Do I dare disturb the universe?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lord Trenyc, Jul 15, 2014.

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  1. Trenyc

    Trenyc Avatar

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    - T.S. Elliott, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

    Unfortunately, life has recently dumped a few unexpected expenses on me, and the weight of those expenses has forced me to sell my Royal Founder Lord Marshal pledge. Sadly there is nothing to be done about that; I simply can't afford at the moment to hold a high value pledge right now.

    When I decided to actually make the sale, I was on the fence as to whether or not I wanted to buy back in at a much lower tier. A pledge under $100 wouldn't break the bank. But things have changed dramatically since I opened my original pledge. I was on the fence about buying back in particularly because of the things that have changed, and now I'm leaning rather toward no.

    This feeling started even before real life caught up with me. I first felt it when DarkStarr posted details about an upcoming change to the pledge structures in Dev+. The proposed changes were dramatic, and when that thread opened, the new rewards weren't exactly fairly distributed. Lords had basically no incentive to upgrade to Lord Marshal, and people were concerned about a number of other issues. Portalarium came back with a sure-fire way to address those criticisms: they gave us more. A lot more.

    I won't go into details on how that all unfolded because, well, Dev+. The point I want to make clear is that pledge rewards turned into a veritable cash shop, and lots of us (myself included) took the bait. The LM rewards, post-change, had become too good to pass up. So many crafting stations, indestructible tools, two large tax-free lots, tons of houses. As a LM, I'd have it made immediately at launch. And that was the plan. Set up shop at Beran's Reach, get super involved with the community of player run towns, buy into smaller outlet shops in other popular locations for the short term. Italics to make clear how fast this was all to happen. I wanted to be a merchant, and the tools I would have been given from the beginning would have offered me an absolutely immense advantage in that regard.

    Then came the issues. Portalarium's reluctance to reinstate Founder pricing for those of us who held Founder or Royal Founder accounts was disheartening, creating a situation where many of us felt a strong incentive to upgrade but would have to pony up the money we previously saved to do so. Then the 10% fiasco happened, seemingly as a response to those concerns, which created a bunch of hurdles to hop through and actually unfairly punished some people who chose to upgrade to high value tiers early. This was especially painful since many of us who were impacted by the Founder pricing bit had previously already chosen to upgrade as high as we could particularly because of the special pricing. And the Pledge Goal Store... heavens to Betsy, I've never before seen a more transparent attempt to milk a customer base. Most of you probably know quite well by now how I feel about the Stretch Goal Store. :p

    Here's the kicker, though. Having gone from LM, with all that stuff, right on down to someone who doesn't hold any pledge at all, with no stuff, I now am struck with the reality that, if I want to be a merchant, I'll have to compete with all the people who have those advantages. Not long ago, I was feeling like few people would be able to compete with me with so many starting advantages. Do I really want to play a game where I myself am faced with the disadvantages of being on the opposite end of that?

    There are a million other gripes I can make about the ways this community is divided, about specific circumstances where Portalarium has failed to effectively communicate important issues, and about numerous ways Portalarium has tried to extract more money out of its customer base rather than trying to attract new backers. There are an equal number of good things I could say about the wonderful things people in this community do for the game and for the player base, about Portalarium trying (even if they fail) to incorporate the feedback of its player base, and about the general goals that are in place for SotA to meet. There's the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    It all really comes down to the Portalarium business model, recent changes to which have already impacted the game in ways that will likely take years to reconcile. And throughout those years, Port will have to find new ways to extract cash from its player base. I am no longer confident that Portalarium can or will choose to do that in ways that offer no practical advantage to players.

    And for my personal stake, well... RF rewards, gone. Founder rewards, gone. Tax free property deeds, gone. Crafting stations, gone. Tax free merchant, gone. Free houses, gone. How many hours might I expect to have to put into acquiring all the stuff that can be acquired through in-game means? My guess: too many.

    I'll be hanging around the forums to keep track of how this project progresses and to help out where I can (because how I feel about Portalarium is not a reflection of how I feel about this community). I will also be continuing work on SotACrafter for now. I'm making this post because I feel these issues will have enormous negative consequences for Portalarium in the long run, as players interested in backing ask themselves the same question I just asked and arrive at the same answer.

    My two cents here.

    Cheers all.
     
  2. Balec Fares deCani

    Balec Fares deCani Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    I don't know about the universe, but I'm disturbed. Sorry to see you go Lord Trenyc.
     
  3. PrimeRib

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    And this is why, as silly as it sounds, crafting can't actually drive the economy. People may swap in and out of gold, but the real money is rare, earned stuff.
     
  4. Myth2

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    I sold off my Royal Founders pledge for financial reasons too. At first it wasn't a comforting experience, but after a few weeks, it felt like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I've since felt more encouraged to engage in the forums and work on community endeavors. Before, I was a high-stakes (for me) investor, a Royal Founder Lordly Arch-Knight of the Duke-Avatar's Manor selected by Royal Warrant, with everything riding on Portalarium's composure and success. Now I'm just a player again, and I have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

    Give it a few weeks, and maybe that fire in your heart, the one that's been smothered by financial commitment, will be rekindled.
     
