Monday, April 27, 2009

Grind is ok when...

For a while, I've been saying that grinding in an MMO is ok if it's just for looks. Don't make people grind for power, but if they want some spiffy looking armor, they have to log up some hours.

But screw that, I have an even better idea, which occurred to me over long hours of brain inactivity while grinding in CoX recently thanks to the wonderful ission Architect XP bugs.

If someone's giving you $15/month, I'd probably say you should just reward them with some fluff, whether they've killed 1,000 foozles or not, whether they even log in or not. Then, if they want to bash their head against your gameplay repeatedly because it's actually fun, then they can feel free to (and if they actually do without you hanging the industry standard carrot over their heads, congratulations, you are not going to designer hell).

This is actually similar to EVE's system, in that you accrue stuff with real-world time spent, not game-time. Of course the difference here is that you don't make the older players more powerful... you just make them look awesome. The most flashy stuff in the game can take a few months to get, that way your veterans can still distinguish themselves, and new players are lured to keep subscribing.... but nobody has to grind. Unless they really want to.

This can only be win-win to me... thoughts?


Rich said...

because they patched out mining in EVE?

Longasc said...

I do not know if it still works, but I always used trials and return-to-EVE offers to start training a new skill.

I am close to flying a Tech II Marauder, but... I gave most of my stuff to friends, and Ixobelle is quite right:

Mission running, trading, mining is still needed. You need MONEY, you do not get money while you are logged out. Or you buy a gametime thingie and sell it ingame for ISK. Meh, I must say I do not like either option. :P

The idea of "grind for fancy vanity stuff" is cool.

Their latest idea in Guild Wars was to make me grind a lot for a bag, and the really cool items are on the weekly "Nicholas the Traveller" lottery.

Sometimes I wonder if people love the resources/money they make while grinding or if they maybe really enjoy the repetitive farm process. Maybe it is a combination of both.

Anonymous said...

In CoX case they reward you with extra fluff _and_ power through the veteran rewards every 3 months.
But they also sell fluff and stuff as extras on top of the subscription fee, and we buy into that.

I suspect more fluff will be sold separately and not be included in the subscription fee in the future.

Crimson Starfire said...

I used to do a lot of solo farming in Guild Wars back before it got severely nerfed. I'm not a fan of grinding, but for some reason I didn't mind doing the solo farming in small doses. I think it was because solo farming was extremely challenging, and the ability to make quick money made the rest of the game enjoyable. I think CoX has also discovered this winning grind formula with the Mission Architect. I just a little worried about what it is doing to the rest of the game.

I'm not sure I like the idea of a sub/RMT business model. I would have preferred one or the other (probably RMT). I think Veterans Rewards works great, but it is a little annoying if you want something like angel wings and have to wait 15 months to get them. Would have preferred to just buy the unlock, or even grind for it.

Melf_Himself said...

I didn't know that CoX features RMT. Unlike Crimson I'm actually quite a big fan of RMT, on top of what I already described above.

This is because of scenarios like last night, when I attempted to seek out some angel wings for my "angel concept" Archery toon. I may be a cut-throat PvP hardcore player in most games, but last night, I tell you I was PISSED that I could not get some fluffy white angel wings on my character unless I am a 15 month veteran! All you can get is these poo cherub wings, or some fairy wings, or some lame ass wings that have holes in them that TOTALLY WOULDN'T EVEN FLY IN REAL LIFE. My girlfriend lol'd at me a lot.

There's probably no way I'll be playing CoX in 15 months (most notably due to the upcoming Champions and DC online releases), so it would be nice to just be able to RMT myself some wings.

So, I revise my above system - throw people a bunch of cosmetic unlocks as a reward for faithfully subscribing to the game for a while, but also give them the option to GIVE YOU MORE CASH if they really want to take a short-cut and get something cool.

Crimson Starfire said...

Actually I'm also a fan of RMT. I just don't like having to pay a sub as well as RMT. In fact I don't like the subscription model at all, but thats a discussion for another day.

As for being able to buy veteran rewards through RMT, I don't think it would work to well in the case of Cox. Veteran rewards are a big influence toward keeping players subscribed. If you could bypass them, you would also lose players. They should just swap their business model to be completely RMT and make all veteran rewards RMT. Makes sense to me.

Melf_Himself said...

Well, the sub thing is a separate issue. Ideally, the sub should be paying for ongoing content generation by the devs (in reality, we all know this rarely happens).

Going the all RMT route is risky with a "only pay for fluff" model, because of all the moochers who don't care about the fluff, or will instead sit through hours of grinding to get the fluff.

However, if there's a box price (a la Guild Wars), no subscription fee, and optional RMT for fluff items, I think everybody wins, as then at least the moocher types would still contribute ;)