Poisonous game monetization

You have to pay for everything (or someone has to pay for it for you). Entertainment products aren’t exceptions. However the way we pay for games is exceptional and not in a good way.

If you want to read a book, go to a movie or watch films at home, you first have to buy it. You buy the book, you buy the movie ticket or you subscribe to Netflix or clone. By doing so, you pay, but receive no entertainment instantly, the money becomes sunk cost. However after that, you can fully enjoy your entertainment product for truly free: it doesn’t matter if you watch the movie with the ticket or throw away the ticket. This means that the experience isn’t tainted by anything. It’s just you and the movie.

Games on the other hand aren’t sold anymore, they are monetized. This means that while you can access them often for free, the playing experience is constantly poisoned by monetization. Obstacles in the game make you think about not “how to play better”, but “shall I grind or shall I pay”. Defeats make you thing not “how to play better”, but “he used gold ammo, maybe I shall too”. Every turn in the game you are thinking about paying or not paying instead of playing itself. I have trouble figuring out how it could apply to Netflix. Maybe the movie starts lagging out and you have to pay to make it run again? Or some interesting side story disappears (who cares about Arya Stark anyway) and you can put it back as a “DLC”? Or in the free version the villain wins and you have to pay for the hero to prevail? You realize the absurdity of these attempts, yet they are common in video gaming.

I’m in trouble figuring out how could reasonable people think it’s a good idea. My best guess is that the marketing department works under the unspoken assumption that games have a limited lifetime and during that time they must squeeze out every penny, so they do anything that works positively on A/B testing. This assumption is wrong. World of Warcraft, one of the least monetized games has stupid amount of players and it’s past 10 years old with no sign of dying. Sure, it’ll never reach its heyday again and I’m sure they could have more costumers by having different kind of servers with different rulesets, it’s clear that WoW as it is will run on for several years, printing money for Blizzard. On the other hand highly monetized games – exactly as assumed – died. Guess what, if you don’t even hope to live, you die.

People have been playing soccer for over a century. Some sports are thousands of years old and still being played. WoW has this potential. Monetized games does not. Now the big problem – and that’s what I hope will turn this crazy trend – is there are awful lot of new titles. If you lose a customer because your game died or because you chased him away with monetization or rigging, there is a high chance that he won’t come back even if you provide something he’d like. I mean, there is a high chance that there is a game out there that I’d love to play, but I simply don’t know about it. I’m playing PUBG and I don’t hate it enough to quit and again dig trough the garbage heap for a hidden diamond. One can overcome with this two ways: by sticking out with a huge marketing campaign, or by not losing customers and slowly grow with word of mouth. If one goes the second way, maybe he should completely forget monetization and just sell the game normally, via a subscription.

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The best take on game character diversity

I’ve found Kate’s twitter back when I was all out in politics. Note: I’m Gevlon, politoholic and I haven’t read Ann Coulter or r/The_Donald since 24 hours and I’m not gonna meme today.

So Kate had a viral political tweet back then which ran like wildfire over the right-wing media and I’m reading her ever since and her twitter survived the purge of political posters from my life, because mostly she doesn’t talk about politics but games and media. And this series of posts are just perfect:

Nowadays many games have more effort invested into the character creator than into the progression system. They want to make sure that every possible race, gender identity and sexual orientation are properly represented or else they get bad press. But the demand is indeed just being shallow. I identify as a capitalist, as a rational, as a blogger, as a gamer and not as “white” or “male”. I’m absolutely sure that I could have a better talk with a black, old, French woman who likes Ayn Rand than with a white, Hungarian (my nation) “dude” of my age who wants to get drunk, have some fun and pick up girls (any girls, no specification). When I was a kid I watched the adventures of Sisko and Janeway with awe, liking both of them more than Pickard (granted, I liked Garak and Seven more than them).

In a game I look for challenge (and by extension competition), not diversity. I made my PUBG character by just clicking OK, OK, OK on every default option. My last “proper” MMO character was in Black Desert Online:

She got serious effort, because the default was unacceptably sexualized and that’s not a surface issue, that’s a conscious signal that one is interested in sexual affairs instead of slaying demons. Such characters send a message that the game isn’t taking itself seriously, the proper way of consuming the content it is not doing your best to slay the dragon but zooming on your character and masturbating.

But if the character fits into the narrative, I don’t care how it looks. I care what it does.

