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EA Flip-Flops On Battlefield: Heroes Pricing, Fans Angry

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the put-your-money-where-your-gun-is dept.

The Almighty Buck 221

An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kuchera from Ars Technica is reporting that EA/DICE has substantially changed the game model of Battlefield: Heroes, increasing the cost of weapons in Valor Points (the in-game currency that you earn by playing) to levels that even hardcore players cannot afford, and making them available in BattleFunds (the in-game currency that you buy with real money). Other consumables in the game, such as bandages to heal the players, suffered the same fate, turning the game into a subscription or pay-to-play model if players want to remain competitive. This goes against the creators' earlier stated objectives of not providing combat advantage to paying customers. Ben Cousins, from EA/DICE, argued, 'We also frankly wanted to make buying Battlefunds more appealing. We have wages to pay here in the Heroes team and in order to keep a team large enough to make new free content like maps and other game features we need to increase the amount of BF that people buy. Battlefield Heroes is a business at the end of the day and for a company like EA who recently laid off 16% of their workforce, we need to keep an eye on the accounts and make sure we are doing our bit for the company.' The official forums discussion thread is full of angry responses from upset users, who feel this change is a betrayal of the original stated objectives of the game."

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EA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295808)

Showing it's true colors, once again.

Getting "hooked" into a free game by EA is just asking for it. Without lube.

Re:EA (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296930)

Eh, isn't that the purpose of demos? Getting people like the game so they will buy it? Or are you implying that the game developers should work without income from it?

This model is actually even better than demos; you get the full game to try out.

Re:EA (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297276)

This was never supposed to be a demo, not if you believe all the press releases, previews, etc. They claimed this would be a completely free game, where you could use real money to customize your character's appearance, etc.

Re:EA (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297336)

Not demo per se, but still a commercial game where you've supposed to spend some money. Just look at how the games are in Korea, they follow this exact route with everything.

Re:EA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296960)

Yeah those bastards. getting to work on something as fun as writing games AND expecting to get paid for it too!!!

Times are a changing.. (2, Informative)

saintm (142527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295814)

Well I guess that the 'stated objectives of the game' have changed then.

Reminds me a bit of 'Ultimate Team' in FIFA09 (and soon FIFA10) where you can earn points to pay the wages of a top team, but realistically you'd have to buy the card packs in order to fund having a top team, making a two tier system where you can only compete by spending real money.

It sucks, but it is the way it is.

Re:Times are a changing.. (3, Insightful)

uganson (1173241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296000)

The problem with EA/DICE right now is the dishonesty they have shown. They made this change without a warning. They did a BattleFunds sale and bundles offers in other equipment in the weeks prior to this change. Many people who spent BFs this weekend on these items have found now that they have to unexpectedly spend more money to use them.

And they completely continue to miss the point of all the complaining users. They say that the game is still free, and that you can still have fun without paying a penny. The point is that they destroyed the very core claim of not giving combat advantage to paying customers, and backstabbed the whole user community in the process. Still, no one in the dev/mods team has actually acknowledged it.

Re:Times are a changing.. (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296042)

They say that the game is still free, and that you can still have fun without paying a penny. The point is that they destroyed the very core claim of not giving combat advantage to paying customers, and backstabbed the whole user community in the process. Still, no one in the dev/mods team has actually acknowledged it.

This is actually fairly common style with Korean MMO's and multiplayer games. It seems to work good there and players like it, so it's not a surprise companies want to try it on western markets too.

Re:Times are a changing.. (3, Insightful)

uganson (1173241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296156)

This is actually fairly common style with Korean MMO's and multiplayer games. It seems to work good there and players like it, so it's not a surprise companies want to try it on western markets too.

I agree. It is a game model I don't like, so I stay away from those kind of games.

When I started playing BFH, this was the main selling point for me. It was a very bold claim, but they said it everywhere. It is on the official trailer. It is on the official FAQ (now updated). They said it in several interviews [youtube.com] . Now, I feel cheated.

Re:Times are a changing.. (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296234)

Just because it's a model that works in other places doesn't mean it's a model that we should be welcoming with open arms. The idea of a 'free' game that you have to pay real money to not get wtfpwnd every time you play is insane. You'll end up paying over the cost of what a 'paid' game would have been just to stay on an even playing field.

Re:Times are a changing.. (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296284)

At least if it's free you didn't need to invest any up-front money to get started. You can just walk away and they won't get any [more] money from you.

Maybe if enough people do the same the penny - or the equivalent in BattleBucks - will drop.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296614)

No, that's not free. Perhaps free to try, but since you do not get to use all the content without paying, it's not free. Essentially, it's a free trial without a time limit, or just Shareware.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is a free game. Everyone can run a server and anyone can download the client. I think it's even libre nowadays, instead of just gratis.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296880)

And why should everything involving computers be free? Yeah, we've got used to that by the availability of warez and so on. But it really is not good. Developers really need those sales. And hell, they're usually on prices that are equivalent to a few hours in a movie, while with game you actually get hundred hours of fun out of it.

