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Pay-2-Win: Does it have a definition at all?

p2w

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#1
Kurock

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There has been some discussion recently over systems like DAC and PLEX being "Pay 2 Win" (p2w). There are obvious negative connotations of a game being p2w as the players with the larger wallets will always "win" against those that do not.  This is especially demoralizing when an opponent feels they were beaten not by skilled opponents but bludgeoned into submission by their wallets.
 
So it got me thinking: What does p2w actually mean?  My own definition has always been:
 

A player can gain an advantage though paying that cannot be achieved just by playing the game without paying.

 
To me there is a clear distinction between "paying to win" and "paying to progress faster".  
 
But was I wrong?  Has the definition of p2w changed while I wasn't looking?  It appears for some it means just one thing: 

A player can gain an advantage though paying.

 
So paying to progress faster in a game *IS* paying to win even if anyone, given enough time, can gain that same advantage, or gain it through other means.

 

Like most things in life, it's not quite that simple. There is definitely a grey area between these two definitions.  For example, how is it p2w to buy boosters to gain skills faster but buying in game currency is not p2w?  This bothered me.  More digging was required.

 

After doing some research, using either of these definitions is only half of the story. It completely ignores what it means to "win".  The way to "win" in a game depends very much on the game itself.  In a sandbox game, like Dual Universe, this becomes very difficult to nail down. When has a player won? Most would cry out "When my enemies are slain!". Sure, it is conceivable that players could spend money to buy bigger and better fleets with better weapons but the same fleets and weapons can be gained through savvy diplomacy. DU is an MMO after all.  But, again, PvP is only a part of many equal parts of DU: mining, building, governments, economy, etc.

 

My conclusion is that there are as many different definitions of p2w as there are opinions on the matter.  But that is just my opinion. Take a look around and decide for yourself. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Let's not worry overly much about differing opinions but instead build a community everyone can be proud of.

 

Further articles and discussions asking the same thing, all with varying opinions:
mmobomb: https://www.mmobomb....utes-pay-to-win
mmobomb: https://www.mmobomb....-pay-win-heres/
games reddit: https://www.reddit.c...nics_expanding/
truegaming reddit: https://www.reddit.c...in_mean_to_you/
newstateman: http://www.newstates...let-you-pay-win
toucharcade: http://toucharcade.c...-carter-crater/


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What is the Cinderfall Syndicate? We are a group of organizations and individuals, combined in the common interest of freedom, security, and making DU a fun place for all. Member organizations are self governing with the only requirement being a non-aggression pact (NAP) between all members. Individuals can join as direct citizens and be free to do as they please under the NAP. Come visit us here to learn more.

#2
Darrkwolf

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Btw. its a sandbox game so winning is all in your mind and what goals you have set for yourself. There is no true way to win the game. Also in DU (afaik) you train Skills so buying a DUA wont shortcut you those skills. I really hope that NQ do NOT include a skill injector equivalent. 


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#3
ATMLVE

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Btw. its a sandbox game so winning is all in your mind and what goals you have set for yourself. There is no true way to win the game. Also in DU (afaik) you train Skills so buying a DUA wont shortcut you those skills. I really hope that NQ do NOT include a skill injector equivalent. 

 

Exactly. Kurock brings up excellent points and arguments, but I am unconcerned regardless. My goals in DU will be things such as building spaceships and attempting to optimize their efficiency, Lua scripting, and messing around with interactive elements to make practical contraptions with them. Whether I succeed or spectacularly fail at doing any or all of those things, I won't mind much, as long as I enjoy it; I know no one can buy their way to innovation.


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#4
CommanderLouiz

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Well let's see what a DAC can get you in-game.

 

MONEY.

 

Maybe a lot, who knows. With that, you can buy basically anything on the market, including ships others have built, resources, locations to who-knows-what.

 

What Can't a DAC buy?

 

A crew. Coding skills. Building skills. (Talking not in-game skills.)

