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MT, good, bad, whats an MT?

Your views on MT  

35 members have voted

  1. 1. Your opinion on MT as part of a hybrid model.

    • MT is a good thing because ... (choose this one)
    • MT is not a good thing because ...(or this one ONLY)
    • it sells advantages. (click anything else from here down that applies)
    • it keeps the sub fees low due to increased revenue
    • it raises population due to more choices in paying
    • it takes content away from subscribers
    • it makes gaming too expensive
    • it reduces the drive to create engaging content
    • it allows too much expoitation of customers
    • it makes them create content, even if only in the store
    • it allows more casual gaming
    • it makes a subscription worth less than it should be
    • it keeps low pop games on the verge of shutting down alive
    • it reduces focus on content for the game to content for the store
    • it's a straight out cash grab
    • it's a way to earn enough revenue to pay wages, etc.
    • I hate it
    • I love it
    • it allows new players to catch up to older players faster
  2. 2. Should someone paying a subscription fee have access to all items available in the game without the use of the MT?

    • Of course they should, why pay a subscription and not get a complete game?
    • No, as long as items don't provide advantage, I'm all for it.
    • Not at all, whatever keeps the game running.
    • Yes, and a small stipend of store bucks is no substitute for complete game access
  3. 3. Have your experiences with MT/hybrid been .....

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Just take the poll, and if you feel the need to explain your choices, feel free. No specific companies need be mentioned.

The first question should be easy to understand, just select answer 1 or 2, then follow through with everything that applies to that answer. It's pretty much a statement of what makes you like or dislike MT in a hybrid model. I tried to come up with a range of descriptive responses.

The second is simply one attempting to determine the views on what should come with a subscription, and why MT might put things out of the game into the store only.

The third is just a range of the general experience you have had with the hybrid model/mt during your gaming.

Would be an interesting way to see the consensus of the forum. I've never seen anything done like this to this extent. Most is simple yes or no, with no real specifics.

If someone thinks I should adjust, let me know.

If someone thinks I'm trying to start a flame war, eat some cake instead, especially chocolate, all those endorphins will make you smile. emo.gif (this is my non Turbine, non bitch, post)

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I've only had experience of LOTRO and AoC's versions of MT......

AoC certainly drags it down quite a large bit, since last I looked, you can buy gear in their store.

With no way of earning points for the store in-game, it certainly isn't the best way of doing things.

AoC, I haven't logged into this game since around the time they went f2p.

LOTRO, sure, it's raised population(and it has done quite a bit). The problem I have with the store isn't stuff like shared storage, more vault space, wardrobe, cosmetics....even the store exclusive mounts wouldn't be so bad if they were account wide instead of per character. The problem I have with the store is the things that defo gives an ingame advantage, like Stat tomes(although, we're not really in competition with eachother apart from in the 'moors, store bought relics, etc etc. Relic removal scrolls. My opinion of those would certainly improve if we were able to get them through skirmish bartering or that type of thing.

If LOTRO keeps adding content that isn't just more store items, then I'm ok with MT staying as long as we see revenues put back into development of LOTRO.

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I've said it before but my main problem with the type of MT model LOTRO has is that it promotes lazy content and grind. Devs are encouraged to introduce grinds so that it becomes possible to sell items in the store to mitigate the grind. I believe there is less encouragement to introduce imaginative or innovative content unless it can be justified with some kind of store element that can be bolted on to it.

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I really like the ingame-store concept and think it is one of the best ideas Turbine ever had.

Especially I buy store-items like the scrolls to upgrade legendary weapons. Otherwise I would have been forced to waste many hours in stupid-farming in order to exchange skirmish-items for the scrolls via ingame.

So I have my legendary items ready after I made a shop-tour :) and can use my ingame-time for other things than farming-action. Like in PVE-raiding with friends or PVP-action in the ettenmoors instead of farming.