Bad game? No problem, as this model actually is the one that lets you experience the game and lets you see it before paying anything. The only problem is that people think it's better to pay for a "full game" than pay similar or even less price in the content you get by micro-payments. But thats only in mind, and probably so because we've got used to paying the full price for games.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296022)

Well it's not like games industry is completely changing. Even DICE is still mostly making games that are sold the normal way (bad company 2 in a few months!), but I think this is a venture to see if the korean "offer free game, profit from ingame items" works in western countries too.

It's not really that bad model either, from customer point. You get to see the game without spending anything, so it's even better than just a demo. But the developers obviously have to cover costs and make income somehow, so it comes from the ingame items. And programmers, art team and all that game developing aspect costs quite a lot and western players probably aren't used for the micro-payments in games, so you have to create more incentive for players to spend some money on the game.

While I hate the "buy to be better" aspect in multiplayer games, it's good companies are experiencing these things. I tried the game too, but Bad Company was more for me. But at least I got to test it without spending anything and regretting that later.

Re:Times are a changing.. (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296178)

Sure, but the problems is the flip-flop, not the model they chose.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296208)

I tried D&D Online recently, and it seems to follow this kind of model too. I honestly would give the micropayment model a go for a game I'm truly interested in, but the feeling of it was wrong somehow. I don't really want to play a game where I can get my character something, using real money, that the character isn't entitled to in-game.

Why not just charge micropayments to play through an instance of a dungeon, and leave it at that? Charging for items just ruins the game for me; even if I'm not opposed to the idea of paying real money for them, it detracts from the experience.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296332)

but I thought D&D still held onto some version of the 'no ultimate advantage of paying, just acceleration of acquisition/advancement' model. Supposedly you can't get anything by paying that you couldn't eventually earn by playing, or did this change?

Re:Times are a changing.. (2, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297084)

No, it didn't change. The more quests you complete for factions, the more Turbine Points you get. Or you can buy them for real money. Or you can pay $15 a month for a subscription & get access to "pay" quests when they come out & an allotment of Turbine Points each month. I've been playing since the beta & haven't spent a dime of real money. You can buy items with Turbine points, but at most the are only slightly better than the items you can find. I.e. a Bull Strength potion that lasts 4x as long as a regular one. I have noticed that while the armor you can buy at the Turbine store looks better (or at least more complex) than the equivalent armor that you can find in dungeons, once you out-level it, you can't do anything with it. Can't sell it, can't trade it to other players & can't "mail" it to other characters in your account. I'm guessing if you bought a shared bank vault for you account you could trade it that way, but I'm not too inclined to find out.

You don't have to spend any money to have fun in DDO. None. There is nothing in the Turbine store that you "have" to have to get ahead. Quite honestly the equipment in the Turbine store that I've seen pales in comparison to the equipment that you can bid on at the auction house for in-game currency.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296244)

It's actually WORSE than a demo, because when you're playing, you're grouped up with people who have bought the best in-game items with money, while you haven't paid anything. It creates a negative first opinion of the game.

Re:Times are a changing.. (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296524)

Actually that's the perfect demo, just not one that is conducive to EA/DICE making alot of money and building a player base.

To be honest though, I d/led the game over the holiday and gave up trying to play it after about two hours of trying to find a server I could play on.

Oh, I could get connected to any number of servers, but each one I'd hit had one or two other players and thus was permanently in 'pre-play' phase and would reboot the map every 30-45 seconds when one of the other players would leave and drop us back below the required player limit.

I understand how people feel, it's like getting invested in a Joss Whedon/FOX project (or really any Sci-Fi FOX show since X-Files). Do you really want to invest your time and emotion towards something that is doomed to be canceled in a year?

Similarly, people got invested into BF:H thinking it'd live up to it's promises. Now no one 'owes' them anything in the contractual sense, but a good deal of the effort and interest of the player base was only put forward into this game under the understanding that the game would not be changed to a 'pay to play' model. And without that investment, BF:H would never have gotten enough of a player base to even last this long. So pulling a switchero is a betrayal in a real sense, regardless of what's owed to whom.

However, on the other hand, EA has a similar reputation as FOX does, and anyone who went into this wide-eyed and dreaming of a bold new world where the game was never going to slide this direction either wasn't paying attention or is new enough to the gaming scene that they legitimately own the title n00b. You don't put your faith in EA. They aren't your friends.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296410)

Imagine if it applied in real world games. Allow rich clubs to have extra players, for example. When Man U play they'd have 75 players on the field. And they're allowed to handle the ball. And they're riding horses.

Of course, it would be crap to watch and crap to play, which isn't good for business. Everybody will say sod it, and go and cut the lawn or something. A balanced game is more exciting. The NFL don't try to level the teams out for shits and giggles.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296768)

Imagine if it applied in real world games. Allow rich clubs to have extra players, for example. When Man U play they'd have 75 players on the field. And they're allowed to handle the ball. And they're riding horses.

