someone who has other responsibilities, and I haven't seen anyone express dissatisfaction with this. That much is expected, and my view (and I would go so far as to say that this is probably the most common view) is that this is power that has been "earned" through play. The complaint isn't about the combat advantage itself per se, but rather that it is monetized when SOE created the expectation that this would not be the case.

    The question of whether Planetside 2 is "pay to win" or not is impossible to answer because it means different things to different people. As for whether money can buy you power in Planetside 2, then insofar as certs make you more powerful and you can either forgo some cert expenses or directly increase your rate of cert gain, the answer is yes: money can buy power. I'm not saying that this advantage is completely insurmountable, but other things being held equal the player who bought himself a head start is going to win a lot more often.

    I find this disappointing. I would prefer that revenue be generated through things which do not move the player further along the power curve, so things like weapon/soldier/vehicle skins, voice packs, login queue priority, access to exclusive chat channels, or the ability to reallocate cert points (not pay to earn extra ones faster) at a monetary cost would allow SOE to make money without deterring players (potential customers) who are averse to the idea that other players will have an advantage over them because they bought that advantage, not because they earned it through long play.
    • Up x 2
  2. Envenom

    Didn't read. Life isn't fair. Get over it.
    • Up x 1
  3. Otleaz

    The funny thing is that this is a large portion of the problem. The certifications are not sidegrades like they should be, providing the players who payed real money with access to these upgrades substantially sooner, considering the fact that they don't need to blow several thousand certs on vital equipment coupled with their boosts.

    Very soon we are going to have MBT or liberators with the 15% increased firing speed upgrade completely throwing the playing field off balance. You also have nanoweave, turning every single encounter where both players start firing on each other at the same time into a victory, and those encounters happen very often.

    Games are an escape from life.
  4. Pax Empyrean

    Those who don't read are no better off than those who can't.

    I have purchased some of these combat advantages myself. I wreck people with them. I even said so in the post you didn't bother to read. It's not good for the game that this happens.
    • Up x 2
  5. wolfva

    People will always be adverse to any 'advantage' they think other people have. Heck, I remember all the arguments in DAoC about high level v low level, and how it 'wasn't right' that just because someone had played for a long time they could effortlessly beat someone new. People claim they want 'balance', they want 'fairness'. That's bull crap. I'd hazard a guess if you looked at the stats of the people demanding that, you'd see they probably have a higher then 1:1 KD ratio. Folks. If your KD ratio is above 1:1, then YOU are 'over powered'. 1:1 is exactly balanced. True balance means you have a 50/50 chance of winning a fight. Well, we don't want that, do we? We want an absolute chance to win the fight, while feeling like we 'earned' the victory.

    Right now the conversation is on P2W because that's the easy argument. If there was no cash store, the argument would be casual gamers railing against those 'hardcore SOBs who live in mommy's basement and don't have jobs so they can play all day!!!".

    The advantages you can buy in the cash shop aren't really that advantageous. Most are situational; the best carbine in the world isn't very good against the guy in the default tank, or on a distant hill with the default sniper rifle. Perhaps the guy who kills you had the advantage because he bought a shiny new carbine and the best armor upgrades possible. Maybe he beat you because he was luckier, or had skill. Perhaps he would have won even if he was in default armor. Who knows? We can sit around and speculate, and get angry at the 'unfairness' of it all, until we lose all sense of fun in the game. Or, we can shrug it off, respawn, and hunt that SOB down and try to kill him. Heh. I remember in beta I got in a sniper duel with a TR who first taunted me, then started giving me tips. It took me 11 tries, but I FINALLY killed him in a sniper duel. I was so happy! So proud! I then grabbed an LA suit and knifed him; he thought I was gonna stick with the sniper but hey, I eked out my 1 victory; I earned it. I felt good about myself. I had....fun. What an amazing concept for a game....having fun.

    Gear isn't everything. Learn. Adapt. Overcome.
  6. Thorlord

    I've plopped down some cash in this game.

    So far the only advantages i'm seeing are for getting a gun that fits your play style earlier on than if you were to grind it out. The default guns are very middle of the road in all aspects but maintain a high DPS compared to other buy able guns which excel in killing only depending on your play style and situation.

    There are only a handful of weapons i would consider a straight upgrade such as the Rebel Pistol and one of the snipers.
    I do think that some of the vehicle unlocks are borderline upgrade, the defaults are good but when it comes to mech and air the versatility of people who paid money is more obvious. (as in, you spec your tank for JUST anti-tank and you choose to engage in almost only tank v tank skirmishes)
  7. Pax Empyrean

    It seems like no matter how carefully I word my discussion, even going so far as to preemptively address common concerns like "someone will always have an advantage" and "you're just complaining because you're losing" people will still respond as though I didn't even mention this.