My last politics post

I’ve posted lot of politics recently, because I saw a historic shift in World politics by the Brexit-Trump upheaval. I endorsed Trump at last August because I supported most of his positions and saw him as a history-altering figure. The anti-immigration stance that answered the most urgent problem of the West: being overrun by people who cannot and do not want to contribute. The anti-global-trade stance that stops oligarchs abusing welfare states and state captures of weak countries to produce there and killing law-abiding businesses at home. But above all the America First international policy, which places his country’s interest as goal of diplomacy instead of forcibly spreading ideology that led to civil wars and failed states in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine and God knows where else.

His presidency wasn’t perfect of course and there were disappointments, but I understood that he had to make compromises to navigate Washington. But after his UN speech I cannot support him anymore. He put the World on course that – except for an unprecedented international unity against the USA – cannot end any other way than nuclear war, leading to the death of more people than killed by Hitler and Stalin combined. The main reason of this post is to make sure that when it happens I won’t be called a “Trump supporter”. I’d like to stress that I didn’t regret my older posts, my position didn’t change, Trump betrayed his agenda and his supporters (no wall, no border tax, dreamers still around, Hillary not locked up…).

The start of the speech was great. “As President of the USA, I will always put America First. Just like you as leaders of your countries will always and should always put your countries first.” – if he ended his speech there with a smile, I’d say it was the best speech since “tear down this wall”. But it was just lip service to his followers, what came was the direct opposite.

The problem wasn’t the North Korea part. That could be dismissed as “deterrence” or “tough talk to a rouge state”. North Korea indeed violates multiple UN resolutions. In a better World – one that would already be here if Trump just kept his promises – North Korea should give up its weapons of mass destruction.

The main problem were the Venezuela and Cuba part: these countries are not a threat at all to the USA. Trump didn’t even claim they were. Yet he announced sanctions and “prepared to take further action” if they “persist on a path to impose authoritarian rule”. How internal oppression is an international issue? This is exactly what Trump ran against: messing with internal politics of harmless countries. The elephant in the room of course is not the idea itself, but its disastrous results. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen didn’t become free and prosperous democracies. They didn’t even become enlightened dictatorships like Chile under Pinochet where political people were persecuted but simple guys could live in peace and enjoy GDP growth. They became horrible failed states with civil war, headchopping and literal slavery. Don’t get me wrong, I never supported communism and agree that Cuba and Venezuela are jokes. But eating rabbits is much better than being sold as a sex-slave. I have zero doubt that if the USA would intervene, these countries would become much worse.

Then he continued with Iran and Syria, countries that are acting only locally, following their own interests. While I do not support many things they do, they aren’t a threat to the USA. More importantly, they aren’t a bit worse than the rest of the region. Saudi-Arabia is a much bigger threat to both the region and the USA, constantly financing terrorists. Yet it didn’t stop Trump to visit them and dance with swords and press that dumb orb. In case of Syria things are getting better recently and Trump clearly signaled to push this back for worse. He stood by the disastrous bombing of Syria and claimed that it’s OK to attack a country just because it kills some children in an attack (which was probably done by the CIA at the first place).

Ergo, Trump wowed to uphold the Cheney-Clinton line of unprovoked aggression based on “bringing democracy”. After these, even without a single mention to North Korea, it is clear that the North Korean regime is a target. While I’m not at all fan of their weirdo-communism, the Kim dynasty ruled the country for 60 years without a single war or terrorist action. Their ideology is one of self-reliance and isolationism. That country is probably the most harmless on the planet, they could be totally ignored. Yet they are on the “axis of evil” since Bush put them there for no particular reason. Their nuclear program is for nothing but self-defense, to deter the USA from turning them into another Libya.

The tragic thing in this is that the USA doesn’t see this and believe that North Korea is arming because of some genocidal plan. The reason behind it is that they don’t see themselves evil aggressors. And indeed, whenever the people have a chance to vote, they always vote against aggression. Also, “why would we do it”? The objective answer is “I don’t care, all I care is that you do”. I mean it’s an observable fact that the USA attacks countries for no reason, and for a rational actor, that’s enough (I also don’t ask why the masked man with a gun tries to enter my home, I just shoot him). However a social person who lives and dies by intent wants to understand.