Of course, it would be crap to watch and crap to play, which isn't good for business. Everybody will say sod it, and go and cut the lawn or something. A balanced game is more exciting. The NFL don't try to level the teams out for shits and giggles.

Pretty poor example. Man U has been spending enormous amounts of money to field championship teams in a league where there is huge disparity in spending.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296892)

Huh? That's exactly why I mentioned them. Still, no matter how much they spend, they're allowed the same number of players as the opposition and have to play by the same rules.

That's explicitly *not* the case with the "pay for power ups" model we're discussing here.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296904)

And you're forgetting here that the actual game is free. So what it basically comes to is if you rather pay $60 for the game fully, or if you rather pay for it as item micro-payments after you've noticed the game actually is fun.

Re:Times are a changing.. (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296024)

Well, depends if you paid for the game or not. If you paid for a game which you thought would be interesting, then the supplier shouldn't change the game so that it becomes boring. If you didn't pay, then there is no obligation of the company to the player.

However - regardless whether there is an obligation to the players or not, it's a silly move to make the game boring. There is stuff which you can sell which does not interfere with the game itself: e.g. a nicer user interface, character outfits, access to other levels... However once you sell direct advantages in the game, the gameplay suffers.

Imagine you were watching a tennis game - it's exciting till the end, finally one player scores a decisive point. But wierdly he doesn't actually win, because the other player buys the "smaller tennis court feature" for $10k - now the ball is suddenly declared "out". Would you still watch the game after that? Since the player with the most money wins anyway, it would be too boring for me.

Re:Times are a changing.. (4, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296412)

"Since the player with the most money wins anyway, it would be too boring for me."

Maybe too boring for you but the Yankees have proven time and again that such a model does work in professional sports.

Re:Times are a changing.. (0, Offtopic)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296774)

It's strange that you would say that ... since pro basketball, soccer, hockey, and football all have salary caps [wikipedia.org] for teams. While baseball doesn't have a cap, it has a luxury tax, which works to punish teams going over the budgeted amount. European football, however, doesn't seem to have any cap at all. Hmmm.

Re:Times are a changing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30297062)

Got nothing to do with them Yanks. Professional sports all around the world are merely "whoever throws most money at it wins" events. Football (not the American one ;) ), Olympics, Formula 1, etc.

Re:Times are a changing.. (2, Insightful)

vivian (156520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297108)

"Since the player with the most money wins anyway, it would be too boring for me."

How is that any different from "the player with the most spare time" wins? If you don't have the free time available to do the massive grind effort needed to get the best gear to be competitive most of the existing online games, it is terribly frustrating - and franky, I dont really want to burn that much of my life playing a game, due to real world commitments, relationships etc. On the other hand, people that have lots of time to burn playing games are less likely to have the ready cash to buy expensive upgrades - so in a way it works out. Of course, with two players similarly equipped, the guy who has been playing longest is more likely to win over the guy who just bought his way there, so the dedicated player still has an edge.

I personally prefer a truly level playing field - like quake or unreal tournament (or chess)- where it's just down to strategy and knowledge of the game, with everyone having the same gear.

Re:Times are a changing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296568)

"It sucks, but that's the way it is"? That's the most pathetic thing I've ever heard. If it sucks, then it's simple - don't buy that game. There is no game in the history of gaming that is so good that it's worth bending over for a game company and encouraging this sort of thing.

Or, do things your way, and buy games that screw you. I think my plan is better - there are tons of amazing games out there not trying to nickle and dime me to death. I'll give them my money.

BF a dead franchise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295832)

I've stopped playing the Battlefield titles after BF2 came out and was such a flop. I mean, Desert Combat was such an awesome mod, but lost in translation when Dice sold out to EA.
Then they came out with that pitiful title Battlefield: 2142, which included ad-ware, and all the commercials in the world wouldn't even get me to install a cracked copy.

Now this?

As far as I'm concerned, BF died after Desert Combat.

Re:BF a dead franchise (1, Informative)

AnonChef (947738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295954)

Battlefield and Battlefiled 2 has almost nothing in common with Battlefield Heroes.

Re:BF a dead franchise (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296080)

yeah i was going to say, bf heroes is more of an attempt to build on the success of tf2, using the name and ip of bf to raise it's profile amongst users. bf heroes is "free to play, $$$ to be competitive" while tf2 is $20 ($2.50-9.99 on steam sale, usually 2-3 times a year) once, with new content every 2-3 months... pick your poison. tf2 isnt nearly as popular as counter-strike source, but it's close enough, and seems to have "long term support" from valve. i can see a lot of bf heroes players jumping ship for bf2, mw2 or simply tf2.

