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Fundamental Flaws in Gameplay & Business Practices - Discussion

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As a former CCP dev (well community team, I used to hate having dev on the shirts given our job was infinitely easier) I can assure you the same accusations levied at WG were levied at CCP.

afaik EVE has almost gone bust on at least two, possibly three occasions, you could make the argument for CCP not monetising their product enough - this was especially the case when you could pay for it through those in game 30 day things that retailed about 200-250m isk.  Playing the market or getting lucky with a drop either PvP or PvE and you could get that per month.

Certainly there's similarities in terrible communication and cultural difficulties with having multiple offices worldwide.  Bosses thought there weren't issues, there again they rarely had to deal with colleagues that couldn't speak the language they were meant to be moderating.  There's always one or two central hub offices that are elitist and use that power to restrict information to others but I'd suspect that's the case in any multinational.

WG manages to make CCP look world class competent in comparison.  Look at the various community teams for WG's products, the standout members are the ones that are competent.

Certainly there's something whale pumping about randomly buffing or nerfing tanks just to shove people down certain lines, that's why selling Tier 10s is never a good policy as eventually they'll be buffed.

After all that, I still find myself returning to WoT more than ships.  Not sure if it's time invested or what as I beta tested WoWP and ended up with a year's worth of "free" premium.  If anything I suspect I'll play more AW than WoWS and I'm someone who played most naval games out for the PC, come from a naval family - grandad was in the Russian convoys and had designs on entering the service myself.

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If you consider the following assumptions:

  • WoT/WoWP/WoWs is run by WG
  • Sales & Marketing of WG has good experiences in a mature user base of WoT with selling in packages. The profits are good (assumption)
  • WoWP was a failure and such it would not be a stretch to think it was a financial disaster for WG
  • Sales & Marketing of WG wants to try the selling of bundles in WoW, because they have good experiences with that within WoT and they are most likely instructed for high Sales, as WG wants to make sure WoWs won't at least be a financial disaster (assumption)

Wether this "bundle selling" is a good idea in a relative young game and a relative young game community (with that I mean the community itself is fairly young, I do not mean the average age of the players in the community) is a whole other thing. I wouldn't be surprised that the Sales&Marketing department has a monthly/quarterly meeting with the Community Managers and that they will get feedback from those CMs.

So you basically assume that WG has changed their monetization strategy - because in general bundles are more profitable - regardless of the "age" of the game. Yeah, this might be true, we simply don't know.

I've tried to find a scientific article or some other info about when bundling is used in the monetization of video games with regard to their lifecycle but the only information I could find is that bundling is in general a very effective way to generate larger sales per paying player and - unrelated - that the major part of monetization (expensive item purchases) happens in the late phases of a player's lifespan. My assumption was that these two observations are related but you're right, I cannot find information about whether it is connected or not.

Finally, I did not find info about how long such a "late phase" might last, it could even be indefinitely.

Edited by jokobet
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This reasoning is incredibly obnoxious and has an annoying tendency of being wrong. There's no natural law that for-profit entities always do the most profitable thing, even big companies like Wargaming.

 

You cannot compare virtual goods with zero marginal costs of production to Apple products. They do not work the same way.

 

Of all the things I've seen on this forum, going into a screed on your personal political beliefs to defend overpriced ship bundles is definitely some quality gamers.txt.

Woah - so rude. on top of which you neg repped me, my first neg on wotlabs ....

1. I mentioned nothing political in my post - NOTHING.

2. I never implicitly or explicitly said that WoWs was designed for whales -

3. I suggest WoWs will do better than WoWp because of design choices - and in no place do I defend any overpriced ship bundles.

4. I own and iPhone4 and an IS-6 and I am aware that they are different types of things.  What they have in common is that they are priced based on what customers perceive their value to be as opposed to their objective actual value.  I can't imagine that it takes an appreciable amount of hours more to design the model for an IS-6 versus the T-127 in WoT.  Yet the IS-6 costs $50 where the T-127 costs $5.  The difference is the perceived greater value in credit earning and crew training in the IS-6.  Apple manages a gross profit margin of 70% ( highest in their market segment ) on all their new iPhone releases, the iPhone 6 costs $200 to make, and the 6+ costs $216. so by margin alone the 6+ should be $25-30 more, but it's actually priced at $100 more.  The reason they can charge that is because the customer perceives that additional value for a larger phone, just like they perceive additional value for the IS-6.  I guess I can compare virtual goods to Apple products.

Listen, I don't know why you crapped all over me and ignored every other post after mine that said similar or identical things, if there is a personal issue that I need to be made aware of, please PM me so we can keep any drama out of this thread.  I was serious when I said I thought your post was rude, I will add condescending as well.

 

Back on Topic ...