 

Without those ^^^^^^^^^ You can't fly some of the ships you buy, you can't build one (A good one), and good luck getting to that location without one.

 

So I don't foresee DAC's becoming anywhere near Pay-To-Win. You can drop $1000 to buy a battleship, but it'll end up being just an empty metal can.


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"In the end, you always bow."

 

"Not to men like you."

 

"There are no men like me."

 

"There are always men like you."

 

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(By Comrademoco)


#5
Kurosawa

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This is one of those things that gets twisted in what ever way the presented wants, for good or bad.

 

For me, I'm fine with P2V if you as a player can gain the same by playing or if it's cosmetics, simple as that.

 

I mean if someone wants to dump lets say 100 coins extra a month to progress faster or look like an orange monkey with tiny hands, then why should i complain, at the end of the day it help me as well because it funds the company behind the game.



#6
CaptainTwerkmotor

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EVE - like DU - is a team game. You can't win alone. For an alliance to win, needs  for everyone to be buying DACs and selling them. And there's the cheese-proofing of the realistic economy. The more DACs in circulations = the cheaper they are sold in-game for.

People who buy PLEX in EVE, are people :

1) who don't give a crap for the team game that it is. They like getting into an expensive cruiser (when fitted) like the Vexor Navy Issue, and going on 1vs1 PvP.

2) who got time for fleets once or twice a day, but don't got time to spend on farming for having "gear" for those fleets as in EVE - like in DU - gear is lost on death. It's a fact for the game economy to work. The alternative to that, if CCP was to not have PLEX for EVE, would be for the gold farmers to sell more. That benefits nobody, at least with PLEX people can get to play for free.

In both cases, the 1) kind of people are soloi players, who like doing solo stuff and like going into 1vs1 situations. These kind of people (hopefully) in DU, would be people who like doing organised PvP 1vs1. Or people who like getting into an arena match of Last Man Standing. People who only want to do that, and don't want to bother with farming.

The number 2) kind of people, buy PLEX (and DAC in DU) because they are family folk and between their kids and spouses, they will choose the family before the game, but they want to participate in the game itself in battles and since they can't invest time, they invest money, for the money in-game of another person, who invested time, cause they are not bound by such responsibilities.

Now, there's optional category 3). That's what in most games you'd call "the noob", but I just call them "the lazy". They are the people in EVE who, for whatever reason, don't understand how the economy works - and yes, they are lazy, cause they just didn't put effort on studying the market for a week, that's all it takes. Those people, can't make money even if they had the Golden Touch. They can't - for whatever reason - not make money in-game. So they just buy PLEX to be on equal standing with anyone who actually understands the market.

And this is where it comes down to.

In Black Desert Online, buying an item o nthe store and selling it for moeny in-game, means notihng, since the money drops from mobs and its a permanet inflation frenzy. Money in that game can be funneled into ugpraded gear (that never drops) and you can go and make an "edgelord Blade of the Edge +10000" by simply dropping in it money.

That's not how EVE's system of combat works - and by extension DU's, since they do follow the same mentality of "this is my laser cannon, there are many like it, but this one is mine". 

Your knowledge of the game mechanics, WILL ALWAYS be superior to equipment. That's the beauty of EVE. You can defeat people with "more expensive ships thus better" than you, if they have no clue how to fly their ship.

Example, I can fly a Stratios cruiser in EVE, with 2 Gecko Heavy Drones out. If the enemy is in a laser interceptor, I'm toast, I'll never be able to hit them, because I have two 50 mliion drones (50 million EACH), that can't hit a super-fast, super-tiny Interceptor, cause heavy drones are slow AF.

