Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sunshine for Allods Online?

Keen has a post up: A Ray of Hope for Allods Fans
Today’s communication from gPotato shed some light on a few things we’ve been having to deal with over the past week. First off they debunked the rumor that the original dev team was no longer working on the game. Second, they addressed the cash shop prices stating, “we are actively working on new pricing options to accommodate the masses.”
While we don't know what the final verdict is yet; Keen stated something a lot of Allods players feel.
What gPotato needs to realize coming out of all of this is that the people who enjoy the game are willing to spend money.
Allods players, for the most part, are willing to pay to play the game at a reasonable price. However, I disagree with Keen's next statement:
Yeah, it’s a cash shop microtransaction model game. We know that we’re going to be forced into the cash shop because that is an intrinsic property. That doesn’t bother us anymore.
I don't want to play a game that forces me into its cash shop. It is NOT intrinsic to the business model and does more damage to the game than good. A cash shop should be about convenience, not necessity. The game should make me want to spend money, not punish me for not spending.

I think I am the minority in this. All along I didn't feel the discussion should have been about the cash shop. It should have been about how poorly thought out the game changes were. Removing mana/health regeneration skills, changing the Fear of Death debuff, and increasing the leveling curve are dumb changes for the game. I could care less that I can "buy" my way past these changes, at any price.

Over at Serial Ganker, sid67 lays out his view in response to my original thoughts.
Heartless_ is making the argument that we would hate this type of penalty in any game. He argues that if this change were made in a subscription game, players would still be up in arms about it. Very true. But with one critical difference, in Allods, you can PAY to avoid the penalty.
sid67 is one of the more balanced writers I've found in the MMOG blogosphere. This shows just how much of a minority my line of thinking is. I'm pushing against the conversation about the cash shop, because I want to discuss Allods Online as a game, business model agnostic. The reality is that Allods Online is a poor example, at this point barring any changes, of the microtransaction model.

I have the problem of having a happy-go-lucky vision of Free 2 Play games and the micro transaction model. One whereby players pay for microtransactions that enrich their gameplay experience, while the base game is playable and satisfying within itself. Developers have the right to make money with the game, but at some point, forcing players into a cash shop tells me the game would have been better off in a subscription model.

I must accept my minority view and move on. I'm still playing Allods and depending on where the game changes go, will determine if I continue playing. I don't want to feel like I'm forced into paying for cash shop items; at any price.
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