Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×


I would never pay (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907389)

Personally, if I shell out 40$ for a game,
I'm not paying 11.95 or whatever a month, just to be able to play it against anything other than the AI.
Hopefully other servers will come out for games like these, like Opennap for napster

Re:I would never pay (1)

swright (202401) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907420)

Hey I dunno, there are quite a few games I would quite happily pay for to play online for three simple reasons:

1 - no lame players...
2 - much less cheaters....
3 - decent and reliable online stats and rankings

Yup, my vote says yes! (but make it optional...)

Re:I would never pay (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907435)

Yeah but first person shooters are not going to be one of them. There are far too many mods, custom settings etc that players usually are the ones doing the serving. This will work for roleplaying gaming enviroments and not much else imho.

Re:I would never pay (1)

BlackGriffen (521856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907637)

1 - no lame players... 2 - much less cheaters.... 3 - decent and reliable online stats and rankings What gaming server are you using, cause I've got to get a piece of that! There will always be lame players and cheaters. Even the Diablo II realms aren't immune with everyone and his uncle trying to figure out how to dupe items. Once you get cheaters and lame players, stats don't mean much. BlackGriffen

British citizen (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907577)

I want UK citizenship.

How do I get it?

Re:British citizen (-1)

gdiersing (240179) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907601)

be born there.

Try the French, I hear if you due a tour in the Foreign Legion they'll let anybody in

Re:British citizen (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907674)

Come on!

I'm not yet another paki or a sad and poor refugee. I'm an anglophile and a highly educated (PhD) caucasian with an excellent grasp of the English language and the culture.

Obviously I'll swear allegiance to the Queen and I would be more than happy to serve your Foreign Office and the intelligence community on the matters concerning my (former) nation if given a chance.

Re:British citizen (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907702)

The Queen sucks though. It's not like she really does anything for the country aside from serve as another tourist attraction.

Re:British citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907744)

If you use words like "paki" we don't care whether you have a PhD or not, you can fuck off.

A British Citizen

Not Quite OpenNap, but... (2, Insightful)

BlackGriffen (521856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907623)

Do you remember the online gaming service Kali? I think they're still around, though I can't load right now. They had a one time fee of $20, and after that you could play pretty much any game capable of IPX network gaming over it. They were marginalized by gaming companies offering free online gaming built in to the game, but if the companies start trying to charge a monthly fee for their service, Kali could make a really big comeback. They may need to change their business model so that you have to pay a couple of bucks to upgrade each new major revision of Kali, but they could probably easily compete with proprietary 1-game networks.

Even if that doesn't succeed, someone will probably make something like Opennap or gnutella for gamers. Once a free service like that comes along, that the companies don't have to pay money to maintain, I don't see why they wouldn't embrace it. Hell, the companies may even surprise us and do it themselves.


nth post (-1, Offtopic)

ballzhey (321167) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907390)

n+1 post

Re:nth post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907598)

lol good one. I'm going to use this in the future.


fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907392)

pants of fury, biznatches

Re:fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907404)

god fucking damnit

Free games! (1)

Defender2000 (177459) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907395)

I'd pay to play online... if I didn't need to pay for the game at the store. (Download it, etc).

article slashdotted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907462)

mirror here []

Re:Free games! (2, Interesting)

moncyb (456490) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907490)

Yeah, that's one thing they need to do to be successful--create client software that only works with their pay online service that you can download for free, and a retail version that you pay for that you can play offline, online as a client and/or server, and use their pay service as well. That way the hardcore (or offline) gamer can buy the retail package, while someone who just wants to play the pay online version just has to enter their credit card # and download a file...

They should also have multiple games for a base subscription price. Say a FPS, an RPG, and a strategy game. That kind of selection would attract many more users--especially those that like to play all three types.

Re:Free games! (2, Interesting)

Brit Aviator (542593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907584)

Don't you just love it when you would like to pay a game like Dark Age of Camelot or some such, and are willing to fork over the $10 a month to play, only to realize that they want you to pay full retail price ($40-$50) to get just the game itself? Even when they throw in a free month of play, I think it's a touch pricey. What I'd prefer to see is games that have a monthly fee to play (especially those that have *no* functionality offline) be sold at a vastly reduced price. $10 for the basic game and then another $10 to play each month would be reasonable. Even if you hated the game, you'd only be out $20 which is about what you pay for budget games anyway. Similarly, retailing at $20 and including a free month of access would work. Again, you're only out $20.

The bottom line is this: if you have a game such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein that has excellent online *and* offline functionality, and online gaming is free via hosting, then you are fully justified in charging $50-$60 for your product to compensate you for your work. But if your game is online only, only charge what you absolutely *must* to get your game into the hands of as many people as possible. Hell, if my primary revenue was to come through the online monthly payments, I'd be encouraging piracy of the baseline ware!

Thats how m$ does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907749)

AC has been 20$ with 1 month pre-paid for most of its life.

Re:Free games! (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907636)

Even though I'm a fan of Ultima from the early 80s, I have not played UO - because I don't feel like shelling out the $$$ in the store for something that I'll have to pay a monthly fee to keep playing.

Make up your mind - are you selling a game for me to play on my PC or for me to pay you to play online. I'm only paying for one or the other.

Re:Free games! (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907730)

I haven't played uo either, but you can get uo at a store for $10, and it's packaged with (at least, not sure) the first month of play. Since additional months are $10, I don't see the problem with such a model...

Re:Free games! (3, Informative)

Mahrin Skel (543633) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907701)

It's been tried, it doesn't seem to work. You need to have a full-price unit on the shelves for people to actually buy. Hell, our piece of the retail sale barely pays for the "free" month, we'd *gladly* just let you download it. People just don't do it in enough numbers to make a viable business model.

--Dave Rickey
Designer, Mythic Entertainment

Re:Free games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907757)

History is a poor guid for the future, why dont you do both? Im sure once customers get used to it and broadband gets ubiquitous it will become the norm. In the meantime you wont be putting of a substantial number of customers who do just want to download it and ONLY pay monthly fee's.

Re:Free games! (1)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907754)

an online rpg with the biz. model you suggest- download the client (or get it on a covermount), pay to play. You even play free until you reach level 6 or something.


fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907396)



i.e. greatly reducing market share (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907397)

c'mon people, if you start charging people to play online people just arent going to play, rule of convenience.

could it be (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907398)

definatly not

EverQuest (2, Insightful)

Ageless (10680) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907405)

I've been paying $30.00 a month (three accounts) for nearly two years to play EverQuest. Some games are just worth it. EQ would be incredibly boring as a single player game, but as a MMORPG it's unbeatable.

Wow, if that's not the definition of "loser" . . . (-1)

Kiss The Sp0rk (447455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907457)

I've been paying $30.00 a month (three accounts) for nearly two years to play EverQuest. Some games are just worth it. EQ would be incredibly boring as a single player game, but as a MMORPG it's unbeatable.

My God! Please, seek counseling.

Re:Wow, if that's not the definition of "loser" . (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907570)

I personally have never played Everquest (I'm very curious but dont wanna get into anything right now, cuz I'm a med student and medical school+any addiction = chiropractor school!), but it seems entirely ignorant that you'd label someone as a loser for paying $30/month for entertainment. Many people, esp on this site, probably make $30 an hour. One hours work for 720 hours fun is a bargain in my book.