Re:BF a dead franchise (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296064)

While I didn't like the games in between, BF: Bad Company is actually a great game. Tons of fun in multiplayer; I like hiding in bushes and snipering, and this is the only game besides the original Operation Flashpoint that has done that part good. And BF: Bad Company 2 will be released in a few months and for PC this time too, so I'm greatly waiting for that (and so are users disappointed at MW2's no-dedicated-servers thingie)

Re:BF a dead franchise (0, Flamebait)

pushf popf (741049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296668)

So I guess instead of paying money to pretend to be someone else, I'll go make and eat a gourmet meal, get laid, then maybe do some SCUBA diving.

Oops! did I say that out loud?

This just in: "Actual reality is much better than virtual reality"

Relevant (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295850)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGmcVUheFa0
1:09

Matchmaking? (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296346)

If I heard correctly, matchmaking ensures you only play against people of your own skill level. So if you don't pay for weapon upgrades, you'll either play against others who don't or people who do, but are worse players than you.

In essence, players are whining because they no longer get their 1337 epix but the actual game doesn't change at all. Their ranking / points / whatever will be lower than that of people who pay, but they will not be playing against those guys.

Don't like it? Don't pay them. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295864)

Pardon my good sense, but isn't the only real response to this for anyone who isn't satisfied to just stop paying them anything at all and go play something else?

As with any situation where a dev doesn't give the players what they want, the only way to send a message is to stop paying for a sub-par product and go support something that you enjoy.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (4, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295894)

Pardon my good sense, but isn't the only real response to this for anyone who isn't satisfied to just stop paying them anything at all and go play something else?

As with any situation where a dev doesn't give the players what they want, the only way to send a message is to stop paying for a sub-par product and go support something that you enjoy.

Exactly. If enough gamers reuse to buy their stuff; they will either change their model or go out of business. As a side note, I wonder what their reaction would be if players in game asked others not to spend real money and to spread the word to do the same? Their own game could be the used to spread a viral protest against the game.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295944)

Exactly. If enough gamers reuse to buy their stuff; they will either change their model or go out of business.

Dont you mean kill off a once profitable and good game developer that they took over?

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295974)

Dont you mean kill off a once profitable and good game developer that they took over?

Why does that matter to a paying customer? The only criteria is whether or not something is worth the money you paid for it, who gives a stuff if the developer goes out of business?

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296250)

I have yet to fling any coins at blizzard for WoW for this reason -- I refuse to pay
a recurring monthly fee for a full-price game I've *bought*.

But they seem to be doing okay in spite of it.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (2, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296544)

With MMOs, if they didn't charge you some sort of regular fee, they'd end up losing money on the game when 5 years and so many millions of dollars of maintenance and added content later, millions of people are still playing the game.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30297176)

If enough gamers reuse to buy their stuff; they will either change their model or go out of business. As a side note, I wonder what their reaction would be if players in game asked others not to spend real money and to spread the word to do the same? Their own game could be the used to spread a viral protest against the game.

Gamers in general are stupid little kid; literally. They've got no principles, morals or values. If you can offer something shiny they'll do what ever you want them to do. Sure they are a loud-mouthed group but when it comes to actions, they are a pathic bunch.

Personally I think whoever plays an EA game deservers every bit of abuse EA can come up with ;)

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297240)

If people find value and want to spend the money, they're going to spend it. Furthermore if nobody else buys the stuff, then it becomes even more attractive for people to buy it. This happens until equilibrium.

You can't fight markets.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295934)

The problem is that some of us have already paid them money before this change. Of course I will go and play somewhere else and not ever buy anything else from EA. I feel scammed.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296214)

In theory, yes. In practice [imageshack.us] , a lot of gamers aren't stubborn enough.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (2, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296254)

Oh, but you forgot the addiction and competitive behavior.
I've seen this countless times. Duels, OGame, Popmundo, etc., etc. Producer implements pay-for-advantage stuff, players get angry, they yell, grumble, gnash their teeth then silently go ahead and buy the stuff. It's the addiction and the fear of losing the edge that drives them to buy and buy, just like a herd.
In Ogame, hardcore players organized special alliances to hunt and destroy those who pay for advantages in game. This lasted for a couple months, then most of those angered players started buying stuff themselves. And now it's all peace and quiet.
IMO, best payment approach was done in EVE Online. They implemented a method for players to buy a special item called PLEX (30 days Pilot License Extension) and they are able to sell it for ingame currency. Nothing else. This doesn't give a large ingame advantage to players who buy PLEX for real money, because it doesn't make you advance faster. It only gives you more ingame currency, so you afford to buy a ship fast if yours is destroyed. Apart from that, you still need skills to pilot it properly, and those can not be trained faster.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30297330)

This doesn't give a large ingame advantage to players who buy PLEX for real money, because it doesn't make you advance faster. It only gives you more ingame currency, so you afford to buy a ship fast if yours is destroyed. Apart from that, you still need skills to pilot it properly, and those can not be trained faster.

No. No advantage at all. None whatsoever. Unless you're oh say a Russian aluminum tycoon who can blow tens of thousands of dollars on PLEX.

Not that any Russian aluminum tycoons play EVE Online...

Oh wait...

