Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

Quote of the Day – It’s All About the Equity

…all microtransactions that sell game content also destroy equity.

-Ramin Shokrizade, in his The Barrier to Big post

Free to play, revenue models, and why some MMOs succeed while others fail remain hot topics in the MMO blogesphere, with a myriad of different opinions represented.

One recent thread has been the impact on MMOs of players being able to buy items that would otherwise be earned through game play.  The argument was made at one point that, since you cannot “win” an MMO, that how other players acquire their gear and the like has no impact on you.

Mr. Shokrizade’s reply to that is quite succinct.

What if I spent three months earning the first horse in a game, and then a few days later I found out that 500 other players now had horses. But this was not due to a bug per se, this was because the game host decided that horses were cool and that players would pay real money for them. Again I describe this in Mona Lisa. Now horses are not cool anymore, and my equity has been destroyed. I’m upset! More importantly, I have now lost confidence in the game world and it’s hosts because I know they will not protect my efforts

It is not about winning.  Winning, which exactly nobody was arguing in favor of, is just a straw man.  It is about the value associated with your play and the developer not making you feel like your efforts were for nothing.

It is, in fact, about equity.  Aradune‘s famous flaming sword in EverQuest would have been less cool if we all could have had one for a few bucks.

That sword

That sword

And, frankly, cool is a serious factor in an avidly social game.

The setup to a "frog in a blender" joke

This guy has never been cool

This is part of the reason people get worked up about free-to-play, when the allegedly “cool” items are in the cash shop.

Anyway, despite a few obvious errors (as Edward Castronova will tell you, in detail, that EverQuest quite clearly had an economy before WoW… and WoW did not come out in 2003), and a rather specific use of the word “content” (something else people have argued about… this is not SynCaine’s usage… or maybe it is), it is a decent, if short, article that briefly examines why two games were successful… WoW and EVE Online (clearly a different definition than Strauss Zelnick used)… while other games failed to get there after those two blazed the trail.

Just the other day I put the player economies of the two games in different leagues. I wonder how that figures into things, and if new games are taking note or not?

Now who is going to argue that they love it when MMOs trivialize their efforts?

I am sure somebody will.

Or they will argue that you shouldn’t care about equity at all.

Bonus points for saying “it’s just a game.”

The Sunday of our Discontent

It wasn’t even the new launcher’s fault this time.

Saturday afternoon/evening my local time it was becoming difficult to log into EVE Online.  Rumors started to float about a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack

First there was this

At 02:05 GMT June 2nd, CCP became aware of a significant and sustained distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) against the Tranquility cluster (which houses EVE Online and DUST 514) and web servers.

Our policy in such cases is to mobilize a taskforce of internal and external experts to evaluate the situation. At 03:07 GMT, that group concluded that our best course of action was to go completely offline while we put in place mitigation plans.

While we initially reopened EVE Online and DUST 514, we have since re-evaluated. With the highest sense of precaution we have taken Tranquility and associated websites back down for further investigation and an exhaustive scan of our entire infrastructure. We will update you more frequently via our Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/eveonline), however, an extended service interruption of several hours is expected as this process should not be rushed.

From the EVE Online Facebook page

Come Sunday afternoon/evening my time, we got this message over Jabber.

since there is no eve servers the op in 1 minute is now cancelled

### Original broadcast from vily at 2013-06-03 00:13:40.703671 ###

No strat op.  EVE Offline.  Which was a bummer, as it was firmly in my time zone and I was ready to go.

Instead, we were all looking at the new launcher’s offline mode.

EVE Launcher - Offline Mode

EVE Launcher – Offline Mode

Not a good sign for CCP.  So it was off to play other games… GSF went up against Black Legion in League of Legends… or ponder the potential approaching war.  I went so far as to listen to the Shit on Kugu podcast, which in many ways is an audio simulation of reading the Kugu forums.

However, it seems like CCP was able to address the exploit that was being used to attack the system, and EVE is reported to be up and online again.  The EVE web site is up again and has a statement about the event.  There is even a mention of compensation for people being unable to play, a hotly debated subject during the down time, with a lot of people explaining how it won’t happen, as it would reward people for whistling up DDoS attacks.

There is no mention yet if this will impact the release of the Odyssey expansion and its list of features, which is due tomorrow.

Good thing I started my long training plan early.  Jump Drive Calibration V isn’t set to be done until early July.

Addendum: Odyssey expansion to be deployed as planned.