Web Game Pricing

There are two major web-based games I play. One is Kingdom of Loathing, the other is Forumwarz. Both are free-to-play, however Forumwarz has recently changed its scheme in order to force itself to turn profitable. I wanted to examine this in a little more depth.

KoL has always run purely off donations. They produce one new item a month that can be purchase in-game for $10. They have other things available for purchase, like custom avatars, or custom titles, or other familiars. None of them are gamebreaking, and though they obviously give advantages, it is still highly possible to be competitive in the game without ever sinking money into it. They make enough money to support 5 full-time staff, too.
Forumwarz began the same way. Episode 1 was free-to-play (and ad supported, in fact, which KoL is not). There were random cosmetic things you could purchase, as well as additional characters, and you could also buy gamebreaking enhancements that would actually remove you from any competitive aspect of the game, a mechanic which I thought was genius.

But Episode 2 has just been announced, and it will be released on October 15th. The episode itself will cost $10 to play, though any changes that affect the entire game will be free to everyone. I’m happily coughing up the money because I know it will be worth it, but I definitely have something against a game being free, and then suddenly saying “You can’t play anymore unless you pay”. Anyone who shows up in the future will basically be playing a shareware game, and that’s really not cool. I completely understand the need to support the staff of the game, but I just think the way this turned out wasn’t the best. Offer items that are fun and worthwhile! Offer more stuff for donating! Think of something that allows free players to remain free and still see all the fun stuff! I play Forumwarz much less after I beat Episode 1, because there was only some competitive stuff to do there. KoL has PLENTY of stuff to do, and doesn’t require me to sit around waiting for more content. There’s always more to see and do.

Either way, I already preordered Episode 2, because I’m excited to see the new story and mechanics and such. But I think it could’ve been handled in a much better way, and they would’ve ended up living off the money just fine.

Television Round-up

I completely forgot about the premiere of Heroes last night. I mean, I was in rehearsal, so it didn’t make much difference, but still. I was pretty angry when I suddenly remembered. Also, surprisingly, Chuck premiered last night too. I could’ve sworn it was supposed to start up next week, but…surprise! I guess. Anyways, here are my thoughts:

Heroes: The premiere (and its followup) were pretty good. It’s nice to see all these wonderful actors back. I had fun watching it, but I’m still not convinced that I’m attached anymore. They needed to pull me back in, and I’m just not sure they accomplished that. I did laugh pretty hard when Sylar said “Eat your brain? Claire, that’s disgusting.” (Oh, yeah, spoiler alert.) But I have this unfortunate feeling that certain people are going to end up being Villains, which I don’t like. And the way they are changing some characters is not a direction I like. Nathan going all religious? No thanks. Mohinder become super-powerful is okay, but I just know he’ll overdo it and turn bad. At least Ali Larter has a new character to play. I hated Niki. I don’t really understand this whole change between characters, but, eh, I’ll play along, as long as Niki’s actually dead (which Greg Beeman swears is true). Basically, to sum it up, I’ll keep watching, but with a wary eye. I’ll drop it at a moment’s notice if it becomes too much for me.

Chuck: Chuck is awesome. The premiere sucked me right back in, and it continued along with the same awesome style, the same nerdy jokes, and the same awkward oh-my-god-kiss-already moments. I’m REALLY excited that it’s back. Also, they played Flight of the Conchords during the episode. The soundtrack of the show is just freaking awesome. I don’t really have much to expand on, other than to say “Keep it up! You guys rock!” I want to meet Zachary Levi some day and give him a big hug. He needs to be my friend.

So, next up, we have The Office, premiering Thursday, and then in October we’ll see Eli Stone and 30 Rock come back. Sounds like a good plan to me!

What’s wrong with liking Pixar?

This post made me sad. It describes me all too well, but it’s not me. THEY DON’T KNOW ME. So what that I have an unhealthy obsession with Pixar? They make good movies. There’s nothing wrong with that. Plus I have NEVER gone to the movies alone, though I do admit I would if I was the only one who wanted to go see the new Pixar movie…anyways, point being. I’m cooler than that. I’m nicer than that. And when Pixar makes a bad movie, I’ll happily admit it. (Cars is the closest example I can think of)

In the meantime, have you seen this pic for their new movie? I’m so excited.

Pixars upcoming movie, Up

Pixar's upcoming movie, Up

Spread the Pirate Love

I am amazed at how a silly little idea like TLAPD could become a global phenomenon. The fact that I could sign in to Facebook and change my language to Pirate today was just amazing. How did something like this happen? I mean, the first clear sign of it becoming recognized was Dave Barry’s coverage of it a few years ago. His article made people aware of this ridiculous holiday, and some people (i.e. my friends) turned it into an annual tradition, complete with taking an area of our high school hostage with swords and eyepatches. I wasn’t there for that, unfortunately.

Now, it’s become an annual sensation. Looking at my usual hangouts: Kingdom of Loathing (and most online video games) has an ingame holiday to correspond to it, Pirates of the Burning Sea has Slappy n’ Chumbucket (the founders) in the game, handing out a mission with a parrot as a reward, Google has a Pirate-themed page, Facebook does, as I mentioned, and the list goes on. It’s awesome that something two guys made up after drinking too much has become so big. The internet is full of those sorts of examples, where someone becomes huge just by posting a video, or writing a blog entry, or whatever. That’s why I love this so-called Web 2.0. ANYONE has a chance of becoming famous, and it’s not in that “You can do anything!” way that your parents always tried to persuade you about. You find your niche, and you can stack up millions of page views in a very short amount of time. I love the internet.

Classes are stressful, Eli Stone is not

I have never been so stressed out with classes before in my entire educational career. This is ridiculous. We are barely two weeks into school, and I’ve already got papers, tests, homework. It’s just crazy. I don’t deal with school stress well, so I’ve been putting off all the work I have to do by playing video games or watching TV. It’s really bad. This weekend I’m going to shut my computer off and force myself to do work. Or else I might end up failing classes, which is bad. At this point, if I can get a job secured for post-college, all I need to do is graduate 🙂

In other news, I started watching the first season of Eli Stone all over again. It’s such a fantastic show, and it makes you feel very happy. It’s fairly emotional, but really funny, and there’s lots of great George Michael songs in it. If you haven’t watched it, just try one episode. While there is a storyline, each one can also be watched on its own. I highly recommend any and all of them. It’s weird to say, but this is a show that’s got a lot of heart in it. And that’s freaking awesome.

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Just a reminder, tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Don’t forget to YAR at random passerbys!

Why “Of Tolls and Rolls”?

I figure I should explain my new Blog title choice. If my close friends at FLS are reading this, they should understand it. But if you don’t get it, you should probably go watch “Robin Hood: Men In Tights”. Firstly because it’s an awesome movie, but secondly so you can keep up with the references here. Like the title of my blog.

Also, I’m going to try and post more pictures in my posts from now on. It breaks up the monotonous walls of text that tend to amass.