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SOE Allows Purchase of In-Game Items In Everquest I, II

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the take-that-gold-farmers dept.

Role Playing (Games) 173

Zonk points out some big news for fans of the Everquest games; Sony Online Entertainment has rolled out a system which allows the exchange of real money for items used in the game. Sony is making use of a transaction system called Station Cash which charges your credit card in exchange for a virtual currency which is then spendable on the items. Massively has a walkthrough of how it will work, and shows some of the items up for sale, including vanity armor, non-combat pets, and potions that make various aspects of your character better. "Each of these types of flasks comes in a tier. Tier I flasks increase XP by 10% and cost $1.00. Tier II flasks increase XP by 25% and cost $5.00. Tier III flasks increase XP by 50%, and cost $10.00 each. All flask tiers last for 4 hours on use, and more than one can't be used at a time." Further details on the system are available in the FAQ and the Terms of Service. This comes alongside news today that upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic will not be subscription-based, but entirely based on micro-transactions instead.

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These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (0, Troll)

Hays (409837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056141)

So, they're intentionally making the game a grindfest so that they make more money? How can anyone argue that isn't asinine? You buy the game, you pay a subscription fee, but it's only REALLY fun if you pay 10 dollars every 4 hours.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056179)

It's illegal to make a game 'not REALLY fun'?

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056315)

So, they're intentionally making the game a grindfest so that they make more money? How can anyone argue that isn't asinine? You buy the game, you pay a subscription fee, but it's only REALLY fun if you pay 10 dollars every 4 hours.

Well the gameplay mechanics themselves required what we refer to as 'grinding'.. At least as far as developers for Verant could see in the days of EQ. I really can't comment on EQ2, but EQ1 was released at a time when MMO's remained unproven. And fans were as committed as ever to prevent real world money equating enhanced game experiences. And it still holds true today, Bliz has been taking baby steps in direction of micro transactions but thus far has remained with Name Changes and Character Transfers. It's not surprising to see an old busted series like this being milked by those who own it, but to suggest they designed the game to encourage micro transactions is just plain wrong. Granted after the 7th or so expansion I quit playing so I can't comment on later developments.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (5, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057143)

They are also going to fuck people's sense of achievement. I read in Predictably Irrational (or Freakanomics, I forget which) that as soon as money is put on the table, people consider it a financial transaction, and disregard any intrinsic motivators (which is why it's really bad to tell your date how much the dinner cost, unless they would not be offended if a stranger offered them that amount of money for any favors you were expecting). Formally putting a price on XP will tell gamers what their time was worth, and lots of them will be pissed off that the price was too low.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (3, Informative)

MarioMax (907837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056459)

You realize Blizzard is planning the exact same thing right?

http://www.thegrouchygamer.com/?p=157#more-157 [thegrouchygamer.com]

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (2, Funny)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056489)

Changing your race and class is a fair bit different to selling XP (and let's be honest here, this is more or less what they're doing.)

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (3, Interesting)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056555)

In Everquest, experience potions already exist and are on occasion available from mobs, quests, and the trading card game as a loot item.

There is also a veteran reward available that allows you to get double experience for 30 minutes, once a day. It's commonly called the death buff. It seems whenever you use it, you die.

In any case, they are not introducing anything that is not available already in the game. Fancy graphics and pets and 1 charge potions.

I don't see it as a big deal. I've played EQ since beta (98) and this doesn't bother me at all.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057513)

You're missing the point. While this stuff might already be in the game, you have to work for it in some fashion. There's some sort of reward / penalty risk you actively have to seek out. They've bastardized that with, "give us money and you have it without working for it".

Part of the fun in any game is accomplishment. Once you take out incentives to accomplish something, the game has taken a turn for the worse. It loses a lot of value with individual players and in a sense, the entire community.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057777)

Could you tell me where I could get real life money for free?

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059161)

You're missing the point. While this stuff might already be in the game, you have to work for it in some fashion.

Nope. To get the XP buff you just need to pay 12 months worth of subscription and you get it. Same with several other buffs, just longer subscription periods.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (4, Insightful)

Hays (409837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056561)

Exact same thing? I didn't complain about the vanity aspects of what Sony is selling, and I won't complain about it from Blizzard either.

The bonuses that Blizzard gives players from things like Blizzcon or Collector's editions don't change the gameplay at all. What Sony is selling is something that actually changes the gameplay and gives you an advantage over other players.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057721)

Blizzard are indeed selling gameplay-changing features for those who are willing to pay extra. They are just trying to be subtle about it.

The Recruit-A-Fried feature gives a massive xp and level boost. No matter how you look at it, this is a gameplay-altering benefit that is rewarded for giving Blizzard extra revenues.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059315)

The recruit a friend doesn't really give an advantage necessarily. The experience bonus only functions when partied with your friend and even then only when you're within 4 levels of each other.

