Food for thought
NCSoft Sold Arenanet and GW2 Out For Nexon Investment
Posted by Meleagar Wednesday November 21 2012 at 1:07PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post! First, the pertinent facts: In March, Arenanet hired a new "monetization manager", who immediately made some unpopular moves for the cash shop of Guild Wars 2 even while it was still in Beta. This "monetization manager" was Crystin Cox, a former employee of Nexon who was famous (or infamous) for many Maplestory cash shop items. In June, Nexon acquired a 15% interest in NCSoft (of which Arenanet is a subsidiary). Did Nexon insist that NCSoft hire a Nexon-friendly "monetization manager" with authority to oversee GW2 before they would purchase 15% of NCSoft's stock? Seems likely.
It can be safely inferred that it was about this time that the majority of programming for the "Lost Shores" update began as it takes several months to create that kind of content. Since NCSoft and Arenanet had been promoting the anti-gear-treadmill philsophy throughout 5 years of GW2 development, and had not violated the gear stat cap of Guild Wars 1 in the 7 years it has been running, it is logical to assign a causal connection between the Nexon purchase and the sudden, complete change of fundamental game design philosophy. Considering the big, steaming pile of lagfest, bug-ridden compost that was the "Lost Shores" event, and the total disregard for off-prime-time servers, and the pitiful communication about it, the implication is that Nexon had a heavy hand in pushing through the monetization scheme as quickly as possible.
Whether or not you enjoy a never-ending stat-grnid treadmill is not the point. Whether or not you think MMOG's should have such a treadmill or not is, again, not the point. Whether or not you like GW2 more now than before is, once again, not the point.
The point is that shortly after Nexon and Crystin Cox arrived on the scene at Arenanet, that company threw 7 years of game philosophy (whether you agreed with it or not), trust, and credibility down the drain in order to, apparently, introduce a gear-treadmill monetization scheme that would require people to either endure a massive grindfest to keep up with top gear stats, or pay to keep up by buying gems in the cash shop, converting them to gold, and then buying Ascended gear and infusions off the trading post.
Essentially, the game has become a pay-to-win scheme. With an accessable stat-capped system that Arenanet originally promised, one could liesurely advance their characters to top-stat status and then liesurely play those characters to eventually acquire cosmetically variant skins; after a certain level, there was nothing one needed to "keep up with" in order to have a maxed-out character. IOW, with everyone eventually hitting the same cap, there was no "win" you could pay for, even if you bought boosters all the time.
After the introduction of the "item progression initiative", players will never (not for long, anyway) have a maxed-out character, so unless you invest enough time in-game to keep up, either by constantly grinding ascended and infusions or by grinding gold to buy ever-increasing ascended and infusions, your only option is to simply buy gold via gem purchases or off the black market.
Now, how does this make anyone happy? How is Ascended supposed to be meaningful to those that grind for the prestige of having hard-to-get, superior armor if anyone can just pony up some real-life cash and buy the same outfit off of the Trading Post? Hardcore gear-grinders don't like pay-to-win cash shops, and casual gamers don't like being forced to grind. Perhaps it will make very casual players with a lot of disposable cash happy, because they can just wait for the gear to appear on the market and buy it either with legal or black market gold.
I can see it now: teams of gold sellers running fractals for ascended gear and infusions, then selling them on the trading post for gold, then reselling the gold while hardcore gear grinders move on to other games that don't have a pay-to-win system built into the Cash Shop. Arenanet/NCSoft/Nexon will have monetized the gear grind and will even be making a cut off of black market gold sales as long as there are plenty of honest players paying full price for legal gold.
Hardcore gear-grinders generally don't want to gear-grind in a pay-to-win cash shop game. Casuals generally do not want to play in a game where they can never keep up or reach equality via playing casually. WvW players don't want to have to PvE grind anything. Who is this system serving? It is only serving to completely monetize the GW2 system, anchored by the ridiculously low amount of silver one earns while playing the game. You've been wondering why it is so low? This is why. And if you sPvP players think you are immune to this, how long do you think you have before Crystin figures out a way to make you pony up?