But I also think that there should not be shop-only-items. Instead there should be a dual system:

For those who like to farm many hours these players should be allowed to get every shop-item via game.

Not easily but if they have to farm for example x skirmish-marks for a stat-tome - it would be OK for me.

Vice-versa the shop should continue to offer for those who dont like the farming all the things it still has.

One special positive thing in LOTRO is also the fact that you get 500 Shop-points for free every month as a VIP. I have a LTA in LOTRO and get this so every month while I missed this in STO (where I also have a LTA). So i never used the item shop in Star Trek Online whil i use it quite often in LOTRO.

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I really like the ingame-store concept and think it is one of the best ideas Turbine ever had.

Especially I buy store-items like the scrolls to upgrade legendary weapons. Otherwise I would have been forced to waste many hours in stupid-farming in order to exchange skirmish-items for the scrolls via ingame.

I think this advantage is sold as convinience ... or rather make the items as unavailable ingame as possible so that they go to the store, to buy them. Relic removal scrolls anyone?

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I think polls / questionnaires like this are very difficult to create in a fair way. This one is no exception.

Believe it or not I actually started out opting for the store being a good thing as the original question focusses on the store being implemented as part of a hybrid model. The thing is the following options were spot on for my complaints about the current implementation of MT and there were not many positives for the hybrid model as it was originally put to us.

I really liked the concept of a hybrid F2P model as Turbine originally sold it to us. I had no problem with it generating additional revenue and with the lines about premium loot not being in the store and convenience not advantage I thought the store would be a nice supplement to the game that would allow them to invest resources into some extra things such as cosmetics that were not integral to gameplay but enjoyed by many nonetheless.

I do not believe they have successfully implemented a hybrid model at all. Whatever their original intention lotro seems to be in a conversion process to a full on F2P model where subscriptions don't really carry any meaningful purpose and certainly have not maintained the value they had pre-F2P.

This is the only mmo I have ever played, so I cannot compare to other F2P models. With the implementation of the store and how Turbine have followed through on it over the past year I think it has been very bad for the integrity of the game and seems incredibily focussed on short term gains at the expense of any long term playability.

I will still give the concept of the hybrid model a thumbs up as I don't believe it was followed through on and I think it could have worked very well to create additional revenue, bring new people to the game while still supporting a subscription model and maintained the integrity and quality of the game as it was pre-F2P.

Out of curiosity (and not meaning to derail) but do people think 'horses' have been taken out of the game and put in the store? Is this another example of relic removal scrolls? I ask because as far as I am aware there have been no new horses introduced with ROI (as we would normally expect) and yet we are already on our second store-exclusive horse which is also being promoted via the lottery.

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Out of curiosity (and not meaning to derail) but do people think 'horses' have been taken out of the game and put in the store? Is this another example of relic removal scrolls? I ask because as far as I am aware there have been no new horses introduced with ROI (as we would normally expect) and yet we are already on our second store-exclusive horse which is also being promoted via the lottery.

This pretty much sums up my issue with MT stores in games. They have spent development time creating new mounts that would have been an interesting in game reward for some deed, rep or instance yet they put them in the store. I understand why as the store is their source of funding. The difference is that with a sub only game the sub is the only source of funding and to keep people to sub you need to provide a quality game, with an MT model the focus is less on producing a quality game and more on producing quality products for your in game store.

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I have only played 2 games that have a in-game store, Lotro and Eve and Eve's store is very much still in its infancy.

My fear with Lotro at the beginning was that we would start seeing items which effect character stats only available in store.

My other fear was that they would develop the game to encourage people to purchase items that would negate farming, for example introduce a new grind in game which would be so tedious that many people would just purchase a store item to bypass it.

I remember many of the arguments when the idea of the store was announced and my own personal view was so long as the store exclusive items were only cosmetic in nature, other items that were available in the store were also available in game and that the store was not intrusive then I would have no problem with it.

For me Turbine have become very lazy in there game design, have made the store very intrusive and I do not agree with some of items that have been introduced hence why I quit lotro.