Plus, I believe, Kiss the Spork, that YOU are on a site called "News for NERDS." Go to maximonline and call the above user a nerd, but to do it on a Slashdot message board is throwing stones when you live in a glass house! :-)

oh well.. (1)

MoceanWorker (232487) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907406)

as long as i got my broadband and i'm happy... :-)

tim is a baby (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907407)

tim is a baby

The pay-for-play concept works (5, Interesting)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907410)

I've been playing Ultima Online for more than two years now. The game itself is cheap, it's in the bargain bin at most retailers, and it costs $9.95/month to keep an account to play the game. I have two accounts. UO boasts some 300K+ active accounts, and other games like Everquest are fairly popular as well. At first I too was hesitant to shell out a monthly fee - then I thought about it. I can pay 10 bucks to go to a movie and be entertained for 2 hours, or I can pay 10 bucks for unlimited entertainment in a month's time. Screw the movie theater.

May only be a niche market, but pay-for-play is definitely a viable model.


Re:The pay-for-play concept works (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907501)

Yeah but aren't the upgrades a bitch? Wasn't there a housing shortage etc that forced people to buy an expansion pack to have property? I don't mind paying for an online game but I don't like getting scammed into paying for expansion packs when I'm shelling out 10-20 bucks a month already.

Re:The pay-for-play concept works (0)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907518)

This is the #1 problem I have with the pay to play model... I thought we were paying our monthly fee to support the further development of the game... then shouldn't expansion packs be free? (I don't play these games cause for me, when it comes to online gaming I figure I would react in one of two ways--apathy or obsession...)

Re:The pay-for-play concept works (1)

kz45 (175825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907651)

I thought we were paying our monthly fee to support the further development of the game

You are paying for the server costs, which I would imagine is pretty expensive per month.

Re:The pay-for-play concept works (1)

Mahrin Skel (543633) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907717)

You are paying for the server costs, which I would imagine is pretty expensive per month.

Servers, bandwidth, and Customer Support costs roughly $5-6 dollars a month per customer. DAoC burns more bandwidth than most European countries.

--Dave Rickey

Re:The pay-for-play concept works (2)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907580)

The upgrades are only a bitch if you get them. There was (and is, and always will be) a housing shortage, but their fix was to create a mirror image of the world. There was a client patch, but no new client or purchase was required.

They also keep pumping out new clients. They released a 3D client with access to a new landmass (no housing there) and in general, it flopped. A low percentage of the playerbase uses the 3D client and the landmass for that client is empty. Now they're releasing another 3D client which mostly consists of new artwork (no new landmass). I imagine that the only reason new clients keep coming out is to ensure that some incarnation of UO is fresh on the shelves instead of wasting away in the bargain bin.

Buying the new clients has always been up to the player, though. If you want access to all the new stuff, you go buy the new client; if you're happy with the same stuff, you don't spend the extra money. The initial expansion pack (The Second Age, I think 1998?) was eventually released for free as a bigass client patch to everyone who hadn't already bought it. I assume that over time the newer features will eventually be doled out in a similar fashion, once the retail market for copies of the "latest and greatest" client dies off. I haven't bought any of the new revisions, aside from paying shipping for a beta CD of the first 3D client, and don't plan on buying any of them.

I have no doubt that people who use the current 3D client, but don't go out and buy the new one that's coming out, will eventually have access to the new stuff without having to buy it. People still using the 2D client will eventually be able to access the 3D client's landmass without paying for the privilege. It comes back to the movie theater analogy, really. If you want to watch the latest must-see flick now, you go and shell out the money. If you don't mind waiting, you can see it next year on cable without having to pay anything extra. There are (apparently) enough people who have to "get it now" to support the release of all these clients as retail, but there are also plenty of people who don't mind waiting.


Re:The pay-for-play concept works (2, Interesting)

Shiny Metal S. (544229) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907512)

May only be a niche market, but pay-for-play is definitely a viable model.
Maybe now it's a niche, but probably because not so many people have DSL in their home. MMORPGs are IMO much more interresting than any other games, and I think they'll be more popular when Internet connections are cheaper. In fact, I think we'll see many games in the future which will be based on engines and media provided by projects like e.g. WorldForge [] but with customized worlds, where we'll have to pay for playing, to pay for servers and huge bandwidth.

Re:The pay-for-play concept works (0)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907641)

This concept works REALLY well for people who develop characters in EverQuest, UO, etc. and sell them on eBay at obscene profits. I wouldn't mind paying $10.00 per month if I was making between $100 and $200 per character.

Otherwise I can't see where the value-added comes from.

As usual, it's better when it's free (1)

archnerd (450052) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907412)

Although I've pretty much grown tired now of online role-playing, I once shelled out some $30(? I don't remember the exact amount any more) per month to play Gemstone III. That is, until I discovered MUDs. There were hundreds of them, they were free, and they were just as much fun. Of course I use Linux now so I wouldn't be able to play Gemstone anyway, but this is just one more example of free software triumphing over pay/subscription-ware.

Chess anyone? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907422)

The Internet Chess Club [] has been charging for a long time. The current fee is $49/year.

There are a number of free alternatives [] of course.

literacy and slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

reo_kingu (536791) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907423)

You can't say "but yet".

It's a cyclical process (3, Interesting)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907431)

When you try to bridge the gap between the casual and the serious gamer, a cyclical process will ensue:

In the beginning, the gamers will make games for the hardcore gamers and only the hardcore gamers will play them.

Then sooner or later, the friends of the hardcore gamers will start to get into it, someone will realise that there's money in the market, and make wildly popular games that will enthrall the hardcore gamers and bring some of the outsiders in as well. (Very early on, this was Doom, later, Diablo.) It will gradually move to a more general-gamer based market where titles are made to appeal to the general gamer en masse and will not attempt to develop gaming as an artform or innovate. This is why Diablo II was the worst day in gaming history.

Eventually, I predict, gaming will become so generalised (and therefore lucrative) and the serious gamers will get pissed and form their own independent development projects. The corporates will laugh and be merry because they are making money and that's what matters to them (as opposed to making good games.)

Sooner or later, the independent developers' games will get noticed by the general gamer and they will start gaining momentum ... soon corporates realise that there is a new source of revenue ... the cycle repeats.

Re:It's a cyclical process (1)

Daftspaniel (527440) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907455)

Frankly, I've nearly given up on games... They used to be fun and relaxing. Now you have to be on Speed to get through level 1. I want a game - not a pixel driven panic attack. There's always Same Gnome I suppose :-)

MMORPG's aren't made that good (1)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907437)

They cost so much money to put together that they're designed only by a corporation.

Corporations are notorious for not understanding what is fun. People at E3 will honestly say they don't know what will be fun, and only make a crap shoot when making games.

Thats because they're made by corporations, duh. Ask the hardcore players what is fun, and then you can start charging for your game.

The only reason MMORPG's of today are successful is because there is nothing else out there...

Can't really jump in the market with a crappy game, and elevate your status over time with revenue like you could in the old days. Today its mainy super compu global corp feeding your material.

Re:MMORPG's aren't made that good (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907496)

Can't really jump in the market with a crappy game, and elevate your status over time with revenue like you could in the old days. Today its mainy super compu global corp feeding your material.

The Uplink [] guys are doing this and succeeding.

Also, you never heard of a MUD? There have been free "MMORPG"s since before the Internet. Someone could easily start with a free MUD, and slowly build it up over time, getting users, and then switch to a pay model.

Re:MMORPG's aren't made that good (2)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907525)

Thats because they're made by corporations, duh. Ask the hardcore players what is fun, and then you can start charging for your game.