So I "whaled" out and bought the Tirpitz for three reasons,two of them were typical ones, and the third was kind of strange.  The first reason was due to the most common sales technique that WG has mastered "fear of loss".  I got into WoT too late to get a type 59, but not so late that I don't remember the many matches with 5 and 6 types on both sides.  Wargaming had to do some mighty nerfing to beat that tank back down to the mortal realm and never sold them openly again.  I guess that after watching a few Tirpitz videos and seeing some early wotlaber reviews, I broke down and bought it because I didn't want to miss out on a cool toy.  The second reason was practical, I was interested in getting a solid tier 8 credit earner, but the Atago was not appealing to me, and I saw enough results to see that the Tirpitz, played just competently, would allow me to afford the expensive modules and upgrades of the tier 6+ ships I was heading to.  The third was guilt.  I actually felt bad about the Murmansk disaster with the humble bundle.  Although at the time I was as angry as many people about what I considered a bait and switch, I began to realize that Wargaming was going to have to give away a sizable slice of potential income for free when they had never intended too.  I owned a business for 12 years, and while I always made good on any mistakes or promises my guys might have made, it hurts to lose $1,000, and it must really hurt to lose a potential $250,000 because someone got the announcement wrong.  Despite the loss, wargaming made EVERY bit of the promise correct, but I don't blame them for trying to get people to see their side of it and maybe give them a free pass.  I like WoWs and want it to succeed, so since I am in a position to make these kind of purchases, I do.  I don't expect a pat on the back for it, but I sure as hell don't want to hear people bitching about my spending choices either.  I am helping support FTP where it counts - in the developers pockets.

 

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All of this dissertation on the economic reality of a video game is just a bit silly.  Bouncing buzzwords like "monetization" back and forth makes me think of a certain scene from Good Will Hunting.  A lot of it smacks of concern trolling to disguise contempt for Wargaming, their business practices, and their design philosophy in general.  While I can certainly understand some of those feelings, this thread is starting to head over a cliff into absurdity.

The NA server official forums seem to have a new "we demand the Mikasa" thread every day.  This is for a premium ship that Wargaming has admitted was performing so poorly in testing that they didn't even want to sell it in it's current form.  Despite that, there's seemingly a boatload of people waiting to give Wargaming money; they don't care about how good the ship is, they just want to collect it.  Where I see a reasonable business decision to not drive away customers by taking money for an inferior product, others obviously see a devious KGB plot to drive up demand prior to releasing the Mikasa and funding Serb's moon base.

Edited by Mesrith
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Hundreds, maybe even thousands of people have been working to make a game like WoWs. The time and effort invested in that costs millions. Those millions have to come back somehow. Everything in the game can be bought for credits, so no sure source of income there. Only 2 main sources of possible income exist: premium accounts and premium ships. (and credit bundles for the impatient types that don't want to take the time to grind credits)

Since we all have accounts with Wargaming, not the seperate titles, an existing prem account carries over. Very nice, saves WOT players (a large portion of the influx of players) a lot of money, but no income for WG. Additionally the prem accounts can be funded with WOT gold, so no income there either. Making WOT gold available in WoWs would be completely stupid from a economic point of view, because you give away another souce of income, while there aren't that many left.

That leaves premium ships. Why do people buy them? Mainly the Pokemon effect (gotta catch 'm all) that touches the manic collector in everyone of us. Must have for my collection, don't want to miss anything that I can't get anymore later or I can't stand not having anything my neighbour does have. Whatever the reason, WG knows that people will throw money at them to get all the ships. Like Mesrith said, people even cry for broken ships that WG doesn't feel comfortable selling. So a smart company will focus on that group of people, since they have to fund all the investment and running costs for the f2p people.

Experience in WoT shows probably that bundles make the most money. Bundles make people feel they get more for the same cash, even simple calculation often leads to a different conclusion. And people are willing to pay, because emotion (sooner or later) overpowers rationality with the average person. WG knows this and makes use of this. Don't blame them, they need to make money and as much of it as they can. It's the only way to keep developing and supporting the game.

I understand WG completely for milking the cash cows as hard as they can, when they can. It's peoples choice to pay or not. I adore the people that spend loads of cash on the game, it means I have to spend less. And as long as I'm still suffocating in Tirpitzes in every tier 8 game, WG thankfully has enough willing victims to keep the game online for a while.

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Hundreds, maybe even thousands of people have been working to make a game like WoWs.

Thousands?  What is this, the Manhattan Project?

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OMG Dead_Baron.  CCP devs reminded me of MUD implementors back in the online text gaming days.  WG has their weak points, but they don't compare.  Eve was a grand game, but CCP allowing devs and high level employees to play among the player base where players have so much more time investment at stake was just cancerous.  Fortunately the WoT et al format isn't the same, since clan wars don't take round the clock hours of micro management from thousands of players per clan. 

