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Bringing you up to speed on Allods Online’s Launch Debacle

What an interesting past two days this has been.  I’m going to get right to it guys.  I’m not interested in being a jerk or completely destroying people.  I am, however, interested in presenting the facts and the truth of a situation.  The bottom line right now is that Allods Online is facing some series issues and it’s all kind of coming out at once.   I’m going to try and give you guys the facts about what we know has happened to bring you up to speed and inject a bit of my opinion along the way.

The Cash Shop came up yesterday with prices 20x those the Russians pay (add a 0 to everything).  gPotato’s official statement was that these prices are intended and will be evaluated over the next few weeks.  This caused a massive uproar on the forums showing everyone’s disdain for what was dropped on the players.

Most of us came to the conclusion that even if these prices are here to stay that we would continue playing.  Why?  The game is fantastic.  I played to the end-game during closed beta and saw the raids, the astral ships, the questing, the dungeons, and I really do think it’s one of the better games out there.  This is why I’ve spoken so highly about the game and suggested it to friends.   The key point I’m making here is that I did all of this without ever once using the cash shop.  So fine, in its current state we can survive and play for free.  Joke’s on gPotato, right?

Enter Astrum Nival, developers of Allods Online.  Today the patch notes for 1.0.07.07 were released for the Russian Version.  Guess what was in these notes?  Game breaking changes to the cash shop.  Being resurrected by other players now gives you Fear of Death (the death debuff).  In Heroic instances, which you can not leave, this essentially means you must have perfume to remove the debuff.  Clearly promises are broken here.  Given that the NA version must pay $13.50 for a stack of 20 perfume, the math was done and we’re looking at over $50 / month in order to participate in end-game PvE.   Top it all off?  Fear of Death now lasts 2 hours at level 40.

In addition to the game breaking cash shop change, classes were nerfed.  The Warden class (which I play) has had its renew changed completely to a more active ability on a one minute cooldown.   Scout speed cooldown is nerfed.  Psionicist speed buffs were dropped from 30% speed to 10% speed.  Several other changes to classes result in almost everyone being pissed off.  Mounts were also added but require you to purchase food for them from the cash shop in order for them to work their best.

Nobody is happy about any of this.  Not even the GM’s who are having breakdowns over the whole thing.  The forums are a complete hell hole right now with topics being deleted like crazy.  Players have pointed out that Gala-net has an F rating with the BBB.   Clearly it is not a good day to be working for gPotato and it’s certainly not a good day for fans of this game.

Bottom line here is that the game is being mismanaged from both sides.  gPotato crucifying the cash shop + Astrum Nival suddenly losing their sanity = Game Over.  Patch 1.0.07.07 will be the end of the game for pretty much everyone and not by choice.  We’re all very confused as to what is going on right now.  None of us can afford to pay $50-$75 per month to PvE at level 40.  None of us understand why the game that was literally pure gold is now struggling to hold on for dear life and how it all happened at once…

Conspiracy theories abound with crazy ideas about contracts being breached and AN driving the design of the game into the ground in order to ruin gPotato who then in turn jacks the cash shop to ruin the game.  Another great theory is that the Russian version has lost so many players that the NA version is being tanked on purpose to drive those players back.  It’s all speculation but it makes a lot more sense than watching two companies suddenly lose their minds.

Get your crap together gPotato/Astrum Nival.  We don’t have any interest in waiting for you to learn how to run a company or design a game properly.   You’re wrecking a good thing and no one is going to let you get away with it.  From where I stand you’re embarrassing yourselves and those of us who spoke so highly of your game.   The next email I get better be explaining how the situation is being rectified.  If not, please do not bother contacting me again.

To end this post I want to say that all of us (the 40 of us currently talking on Ventrilo) have spent the entire day talking about this.  The conclusion we’ve reached is that we want to continue playing the game.  We’re going to give gPotato a chance to fix the problem and for Astrum Nival to stop the patch from hitting the NA servers.  We enjoy the game enough to keep playing and we’re not going to stop until the patch literally forces us out.

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Tux - February 20, 2010

I would gladly support this game if the took price/10 and put it up. They can get my money slowly, but surely or not at all there choice.