Who works at the corporations? Robots? Do you remember the Simpsons [] where Homer was Poochie? There was a focus group segment that was so true:

Man: How many of you kids would like Itchy & Scratchy to deal with real-life problems, like the ones you face every day?
Kids: [clamoring] Oh, yeah! I would! Great idea! Yeah, that's it!
Man: And who would like to see them do just the opposite -- getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers?
Kids: [clamoring] Me! Yeah! Oh, cool! Yeah, that's what I want!
Man: So, you want a realistic, down-to-earth show... that's completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots?
Kids: [all agreeing, quieter this time] That's right. Oh yeah, good.

Rock stars, is there anything they don't know?

Re:MMORPG's aren't made that good (2)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907663)

Hate to burst your colliquial bubble, but here I go...

They cost so much money to put together that they're designed only by a corporation.

Yeah, well, most games these days (especially any with 3d or elaborate 2d graphics) take hundreds if not thousands of hours of coding, research, modeling, drawing, etc etc. Do you think Tony Hawk 3, Quake 3 or UO could have realistically been developed by anything but a corporation? Yes, the distributers are huge, but the developers that's working there are what counts. A software house like Neversoft, iD or Ion Storm are relativly tiny in comparison.

Corporations are notorious for not understanding what is fun. People at E3 will honestly say they don't know what will be fun, and only make a crap shoot when making games.

Duh. Granted, there are a lot of ideas born in board meetings (most of which flop), but taking a "crap shoot" often results in the most unique and fun games. MMORPGs were one of these crap shots. So happens, it was a good roll.

Thats because they're made by corporations, duh. Ask the hardcore players what is fun, and then you can start charging for your game.

That's what R&D is for. The game testers are probably the most hardcore in the buisness.

The only reason MMORPG's of today are successful is because there is nothing else out there...

Uhm... Counter Strike is still the most popular online game. Other FPS's like Quake III and II, Unreal Tournament and Tribes II are also going strong. And then there's console gaming like THPS3 online, Halo and (eventually) Final Fantasy XI.

Can't really jump in the market with a crappy game, and elevate your status over time with revenue like you could in the old days. Today its mainy super compu global corp feeding your material.

Get this straight -- the DISTRIBUTERS have the money. They always have, they always will. It's only reasonable that they are selective before going to market and putting up millions for something that may just sit on the shelf. If you don't like it, then you're more than welcome to write your own games.

Diary Entry: 03-22-00 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907439)

This weekend I had a hole drilled through my skull. I read that this increased one's consciousness permanently. I read about the supposed de-conditioning properties. I read about more parts of the brain working simultaneously as there would be more blood up there to help this happen. The arguments for it all seemed to be quite lengthy, quite detailed, thought out and researched, and very intelligent. The arguments against it were based solely on the opinion that it is 'crazy' and talk like, "What's more conscious than conscious?". I heard from an acquaintance on telephone that she was glad she had done it, felt more mental energy, and had days of brilliance. I came to believe that the key to a permanent consciousness increase was a hole in the skull, to restore the full brain pulsation of infancy. After several months of research, discussion, speculation, watching surgical videos and trepanation documentaries, and even an actual viewing of a trepanation, I decided I certainly did want to be trepanned, and sought a way to do it.

My girlfriend and I met a friend at the airport and took him out to dinner first, and then went home to discuss how things would go. We made a list of some things we needed that we didn't have yet. List in hand, we went out over the next two days to home medical supply stores, hardware stores, to autoclave our bits and get smocks, to a pharmacy, and some hobby shops. We picked up the drill, the gloves, sterile gauze, sheets of plastic, sodium chloride, hypodermic syringes, sterile wipes, irrigation syringe, etc. etc. After acquiring all that we needed, we set up my best friend's bedroom as the operating room and prepared to perform the operation. After talking about it at length, two of my friends who were to be present during the operation were expressing extreme apprehension due to the overall lack of experience, and one of them was really concerned that a suture was necessary and none of us were equipped or knowledgeable enough to do a good one. Not suturing could potentially cause a rather hefty amount of scarring and possibly complicate the healing process. Since we were both hesitant to proceed without my friends', and since they were scaring us a bit, we didn't do it that night.

I awoke the next morning still very much wanting to move forward with the operation. I thought to myself, "The key to more consciousness is sitting in the next room over. How can I know this and not unlock the door?" I explained my sincere desire to my girlfriend, and though she was still apprehensive, she agreed to try to be there for me if it was really what I wanted to do.

We had coated every wall of a room in plastic sheeting, had a placement tray ready (a sterilized tray to set the instruments on), had the drill sterilized and ready to go, autoclaved bits set out, etc and proceeded to trepan me. One person was to do the drilling and another was to help by passing instruments, turning the drill off and on, by holding a light in the right place at the right time, and by irrigating the wound every so often. (Irrigating is rinsing, with Sodium Chloride in this case, the blood away so the doctor can see what he/she is cutting) All was finally ready to go.

Everyone put on smocks and masks and entered the room. I had already shaved the cutting area (and two or three inches around it in every direction) with a razor and washed it w/nutri-biotic soap (kills many germs and combined with the sterile wipes we used would've even killed TB). I put on a shower cap (that had been washed with sterile wipes) and cut a square hole in it where the cutting and drilling would be done. I made the blood rush up to my head by choking myself so we could see the veins, and using a sterile pen we marked the major veins so they would be more noticeable and avoidable. We drew up 1cc of a Lidocaine/Epinephrine mix and injected it all around the area to be cut. This was done to numb my skin and nerves for the incision (the Lidocaine) and to constrict all the blood vessels in the area to decrease bleeding since head wounds bleed a lot (the Epinephrine). We waited a few minutes for the numbing action to occur, and then proceeded. My friend, using a sterile scalpel, pushed the blade in all the way to my skull and made the incision in the shape of a half-circle a little bit bigger than a nickel's size in diameter. The plan was to pull that flap back and tape it down while drilling. We just thought it'd peel away from the skull like chicken skin or something, but it did actually adhere to the skull though, so one person held the tip of the flap with forceps and another cut away the adhering tissue from below and pulled the flap back. It laid back on it's own and did not require tape. Then one person irrigated, the other applied pressure with sterile gauze, dripped a few drops of the Epinephrine on a few of the bleeder veins, and the bleeding quickly subsided to a workable level. Then we turned on the drill to speed 4.

We were using a flex-shaft Dremmel with a ball burr and a flame-shaped burr. The process would turn the bone and marrow to dust which would be rinsed away as we went, down to the meninges, at which point the brain would be pulsating visibly as our sign of success. We began drilling and the sound was resonating extremely loud through my skull. He was calm as was I, and one of was very noticeably uncomfortable, but not about to pass out or anything. We drilled and rinsed, drilled and rinsed, occasionally wiping with sterile gauze to keep it very visible. The first layer of skull was through in about 20 minutes, the marrow in about another 20 to 30, and it took about an hour to get through the final layer because of more concern then.

We slowed the drill speed to 2 or 3 and began with extreme caution, the final layer of skull between me and full pulsation. I was feeling no pain and was doing fine. The person drilling for me was sitting Indian style on the floor with my head in his lap for more control (plastic over everything including his lap, and wiped with medical hard-surface disinfectant wipes from the medical supply stores). A friend asked me to follow his finger and tested my eyes for focus, twitches, etc. He said I seemed to be fine and normal.

As it got closer, we drilled more and more slowly. At one point he hit what we thought might be meninges because it squirted a bit of blood but quickly subsided. We were still doing OK. It was just a bone vessel and we knew that it might happen once or twice more. Luckily it did not. We drilled more and more, slow and careful and eventually saw what we were fairly certain was meninges. As he said he was seeing it, I felt a shivering tingle of energy up my back and up the back of my neck. We told him how to probe to be sure.