As for Eve, as I have said it is still in its infancy however I do not have the same fear that CCP will go down the Turbine/WB route.

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I always said, once Blizzard introduced their cosmetic mount for $20 and made such a success of it(i.e, they earned shedloads of moolah), others would be inclined to go that route as well.

This is evident when taking LOTRO and Turbine as developers into consideration.

My main problem with the store exclusive mounts is that they are per character and not account wide. If they made them account wide, I think most people would not have such a problem with the $20 pricing. As it is now, it's way too expensive per character.

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Fundamentally, a MMO faces a financial problem. Making it costs the same money regardless of how many players there are. How many players there are doesn't only depend on your work, it also depends on factor you have no control over. Starting with general economy, going on to the balance of gaming versus non-gaming activities and finally the competitive landscape. I am convinced that MMOs will have to find a way to make different people pay different amounts, just like the airlines do. The trick is to do that without pissing off half the player base, bringing you back to financial square one.

Myself, I have the money (couple two incomes no kids car payed off) and would spend more than the poor kid next door - if the MMO company in question hadn't decided to bring on an endless stream of harassment, deception and changes that make the game less fun for me.

The vehicles that can be used to make me spend more money and still have cheaper options for other players that come to mind:

  • Multiple accounts, multi-boxing. I had several subscriptions all payed monthly (unfortunately I had to give up on that because VIP is a ripoff now and Premium is a too high one-time payment to do for multiple accounts). This one is a good money maker and I know I'm not the only one.
  • Storage. I'm happily paying the MMO vendor for something that takes up physical resources at their side.
  • Faster travel. Just sell me travel ports with no shared cooldown already. What's the worst that's gonna happen?
  • Cosmetics. Come on. Bring on clothes with two colors, colorable horse blankets, dyeable shields, fix the problem complex with long hair, cloaks and backpacks. Then don't nickel and dime me on individual clothing and forbid applying dyes. Sell me cosmetic outfit slots - and more storage.
  • Have a decent store. The current LOTRO thing is not. Make the store available on the website at least for browsing (you can use my.lotro.com to have a character that you want to shop for to solve the filter problem).

And you bring up an excellent question: should a VIP subscription have access to everything in the game, including store items?

No it can't. But there should be a VIP option that has wider coverage. I want a Super-VIP subscription that costs more and includes game items like relic removal scrolls, namely so that I don't have to poke around the store, have to recharge my TP points etc etc etc. I don't play this game to have a text adventure to figure out what I need. I'm happily paying more per month if you save me from that kind of non-fun activity.

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well ... it's not like there aren't any other horses available ingame ... but there is no alternative to the store only scroll ingame, and that is something that is - at least for me - an absolute no-go.

My point with the horse situation is that previously new areas came with their own horses you could work towards as part of your gameplay experience. ROI is different in that the horses are not in ROI via gameplay at all but only through paying cash for the expansion or through the store.

In terms of this thread, I don't have a problem with store-exclusive mounts and from that perspective I am fine with the MT model. However, as a subscription based game where horses used to be available via gameplay, I think they need to continue doing that. The MT model / store should offer things that are supplementry to the gameplay experience, not replace it.

So horses available as part of gameplay = great! Horses that are store-exclusive as well = even better perhaps!

Horses becoming available in-store as a replacement for those normally obtained via gameplay = not good.

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The other tricky thing with in game stores is where do you stop?

Each and every player will have his or her limit to what they find acceptable.

Where one player might be find with instance travel maps, another player might find it a step to far and quit.

I believe that one good line to not cross is invalidating player achievements, and the other one is combat advantages.

Selling a faster horse, or faster travel, in the store, and you cannot get this in-game at all is OK. If previously the faster travel had been something that you had to put in 1000 hours of rep grind, and then you offer it for sale, that's not good. It is OK to sell cosmetic that were rep gated in the store since this is a purely optional item.