An interceptor costs 30 million in EVE, a Gecko drone costs 50 million and Gecko Heavy Drones, are used for attacking large, juicy targets, like battleships, or pinned targets, like slowed down cruisers. My 400 millions total cost Stratios, is essentially risking being destroyed, or even worse TACKLED by an interceptor that costs 30 million, cause I may be the Nooblord of RichVille and not know that Light Drones are meant for frigates, not Medium Drones and certainly not Heavy Drones or god forbid, Sentry Drones. (Not that light drones will ever catch up to an interceptor, but hey, you can always hope.)

Same goes for DU. You could go and buy the most expensive ship in the game. You can go and bring your friends ( that you aslo bought with real life money as well I'd guess) and have them crew it. If you are shit at the game, one frigging interceptor flown by a guy or a gal who know what they are doing, is going to blow up your propulsion, thus hindering you from entering warp (assuming there's a minimum-speed-requirement for warp) until their buddies show up and pillage your expensive 10000 dollar worth of DACs ship.

The art of hindering someone from entering warp, is called Tackling in EVE. So yeah, anyone who buys 10000 Dollars worth of DACs in DU, is still risking the same chance of being tackled by tiney-tiny Interceptors and then being systematically blown to shit by a wolf-pack of other Interceptors. "Death by a Thousand Cuts". That "super battleship made of Dollar Billls", is still susceptible to a death by a thousand cuts, and like the execution the adage originates from, it's most unpleasant. I'd know, I've been tackled in a Rattlesnake in EVE. And I had no light drones.

There's a reason EVE players say "Fly Safe". Frigging tackles man, frigging tackles. People can sink all them dollars in the game, they'll never be immune to tackling. So yeah, I can't wait til lsomeone sinks 10000 dollars in DACs in-game and then have their expensive batttleship stolen. Best salt = space salt.


TL ; DR : Pay2Win only happens in Korean MMOs. It's why western MMOs are now returning to the subscription model with a "PLEX-like" system - it's not just DU. Because Korean MMOs have made people spit in the face of F2P/P2W games. Just look at LazyPeon on youtube, the resident "I liekz F2P" of Youtube. Even he thinks it's better to have a subscription model than "P2W or Farm-for-3-Weeks-till-your-sword-breaks-again-and-you-have-to-start-from-scratch Desert Online".


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#7
Lethys

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Some things have already been said and I just want to add some points:

 

- In a game with predefined ships/armor/equipment and weak balancing ("THIS IS THE UBER-EQUIPMENT FOR LVL 1325445 ROFLSTOMP-PALAS") it is P2W (just buy the best ship/whatever from the market)

- In a game which only relies on small groups of players (raids, small gangs, instances with some people) it is P2W, because people who pump money into the game to get better items will most certainly always stomp people who don't do that (assuming same skill level, same tactics, same behaviour, and assuming pvp ofc)

 

But

 

In a game with thousands and thousands of players and the possibility to create your own ships with your own layout/weapon placement/armor thickness/shield strenght/LUA scripts, things look much different.

Here this "P2W mechanic" dilutes to merely an advantage.

 

Will someone most certainly always kill you in DU because he buys huge amounts of DACs?

Most certainly not because of

- a crew required for operating "better" or larger ships

- a probability chance in PVP

 

So for a single guy this boils down to ONLY starfighters with one seat. He may have an advantage there because he can just buy the "best" fighter (so far) on the market and can come for you time after time. But maybe you're good with scripting or building, that is YOUR advantage. Build a more efficient ship than he can possibly buy - and kill him.

People always assume that the market in DU will be exactly like EVEs market. But I don't think so. The mechanic will be most likely the same (buying, selling, orders, blabla). People will sell elements (turrets, engines,...) because those are used by everyone. But whole ships? Who said that players will definitely sell ships? If they don't sell ships (or only junk ships), a DAC user could only buy more elements than you - but he would have to build the ship for himself or pay someone else to do so. And then again there will be nations and huge orgs - would they really sell their top notch ships to people?

Plus markets are under RDMS - if you piss off the owner because you're a pirate or a douchebag who just kills people for fun with his RL money, guess what will happen. They just lock you out and you can't use the market anymore.