Grumlin - February 20, 2010

I gotta agree with you Keen, if they really are going to keep up with trying to get us to use the Item Shop, it will ruin the game for them.
Good Going gPotato/Astrum Nival.

-Velzak

TufGuy - February 20, 2010

Well is so sad to see a really good game destroyed by so many reasons. I hope they realize that they are going to drop the ball whit this game.

Maybe they should make the game P2P whit a montly fee of 15 bucks and let us enjoy what can be our home for severall months.

Tarridus - February 20, 2010

I’m really up in arms about their decision to completely remove the mana/regen skill Liturgy/Calming Prayer for Healers from the game. A nerf is one thing, but do they really think that Healers don’t need Mana? Maybe I’m just missing something and will need confirmation from a Russian player but that’s simply unacceptable…

Crabs - February 20, 2010

Throughout this whole fiasco I cant help but wonder who even approves such retarded decisions.

Should’ve just gone with a subscription model, the game is so worth it.

Kiryn - February 20, 2010

I was rather looking forward to playing Allods some more once Open Beta started, but I’ve been busy with Star Trek Online so I put it off for a bit.

It’s disappointing to see this kind of thing going on, and I’m getting tempted to just uninstall Allods completely at this point. I was not expecting the issues with the cash shop to be quite this severe.

If they sold it as a subscription game, I’d be really interested in playing it. Too bad.

Kenneth - February 20, 2010

I totally agree with everything here
i love the game so far loved the cb (well as far as i got in it anyway) was here min 1 of ob. so far if they nerf things will be hard to even pve (which is what i mostly do) let alone pvp. some things in the cash shop are reasonable to me (steel chest) but if the next patch hits and does what happened to the russian side then i will have to find another game.
was totally happy about this game excited but damn even FoD from rez thats plain stupid especially since i die about as much as the monsters i fight well at least at my lvl for now

Russell Gusto - February 20, 2010

Man sorry to hear about all this. I know you guys were excited about it. They should just charge a flat $15 a month. I don’t know what it is about F2P games…they all just seem to get bogged down.

Office Jerk - February 20, 2010

Coming up next in the next episode of The MBA Files: Allods online – How to ruin a great product with a lousy marketing plan.

Misaligned - February 20, 2010

This is very discouraging news. This pretty much kills my desire to continue my Psionicist which I was drawn to because of the run speed buff — it was a class that reminded me of my favorite class from any MMO which was the Skald in DAoC. Additionally, the speed buff was made more attractive by the fact there were no mounts and run speed would be a vital buff for pvp groups. Now that’s going out the window, too.

Increasing the xp needed to level from 20 – 40 also has me concerned. I seem to recall people having to grind out some of the levels in the low 30s during closed beta as it was. I hope this doesn’t mean an Aion 2.0 grindfest.

I hope we can get some kind of information soon to assuage these concerns or I’m not sure I even want to continue playing.

Andrew - February 20, 2010

Amazing that in a market where F2P has proven to be lucrative by the fine folks at Turbine that another company would choose to do it so differently and mess it up so badly.

The DDO model is pure gold, and is based on premises like “no cash shop items required to raid”…..

Holgranth - February 20, 2010

First post here. I WAS going to download Allods tonight. I am NOT a fan of cash shop games, but with Keen and several other cash shop haters are acting like its the best thing since sex I figured I’d see if I could play it for under $20 a month and still get a good deal out of the game.

All I can say is this makes me lose all faith in cash shop games.

The fact that they even think they can pull this off makes me SURE that I wil NEVER, EVER, EVER play this game unless there in a total change in managment.

This is bull excrement. The F from the BBB is totally deserved.

Quit this game, find somthing else, send a message with your wallets.

Kitsune Lore - February 20, 2010

hahah

@holgranth

Best thing since sex! hahaha

But anyways, I agree with you. And Keen is also correct as well. This game is going to fail.

Alice - February 20, 2010

While they’ll never completely get over this, as an mmo they have the opportunity to mitigate the damage although it seems unlikely with the other bad decisions they’ve been making.

On the BBB thing, Blizzard actually had an F with the BBB about a year back, however once it became known to the public it quickly changed to an A.