The answer is (again, it’s irrelevant, the fact that Libya, Iraq, … happened are enough to assume that it’ll happen again) that “the USA” didn’t attack these countries. Globalists who control the USA attacked these countries, using US and other Western manpower and taxpayer money to capture it. Why? Because globalists believe that it’s the right thing to do. Globalists aren’t hellspawn devils. They are moral people who believe that the World will be a happy place when the “leaders, the press and the experts” will guide the “deplorables”. They are infested with the old British colonial ethos, seeing themselves the enlightened ones whose burden is to lift up the “noble savages”.

I have no doubt that the USA will attack North Korea to stop it from becoming able to defend itself, becoming a model to others. I also have no doubt that the attack will fail to take out enough nukes to prevent a nuclear response leading to the death of about 100M people. The US military has shown nothing but incompetence in the last two decades against properly scattered and hidden targets. If they couldn’t take out idiots on pickup trucks, they won’t be able to do this either. Also, it’s impossible to carry out such large attack without spies noticing the preparations.

I don’t regret supporting “candidate Trump”. His reception shown how enthusiast the common people are for a change. His election also pushed back the globalist plans by a year. Hillary could have started planning the attack on election eve and start it on inauguration day. Not only every month living is life, but this time gave North Korea lot of progress on nukes. Without it only the life of North Koreans was turned into hell and the business would go on. This way enough Americans and allies will die that the outrage will wash away the globalists.

I still hope in some game changer, like South Korea and Japan breaking free from the US and evict US troops from their land, seriously decreasing the ability of the US to attack while removing themselves from the target list of North Korea. Or that Russia and China sign a military pact and put all-out embargo on the US for Libya and Syria (not like Trump didn’t mention Ukraine and South China sea too, declaring them as enemies). But the logical conclusion is that SK/JP will not do a 180 and that Russia and China don’t care about the destruction of the useless NK and they even benefit from the destruction of local competitors SK/JP while can more easily unite the nations against the USA after a 100M-genocidal aggression.

So what will I do now? I go back to simply not talking about politics and by extension not even reading it. How can someone cheerfully chat about video games while the biggest tragedy of the history is coming? By knowing that the reason is exactly what Arthasdklol could teach us: that most people are morons and slackers and their groups suck because of them and not because of some evil regime that must be removed. Replacing the guild leader of a bunch of Arthasdlkols won’t bring progress any more than replacing a dictator front of a third world trash heap. The globalists are privileged elitists who believe that all people are capable and motivated and any failure is due to oppression and injustice. They believe that it’s their noble mission to liberate these oppressed people, may they be immigrants, local minorities or countries living under dictators. If everyone had spent a year trying to raid with randoms in WoW, there wouldn’t be a single globalist, affirmative-action supporter or feminist.

100M deaths in a few days is a tragedy, but still less than 2% of all mankind. There will be people around and they will need the lesson of Arthasdklol more than ever.

My name is still there in New Eden

I read the post of Wilhelm about the ex-CO2 keepstar. It was sold to TEST who are absorbing ex-CO2 corps. One of his screenshots grabbed my eye:

Stations and citadels have names. I remembered that back when Goons were evicted, Mordus Angels, the alliance I supported and finally gave my remaining belongings (900B) at the end, named a station after me: “Outpost – D7T-C0 II – His name was Gevlon Goblin”. I checked the MoA stations and it’s still there. Actually, it’s not just there. The station was built by the Goon minion TNT (the alliance where Wilhelm serves his masters) and was lost during the war. First the Goons could reclaim after it went neutral, but then they lost it to MoA and it got the name. But then MoA lost it some time this year, reclaimed it and renamed it back.
station

What’s good in having a station named after me? Well, at first the warm feeling that Syncaine does not have such thing despite serving the Goons without question. But more importantly it’s a reminder of the sandbox capability of EVE, how unique it was meant to be. Things in the universe are there for everyone, there is no phasing, instancing or servers. Things are there because players put them there and other players failed to destroy them. They can be customized by their owners.

I’ll never have a game like that. I know that it’s a lie, a mere facade front of the real EVE where monetizers and devs decide every step of the game (like the current event, by simply banning Gigx who was supposed to lose). But still, while I believed that players shape EVE, it was great. Fighting the 40K coalition was epic. Killing trillions worth of their ships was hilarious. Evicting their POCOs from highsec was one of my peak gaming events. Sure, if I knew about Falcon in advance, I wouldn’t touch the game. I know that these memories are just as fake as drug trip hallucinations. I didn’t evict their POCOs, somewhere on some chat channel they decided that losing them one by one is an embarrassment to Goons, defending them would be an unfun chore making players not log in, while banning me would lose content, so the Goons were told to just drop them. But still, it makes me smile, despite I know it’s fake.