Regardless, the experience bonus only functions up to level 60. The bonus doesn't affect end game, it only allows players to reach end-game quicker so that they can play it with their friend. That was one of the things that irritated me about FFXI. I played on the same server as some of my RL friends, but I never did anything with them because they were too busy leveling their main job or didn't have lower level jobs at my level.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (1)

tbcpp (797625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059815)

I had a character at 34 before starting back at 1 with my wife via recruit-a-friend. It really doesn't change allot of the gameplay. You don't have to quest as much...that's about it. Infact you level so much that most of the time you're flat broke just from the cost of skills/armor. But it all goes away at lvl 60, so you still have 20 levels at the normal pace to go.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056613)

You realize Blizzard is planning the exact same thing right?

http://www.thegrouchygamer.com/?p=157#more-157 [thegrouchygamer.com]

No, this is not the same thing, and certainly not "exactly" the same thing.

This is peacocking, not altering the grind.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (3, Interesting)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056651)

In fact, Blizzard already DID what you're mentioning there. You can transfer your character for 20$ or you can change the character name for 8$.

However, I'm not sure anyone complains about Sony selling vanity pets or vanity armor. Personally I don't care whether anyone is running around in a black dress they bought for 10$. I also couldn't care less if someone changed their hair style or color for 20$.

I DO care though when some player is able to get better gear or progress faster. A new hairstyle doesn't destroy PvP. A new, better armor, attainable only through micro transactions, DOES destroy PvP and with it the game for a lot of people.

huh ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058473)

character transfer is not a game changing feature or service. it just changes your character's realm/server.

Re:huh ? (2, Informative)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058589)

Maybe you didn't read my post thoroughly enough.

MarioMax was pointing out that Blizzard was planning to implement a micro transaction model.

*I* was pointing out, that they already *did* implement such a microtransaction model (realm change, name change). I was *also* pointing out that this is *not* game changing.

Basically my point was/is, that Blizzard did implement it in a non-harmful way, whereas Sony screwed up (they tend to do that quite often).

Re:huh ? (1)

whoop (194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059303)

And to those people who consider the destination server in a transfer their "home," you are an intruder in their world. They've worked with their server's group of people for so many years, and here comes some new guy who's at the max level and "taking" their spot in the uber guild of choice. The forums for these games are full of this sort of stuff. So, it is a game-changing feature for those who consider their play style the one-true-way-to-play.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (1)

SilverJets (131916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060429)

"A new, better armor, attainable only through micro transactions, DOES destroy PvP and with it the game for a lot of people."

Not if that armor is available to everyone. Then it is meaningless because the game rebalances.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (2, Insightful)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060521)

Well, it certainly would be available to me too, if I played that game.

And I certainly wouldn't buy it! So yes, it would destroy PvP for me...

Irrelevant to this issue (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058721)

This is not the same thing. Having a brand spanking new hairstyle and different facial tatoos or earrings is not going to level you up faster or make you hit harder. Blizzard is still not selling weapons or items for cash yet... and I'll stop playing when they do.

Re:These people deserved to be crushed by WoW (3, Interesting)

fyonn (115426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056801)

of course, this is just a toe in the water before they'l put in a mechanic enabling you to buy temporary extra damage on your opponent in a fight for more money. swipe your credit card now if you need to take out the biggest baddies!

mod parent properly (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058451)

it touches important points. this seems like a blatant 'we'll make extra money off you without giving any extra fun' case.

Money fight! (5, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056147)

I'm imagining a game between two people determined by how much they spend on the game. Oh wait, they already did that with Magic The Gathering.

Re:Money fight! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056807)

I'm imagining strapping on an artificial penis and having sex with Jesus Christ. My avatar will also be Jesus Christ, and we'll both be on pogo sticks. I'm not sure what Horatio will do yet.

Re:Money fight! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057043)

It's Funny, not Troll. Jesus Fucking Christ uptight mods.

Sounds like someone is a little bitter. (3, Interesting)

Gerad (86818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057355)

While I can understand why you feel the way you do, your statement is wrong.

First, a large amount of tournament play is "Limited" - that is, you use sealed product to play with, rather than your own cards. There are different variations that test different skills (Booster Draft vs. Sealed Deck), but both are extremely skill intensive, and an individual's collection has no bearing on their performance.

In "Constructed" events - events where you play with cards from your own collection - it's often possible to outplay or outbuild the decks loaded with expensive cards at the casual or semi-competitive level. Tarmogoyf, a card that was selling for upwards of $50 on the secondary market, was an extremely powerful and efficient creature, but it could still be addressed by standard creature removal spells, such as Terror and Deathmark. Budget decks can often be around 90% as effective as the more expensive decks.

