There is a common view that “good” microtransaction games allow players to just “skip the grind”. There are tons of pages about “time rich” vs “money rich” players. All nonsense. Why? Because games are selling the ability to spend time with something fun, like movies. Try selling the “feature” that would allow you to watch the movie in double speed with chipmunks voice for double price! It wouldn’t get good results.
The players are enjoying the game or they stop playing. Of course there can be less successful parts of the game, but instead of expecting extra pay to skip them, you should fix them, getting a better game which draw more subscribers. No one would try to fill his movie purposefully with boring conversations, just to get money for the ability of skipping them.
To see what is going on here, we need no better example than EVE Online. The canon says that EVE PvP is fun, while grinding is horrible. CCP could just remove the bad part, turning EVE into a permanent PvP, super fun game. It wouldn’t be hard, they just have to remove losses. If your ship just respawns, you can instantly rejoin the fun, without grinding delay.
I doubt if that change would be too popular among players. The unique selling point of EVE is consequences. Your victory means something, you get loot and your opponent suffered a loss: he has to regrind his ship. “The grind” is the punishment for defeat, this is what makes defeat different from victory. In gear-collection MMOs the bosses can be killed in lesser gear if someone dances perfectly. Those who suck must grind early bosses and daily quests for weeks to get gear, compensating for their fails.
You can’t remove “the grind” without removing winning and losing itself. EVE PvP would be a meaningless time sink without losses and gains. If gear could be gained without grinding in WoW, everyone would have top gear on the first week, making killing bosses pointless. In World of Tanks and League of Legends, you need to grind much longer if your stats are bad to reach the next tank/champion, without this, winning and losing would be equal. Of course there are players who want just that, the lolling morons and slackers. But the majority prefers to risk defeat in order to win.
The “bad grind” is the punishment for defeat, it needs to be bad. When the developer offers you the option to “save time” by paying, they are actually offering you to skip the punishment of defeat. This should not be mistaken for “pay to win” where you can skip the defeat itself. If you have money in EVE, your ship can be killed just as easily. You just don’t care as it’s already replaced. Having money in World of Tanks doesn’t save you from your tank being destroyed and the battle lost. But you can repair it and get back to action instead of having to farm with a tier 5 tank to get credits.
These are the pay-not-to-lose games. The reason why players accept it is that they still win and you still lose. He can still destroy your ship, tank or champion and win the battle. The fact that this is just a minor inconvenience for you and not a long grind as it would be for him is hidden from him or he may not even care.
- Gevlon Goblin
His EVE journey show a very interesting “outside the box” approach to the game, PVE and the trade hubs, reason for which we invite you to pay a visit to his blog.