Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Choice, or Dilemma?
12-19-2011, 08:39 PM
The following is based off my own observations and knowledge of marketing and psychology, I have no inside information, nor any privileged information regarding Cryptics PR philosophy.

Within corporate culture, Orwellian “doublespeak” has become a common way of disguising poor service. Unnecessary grinds introduced to encourage micro-transactions are relabeled "opportunities" for Players to avoid those very same micro-transactions.

PR people and the Devs are most likely aware of the western cultural bias towards “self-determination” (IE individualist self-control). They most likely know we’re more likely to yield to their persuasions if we believe we’re personally in control and not being coerced, as when we sense coercion we respond with resentment and resistance. They thus make frequent use of self-determining words and phrases (EX: “opportunity”, “incentive” and “adding challenge”) most likely as tools of resentment management.

The technique is to let you believe you have a free choice. When, in fact, all you have is a dilemma. A “free choice” implies at least one favorable option; a dilemma means each option is unfavorable, such as the "choice" of whether to grind (bad), pay (bad), or stop playing (bad).

The language of the typical MMO PR is saturated with self-determining words, which hide coercion by disguising dilemmas as choices. In such environments, Players may actually come to believe they are performing repetitive, mindless tasks out of personal choice, rather than economic dilemma (grinding to avoid paying), or taking a bad game being better than not playing at all.

The decreasing returns in currency conversion are mitigated by the "gift" of Holiday Tickets, the anger that rightfully comes from exclusive items in Lotto Boxes is deflected by the miniscule chance of getting it through the repetition (grind) of a Holiday Daily. The sheer crass commercialism of the Dilithium Economy and lack of content in favor of C-Store releases is softened by the Dilithium Exchange (which shifts the real-world costs to someone else) and the "opportunity" to do the same missions over and over and over again for weeks. The Nerf of Crafting is softened by the introduction of Unreplicateable Materials, which is essentially the same Nerf, just with the possibility of having the grind shifted to someone else.

All of this, combined with the subset of the playerbase that is wholly taken in with this sort of doublespeak vocally parroting the very doublespeak employed, combines to keep most players consciously unaware of how badly they're being treated.

Resentment management is a subset of “damage limitation”. Damage limitation most likely plays a massive role in Dev-Player relations, not for selling the game to new players, but for deflecting some of the hostility, suspicion and anxiety the existing playerbase feels towards them.

Again and again, we're given the same three bad options, grind, pay, or quit, and told it's a free and clear choice, when it's really a dilemma, choosing the lesser of three evils.

Is this the way we want our game run?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
12-19-2011, 08:49 PM
I believe at this point, there is nothing we can do about it but express ones displeasure and leave/stop playing...,

But that is a decision up to each individual player.

The bigger question I believe, for Cryptic is...

Do They really think that the F2P'ers won't figure this out fairly quickly also...?...

And that doesn't even take into account all the Folks who will hang around and 'Express' their 'Displeasure' to all the new players here in the forums and in-game chat...

There's no way in hell Cryptic is going to 'mute' everybody who does this, in time to make a positive difference.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-19-2011, 09:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyNY View Post
The bigger question I believe, for Cryptic is...

Do They really think that the F2P'ers won't figure this out fairly quickly also...?...
I think a lot of people pushing pencils across desks somewhere in Los Gatos believe that, ultimately, the "free" players will be substantially more forgiving thanks to the fact that they're not paying. Of course what they forget is that these players are, as a result, less invested and more prone to leaving when something becomes inconvenient or less palatable.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-19-2011, 09:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyJoyJoy View Post
I think a lot of people pushing pencils across desks somewhere in Los Gatos believe that, ultimately, the "free" players will be substantially more forgiving thanks to the fact that they're not paying. Of course what they forget is that these players are, as a result, less invested and more prone to leaving when something becomes inconvenient or less palatable.
And, to reiterate...

Much Less Likely To PAY for ANYTHING...!...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
12-19-2011, 09:45 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katic View Post
The decreasing returns in currency conversion are mitigated by the "gift" of Holiday Tickets, the anger that rightfully comes from exclusive items in Lotto Boxes is deflected by the miniscule chance of getting it through the repetition (grind) of a Holiday Daily.
In my opinion, Cryptic kinda played this well. The Gift Receipts and Veteran BO placated my anger over the Dilithium Debacle. I thought it was a nice gesture although it really didn't make up for the amount of currency I lost. The Gift Receipts added up to basically nothing much of value to me. But at least the Veteran BO is exclusive (for now).