There is a fake station that I “earned” when CCP decided that “Casino” RMT is better for them than failed book deals and thrown Goons to the Cormorants. It’s a participation trophy, given by those who played with me. It shouldn’t have any value, but somehow it still has.

Thanks Gen Eve!

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Political PS: breaking news banner over an older story on CNN.com is just perfect:

Back on PUBG

I wrote how I stop pursuing the PUBG toplist because the game keeps crashing. Well, the good news is that there was a patch and since then, I had only one crash and even that was in mid-game, allowing me to reconnect.

The bad news is that I lost 100 rating before I realized that the game is stable. But I climbed back to 1950 (top 1%) and keep climbing. I loot now pretty effectively and got really good in avoiding being killed. I didn’t get any better in killing people. I shot at some from a distance, but they lived, except for a DC-er.

Since it’s over the half of the month, I’m not sure if I have time climbing to the top 100, but top 200 is more or less guaranteed. I will post a detailed guide how to get into that high.

PUBG itself is extremely popular. It made over $100M and got into the real world news with Microsoft planning XBOX porting. So it has the chance to be “the next big thing” and I managed to land on it. If I’m able to actually get to the top 100 or even better the top 10, that will definitely make waves. It’s possible that the game will be changed as my strategy is not intended, but until it is, it’s fair game.

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Political PS: want some liberal tears? Ask him what’s the difference between the Oval Office and the toilet paper aisle of a supermarket. After some thinking show him the answer:
seats

Workfare leeches

Let me introduce a concept that will help you understand what’s wrong with low-skilled immigration, despite “they are doing jobs locals don’t want to do”. For that, let’s imagine a tribe that has two activities: gathering food and building a statue to for the spirits. It’s obvious that someone not gathering food is a burden to the tribe, someone else has to gather food to feed him. The time spent gathering food for him is time not spent building the statue. Because of this welfare leech, the statue is building slower. If enough people are welfare leeches, all the productive people are gathering food and the statue building halts. So far it’s obvious.

But let’s look at the group that gathers food, but not enough to survive. While they contribute to their own well-being, they still need assistance from others, taking away their time from building the statue and – assuming there are enough of them – can cause the building to halt. Only someone who gathers all his food is not a burden to the tribe. Of course just gathering for yourself is not enough, you actually have to contribute to the statue to be a valuable member, but hey, if you neither take food, nor contribute, you are no different from the stone in the corner.

People who work, but not enough to support themselves are the workfare leeches. They are clearly better than the welfare leeches, both because they create some part of their consumed value and need only the rest and because they show good faith by at least trying to contribute. Why isn’t this obvious? Because anyone who works contributes to the GDP. If we add a tribemember who pick some food, the total food production of the tribe goes up, so the chief looking at the charts is happy about this improvement. Too bad that the statue is now building slower. Of course if he wouldn’t be dumb, he’d notice that the GDP/capita went down.

In the real society, it’s not as easy to see who contributes for himself as in the tribe. We don’t only need food, shelter and other things we buy, we also need education, health care, roads, police on the streets and many other services that the government provides. In order to keep the society afloat, people have to pay taxes. Being small-government fiscal conservative doesn’t change that as the current level of welfare state is objectively existing. Sure, go change it, but until you do, it’s here.

Ergo, someone who has a full time job and receives no formal welfare can still very well be a workfare leech, someone who is carried by the society, assuming that he receives more health care, education, police assistance and whatnot from the government without paying enough tax (including the tax that the employer and the buyer of his product pays) to support these. Such people – despite being self-reliant people on the surface – are still burden on the welfare state. Please don’t forget that in order for the society to be in balance, you have to pay for your childhood expenses (mostly education) too with your later taxes.

You probably guessed where this is going: the meatpacking or fruitpicking immigrant worker who pays no taxes at all is a workfare leech. The main problem isn’t that he “takes the job of a citizen”, but that the job itself is insufficient for supporting anyone. Importing someone who can’t even support himself is alike getting tribe members who collect some food, but not even enough for themselves. “Hey, GDP is up” – says the dumb commerce chamber guy, not realizing that GDP/capita went down. The productive taxpayers pay for all kind of government services to him and his family (who will likely stay and be workfare leeches like himself) instead of building “the statue”: military, space exploration, nature conservation and other government issues that do not directly cater to any particular person, but to the whole country.