Combat advantages are the tricky thing of course, because Turbine claims they are selling like hot cakes, and pending evidence to the contrary I believe them. I want cash for the game so that there is a development team making more of it. So the trick is, what kind of combat advantage can you sell in the store that is (1) attractive enough for some to spend cash on and (2) doesn't piss off players who just want to play with their monthly subscription.

I believe that the latter two are naturally in some degree of conflict, but that there is not a 100% overlap, that there are niches where combat advantages can be devised that satisfy both. One niche probably lies along combat advantages that enable faster leveling, and better ability to do tough content solo, but that are having a minor effect at top level, and that are having less of an effect in groups.

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Well I tried to keep it as balanced as I could, but admittedly there is little to support a hybrid model from the customers point of view. It's just a way to turn us into ATMs. Pretty much every MMO that went this way ended up crossing a line from pushing f2p people into getting a sub (I've heard it said that those who want f2p won't pay a sub, yet they end up paying more than that anyway, but <shrug>), into focusing on content designed to force the store onto all customers, not just the f2p people. And not to the betterment of the product either.

I'm not in any rush to sign up for swtor, because of the mt issue. I have yet to really see any redeeming value in expecting people to pay more than a nominal amount for a sub fee, without simply increasing the sub amount instead of making different classes of consumer. Granted, the idea of paying for advantage is what some people look for due to their incessant desire to be top of the heap, even if they have to pay for it, so if they put all those things in the game too, those people probably wouldn't play, because they need that advantage (particularly in pvp games) to succeed, they have no skillz of their own. And making some people pay more just because they RP heavily is a very ignorant way to treat customers, and adding sauce to that is that some think that's ok. What if your game was only in the store, and all the rp people didn't have to pay more. What then? Shoe on other foot time.

And this attitude I have is going to reflect on all gaming decisions I plan to make for the foreseeable future. They've poisoned the waters, so I'm very hesitant about drinking again.

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I've not seen any indication of anything other than a sub in SWTOR

Interview about one year ago here.

It doesn't come out and say no. What it says is NOT at launch. It's pretty much guaranteed that it's coming though. They want to recoup their bucks, then flip the switch. If people knew ahead of time there was going to be MT, how quick would they be to sign on? Funcom wants to go forced subscription plus MT at launch for TSW, and Turbine already has shown where that road leads. I'm just not interested in being abused by corporations more interested in me as an ATM instead of a customer. Their focus is on the wallet, not on me as a person playing their game, one that should be kept happy and content so I keep paying a subscription, not feeling like a wrung out dishrag. They just aren't saying it to avoid a consumer revolt. All the bad stories of MT are starting to rear their heads out there now, even though companies do their best to try and bury it. Making people in NA pay for the development of a product they just end up shipping to Asia for the f2p market is not something I wish to do anymore, not now that I know what the ultimate plan is.

Plus, some of that is right out of the EA playbook. And I no longer trust them at all.

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They want to recoup their bucks, ...

If I'd spent $300M on "voice talents," I'd want my money back, too. Of course, I could likely save money at the beginning by hiring a competent contract negotiator ("You want how much for voice acting?")

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If I'd spent $300M on "voice talents," I'd want my money back, too. Of course, I could likely save money at the beginning by hiring a competent contract negotiator ("You want how much for voice acting?")

I'm sure a book could be written on the importance of hiring competent professionals throughout the industry that would make a large difference for everyone across the board: investors, customers, and the business. Too many people read too much into a piece of paper unfortunately, instead of actually finding out how much experience a person truly has. And how many resource managers actually call to confirm statements on resumes and cover letters, or check references, when you already have 50 people more to see today? There is so much padding going on now it's almost an accepted business practice. If someone decided to get cute, I'm sure you could topple quite a few entrenched management types based solely on their having lied on their applications.