Well there is one Russian aluminum tycoon who plays EVE.

Re:Don't like it? Don't pay them. (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296922)

Pardon my good sense, but isn't the only real response to this for anyone who isn't satisfied to just stop paying them anything at all and go play something else?

As with any situation where a dev doesn't give the players what they want, the only way to send a message is to stop paying for a sub-par product and go support something that you enjoy.

Yes, it is. But, good sense and "real" has nothing to do with a lot of complaints in this type of situation, where a largely free service goes paid. Much of it has to do with Customer Nazi Syndrome and the notion that companies are immediately evil for vulgar displays of seeking profit. After all, if one mentions revenue and such, one must be engaged in ripping someone off.

In a situation such as this, where there is very little comment necessary other than the negative, it might seem as if they are the majority - but actually it's mostly just the tossers demanding the earth. The rest of us just move on or get onboard.

If the cost of items goes up and to "stay competitive" one has to spend more money, I think it's fairly obvious that the cost of staying competitive is likely to change.

So stop playing? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295896)

You don't have to play. Ok its fun but if its not worth paying to continue that fun move on to something else. Its not like it does anything new or better than the many many other games out there. This is the one time a boycott of a game would actually make a difference, they don't have your money yet so stop playing and a more amenable pricing policy may be worked out if it isnt there are many other choices out there.

So? (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295906)

Since EA/DICE are the only makers of FPS, we have to buy this game...

'scuse me, I'll be in Team Fortress 2 if you need me. There I get weapon upgrades for free and they're more fluff and fun than necessary to be competing. Sorry, but paying to be playing competitively is something I'd expect in a F2P game with an ingame store, but not in a game that I buy at full price. No sale.

Re:So? (3, Informative)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295926)

Sorry, but paying to be playing competitively is something I'd expect in a F2P game with an ingame store, but not in a game that I buy at full price. No sale.

Battlefield Heroes is more like Quake Live; in that you can play the game for free through a web-browser interface. So you don't buy it "at full price" as such. Instead you create a character, log on, and play for free with some ads on the logon pages and such. However by playing, or paying, you get a type of points that you can use on certain types of items and gear; though these are not essential to playing as it is at the moment.

I believe that previous stated goal was to finance the game through ads and "micropayments"; so I really can't see why this change comes as any great surprise.

Re:So? (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295964)

Should have added that the game is in Open Beta at the moment so changes and rebalancing of both price, stats, levels and etc, is and should be expected.

Re:So? (1)

AnonChef (947738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295998)

The issue is that in the beginning we where told that nothing you could buy for "real money" would give you an advantage over non-paying players. Now the currency you get for playing is worth a lot less than it used to be so it's almost impossible to claim that this is still true.

I still think it's a fun game when I can play ("Error 3" - I'm looking at you) and bought some snazzy clothes and two weapons for my soldier.

Re:So? (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296126)

"The issue is that in the beginning we where told that nothing you could buy for "real money" would give you an advantage over non-paying players."

If it gives no competitive advantage then why in the world would it be worth real money?

Seems to me that they did an initial forecast as to the game's cashflow and profitability, potential ad revenue, and so on. They then tried it out in the real world and found out that people weren't buying enough pretty clothes and other useless items, nor was the ad revenue what they expected.

So. Either adjust pricing or fold the game.

Which would you prefer?

Re:So? (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296190)

"The issue is that in the beginning we where told that nothing you could buy for "real money" would give you an advantage over non-paying players."

If it gives no competitive advantage then why in the world would it be worth real money?

You don't really understand the concept of "gaming", do you?

Re:So? (0, Flamebait)

berwiki (989827) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296672)

The issue is that in the beginning we where told that nothing you could buy for "real money" would give you an advantage over non-paying players.

oh well, cry me a river. shut up.

its like the 10th time i've read this crybaby post. EULAs and Contracts change constantly everywhere, complain to the company, not us, we get it, you're crybaby bitches.

Re:So? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296262)

How long until there's a monthly subscription that keeps your ping below 700ms?

Re:So? (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296808)

I think it's technically possible. Just multi-host your servers with different IP addresses going through different providers. Then make the "deadbeats" connect to the IP address that goes through Cogent.

The client would automatically know which one to connect, and the server can refuse the connection if you try to hack it otherwise.

Re:So? (1)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296232)

Sorry, but paying to be playing competitively is something I'd expect in a F2P game with an ingame store, but not in a game that I buy at full price.

That's exactly what Battlefield Heroes [battlefieldheroes.com] is - it's free to play. Apparently, the revenue wasn't enough so they are adjusting aspect of the game to get more money.

Re:So? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296474)

Boycott it. I have. I'm no longer playing until they fix it. Already the servers were quite the last few days. I'll check it out in a few weeks to see if they've apologized and fixed it, but until then there are plenty of other free games (plus games which I've bought, because they were worth it) to be getting on with.