At the ultra-competitive level, the cost of cards caps out and everyone ends up spending around the same amount of money on their decks (probably around $500 if I were to buy all the individual cards on the secondary market). While this does create a barrier to entry, I've never heard people complaining about paintball or racing as "determined by how much they spend on the game." Most hobbies have equipment, if you're looking at competitive level Magic, players invest in their decks, but everyone caps out on cards so money isn't a determining factor.

Finally, players will often loan and borrow cards among their friends, further lowering the cost of acquiring cards to create a deck.

Re:Sounds like someone is a little bitter. (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059017)

I've never heard people complaining about paintball or racing as "determined by how much they spend on the game."
There's an old saying in racing, "How fast do you want to go?" The reply is "How much do you want to spend."

Re:Sounds like someone is a little bitter. (2, Funny)

toleraen (831634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059203)

Don't forget the follow up question "can't I just knock that guy into the wall?"

Re:Sounds like someone is a little bitter. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059449)

>>>I've never heard people complaining about paintball or racing as "determined by how much they spend on the game."

That's because the thrifty people (like me) are not playing paintball or racing. Likewise cost is one of my reasons for Not doing online roleplaying. I just don't see the value in spending ~$200 a year for an online RPG when I can buy a $15 RPG off amazon.com or Ebay and have just as much fun.

Of course I also limit myself to a 750k internet connection - a sacrifice most people are not willing to make - so maybe that puts me in the minority as far as "pinching pennies". The state of our current economy indicates most people would rather go into debt than limit expenditures, so this new Everquest market may succeed brilliantly.

Re:Money fight! (1)

splutty (43475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057503)

I'm imagining a game between two people determined by how much they spend on the game. Oh wait, they already did that with Magic The Gathering.

Which is exactly the reason why I only played Sealed Deck tournaments. They were tons of fun, and absolutely not money related in any way, shape or form.

Actually got a quite high standing in that as well way back in the day.

Re:Money fight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057855)

That pissed me off so much.

Having been playing MTG since pretty much day one, I quit when Ice age came around. Shortly there after they were releasing new sets on a bi-monthly basis.

Then they re-wrote all the rules, including tournaments so you didn't have any choice but to update to the latest and greatest deck sets. What a shame.

Re:Money fight! (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060465)

Then they re-wrote all the rules, including tournaments so you didn't have any choice but to update to the latest and greatest deck sets. What a shame.

The changes to the rules were pretty good, IMHO. Every revision is always shouted down as "this is going to kill Magic" but it doesn't. Switching from the Batch resolution system to GUTS was real scary, but looking back it's as intutive as it should be and I wish they had done it sooner. I appreciate all the card wording becoming consistant.

Legacy and Vintage are still valid formats where you don't have to get the latest and greatest... although a lot of old cards certainly could benefit in combos with modern spells. And you can still play like my friends and I do: unsanctioned, play it if you got it. It's still fun that way.

My biggest complaints with Magic actually have nothing to do with the game. I don't like that the art is no longer a clusterfuck of different artists and styles. It's all very homogeneous and planned out with stylesheets: very "corporate". That blur of art makes it tough for me to tell what things are from across a table. Also, the whole foil card thing makes me nervous since the card is worth a few times more what it's normally worth and I'm much more afraid than normal to play with it: card protector or not.

Re:Money fight! (1)

spikyface (982835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057917)

Yeah except if you've got lots of money and not much skill you'll still get repeatedly pwned by creative and skilled players with relatively cheap decks It's usually the homegrown decks that utilise some strange quirk or combo that catch EVERYONE off-guard, you don't understand what they're doing till they've killed you Even the most unfair expensive decks can get squashed by something that side-steps their whole strategy

Re:Money fight! (1)

Erie Ed (1254426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059321)

See here's the thing you're missing about Magic The Gathering...They have a Pro Tour, they have Grand Prix's, they have worlds, they have many other tournaments in which you can make a pretty good return on your investment. I'll give you an example a few months ago a buddy of mine went to a Pro Tour Qualifier for Pro Tour: Berlin, he made it. He got a free trip to Berlin...now tell me that isn't worth the investment. Not to mention that Wizards of the Coast has improved the support that they give to their players that are earning pro points. So long story short Magic != EQ2, WoW, etc...

Ah I get it (2, Interesting)

SnapperHead (178050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056149)

So, they are basically second life now ...

Re:Ah I get it (2, Insightful)

Wax_and_Wane (558470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056255)

Not unless they can actually create any item that they can imagine, script it themselves and then sell it to any of the active players for microcurrency that they can then cash out into real money. All without breaking any EULAs.