Ashkir - February 20, 2010

Well said Keen.

I’m trying to look at the positive things in game right now. I hope whatever is happening is fixed soon. Right now, I’m still having fun playing the game, the community’s rants is making it not very enjoyable in game and harassing me with questions endlessly and putting words into my mouth, “soso and so said that you said x” Then I go wtf, when did I say that?

I like a few things about the new patch for Russia the rest…I wish I didn’t read the notes now.

Garth - February 20, 2010

I for one never saw what others got from this game when I played through the CB. I’m sort of glad to see that it’s destroying itself in the hopes that one of my favorite bloggers will be done with this game and will finally be able to write about something else.

Andrew - February 20, 2010

“All I can say is this makes me lose all faith in cash shop games.”

Wow. You are seriously messed up if you let your experiences with one cash shop game influence what you think of others. Go try DDO, Wizard101, or heck, even Free Realms for some examples of GOOD cash shop implementations. Just because one company is boneheaded doesn’t mean they all are.

MadYoda - February 20, 2010

I believe I speak for a majority of readers of this bog, probably in thousands, if Keen leaves the game, we will all leave the game. It is the high remarks from Keen that brought me to try this game out, and I was ready to pay $10 to $15 a month for the game, on par with the cost of playing WOW. After all, they have a business to run, but $20 for a bag/perfume? no way. It’s called macrotransaction model, NOT MACROtransaction model.

gravity - February 20, 2010

I am a manager in real life, MBA, M Strat Planning underway, blah blah, I run a big business etc. I’m not a gaming executive, but I know business well enough.

I do not understand, nor is there any logical reason I can think of, which could explain this behaviour. At the least, the very least, the producer and developer should be handling the Public Relations. They’re basically doing “spin” on it a few times, which is a ridiculous method to use on a savvy internet generation, and is widely understood to be appropriate only when there are two sides to the argument.

In this case, there is no ‘other side’ which makes any sense. You cannot use spin to say “the Titanic is not sinking, it’s just a rough ocean”. It is too obviously false.

Spin cannot work in this scenario.

Other failures too. Launching the CS without any advanced warning or explanation afterward, during a high profile open Beta, is another failing.

Because of all the stupid behaviour, people are left feeling baffled and confused. This is inarguable. The consequences are a great damage to the game’s reputation. No good can come of this kind of bad PR.

The upcoming patch needs to be explained, too.

The owners should deal with reality, not pretend about how they would like it to be, and get some professional management decisions to be visible. Allods can recover with swift, decisive, intelligent PR and actions to back them up.

RMT Growing Pains | Kill Ten Rats - February 20, 2010

[…] pay shop model is very visibly in the process of learning painful lessons. This is a joke. This is a debacle. Cryptic did a last-minute emergency abort on the planned debacle of charging a […]

Keen
Keen - February 20, 2010

@Garth: It really is a good game. I’m sorry if I’ve talked a lot about it recently. There haven’t been a lot of other things to write about. I got a bit tired of bitching about the old days. 😉 There’s a ton on the horizon though.

Overall this has been quite an interesting look into my first attempt at truly getting into a microtransaction game. My opinion on them holds steadfast: They suck compared to subscription games.

Intruder313 - February 20, 2010

I’ve been video gaming since the ZX81 was launched, seen all the computer hardware and console “wars”, played MMOs when they were MUDS, I’ve seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and I’ve never witnessed anything like this with a game launch: the immediacy of the internet means it’s so much more than hearing about a train-wreck, it’s like watching 2 trains deliberately colliding head on after they both refused to change tracks or even slow down.

It’s a shame really as it does sound the game being (deliberately) destroyed by it’s creators / marketers is a good one.

You could not make this up but “Snatching defeat from jaws of victory” sums it up.

Youngneil - February 20, 2010

Sigh, let me first get straight that 1) I agree that prices are way too high for NA (and partially stupidly styled as macrotranscations for unispired products, i.e. bag space) and 2) I really appreciate Keen’s coverage of Allods which greatly inspired me, but…

Many of you, including Keen’s last post, are really overreacting. Some points:

Clasess being nerfed – they try to balance things, this is certainly nothing for doom and gloom. Appreciated even. This is an important and usual process for every complex multiplayer game. Especially in the beginning months and years of a game (with or without that meaningless beta-label).

