Paying for time: Part two

| Friday, June 24, 2011
I didn't know there would be a part two. Blame Syl.

Maybe "timesinks" are where life really happens.

If we remove all the "unnecessary detours" in games that people consider a nuisance, what exactly are we "saving and optimizing " that time for? When you arrive faster at treasure and glory, where do you go from there? And just how much have you missed on that shorter journey?

This brings up the other side of paying for time: Paying for time. Paying for a time. This time, that time, some time.

It has been my experience that WoW suffers, not from padding, but from watering-down. Does a reputation barrier ruin the game for me? No. Why not? Because I can enjoy the reputation process. It's the process that matters, not the efficiency.

I'm just going to say this now: this post is going to get rambling and incoherent and I do not plan to fix that. I'm trying out the process of writing rather than going for the product of good writing. Like usual. :)

When I roll up to a vendor and I see that the item I want is in red, now what? Well at first I'm a bit unhappy. Shiny! Want! But let's try the roads. I could use my leet skills to hack the game and remove the rep requirement (did you know ICC was supposed to have a Sunwell event? I removed it, big regret). Now I have the shiny. So, now what? I have just been rewarded for nothing (beside my leet hacking skills, which I'm pretty sure are not the goal here). I like rewards, so I work very hard to get them, by doing nothing, since that's what gets rewards. Sure is fun, doing nothing.

I decide to hack again to remove my hack and now there is, once again, a red item with those evil words: "reputation required:" Now what? Well obviously I make a choice. Yes, a goodness to God choice (I'm not sure that's a real phrase, but let's pretend it is). Maybe it's honest to God. Don't lie to an omniscient being. Anyway, I now have a choice. Is that item and the virtual gain from it better or worse, for me personally, in all my subjective subjectivity, more or less valuable to me than the time to get it? There are often a lot of noes. But a few yeses. Yes! Now I have a goal! And a process! Let's go process that process.

And so I set off and kill a billion foozles and by now I am really, really good at killing foozles. Then I get the item and go "huh, now what?" Well duh, I go and tell everyone the story of how I killed ten billion foozles (I always lie by a factor of ten). Pixels are nice and all, but stories about those pixels go farther. Further. More distance, figuratively speaking. This blog is clear proof of that. My pixels are all totally out of reach, but stories, thoughts, ideas, and endless whining, why those are endless!


Hyperian said...

Pshh, people actually forced to run something over and over, farming dailies for reputation... Pshhh that’s pure poppycock! Who needs actually work these days... don’t we have robots that can do that for us? Long live the lazy ass generation of people expecting shit to be handed to them.

Tesh said...

There's a difference between paying *for* time and paying *with* time. Sub games double dip and demand both. I hate it when I get double charged.

...but yeah, Syl has another good article up about attunements and keys. Grindy goals aren't in themselves the root of evil, and some time sinks can make a game world more interesting. Thing is, I can sometimes justify spending time if I'm having fun. Not so much double charges.

Klepsacovic said...

Sub games sell you time and then that time is an in-game currency. That's not a double-dip. But there is the problem of non-gaming time causing some players to effectively get less time from the 'store'. We could fix that by buying time in smaller parts, so that we all get X hours for Y price, but then that brings in the problem of paying for small amounts of time at once causing grinds.

Tesh said...

Or just charge for the time you actually, y'know, *play*, like a power bill.

It's still double dipping, though, because you're paying not only that in-game "time" currency but also your "real world" time. Not so when there is no charge beyond the box.

Klepsacovic said...

Can I also have the rapidly fluctuating rates just like the electric bill?

I'm having trouble accepting your assertion that we pay with "real world" time. Every game, make that everything, requires time.

Maybe I'm just a bad consumer, that I prefer packaged time. I like Netflix with the flat fee regardless of whether I watch one DVD or a dozen (plus streaming a few). I like the idea of renting an apartment and I pay whatever per month regardless of how much I sleep in it.

If these are bad deals, then don't take them. If I won't watch enough DVDs, then I should rent instead. If I will be sleeping under a table after parties most of the time, then I should just get a tent and skip the rent.

Tesh said...

"Every game, make that everything, requires time."

Exactly. Is that so hard to see? The baseline is that you spend time in games (and money for a box, let's say, or whatever content charge there is). All games. Subs charge for time *on top* of that. That's the double dip.

As for being a "bad" consumer, it's really up to personal valuation. For some, subs will always be the best value. For others, not so much. What's bad for one may be good for the other and vice versa. *shrug*

Klepsacovic said...

So the issue here is not time at all, it's that there is the box and the sub? What if there was no box and only the sub?

Tesh said...

No, with a sub, you're still paying for time, not content. If they don't have a "cover charge" for content, that's their choice to subsidize the sub hook.

Klepsacovic said...

Assuming a rational consumer (a terrible assumption), would someone pay for time with no content? I didn't leave cata because of a problem with time, but of content. Even with a "time charge" it is content which backs that. We always pay for content (or don't pay). Subs do bundle that content, but that's there with all but the most micro of transactions.

Tesh said...

A sub is never paying *for content*, though. It's paying for *access* to said content for a period of time. That's the point. If they were selling content, they would use the GW business plan.

Yes, there's content there that prompts the sale, to be sure, but that's not what you're paying for.

Syl said...

time, sub,, you two sure know how to lose me. lol.

brilliant follow-up by the way; no coherence suits you. ;)

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