Re:Ah I get it (2, Insightful)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056297)

If you overly waste money on virtual items, you're probably edging towards the game being your first life.

Re:Ah I get it (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056687)

Not quite.

Everquest has 100% less flying penises.

Re:Ah I get it (1)

Exitar (809068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056823)

Not for long, the next EQ Patch will be "Flying Penises of Doom"...

Re:Ah I get it (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057125)

The Pro version doesn't have them, only the starter one.

Must buy potion of buttkicking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056183)

Hah.

A fool and their money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056219)

are soon parted.

Money, Time... what's the difference. (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056227)

Some people have money.
Some people have time.

The only problem would be the game representing it self to be something it wasn't.

It hasn't been a remotely "fair" game since the day it was released.

From 1999-2003, if you had 8 hours a day free and could get off before 3pm EST, you got every good camp (before anyone else got home) and got every rare spawn. I never saw "Venril Sathis" until I chewed on the Dev's ear at the Dallas Fanfest and finally convinced them to add random timers to the spawns- which were previously fixed at 24 hours- and the servers usually were rebooted during the afternoon in those days.

Even today, People who can play 8 hours straight have a 100% chance of getting most rare spawns in one sitting, while someone who plays 2 hour sessions may never see the rare spawn (and probably can't get the rare spawn camp).

And fairly early, some wealthy players took the other route-- you can play 40 hours a week-- or you can just drop $500 and get a fully developed character from someone who played 40 hours a week (the hourly rate was often ludicrous-- probably 70 cents an hour). $700-$900 for a character with 100 days played (2400 hours).

Then there was the Legends server-- scheduled spawns, and "The best guild money can buy".

I had a good time playing- I learned some important life lessons, and my guild leading experience lead to my current team lead job (and awareness that being a manager is probably not worth it).

But I know a lot of folks are going to feel put off because of the money-- and that's just an arbitrary opinion. Having $1000 to spend is no more unfair than having 40 hours (hell- some played 80 hours) a week to play. The game was never rocket science-- I was in one of the top ten guilds for six months and it was almost identical to the casual guild I spent years in- except the people their played 6 hours a day, 6 days a week instead of 4 hours a day, 3 days a week.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056405)

If you can buy virtual items in the game I am assuming you can sell them also? I don't see the value in adding real money to an online game unless you can profit. I guess that sounds mercenary. It sounds like it could be a side business or a hobby really instead of a game. It is like playing poker, except it is a game online and you play and then you exchange items instead of meeting your buddies up at the bar on a Wednesday night and playing poker and losing or gaining money that way. I don't see the allure, but I am not much of a gamer. I guess if people are happy playing and it is fun and they have the expendable cash. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (5, Interesting)

kahizonaki (1226692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056509)

There is quite a difference. Money cannot buy authenticity. Authenticity in the game is built by spending the time in the game, having, as people above have mentioned, experiences in the game. To have worked through things like that 'builds character', as Calvin's father might say. Someone who buys a character, or buys stuff, got it 'the cheap way'--he is not authentic. Think about a person who has a lot of money and goes out to become a 'real cowboy'--He buys the horses, the land, the hat, expensive spurs, all the saddling and bridling, etc.--all a a premium because they're 'authentic'. Then he puts them all on and goes to try to hang out with 'real' cowboys. "Look at me," he says, "I'm a real cowboy--all my things are authentic cowboy." Of course, then the real cowboys laugh and tell him to keep thinking that, and to keep paying them to be his friend. Or they just beat the horse-shit out of him.

Money cannot buy authenticity.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056579)

That's what slashdot needs -- more cowboy analogies!!

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (2, Funny)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060705)

That's what slashdot needs -- more cowboy analogies!!

Expect a flood of Brokeback Mountain trolls to follow...

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056925)

Arguably, one can get the authentic WoW experience in about 1% of the time it requires to actually play. The player who has spent that amount of time intrinsically understands the game the same way that the person who simply got bored and grinded for 40 hours a week.

Being a cowboy requires skill. Being a level 70 mage simply requires time.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057239)

Granted, it doesn't take much practice to get a good enough understanding of your mage that you'll be able to get him to 70. That being said, there are crappy level 70 mages, decent level 70 mages, great level 70 mages, and some shades in between.

I'm not quite sure what this is an argument for or against... does it take skill to be a real cowboy? When Bush got reelected, I kinda lost faith that you *need* skills to become *anything*. Determination seems able to bring you just as far, even in real life. But yeah. It's a bit hard to start argueing that your lasso did in fact hit it's mark if the caddle ain't caught.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057931)

Part of the idea of a republic is that each man is equal, and anyone can be elected to higher office. If President were a job, any candidate must surely posess several advanced degrees to qualify.