Why does it concern all gamers, whether or not you play GW2? Well, Nexon/NCSoft is now looking to acquire Valve. What can we then expect from Valve when Nexon requires them to put in a "monetization producer"? Even more, they have made it so that we cannot even trust a game developer (Arenanet) with a seven-year track record of not giving in to monetization or violating their niche game philosophy. If even Arenanet sold out, then no assurances whatsoever are good when it comes to public companies.
Make no mistake, Nexon - or some Nexon-like entity - is coming for your game sometime soon. Yes, you can sit by and laugh and smirk at GW2 fanbois, or not care because it doesn't really matter to your gameplay, but what will you do when your game or playstyle is invaded by the Nexon monetization locusts, and they put the very reason you enjoy playing the game into the cash shop and sell it to anyone who has the disposable cash?
What can we do? I suggest visiting the Nexon, Arenanet, and NCSoft websites and finding out how to email them or otherwise get messages to them, and raise bloody hell about what they've done to GW2 (adding ascended gear to a game that was supposed to have a permanent stat cap at exotics).
The more the MMOG industry is consumed by pay-to-win monetization groups like Nexon, the less there will be any meaningful reason to play those games for many of us. Even hardcore gear-grinders will just be jokes for wasting their time doing something you could just buy out of the cash shop. At that point, what exactly IS the point?
from here: http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/Meleagar...xon-Investment
First of all 15 % of stock gives you zero control of a company. Stockholders don't run companies, even if they own a greater share than that.
Second of all, the cash shop issue turned out to be a storm in a tea cup and you barely hear a complaint about it today. At the time it came out the major complaint was the buffs, and no one really knew about the food items at that point, all of which give you the same sort of XP buff for kills, as well as other buffs. The cash shop turned out to be no big deal. Certainly not anywhere near as bad as nexon games.
Thirdly, gear grind has nothing to do with cash shop or monetization. It's used mostly by subscription model games to keep people paying. Guild Wars 2 has less need for gear grind than other games, because it really is okay for people not to be completely addicted.
The problem still remains that people have been conditioned by games, particularly other MMOs for years, and I can't think of too many that don't have some kind of of gear progression.
Saying that this change was caused by Nexon is a tinfoil hat theory that really doesn't hold much water at all. Because it doesn't have anything to do with monetization per se. It has to do with Anet trying to keep a certain type of player, while trying (unsuccessfully it seems), to not hurt their older player base. It's called a compromise.
This sort of article is not only silly, but it provides fear to people. In what business does a 15% owner of a company make policy?
The only real fear would be in Nexon was trying for a hostile takeover in which case they might also try to be secretly buying shares. And if Ncsoft has half a brain they won't let that happen.
First of all, saying that someone who has 15% of stock has zero control over a company is untrue and also a bit naive (or at least regarding corporate business practices). To get that kind of share in a large publicly placed company like NCSoft a huge investment is necessary. Most investors ask for some kind of means to secure their investment, be it an own member in the supervisory board or the placement of loyal employees at other crucial points. This is really a very common policy. Thus, if NCSoft would have needed/wanted the money from Nexus they would most likely have to make some kind of countertrade in order to secure that investment. Therefore this story about this cash shop lady doesn't sound too unlikely too me, although I have no other information about it, of course. So it's just speculation, but a likely one, to say the least. But to say "In what business does a 15% owner [...] make policy?" just shows a lack of knowledge about how these things work.
Secondly, I'm amazed how quickly you yourself conducted a 180° shift on the item progression issue. I can still remember when people who played the beta would come here and say this game had no future because of lack of gear treadmill at the endlvl. You were always one of those who most fervently disagreed with such assessments. And now they have implemented gear progression and suddenly you can't think of a game being successful without it?
Not that I don't agree to some extent: what's the point in PVE dungeons if not getting better items; I mean, without that ultimate goal it would be just mindlessly repeating the same stuff over and over again (I'm just sad that WvW will also be affected by the change). But I must admit that I'm somewhat puzzled by your U-turn on this issue.
You're somewhat simplifying what happened. I said prior to the beta that the game could exist, until I saw the comments from multiple people who played the game. One thing I can do is learn by watching. So yes, my initial thought process was that the game could exist with cosmetic only gear...until I saw the thread about legendary weapons.