Was digging around the net on MT, found this massively posting by Celestrata. How soon they forget how players respond to MT. It's not a new thing at all that players hate the thing. All you need to do is read through the responses. And there are a lot of them. A few that look like corporate mouthing, and bunches from irate customers. One even came out and quite clearly called it (So what do the big shots in the industry do? Why, the EXACT OPPOSITE of what works best for the players and works fine for the game company, of course!)

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I am more and more convinced the whole 'Hybrid' model doesn't work from a customer perspective.

Free to Play (ie. full microtransaction) games are pretty ok, they're not my style, but I can see the advantages of a pay-as-you-go experience for some people. And it very much seems like a good microtransaction model brings in more money than a subscription base, it's just riskier with less stable income for the publishers. The best 'Hybrid' option is probably a Free to Play game with a monthly or multi-month payment for discounted 'points' or whatever in-game currency it's using, a bit like some mobile phone providers do.

Subscriptions are good from a customer perspective because they actually force publishers to focus on game quality, holding interest, but typically less interesting as publisher because you have to continually keep expanding and improve your game to hold on to your customers. After all a lost subscriber is a lot more difficult to replace and there's much heavier competition, since people will only pay one or two subscriptions. I like them because I know what I'm going to spend, don't have to figure out if a certain 'perk' is worth buying and know that my money will actually be an incentive to the developer to publish more content.

The problem with a lot of Hybrid models as we see them now is that they essentially become a free to play game where you can rent a part of the content or a microtransaction game on top of the subscription.

The later one is obviously a 'worst of both worlds' hybrid from the customer's perspective: You get to pay a sub and on top of that the publisher will try to sell you 9001 additional 'services' and 'extra's', most of which probably should just be included in the sub price. The only reasonable way would be to really add something extra... which you could also call a 'mini-expansion' or something.

The former one is what Lotro's state is atm, and it's bad because as long as you've got a considerable initial amount of content in the subscription you create a lock-in. People start, take a subscription for 1 or 3 months and when find out they like it, they won't quickly stop with their sub because they'll have to re-buy content, even though the sub might not be worth it anymore. That also assures that there's little incentive for the publisher to produce anything but new sellable items, since people who level up through a subscription (those that are most likely put off by a store) will have a significant lock-in in character and money investment and thus are likely to grudgingly accept the separate payments anyway or, if they do move to another game, they'll still have a 'free' account providing sales opportunities when they check back in. At the same time you provide a full microtransaction game for a different audience. The system will fall apart however if the subscription or new (free) content just doesn't cut it anymore for the subscription audience and they leave in numbers regardless of their investment, at which point it's become a microtransaction game.

But there's one far more fundamental issue: all these hybrid options aren't here to add something extra to the game for a premium (which is what even a number of people with a sub would happily pay for), they're here to get more money out of the game, with next to no additional investment. That makes that the very reason for introducing them is that most customers will end up paying more for the same (or most of the times a lot more for a little bit more content).

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Speaking of MT, I am still surprised to see that Bullroarer is frequently open to everyone, with the Eyes'n'Guard tavern. The daily TP allowance given on Bullroarer is enough to experience how spending tons of cash can completely change the game. I won't describe again here all the perks you can get with money, but go and test it yourself: it could change the way you see the game.

The result for me was quite nice actually: I won't ever grind again, and won't pay to simplify grinds. There is no sense of achievement in grinding something that I could just buy. And no sense of value either for the thing which only cost a few bucks. If it has no value, I don't want it, and I certainly do not want to spend hours to get it for free. So ironically, introducing the store and letting me explore the store changed my perception of a game where I tried to have the best toon to a game where I just enjoy what I have, and try to beat the game without any optimization.

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Part of the problem with that tavern though is that it allows people to skip the content that should be getting tested. I doubt very much that people jumped into the moors to test all those new items, there is no creep option for bullroarer as far as I know. So there is absolutely no testing of moors play at all, particularly in regard to all the combat advantages that are sold now.