 

I think the fear of people is that huge orgs with some very wealthy members just drop large amounts of DAC on the market to fund a campaign against some other players, like IWI did in EVE. People forget that there are old accounts and some years ago, PLEX were sold for under 250million. So rich (ingame) players could've easily bought large amounts of PLEX and sell them nowadays for 1,2billion. Take EVE's jita market, there are about 1200 (serious) plex buy orders and even IF there was a spike today there in sells, that doesn't neccessarily mean some rich (in RL) guy is using some P2W mechanic to get rich (ingame) fast. It could be Jimmy o'Tool from your org, a VERY old character, just selling his stacks of 500 PLEX. So in an old game there is old money, because naturally a item like PLEX or DAC will be valuable. And STABLE in it's price, most likely ever so slowly rising.

In contrary to EVE, you can only hoard DACs in a few places (ark zones) and not everywhere. As NQ said, these zones are rare so maybe there are only 2 which will be very very far from each other. So your only choice as an org to make money out of DAC will be those zones. Depending on the location of big markets and their owners, the sourrounding territories and other factors in a mmo - that org has to buy those ships (if even possible as said earlier) in the first place and then either use them instantly or try to get away with them.

And to come back to IWI (because that's a prime example people always use as argument why Plex are P2W): he ran a site where players could buy tokens with isk. You can argue all you want about shadyness, RMT, unfairness.....and many more things here but IWI earned the ISK (ingame money!)....somehow. It wasn't RL money. He bought huge amounts of plex when they were cheap and sold them for the MBC war - plex spiked hard (read here: https://crossingzebr...sh-of-yc-118/).

So such a mechanic isn't clearly P2W at all, it's no easy task to answer it and my wall of death certainly didn't answered everything. Nor can people who think it's p2w find arguments for it.


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#8
Hades

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I think looking cool is how you win a game, so cosmetic stores are rife with p2w.

 

Down with cosmetic stores!

 

Edit:

 

It's all about perspective... by my definition DU will not be P2W... by someone else's it will.  However, this system has worked in various games without angering the masses.  So if one person gets their jimmies in a bunch over it, who cares?  Let them find another game.



#9
CaptainTwerkmotor

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I think looking cool is how you win a game, so cosmetic stores are rife with p2w.

 

Down with cosmetic stores!

 

Edit:

 

It's all about perspective... by my definition DU will not be P2W... by someone else's it will.  However, this system has worked in various games without angering the masses.  So if one person gets their jimmies in a bunch over it, who cares?  Let them find another game.

We all know Hello Kitty stickers give you 100% cool factor. Blutant P2W. Nerf Hello Kitty.


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#10
ostris

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A big thing to me on if a game is or isn't pay2win is: does the developer or company require this "pay2win" mechanic to be used to be financially viable. If the answer is yes usually those games become what i would consider pay2win. If the answer is no the game is usually not pay2win. Doesn't always hold true but to me its a very good indicator.



#11
Ripper

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Well a subscription service or games that use Plex/DAC would not be "financially viable" if they stop using that method of payment...  

 

I don't consider DAC to be P2W.

 

The skill system is something I like with DU.  It rewards players for the time they've patronized NovaQuark.  It doesn't matter how much money you dump into the game, you'll never match the skill level of someone who has been there from the start. (skill wise)

 

If your definition of "win" is "who has the most stuff" then DAC IS P2W.

 

It all depends upon how the player defines "WIN".



#12
ostris

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Well a subscription service or games that use Plex/DAC would not be "financially viable" if they stop using that method of payment...  

 

I don't consider DAC to be P2W.

 

The skill system is something I like with DU.  It rewards players for the time they've patronized NovaQuark.  It doesn't matter how much money you dump into the game, you'll never match the skill level of someone who has been there from the start. (skill wise)

 

If your definition of "win" is "who has the most stuff" then DAC IS P2W.