Originally Posted by Bell
I've admitted being wrong before, and in the future, I'll admit to being wrong again. If I see something with my own eyes I'd be foolish to believe otherwise. The fact is, too many people coming to this game from other games are really really used to vertical progression. It sucks, but it seems to be a fact of life.
So yes, I admit that after seeing the reactions of people, I was wrong. I wish I wasn't, but I was. The question becomes now, what do I do with that?
I've talked to too many people who want the progression to believe that the game can go forward without any of it. Which doesn't have to equate to gear grind. That's always been my bug bear. Gated content. That's what I hated about Rift and that's what I hate about most games that have vertical progression.
If there is modest progression without gating content, it seems the lesser of two evils to me. I don't love it. And I wish it didn't have to be there, but you know, you can't argue with that you see.
But don't you think it will eventually be that way? Probably not with this tier, but at some point in the future, they will be forced to introduce another tier, because everybody who wants to, will eventually have the ascended gear and then the QQ about having nothing to do will start anew.
And if ascended gear with it's higher stats wouldn't be the prerequesite for said new tier content then it would also not satisfy those who like the vertical progression, because obviously they want something more powerful now. And they also want to exclude those, who haven't put the effort in gaining this prerequesite gear, from joining, because they're mostly elitist jerks (look at every post on the official forum on this gear treadmill topic: everybody who's in favour of it, is being condescending to those who "don't want to put the effort in it".).
Therefore, I think this is just the start of an item spiral that will turn the game into WoW, which you clearly don't like. It will certainly happen slower than in WoW, so it's not yet time to jump ship, but I really do fear that it will happen sooner or later. At some point content will be gated. You'll need exotics for FotM (not because the game requires it, but because the other players force you to do so), you'll need ascended gear for whatever the dungeons for the next tier will be, and so on.
I'm certainly not having enough time to follow any gear treadmill game anymore. GW 2 was supposed to be catering to casual players, who just want to have a fun time. But now I feel like I should do some fractals (of course I plan on doing them a couple of times, just out of curiosity, but that won't yield me any ascended gear, I suppose) in order to keep up in the gearing competition for WvW. Now it doesn't have any impact, but whenever the next tier will come out, I will get facerolled by other players just because of the gear gap. And that's really a grim perspective for me.
While im not a fan of the gear progression at all, i can see a need for it. If the progression was more like this model, i wouldn't care at all and i believe only min/maxers would go for it
white = 0
blue = +1
greem = +2
yellow = +3
orange = +4
ascended = +5
legendary = +8 (i give it more only cause its such a pain to get, so might as well make it worth it. but can be varied)
this way the the difference for a full exotic set and a full ascended set it minimal. ~13 of whatever stats your stacking. I know ascended gear has more stats than exotic, but im at work and can't access any good site, but with this model, it doesn't "break" WvW. (i believe. im not into the math of things.)
I think as of the current standings the difference between full exotic and full ascended will be like ~50. that is breaking or at least right at the edge of it.
All im really concerned about is my guild not moving into the direction of "gear checks" I run dungeons weekly in masterwork gear, bc i chose not to spend gold or karma on gear that's ugly as sin for a minor stat difference.
Is the problem with religion that they've all been conditioned to believe in God? What about Mexican restaurants and tacos? Or Italian restaurants and noodles? Or maybe FPS's that use guns and hand grenades? Or how about pet stores that mostly sell cat and dog stuff? Or computer stores that only carry hardware and software?
Originally Posted by Vayne
Don't you just hate walking into an Italian restaurant and seeing people eating Italian food since they're so conditioned to ordering Italian styled food at Italian restaurants that Italian food is the only food available at said restaurants?
My chaotic nature occasionally requires me to order foods that are not only not on the menu but would never be served at that particular restaurant.
Brought to you by a Chaotic Kitten
I've tried to order tacos everywhere, pretty much. It never really works out.
Originally Posted by robinsiebler
lol...try ordering tacos at Staples or Walgreens and insist that they used to sell them and that you distinctly remember buying them there before. Ask to talk to a manager. I do things like that when the checkout line is long to amuse myself while I wait for a shorter queue
Brought to you by a Kitten Who Is Easily Amused