I'm calling you out on this, Tesh. You're everywhere raising the scary specter of "charging for time" and how it encourages grinds and wastes of said time, in order to force more buying of time. A fair point, but how much does it actually matter?
At one extreme, if we were paying by the second, obviously there would be some major problems with grinds. Or even by the minute or hour. If a one hour grind is directly coming out of our pockets, then we will be reluctant to undertake that task. Conversely, the developers have an incentive to add many of them. It puts the players and developers in conflict.
But imagine if we paid by the decade. While I do stand by my claim that within certain limits the rate of power progression is all relative, clearly it would be unacceptable to most players if it was too slow. That means devs could not string us along on grinds and other time sinks to make leveling take years. In other words, if we paid by the decade, the devs don't have much incentive to add grinds. Unfortunately it also means they have little incentive to add content between subscription cycles, which would be a very long time. I think we can all imagine a dozen other simple reasons that a decade sub length wouldn't work well.
Now let's try a month. Is the hour delay significant? Day? Certainly week, and probably day. But it doesn't make much sense to line up month-long blocks up time with a few minutes here and there. So I propose a simple idea: complaining about "paying for time" when the time block is much larger than the grind, is bullshit.
I've just been informed by one of the voices that there may be additional factors here.
There are 720 hours in a 30 day month. That puts a one-hour grind at a mere .138% of the time. Which supports my "you're just being whiny about nothing" argument. However there are approximately 6-8 hours during which players are unconsciously and while vividly hallucinating, possibly about the game, are not making any progress. So let's remove a quarter of the available time, leaving us with only 540 hours, and you're still a whiner. Factoring in the unemployment rate of around 9% in the US, a one-hour commute round trip, and an 8 hour day plus half an hour for lunch, we arrive an average of another 8.645 hours unavailable for playing. At this point we have less than 10 hours per day, or 240 per month. Now that one-hour grind is edging toward significant, and by significant I mean the sort of significance you hear about when a study says that friend jelly beans in avocado was found to triple the rate of eyelash cancer, which sounds scary until you realize that the baseline rate is one in ten billion, so we're not going see a case for a few more years anyway, later if we consider the high number of people who rarely consume fried jelly beans in avocado.
The voice is telling me to skip ahead and pretend someone plays an hour a day. I think this is a good idea, because it allows me to complain about dailies.
If I have one hour each day that gives me only 30 hours for that month. In this sense, I am not buying a month, but merely 30 hours. Now the sub interval is small enough that the grind is relevant. So in that case, Tesh is right after all.
But I want to add this: some people have more time and enjoying 'wasting' that time. For these people, subs have a sort of double-benefit. They get a lot of time per month and the potentially resulting grinds are suitable for them.
To wrap it up into something with a point: People with a lot of time should play sub games and they should be designed for them, while people with less time should play games based on selling content packages. This somewhat corresponds with sub and f2p models, but not quite. Developers should recognize this and design their games accordingly. Players should as well and stop playing the wrong game and then whining about it, or at least recognize and accept that if they have less time they won't get as far as quickly and that's just how it is and perhaps must be for that game model.
Of course no one will ever listen to this. Players will want to pursue games that they enjoy, whether from gameplay, lore, or friends, with little regard for how the pay model affects the game. Developers will avoid 'purity' because if they can grab some of the other side without losing too much of their own, why wouldn't they? So I predict a terrible future in which sub and package games get mixed up for everyone involved, where we have grinds that half the people want and half the people don't and each half is annoyed at the other for ruining their game, while other grinds are arbitrarily removed, causing more problems between the halves.
Of course I've entirely left out any discussion of what content is, what a grind is, whether grinds can be content, whether grinds add to or detract from content, and whether my experience as a time-wasting no-life gamer is distorting my perspective.
Guest post: Elves forever!
15 hours ago