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Mechwarrior Online Developer Redefines Community Warfare 189

New submitter MeatoBurrito writes "The latest iteration of Mechwarrior was crowdfunded (without Kickstarter) as a free-to-play first-person mech simulator. However, despite promises to the founders, the game has been shifted to a third-person arcade shooter and now the community is rioting. This followed a series of other unpopular decisions; the developers decided to sell an item for real money that had a significant impact on gameplay, crossing the line separating cosmetic/convenience items and 'pay-to-win.' Then they added a confusing game mechanic to limit its use, which had the unfortunate side effect of making some strategies completely useless. From the article: 'PGI’s community practices showcase a fundamental misunderstanding of both freemium development and community management. The developer has never had to deal with such a large player base before, and it has never had to deal with the strains of continuous development before. Rather, PGI seems to be handling Mechwarrior Online in much the same way they might a AAA game: by keeping quiet and only discussing its work in vague terms. ... Mechwarrior Online’s road to launch is a cautionary consumer tale, fraught with anger and betrayal. It shows how a company can take a fan base dedicated to an old IP and completely alienate it through lack of communication, unpopular features, and oathbreaking. It shows how players need to be cautious of supporting a project based solely on the IP backing it.'"
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Mechwarrior Online Developer Redefines Community Warfare

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  • by WilliamGeorge ( 816305 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @04:46PM (#44726195)

    And I wonder what the heck the submitter / article author is smoking?

    Yes, they've done some things a lot of folks (myself included) have been unhappy with - I could list several things if you guys want - but the stuff in the summary is largely not true. What item is this he claims they have sold for real money (implying you can't get it with in-game currency) that has crossed the line into pay-to-win? I know of no such item!

    The biggest issue they've had recently is the addition of 3rd person view, which upset a lot of us - especially since they promised a separate 'hardcore' queue for those who didn't want to play with folks using 3PV, and then didn't follow through on that. They have made some other moves instead, though, which at least help: the real competition-level 12 vs 12 organized group games will not have 3PV available.

    On the plus side, the gameplay is generally fun and they have also done an *amazing* job with the mech designs! Are there things still to be done? Yes - tons! Are there things I would have done differently - yes, but they can't please everyone! But are they completely shifting to an 'arcade shooter'? Heck no! :)

  • "Arcade shooter"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _KiTA_ ( 241027 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @04:59PM (#44726265) Homepage

    Hah, how sensationalist. No, they just added a third person camera like all the old Mechwarrior offline games and a bunch of tryhards who seem to know better than the developers -- and these sort ALWAYS think they know better than the developers -- are upset about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 31, 2013 @05:20PM (#44726387)

    This is such a piece of obvious shilling.

    A post claiming that hnudreds of PLAYERS have no idea on what they are compaining about.
    And a followup exactly 10 minutes later boldly agreeing with it.

    All with the typical " personally I adore it" tone, offering no explanations for the , oh so obvious bullshit he apparently debunked.
    But of course making up for the lack of argumentation with a sudden burst of score.

    Add to that, the fact that this account has EXCLUSIVELY comments praising ,directly or indirectly, a certain company or its products.

    No opinions.

    Not a sigle non-product-related answer.

    And a few "Funny" modded puns sprinkled here and there to make it more palatable.

  • by N_Piper ( 940061 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @05:26PM (#44726429)
    How about the part where the guy doing the "Ask the Devs" thread regularly take on questions that he answers with something along the lines of I don't know.
    Or that the Community Manager's only apparent contribution is getting big names in the "Let's Play" and Game reviewing to make videos of the game...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIn-im_tWEg [youtube.com] Reference Video
    Or that instead of a Valve style change log the updates instead focus almost exclusively on purchasable content, there wasn't even a foot note when all the weapon sound effects were changed.
    Do I even need to bring up the cluster fuck that is ECM? Bringing in the Raven mech whose role as a dedicated ECM platform is somewhat undercut by the fact that only one of the three versions can mount ECM at all was a bad idea made worse by the fact that ECM was totally overpowered to the point of totally disrupting the team alliance indicators making it impossible to tell who you were shooting at.
    Also to remind you the Hero Mech design are Cash money only variants different from any acquired with in game currency that also have a bonus to exp and in game currency.
    Really though the main gist of the post is that PGI has failed to keep people happy or to even make enough empty promises to hold off full out rioting, Remember back a few months ago when PGI went ahead and deleted over half the official forums because it was getting unruly, Or we can look at the bottom half of this post http://mwomercs.com/news/2013/08/730-september-creative-developer-update [mwomercs.com] where they admit things are getting so abusive that they are considering calling police on some commentors...
    That is not a well managed community, not at all.
    I play in a group and have seen several Gold Founders (people who paid $120 to get into the closed beta) walk away in disgust or boredom.
    Things are going downhill.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @06:45PM (#44726893) Journal

    Free-to-play is an awful model, thrust upon gamers because the publishers have decided it must be so. If it can't be online, then it can be pirated, and the notion that there's a nickel in a gamer's pocket that doesn't come to them violates the most dearly-held religious belief of the game companies.

