Wildstar’s Subscription Model

It’s been a few days since Wildstar released their business model plans to everyone and I have finally been able to gather my thoughts on it. Initially I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping for a b2p model with an optional sub. The model Carbine has come up with could workout similar to B2P (for some people), but if it works or not is almost entirely out of their control.

Part of Carbine’s plan with CREDD is to undercut gold sellers. How I see this working is people who don’t mind paying a little more for their gold to get it from a safe source will see CREDD is as a good option (assuming enough people are spending gold to buy CREDD in return). The downside is gold sellers probably will be able to undercut whatever the average gold gain per dollar works out to be. Which highlights a glaring issue, the amount of gold you’ll get for you dollars isn’t set. Markets ebb and flow, the result being a player’s choice will ultimately be between receiving a variable amount of gold through legitimate means or getting a specific amount from a gold seller.

Another cause for concern is they keep comparing the CREDD system to the PLEX system in EvE, except EvE didn’t launch PLEX until 2008. The reason this matters is five years into the game there already was a pretty solid player base who had the resources to be able to afford to buy PLEX time from other players in amounts which made the transaction worthwhile. In other words there was a cushion to help PLEX catch on.

When Wildstar first launches we aren’t going to have anything. Sure there will be some people who race through the content and save up their gold… But are those people more likely to be the ones selling CREDD or the ones buying it? My instinct says they are more likely to be the ones selling. If that’s the case is there going to be a price point where lower level people can afford the CREDDs but it would still feel worthwhile to those who are buying them for cash? Additionally if not enough people are spending their gold on CREDD or are willing to buy at a price point sellers are happy with, it might get to the point where no one buys CREDD to sell because there’s to much risk involved.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I was reading a Blog over at Wildstar Fansand Anhrez brought up an interesting point about guilds and CREDD I hadn’t even considered.

The ideas was bounced back and forth and I have to wholly agree that with what we know about Wildstar guilds now have something to ‘award’ its players more than loot. A good guild will accumulate gold. With unclaimed loot, high end materials that can be sold, etc gold comes to those guilds that are solidly managed. Once guilds have certain bosses on farm status maybe players will hire out for raid boss safari’s and the gold earned goes the the guild to then be shared for CREDD? So besides maxing out your guild bank and guild hall (tbd options for Wildstar) could gold be shared with players to help off set costs of their gaming?

While some of this depends on how easy it is to get gold in game, the basic idea of guilds being able to reward their members with a free month here and there is great. I mean how nice would it be to get a free month of game time from your guild? Though again it hinges on how easy guilds find stocking up on gold to be.

The last bit which sort of rubbed me the wrong way was the fact they won’t say outright there will be no microtransactions; which makes it feel like there probably will be. Now I know the only game out right now which you can sub for and doesn’t also have a cash shop is Final Fantasy XIV. Even so, I still cling to the idea your sub gets you everything in the game. The concept of paying a company the box price, a monthly sub, and then extra for cosmetic things just seems like a crap situation for the consumer. However, the ship has probably sailed on that concept.

Don’t get me wrong I am still really looking forward to Wildstar coming out. I will definitely play. I am just concerned if things don’t go perfectly they’ll be looking at some hard choices pretty quickly. I really hope they are planning for a large drop-off of players after the first month. I also really hope their projections for player base after the first month are sane.

Revisiting Star Wars: The Old Republic, Part 1

After taking about a ten month break from Star Wars: The Old Republic I have decided to go back and give it another look. Sort of see how the game feels at this point sort of thing. One qualification is I haven’t resubbed, I am getting the experience of a preferred account (with the benefit of having about 2k cartel coins from when I was subbed but not actually playing.

First here’s some background on where I was with SWTOR in the past. I pretty much fell in love with the game during beta. I loved the storylines and really loved the dialogues. Leveling was a ton of fun, I did it with a friend (consular), my husband (trooper), and I played a Knight. We were really impressed with the quality of the story telling and how we could follow each other’s class storylines. There were tons of bugs, but as a brand new mmo we were sort of willing to let those slide, none were game breaking for us.

After reaching max level we realized the hard mode flashpoints were a bit over tuned for fresh 50’s and that we could get just as good of gear through PvP which would allow us to start raiding. Raiding was a ton of fun, and there were some different and interesting mechanics to learn. Of course once you learned them it was much easier, but that is true of pretty much everything. There were some frustrating bugs, but we tried to not let those get to us too much. We weren’t a super hardcore guild or anything, we did some hard modes but it was always more about seeing the content for us.

Then some content lag happened. And then after new Ops were added and they didn’t continue the gear progression and it became harder to get people to show-up for ops. They felt like once we did it once there wasn’t much point to keep working on things or to try on a harder setting, and they really weren’t wrong to feel like that. There was so much potential for SWTOR which just felt squandered after awhile.

What did it for me was the way the transition to free to play was handled. I went into it with very hopeful feelings and it just ended up feeling like the people who were in control were bitter about the need to transition. It is easily the most restrictive model out there, and I can’t help but wonder if that actually costs them money. It’s one of those things which we can never really know for sure. Either way the whole thing rubbed me wrong and I quit playing and canceled my sub.

Let me be clear on one point though. It isn’t a case of me not liking f2p models, I am actually a fan of well done f2p games. My issue was completely about how they were implementing restrictions and communicating with their fans. An example of this failure to communicate properly was in the midst of announcing all the restrictions they posted something saying people shouldn’t be upset about the restrictions because they had considered not letting f2p people skip dialogue. Which was intended as a “see it could have been worse” but really just served as a “see how much the people running the show are out of touch”.

I was mostly upset about things like having showing titles, unify colors, hide head slot, and quest rewards all behind pay walls. You might say unify colors and hide head slot are cosmetic so it shouldn’t matter if you have to pay for these things, but for me they are things which matter a lot. I like controlling how my characters look. The not being able to show titles is just inane. If you did the things required to obtain the title you should be able to show it. Same thing with quest rewards. You did the quest, why shouldn’t you have access to all the quest rewards?

So after many moments of facepalming and just being generally disappointed I called quits. However, now I have been wonder how the Imperial Agent storyline ends so I have decided to return and chronicle the experience as a preferred account here.