And cowboying is certainly a job that takes skill. Certainly you don't think that Bush was a professional cattle herder before taking office?

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059271)

Determination seems able to bring you just as far, even in real life.

That, and/or the ability to write a big check to the appropriate parties. Seems like Sony is being reflective of the real world in general.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059967)

Being a level 70 mage simply requires time.

High-level content also require skill. But you hit the key point: MMOs force repetition, and much more repetition than what is needed to acquire the needed skill.

This is a fundamental flaw in the current model. Charge on a monthly basis, and they need to prevent people from playing 'too fast', or they would loose those customer.

To be blunt:
You know something is wrong when your customers are willing to pay extra to avoid playing parts of your game.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (3, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057065)

What's 'authentic' about killing a million rats to level up a character? It's no more valid than flipping a million burgers and using your pay cheque to buy a character that's killed a million rats. Similarly, what's the difference between buying an item, and winning it in a lucky roll?

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (2, Funny)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059295)

What's 'authentic' about killing a million rats to level up a character?

Especially when apparently only 20-30% of those rats have eyes, ears, or whatever other part of their anatomy you're supposed to collect. :-)

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057281)

Keep telling that authenticity spiel to yourself when your character gets Pwned in PvP by a little kid that bought a Sword of Pwnage and a Dollar Potion of Mega-boost with his daddy's credit card.

Game items that you can buy with real money should never change game balance in any way - they should be pure vanity items. Even XP boosters are bad for the game ...

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057459)

Money cannot buy authenticity, because the value of authenticity is zero.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056569)

You know what's the problem? GAMES OUGHT NOT BE LIKE THAT!

Gaming should be about FUN -- not rare items, not character points, not unlockables; bursts of SKILL, not trials of patience and endurance. The only "experience point" you should get is the skill in your hands, and grinding should be regarded as the sign of an archaic design style.

Re:Money, Time... what's the difference. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057181)

Everquest is the future of gaming though. Now there's a recession and people will stop buying other types of games. Everquest isn't like that because in marketing terms its is a non discretionary spending item like cigarettes or crack. Everquest players will keep on paying, even if they are starving and close to eviction.

One problem is that the average revenue per player is still quite low. Allowing them buy parole - i.e get time off grinding in return for a fee should increase that revenue and reduce the load on the servers.

It's genius really. In the long run the best players will just pay for experience points, and hire a Sony bot to grind for them at the same time. They might pay ten grand a month, but they won't have to spend more than an hour or so actually playing the game. Hell for $20K per month they could pay someoone to do that for them too.

Recruit-a-friend (5, Insightful)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056269)

You can't actually tell people they can directly buy XP increases. You have to setup something to obscure the issue and pretend it has a legitimate usage...

*cough* WoW recruit-a-friend *cough*

Re:Recruit-a-friend (1)

Hays (409837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057005)

Good point, although the recruit-a-friend EXP bonus works even with free, trial accounts (which are capped at level 20) and ceases to work on any account at level 60.

So in total, you could argue that this is a shell game to make you pay for an experience bonus, but it's only going to matter for a level range that is perhaps 1/3rd or 1/4th of the leveling process.

I actually really enjoy the leveling process in WoW. I can't imagine how it used to be in EQ, where you would just camp one spot in a dungeon and repeatedly pull respawns.

OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056347)

OMG.. there will be person who will live by just playing games.. rgds http://najeep.com

Mudflation? (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056363)

I'm not familiar enough with EQ's economics or it's loot mechanics but were I playing the game I'd be seriously concerned with the impact this would have on it's mudflation. I'm guessing at this point SOE, they are still running it right?, does not really care enough. (And from what I've heard they have never really cared that much at all but...) And are going to thinly veil this as something that won't have any 'real' impact.

Re:Mudflation? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056399)

The items offered for sale are not game breakers. The XP potions are a cool thing, but each expansion, every player account is handed boxes of those.

For those not familar with EQ2, once a character reaches level 20, there are two sets of item slots. Normal armor (which gives stats), and appearance slots, which do not affect character stats in any way, but they just give a look. For example, a raid inquisitor (DPS group healer) can be wearing plate, but appear to be wearing robes and a santa cap. This allows players to not look all the same, which happens other MMOs (WoW especially), once you get people grinding the BG and the seasonal arena sets.

This, and the player/guild housing is one of the better elements of EQ2.

Re:Mudflation? (1)

Exitar (809068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056861)

In EQ2, ALL armor looks the same... and it's ugly!

Re:Mudflation? (2, Insightful)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056531)

It won't, really, at least in EQ1. Having diminishing returns on power from experience--the Alternate Advancement system--ensures that the relative power boost from even a fulltime 50% experience bonus would be modest. The remaining items besides experience potions are mostly cosmetic. The virtual trading card game, Legends of Norrath, did far more damage to game integrity, and even then I only consider one of the Legends of Norrath items to be truly game breaking (the Kiss of Erollisi Marr).