He turned one of the bits over and tapped around in the hole. Most of it went click click, because it was hitting bone still, but one part did not make sound. He had made it through to the meninges! I saw a video of this moment, and yes, you can see the brain pulsating!

Now we just had to widen the hole. As it was being widened I felt another shiver in the same way. Minutes later, they were sure the hole could be opened no more before risking cutting scalp with the drill, so we were done. Then I sat up and had it sutured and discussed what to watch for during healing. We discussed how to clean and not to clean too much till it was healed. The follow-up cleansing has been minimal to be certain, but enough to do the trick. We are still using Sodium Chloride to clean it.

I was overjoyed. I would attribute most of the joy at being done with the whole affair, as it was months in the coming, and it was about a 3 ½ hour procedure overall. I immediately went to the bathroom after, 'cause I'd been holding it in the whole time, and then went to my place to hang out, chill, and feel the effects. The room seemed taken on an intense clarity and I was able to pay attention to my thoughts and the world around a little more simultaneously. I thought at the time that by having multiple parts of the brain starting to work a little more simultaneously, since they would have enough blood to do so, it was enabling a different faster thought process and more quickly assimilating somatic sensations my perceptions of them. I that's what was giving a clearer picture. That night I was fairly blissed and weirded out, glad to be alive and well, and out of the hospital. My major fear, even more so than a mistake happening, was that I might have to rush to the hospital and they might've committed me if I told them how the hole got there. All went smoothly though, and I was successfully trepanned! I went to bed about 5 hours later with a bandage on my head. I paid very close attention to the sensations of the veins in my head and neck. They were pulsing in an effort to establish a new equilibrium between the cerebral spinal fluid and the brain blood volume. I had achieved a return to full pulsation, rallied together with several good friends to safely pull off an ancient medical procedure, in my own home. Much like the many millions of tribes before us, we worked together to get what was needed to do the deed and do it well. I fell into a contented series of dreams. I awoke the next morning feeling even better, and still in great spirits. I attributed the growing pleasure sensations to two things: it may take varying degrees of time from body to body for the Cerebro-spinal Fluid /Brain Blood Volume ratio to readjust itself, and that once all these dormant parts of the brain start to get blood, it may take a while for them to 'wake up'. I mean, blood goes to parts of the brain when they are stimulated, and now there is more blood up there sitting, but it still may gradually be happening that those new parts are being stimulated and gradually my brain is getting all those stiffened gears in motion.

I had read that it increased dream memory recall, and so far this has proven to be true. I have remembered my dreams in some detail every morning since. I've also read however, that if you smoke marijuana regularly, and suddenly stop, that you begin to remember your dreams more. I stopped smoking so I could be clear on the trepanning effect. I have mostly noticed a general increase in mental energy and alertness. I haven't been drinking coffee every morning like I used to. I just wake up, and moments later I am ready to go and in good spirits. I have continued to notice an increase in clarity of thoughts, more rapid thought processes in general, and a higher degree of focus. Everything has taken on a new glow of sorts, and I feel great. I have also noticed an increase in sensitivity to somatic sensation of all kinds. I generally feel more alive, more awake, closer to the now.

I've not had a moment to ponder intense intellectual or philosophical matters, as my friend is still in town and hanging out has mostly consisted of going from one place to another, but I will keep notes of everything I notice. I believe it will take quite some time for all the changes that this will cause to actually happen and make themselves noticeable. For now, it is a mild trip, a permanent one. I will give it a week's time to see which effects remain, and which may be placebo. At present, I am glad I did it, and look forward to the rest of this life, with all eyes open.

Nickel a point? (2, Funny)

archnerd (450052) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907446)

The "department" line for this article presents an interesting concept. Of course it's ridiculous, but I'd be curious to see how players would behave with this pricing model. Would they compete for the lowest score? Would they make their objectives accomplishments that do not score points? Or would they just not give a damn?

If you pay to play, make the game free to buy (2, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907451)

Now, I don't play Everquest or UO, mostly because I use a Mac most of the time and they didn't come out for the Mac, but I do play Starcraft and Diablo2 online.

It's my opinion that if you are going to charge the person to play the game, then you should give the game out for free.

If I'm playing a game on-line, then I'm already shelling out for bandwidth, then I have to pay to play...make the game free to aquire.

I've got enough bills the way it is, I don't need multiplayer games to cost money as well.

Bungie's servers for Myth and Myth2 didn't have that many lamers or serious cheats on them, so you can't use the elitism arguement that paying will eliminate losers.

Re:If you pay to play, make the game free to buy (3, Insightful)

vukv (550649) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907516)

everyone seems to fail to see the difference between persistant state online games and multiplayer games... there is a huge difference between them. Online games (EQ, UO, Sgalaxy, etc) develop your character, basically it is another world you play in and people find this extremly interesting while in multiplayer games you play single battles/games and when you turn it off, everything fades away.

There is a huge difference there in level of complexity between servers for multiplayer games and real online games. It actually costs developers to keep all of it up... imagine if all Quake servers were owned and operated by iD software... you think it would be free if they had to pay for bandwith and space for 2000 servers? ;-)

Is 10$ per month too much? not really... you cant really play more than one or two persistant state online games at the same time... even that will take up 4-5 hours of each day or whatever free time you have

Nice idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907459)

While companies will always find new ways to get money, this one will absolutely fail as long as there are cheaters. The only way I can see to stop cheating is to keep the source locked up, and if that's done then all the great mods will never come about. Things like Threewave and OSP for Q3, and Counter Strike for Half Life are all mods that have improved or changed the original game. So as I see it the tradeoff is either less cheating and no mods, or more cheating and pot luck with the mods. Personally I stopped playing CS because of the cheating, so I don't see how they can turn it into a profitable business. I'm not going to pay $x to get railed by an aimbot or whatever.

try another approach.... (1)

DickPhallus (472621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907472)

You pay, let's say, 50 bucks for a game in a store, or download it online for 50 bucks, and it comes with a year's worth of online playing, and another year would run, say, 25 bucks or something.

Of course a decent authenitcation scheme would be needed I suppose...

used to be the other way... (1)

crazyprogrammer (412543) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907480) used to(don't know if they still do) pay out cash prizes to winners of the games. Whenever I used to play their bingo game, there would be anywhere from 600 to 1200 players online and the cash prizes ranged from $2 - $15 for winners.

Now the tables have turned and the gamers will have to pay to win instead of win to get cash.

they are gonna try this again. (1)

BenTheDewpendent (180527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907482)

i rember back in the day before they had dsl and cable. when it was games like dukenukem 3d and a few others, quake was in its infacncy and still on if even out at the begining of that.

they had multiplayer onlinegaming avaliable for dukenukem3d and its counterpart games. but you had to pay. i thought the reson you didnt have to pay was cause it didnt take off.

vavle has a pretty good system for keeping people who didnt pay for their copys of halflife from playing online.

if im to pay to play its gonna be a lan party to coverfood and possiblehardware. none of this pay to play on line crap.

no more hosting games prolly just a huge megaserver with megalag someplace far far way.
whats the fun in that..

Re:they are gonna try this again. (4, Informative)

Mahrin Skel (543633) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907656)

Here's what you are missing: EverQuest, Ultima Online, and Lineage: The Bloodpledge (state religion in South Korea) are the highest grossing PC games *ever*. Bigger than Starcraft, bigger than Quake 3, bigger than Myst. That $10/month adds up when the typical player sticks around for more than a year. And you don't have to share the subscription revnue with the retailers and distributors (who typically take 3/4 of the purchase price).