    Nobody really likes free-to-play. I don't know anyone for whom it is their first choice of gaming platform. When a gamer hears that some well-known property is coming out as free-to-play, there is a sinking feeling in their collective stomach.

    And this physical reaction is very interesting. I've tried a few F2P games, and I find I get an actual nausea from them. One is actually a good game, Planetside 2, but the impossible-to-escape awareness that there's a guy there, tapping you on the shoulder to try to get you to buy something, or to just give him some money, permeates every moment of game-time. If Planetside 2 was a subscription model like Eve, or a dedicated server model, I'd gladly buy the game. But no matter how fun Planetside 2 is (and if you get a good group of people it's a LOT of fun), that nausea never leaves. Whenever you realize that spending another $12 will get you better weapons and armor, and a temporary boost to XP, you get that sick feeling.

    Maybe this will change some day, but I see a future with a lot more of these Mechwarrior situations where a community of fans, who have happily PAID MONEY for the game in the past, just decide, "Fuck it" and look for something else to play.

    I certainly don't see the me-too, uncreative, group-think that goes on in most game companies giving up on the F2P strategy. They're sold on it and it really doesn't matter what the gamers - the customers- want. It's the way of the world now. There's always another crop of 12 year-olds who will spend time on F2P games but they'll move on to the next one long before serious brand-loyalty comes into effect. If Mechwarrior had started out as F2P, I guarantee that it wouldn't have any "community" to be outraged.

  • by trawg ( 308495 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @01:24AM (#44728845) Homepage

    Free-to-play is an awful model, thrust upon gamers because the publishers have decided it must be so

    Free-to-play exists because the developers that have nailed it with a good game are making money hand over first, and everyone else wants to do that too.

    Nobody really likes free-to-play. I don't know anyone for whom it is their first choice of gaming platform.

    Allow me to introduce myself - I'm someone that likes free-to-play!

    I've been playing Dota 2 a lot in the last 6-8 months. It is as often frustrating as hell, but it's great fun having a good game with friends.

    It is a free-to-play game; they make revenue selling in-game content like clothes and effects for characters. I am totally, completely uninterested in this, but I am by far the unusual one - most of the people I've played have dropped at least the cost of a normal AAA game buying stuff, and I know a few people who have spent over $100 - no doubt there are even more.

    There's the occasional in your face thing trying to get you to buy something - usually just an item expiring notice or something - but they are few and far between. I am easily able to ignore it.

    I often spend hours a day playing this and cannot believe they're giving something this awesome away for free. Maybe I'll buy something some day - some of the in-game content looks really visually impressive and it gives your character a unique flavour - I can see why people like doing it, although it seems like playing dress up with virtual dolls.

    Some games are more obnoxious about it - I play a bit of Tapped Out, the Simpsons game. It is much more in your face trying to get you to buy stuff. I love the game because I love the Simpsons, but it's just idle pleasure for me and I have no plans to drop money in it either.

    (plug: I did a review of Dota 2 [ausgamers.com] which outlines the game for noobs. I encourage people to play it because it's F2P done right, it's extremely well engineered and well featured - and it's great fun.)

  • by Chrontius ( 654879 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:35PM (#44733927)

    Also to remind you the Hero Mech design are Cash money only variants different from any acquired with in game currency that also have a bonus to exp and in game currency.

    And my anecdote? During the "LRMAgeddon" phase of beta, just after missiles' lofted trajectories were dialed back to make cover work, I played a Centurion. It mounted 15 LRM tubes in the left torso, and an AC/20 in the right arm for when the missiles went dry and/or someone got too close for comfort.

    A few weeks later, the server was reset and I lost my well-loved war machine. Then I found out that the economy was scaled back to the point of grinding with 'rental' mechs, after a month of evenings I plunked down my C-bills for a new Centurion chassis. I discovered I couldn't fit an AC/20 in the arm, and then I discovered they were selling my variant - but only for real-world money. And once I bought it, I'd earn money and XP 30% faster. The economy seemed to be balanced around those boosts now, for progress became painfully slow, and the game became boring - competing against real-money mecha with perfect builds in a 20-ton Commando, purchased so the 75% "you don't own your mech" penalty to earning money and the 100% "you don't own your mech" penalty to earning experience, is an exercise in futility. Because there is no respawning in this game, I typically spent about 5 minutes playing, 25 minutes spectating to get my money and XP.

    Not strictly pay2win, but working your way into the real game content the cheap way became an exercise in masochism.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents