Pay4Time Mentality

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by DeusExMachina, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. DeusExMachina

    If you are here to post about pay2win, go away.
    While i acknowledge that this issue is closely related to that topic, if you're to post mindlessly your complaints OR justification for how current micro-transation mechanics reward paying players without any connection to the thread's topic and/or without reading the thread; You WILL be reported. For derailing the thread and making off-topic.

    I was wondering whether to post it here or in off-topic forums, yet it's related to this game's gameplay and this forum is clustered with "buff, nerf, OP, UP, rant" threads and so i think that one topic that's not about it is always a good thing. (Tbh there are actually many game related topic's in off-topic section, for e.g. there's a distinct lack of [media] forum that would be good for both players and PR).

    One of arguments that i see often is that this game is "pay4time", that you pay for ability to circumvent grinding mechanics. That it's a good thing.

    Back in ultima times, eve beginning (actually it haven't changed when it comes to eve) and so on, ability to "grind" faster than others thanks to non game related factors was generally frowned upon.
    It was almost always the other way around when it comes to kid's with parents funding their entertainment, that haven't changed.
    Yet people that work for their dough or value their money more were never eager to make disparity between those with more cash and those with less cash. We come to the game to "disconnect" from our daily word, from our daily problems and from our status. We build our avatars and social connections more or less from zero (Some social recluses find a new place to belong to : P ).

    F2P is not really a new model. Paying for power, to win, etcetera is also not a new thing. The scale is now different, sure, but it's not new. But in earlier days of F2P even if you could buy power, you couldn't've bought the time! Sure at certain time "newbie" help programs were introduced, p4p was and is something that no one likes, but buying time was unthinkable.
    FPS games rely on skill and equality, true. But MMO games rely on grading systems. In FPS games, having stronger older experienced players in the game meant that it was/is harder for new players to start, paying for "time" helps with that issue. But on the other hand, MMO games with persistent world cherish growing dedicated communities. Equality there lies not in power but in justice among different players that's measured by their dedication and affection with the game. These are the players that commit the most to others gaming experience.

    F2P is not exactly an old model either. Playing games mean paying for them, one way or another. That would normally be counted into the game's price. That's not the case here. So what? Well, we can pay for power, that's been discussed many time and that's not what we're talking here about; We can also pay for content, now i was always a strong believer in that ( if you ask me, weapons etc. should be buy-able with certs only while new continents, hossin and searhus should be accessible for premium users only; then maybe the sixth would be made open for f2p players. That ofc won't happen, at least not until they merge servers. That's also my own opinion and not what this thread's about, so... moving on).
    Recently, something new has shown on horizon and that is what people refer as to "paying for time".

    I believe it have a strong connection to what we call casual players. They don't have much time to play, they don't want to get attached. They don't feel like grinding, but they have bucks. They have bucks, yet they chose to play free to play games. And that's perfectly understandable so far, looking at how the gaming industry works today.
    Grinding, NO ONE likes it. Every player wants to get rid of it. Yet there are many ways to do it, of course i'm not saying other ways are always or in general better. Some people even want everything now and here, they don't know what balance is and that if every one has everything and everyone gets more power it doesn't help with anything. But is discriminating devoted players a good way to go? And... if we'd chose other way around with paying for the game, would that be worse or better for those that like to go deeper into the game?

    Let me tell you a short story here, about what "noob" used to mean a dozen years ago. I don't know what are the origins of this word, i'm talking strictly about gaming communities and those that i was connected to. At that time many of mmorpgs were strict grind fests. Actually, there weren't many players talking bad things about new players or even griefing them. Sure there were some elitists and some griefers but new players haven't had much power it those systems and every one understood more or less what being new to the game means. Not every one liked them but there was no need for hostility towards them, they wouldn't even be able to come where higher lvl players were.
    At certain point, game devs decided that it is too hard for new players to get accustomed and so they decided to make some starter helping programs yet they were far from mentor-pupil systems that we know today. They were flawed, either because of indirect p4power, unbalanced mentor reward systems or RMT. New players were now able to power level. Power levelling is the act of being levelled extremely fast by a higher lvl player. Normal players around lvl 50-70 weren't eager to do it. There were many reasons why, sometimes they hadn't felt like paying money for leveling when they'd already found their niche in the game and saw no need to. Some felt like it was cheating. In some game's it wasn't beneficial enough for mentor to level a lv50-70 player to start with. And many more.
    Noob was a word for a new player that got plvl and started destroying medium levelled players fun (well, if you can call another holy war with countless mobs "fun", yet still making it even harder isn't fun either). These plvled players were mostly kids with crooked mentality that didn't know the hardship of earning something in the game, they were annoying, and seen themselves superior to others. They were somewhat similar to what we call fourth faction here in PS2. They knew no commitment.
    We called them noobs around where i played.
    Later at some point, they themselves started calling others noob in a childish fashion ("you're stupid", "no you're stupid!"). This term begun to be applied to every new player, and not always in derogative manner. Some not so bright yet very kind people saw the problem and wrote articles about it, they tried to coin the term newb'ie as a not derogatory term for new players (again, "newbie" was know probably before "noob", i'm talking about how it all came to gaming) it was mildly popular short after but it never really stuck for longer and only led to further misconception about what "noob" used to mean.

    So, what do you think about paying for time? If you like it, then why, and how do you justify it? What are your concerns and if you're against, what alternatives would you propose?
    Please note that i've tried my best not to tackle on p4power etc. issue and i would be happy if you could also keep it to minimum.
    Did you read the whole thing or just the first and last paragraph ;] .

    Ps. sorry for my poor engrish.
  2. Zotamedu

    I put some money into this game for two reasons.
    1, To support the devs. I played it for free for a while and I figured I would spend quite some time with the game so it's only fair that the devs get some money out of it. They need the funds to run the game. That's how the world works and I didn't want to be a lecher.
    2, I paid for time. I have a lot of other stuff to do and I've never been a hardcore gamer. I like playing games but only for an hour or two at a time. So grinding to get some of the weapons I wanted was not really an option. So I spent some of that cash on some nice weapons I wanted so I could use the certs I gained for other upgrades. The ones that like to grind and that spends hours upon hours playing will still have more stuff than me but that really don't matter all that much to me.

    As for grinding, it's one of the core mechanics of an MMORPG. The entire genre is based around grinding in one way or another. So people who buy time there will mostly cheat themselves because they are buying past the game itself. So they'll most likely get bored rather quickly.

    I would have bought the game if it was a one time payment and all weapons were unlocked by certs only. I like the game and there is no other quite like it. I fell in love with the scale of the battles and the fact that it's a persistent world. I doubt I would have joined if it was paid subscription. I don't really play enough and as a student, I don't really have the money to pay €10 or $10 a month for some casual gaming. If I'm still playing when I graduate and get a proper job, I'll most likely spend some more money and buy some cosmetic stuff, just to show my support and do my part in keeping the game going.
    • Up x 1
  3. shd

    I actually don't find this topic that complicated.

    While there is some joy in creating a game, like everything else today, everyone involved in PS2 are here to make money. So to make money in a F2P game they have to keep both the paying and the non-paying customers happy.

    There are couple of options:

    -offer real money only weapons - bad as it creates imbalance
    -real money weapons that aren't stronger then the regular stuff - no one buys them
    -cosmetics only - not enough revenue
    -new content for real money only - aside from it getting pretty empty on other f2p games, doesn't really apply to PS2 since we have too much land as is

    So the only real option you have is to cut down on the grind. Make everything available to everyone giving you the choice of how fast you want to get there. Incidentally this also goes in their favor since grindind begets frustration which in turn makes people splash the cash :)

    As to why they went with a f2p model. It's the only sustainable business model for a new MMO today. You can count on one hand how many games manage to stick with the subscription model and those games have been around for so long they have a rock solid foundation by now and are just fine tuning things.

    F2P provides a constant stream of new people, fodder for the more serious players so to say. It doesn't make people that can squeeze maybe an hour or 2 of playtime a week pay full month sub. Some can afford it, most i think can't or won't. It also gives you enough time to assess whether you want to invest something in the game, unlike usual game trials that are short and very restrictive.
  4. Zotamedu

    I can only think of EVE and WoW that has been around for quite some time and still uses a paid subscription. Are there any more?

    A new MMO doesn't need to go F2P. Just look at Guildwars 2. I wouldn't have minded such a set up with some cosmetic micro transactions. TF2 uses the same system where you pay for the game and then can sink an endless amount of extra cash in it to get the silliest hat. I quite like that approach.
    • Up x 1
  5. sosolidshoe

    Citation needed. I would contend that the reason so many games go F2P after starting with a subscription model is down to three issues, neither of which have anything to do with subscriptions.

    The first is over-ambition on the part of the devs/publishers; nobody is content to just make a great game anymore, because the money-men have their hands around the industry's neck now, and the money-men can't tear their eyes away from WoW. CCP, despite some stumbles, went from a handful of guys packed into a tiny office into a big multinational dev, all on the back of a subscription-based model, because they weren't being judged by WoW's standard and they weren't trying to be.

    The second is the lack of innovation in the industry. MMOs have become stagnant, most releases use the same basic formula with a handful of superficial tweaks or gimmicks, again because the money-men can't take their eyes of WoW. New MMORPGs are trying to walk a careful line; they have to change just enough that they can claim they are doing something new and unique, but they have to keep enough the same that they can convince the money-men they will be able to attract subscribers away from WoW. And what happens? People play the game, the novelty wears off quickly, and they go back to their old games -the ones in which they already have extensive social ties- or to the next "new" release in droves.

    The last issue is simple greed. The game launches and, quelle surprise, it's not "the next WoW". They could adjust their expectations to the realistic level they should have been at before they even started making the game, and still make the game profitable and long-lasting....but they can potentially make more by waiting a few months for a reasonable number of people to become attached to the game, then switching to F2P in order to squeeze every last drop of revenue they can out of their customers before they shut the servers down.
    • Up x 1
  6. shd

    From a consumer point of view that is probably the preferred choice i agree. You get certain quality assurance having given money upfront but aren't forced to continue spending.

    However, that approach requires the title to be a recognized name in the industry and should probably be followed by a big marketing campaign. That's why and how games like guildwars 2, cod or diablo 3 pull it off. I doubt SOE has that kind of financial backing (especially now) and planetside in itself isn't a blockbuster title exactly :)

    There's another downside to that model (altho company dependant), something that happened to MW3. After hyping it to heavens and back, selling millions of copies after release they could hardly be bothered to release any patches and fix imbalances. And with neglecting it that much, the game probably had more cheaters then legit players at some point.
  7. shd

    Yeah i pretty much agree with all of that, especially the stagnant state of the genre. SWTOR is a great example. A name that basically sells itself made by an established studio and it flopped. No matter how you paint it, it still stinks :)

    In the end it all comes down to getting a playerbase and keeping it. Some manage to do the first point but everyone fails on the second. And until some new evolutionary game design comes along that probably wont change.

    I have to admit tho, in terms of fresh things on the market i put planetside 2 pretty high.
    • Up x 2
  8. DeusExMachina

    Ultima - since 1997...

    The problem is that some people tend to think - "If it hasn't been on the market for 10+ and hasn't yet dropped the subscription model it means that pay2play is broken".
    That's kinda silly imo. If the game was popular and subscription based for 2+ years i'd say it already was/is a success.
    For e.g. Lineage 2, it went f2p long after it died just because devs/publishers wanted to squeeze some money for themselves and AION.
    There were and still are many sub based games today that are successful (for e.g. RIFT, LOTRO, FFXIV) and many even more successful buy2play games.
    It has already been mentioned by sosolidshoe. I just give some examples.

    Well, that problem is actually about that - companies go f2p if they don't think they can deliver. That's not exactly a good thing (irony).

    Like with employee rotation in McDonald. It's good when you have no experience/CV/anything and want to find a job for a moment. But i wouldn't call that a job of my dreams.


    EVE has had 40,000 players for over 5 years, +/- 5 players. And that's only partially a joke ; ) . Well, after jita incident it's been 38,000 since 2,000 unsubscribed during Sunday, boycotting the introduction of micro-transactions. Fortunately CCP apologized early in the monday morning and said that they wont introduce micro-transactions for at least ~5 years and started fixing everything that players wanted so the amount of players that unsubscribed because of those 2k balanced with the amount of people that came back after they saw CCP was truly sorry for what they did ( And that included taking eve devs back from world of darkness back to eve and helluva more thing before they were pardoned) . I bet every developer would've found themselves truly sorry if they'd started loosing subscription cash so quickly : P .

    One can only wonder how much did they pay to IGN and other reviewers...
  9. UberBonisseur

    The big issue with F2P games is getting the potential customer to pay ONCE, no matter the ammount.
    And then he might start to spend more money into the game.

    It's a very important threshold, like a pact between the player and the game.

    I don't think PS2 has done a good job in this regard; while Tribes Ascend, makes it reaaaally attractive to drop at least the smallest ammount of money to get the maximum benefit.
    It's all natural that people pay to support the game; however I think F2P games should take the "Pay what you want" approach.

    With ranges from 5 to 50 bucks giving you different benefits.