That's why the industry is suddenly waking up. This is a genuinely stronger business model that *works*. Online games are almost certainly going to be a $1,000,000,000 (that's one *billion*) dollar industry in 2003, after the release of Star Wars Galaxies and The Sims Online. It's already worth hundreds of millions in actual revnues companies are collecting *now*.

--Dave Rickey
Designer, Mythic Entertainment

Re:they are gonna try this again. (1)

BenTheDewpendent (180527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907785)

you also have people playing everquest leave their spouse to be with their virtual spouse. and people play for days at a time. everquest isnt as much a game rather than enhanced irc that does what irc has done from time to time just on a broader scale and thats get people hooked on some total fantacy. most games when its over its over but not for these people.

Blizzard (2)

MiTEG (234467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907489)

IMO, Blizzard is one of the best online game producers because of the fact that is 100% free after you buy the game. The reason I played Diablo 2 for a year instead of Everquest, Eltima, Asheron's Call, etc. was because it didn't cost me anything more that the 39.95 I spent on the original game. I would never put out for a "connection fee" or what have you just to play the online game.

People are not stupid ... (2, Interesting)

Bob Loblaw (545027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907492)

If online games offer some service that gives them value for their money then they will pay for it. If it is just to allow them to do somethng that they would have been able to for free if the restrictions were not there, then they won't pay.

For example, Ultima Online and Everquest are the only successful games that do this that I know of (I'm sure that there are more). They justify this by adding more game elements and storylines on a continual basis.

Everyone would stop p(l)aying as soon as they stopped adding features and fixing bugs.

Re:People are not stupid ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907712)

"Everyone would stop p(l)aying as soon as they stopped adding features and fixing bugs."

yep, and thats exactly when i stoped p(l)aying UO & EQ, when i realized that they never did & never will add content or make any attempt at a storyline.

unfortunately many people ARE stupid, & will gladly pay for a colorful 3d version of IRC.

Just protect my LAN (1)

Grassferry49 (458582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907500)

I'm just praying that they don't try and and charge for me to play over my LAN. That would make me a very angry man. I can't imagine how cool this will be come 10 years when the only way to play online is to have an account on some server of a company that went out of business. How are you supposed to play online then?

what would work (2, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907504)

My main hangup is that I don't know if I'm going to enjoy the game at all. However, if they allowed a trial period, I could make my decision before shelling out the money and then return it to the store if I didn't like it.

Or maybe I should get a job.

Thanks to Gabe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907505)

Once again, thanks to Gabe for the Mtn. Dew.

Also, I don't think this page is wide or long enough. Someone should go about fixing that, eh?

--Mark [Gabe's Apartment-mate]

P2P is viable but can be tricky (2, Interesting)

Big Stick (318410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907511)

I've been playing Planetarion [] for almost a year and Archmage [] off and on. Recently both of these web-based games have moved to a p2p model (though Archmage has recently backed down I believe.)

The move to p2p for Planetarion has not happened without alot of groaning however. In the end, though I think they have managed to convince people of the value of the game compared to a relatively minimal fee. The current round getting ready to start is $10 (as low as $6 or $7 if accounts are bought in bulk) for a 3 or 4 month round. Not to mention that PA has extensive and sophisticated external resources, e.g. battle calculatores, alliance sites, etc. The devoted players knew from the beginning they would pay, it was just a matter of minimizing the damage ;)

One of the biggest problems has been the ability for kids without credit cards to find a way to pay. Clearly, many parents are less than willing to support their kids' gaming addiction.

On the otherhand, I play alot of PC-based games, especially Unreal Tournament. P2P for such games would be questionable as much of the online facilities are hosted by the users themselves. However, in the case of the game producer actually providing the facilities, I don't think it's unreasonable to charge a yearly fee for instance.

Re:P2P is viable but can be tricky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907579)

Planetarion is a different kettle of fish altogether though, as people have been playing almost for 2 years for free, and alot of them are now 'addicted' (for lack of a better word).

Also, generally everyone will admit that the game is a load of rubbish, but it has an amazing online community which pretty much makes the game!

Paying for planetarion £10 a season (~3 months) is a little different from shelling out £30 for a game then £10 a month after that to play online..

Re:P2P is viable but can be tricky (2)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907699)

The trouble with planetarion's move from living off advertising revenue to p2p is that they are failing to attract new customers - the user base used to grow each round, but it dropped from 315,000 accounts when free in round 4 to 55,000 last round (5), and while sign-ups for the new round 6 are still underway, it may be down to 15,000. The game is still viable at this level, but if it dwindles they mave be unable to keep their 4 full-time staff members, and serve an absurd number of pages, maintain an irc network, etc.

They are allowing a limited number of people to play for free this round, but the free accounts can only progress to a certain level, then they can pay to continue past the sort of level you might expect to reach after 2-3 weeks play.

I believe this is a great way to work p2p, free client software (not really applicable to planetarion because it's entirely browser based, but you get the idea), then P2continue

Yi-He Quan lives on!

'Payment' takes several forms. (2)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907526)

There is FAR more to 'paying' for games than what many of these closed-minded "Pay me for service" people want to believe.

First of all, they only mentioned MMORPG's and board games! There is no mention about the thousands of servers for FPS, or RPG games. Not only this, but what about the fact that many of these games aren't suited to a massive, central server (or server network). In fact, several servers are fully paid for (including bandwidth) by gamers who set up a clan/team site.

In addition, most of the ISP's in my area (Local ISP's, not the nationwide ones like AT&T or EarthLink) host a large number of game servers-- anybody on the 'net can play games on the server. It's offered as an incentive to use that ISP. (eg. they have a really great server... But you know (because you're a smart gamer and can use tracert/traceroute) that you are picking up an additional 50 ms latency; so for the same price you can use a local ISP with a great game server, and gives you lower ping time.) What's to lose?

Another item many dreamers don't take into account the fact that most online games (Real-Time strategy, FPS, 'Fighting', etc.) are extremely time-sensitive. Unless they plan on having servers in every city of >100k, and have them interconnected with an internal multi-gigabit digital backbone (the cost of which staggers me...), as well as very high bandwidth connections at each node to the internet, they will never achieve a reasonable latency for gameplay. (Believe it or not, tenths of a second count).

If you want a model for online gaming, for nearly every case, just look at how FPS games, and RTS-games operate online. It's community-supported, often with major companies subsidizing it. (Like extra bandwidth at night, etc).

The idea that you can make a profit on all but the most massively-multiplayer games is laughable. Game players aren't completely stupid. They know it's better to gather a bunch of friends, buy a server (and bandwidth), and share the server with the world (hence obtaining more players on the server, making things more interesting), than it is to pay even higher prices to get high latencies, the same game, poorer service, less selection, as well as padding some idiot's wallet.

Rest Assured... (4, Interesting)

EvilJohn (17821) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907527)

... someone is already paying. When you refresh GameSpy and see all those servers, someone is paying for all the hardware and bandwidth. Sometimes people are generous with their resources, be they time or money, but someone is still footing the bill.

Speaking as a former EverQuest Player and a First Person Shooter Fan, the game type will tend to dictate what pricing model is used. FPS shooter servers tend to be fleeting, both in terms of GamePlay and server support. Would such a model work for EverQuest or DAoC? No, of course not.

People who want a persistant gaming experience are gonig to wind up paying for that security and certainity.

I can also see some interesting things happening in the future with Never Winter Nights. I mean, would you pay ten bucks a month if someone wrote a compelling story would you consider paying for access to a private NWN server? I would, if it was good enough. Creativity will be rewarded, I think.

