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
12-19-2011, 11:34 PM
Seeing as this is just a game, one of several, I'm struggling to where a dilemma of any shape or form comes in.

Running dozens of STFs to get the digital shiny I want is not (for me) a grind. I have no need to pay for the stuff I want and not playing just means I go off and do something else equally entertaining...

Impressive dissertation but, to my mind, based on a fallacy.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
12-19-2011, 11:48 PM
If you enjoyed even a part of the time you spent playing this game then it was not a waste Davey. It may not have been a good return on your investment (in your opinion), but that does not inherently make it a waste.

Mirror-master makes an excellent point - At the launch of S5, it seemed that a large portion of the player base had no idea what was going on. Plus, many of them did not care.

This is where, I think, Cryptic gets the idea of the vocal minority. Let's say they have 100,000 accounts (not subs, accounts). If they register 100 unique complaints about topic X (not just the same 5 people over and over) in the forums, that is 0.001%. Granted, more than 100 are probably upset about topic X and don't bother with the forums, but when the VAST majority doesn't appear to care, why would Cryptic bother making anything but minor tweaks?



While Katic makes some very good points regarding PR, tactics, and choice, the underlying issue that this (and many other arguments against F2P and related changes) is predicated on is: The previous financial model was sustainable.

Based on what I've read about Cryptic, Atari, PW, and all those shenannigins . . . . I am not convinced that it was.

I also think the failure of the nameless hordes of MMO's before STO is testament to the fact that subscription based MMO's are difficult to make and keep sustainable.

Corollary - the success of several F2P MMO's suggests that a F2P model is sustainable.

As a player who wants STO to continue for many years to come (decades if possible), I understand and accept that changes may have not only been needed, but required to ensure its survival. I prefer survival in nearly any form to wholesale loss.

I prefer to live in the world of the real and the possible, rather than the ideal and dream. Is STO my ideal Star Trek game? No. Is it one that I still enjoy playing with my friends? Yes.

Do I care if they are trying to manipulate players using double speak? Since I recognize it as such . . . no, not really. I'm aware of the tricks marketers/PR use to get people to think X and do Y and I don't care. If I were to get mad about what Cryptic is doing then I should also get mad at my local grocery store for putting the Milk in the back. It's the same #$$%ing thing, tricking us into buying more by making us pass by all the other isles and see the "specials" and "deals" as we walk to back for the milk.

I ain't gonna go yell at my local grocer over that. :p

Time will tell if Cryptic made the right choice in moving to a F2P with the elements it currently has (DL grind, c-store, crafting issues, etc). I for one, will keep playing (if not paying [lifetimer] until I not longer find it fun.

Now then - let me be your lightning rod of Hate
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
12-19-2011, 11:49 PM
The time has come to make a choice, Mr. Anderson. Either you choose to be at your desk on time from this day forth, or you choose to find yourself another job.
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