Friday, July 22, 2011

Tobold's MMORPG Blog: The forum lies

Tobold's MMORPG Blog: The forum lies

Tobold offer's up an excellent analysis of Ben Cousin's (of EA) speech about Battlefield Hero's "pay to win" model.
Weapons for real money were introduced that were better than any weapons you could get by playing, and simultaneously it was made harder to play for free.
I wanted to nitpick something Tobold said:
Thus when the CEO of CCP recently commented the uproar of the EVE community on a similar issue with "I can tell you that this is one of the moments where we look at what our players do and less of what they say", he was completely right. The forum lies.
First, comparing EVE to Battlefield Heroes is an apples to oranges comparison. EVE is and will continue to be a subscription game and unlike most subscription games, EVE ties A LOT of a player's power into how LONG they've been a paying subscriber. BF:H started as and continues to be a free to play game which players can now spend money on to have an advantage.

While BF:H simply changed to make it a bit harder to play the game for free, the proposed changes for EVE threatened to undermine the entire structure upon which the game was built.  To emphasis this point, the EVE changes threatened to undue years of commitment from loyal customers who were PAYING TO PLAY THE GAME. EVE was not in threat of closing.  CCP appeared to be trying to squeeze more money of of their paying players simply because they thought they could.  EVE was not in danger of closing down as BF:H was.

It was not just the forums that were ablaze over the EVE debacle.  It was the entire EVE community, from fan sites to the elected player representatives.  There was a consistent message on all fronts "DON'T FUCKING DO IT CCP".  

Secondly, I would caution that while forums may "lie" in general, there is still valuable feedback to be found amongst the noise.  While only 2% of players may post on the forums, I guarantee there is another 10% that have the same exact complaints and/or feedback as the forum posters.  The danger is that 10% is silent when they leave the game. 
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