  5. Sir Korvash

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    Sorry to hear this Trenyc. Sad to see yet another member of the community leaving in a way like this.

    And i will just say, I agree with the concerns you've brought up, and that it is indeed disturbing.

    All the best to you, and hopefully the situation can be corrected, so that you are more then happy to return to us.
     
  6. Crikey

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    Empathy here.
     
  7. Lord Trady of Blix

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    I'm sorry to hear that. That is life... sometimes things are good, and sometimes they're bad. Without the struggle and problems, we would never appreciate the times we have that are good. Be thankful for what you DO still have... you know many are leading lives that are much worse than many of us.

    BTW, Thanks for SoTaCrafter. Even if it did tell me how to make jeweled swords wrong in R7 :D

    However, I would like to provide a little counter-commentary, because I don't share your negative viewpoint towards Portalarium.

    That doesn't mean I'm not critical about decisions they make from time to time, but in general I am a fan of how they've been treating the community.

    Let me address some points you made with how I look at it, to give you a constructive and opposite viewpoint.

    This is your decision. If Real Life is impacting you to the point you must free up 22o0, then I suggest you may have gotten in over your head in the first place, and the way to look at it is positive, that you're correcting that mistake. There are plenty of Royal Founder and Founder accounts available via the player marketplace, so if you truly did want to jump back in at a more modest level and get those rewards in game, there's totally an opportunity to do so right now.

    This is the wrong way to look at things.

    It's little bit like buyers remorse... the more you get in over your head in pledge totals, the more you feel the company owes you something and the more negative a tone it becomes towards the company.

    I know this, because this was the attitude I used to have. I used to get swayed by the FUD on the forums and get panicky and negative about the game direction. I have since completely given over to this and now I'm just ready to play.

    There are many valid criticisms to be made, which I won't get into here, but I'm accepting that Port is doing the best they can, within their means, to achieve something that is truly fun for us all to play. I think we sometimes have an idea the game can be larger than what it actually can be, because we want a RPG Utopia on an unlimited budget, really.

    That's the true hope of all the people who are real players. So expectations management is definitely part of this and I highly suggest you re-evaluate what you expected, especially since for me I knew it would be modest based on graphics presented during kickstarter, and at the time I felt even my knight's pledge back then was overboard. I can see that the game is being made by people who also play games, know the score and are doing the best they can to make a fun game for us first on the budget that they're restricted by. We are lucky in a way this game is even being made.

    Why don't you actually play someone who just "wants" to be a merchant. You know the rewards are great and everything, but I imagine unlocking them in the game to be much more rewarding than getting them up front. Is the game all about competition for you ? You know that there are hundreds of players at Lord Marshal and up that have even more advantages and probably some execs at Portalarium that are always going to have "more stuff" ? Couldn't you think of a different play style to have fun, say a soldier who is poor who one day hopes to become a merchant ?

    You know this game if its successful, and I think it will be, will continue to expand, There will always be new places and opportunities to grow. That is the only worthwhile way to think anyhow. Why not look on the bright side instead of taking such a negative viewpoint ? Unless you just wanted Pay to Win all along, which I can't believe is the case.

    It's a company out to make money, take care of the people working on its team, while they're there anyway, make money for the founders who rightfuly own the company and are invested in it's success and have the most to lose by its failure, and they *have* to find a way to raise money.

    Bringing in new backers is one way, giving those of us better options to upgrade to is another. There's no requirement forcing us to upgrade, it's totally voluntary.

    I just don't understand this position, where it's like, what is your alternative, the company runs as some kind of co-op or non-profit and we on the forums decide its actions by committee ?

    This is capitalism, for good or worse, and it works, or at least, in this case it is working and it is how this game is getting made. It's a risk for each of us investing and hoping we'll have a persistent world and that it won't be shut down in a few years or earlier, that is a risk we all know and take, in order for us to all share this game.

    I will wrap up by saying there is this attitude that is sort of us vs them, and a kind of mistrust of companies, probably because americans are used to having companies rule their country and dominate their lives. Our Cable plans are not fair, our Phone plans are not fair, and we are just used to railing against companies. I would like to see us cut a smaller startup company like Portalarium a little slack.

    It's got problems like any company, and it's probably a little dysfunctional, like any company, but it's not a multinational behemoth that wields real power and really doesn't act in the interests of the people it purportedly serves.

    I am not trying to argue with you, I respect you feel this way, but I urge you to look at it from another angle sometime, if you can.

    And certainly I hope you continue on this journey with us, and see you in the game. You're welcome to a room in my basement if things get really rough, but make sure you wash up and lock the door when you leave. And don't bring any kobolds over for late night parties :)
     
  8. Isaiah

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    Sorry to hear this. I hope you get paid well for selling your account. Best wishes.
     