What most of us are worried about is the slippery slope: that this is another step, however small, toward additional purchases becoming an essential part of gameplay and character progression.

Mudflation is an entirely separate issue, and not necessarily a bad thing if it happens at a measured pace (which it has in EQ1, for the most part). It allows weaker players and organizations to experience content that was previously too difficult for them, for one thing.

Exchange rate (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056385)

So when you spend money in-game does Sony pay tax on that?

Re:Exchange rate (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057149)

So when you spend money in-game does Sony pay tax on that?

Tax would be paid at point of conversion, same as if you buy gift vouchers.

Station Exchange (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056441)

So, basically this is an upgraded version of Station Exchange [sony.com] , except that it's active on all servers?

Only Fluff Items (4, Informative)

MarioMax (907837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056445)

Take it from an actual EQ2 subscriber, the items being sold are fluff items. Nothing more.

You've already been able to buy tons of fluff items with their Legends of Norrath card game (booster packs often contain in-game items to use and trade). This is no different, only more direct.

Blizzard isn't innocent either, they're planning the same thing. http://www.thegrouchygamer.com/?p=157#more-157 [thegrouchygamer.com]

Re:Only Fluff Items (1)

Hays (409837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056571)

50% extra experience gain = "Only Fluff Items"? Giving a player with more money a competitive advantage with the core gameplay mechanism is "Only Fluff Items"?

Blizzard rewards from Blizzcon, Collector's editions, or card games are "Only Fluff Items". This crosses a terrible line.

Re:Only Fluff Items (2, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057055)

You already get 55% XP potions as veteran-reward items. Nothing new there. The only new thing is the achievement-XP potion. That's 10% or 25% for 4 hours, 50% for 2 hours. But it only boosts AXP you earn. Unlike regular XP, relatively few things give AXP. Quests, discovery locations and named-mob kills are the big things. And how many quests can you complete in 2 hours? How many nameds can you realistically find and kill? And you can't farm them, you get AXP for any given quest, discovery or named kill once and once only. So that potion isn't adding a lot in the end. Plus, with TSO they've already added automatic experience boosts for adventuring and crafting based on the number of max-level characters you have (up to 50%), and a bonus to achievement XP for mentoring down and completing lower-level content at an appropriate level. You can get more of a boost for free than the best buyable potions will give you. Overall, I'm filing the effects of those potions as minimal.

I'll start to have heartburn when they start selling access to content via microtransactions. When you have to shell out real dollars (beyond buying an expansion when it comes out) to be able to get your epic weapon, or to get access to an instance or raid zone, things like that. That'll only fly if it's done from the very start of a game, so people know going in what the ground rules will be. And I'm betting that approach won't be popular. Not in the sense that people will complain about it, people will always scream. In the sense that a lot of people will look at the whole framework and go "I don't want the headaches. I don't want to have to worry about my friends wanting to do an instance and I can't because I have to buy access and I won't have the money for it until payday.". It's an American thing: we're willing to pay $40/month for unlimited phone service when we normally only make $20-25 worth of billable calls because we'd rather spend the bit extra for the certainty that we're not going to get dinged with an exceptionally high bill some month.

Re:Only Fluff Items (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057071)

That's not a competitive advantage, just a time advantage. It means you can get to the same place in 20 hours of killing goblins rather than 30, giving you an extra ten hours to do something actually entertaining.

Smedley just sacrificed the cash cow. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056485)

Title says it all. John Smedley has screwed up the management of SOE so badly that there is nothing new coming out any time soon. So, in hopes of increasing getting some more cash flowing in in the meanwhile, he has sold out the very people who stuck by him.

SOE (read Smedley) has consistently screwed over it's customers. Somehow they still managed to hold onto a small but loyal customer base. This is a slap in the face to those people. SOE will see a short term burst of cash-flow, but realistically, they just blew their own foot off. There already abysmal subscription numbers will plummet, as their loyal customers realize that SOE just became the very same gold seller they try so hard to fight.

SOE is doing this as a stop-gap to fill the time until they can get FreeRealms out the door. But, word on that is that it's also a cluster-fsck.

Nice job John! I'll give you about 1 year before Sony hangs you out to dry given the recent economy and downsizing.

Re:Smedley just sacrificed the cash cow. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056559)

Smedley is a mixed bag. Yes, his interest is in maximizing cash flow, but he saved EQ1 and Vanguard over the long haul. EQ1 is still with us, and still has a decent player base. Vanguard was nearly lost, as Sigil has so much secrecy, some argued that it was due to the fact that they didn't have much in the way of content, just some cool demos to show off and a good teaser website. Sigil burned through its dough, and if it wasn't for the fact that SOE grabbed the company, Vanguard would be in the same category as UO2, cool MMOs that never were.

