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06-06-2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default Microtransactions and On-Disc DLC

Some of the most notable offenders in this category include Dead Space 3 and Metro. I'm going to illustrate how the game industry has hit full circle, like an unholy snake eating its own tail, and shafted the players in the process.

I'm going to butcher the concept of On-Disc DLC first. This is a horrid idea in terms of execution and it's just plain bad marketing. Once a consumer buys the product, the consumer should be granted access to the entire purchase. There's no just cause for defending On-Disc DLC on purchased games. Hey you, marketing geniuses! Here's an idea for you: How about we GIVE AWAY FOR FREE to the players the full engine and code, and if they like it, they could *gasp* buy the full version! No, I'm not being overly generous. I kicked your asses back to the early 1990s, when PC games had this revolutionary concept called shareware. You gave away as many demos as you could, and when people liked you, they supported you. What you didn't do was sucker in people with a flashy advertising campaign, and then stick them the middle finger after they paid money for your game by holding their content for ransom.

When the practices of the industry 20 years ago put your company to shame today, the concept is no longer worth keeping. 20 years from now, game studios like yours are going to sell tickets to launch parties, and hold up the attendees at knifepoint until they pay $15 so they can go home and play it. But only up to level 2. After that, it's another $15 to get to the first save point.

Now... Microtransactions. The infamous Pay2Win schemes in games now. Honestly speaking, these should not exist on paid games. To fully understand this beast, we have to look at its history. Believe it or not, but these have always existed. The difference is, they belonged on a game you did not own. Back in the days arcades existed, the machines themselves were designed to bleed the player out of money as fast as possible. Atari actually enforced code in games to ramp up in difficulty after the first few minutes so players would die off much quicker. Many games had a hook, like a limited amount of bombs that would be restocked once you put in another quarter for more lives, or the infamous A+B attacks, that were really strong and also drained your life, so you would end up using more quarters to fill up (hey X-Men, I'm looking at you). Some of these were subtle, and others were blatant cash grabs, like Ivan Stewart's Super Off-Road, where you could buy your way to the best truck if you kept putting in quarters.

When consoles got powerful enough to bring the experience home, the games were put on cartridges, and changes like limited credits or fixed save points added longevity to the game. It was a limited concession at the time, because hey, no one wants to wait nearly an hour at the arcade just to duke it out uninterrupted in a game of Street Fighter. Games were put out the market, and they had to be polished and ready to sell, because this thing called the internet was not connected to consoles yet. The second game developers realized that they could zap content onto your disk, or worse yet, hold it for hostage, the balance of power changed.

New DLC to make the game easier was now put up for sale. Free games on mobile devices sell powerups, and even some paid games have followed suit. Activation codes on games mean players can no longer bring a disc to a friend's house and play it. Which leads to another irony as well: 20 years ago or more, when a friend of ours had a console that was different, we zipped that thing up in our backpacks and moved on over. Well, here's news for you blood sucking console makers. I beat your sorry ass marketing ploys with a backpack full of controllers before I hit puberty, and the same tactic I used as a kid is going to crush your new evil plan as well.

Which brings us to today. Players no longer pay for a game they actually own. If EA ever buys out Nintendo, you can bet that every demon in the nine hells will be laughing their heads off when the first player to reach the master sword has to give up their credit card number just to pull it out. The disc you own won't work on other consoles, and the endless stream of powerups that you used to pay for in the arcade is now present in the games at home. Keep going back in time, you greedy developers. I hope you reach 1983.
 
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06-06-2013   #2 (permalink)
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Long overdue rant. I can already beat them though quite easily with some tactics of my own! There's this thing I do, where I buy stuff on sale for super cheap prices. And this other thing, where I don't buy shit from assholes or companies I don't like. And this other not-legal thing that lets me make the companies butthurt when they see statistics of the not-legal thing I do.

And if all else fails, the internet will find someway to un**** stuff, because the collective powers of angry or obsessive people with technology is the strongest thing on earth.
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06-07-2013   #3 (permalink)
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On Disc DLC/micro-transactions are a few of the most money grabbing and stupid concepts of recent generations, I agree with you.