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Woah - so rude. on top of which you neg repped me, my first neg on wotlabs ....

1. I mentioned nothing political in my post - NOTHING.

2. I never implicitly or explicitly said that WoWs was designed for whales -

3. I suggest WoWs will do better than WoWp because of design choices - and in no place do I defend any overpriced ship bundles.

4. I own and iPhone4 and an IS-6 and I am aware that they are different types of things.  What they have in common is that they are priced based on what customers perceive their value to be as opposed to their objective actual value.  I can't imagine that it takes an appreciable amount of hours more to design the model for an IS-6 versus the T-127 in WoT.  Yet the IS-6 costs $50 where the T-127 costs $5.  The difference is the perceived greater value in credit earning and crew training in the IS-6.  Apple manages a gross profit margin of 70% ( highest in their market segment ) on all their new iPhone releases, the iPhone 6 costs $200 to make, and the 6+ costs $216. so by margin alone the 6+ should be $25-30 more, but it's actually priced at $100 more.  The reason they can charge that is because the customer perceives that additional value for a larger phone, just like they perceive additional value for the IS-6.  I guess I can compare virtual goods to Apple products.

Listen, I don't know why you crapped all over me and ignored every other post after mine that said similar or identical things, if there is a personal issue that I need to be made aware of, please PM me so we can keep any drama out of this thread.  I was serious when I said I thought your post was rude, I will add condescending as well.

 

Back on Topic ...

So I "whaled" out and bought the Tirpitz for three reasons,two of them were typical ones, and the third was kind of strange.  The first reason was due to the most common sales technique that WG has mastered "fear of loss".  I got into WoT too late to get a type 59, but not so late that I don't remember the many matches with 5 and 6 types on both sides.  Wargaming had to do some mighty nerfing to beat that tank back down to the mortal realm and never sold them openly again.  I guess that after watching a few Tirpitz videos and seeing some early wotlaber reviews, I broke down and bought it because I didn't want to miss out on a cool toy.  The second reason was practical, I was interested in getting a solid tier 8 credit earner, but the Atago was not appealing to me, and I saw enough results to see that the Tirpitz, played just competently, would allow me to afford the expensive modules and upgrades of the tier 6+ ships I was heading to.  The third was guilt.  I actually felt bad about the Murmansk disaster with the humble bundle.  Although at the time I was as angry as many people about what I considered a bait and switch, I began to realize that Wargaming was going to have to give away a sizable slice of potential income for free when they had never intended too.  I owned a business for 12 years, and while I always made good on any mistakes or promises my guys might have made, it hurts to lose $1,000, and it must really hurt to lose a potential $250,000 because someone got the announcement wrong.  Despite the loss, wargaming made EVERY bit of the promise correct, but I don't blame them for trying to get people to see their side of it and maybe give them a free pass.  I like WoWs and want it to succeed, so since I am in a position to make these kind of purchases, I do.  I don't expect a pat on the back for it, but I sure as hell don't want to hear people bitching about my spending choices either.  I am helping support FTP where it counts - in the developers pockets.

The obnoxious and wrong part (which wasn't exclusive to you, I just didn't quote other posters saying it) is "they are trying to make money" and "the game is free so you don't have to spend anything." It has nothing to do with whether it's 'fair' to sell your ships in $80 bundles. It's a business decision, that isn't necessarily the most profitable option and on top of that, arguably makes their video game worse.

Bundling your premium items together, pricing them just above the gold package value, selling gift shop only items, etc. all discourage people from spending some money, but encourage people to spend a lot.

 

Also there's a notable difference between high% profit and infinity% profit - you could arguably compare digital videogame sales to certain pharmaceuticals or to movies, but certainly not phones. When your production costs are constant, the only thing that matters is gross revenue. Production is a sunk cost.

 

 

As far as why your older post got a -1:

So those who are poor can play the game like a poor person - if they want to get all the shiny options - get a job.

what the actual fuck

I wouldn't have -repped your post if not for that, and I'd -rep any post with that sentiment. Nothing personal.

 

All of this dissertation on the economic reality of a video game is just a bit silly.  Bouncing buzzwords like "monetization" back and forth makes me think of a certain scene from Good Will Hunting.  A lot of it smacks of concern trolling to disguise contempt for Wargaming, their business practices, and their design philosophy in general.  While I can certainly understand some of those feelings, this thread is starting to head over a cliff into absurdity.

