I have a problem with SotA

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Shadowblades, Apr 23, 2014.

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  1. Shadowblades

    Shadowblades Avatar

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    This originally started as a reply over at: https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/lackluster-combat.9197/ but I feel like it deserves its own post.

    This describes exactly how I feel about this game.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought that the Kickstarter goal was the necessary amount to successfully fund the game? And they hauled in almost doubled the goal's amount. That's cool that people want to support the game, donate and all that, but...

    sup·port

    [suh-pawrt, -pohrt]
    verb (used with object)
    • 5.
      to maintain (a person, family, establishment, institution, etc.) by supplying with things necessary to existence;
    do·na·tion
    dōˈnāSHən/
    noun
    • 1. something that is given to a charity, especially a sum of money.

    I know that this isn't a charity campaign, but it just feels like any other glorified microstransactions store, except this one is disguised as loyal project funding. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you could purchase these things (maybe more, maybe less) after the game has been released. The reason I brought up support and donations is because in my opinion, it just doesn't come off as support? "Support our game and be rewarded!" isn't exactly the same as "Check out what else we're trying to sell you in this week's newsletter!". I mean, look at the Add-On Store page ( https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/?page_id=9085 ), it looks like any other microtransaction store page, maybe even more robust than some store pages.

    Once again, I understand that funding is important, but am I the only that feels like the business model is effecting the game design? Example time!

    Ultima Online: You want a house? Not big enough? You want your own castle? Well that's quite ambitious! Combine your entrepreneurial skills and try to reach a sum of almost a million gold pieces and you can have your very own castle! Remember though, open land is quite limited in the world, so be sure to hurry before others stake their claims and grab the land before you do! In Ultima Online, houses were huge. They were ambitious goals, something to work toward, very rewarding, and possessed a lot of economic value. Do you think the house with the vendors right outside of the busy town were more successful, or at least had more exposure than the houses in the middle of nowhere? Yup. Everyone had the same chance to claim a piece of land (at the beginning of the game), and people had to explore the world to figure out where they wanted to plant their house (or you could always just drop it at the first available spot). Now I mostly played UO in the original days followed by a few expansions, but I don't remember anything that you could pay for (with cash) that would give you an advantage in the game, or even change the game cosmetically (I think?).

    Shroud of the Avatar: You want a house? Just spend $165 (LIMITED QUANTITY (155 of 450 left). Available at 17.5% off the regular $200 price) and you'll have your own village lot (house not included). You don't want to have a lot with less exposure to other players, being in a village? Just spend $450 (LIMITED QUANTITY (87 of 100 left): Introductory Sale of 50% off the regular $900 price) for your very own town lot (house not included). You're too big of a fish to live in a pond, you wanna go big with a city lot. WELL it's ONLY $1050 (LIMITED QUANTITY (43 of 50 left): Introductory Sale of 50% off the regular $2,100 price <--


    The Skinning Knife of Prosperity (digital) This unique, indestructible knife increases the quality and quantity of meat, hides, poison sacks, etc. gathered when field dressing. While knives with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular knife never needs repair." I think there are 12 prosperity items total? That's $120 if you buy them all individually, or $100 if you buy both 6-packs ($50 each), providing what is probably a very minor edge as far as tools go, but still effects gameplay. Although, these things are pretty small in scope compared to the houses.

    I just don't feel like this is a spiritual successor to Ultima anymore as much as I feel like it's a community-funded, cash-grab business that happens to be a video game, which apparently is accommodating to big spenders. I'm sure most will disagree with me (I mean, look at where this is being posted), but this is how I feel, and as a life-long Ultima/Richard Garriot fan (I looked past Tabula Rasa and believe what he said about producers etc), I don't even know if I can support this game anymore.

    Are refunds a thing? Cuz I'm considering investigating that route.
     
  2. Canterbury

    Canterbury Avatar

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    I will just ask one, simple question: Have you ever crowdfunded a videogame in the past?
     
  3. Bohica

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    First off welcome to the forums. For the most part you are correct that the kickstarter was created to generate funds to create the game. But if players wanted more features that the Kickstarter funds did not cover, then the fund raising must continue post Kickstarter. Nothing comes for free. You can purchase this game and play with the rest of us for a one time fee of $45 and enjoy the features that other have made possible. There is nothing wrong with that.

    I will not go into all you points just to save the horse beating, but just trust in me and the other reply's that the devs will not do anything to jepordise this great game.... Including items sold from the cash shop.

    P.S no refunds sorry.
     
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  4. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    First off, welcome to the forums because I don't think I've seen you post before.

    The Kickstarter did not raise enough to fully fund the game. I believe Richard Garriott said in an interview when he launched the KS that he felt the game really needed a $5-$7 million total budget. Some is coming out of his pocket, and if there wasn't enough raised in crowd-funding, he'd look for additional investors.

    Star Citizen was similar in that they asked for like 2% of the budget they felt they needed, and if they didn't get the rest in crowd funding they'd turn to outside investors. Having initial funding to prove there is interest through a KS can help you land investors. As it turned out, Star Citizen has earned over $42 million in crowd funding and is still chugging along. SotA is up to $4 million now. But SotA really still needs money to hit their ideal budget. (SC's ideal budget was $25 million).