I've been in there and used the squirrels to net TP. Yeah, it makes the game a lot better when you can actually afford to get the vault space, and other so called perks that should come with your sub already. Huge difference. Particularly with the LI mechanics. And like you, that's precisely why I know a sub has little value to it anymore. The things that would make the game less a chore now cost a wad of cash, regardless of how long it's been since you bought an expansion. You think having people pay a sub fee since Moria would amount to something, since they could just as easily have stopped paying. But nope, we want MOAR is the company refrain. Even when people paid for ROI, it's just not enough. GRIND and more GRIND. And on things that have nothing to do with raids. Just maxing out so you can engage end game content like moors play, which has now been turned into a 'who's wallet is the deepest' arena. The damn MT is ruining the game, it's not making it better, at least, not for the majority of customers. About the only redeeming value in it is that it might have kept the game running, but we don't know if the game was ever in danger of shutting down, and I know they won't ever display the facts to that if they show there was no issue.

If more people would jump into Bullroarer and see what it would be like if everything came with a sub again like before, which is what those massive amounts of free TP simulate, they'd be a LOT more vocal in their assault on the whole MT issue with this game, and would realize just where some people are coming from when they try to defend it, and where the rest are coming from when they voice their displeasure. All those f2p peeps who like MT should try out a game that comes complete on Bullroarer. I bet if they left the thing on full time, people would be rolling there instead of the regular servers. Wouldn't that be interesting to see happen, eh?

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(wall of text warning, i tried to format it all nice for skimmability but it's hard when you've got such a big mouth :))

I tend to play one game exclusively for a few weeks and then move onto another one. If it's a good game, I'll come back to it in a few months. If it's not, I won't. Paying monthly sub fees is just too expensive for me because when I log out I never really know for sure whether I'm logging back in tomorrow. Given a choice between buying sub or content I pick content. After all, if it's a good game, I'll be back to enjoy that content again and again because it won't go away until the servers themselves have shut down.

Sadly MTs are often implemented poorly. For an MMO to have a healthy MT system, there needs to be some rules about what goes in the shop and what stays free. My thoughts are this:

  • A good chunk of cosmetics can be shop-only since it doesn't affect gameplay at all.

    • Taking FTP cosmetics out of the game to put them in the shop is still tacky.
    • Selling bind-to-character horse-dresses for $20 is still tacky.

    [*]Much of the content can go into the shop, so long as there's still a healthy amount of free content.

    • LOTRO actually does this one pretty well, with almost everything up to level 30 being free, and some free content even after that.

    [*]Powerful equipment, experience accelerators, and other such "advantages" should NOT be sold.

    • Sadly most MT MMOs are doing this these days, so it becomes a question of degrees. For now, LOTRO is not quite as bad as many others, but I'm unsure how long that will hold out.

As for how to do MT in conjunction with a sub model, I would say (as a nonsubber, so I might be totally wrong here) that a VIP should get all the basics covered with some extras. That means ALL the content unlocked while they're VIP plus some free cosmetics (or credits to buy same). "Content" not just meaning quest packs/skirmishes/instances/whatever, but level caps on their skirmish guys and all that. I've heard about VIPs having to save up their Turbine points to buy content which seems to make a joke of the "VIP" label to me. A hybrid model should be about allowing players to choose between two different payment models, not forcing them to use both.

The absolute best payment system I've ever seen is in Die2Nite, which is a silly little zombie-fort game where a bunch of strangers are shoved into a town in a wasteland and have to fend off the hordes. It's technically a subscription model for a FTP game, and it gives you "advantages", and it's extremely expensive for what you get -- $60 for a year of time on a game you can only reasonably play for a half-hour per day. And yet... the sub time only runs down on days you're actively playing, which completely nullifies my main problem with subscriptions. It also offsets the cost: if you're someone who usually plays only a couple weeks every month, your "hero" (sub) time will actually last twice as long as the amount of time you purchased. The advantages you can get are pretty awesome, but the best ones are reserved for those who "grind" their "hero skill" for many months (again, you have to be actively playing for a day to count towards your "hero skill"). Being a hero won't make a bad player good, and being FTP won't make a good player bad; if you don't use your powers in a smart way you're still dead weight, so there's no buying your way to the top. Hero days can be given away to other players, and are automatically awarded to the "last man standing" in each town (1/40 players). Additionally, many of the powers must or are best used to help the town as a whole rather than yourself, so even if you're FTP, it's in your best interests to be in a town with lots of heroes. Not all of this is applicable to MMOs but the idea that your sub time only runs down when you actively play is a very interesting one to me. If other players choosing MTs over VIP do so for the same reasons I do, could an MMO skirt the hybrid model balancing issues entirely by adopting the same policy? The sub time would have to be more expensive for obvious reasons, but OTOH there would be no more unfair-advantage items and no more $20 "store-only" ponies.

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The sub time would have to be more expensive for obvious reasons, but OTOH there would be no more unfair-advantage items and no more $20 "store-only" ponies.

Partial rant I guess, but I stand by it.

I understand where you are coming from. Committing to a monthly payment can turn into a lot of money if you play a lot of games and don't wish to have to choose.

But then, why should the MT option be the cheaper one? I don't think it's really fair to expect people willing to commit to a game to have to subsidize your ability to flit from game to game on whim. In my mind, the MT option should be the one with less game in it because you aren't paying as much, and if for some strange reason you are paying more than a sub fee, the argument you put forth then goes out the window. The MT should push you towards subbing up and unlocking the whole game. One character slot, and just the basic characters, with no way to get more without subbing up.

Personally, I think they've totally screwed the pooch the way it's been handled. They give too much away, and allow too many things to be bought separately to expect them to continue to make money in the long term (which to me suggests they don't expect the game to last much longer, just sucking up as much $ as much as they can). Some things simply should remain as VIP only perks. I think people who don't pony up sub fees should not be able to expand their vault to the maximum, that should be a VIP perk (for game coin too). Limits are what should define a f2p account, and right now, there really are no limits. Everything is on the table for sale. But that's me I guess. The reason VIPs can't buy vault increases for game coin has nothing to do with fairness, and everything to do with bleeding them out just a bit more. I can get all vault increases available in the game proper for less than a months time in game play, but to get the remainder for just one character, I have to wait 2 - 4 months to do it. Or plop down a wad of cash. With alts, it's crazy. And if you already pay a sub fee, it should be taken as an insult.

And you are right, VIPs shouldn't have to both pay monthly and then have to pay at the store to get content too. That's not really a hybrid, it's a sub model with a parasite in its belly. The definition of hybrid that I thinks come close to what the intent should have been is this : Something having two kinds of components that produce the same or similar results, such as a vehicle powered by both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine as sources of power for the drive train. That really doesn't describe what we have. Paying a sub fee doesn't grant you the whole game. Paying for everything in the store DOES however. So in fact, the store is receiving all the focus, and people that continue to pay sub fees are being jerked around in favor of those who won't. Unless you use the store, you can never have a complete game. And the stipend is a farce, as it doesn't come close to covering the costs of those things that are now necessary, and effectively makes a sub fee a fine, as the stipend doesn't even consider how much the fee is versus a TP purchase for one month, let alone a year. And I'm sure the brass hats are aware of that too. The amount of the game that you do get for a VIP is large (however since you had to initially purchase boxed content, you paid your dues already), granted, but it's not complete. It's like living with an intestinal parasite. Until you get rid of it (by paying at the store), you are never going to be 100%.

Which effectively puts the lie to their earlier statements about VIPs and lifetimers not having to use the store. (particularly in the case of decorations, there are a LOT of them, and they can't all be displayed thanks to a cheesy housing interface, so where else do they go?) Why else would they prune those statements, because if someone puts it up in black and white like on this site, they can't deny it.

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