John Carney
Executive Director - QuakeCon 2002

there will always be a market for this now... (1)

CheechBG (247105) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907528)

now that the notorious hits of EverQuest, Ultima Online, and the still-blossoming Dark Ages of Camelot have come to be, Sony (who really picked up the slack from UO and their publishers) and others will, IMO, be releasing all their RPG's like this. Reason being, one person can't really build/admin/keep free from cheaters a server that holds thousands of people playing a MMORPG. I'ts not economically feasible.

This logic is exactly why FPS's like Half-Life, Q3, et al. will always be free, they don't have much of a choice. It doesn't take much for me to scrap together a server that will be able to play de_dust in Counterstrike with 15-20 people connecting. Even with the authentication process that HL has (and it is good), I'm sure there are ways around that and the ability to make a "separate network" of little game servers.

Blizzard had it right. (4, Insightful)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907542)

Sell a game in the stores, and allow online play for free. If as a company you excersize due diligence and keep creating new great games, the "lifetime play" for older games will be a non-issue as fewer and fewer users will play the older games to play the new ones. You keep a steady revenue stream from new games. This also keeps you from getting caught in the trap of wanting to milk old games for all eternity. Keeps you competitive.

However, if it gets to the point, where like with quake, I can't host my own server and have people play off of it for free, then we have issues. Blizzard's model (as far as I know) never supported any type of network play (other than local) except through their servers. There were free servers released for some games that permitted it, but the company itself never wanted to lose control of that.

Of course, I think they brought in SOME revenue from banner ads in the waiting rooms. I'm not sure what other software companies are doing.


Re:Blizzard had it right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907581)

The fact of the matter is Blizzard did not go to any great lengths to change the game in any meaningful way. I am not talking about stat tweaking or new items.

I am talking about new quests or new "concepts" in the game. When there is constant development being done in order to make the players experience more rich and varied I can understand there being a fee to make this model financially viable for the company. A lot of people pay for these games because it has that depth. (Just not me) ;-)

Re:Blizzard had it right. (2)

kbonin (58917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907620)

Blizzard did quite a few things right, especially making compelling games and not releasing them until they were actually fun to play.

As for their matching service, it is rumored in the games industry that they have during a few quarters made a small profit from their ad banners, but I haven't seen this in writing and I'm rather skeptical.

Blizzards online model only works 'cause 'their servers' are little more than matching servers, and games are still played peer-to-peer for the most part. The server hosted characters and maps are primarily checksum and signing certificate databases. Even then, you'd be surprised to see how quickly running this gets expensive. Nothing eats bandwidth like games, and colocated servers are expensive, even with the bulk discounts offered to game companies.

Bottom line, Blizzard's online services are heavily subsidized by box revenue, and the reason few other companies can afford it is simply that most other companies games suck too much to subsidize online services AND executive bonus pools.

(Yes, I work in the industry, now writing MMORPG...)

not a penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907544)

will i pay..
they charge I leave.
end of story.

non-US players (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907546)

I guess one of my main problems is the cost for us foreigners...

Example: Australia

Our dollar has "softened" steadily on the US$ over the years and is worth about 50 US cents. If we play a $10 per month game we are paying $20.

This is a real pain when you consider Aussie wages are a similar to US wages. But in AU $. Example most permanent employees working in IT are on about 50-70K AU$. High end IT jobs can be up around 100K. From what I can work out US wages seem to be very similar but in US$.

This means it is really costing aussies twice as much to play these things. That's all well and good when you aren't married etc but when you have to justify these costs to a wife $120 for one computer game in a year sounds a lot better than $240.

Play a couple? Forget about it.

Heaven forbid if you lived in New Zealand.

Not opposed to pay per play (1)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907547)

Client should be cheap though. I can't see paying $50, then paying by the month, then possibly not liking the game.

This does not worry me nuch though. There will always be alternatives. Online gamers include people willing to invest in the tech to get the gaming experience.

Games that let people host their own servers will always be popular if only for LAN parties.

Wonder if there is any kind of push from the big ISPs to limit their customers real need for servers....

The problem.. (1)

Popoi (310376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907554)

(inside the boardroom of Game Company X)

Executive 1: Ok, we've got a good pricing plan worked out, and we think we can make some real cash off this, go tell development to throw a game around it so we can ship it next month..

Executive 2: What about this Deer Hunter engine we've been sitting on? Logically, since it sold so well, it should do great online.

Executive 1: Good! Go with it!


In short, in order for any business plan like this to work, you have to spend some time making an acual good game, which isn't happening for the most part, and then convince people that it's worth paying to play instead of going with free online play. EQ and company have done well, but I'd rather take Diablo 2 and being able to eat this month..

why online gaming troubles with ROI (1)

Vspirit (200600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907565)

Appearently they would love to sell us game services online as they have been providing arcade and slot machines in the offline world.

People are used to all sorts of free online games, and thats hard to compete with.

To compete with free you need to have a killer product, remove the free game services, orprovide a near to free game service.

If it is the ladder we need a way of paying for these game services. credit card payments are simply too expensive if the product you are paying for costs less than a dollar.

Managed micropayment therefore seems obvious. To play the game services and use other services, you have an online banking account which is free to use for buyers and cheaper to use for merchants than paypal.

Another problem is the price of the games. Personally I would be compelled to purchase for online gaming services but there will be various game services. Some I only find worth a nickel, other a quarter, others even a dollar a game. The price will depend on the service I am getting.

And this is the problem with the net. Due to the cost of distributing such services over the net it may sometimes not even be sustainable business to offer the current games, large or small, because server equipment and bandwidth simply cost too much to keep alive in order to be able to offer these game services at a reasonable price. And the outcome of this, if sustainability can not be reached = chapter 11. game.DOT.NET|COM flushes down the toilet pipes..

but one day this will be it.

Here's reasons why I wouldn't: (2, Interesting)

Sgs-Cruz (526085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907578)

Well, this might not be the best place to say stuff like this, but here goes:

I always feel a bit, I don't know, weird, when I play games too much. Like I'm wasting my time. I feel the same way about TV (but at least TV is mainstream enough that everyone is watching too much). Regardless of industry sales, etc., in my age group (OAC... that's grade 13 in Ontario) at least, among MOST people, it is unusual to play for more then 1 hour each day on any console or computer (ICQ is a different story...). If I were to play for more then that (and I usually play for less, all I ever play is Diablo II as I can't stand firstperson shooters, but that's a different story) then I feel kind of like I've wasted a lot of time.

If I were to pay for such a service, then I would be caught, because I would want to use it more to get my money's worth, and then less, because I'm wasting my time.

Other people have brought up good points. All these things I have said really just are me. Even if I could overcome all of that, I would definetely need extra advantages over current systems of online play. The limit of my online play involves Starcraft and Brood war (not anymore) diablo I (not anymore, and even when it was new it was so screwed up from cheats that it was unplayable) and now, Diablo II [wow, I'm quite the Blizzard fan]. You'd need cheat monitoring, and definetly not have to pay for it in the store... that's what the monthly fee is for. That went on too long.


I'd pay with a smile for the right games (1)

gaj (1933) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907592)

Many moons ago I was an avid RPG player and DM. C&S, D&D, TFT:ITL ... these TLAs were just as important to me then as IRQ, NMI and BCD. Eventually, though, a time came where the hassle of getting together was greater than the payoff of playing. My getting a life and a career also may have had an impact, of course. ;)

I see the potential of MMRPGs to be the perfect way for me to be able to spend time doing somthing I really enjoy: role playing. The beauty is that in a properly designed game system I could enter and leave the world as my meat-space life permits; even an hour here or there would be worth while.