 

It all depends upon how the player defines "WIN".

 

The game would be financially viable with a subscription it does not need to sell dacs/plex. If they start this game and people purchased 0 dacs they would still pay the monthly sub and the game would still survive and be successful.



#13
CaptainTwerkmotor

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The game would be financially viable with a subscription it does not need to sell dacs/plex. If they start this game and people purchased 0 dacs they would still pay the monthly sub and the game would still survive and be successful.

The DAC/PLEX system is there to combat gold farmers and reward people who sink a lot of time into the game, which in the context of a sandbox, means those players are CONTENT themselves. NQ is more or less paying people who take on the role of NPCs in the game - given those players are actually doing job stuff, like mining, manufacturing, hauling etcetera.



#14
ostris

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The DAC/PLEX system is there to combat gold farmers and reward people who sink a lot of time into the game, which in the context of a sandbox, means those players are CONTENT themselves. NQ is more or less paying people who take on the role of NPCs in the game - given those players are actually doing job stuff, like mining, manufacturing, hauling etcetera.

Not really sure how this related to what i said but i agree.



#15
CaptainTwerkmotor

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Not really sure how this related to what i said but i agree.

You said "it doesn't need PLEX/DAC" . It does. Even Blizzard realised that neat little trick with WoW Tokens and Gold Farmers have systematically been squashed ever since their introduction.

You know a payment model is viable, when BLIZZARD copies it.



#16
Kurock

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You said "it doesn't need PLEX/DAC" . It does. Even Blizzard realised that neat little trick with WoW Tokens and Gold Farmers have systematically been squashed ever since their introduction.
You know a payment model is viable, when BLIZZARD copies it.


Slight miscommunication here. Ostris means DAC are not required for DU to be financially viable and therefore, according to his definition of p2w, does not constitute as p2w. (Ostris can correct me if I assume incorrectly)

Having DAC being required to combat gold farming is a completely separate and unrelated point.
  • ostris likes this
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What is the Cinderfall Syndicate? We are a group of organizations and individuals, combined in the common interest of freedom, security, and making DU a fun place for all. Member organizations are self governing with the only requirement being a non-aggression pact (NAP) between all members. Individuals can join as direct citizens and be free to do as they please under the NAP. Come visit us here to learn more.

#17
wizardoftrash

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Of course money will have an impact on the game with DAC's, however it is hard to compare DU to other games that have P2W mechanics.

 

But the only thing a DAC can really do in this game is save you time. You can't acquire anything with a DAC that you wouldn't be able to get through normal collection and construction. For players who have a steady job but not much free time to grind, mechanics like DAC's are a saving grace. As a professional I consider this a huge plus, since I can't burn a summer vacation harvesting materials for the galactic war.

 

-For one, whatever you spend your DAC spacebucks on, will be expendable. At a minimum you risk losing whatever you spent all that in-game currency on especially if you are dumping it into a ship meant for combat. Those dollars might not really get you all that far. You might also risk losing the in-game currency itself on death if you don't spend it right away (that hasn't been set in stone yet). If you need to travel to make any of these transactions, or if you need to transport the raw goods needed to build the ship that you want, you expose yourself to even more risk.

 

-For two, the devs already discussed in part the theory behind Construct vs Construct combat and how turrets will work. They described that a player will only be able to operate one weapon at a time, meaning a gunship with several armaments will either need to be scripted (and they also stated that automated weapons will be nerfed compared to manually controlled), or you will need pilots to help you out. That means buying a shooty ship-of-doom with DAC's will only really be effective if you already have a crew.

 

-For three, all of the game mechanics described so far rely heavily on manpower. Mining, refining, building, combat, each of these functions will be either impossible to automate for AFK use (Because scripts will be stored and run locally for now), or very ineffective when automated. If I spent DAC on in-game stuff, it doesn't change that I'm still only one player. A more expensive ship will still likely lose to two ships. A territory unit well-defended by one wealthy player will still lose to a raiding party. This means a solo mcmoneybags will be out-classed by players who have time to burn and who are willing to cooperate.

