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Global Chat: October 30-November 5, 2011

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Welcome to this week's Global Chat! We love hearing what you have to say at Massively, and we love it even more when we can share the best comments with all of our readers. Massively staffers will be contributing some of their favorite comments every week, so keep an eye out every Sunday for more Global Chat!

Global Chat this week touches on some of our most reliable hot topics: free-to-play and game design. Business models, as well as how games are created and whom they're created for, are always good for discussion, so follow along after the jump to see what a few of our readers had to say.

Richard Garriott's comments regarding Blizzard's neglect of the social gaming field drew a lot of commentary from our readers, but one reader, Chris, took a step back to look at an overall development issue:

It is all in how you build the game. The way games are made put the playerbase in the position of being the guinea pig.

MMOs and gaming has been studied, but these games affect people in certain ways. You also have over a dozen different types of personality types or more, and to craft any game as social, you need to have many different anchors in place.

What do I mean by anchor? Something that pulls a certain type of person toward it. Many might be pulled to a certain minigame regardless of personality type, while others will perhaps like the other aspects that are all about challenge and reward.

You need to make your game with social aspects in mind when it comes to the MMO. Don't force people to fight over things when that isn't the intention, but rather have them happily work together. I mean, think about it... do you want to make your customer mad by putting him in an uncomfortable and frustrating experience?

If you create a dungeon, and you let players re-run that dungeon five times a week, and then on top of that you let anyone roll on low-drop items, how won't that cause conflict? Not only does it create a grind, but players are competing against one another with a set of dice for gear that might not drop again for 23 runs. It doesn't encourage community, especially when you give a person a vehicle to be anonymous cross realm with a dungeon finder. It brings out the worse in people!

I don't even design games and I could see this; how, pray tell, do people getting paid $100k a year or more not?
That wasn't the only interesting comment to come from the discussion. Graill had this to say regarding the ongoing pigeonholing of game and gamer types:
When will these fools realize we are gamers. Gamers have moved past the terms, hardcore, casual, etc., etc., and have realized that entertainment can be had by all and not an entitled few who think we should play their way.

This group includes clueless developers and anyone still using the terms hardcore, casual, etc. I call these folks busybodies, a slightly endearing derogatory term.
Finally, VikingGamer stepped in to add to the pay-to-win discussion following the latest Ask Massively:
The games that either slowly or directly make themselves unplayable without paying are part of the problem. This is why I don't like F2P that is modeled more after DLC where you have to buy access to the later stages of the game either in terms of what zones you can enter or what levels you can get to. Just as bad are those games that basically make it so that you have to buy cash shop items in order to reasonably craft necessary endgame gear. If it is virtually impossible to craft the gear without the mystic widget from the item shop, then it is, for all reasonable purposes, a cash-shop-only item

The trick is that the game needs to make it neither too easy nor too hard to play the entire game and get all the items, including cash-shop-only items. It is fine if it is a bit time consuming, but it can't be made unreasonable, which is what way too many free to play games do.

If you can trade a few hours of game time for about a dollar of cash-shop access, then you are in the ball park. And this makes it so that nothing, not even the items of the cash shop, are outside the grasp of free players. It may take them more time, and in our instant-gratification culture that doesn't work well for many people, but they can still do it.

But if the company makes this access to the cash shop artificially high, then it still effectively cuts the free players off. That is no good either. This is why allowing the customers, between themselves, to set the price of cash-shop cash to an in-game currency though a market place is the best setup.
These were only a few of the great things our readers had to say last week, and now it's your turn. Hit the comment button and let us know what you think!

Global Chat is the weekly feature that's all about you, our readers. Every Sunday we collect the best, funniest, and most thought-provoking comments from the Massively readers and round them up into Global Chat for discussion. Read over them for yourself, hit the comment button, and add your own thoughts!

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