Jul 12, 2010

[Allods Online: Can They Ever Make Us Happy?]

I really feel bad for gPotato and the US Allods Community Managers. Ever since the initial Cash Shop opening, the nerdrage DOESN'T STOP, no matter how much the things that pissed folks off get fixed -- there is always yet another thing that is called 'a slap in the face' and 'this game is gonna die now'. I wonder how long gPotato will keep trying to make these folks happy before giving up? It's just a horrible example of how listening to the playerbase doesn't seem to ever be enough for some people, who will make it their mission to drive people away from the game and make it fail in some kind of 'revenge' for perceived slights.


Closed Beta: No Cash Shop, the GMs and players live in idyliic happiness.
Open Beta: Cash Shop opens, with (admittedly) high prices. THE FORUMS EXPLODE INTO RAGE: "The game is dead now" "gPotato are greedy bastards".
Open Beta Part 2: Cash shop prices are lowered, the playerbase is slightly appeased but is largely still 'betrayed and bitter' and some folks want them reduced even more so aren't happy at all.
Open Beta Part 2: The Fear of Death (penality) mechanic is tweaked to be more severe. THE FORUMS EXPLODE INTO RAGE. "The game is dead now" "gPotato are greedy bastards".
Open Beta Part 3: Fear of Death is removed, Cash Shop items for many items reduced again, a new CS-based death penalty is introduced. FORUMS EXPLODE INTO RAGE: "The game is dead now" "gPotato are greedy bastards".

The negativity from the initial Cash Shop blowup continues on the forums to this day. People post in newbie threads telling them to leave the game, there are dozens of repeat threads complaining about the same thing, bragging about how dead the game is now/is going to be, doom and gloom everywhere to the point of people actively trying to ruin the game's reputation as much as possible (I witnessed one guy in the League capitol telling players to get out of the main square so he could film it being 'empty' and then post it on YouTube to show how badly the game was doing because of the latest patch. This was at 12am PST on a weekday, less than 8 hours after the patch had been released).

And yet, if you actually step back and look at the timeline of events in the U.S. Allods release schedule... I see a company that seems to be trying to get things right -- both their prices in the Cash Shop, and the mechanics that encourage people to use it (AND OF COURSE they want people to use it, the game is not a charity). Do I think they have it right yet? No... I think the current death penality and use of Incense (which gives various buffs and heals when used) still needs tweaking. The Cash Shop needs to be more about fun and fluff items rather than 'gameplay' necessities, as well. But so far the devs and gPotato have been WILLING to adjust things according to feedback, even if they don't get it right the first time. But it seems the forum community is physically incapable of existing in any state besides bitter vindinctiveness against the CMs (who aren't the devs and don't make these changes) and the game itself, which is seriously pathetic (SINCE NOBODY IS FORCING THEM TO SPEND ANY MONEY).

Now, I DO agree that Allods' fixation on continuing to try tying the cash shop into the death penalty (i.e. punishment) over and over is a bad idea, if only because it makes the Cash Shop resented instead of being a more positive aspect of the game. But seeing as how EVERY other time there has been negative feedback over a game design change the devs end up changing those things (even if it's not in ways people like), I do not see why so many players continue to talk as if the devs are their enemy. If anything, they're listening to the players a lot more than MOST F2P devs I know of. You'd think that'd earn them some more slack/respect, but I guess not.

It's true that the playerbase of some games is their own worst enemy -- they'd rather tear a game down and kill it rather than just quitting (or taking a break to wait for changes) and playing something else.

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