  9. Isaiah

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    AS FOR THE COMMUNITY:

    The biggest goal of all is to develop the game. Right now they are focusing on combat which is fundamental to the game as a whole. A stretch goal is like a bonus.

    Let them get the fundamental components of the game together, and let the stretch goals get handled in a one by one nature.
     
  10. docdoom77

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    Regardless of how I feel about your position, I appreciate the well-thought-out manner of your post. This is not filled with drama or vitriol, but is instead well-thought and well-spoken. I appreciate that.
     
  11. Ronan

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    Bah...Trenyc, now who am I supposed bug about the little details! Stick around, you can always camp out in my lil village lot in the middle of nowhere as long as you don't snore too loudly and keep an eye on Rustic Dragon so he does not pink wash my house.
     
  12. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    I find myself agreeing with doc's statement. So, Trenyc, until such time as our paths cross again:

     
  13. Retro

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    With so much DRAMA, in the Forum, it' kinda hard being Port-a-larium.;) (Poet circle material?)

    With regards to your financial and Portalarium issues I hope they are resolved soon...

    My advice take a step back...sell your account, rejoin at the lowest level, refrain from visiting\posting on the forums, try not to think about what others are going to have in the game, just try to think about what you are going to archive, consider joining a guild so you have a support system at the beginning of the game, and please continue your work on SotACrafter.

    I truly hope you return, good luck.
     
  14. Beli

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    Lord Trenyc I truly hate to hear this news. You have been a asset to the community and will be missed. If you do decide to come back at a lower tier I want you to know you will not be homeless. My homes are your homes.
     
  15. Vyrin

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    Sorry to hear it. Thoughtful post.
     
  16. Amber Raine

    Amber Raine Community Ambassador (FR)

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    Trenyc,

    I, do not know what to say. ... That does not happen often :(

    ~tries~
    If i could wave a magick wand and see your financial troubles disappear i would most certainly do so. You have grown so much in the college and with your crafters program. The help you have given in every place you have touched has been invaluable. I am floored and disturbed. It should not be a surprise to me, but it hurts none the less to see another leave. :oops::( ~crawls under her desk and refuses to come out, I can not bare to see anyone else leave... not like this~
     
  17. Trenyc

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    I appreciate the words of support from everyone, across all perspectives.

    You should all understand that this ain't my first rodeo. I respect that gaming experiences are different for everyone, but years of experience with MMO economies have made it impossible for me to turn a blind eye to factors that impact those economies. Being a merchant in these kinds of games is what I do, and I'm very good at it (at least where players start on a level playing field).

    The multiplayer game will be all about interactions between players, and as I explained in my original post, it's pointedly obvious that players who can afford to do will be starting with big advantages in that arena. Moving from the advantaged end of that discrepancy to the disadvantaged end makes that reality especially painful for me personally. I fight enough to succeed in real life. If I were to play, I'd want to be a merchant with a fair shot at success, but I don't want my game experience to turn into a second full-time job just to compete with the people who start with those advantages.

    It's a bit ironic, too. I mostly feel this way because I know, as someone who held that pledge and as someone who knows extremely well what it takes to succeed as a merchant in these games, just how much of an advantage those things really are. From a different perspective it might seem like, "Oh, stuff. Big deal." But it is a big deal. That's why I upgraded from Lord to Lord Marshal post-change.

    In truth, I'm not unhappy to let that pledge go. Upgrading for the reasons that I did made me feel dishonest, like I was cheating. And I was, in a way. No player should be able to buy that big of an advantage in a game of any kind. The burden it puts on life apart from the game is too great, and the challenges it creates for players who can't afford to buy in are too big. I do feel better not holding the pledge anymore, and not all of that is to do with knowing what else I can do with $2,200. ;)
     
  18. Doppelganger [MGT]

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    @Lord Trenyc, you've seemed like a great member of the community and thank you for your detailed and heart-felt post. Its a shame you're not rejoining the game, but it seems many share your similar concerns. I for one, have noticed a definite trend towards the "big money advantage" with Portalariums business decisions of late. Some use the defense, "well it is funding the game!". I used to think that as well, but now a part of me thinks maybe greed is beginning to enter the picture. I mean when you see special advantages one can only get by pledging $5000+ and a $300,000 stretch goal for Elves, what other reasonable solution can one come too?

    Either way, I am sticking around because I am very excited to play a new Ultima style, story driven game with some fun multi-player. I have chosen not to really get involved in many of the MMO aspects - ie: housing, running a business, player driven economy etc, therefore I will be somewhat exempt from the whole $$$$ advantage thing because those things will not interest or affect my personal play style.

    Maybe things will change for the better where you'll rejoin us in game! Either way, I wish you the best.
     
  19. digriz

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    LT's post got deleted.
     
  20. Joviex

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    Can whomever is doing these horrid merges of threads, just stop?

    It would be better to have the entire thing removed/archived, than some attempt at editing the flow of comments in the context to which they were originally made.

    This is WORSE than just removing content as it shows an active, concerted effort to "adjust" the history of conversations.

    Cheers.
     
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