    Take the XP bonus concept.
    Pay 5 smedbucks, you get a permanent 50% XP bonus as a "supporter". The rest is microtransactions, up to 50 smedbucks where you unlock ALL the content. You need players to get INVESTED into the game. Bait them with this big XP bonus.
    Keep them with the cosmetics/weapons/stuff.
  10. NavSpec

    Just one of many threads in the last while regarding this.

    According to, EVE online has 361k subscribers. Just figured I'd point that out.
  11. DeusExMachina

    Yeah i saw that post. A guy ranting about how he should be able to buys certs and a bunch of guys saying no or arguing about how it is not pay4power. But you probably didn't care to read the first paragraph i wrote. While in that "certs" thread some interesting point may arise that thread is a proposition with complaints while these thread is discussion. And so far what i wrote in first paragraph seems to deter anyone that would like to post without thinking ahead. We have a nice and clean discussion here :) .

    Yes, of course you're right. That's why i said that it's partially a joke. 40k is the number of people recorded during most crowded hours and it has been so for long. EVE online users count always used to be around 35-40k most of the time (dropping to <20k for few hours on daily basis) and when those 2000 forum folks (accounts to be correct) unsubscribed you could actually see it on online users charts. Atm last week users online average goes up 55k during prime time (with at least >20k bottom line) and yesterday's chart is topping at almost 60k users so you could say that EVE is getting healthier lately.
  12. TheBloodEagle

    Simple. In PS2, you don't have to spend a CENT and it's still a fun & expansive AAA game that continues to improve. There are games that aren't even AAA, heck even casual app games that do micro-transactions. There's a different dyanmic with PS2 rearding what you can purchase. Many games do give you upgrades and some communities don't mind. But PS2 has a sidegrade, not upgrade mentality, which basically just refines your playstyle rather than making you much better than someone else by a long shot. The game doesn't force anything on you that you have to get in order to have fun and still be effective/competitive. PS2 has a more passive feel to its transactions. With that, you have to decide what worth more to you, your time or your money. If you catch a 2x, 3x day or in-menu deal, you can make your money go a lot further. And in the end, you don't have to spend $60, you don't have to throw in $15 at DLCs & w/e subscriptions go on and heck you still have to grind for things in those games. You'll always been able to play the game, you'll always see the newest and greatest stuff and you'll always be able to try it. You spend what's comfortable for you and only for the things you specifically want. Only microtransactions allow a game like PS2, especially one that will continue to be worked on for a couple years. If we had to pay a flat upfront fee, than I feel like developers would cater to just new players but in this sense the devs have to work much harder to get our money, to listen to the entire community, over a long stretch of time, especially because the earning potential is much higher. I haven't played EVE but I've tried other F2P games and barely any of them are at PS2's potential and/or they have items that truly make me feel like I've wasted my time & money especially for the amount I'd actually play it. But PS2 feels different, especially longevity and scale wise.

    I'm not 16 anymore, so honestly $7, especially on a 2x and 3x day sounds much better than grinding 300 hours or whatnot. I'd rather enjoy my time as much as possible. Although I understand why types of grinding need to be in the game and it's not all just flat out thrown at you right away. But anyway when I was younger I spent years in a few games and they weren't even MMO or RPGS. I spent 10 years with CFS2 and OFP, in multiple and just building custom maps, addons and messing with the AI. I spent a ton of time with Tribes 2, etc. But now that I'm older I just want to maximize my fun for the hours I can play and I feel like PS2 gives me enough of that while still being somewhat reasonable. I help with a game company myself now, so even though Sony is big, I can still see how they need to make back money from their investment, etc and I try to be smart about how I make my money go further too.
    I'm much more relaxed than with PS3 games I've bought before, especially knowing I spent $60 bucks upfront so I knew I had to play for the sake of at least making that money worth it.
    • Up x 1
  13. NavSpec

    I did read your entire post but thought that the thread I linked may shed more light into the discussion, hence the link. There's been 3 or 4 that I've seen over the last few days but I couldn't be bothered to link them all. I specifically linked that one because my thoughts on it are in there, so I wouldn't have to retype them! :)

    As for the other paragraph, not much to say in response. EVE is getting healthier, IMO, due to developers paying attention to what the userbase wants. And the freedom to do whatever you can imagine.
  14. Taiji

    The game is 'P4Time' enough and not too much.

    (Suggestion: Do a TL;DR summary if you already realise you're wall-of-texting people - It will seem polite of you.)
  15. DeusExMachina

    It seemed to me that you're just pointing out that there's been already a few or more topics regarding that issue. But sure, as an example of how some people react to pay for time "philosophy" that is present in this game, that link is a valuable asset to the discussion.