SOE has a big problem though. They have four Everquest-like MMOs: EQ:OA (which I am flabbergasted that they keep running), EQ1, EQ2, and finally Vanguard. I wish there were a way to merge them, but they have such conflicting engines and combat mechanics that this is almost an impossibility.

Sounds like this. (1)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056501)

Nexon Cash [nexon.net]

Signs of death (1)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056573)

In many venues they have what I would call certain signs of death. This is one of them - basically the idea that whoring oneself more will somehow make them viable.

In some cases - those truly a whore - more and more selling of oneself is only a logical conclusion. After all, when you are the "best" (be it a person who can sell their body) one can name their price, but then as you slide you have to be willing to sell for less as your "worth" drops (say, loose your beauty).

There is a difference here - graphics sell to a large extent but there is also the time spent in game that can not be transferred (in the whore analogy, well your own parts transfer in whatever state they were in at the end of the last encounter - however in a MMO you will start out as a total newbie). As such things like this may very will get a boost of last breath revenue and I can not blame them for doing it.

Of course, I would also say at this point the fact that EQ is still alive enough to whore itself out is amazing. I mean, this is like a 140 year old chain smoker alcoholic deciding to whore themselves out for another few years of life.

And, lastly, the game isn't a person so the "whore" analogy fails miserably there and we come back to shareholders stake in the claim. While some will want to say that is a "whore" the rest of us with a 401k realize that this isn't so. Shareholder's worth is an important thing.

I can't say I applaud this decision. Even were I a shareholder I bet there will be more loss than gain in this case. At the point any game is revenue based as to win, those that have no chance to win will quit (and that is 99% of your player base). For the last few months I guess you may maximize profits and I suppose so.

Re:Signs of death (3, Funny)

kv9 (697238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057939)

cowboys and whores analogies in the same thread. could it get any better than this?

Re:Signs of death (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059517)

in the whore analogy, well your own parts transfer in whatever state they were in at the end of the last encounter

Unless you've just visited a plastic surgeon to obtain [Flask of Enhanced Breast Size] or [Elixir of Tummy Fat Removal]. I understand there are other epic potions and such available from those people as well, and that there's a repeating quest on a 90 day timer that gives [Potion of Plumped Lips] as a reward.

Where is the line (1)

XavidX (1117783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056619)

The problem I see here is the xp modifiers. When you can give another guy more advantage in a game because he pays more money is just wrong. When you hit the online playing field in these types of games everyone is equal from the beginning. Now it will be the rich kid who has the advantage.

I like what Battlefield Heroes is doing. Free game (not released yet) but you can buy outfits and other stuff like that. BUT you dont get any advantage in the game.
ImperialAges is another game that is browser based that I am playing right now. Free game and you can buy the VIP package but it will not give you an advantage in any way.

Re:Where is the line (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056993)

You could say the same thing about giving guys with more spare free time an advantage too. Really 50% extra XP is an extremely minimal difference.

Take WoW for example. We get a new expansion what once a year? And for 4 days you need to grind XP. Then you sit for 361 days at max waiting for the next expansion. For a few extra dollars you can get it done in 3 days, and now you wait for 362 days for the next expansion. lol.

wow gold (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26056629)

Nice job! thanks for your information.

-I know some wow gold [vcsale.com] in wow, cheap wow gold [vcsale.com] farmed by man.

pplstillplayeq? (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056725)

tag heur!

Heralding the end of the game? (2, Interesting)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056727)

It's genius! Some people will get pissed off and cancel, and some will cough up the dough and continue playing. This way, SOE uses fewer resources and (maybe) turns even more of a profit.

Later on, they will start consolidating servers (through the guise of Free Character Transfers, and later forcibly).

Then, they'll release Everquest 3 and hopefully draw even more of the population off of EQ1&2.

I'm actually not being sarcastic here. I think it's a pretty clever way to ramp down an aging and/or failed MMORPG.

(and yes, I really wanted to make a Profit??? joke...you're welcome)

Re:Heralding the end of the game? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057371)

Curse you!!!
All the links and everything about Everquest 3 is an April Fools joke :(

Already can buy these in game (1)

Eniuin (1379759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26056837)

As another person mentioned, some people have time, some people have money. These items have been available in the game and can be purchased already with stutus that you gain from city quests or PVP. So it isn't like the items are new and no one could buy them. But now someone that doesn't play 80 hours a week can also benefit from grinding to get money in real life. Eniuin

pinokio asses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057573)

Could the belief grow that some mmo gamers are ready for further milking ?
If I see how some people I know are hooked it is worrisome.
My brother plays 40+ hours a week wow.
Combined with a full-time job this leaves less than little time for other things.
The game created slowly a void in his life.
I am convinced that fear for that void is as much a reason to play that much as the fun the game brings.
This seems a carrot and stick mechanism that drives some pinokio asses away from every thing else.
They don't blame the game for the emptiness, cause that happened slowly, yet they do credit the game for the instant fun it brings.
I'm pretty sure every time bliz or sony ads ways of bleeding the gamer financially they will wine and moan about it, but in the end, they'll pay up.

