INTERVIEWER: Today we are interviewing TGW, self proclaimed critic, cynic, and jack of various trades. Welcome, TGW.
TGW: Thank you for having me.
INERVIEWIER: Sure. So, first question TGW, the question we have been getting the most from our viewers… why do you keep playing this game if you hate it so much?
TGW: I don’t hate it at all.
INERVIEWIER: So then why are you constantly criticizing it?
TGW: I just think it should be more affordable, and less pay to win.
INERVIEWIER: So you think it should be free? How would the developers make any money that way?
TGW: No, no, I don’t think it should be free. They marketed it as a free game, and that’s fine, to get players started in it. But I also understand that they need to make money.
INERVIEWIER: Which is why they created the gacha model, to make money. But you have a problem with that model?
TGW: Yes, I do.
TGW: Because it’s pay to win. It’s predatory on peoples’ proclivities towards developing gambling addictions. And it’s just ridiculously expensive.
INERVIEWIER: So… you’re saying it would be okay if it were less expensive?
TGW: That would be better at least, yes.
INERVIEWIER: But who are you to decide how much is too much?
TGW: I think when the average cost to summon one hero in one game is higher than the average cost to purchase an entire game, then it’s become excessive. Beyond excessive.
INERVIEWIER: And what gives you the right to determine what is excessive? Shouldn’t a company be able to set their own prices as they see fit?
TGW: Sure. But shouldn’t then a customer also have the right to complain about it when they see the cost as being excessive?
INERVIEWIER: Or, maybe, if you don’t like the price, maybe you just don’t play it?
TGW: Fair point, and believe me, if I knew how bad the prices were before I downloaded the game, I never would have downloaded it in the first place.
INERVIEWIER: So then whose fault is that?
INERVIEWIER: It’s their fault?
TGW: Absolutely. They don’t advertise their prices when you download the game, nor when you make purchases in the game.
INERVIEWIER: They tell you exactly how much the gems cost.
TGW: Yes, they tell you how much the gems cost. They don’t tell you how many gems you’ll have to spend in order to have a decent chance to pull good heroes.
INERVIEWIER: Some players pull good heroes for free.
TGW: And some people win the lottery after buying a single ticket. They are the exception, not the rule. And by holding those outliers up as examples, you are doing a disservice to every other player in the game.
INERVIEWIER: You think it’s deceptive advertising?
TGW: Absolutely. 100%.
INERVIEWIER: Okay. So say they were to increase the summoning odds like you want. Then everyone would have all the heroes.
TGW: Would they? The only players I know of who have all the heroes are those who have spent tens of thousands of dollars. And even those players admit that they don’t have enough materials to ascend all of those heroes.
INERVIEWIER: You’ve also mentioned that ascension materials should be easier to come by…
TGW: They should be.
INERVIEWIER: But then, isn’t that only going to benefit the… as you call them, “pay to win” players even more?
TGW: It would benefit everyone. Yes, including the pay to wins. But they’re already going to have the best teams no matter what anyway. They already have the best heroes and the most ascension mats, they already get the top scores and the best loot. Saying that we shouldn’t make a quality of life improvement because it might also benefit those at the top… I mean, if you look at something like tax refunds or stimulus checks. Do the wealthiest people need them? No, they don’t. Do the poor need them? Absolutely. If you give $1000 to a homeless person and another $1000 to a millionaire, which one is going to benefit most from it?
INERVIEWIER: They’ll both benefit.
TGW: Of course. But the millionaire doesn’t need it anyway. He’ll just stash it away in his inventory. Whereas the homeless person desperately needs that money, and it could literally change the game for him.
INERVIEWIER: Are we still talking about games here, or real life?
TGW: A bit of both, but… that brings up another point. People on here are always telling me, yes the wealthy players in this game get better stuff, that’s the same as real life. But why should a game mimic real life?
INERVIEWIER: Why shouldn’t a game mimic real life?
TGW: Because it’s a game. Who the hell would play a game that was exactly like life? Would you play a game where you went to work for 8 hours a day, then came home to run errands, clean the house, do yardwork, pay the bills? Of course not. Because that game would suck and you would hate it.
INERVIEWIER: I don’t know, I enjoy my life. I enjoy my job. I even enjoy mowing the lawn.
