Yesterday’s troll is today’s news

We are living interesting times in gaming. Kind of “orgy in Rome right before the fall” kind of interesting. What trolls wrote yesterday as an over-the-top extreme parody of what’s happening is what’s happening. I’ve predicted awful lot of these. I’ve called “rigged” years before it was widely accepted to be rigged. But today’s nonsense is just so extreme that I can’t believe that anyone thought it’s a good idea.

In Call of Duty WII if you open a loot box (a P2W item of course), everyone around you can watch it. Hell, there is a literal quest to watch other players open P2W crates and you get a free crate.

I’m struggling to see what did they want with this. P2W was meant to be hidden, not put out and pointed at. Imagine if gold ammo in WoT would have a different color explosion and leave a visible tracer for everyone to see that it was used. I doubt if it would be too popular. Update: it does have different color! As I’ve said, what bizarre troll I make up will come true as “advancement in monetization”.

Did the devs assumed that the players are not only accepted P2W but consider it a badge of honor? Are they? Where will it end? With achievements like “complete task X with P2W item with performance that would be inadequate for a non P2W player?” Do people really get amused if they realize that other players aren’t good, but spend mindlessly on a game? Will there be “gz for that spending” on guild chat?

Sometimes I feel old and disconnected from the scene I’ve been actively participating for more than a decade. But I also learned that if I consider everyone else crazy and they call me crazy, … well at the end it usually turns out that I was right. So I still have some confidence that the “celebrate P2W-ing” won’t be a particularly successful idea.

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Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

17 thoughts on “Yesterday’s troll is today’s news”

  1. dude did you look at the metrics? did you not see the envy? do you not see the monetization. This is P2W light hmmm how to explain: first off this is a social issue so I can see where you are having trouble. Business knows that if person Z buys their product (loot box) and Her good friends can see her with her new cool toy (car, tv, dress, vibrator, unique weapon) then they will want it as well. Remember the players most likely to see you are your friends. So Sue, Angie, Beth, and Tracy all see Mary open her loot box and get a cool weapon. Now to keep up with Mary they have to pony up the cash to get their own loot box’s or else * (I will get back to this). Your idea that this is supposedly private is a joke, lets say Mary opens a loot box (in private) and gets a unique weapon you bet she is going to tell Sue, Angie, Beth and Tracy. They will go “oh nice” and move on. But seeing her open that loot box all but forces them to do the same thing.

    * or else this is where you come in the “smart” “anti-social” “winner” type. On the one hand you could go “dam look we got 5 unique weapons we are going to be hard to beat. On the other hand Mary, Sue, Angie, Beth and Tracy are going to be like “Dam 5 of us paid to win and now we are forced to carry Gob’s again”. Either way if you don’t get a loot drop you are the blacksheep.

    The interesting part is loot drops in solo players is kinda anti-climatic but in group play its almost required to keep A: bet a valuable part of the team, or B: keep up with your friends. So no gobs I am willing to bet more and more multi player games will go to “in your friends/teams face loot drops”.

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  2. Good Morning Sir,

    Just for your interest, because you mentioned WoT: There are acutally a few mods which do exactly that (coloring the explosions on gold ammo vs. non gold ammo), but they are of cause not officially from wargaming. But the damage log nowadays shows, if someone shot you with normal or gold ammo and that is an official feature.

    Though you might like that info. Greetings and keep up your writing!

    Long time lurker,
    Sebastian

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  3. There is a reason why this can work:
    Lootboxes are not only bought by money but also won. E.g. the quest to watch others open Lootboxes seems to give a Lootbox as reward (not my kind of game but info I found online)

    So essentially they can give people a “feelin gud” for showing of and get them hooked to buying Lootboxes that way.
    Or you can see what awesome things others get and feel like you should try more Lootboxes…

    The P2W is still hidden behind the “he might just have gotten those boxes by playing”.

    Seems like a (more or less well) thought out scheme for making people buy more…

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  4. @Provi Miner: I don’t see “envy”, I see “despise”. Sue, Angie, Beth, and Tracy will think that Mary is a n00b who just throws mommy’s credit card on the problem instead of learn to play.

    Or your point being is that in 2017 pay-to-winning is “cool”? The guy who announces on EVE alliance chat “hey guys I’ve just thrown $1500 on the game and bang I have a titan!” will get “you’re the man!” ????

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  5. “Did the devs assumed that the players are not only accepted P2W but consider it a badge of honor? Are they?”

    Yes and yes. Nowdays people are proud to be whales. It’s like a badge for them, just like (for example) donating 1.000$ to a popular streamer and watch their name go to the top donation and have the streamer break out in (fake) tears.

    People like to flaunt their wealth, and we are at a point where the broke-ass student that could hardly pay a sub 15 years ago, now has 5k $ of disposable income each month and decides to drop a bunch of it on his hobby. We simple hadn’t seen it earlier, because this is the first time where gaming is considered a legitimate (non niche) hobby for an adult.

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  6. Seeing that other players are pay-to-win has two positive side effects for the loot box sellers.
    1) Gives a losers an excuse. They do not have to face the fact they lost due to their own deficiencies.
    2) Creates the impression that everyone is doing it so they should too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Gevlon,

    You should do some research about pay2win in Asia, results will interest you…
    In Asia, paying in a game is a way to tell the other players that you have real money to spare for your leisures = you’re not a filthy peasant. It’s widely accepted to pay in a game to progress, levelup, boost xp and such things.