I also noticed a trend in recent gaming where (the multiplayer is concerned), they put a lot of OP crap in for the casuals to use. There is a problem when a skilled player is beaten by a level 1 for using something like a rate of fire attachment, what ever happened to when newbs would get owned and made it an effort to learn the game better?
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06-08-2013   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vith
There is a problem when a skilled player is beaten by a level 1 for using something like a rate of fire attachment, what ever happened to when newbs would get owned and made it an effort to learn the game better?
Casuals and money grubbing happened. Having people learn, experience difficulty, or lose because they are inept or not as good as other players puts off too many people, gotta make it all ez pz lmn sqz so no one feels bad and everyone can play/buy
Spoiler!
the game!
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06-08-2013   #5 (permalink)
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"Hi there player. We noticed you ended up last in your Bronze league division. Purchase the Bonus Minerals Pack now, and start your next game with 300 extra minerals. Normally $2.99, now on SALE for $0.99"

Alright, now I can cannon rush with my 3 APM and wall off below my ramp. Maybe I won't die to four lings again this game!
 
06-08-2013   #6 (permalink)
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I wouldn't mind DLC if it was done right, like extending an RPG until the next one comes out. Disgaea 3 and 4 kind of did this but those sidestories were expected, if they kept them out on a regular basis that'd be great.
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06-08-2013   #7 (permalink)
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One nice thing about On-Disc DLC is, that you can unlock almost everything by yourself with some hex editing skills or just download the modified files if you´re on the PC. The most recent case for me was Street Fighter X Tekken, where certain DLC characters could be unlocked by such a method. Or another one: Some years ago I bought a Windows 7 update and turned it into a Windows 7 Home Premium, because Microsoft put all the neccessary files on the disk. Even the Professional Edition would have been possible if I wanted.
I think the On-Disc DLC conecpt is pretty stupid, but I don´t care that much about it, because I get stuff for free -well, almost.

Similar case with the micropayments. Some years ago there was something called cheats, with which you could get all the stuff you wanted for free, but now you´re asked to pay up if you´re impatient and want to have certain items here and now. Kind of stupid and really weird that a lot of people support this concept.
But again, there´s always Cheat Engine to get the stuff for free.

No idea how easy or hard it is to hack on a console or mobile phone, but on the PC I almost always got the extra stuff for free.
 
06-08-2013   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VorpalBunny
"Hi there player. We noticed you ended up last in your Bronze league division. Purchase the Bonus Minerals Pack now, and start your next game with 300 extra minerals. Normally $2.99, now on SALE for $0.99"

Alright, now I can cannon rush with my 3 APM and wall off below my ramp. Maybe I won't die to four lings again this game!
Shit that's just hilarious. Is true? I hope SC2 hasn't fallen that hard..

DLC is an acronym for

Don't
Look you'll get
Cancer
 
06-08-2013   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saibak
No idea how easy or hard it is to hack on a console or mobile phone, but on the PC I almost always got the extra stuff for free.
Here's a hint: pirated console games/content almost always get leaked days before the PC.
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06-08-2013   #10 (permalink)
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I agree, and also want to add: "1 hour True Ending" paid DLC that costs 25% of the original game.



I'm looking at you, Dead Space 3 Awakened.
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06-22-2013   #11 (permalink)
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I know I said microtransactions in free games were fine, but there's a game so horrible it deserves a dishonorable mention: Transformers Legends. Yes, it's a free card battle game, but recently the game staff has proven themselves as utter trolls that would make the level designers of Syobon Action cringe at their infamy. While other game companies at least give the free players a fighting chance, this one goes out of its way to screw players that don't pay out the nose and yank out the carpet from the ones that did.