TGW: Then why even play games? Go play real life. The graphics are better there anyway. Video games are supposed to be an escape, a fun pastime to enjoy after you’ve finished doing other things that you don’t enjoy doing. In real life, I don’t get to fly, cast magic spells, drive Ferraris, or shoot people. All of those are things I can do in video games, without consequences, and usually without paying a fortune.
INERVIEWIER: You don’t have to pay a fortune to play E&P. You can play for free…
TGW: Yes, I can play for free. And summon a bunch of Banes and Dawas, and repeat the same map quests over and over again for the same leaf and a rock and a stick and a rope for loot. But where is the progression? It’s locked behind RNG. And you only get so many keys for free. Not nearly enough to ever have a reasonable chance to pull a shiny new hero, without buying a ton of keys.
INERVIEWIER: So you resent those people who buy the best heroes?
TGW: I wouldn’t say that. If anything, they mostly resent me. They’ve told me as much, flat out. What they do with their money is their own business.
INERVIEWIER: So you’re jealous of them?
TGW: In a way, yes. Though if I had more money to spend, I wouldn’t be spending it on one single game.
INERVIEWIER: How do you know that?
TGW: [laugh] Because I can easily think of a million other things I’d rather spend extra money on, if I had it. I wouldn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on shiny new heroes.
INERVIEWIER: Getting back to that. You complain about the shiny new heroes. But then, you and several others in the F2P and C2P communities have bragged about being able to beat them…
TGW: Occasionally, yes. It’s getting harder and harder to do so, but if the boards cooperate, yes.
INERVIEWIER: So then what is the problem?
TGW: The problem is that I’m having to try twice as hard just to keep up with them, and to what end? I don’t get a fancy new hero when I beat them. I get a leaf and a rope, maybe another Dawa if I’m lucky. What kind of reward is that?
INERVIEWIER: So you only play games for rewards?
TGW: Not only, but that is a big part of it. There’s no point if there’s no reward. I wouldn’t go to work if they didn’t give me a paycheck at the end of the week.
INERVIEWIER: And what about SG? Don’t they also deserve a paycheck?
TGW: Of course they do. But this gacha model is not the right way… it’s not the only way to make a game profitable.
INERVIEWIER: So then what would you suggest they do instead? If all the heroes were available for free, how would SG ever make money?
TGW: Well first of all, through advertising. They already do that with their Mystic Visions. Second of all, I’m not suggesting they make everything free. I think there are plenty of ways to monetize a game like this without charging $100 for one hero.
INERVIEWIER: Such as?
TGW: I already mentioned advertising. But that’s obviously not enough for them, they want more than that, and that’s fine. Most of my ideas wouldn’t really work with the current game model being what it is… for example, if it were my game, I might give S1 away for free, then charge $5 for access to each season after that as like downloadable content. Or sell unfarmable mats directly in the gem store… not unlimited to the point that a big spender could ascend everything right away, but on a limited basis… say you can buy 1 of each mat every week. Or maybe I would charge a monthly fee to be able to have unlimited farming flags, but only for province farming. Not for competitive events. Stuff like that. Then make the heroes themselves unlockable through game play.
INERVIEWIER: That all sounds nice, but also what you’re suggesting, most of that would still heavily favor the spenders.
TGW: Right, but it would be less “pay to win”, and more “pay to win faster”.
INERVIEWIER: Isn’t that already how the game works? A free player can get all of the same heroes as a spender.
TGW: [laughs heartily] Sure, if they play for 100 years maybe.
INERVIEWIER: And as you yourself admitted, those changes would probably majorly upset the current game balance. You can’t tell free players they no longer have access to anything beyond Season Two, for example…
TGW: No, no, you’re right. Pandora’s Box has already been opened on a lot of this stuff. You probably can’t ungacha a gacha. But you can make it better going foward.
INERVIEWIER: How so?
TGW: By making older heroes more accessible. Removing junk Season One feeders from newer portals. Either lowering the prices or increasing the summoning odds on older portals. Or better yet, just putting the older heroes into Training Camps and regular summon portals. Little things like that.
INERVIEWIER: And that would make the game more fun for you?
TGW: I think it would make the game more fun for a lot of people. Not just me.
INERVIEWIER: Would it also make you willing to start spending on the game again?
TGW: Maybe. Depends on my budget at the time, but overall yeah, I would probably be more likely to spend again on this game if the odds weren’t so stingy. And I’m sure other people would be as well.