Re:So? (1)

Chameleon Man (1304729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297236)

It's easy to say "just don't spend the money" when you haven't played the game. I've been a casual player of the game since April, and I must say, this is the definition of bait-and-switch. The business model of cheapening everything, but forcing players to buy them, is a horrible one to go buy. Given it's accessibility and cartoony environment, this game attracts many younger kids who find paying for items online a huge hurdle. Also, to suggest that they weren't making money before is simply wrong. I had mentioned this in another response here on /., but I'll say it again. In the actual forum post, Ben Cousins has clearly stated that it's not an issue with money but rather with a sustainable business model. Also not mentioned here was a previous interview where he had stated that only 5% of players would need purchase clothing items for them to turn a profit. As a player, I can tell you they clearly were not in the negative. Most likely, some corporate heads at EA called DICE and said "Hey, we're losing money from our other shitty games, so you need to pick up the slack". To do what they did is not illegal, but it sure as hell is professionally unethical. It's a great game, but doesn't have enough to offer to keep it's fan base. Trust me, the fans aren't going to just swallow this one.

Honest from the start (1, Flamebait)

JeffSpudrinski (1310127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295914)

You have to admit that he's right about needing to pay wages and such...but they should have been honest from the start. "Bait and switch" comes to mind here.

I don't play this particular game and I'm very selective about what I do play for reasons such as this. I was leery about my Steam account before all the crap with Modern Warfare 2 and was annoyed that I had to register for Steam when I bought my copy of Portal off a retail shelf a while back. I had to go online, but was able to tweak the settings so that I didn't have to be logged in to play it.

The simple fact is this: online play is big time now, and game developers will need to make money off of it to stay in business.

Again, though...they need to be honest from the start and not change things suddenly.

-JJS

Re:Honest from the start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296002)

been playing multiplayer games for 15 years now.. I haven't had to pay the publisher anything bu the $50 or so for the game itself.. no no, the real issue is that they want MORE...and they want to retain control of the product after you buy it.

Re:Honest from the start (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296390)

been playing multiplayer games for 15 years now.. I haven't had to pay the publisher anything bu the $50 or so for the game itself.. no no, the real issue is that they want MORE...and they want to retain control of the product after you buy it.

Given that the game is 'freemium' (free to play, better if you pay), that argument doesn't hold for BFH (they obviously need people to pay to make the same $50/person). It does hold true for MW2, though, at $60 with only Infinity Ward-provided matchmaking.

Re:Honest from the start (5, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296266)

Again, though...they need to be honest from the start and not change things suddenly.

I don't think it's dishonesty so much as, "we thought this model would make money and we were wrong". Find me a business that continues to keep its promises even when it means pouring money down the drain and I'll show you a business with shitty management. It sucks for the players, but if they weren't generating enough revenue, EA sort of has no choice here.

One other note: I'm seeing a lot of people here and on the forums saying things like, "This is a terrible decision! They'll drive the players away and lose money!", which is kind of silly logic. They were already losing money. They could either stick with the plan that is unprofitable, or they can go with a new plan that might be unprofitable. Sort of a no-brainer.

Re:Honest from the start (3, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296632)

It sucks for the players, but if they weren't generating enough revenue, EA sort of has no choice here.

Thank you for using common sense. So many people are getting irritated about a business no longer giving freeloaders the same priority as paying customers. This is ridiculous. You know how Valve keeps all their customers on the same level? Everyone pays to get in. A company that works for free won't be working for very long.

Re:Honest from the start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296786)

They WONT drive players away though. These sorts of games are going strong. Look at Gunbound, for one.

Re:Honest from the start (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296856)

Nobody plays empty MMOs.

The game is not new, so it's unlikely to attract many new players.
Old players will just abandon it or continue playing free.

Also, I wonder about aftermarket for items the hardcore players already got. "Not gonna grind another 1000 hours to get X, but I have Y which suddenly costs good $50. So let's sell it to some sucker."

Re:Honest from the start (1)

Chameleon Man (1304729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296972)

You're making a lot of assumptions here. In the actual forum post, Ben Cousins has clearly stated that it's not an issue with money but rather with a sustainable business model. Also not mentioned here, was a previous interview where he had stated that only 5% of players would need purchase clothing items for them to turn a profit. They clearly were not in the negative. Most likely, some corporate heads at EA called DICE and said "Hey, we're losing money from our other shitty games, so you need to pick up the slack".

Re:Honest from the start (1)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296306)

"Bait and switch" comes to mind here.

"Bait and switch" [wikipedia.org] would mean that there are malicious intent behind it. I find it more likely that they tried the revenue model, found that it doesn't provide enough money and are tweaking the game to make it more attractive to send them money. The alternative, eventually, would be to shut it down - or at least put less developer effort and/or servers at it.

As users haven't invested anything in the product - just played which is supposed to be fun - I don't think "bait and switch" is the appropriate term.

It doesn't work in Hong Kong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295946)

It doesn't work in Hong Kong

            Access Denied
            The server returned a 403 response.

            You can't access this page from your country.