    RG also said in several interviews that he doesn't like micro-transactions or pay to win. He wants you to buy the game once, never pay a subscription free, and never feel like you have to spend money again. But if people want to buy vanity items and it helps funding, then so be it.

    The crafting tools blue the line a bit, but I hope the Add On store is just vanity items and not power items.

    I hope you don't leave the community and that you find yourself enjoying the game. But if you decide to leave, you'll see in the FAQ linked in my signature that Portalarium is not doing refunds. But you can sell your pledge on the forums to someone else to recoup your money if you really want out. If you backed in the KS and you're a Royal Founder, I know there is someone who posted in the Player Marketplace that wants to buy a Royal Founder pledge from someone.
     
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  5. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    I think if you've been playing the tests, reading up on the development updates, and the story information, you know there'll be a lot to enjoy about the final game even if you don't agree with this particular decision by the developers.

    You can tell that they're putting a lot of heart into the game, so referring to it as a 'cash-grab', no matter how this rubs you the wrong way, is a bit callous.
     
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  6. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    I'll move my response to this thread then.

    First off, welcome to the forums @Shadowblades because I don't think I've seen you post before.

    The Kickstarter did not raise enough to fully fund the game. I believe Richard Garriott said in an interview when he launched the KS that he felt the game really needed a $5-$7 million total budget. Some is coming out of his pocket, and if there wasn't enough raised in crowd-funding, he'd look for additional investors. Brian Fargo and others have gone on record recently saying they believe the MINIMUM budget for a AAA title is $25 million. You can make an indie game for much less, but if people are expecting a large feature set, good graphics, a nice engine, plenty of content, etc. then it will cost $25 million+ to make.

    Star Citizen was similar in that they asked for like 2% of the budget they felt they needed, and if they didn't get the rest in crowd funding they'd turn to outside investors. Having initial funding to prove there is interest through a KS can help you land investors. As it turned out, Star Citizen has earned over $42 million in crowd funding and is still chugging along. SotA is up to $4 million now. But SotA really still needs money to hit their ideal budget. (SC's ideal budget was $25 million).

    RG also said in several interviews that he doesn't like micro-transactions or pay to win. He wants you to buy the game once, never pay a subscription free, and never feel like you have to spend money again. But if people want to buy vanity items and it helps funding, then so be it.

    The crafting tools blur the line a bit, but I hope the Add On store is just vanity items and not power items so the game isn't pay to win.

    I hope I addressed your concern.

    I hope you don't leave the community and that you find yourself enjoying the game. But if you decide to leave, you'll see in the FAQ linked in my signature that Portalarium is not doing refunds. But you can sell your pledge on the forums to someone else to recoup your money if you really want out. If you backed in the KS and you're a Royal Founder, I know there is someone who posted in the Player Marketplace that wants to buy a Royal Founder pledge from someone.

    Edit: I wanted to add that you mentioned UO allowed you get an house by amassing in game wealth. SotA will be the same way. You can get a lot and a house with in game currency without spending any real life money if you want.

    Edit 2: TL;DR No one is forced to spend money in the add on store, but money raised in the add on store makes the game better for everyone. Additional funds means hiring additional devs and making a better game.
     
  7. Time Lord

    Time Lord Avatar

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    ~SOTA Monk~ ~Monastery~ ~Thailand~
    The Snowball Effect;

    Think of our game of SotA as a Snowball.... The more the Snowball rolls across the snow on the ground, then.. the larger it's becomes.
    SotA would be a very shallow and small game if it did not gather more funding $.

    SotA is not owned by any large gaming company, like EA... This gives SotA the advantage to become the game that Lord British wanted to create, without outside influence from any dominating backer like EA.

    Every time something is purchased from the SotA Store, the more possibilities came to help Lord British create more and better content for our game.

    I do hope you decide to stay with us and help us create the game we always wanted to play... far away from large corporate influences like EA... (aka The Guardian)
    Always Your SotA Friend,
    ~Time Lord~:rolleyes:
     
  8. High Baron O`Sullivan

    High Baron O`Sullivan Avatar

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    is everything.
    What pledge level and how much do you want for the account. Inbox me with prices and I'll buy it off of you. Problem solved.
     
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  9. Lord Andernut

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    One thing I don't get is if the game needs 5-7M total budget... and crowdsourcing is the "investors" .... normally when a game ships the sold copies pay back the investors. Who gets paid back when SotA sells?
     
  10. Floors

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    I hate to tell you this, but in real life investors lose money too.

    There aren't always refunds when you invest. It's a risk, a gamble, a game.

    That's why venture capital and angel investments are hard to come by... nobody wants to lose their cool millions...
     
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  11. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    If SotA had turned to venture capitalists, they could get a percentage of ownership in Portalarium, but it looks like that wasn't the case.

    It is actually illegal to crowd invest in the United States. So through something like Kickstarter, you can get a reward, but you can't get a percentage of profits or ownership. There are people who are looking to get those laws overturned. The fake Hollywood Stock Exchange website was supposed to be a proof of concept to try and get those laws overturned to allow for crowd-investment of movies with actual returns on your investment.
     