If the game system were well done, my characters wold go about their daily life whithout me; jobs, leisure, etc. Best would be if I could script their actions while I'm gone and get periodic updates via email or, optionally, some sort of IM system.

Of course, if I were in the middle of an adventure of some sort, I'd best take care that my characters wellfare was provided for; Hiding, backing off to a safer area, or abandoning the current quest until I have more time. I think that would rock all over just saving and restoring when I came back. Hell, that would rock even for a non-multiplayer game; just leave it running in the background all the time.

Having a game system flexible enough to allow for human DMs to participate as well would be an added bonus, of course. The story telling aspect of gaming was always one of my favorite parts. A system where basic NPC behavior could be programmed and most traps and wandering monster type occurances were automagically handled would really free a person up to do some amazing DMinig. I would want the ability to overide any automatic mechanisms though; nothing messes up a well planned adventure than a poorly placed wandering monster encounter! Being able to step in and "possess" any NPC as necessary would be another necessary part of such a system.

Unforch, for this sort of gaiming to be really ideal, and for it to be profitable, it would be accessable to the widest possible audiance. Everquest looks interesting, but I run Linux on all but my wife's machine, which is Win98 right now. Shortly we'll be moving her to an iBook or Powerbook Ti running OSX. That leaves me (and thousands like me) out in the cold.

If it could be done, allowing console gamers into the system would be good as well (though problematic from a user interface POV unless the machine can take a keyboard).

Anyway, to bring this back on topic, if a game system like the one I've drawn a thumbnail sketch of here were available to me today, I'd break out my credit card in a heartbeat.

TTBOMK, though, it's not. So I won't.

Should be based on how much time you're playing (2, Insightful)

technopinion (469686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907597)

I don't have a problem with pay for play, god knows I played Everquest a lot. What I didn't like was paying $70 for the game, and then having to pay per month, whether I was playing or not. I got busy doing some other stuff, and probably would have kept my subscription if it was based on how long I spent playing rather than a flat fee, since then I wouldn't have to pay for months that I didn't play.
I'd like to see a game have a pay by the hour scheme, with a monthly maximum, and a low shelf-price. That way those that only play for a short while don't get screwed.
Even for single player games that you don't play over the network, it would be nice to have such a scheme. Then I wouldn't be so worried about spending all that money on a game that sucked. It would also be an incentive to game companies to make games that don't suck.

They need to fix a few things before they charge (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907607)

There are currently some problems with online games, but most people are willing to put up with them due to the fact that they're getting things for free.

The most obvious problem is cheating. Right now, people as a community can harass and ban cheaters to keep them out of servers, but people still manage to cheat. I'm willing to put up with this in an occasional Quake 3 netgame, but I won't be if I'm paying someone to play on servers.

Servers brings up a new issue. If I'm paying to play, I expect a healthy amount of low ping and well populated servers. And I shouldn't have to use any third party program to find the best servers. This is the biggest problem with free games that aren't insanely popular. There aren't very many servers, the few that are out there are slow/high ping, and you often have to use a crappy third party program to hunt them down.

The idea of paying to play any game online besides something like an RPG seems foreign to me, and it will to many other gamers unless the providers can up the standards of online servers greatly.

My Porsche Needs Performance Upgrades (5, Interesting)

Mahrin Skel (543633) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907612)

Just FYI, the title of this post is an inside joke, I'm not sure how many of you will understand the source. Just rest assured I mean it in fun.

Anyway, I'm one of the designers who worked on Dark Age of Camelot, a recently released subscription-based OLRPG (which now has revenues exceeding $1.4 million/month and climbing fast). Before that, I had a very minor role on the team that created EverQuest. These games are my obsession, my career, pretty much my Mission in Life (yeah, it's pathetic).

Anyway, there's a lot more going on here than just evil corporations finding a way to extract more money from consumers. Some of the companies involved do think that way, you can tell which ones by the red ink and failed games they produce.

If MMOG's offer no more gameplay than you can currently get from a boxed retail title, they will fail. This was the core problem with Motor City Online, it was not really an MMOG, just a "captive audience" matchmaking service for an internet-playable racing game, the actual game could have been released as a standard boxed title with a GameSpy Lite client, and have been accepted quite happily by the car-crazy crowd that liked the "Need For Speed" and "Test Drive" franchises.

MMOG is only one of the names we apply to these games, there's another that much more accurately reflects what they do: Persistent Simulated Worlds. The monthly fee isn't paying for the game, it's paying the company to safeguard the integrity of the *persistent* world.

The average MMOG player spends 20 hours a *week* playing his game of choice, at a cost around 12 cents an hour. How many forms of entertainment are that cheap? The game is only a focus, what's really happening is an artifical community (there's nothing virtual about it). People have friends, enemies, even romantic relationships (don't ask).

In all truth, it's not the game you're paying for, but the community that forms within it.

--Dave Rickey
Designer, Mythic Entertainment

Jeopardy Online's sysop: (2)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907613)

sql> select e_mail from Customer where first_name = 'Preston' and Games_Played>200

pay for play no, pay for CONTENT yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907614)

the only way i can justify paying to play a game is if the content is worth it. the game has to have a ongoing plot, the world has to be constantly changing. it has to keep you guessing.

in short, not the same game month after month, but dynamic.

that is the ONLY way i will ever again pay for play. period.

sadly in the now flooded mmorpg genre there STILL isnt a game which offers this. every last one of them has a static world with a weak plot (if any)

in short, if you want my money, entertain me. so far ive tried UO, EQ, AC, DAOC, AO, WWIIOL, they all fail miserably on this point, & therefore they hold little value once the novelty of the whole webbyness of it wears off.

A more appropriate name (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907631)

Would be...

a nigga... go figga...

Woops i'm late for trolling! (-1, Offtopic)

senior_troll (553809) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907639)

I've been into punk since I was 12, i've been to many shows, seen many bands.

Last night I was at the usual in san jose, faction was there (really old school punk band) To celebrate the fact that one of my favorite bands as a kid was there, I thought it would be fun to go into the pit.

Well, I didn't even make it through a whole song. I was happily moshing around when some jackass standing at the side of the pit grabbed me by my jacket, and elbowed me really hard in the nose. Throbbing pain, then fluid began to pour from my eyes and my nose. Anyone who's ever been socked in the nose knows what I mean by tears. I got out of the pit, ran my hand under my nose and there was BLOOD! No shit this asshole had hit me hard enough to cause a nosebleed.

Well, one of the bouncers took notice, big ass black gorilla looking motherfucker. He grabbed the guy and tossed him out, but by that time the damage had allready been done. If this is the way punk shows are now, I really don't want to spend my money there anymore.

I guess, this is really a plea to those that go to the shows. The troublemakers I saw were all in their late teens early twenties. So this message is really for you.

How long before your behavior totally drives people away from the scene? I remember back in 1991 going to see mudhoney up at slims in SF, that show was WAY bigger than the faction last night, but there was unspoken rules of the pit back then, mainly just no hitting above the neck, and rush to help anyone that has fallen.

I sit here now, sucking blood flavored snot through my nose, thinking about how fucked up this is.

The group I went with last night, we were all in that late 20's early 30's range. We used to go to these shows till the clubs kicked us out. We would never dream of leaving in the middle of the headliners set. Yet as the violence escaladed we all slowly made our way out of the club, with barely 3 songs being played in the set.

The sad thing is, I doubt I'm ever going to a faction show again. If thier crowd has gotten this lame, fuck them. They don't deserve my money, and i'll pirate the shit outta their songs on MP3. It's not the bands fault sure, but the reason punk was so non-violent in the beginning was we had aware people like Jello Biafra telling the kids that being a violent beligerant jackass was not cool. So the kids had fun in the pit pushing and shoving, never grabbing and elbowing.