Oh well =(

Bye-bye BF Heroes! (1)

Brazilian Geek (25299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30295972)

I really enjoyed playing BF Heroes - it's light, I never felt that other players had unfair advantages, the promise of no grind, easy to pick up and get going game with fun graphics and I was happy. There was a single problem that use to keep me from giving them some paypal love - the game would disconnect me for no reason after 5 minutes or so of no-lag play.

I was patiently waiting for this to be fixed or for servers to pop up here in Brazil but alas - the fun of BF Heroes is gone.

Paying now means serious advantages to gameplay so no more for me, I don't have hours a day to play nor do I think that I should constantly pay for a game so I'll stick to CS:Source or my other free-to-play games and give money to indie game companies.

EA screwed up BF Heroes, what was fun now became unbalanced - all the best to the players that stick around but I'm having none of it.

Re:Bye-bye BF Heroes! (2, Interesting)

shmlco (594907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296144)

"... nor do I think that I should constantly pay for a game..."

They provide a continual, ongoing service, and you think that you're entitled to it forever?

Re:Bye-bye BF Heroes! (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296526)

Yes, if that's what they've repeatedly stated. There are loads of newspapers, radio stations, web sites, games etc which are free (that is - the revenue comes from somewhere other than the end user paying for it).

It's like when ISPs get pulled up over their silly claims of unlimited broadband. "Yes, but we didn't know you were going to use to much". "Fine, but then don't call it unlimited, you know, if it's not unlimited. That's lying".

And this is lying too. I noticed in the last few days before I stopped playing it that Nike were advertising in-game. I wonder if they're paying based on how many people have downloaded the game, or who played it last week? Because I imagine that both figures are going to be completely wrong once people start boycotting this game.

Re:Bye-bye BF Heroes! (1)

vivian (156520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297258)

I don't know what your local free papers are like, but the ones over here are very light on news - usually something about a new stopsign being erected, council member's opening of a mall or something of equal significance - and about 80% advertisements. Do you really want a game like that?

Re:Bye-bye BF Heroes! (2, Insightful)

StayFrosty (1521445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297138)

That's why a lot of other games let the players set up dedicated servers. That way the publisher does not have to worry about providing this ongoing service--the community takes care of it. This is why I refuse to pay for any game that does not allow dedicated servers. The game is worthless when the publisher decides to pull the plug on the servers.

Re:Bye-bye BF Heroes! (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30297110)

I highly recommend Team Fortress 2.

Advertising Supported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30295994)

They don't solely make money from battlefunds, they also have ingame advertising, everytime the map switches you get a advert now, which is fine, I'd happily play a free game in return for being shown adverts, but to get adverts, and also be at a disadvantage compared to players who bought battlefunds for better weapons leaves a rather bitter taste.

I used to be a avid BFH player, but to be honest, while fun, the game is too simplistic (compared to other online team based FPS games) to be worth paying for, and as such I won't be logging in anymore.

Er what? (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296008)

in order to keep a team large enough to make new free content like maps and other game features we need to increase the amount of BF that people buy

So people have to buy stuff from you to get free content?

Run that by me again?

Re:Er what? (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296164)

They have a development staff that needs to eat. People don't pay. They don't eat. If they don't eat, they don't develop and expand the game. If the game doesn't expand, people leave.

Re:Er what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296182)

If the game costs too much to play in a fun way, people do not buy...

Re:Er what? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296826)

Simple. Some people need to buy stuff in order that everyone can get the free content.

Just say to no to Microtransaction games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296062)

And this is why you should not waste time with "free to play" games - there is no such thing as a free lunch and once the publisher/developer finds out that their pipe dreams about microtransaction income are not happening (especially today, very limited disposable income), they will simply say "We are altering the deal, pray we don't alter it any further". The obvious way to squeeze more is to ensure that anyone serious about playing have to spend money on microtransactions, turning the whole affair into a contest of "who has most disposable income and least amount of sense?"

Microtransaction-based games are always going to be "won" by people who have most disposable income and the "total cost" of buying all the benefits and advantages is usually completely ridiculous compared to games that have just one pricetag. Only real answer is not to play them.

What is their definition of free? (1)

Spliffster (755587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296158)

We have wages to pay here in the Heroes team and in order to keep a team large enough to make new free content like maps and other game features we need to increase the amount of BF that people buy.

By earning more money of some players they will be able to release "free" content?

Battlefield was a really nice game ... but with Version 2 they have screwed up. DICE released unfinished addons for half the price of a new game (1-2 new maps, 1-2 new weapons). The addon's were bug ridden (more than the original game) and patches came in slowly.

This in combination with the usually EA stunts lead me to abandon Battlefield entirely (altough I like the game when it works).

Whatever, read a book. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296402)

You mean they are forcing people to stop and buy games and forcing them to actually read a book? The horror.

Time to start a sweepstake (1)

Nighttime (231023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296434)

How long before someone launches a class action lawsuit against EA/DICE?