PS I'm not saying every player is hooked, just that those that are will not stop playing even if they have to pay for this and that.

Breaks the point of the game (5, Insightful)

forgoil (104808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058903)

"What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it..."
    -- Andy Warhol

In WoW or WAR I am on the same turf as everybody else. My character isn't limited to my bank account, my status, my job, be it good or bad. This maintains the fragile illusion of these games, that you are in fact someone else. This shatters completely as soon as you bring reality (in this case money) into the game. Be it micro-payments or macro-payments, the alternate reality is broken and dead. Spock no longer just have a little beard, he also has purple hair and moonboots.

This is just a combination of poor games and greed. Instead of improving the product (or replacing it) or being happy with what you got, they hope to make more money this way. I won't fall for it myself and I hope others won't either. This decision was taken by someone with dollar signs in front of their eyes, not someone who dreams of Jedis, Orcs, and Elfs. I only play games made by and ran by fellow dreamers.

Re:Breaks the point of the game (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060677)

"What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it."
-- Andy Warhol

Who is this pinky commie bastard, and why are you quoting him, citizen? ~

lawlz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26059461)

1) final fantasy 11 already gives you rings that give you 30, 50, 75, 100% xp bonus (for a duration and maximum earned limit)... but without having SPEND MONEY FOR IT.

2) EQ blows :)

It Works Like Platinum, But It's... Er... "Fun." (2, Insightful)

Valen0 (325388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059761)

Anyone get a flashback to the "Itchy and Scratchy Land" episode [snpp.com] of The Simpsons:

[Homer and family are at at Itchy and Scratchy Land gate buying tickets.]

Homer: One adult and four children.

Woman: Would you like to buy some Itchy and Scratchy Money?

Homer: What's that?

Woman: Well it's money that's made just for the park. It works just like regular money, but it's, er..."fun".

Bart: Do it, Dad.

Homer: Well, OK, if it's fun...let's see, uh...I'll take $1100 worth.

[Homer walks in and sees all the signs: "No I&S Money", "We Don't Take Itchy and Scratchy Money", etc.]

Homer: Aw!

XP Service Contract? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059769)

"Tier I flasks increase XP by 10% and cost $1.00. Tier II flasks increase XP by 25% and cost $5.00. Tier III flasks increase XP by 50%, and cost $10.00 each. All flask tiers last for 4 hours on use, and more than one can't be used at a time."

What has MS service contracts got to do with this game?

Great, just great (1)

CobaltTiger (671182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059783)

My dad is a huge EQ addict. He also has quite a bit of disposable income.

In short, there goes my inheritance.

Re:Great, just great (1)

barneco (1353761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060361)

My dad is a huge EQ addict.

Is there something inherently wrong with this statement, or is it just me?

Re:Great, just great (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060373)

You might inherit a few unique items :).

Don't tell Square-Enix! (2, Interesting)

Megane (129182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059835)

Tier I flasks increase XP by 10% and cost $1.00. Tier II flasks increase XP by 25% and cost $5.00. Tier III flasks increase XP by 50%, and cost $10.00 each. All flask tiers last for 4 hours on use, and more than one can't be used at a time."

FFXI has been doing this for free [ffxiclopedia.org] (at the cost of some in-game numbers that you can easily get doing normal XP leveling) for a long time. 50% extra XP for 3 hours for 1000 max XP (which means you get a total of 3000 using it), and there are a couple of other rings with different rates and times. Depending on how you get your XP, it could be used up in one hour, or you could go all 3 hours without finishing it off (which is why the other rings exist).

3000 xp is half a level in the 20s. There is also a 16-hour cooldown time, and a limit of 7 charges per week for this item, but that's still better than forking over 30-70 bucks to $ony.

Won't affect me (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26060427)

I'm on a private server!

Seriously, who willingly hands over money to Sony when there are better alternatives? Just buy titanium edition ($20 at circuit city or $9 used at half.com or amazon.com), install, don't patch (use special launch command), pick server, ???, profit!

Oh and it runs fine under wine to boot. Best part is I can look at the server side code and submit improvements that help everybody else!

P.S. Thank you EQEmu and Project EQ!

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