I received 5 Gifts and Veteran BO's on all my toons on 2 accounts. I guess I felt the love a little from this and forgave them for the most part. I still have a bad taste in my mouth over the conversion but the gesture certainly helped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katic View Post
The sheer crass commercialism of the Dilithium Economy and lack of content in favor of C-Store releases is softened by the Dilithium Exchange (which shifts the real-world costs to someone else) and the "opportunity" to do the same missions over and over and over again for weeks.
Zone Chat after Season 5 went live showed that most people were completely uninformed about Dilithium and the agenda behind it. People didn't know what dilithium was, why they had some nor what it was for. Much less that they were ripped off in the conversion process, or that items they used to have casual access to were made harder to obtain.

The only thing people figured out was that it was a way to get C-Points. They didn't know (nor care) that someone else purchased those points and that Dilithium was the marketing hook into those purchases. They only cared about the end result.

This is supposedly how all PWE games work, they just didn't know how much Dilithium & C-Points the player base could tolerate in STO. That was the real reason behind "F2P Testing" - it was all Stress Testing and Revenue Projections. The whole Dilithium Economy was never changed throughout the "testing" period - only tweaked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katic View Post
The Nerf of Crafting is softened by the introduction of Unreplicateable Materials, which is essentially the same Nerf, just with the possibility of having the grind shifted to someone else.
Primarily done for fleets and social crafters. They had to make something people could trade yet cost dilithium, else they stand to loose in C-Point purchases.

Just like the Dilithium Exchange, most people didn't care that the burden is only being shifted to someone else who has to Grind Dilithium or Buy C-Points in order to craft. They only care that they joined X Fleet which gives them free items.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katic View Post
Again and again, we're given the same three bad options, grind, pay, or quit, and told it's a free and clear choice, when it's really a dilemma, choosing the lesser of three evils.

Is this the way we want our game run?
Nope, it's not. I'd take pre-F2P STO back in a heartbeat. But to boil down my comments...

There's enough people that either 1) Don't know about the F2P Changes 2) Don't care about the F2P Changes or 3) Willing to tolerate the F2P Changes that our voices on this matter don't matter to Cryptic and PWE.

I for one am going to move on and stay. I don't like it but what's done is done. I tell you what though, if it wasn't Star Trek I'd be outta here. They should be thankful for suckers like me who keep falling for their marketing tactics just because they love Trek.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
12-19-2011, 09:45 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyNY View Post
And, to reiterate...

Much Less Likely To PAY for ANYTHING...!...
It's more or less too late for Cryptic to change their business model. At this point it's pretty clear that their hopes are pinned on the F2Pers, and that they've gone about as far as they will in appeasing the existing playerbase. At this point, as it always has been, the success or failure of STO lies entirely on Cryptic. Which is as it should be, really. Make a good game, and the players will pay to play it. So... short of giving a prediction of doom or gloom, I'll just say we'll see. Maybe the volume of silvers buying additional stuff will be enough to fund Cryptic to roll out additional content. It's a slightly different model than other F2P transitions, so it's really hard to say how well it will go. So, we'll see. At this point I'm mostly an observer anyway; the dog that I had in this race has more or less run their course. =)


And now for something completely different! (because we need some humor here!)

Unless of course this is a massive Uwe-Boll-style tax write-off, but that's the stuff of bad comedy. A game company -- and more importantly the game company's employees -- figuratively lives and dies on the games' reputations. That's the sort of thing that makes laughingstocks of everyone who worked at that company. And a tax-write-off scheme is visible from a hundred miles away, so I think it's safe to lay that idea to rest. =)

But can you just imagine Uwe Boll as a Pakled? =D "He makes movies strong!"
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
12-19-2011, 10:19 PM
I just want to imagine that I haven't wasted my time and money on a game that I thought I would really love...

...just to have it fade away in a couple of years.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
12-20-2011, 09:06 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyNY View Post
And that doesn't even take into account all the Folks who will hang around and 'Express' their 'Displeasure' to all the new players here in the forums and in-game chat...
I am going to take so much perverse pleasure in airing all the dirty little secrets Cryptic will no doubt try to disappear before the Silvers come in.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyJoyJoy View Post
Of course what they forget is that these players are, as a result, less invested and more prone to leaving when something becomes inconvenient or less palatable.
This.

From my time in other F2P games (when I was Younger *********, much more recently BSGO and WoT) I have discovered that I have a proclivity for logging in for two weeks or so out of every 4 months to get an occasional fix before the grind puts me off and I spend my time elsewhere.

I think the devs assume that the point where I get bored and leave is the point where Silvers will start shelling out cash.