    Don't give me tips about adapting. I'm not complaining that I'm doing poorly. I'm doing quite well with these weapons I bought, curbstomping players who don't have that same luxury. That players can do this is bad for the game, which is the point I'm trying to make here. Even if the advantage offered by these weapons is slight (and in many cases it's anything but; a Reaver with rockets is ten times more dangerous to infantry than one who's trying to strafe with the default gun and afterburners) the point is that the advantage offered is a deterrent for players who would otherwise play the game and spend money on cosmetic upgrades or other things.

    Whether the advantage is significant or not is completely irrelevant. A lot of players think that it is, and that's enough to drive players away.
    • Up x 2
  8. Otleaz

    Yes, or we could go play a game that has a focus on fairness and balance.

    Also, saying a good player is the same as a player with good equipment is just like saying a good boxer is the same as a boxer using steroids.
    • Up x 1
  9. Spectral Haze

    I don't think you understand how boxing works or Planetside 2 for that matter.
    • Up x 2
  10. MistaN

    Actually, I dont think they've ever said that certifications were strictly sidegrades, per se. I only remember them saying that about the weapons. I think that's why they sell weapons directly and and only sell boosters instead of direct certification selling.
  11. Sikab

    Pay 2 Win = Players can purchase for real money items that give straight advantage and NOT available or obtainable through regular gameplay

    This isn't the case.

    If you really want to sound so smart (which you are clearly not), i give you the correct term of this pay model

    Pay 2 Accelerate = Players can spend RL money to unlock items early which are obtainable in a reasonable amount of time spent in game.

  12. Pax Empyrean

    The weapons generally aren't sidegrades though. With a few exceptions, the best weapon for each class is going to require an unlock. It's especially noticeable for anything related to aircraft (either flying them or countering them).
  13. wolfva

    So you want to play a game where you have a 50/50 chance of winning? Flip quarters then; that's the game for you. But let's be honest; if all you're winning is 50% of your fights you'll be screaming that the other guy is OP and demanding 'fair' and 'balanced' game play.

    It's nice to see you didn't actually read what I said. Since I actually said the opposite of what you're claiming I said.

    So. Can I haz yur stuff? Since you're leaving this so unfair game where you have a chance of losing to find a fair and balanced game where you win all the time?

    Pax; my point is it doesn't MATTER what 'advantage' the other guy has. Someone will ALWAYS have the advantage. The player base as a whole has to learn to adapt and overcome the difficulties they face; whether that's a more skilled, luckier, or better equipped person. The 'you' I used was general and not aimed at you specifically; I'll apologize for that. Meant to toss in a disclaimer to point that out but I forgot. My points remain.
  14. Pax Empyrean

    I used the term "monetized combat advantages" precisely so I could avoid idiots like you fixating on semantic arguments about what "pay to win" means. I don't care what you think "pay to win" means. The fact remains that players believe there are monetized combat advantages in this game (and arguably there are, but whether there actually are or not is not as important as the perception that there are), and that deters some players from getting involved, to the detriment of the game as a whole.
  15. Spectral Haze

    Unless you have actual mathematical data to support this statement you cannot prove it.
  16. Otleaz

    No, I wasn't talking about the "Planetside 2" or "Boxing" that you know, I was talking about the versions people who aren't suffering from adult delusions know of.

    I never even implied that they didn't say this. I only said what they should have done. 2200 certs for a 15% increase to firing speed on my magrider, who's idiotic idea was that?

    I don't think I can respond to this properly without insulting you... Is that your goal here? Are you trolling?
  17. Sikab

    Let us clear out some things here. Since you think we are in wonderland:

    Free players are second grade. You are content for those players who either purchase SC or have a monthly subscription or have both at the same time. In the world nothing is free. You can only play the game for free because We pay for the game so we get more content (not just updates, but more free players who we can kill).

    Like it or not, this is the case.
  18. Pax Empyrean

    I don't care if someone has an advantage due to greater skill, or if he just gets "lucky" (I tend to view "luck" as a catch all term for all factors a person doesn't understand; to the new and clueless, skill looks like luck) and I don't think that this is a problem. Like I said in my initial post, I don't think that advantages per se are the issue, but rather advantages that are simply bought. If someone wins because they just have a better gun, that's a rigged contest. If someone wins because they are more skilled, well, they earned it. A lot of people will avoid a game where their opponent has better guns than they have (and "you can have one if you grind for 30 hours" isn't very persuasive) but I think that all gamers assume that there will be a skill disparity between players, and accept this.
  19. Spectral Haze

    I bet that sounded better in your head.
    • Up x 1
  20. Pax Empyrean

    Look, idiot, I already said that I pay for this, and that I wreck people who don't have the same advantages.

    I swear you morons are just trotting out canned responses. How many people are actually capable of reading five whole paragraphs before responding? Hardly anybody, evidently. Fine, whatever, you're probably too stupid to understand any of it anyway.
    • Up x 2

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