 

The best choice with DAC's is to buy them to give to a friend who wouldn't play (or afford to play) otherwise since crews of players will basically always crush a solo ~this is the idea behind my Squire org. You will see DAC's used most effectively by existing orgs as a liquid currency when the exchange rate is high, or as a recruitment tool for players who cannot afford the monthly subscription. Worst case scenario you have an org maintaining a dominant position by using indentured servant players (who can only play with the DAC's provided by the org), and best case scenario Org players with less time use DAC's to fund big projects, and it encourages mining/refining/construction specialist players by making their services very lucrative and sought after.


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#18
Hades

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Of course money will have an impact on the game with DAC's, however it is hard to compare DU to other games that have P2W mechanics.

 

But the only thing a DAC can really do in this game is save you time. You can't acquire anything with a DAC that you wouldn't be able to get through normal collection and construction. For players who have a steady job but not much free time to grind, mechanics like DAC's are a saving grace. As a professional I consider this a huge plus, since I can't burn a summer vacation harvesting materials for the galactic war.

 

-For one, whatever you spend your DAC spacebucks on, will be expendable. At a minimum you risk losing whatever you spent all that in-game currency on especially if you are dumping it into a ship meant for combat. Those dollars might not really get you all that far. You might also risk losing the in-game currency itself on death if you don't spend it right away (that hasn't been set in stone yet). If you need to travel to make any of these transactions, or if you need to transport the raw goods needed to build the ship that you want, you expose yourself to even more risk.

 

-For two, the devs already discussed in part the theory behind Construct vs Construct combat and how turrets will work. They described that a player will only be able to operate one weapon at a time, meaning a gunship with several armaments will either need to be scripted (and they also stated that automated weapons will be nerfed compared to manually controlled), or you will need pilots to help you out. That means buying a shooty ship-of-doom with DAC's will only really be effective if you already have a crew.

 

-For three, all of the game mechanics described so far rely heavily on manpower. Mining, refining, building, combat, each of these functions will be either impossible to automate for AFK use (Because scripts will be stored and run locally for now), or very ineffective when automated. If I spent DAC on in-game stuff, it doesn't change that I'm still only one player. A more expensive ship will still likely lose to two ships. A territory unit well-defended by one wealthy player will still lose to a raiding party. This means a solo mcmoneybags will be out-classed by players who have time to burn and who are willing to cooperate.

 

The best choice with DAC's is to buy them to give to a friend who wouldn't play (or afford to play) otherwise since crews of players will basically always crush a solo ~this is the idea behind my Squire org. You will see DAC's used most effectively by existing orgs as a liquid currency when the exchange rate is high, or as a recruitment tool for players who cannot afford the monthly subscription. Worst case scenario you have an org maintaining a dominant position by using indentured servant players (who can only play with the DAC's provided by the org), and best case scenario Org players with less time use DAC's to fund big projects, and it encourages mining/refining/construction specialist players by making their services very lucrative and sought after.

Agree with the gist, but I believe they have decided that you will NOT be losing money on death.



#19
wizardoftrash

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Agree with the gist, but I believe they have decided that you will NOT be losing money on death.

and I'm hoping not losing money on death will stick, because there is already enough risk in those types of transactions. Luring players to unsafe space for financial transactions will already get enough player energy and attention if the cargo itself is lootable, without currency dropping lol.


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#20
ostris

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  • PipPipPip
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Slight miscommunication here. Ostris means DAC are not required for DU to be financially viable and therefore, according to his definition of p2w, does not constitute as p2w. (Ostris can correct me if I assume incorrectly)

Having DAC being required to combat gold farming is a completely separate and unrelated point.

Correct.


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