This may be true for a minority of them, but I'm guessing the majority will leave and jump to the next Free MMO.
The market is fairly well saturated now, so the only players who will stay are Star Trek fans who couldn't afford the sub, and if they couldn't afford the sub chances are they are not the crowd to depend on for mircro-trans.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
12-20-2011, 02:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katic View Post
The following is based off my own observations and knowledge of marketing and psychology, I have no inside information, nor any privileged information regarding Cryptics PR philosophy.

Within corporate culture, Orwellian “doublespeak” has become a common way of disguising poor service. Unnecessary grinds introduced to encourage micro-transactions are relabeled "opportunities" for Players to avoid those very same micro-transactions.

PR people and the Devs are most likely aware of the western cultural bias towards “self-determination” (IE individualist self-control). They most likely know we’re more likely to yield to their persuasions if we believe we’re personally in control and not being coerced, as when we sense coercion we respond with resentment and resistance. They thus make frequent use of self-determining words and phrases (EX: “opportunity”, “incentive” and “adding challenge”) most likely as tools of resentment management.

The technique is to let you believe you have a free choice. When, in fact, all you have is a dilemma. A “free choice” implies at least one favorable option; a dilemma means each option is unfavorable, such as the "choice" of whether to grind (bad), pay (bad), or stop playing (bad).

The language of the typical MMO PR is saturated with self-determining words, which hide coercion by disguising dilemmas as choices. In such environments, Players may actually come to believe they are performing repetitive, mindless tasks out of personal choice, rather than economic dilemma (grinding to avoid paying), or taking a bad game being better than not playing at all.

The decreasing returns in currency conversion are mitigated by the "gift" of Holiday Tickets, the anger that rightfully comes from exclusive items in Lotto Boxes is deflected by the miniscule chance of getting it through the repetition (grind) of a Holiday Daily. The sheer crass commercialism of the Dilithium Economy and lack of content in favor of C-Store releases is softened by the Dilithium Exchange (which shifts the real-world costs to someone else) and the "opportunity" to do the same missions over and over and over again for weeks. The Nerf of Crafting is softened by the introduction of Unreplicateable Materials, which is essentially the same Nerf, just with the possibility of having the grind shifted to someone else.

All of this, combined with the subset of the playerbase that is wholly taken in with this sort of doublespeak vocally parroting the very doublespeak employed, combines to keep most players consciously unaware of how badly they're being treated.

Resentment management is a subset of “damage limitation”. Damage limitation most likely plays a massive role in Dev-Player relations, not for selling the game to new players, but for deflecting some of the hostility, suspicion and anxiety the existing playerbase feels towards them.

Again and again, we're given the same three bad options, grind, pay, or quit, and told it's a free and clear choice, when it's really a dilemma, choosing the lesser of three evils.

Is this the way we want our game run?
I like the post but it's nothing new that Cryptic have been telling us there are 5 lights.

But no, this isn't the way I want this game run but it's all too obvious Cryptic don't care about anything but money after all the integrity, quality and respect they've abandoned to get money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyNY View Post
I believe at this point, there is nothing we can do about it but express ones displeasure and leave/stop playing...,

But that is a decision up to each individual player.

The bigger question I believe, for Cryptic is...

Do They really think that the F2P'ers won't figure this out fairly quickly also...?...

And that doesn't even take into account all the Folks who will hang around and 'Express' their 'Displeasure' to all the new players here in the forums and in-game chat...

There's no way in hell Cryptic is going to 'mute' everybody who does this, in time to make a positive difference.
I'm expressign my displeasure by keeping my money in my wallet because they sure as hell don't care if I'm playing or not.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
12-20-2011, 08:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katic View Post
Again and again, we're given the same three bad options, grind, pay, or quit, and told it's a free and clear choice, when it's really a dilemma, choosing the lesser of three evils.

Is this the way we want our game run?
Welcome to Life. These three options are exactly what Life gives you. Sorry you think games should give you something better but as the Devs are also affected by the choices Life gives them, those same choices are reflected in games, and not just in MMO's.

You could also make a conscious choice to completely ignore parts of STO to the extent where you ignore all of it and go do something else till something better comes along and you're back doing it.

It's like when I was a kid and I'd look at my plate and complain about having liver in it. The best response I could get from my parents was "Then don't eat it!" I'd never gotten them to say something like "OK, so I'll make you something else instead."

Later in life, I learned that once you're a grown up you can make your own food... in fact, you kinda have to!

Life is about making Free Will and making choices, but Free Will isn't about having your way without any consequences to your choices. Deal With It like the adult you are.
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