  12. Lord Andernut

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    I wasn't asking about refunds...
     
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  13. Shadowblades

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    Thank you for the welcomes. For starters, I guess I should say that I'm here for info/discussion.

    I have. Which part of my post makes you ask?

    I like what you said. I understand funds have to come, but I just feel bummed that it's at the cost of largely effecting the balance of the game. I could understand if you were purchasing cosmetic bonuses (not necessarily cosmetic, but more-or-less not really effecting gameplay heavily), but as far as houses go, it sounds like cities will be full before the game officially launches (I could be way off). You said "You can purchase this game and play with the rest of us for a one time fee and enjoy the benefits of those who payed for the features you get to enjoy in this great game", which I do appreciate on that level, but is it weird that it feels wrong to me? When I read that sentence at first, I couldn't help but think about rearranging a few words to: those who payed can enjoy the benefits. I know that's not what you said, but I just feel less ok with stuff compared to when I had originally pledged. I guess trusting is my main issue at the moment.

    Sorry, I guess I had a bit more to vent that I realized. I think I started feeling this way after the first few emails featuring Ye Olde Add-On Store. I'm not here by accident and my intention hasn't been to cause a storm of hellfire, I've just been a huge Ultima fan, originally jumped out of my seat just at reading that Lord British was gonna be unveiling a secret project, and have just felt uneasy about this game over time.

    (imagining a South Park Canadian character saying) Thanks fuh'havin me buddy. Thank you for the info, as I was not knowledgeable of those figures. I agree with the vanity items completely, but do houses fall into the category of vanity items? I mean sure, $5 hot-tub for your lot, pretty vanity'ish, but what about expert-level crafting stations (honestly I don't know how much weight they carry, but that's why I'm asking after all)? What kind of impact will those big-spenders-with-houses-in-the-city have on the game? I mean, is the player that plays the game and buys his shop with gold gonna have a chance to compete with the day 1 shop-owners, and are you/others ok if that isn't the case? That's where my thoughts have been headed lately. Also on the house topic, I know that players will be able to buy their lot/house with in game money, but it just feel extra first-come-first-server priority-ish?

    I guess my questions for Richard Garriot & team are:

    Will there still be space in the original cities/towns/villages for non-real-life-money-paying players? Is there a safeguard/guarantee in-game-buyers will have a spot, or any loose plans? (Just honest questions, not trying to setup a trap or anything).

    Will the Add-On Store continue to exist post-launch? Will it change? Will players still be able to buy lots/houses with real cash post launch?

    Can you compare the experiences between the paid home/shop owner to the non-paid home/shop owner? Will paying cash for such a lot/shop/house give players an upper-hand over the in-game-buyers (whether economically, socially, etc)?

    Have you received much feedback on this subject? Do I sound like a crazy person for being concerned with this stuff?

    Thanks everyone.
    -Shadowblades
     
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  14. Lord Andernut

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    I just meant that in general games should pay themselves off, so when we put forward the crowdsourcing to pay the salaries for the year(s) they work on the game when they go to market and if/when the game sells, where does that money go? One part that confused me was when they were saying they would fundraise for Episodes 2/3/4/5 I figured the fundraising was to get the game off the ground and the sales would fuel salaries for future episodes.
     
  15. Shadowblades

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    Thank you for the offer, but my stance is still considering investigating. If I did choose to sell, it'd probably be worth more closer to / after launch, methinks ;).
     
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  16. Canterbury

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    Basically your whole post. You make it sound like SotA is doing something really strange and unusual and like nothing you've ever seen before, to the extent that you say you want your money back.

    Meanwhile, in most of the videogames I've crowdfunded, there has been the ability to pledge for, or "add on", in-game items, just the same as what SotA's doing. ie: This is nothing unusual in crowdfunded gaming.
     
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  17. High Baron O`Sullivan

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    Okay, well if you decide you DO want to sell lemme know and I'll make it rain.
     
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  18. Sir Bradley White

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    They have stated that there will be lots in game for sale and purchase through in-game gold. Now, those will be limited in that once they sell out in game there will be no more until Episode 2 (as far as my understanding goes). As far as the houses in the store, I don't see a problem with them. They give a variety to the selection we already have in-game. Now, I don't know if they will offer the same houses that are in the add-on store to be sold in game for gold, or have different variants for sale in game.
     
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  19. Floors

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    Oh. sorry. somebody else was and you were talking about sold copies paying back the investors.

    Still, point stands.
     
  20. majoria70

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    I want to say Please Leave.............but I will try to control myself. A decent game will cost perhaps 20 mil. This game is crowd funded and will raise revenue through backers and game purchases. Some games charge subscriptions to support themselves, some do cash shops. It is a fact of life. I get so amazed about the amount of people saying 'hey they asked for one amount and now they want more'. Well no they don't want more, it just takes more. I wish you welcome of course, if you are backing the game fine or not is fine also. No one should spend more that they have or want to. They are very welcome no matter what path is chosen. Great ideas are a great contribution also.
     
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