This situation has a lot of similarities to the current state of slashdot. Where we used to have a pretty good collection of smart nerds, has deteriorated into a violent mosh pit of 14yro wannabe sysadmin and programmers. All going for the pavlov dog response of karma. dolts.

Hey Cmdertaco no random number crapfloods today?

Comments.... (1, Informative)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907646)

In the UK BarrysWorld [] has had a semi-successful p2p system for years - hosting servers for the most popular games and charging for league games, dial up access to lower pings etc. Sadly they went bankrupt last year but were happily bought up by (I think) EB.

As many have pointed out a p2p FPS just isnt going to work because of latency issues - a ping over 50 is considered bad by many FPS players. MMORPGS over come this problem by having high latency tolerant game systems - however that really limits the type of play. Even now that market is starting to stagnate due to the number of poor clone type games being foist onto the market in order to cash in.

project entropia [] has an interesting slant on all of this - players get the game and play for free but to get the most from the game they have to put real money into a virtual economy - check it out, very nice concept.

Of course the REAL p2p market doesnt exist in the states - people are paying to play games via SMS now ( mobile phone text messages ) and download the games to their phones. Once 3G ( NOT 2.5 ) appears with high powered mobile devices and good quality displays the p2p gaming market is going to EXPLODE!! In fact I've been developing a 3G p2p game for the last 2 years - anyone wnat to through me a few million? ;)

Experiences with UO (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907653)

UO was the first, and only game I payed to play online. Granted, they kinda broke their teeth on the online rpg genre and probably got overwhelmed by a lot of gameplay issues that simply didn't come up in smaller scenarios. But the first 6 months I played it, it was a constant lagfest. Every feature of the game that made it worthwhile and playable, they kept getting rid of. They had a broken notoriety system and the few means we had to enforce rules against "good" players that played out of character they broke because a few players would whine.

I finally ended up quitting. I don't know if they ever fixed a lot of the problems or not. I would hope so after 3+ years, but you never can tell.

My point is, they needed a much longer and more thorough beta period to root out some of the big problems, especially with cheating, and get them fixed before releasing it to the paying public, after which you can't simply wipe the world to correct a problem. Then you have them offering silly amnesty policies to known cheaters who had been taking advantage of loopholes for months.

Forget the fact that other than names and landscape, the game had NOTHING to do with the series it was based on. That was the biggest travesty of all. I can see them wanting to appeal to a larger market, but I can assure you practically all the die hard Ultima fans had walked out within a year, when they were most likely the first to purchase the game when it was released, not to mention all those creating guilds years before the game was released.

Tis a shame.


doesn't have to help RPG or MMOGs (2)

bdavenport (78697) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907670)

i have often wished that CS (Cheater-Strike) had a pay-for-play system.

it would seem to me that the only way sometimes to keep people from hacking a game and ruining the experience for others is to make a barrier to entry, ie a monthly charge.

sure it might suck a bit to play that way, but i think even a small monthly fee ($4.99) would go along way. besides requiring a CC to charge the monthly service to, the game makers would have set info for their players: how likely is someone to crash a game server when their CC #, IP, and home address are all linked to their user ID?

oh well, gotta run today and pick up Medal of Honor - my only hopes for a great multi-player shooter that hasn't been hacked.

So enough whining... (1)

Platonic1 (126290) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907673)

A lot of people have stated the sentiment that they don't want to pay to play online. Or they've said it should all be free, or that they don't like the games. So let's get down to the crux of it:

What WOULD you pay to play online?
What would you be willing to pay for it?
How would you be willing to pay?

Gaming issues, MM (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907678)

Well.. here's the thing.

For a game like Quake and it's cousins.. I'll pay for the game itself. I will not pay a fee to play online, because the company itself does not really provide much in the way of servers.

For a game like Everquest, Asheron's Call.. I can see paying the $10/month.. but the box price should be lowered. The game has no value if not played online.. so the server fees make sense.. HOWEVER

I take real issue with how Verant has made it a violation of acceptable use policies to sell items in the game for real cash. That's just plain wrong. We pay them to play.. they shouldn't tell us not to do this; it has nothing directly to do with the game.

In short... I think games that are played solely online should be nothing more than the cost of playing said game online.. perhaps a media fee (20 bucks or whatever) in the store to buy a kit to get set up, or a free download online (or hell, even a couple bucks to pay for bandwdith/severs)

Give the game away for free at least! (2, Interesting)

Mean_Nishka (543399) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907684)

My biggest complaint is the costs involved here... If you're going to charge me $15-$20 a month to play your game, don't make me pay $50 to join the club! That $50 is a leap of faith, especially after seeing a number of multiplayer online games fail (like WWII online).

In a perfect world the only charge would be the $50, but I for one don't like the idea of paying $50 up front, and then having to pay monthly fee.. These game companies should adopt the aol model and give the software away for free. It'll give them a much broader audience to work with.

Semi-real-world business model (4, Interesting)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907706)

How about this: give the game itself away, letting players start out with a basic character/resource level for free. If players want, they could buy neat toys (armor, weapons, etc) from game-run "stores" with real money, but for the sake of play balancing the cost should be high relative to acquiring them the hard way, much like the "Build Now" button in Civ/Alpha Centauri/etc. Being able to buy the game's currency with real money is another strategy for games with appropriately elaborate economic models (Everquest)... actually, that's the simplest way of doing things in general, since it minimizes real-world currency transactions (overhead). The game should have an internal eBay-like auction market for items/currency trading, with the game taking an appropriate commission (3-5%). Just like the real world, money would be a substitute for time.

PayPal could have fun with this.

Already paid $49 for RTCW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2907719)

This should include free online gaming. If it didn't I wouldn't buy it.

For me to pay $9.95 a month I would want:

1)guarenteed 24/7 stable servers
2)only 100 ping
3)always have a spot on server, no waiting or have reserved times like when you reserve a raquetball court.

Multiple games, one price (2, Informative)

herderofcats (409703) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907726)

Rather then charging for each game, Skotos [] is offering multiple games for a single monthly fee.

Current they offer The Eternal City [] -- a romanesque RPG game, Castle Marrach [] -- a high-fantasy social game popular with women, and Galactice Emperor [] -- a weekly political game to become the Galactic Emperor.

They also have a number of other games announced to come out later in the year, including "Lovecraft Country" and "Paranoia".

The also have an active articles section [] with columns by MMPORPG pundit Jessica Mulligan, MUD pioneer Richard Bartle, and many others. If you are an online game designer there are many great articles here!

-- Herder of Cats

sierra online! (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907733)

anybody remember that service? the rpg (whatever it was called) was loads of fun.

Here's a revenue model for you (2)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907759)

Here's a text-based MUD [] in it's 12th (I think) year of development. They pioneered some stuff the corporate RPG's are just getting into, like dynamic map generation and a 100% user-governed economy (they've even halted inflation for 2 years. Ha!). It is 100% user funded. Their revenue model? They sell in-game items that can only be purchased. Some items are just very hard to obtain in the game; others can only be purchased by sending money to the game. These items can be used to attack and kill other players... Some of these items expire, others last forever.

What else could be funded by virtual item sales? I don't know. But I don't think it's limited to games.

what's important.... (1)

gol64738 (225528) | more than 12 years ago | (#2907762)

what's important is a flat fee for unlimited gameplay. i don't mind paying one fee and playing as long as i like.

if it ever gets to be pay by the hour or some other rediculous payment method, that's when i'll bitch and moan.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account