    Well, they started caring and growing bigger after the micro-transaction fail. I'm not saying that they didn't care earlier either, yet before that with all that dev migration to world of darkness etc. it seemed more like they were losing the interest.
    AFAIR devblogs were introduced after that incident and i must say they're marvellous and devblog's forum topics are blooming with customer-developer interaction. Although i haven't played EVE for some time i still tend to read them as they're just interesting and well executed.

    Honestly if SOE had more time and were more eager to share some data with players that could also be a very interesting thing to read if they were to make some devblogs (no, FNO is no where near what EVE devblogs are).

    Yeah, at first i even thought about breaking my initial post into sections. But nearing the end of writing that post i though about how people here tend to read the first few lines, sometimes only the topic and then just post whatever comes to their mind without actually reading what the thread is about and what others said often repeating what has been said many time already.
    So i decided to be sort of rude and go with how C.E.R.T OP summed up his thread, quoting: "TL; DR: - Learn how to read, grow up, & read my post".
    Sorry if you feel offended.

    That's at least disputable. But i don't really want to argue about that here as i've explicitly marked out that it's not the point of this dispute. But if you want i may link you to a thread in which i've had a good argumentation about sidegrades vs upgrades in this game.

    The thing is, this game force you to either grind much or pay. When i talked about how games need some obstacles for players to overcome in order give some depth, the feeling of "investing" into your own character and much more i used the term grinding, right.
    But grinding, grinding is a word for sloby and boring character progression mechanics and i'm not sure whether forcing grinding mechanics in order to make people pay so that they can have fun is the best idea... or even good idea. It's a cheap trick that usually causes imbalance.

    I'd say that getting money from games you made as a small company is a whole different world compared to SOE with their marketing campaign (paid reviews, bundling the game with graphic cards packs etc.).
    But still, may i ask you whether that small company feels that they need to make more revenue because they need more money or because they need to meet publishers expectations?
  16. Zeek

    I put money into the game to support the devs and because I have no more than an hour a day to play. Fact is the game does need to cater to people with limited play time like myself, or you're looking at a future of low pop servers.
  17. TheBloodEagle

    I really feel like when you only take part of my words you to rebuttal it not only compartmentalizes but also detracts and takes some context away from what I'm conveying.

    But in the end, no matter how lengthy our discusses are, it can all just be summed in saying. Maybe this just isn't the game for you? So find something else? I feel like that's an acceptable conclusion. Things changes, get fixed, content added, but sometimes people come in wanting something other than the game offers and instead of moving on to find something more suitable they try to push their values to make the game more appealing to themselves and going the long winded route. Sometimes I think it has less to do with the actual game & gameplay and more about just personalities, habits and ethos. I don't really think, they'd completely change their business model anyway until much much much later anyway, no matter how hardcore or insightful we are. And honestly, if you didn't put any money into the game, nothing stops you from just finding something else to enjoy. The time investment is up to you. You can even say something about the time invested into spending time on these forums rather than playing.

    It's both and more reasons as well. But I do hope you realize AAA games like this cost MILLIONS to make. Even if you just figure in how much the dev staff make, it's still a huge amount of money before you break even and then also have to make profit. Say they have 40 developers & staff and modestly say they all just make 40K a year. That's $1,600,000. For the two years they built the game up even before beta, they would of cost the production at least $3,200,000. Who knows how much all of this really cost. Much of that money did come from a publisher/investor/producer, so it is in a way borrowed money they need to make back as well. Usually folks go for the long haul with games like because they honestly don't expect to cover their base for at least 2+ years. Yeah sure they can make a bunch of money but theirs success in the game industry, lots of failures too and everything in between. I think this type of game & business model, as my previous posts talk about is honestly a good in-between for developers and consumers.

    Just want to point out I'm only at the beginning with all this, I have a full time job to pay for living, the game stuff I do is just a part-time side job and I have a 3rd small job as well. Still trying to pay and finish college, etc.
  18. Tigga

    I think the model they have is good. You can access everything for free, and nothing that can be bought with station cash is unobtainable so long as you're willing to specialise, nor is any of it really that game-changingly powerful. There are plenty of things which are nice to have, but few things that make a BR 100 player that much stronger than a BR 1 player.

    I've put a bit of money into the game. Not only to support the devs, but also because I wanted some camos and stuff!
    • Up x 1
  19. DeusExMachina

    I've read more of that thread by now, you're right later on there are more of elaborative posts. Thanks for the heads up as i'm not very eager to to read through several pages of each and every complains etc. thread to check whether there's anything worth the while later on.