The NA server official forums seem to have a new "we demand the Mikasa" thread every day.  This is for a premium ship that Wargaming has admitted was performing so poorly in testing that they didn't even want to sell it in it's current form.  Despite that, there's seemingly a boatload of people waiting to give Wargaming money; they don't care about how good the ship is, they just want to collect it.  Where I see a reasonable business decision to not drive away customers by taking money for an inferior product, others obviously see a devious KGB plot to drive up demand prior to releasing the Mikasa and funding Serb's moon base.

It's not some grand conspiracy, it's Wargaming running their videogame in a way that lessens my enjoyment of it (and thus discourages me from spending money on it) and likely doesn't gain them money. Apart from anything else Wargaming is nowhere near competent enough to run that conspiracy - look at their humble bundle sale.

I've never posted on the official forums that I want a Mikasa, nor would I buy one if they sold it (nor do I care if someone else spends their benjamins on an overpriced pixel boat).

 

It's pretty obvious that selling rare or semi-permanently removed premium tanks in $100 gift shop packages, bundled with a pile of anniversary gift tanks, is a strategy to increase demand and make more from big-ticket players though.

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Spend a lot...funny. Those bundles are still cheaper than filling up my car only once. Or one round on a golf course (which tankes 3-4hours to play). I will enjoy a prem ship for some years!

The virtual stuff is still cheap, even though it is not cheap to make. Games do not cost millions. Or yes of course they do...but hundreds of millions in some cases. Not only "millions".

It only works because the playerbases are large and many people buy the stuff (make once, sell often). But by no margin are the bundles expensive...in my opinion.

And you call me yuropoor :disco:

Edited by PrivateBert
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Right.  "Expensive" will always be relative.  Though, in this case, you can kind of compare it to the rest of the industry.  If an entire new game is $60, is a single ship and some flags/gold worth $70?

 

The easiest answer is "Yes, if we sell enough of them."

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If you consider the following assumptions:

  • WoT/WoWP/WoWs is run by WG
  • Sales & Marketing of WG has good experiences in a mature user base of WoT with selling in packages. The profits are good (assumption)
  • WoWP was a failure and such it would not be a stretch to think it was a financial disaster for WG
  • Sales & Marketing of WG wants to try the selling of bundles in WoW, because they have good experiences with that within WoT and they are most likely instructed for high Sales, as WG wants to make sure WoWs won't at least be a financial disaster (assumption)

Wether this "bundle selling" is a good idea in a relative young game and a relative young game community (with that I mean the community itself is fairly young, I do not mean the average age of the players in the community) is a whole other thing. I wouldn't be surprised that the Sales&Marketing department has a monthly/quarterly meeting with the Community Managers and that they will get feedback from those CMs.

I am not sure that the presence or otherwise of bundles would have made a blind bit of difference to World of Warplanes, the game sank because it was shit at something that someone else was doing a bit of a better job at.

 

 

Also, people who think that Wargaming monetise aggressively need to play almost any other free to play game.  They're one of the most hands off monetisers out there, most other free to play games will at the very least pop up and spam you with what's on special offer right now on login, and will probably have a significantly shorter lifespan before the restrictions of free play kick in, even if they aren't as hostile to free players as eg. SWTOR.

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Right.  "Expensive" will always be relative.  Though, in this case, you can kind of compare it to the rest of the industry.  If an entire new game is $60, is a single ship and some flags/gold worth $70?

 

The easiest answer is "Yes, if we sell enough of them."

Then you have to compare it to the same industries, right now you compare apples and pears. You can not compare a game that stays in development to a game that is sold in a box, fire and forget style.

If anything you must compare it to MMOs or other subscription based (premium account is the same) or "free to play" games. Like Eve, WoW or anything really where you pay monthly fees plus other stuff you might want to buy. And I definitely spent more than 60$ on each of those (the ones I played).

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Just to chime in on the Tirpitz, I specifically didn't buy it because of the cost/bundle. I wanted only the ship, not a forced bundle. 5 bucks less and just the ship and I would have bought it. I was bothered by the bundle enough to pass on it.

The possibility that the game would die based on a small playerbase was also an issue that prevents me from sinking 60+ bucks in one shot on it.

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Just to chime in on the Tirpitz, I specifically didn't buy it because of the cost/bundle. I wanted only the ship, not a forced bundle. 5 bucks less and just the ship and I would have bought it. I was bothered by the bundle enough to pass on it.

The possibility that the game would die based on a small playerbase was also an issue that prevents me from sinking 60+ bucks in one shot on it.

I was originally going to buy the Tirpitz too, but after the delay and the possibility of the game not being around that long I bought doubloons instead. I finally made it up to the Izumo and the high tiers are the most boring aspect of the game. Everyone is so cowardly because of the repairs costs. Then in matches without CV's you are either running or shooting at running ships for 20 minutes. I just heard now ships like the Kitakami/Ise will be reward ships since noobs cannot play them correctly. Seriously do the devs even think at all?

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