War is expensive (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296468)

Forcing those in charge of the troops to spend massive amounts of money-- well beyond initial estimates-- in order to properly arm and care for those troops?

Sounds like they're getting the "realistic" part into the combat simulators after all.

(Except for that you can still buy armor)

Charging a monthly fee is more palatable (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296502)

I'd be much more willing to start paying a monthly fee for game access if the company were going bankrupt than to tolerate corruption of the game by allowing externalities like paying real money for game advantage.

Losing to someone not because you play worse or you have bad luck, but rather because that guy simply outspent you, is just completely demoralizing and I'd abandon any competitive game that allowed this.

A monthly access fee seems fair and equitable, though. They're providing you a valuable entertainment service and its only fair to shoulder a portion of the cost!!!

--PeterM

games (1)

Dale512 (1073668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296556)

I play games to have fun. Part of that fun when playing with others is an even playing field. Games, unlike life, have rules to make things fair. Buying your way changes that. I do not play games that put the unfairness of life back into a game. For now, there are still plenty of other games that play within the sandbox just fine that will get my time/attention/money and I can ignore games that do this.

I can't really argue too much with this. (1)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296574)

I play another EA game that has free components (BattleForge) and I'm always worried that they're going to shut it down because it's not making enough money. There are a lot of Free 2 Play people on and I sometimes wish they were spending just a bit more money since I understand about costs of keeping up servers and releasing new cards (it's a trading card RTS). So I can't blame EA too much for trying to snag a little revenue out of one of their investments. In BF there's a market for trading gold, which is earnable in maps, for BattleForge points. I think there's a good balance there but it's not perfect yet.

All too common amongst games. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296640)

it's like in Farmville - a very poorly written, underperforming isometric Facebook game that is quite fun despite it's flaws - you have to pay money (and not a small amount either, especially for a game with over a million players allegedly) to do common tasks, like buy fuel for tractors.

I like the game. It sucks performance wise. I think I'll create FarmYourselfSilly for Android when I get my new phone. Might add hills and dry stone walls for that authentic Yorkshire theme. I'll cloudify it with a Produce Market for trading crops. Too many players growing wheat? Well, sucks!

Free as in Pay (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296650)

This is some new definition of the term Free Content that I wasn't previously aware of.

Once upon a time (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296722)

Once upon a time there was a saying "May the best player win". I think we need to amend that saying to reflect the new corporate model "May the richest player win".

robbery? (1)

aquabat (724032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296868)

Too bad you can't just get a bunch of other noobs together and gang mug some player for his shiny new toys. That would be hilarious to watch play out in a real world courtroom.

wish they'd learn from layoffs (2, Insightful)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296906)

Battlefield Heroes is a business at the end of the day and for a company like EA who recently laid off 16% of their workforce, we need to keep an eye on the accounts and make sure we are doing our bit for the company.'

You know, most businesses take a step back to figure out why they had to lay people off. If EA took a moment to figure out that customers don't like it when they get screwed and pirate their games in vengeance, then maybe they'd be doing better. I don't know about you guys, but I'm still sore about the whole DRM thing.

Sorry, I guess this is a redundant comment for "EA strikes again".

EA has a company wide directive for online revenue (4, Insightful)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30296940)

Electronic Arts has an internal mandate to have about 15% or more of the games revenue happen from online activities. The top management does not care too much about how this goal is acheived. For some games, this is from premium content (extra levels). Some games get more creative with it.

Multiplayer FPS games though are in a bit of a bind. The point of such games is to make sure you can play with anyone else who is online. The most popular levels will never be premium content that you had to pay to own. But powerups that anyone can use in any map? Those are something you can try to monetize.

As a player, I am not convinced that these sort of powerups are the optimal way to monetize that content. There is just too narrow a window for the power and utility of those power ups. If they are really worth paying for, then the rest of the customers become 2nd class players. If they are not very powerful, who the hell would actually buy them?

If they catch enough blowback on this, they will probably abandon this type of effort and try to come up with a better idea. But everyone knew that this particular kind of fee based content had to be tried at least once, and even 8 years ago, you would probably have guessed that EA would be the first company to actually try to do it.

I am not really annoyed that they tried this. I just hope it does not become an industry wide trend to let customers buy an advantage against the other players.

END COMMUNICATION

That's why I bought a Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30296982)

No games, no problems!

Implementation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30297344)

I think most of the problem is the best foot forward approach. They rushed the game out the door giving it away free. The paid content was very minimal, and by the time I was bored of the game still had the 3 basic maps for what seemed a very long time. The paid content was stupid stuff like costumes and gestures. If they would have had DLC maps, types of gameplay DeathMatch?, or vehicles to extend the overall game then I could see paying money for it. But they want you to pay for something that was free and be happy about it? I think they were just expecting money to fall from the heavens for minimal work. I also tried their poorly implemented game BattleForge. I even bought the store version for 50$ before they dropped the price on it. The price to own the whole game is completly insane

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