The premise of the game revolves around building up an army that can take on events. Rank high during an event, win a card that boosts your deck, rinse and repeat. The higher you rank, the better the reward. How do you rank highest? You spend the most money on one-off items with a time limited damage multiplier. If you ranked high enough in an earlier event, it could be possible to 1cc and keep playing longer during the next raid, or so it would seem. You must think that the players that devoted hundreds of real monies to win the top prize would have it useful in the second event. Instead, the company rewards the top rankers by upping the life bars of the raid bosses so much their investment instantly becomes worthless.

Having a company screw over it's top players is one thing; making mid-game hotfixes to buff boss damage and ensure that all their 1cc players would intentionally die brings it to a whole new level. If this company was paid to create the next Mario game, they would increase the length of the cliffs during mid-jump and then introduce you to a Jump Booster consumable, which you would have to pay for EVERY SINGLE TIME. The game structure was always pay2win to begin with, and now the game has become impossible to play unless you pay through the nose. If it wasn't for the Transformers IP, this game would have sunk a long time ago. Congratulations on creating a half baked game that has completely nothing to offer it players. Pinkie Pie dressing up as Optimus Prime was the best thing to happen to the IP. This game is one of the worst things to happen to Transformers since Revenge of the Fallen's Robot Heaven.
 
06-23-2013   #12 (permalink)
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Now that I remember, Disgaea is a prime example of a major screw-up in regards to on-disc "DLC". I can't remember which PSP port it was, D1 or D2, where the additional "DLC" characters were already on the UMD and you had to pay to unlock them because there wasn't any way to modify the game code to actually add new characters to play. Well, they went about this in a hasty manner or didn't test properly so all the DLC characters were screwed up in more ways than one, upsetting a lot of players.
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06-23-2013   #13 (permalink)
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^It was Disgaea 2 Portable, extra chars could be unlocked using cheats, but they just didn't have voices or something.
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06-25-2013   #14 (permalink)
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Lime's Guide to making Microtransactions and Punishments for violating them.

DLC

-Is it on the Disc?
-Is it something that you've already developed and could have added to the initial release as something to discover and add depth to it, but are just waiting so you can sell it later?


> If yes to either, it shouldn't be DLC. You should be left in a desert, without your wallet, next to a fridge with tobasco sauce and crackers inside. The Freezer full of ice cold water however is locked and needs money put into it to open.


Now, when is DLC okay?

- Has your game been successful and you now wish to reinvest those profits to enrich the game's experience and possibly make a lot more money in the process?

- Was it something that you really wanted to add to your game but time contraints prevented you from adding it?


If yes to at least one of these, then the DLC is acceptable.



Microtransactions

-Are you intentionally withholding features that make your game less tedious to play and holding them hostage for money?


>If yes, you should be forced to escape from angry dogs on a unicycle. You will be allowed to upgrade to a bicycle if you either spend 50001$ or survive for 3 weeks.

-Have you built your game so that certain content is near impossible without accessing cash items?

>If yes you have no idea how to make a F2P game. You should be pushed out from an airplane mid flight. For only 60050$ though you can recieve a parachute.


If your game allows for cash items to be bought with ingame money: is the value disparity between cash item and content/game money and items so great a free player would have a farm time to cash value ratio of 1$ per 2 hours or worse?

>If yes, you think you're sneaky and avoiding being called a pay 2 win game. You're still running a virtual sweatshop and trying to wear down patience until they spend. You should be trapped in the middle of a glacier with 6 feet thick walls with only a small handheld pick to use to get out. You will be forced to watch on a small screen, someone else in the same situation, but with a giant automated drill to assist them.

Are base enchant rates absolute garbage and leave players pathetically weak unless they spend 8 hours a day farming just to be 'average' and not struggle with content? Are your cash items the only way to boost the rates from 'just another crappy day of failures' to 'actually interesting to invest in'?

>If yes, you need to be locked in a room with 9 locks on the door. A mechanism in the room will drop a key from the ceiling for every hour you run an exercise bike. The key dropped may, or may not work. If you use a key that doesn't work on one of the locks, ALL of the locks will re-lock themselves forcing you to start over.
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Last edited by Lime; 06-25-2013 at 11:18 PM.
 

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