    Asia is now a major market in videogame and you can make mad bucks if your game is successful there.
    Westerners are less likely to spend money ingame, but this is evolving as we now see lootbox in major publisher’s games.
    Give it 5-6 more years, about 2 production cycles for AAA games and I suppose we will sadly be on par with Asia…

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  8. On reflection, the most “Pay to win” game I ever played was the first online RPG I ever played… “Dragon’s Gate.” It had no item shop. It had no way to buy anything. But you had to pay 6 bucks an hour just to log on back in 1992.

    One time… After I realized how random the stat rolling screen was, I rerolled my main character to get the best possible starting stats… 3 hours pressing a single button to reject less than perfect stats… essentially, I paid an 18 dollar microtransaction fee to reroll with godly stats… and spent 3 hours playing a slot machine to get them.

    I heard of stories of people paying over a thousand dollars a month to play.

    P2W isn’t going to go away because it works and that’s what players want. The trick is to set a max that CAN be paid and limit your customers to that limit. If you want to “be competitive” for whatever reason? You best be at the pay limit, son. You wanna play for free? Best accept that you’re the product, not the player.

    However, this means that the devs must maintain control over the game. No illicit RMT ready economy that can be exploited, for example. And hard limits of in game RMT.

    That may well be the only future for on line gaming. I’m still not holding my breath, though.

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  9. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Ever since Team Fortress 2 added “Mann Co.” crates back in 2010, if you open them while connected to a server, it posts to the server chat what you got. I personally witnessed people gather to cheer each other’s prizes seven years ago.

    Don’t forget, Team Fortress 2 is the originator of the trend outside of Asia! That was the western market’s first real exposure to lootboxes, and it was a running joke on the level of Oblivion’s horse armor. There was a Minecraft April Fool’s update with locked “Steve Co.” chests that needed keys you had to, but couldn’t buy shortly after they appeared in TF2, the joke being that Notch would obviously never do something so cynically capitalist. Meanwhile the players of TF2 were happily buying keys for their crates, and the hatpocalypse was in full swing.

    In comparison to Valve, most other microtransaction schemes since have seemed ludicrously cautious. Everyone was sure that all their players would flee in disgust from the idea of playing the slot machine, but it seems that is not the case.

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  10. I think the point is, that throwing money at games is losing its stigma. I come from a generation where even WoW’s monthly sub was frowned upon and considered with care, because we were used to “pay once = own”. Of course, that was also at a time when multiplayer online games were the exception, not the rule.

    With gaming becoming an everyday part of everyones (not only gamers) life, it’s not surprising that people invest a lot of money in their hobbies. It’s no more insane than when you look what people are willing to pay for their audio rack, motorcycle, golf equipment etc. Or even fashion. It’s normal to pay twice the price, just because something it’s “in”, or all your friends have it and you “have” to have it too.

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  11. @Jean-Mira: it’s normal to throw money on fancy motorcycle. But it’s not normal to P2W real life games. Imagine if I’d go out bowling and the bar owner would sell premium ball that always hits the pieces. No one would go near that bar.

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  12. gob’s that was so disingenuous that I am surprised you did that. You know that in eve owning a titan without the skill to use just leads to funny kill mails. you are comparing a major part of the game to a minor bump. If you want to use the eve equivalent then allow me: Quafe zero ultra 5% bump to scan res and a few other almost unnoticeable effects: If you were on a roam of fast lockers then it would be a good idea to get everyone a can or 2 of the stuff. Again if everyone uses it your fleet just increased its kill ability by a small % if not you will find the 3 or 4 who are using the quafe are getting all the kills, and seem to be on every “hard” to lock kill. So if you want to keep the social feel going then yes everyone should be using quafe. Now the huge difference is this:
    Tim, jo, scott and mike are using quafe (no one knows this) the other 6 fleet members are not. By the end of the roam two things happen everyone looks up to tim jo scott and mike, till they spill the beans (and they will: ha ha we are good cause we used booster), the second thing is everyone else will feel like they need the quafe in order to compete. Again social pressure, the difference is if everyone saw mike, tim, jo, and scott open their quafe and saw the bump to skills they would be more inclined to do so themselves.
    I think you are taking it to the edge: I blew $1500 for the best armor and gun in the game vs the way I see it and the way the companies see it “I just bought a loot box for $1.50 lets go kill the other team or beat this mission in record time” Companies don’t expect $1500 noob’s they expect a shit ton of $1.50 lets make the team a bit better.

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  13. Of course it’s normal, Gevlon. It’s just not that blatantly obvious, doesn’t occur in every game and doesn’t has the same impact as in virtual games. Do you really think it makes no difference if you are using your own pool billard queue, an expensive table tennis paddle, good running shoes, … Magic the Gathering is wholly based on the idea of P2W.

    But even if it wasn’t normal. People react to contexts, that is, behave differently depending on context. And like it’s obvious in social behavior, that people internet and personal interaction are different contexts. Works for games, too.

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  14. The rub here is that alternate monetization schemes came about due to money rich players wanting a way to level the playing field over the time rich gamer. Ok, so the money rich types got what they were asking for, but you would be hard pressed to find a game where the new monetization schemes actually do fuck-all in, you know, actually leveling the playing field.

    If gamers wanted a level playing field by being able to spend more money to overcome their lack of time, why do the stats indicate that money-rich gamers spend the same(if not more) amount of time in-game than their time-rich, free playing counterparts?

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