FoD on player raised by another player – Yes, that means more expensive PvP/PvE at first. But they lowered the cost of perfume, too. So in sum it might not mean an increase. We simply don’t know how gpotato will adjust their prices with 1.07. Should be mentioned at least inmho. And isn’t it still true that you can get rid of FoD for around 4 ingame Gold pieces? Yes, that’s more gold costs now due being required more often, but still that’s ingame. And it encourages careful playing and builds up tension because you will use all your skill and awareness in order not to die.

Money vs. time – May I ask whether it is fair that somebody who spends 14 hours a day ingame has better gear then somebody who can only spend two hours a day and works the rest for his familiy? And is it unfair when our working man/woman takes some bucks to even out odds (and be it by perfumes), so that skill can decide in the end? More players can have fun on an equal level and the game can grow due to more revenue which benefits everybody.

Fixed sum vs. pay by time played – speaking of fairness, wouldn’t it be fair if somebody who plays a game for 60 hours a week pays more then somebody who plays 10 hours a week? It’s a service we pay for. Why not pay by usage?

Now all of the mentioned points are valid or nonvalid depending on rightly implemented mechanisms: classes can be nerfed to no fun, FoD can be discouraging to try anything at all, rich geeks could outbuy us AND spent all their full time in the game and a pay-by-playtime model (i.e. perfumes)could be simply prohibitive due to the high cost for even small amounts of playtime.

But, please: Shouldn’t we at least first see how everything works out before we damn it grandscale and hysterically like right now? Critical? Yes, please. Boycotts/Quit anouncements? Well, not for me at least.

Thanks for plunging through this text wall and no offense intended.

Engrey - February 20, 2010

@Yougneil.

“Fixed sum vs. pay by time played – speaking of fairness, wouldn’t it be fair if somebody who plays a game for 60 hours a week pays more then somebody who plays 10 hours a week? It’s a service we pay for. Why not pay by usage?”

For the same exact reason we do not pay per item on a hamburger in a fast food joint.

If I want the burger plain I should pay less, I am not using said items on the burger so why pay? The reason is because everyone pays the same amount of 24/7 access to the servers.

We all have the same potential amount to play, if you can only play say 10 hours a week that is fine. However you pay to access said servers and have them up 24/7.

Yes that argument works in some areas but video games is not one, fair pricing for everyone works a lot better then pay to play.

palpi - February 20, 2010

The idea of using a cash shop to even out time/money issues is valid. The per-hour gaming industry I had hoped died with GEnie. And of course you should never sit idly by when you are in a beta. If a beta is not the time to voice concerns about how something is being run/the direction it’s heading, then what is it for?

Oh, and I forgot. The FoD complaints mainly are about the effect of rezing in an instance/astral with no means to pay ingame currency to rid yourself of it.

GamerAeon - February 20, 2010

Mythic has an F currently in the BBB
Vivendi/Universal has an F currently in the BBB (these are the guys NOW in charge of WoW not Blizzard, Blizzard are just a namesake for WoW now.)
But Gala Net having an F in the BBB isn’t the SHOCKING part
What was said above about them breaking laws having falsified advertising all of that INCLUDING being compared to CON ARTISTS.

I was literally shocked and dismayed, but heck after I saw those stupid RU Patch Notes I promptly hit my Yahoo Group and communicated with my guild asking “Where to next Guys/Gals…Where to next??”

Theopt - February 20, 2010

Im a reader of this blog. and I used your text and posted it on EU forum of gpotatoe. We still dont have GS working but we are aware of the future changes. Gpotato its doing the wrong choices and I hope they change this to better, otherwise why not changing it to pay to play? Or maybe we all go back to WoW once again :X

Eu thread: http://en.forum.gpotato.eu/?CD=ALLODS_EN_F004&TC=0000000000&MD=VT&US=Y&AS=Y&TNO=60319&LREFF=http%3A%2F%2Fen.forum.gpotato.eu%2FIndex.aspx%3FCD%3DALLODS_EN_F004%26TC%3D0000000000

Tesh - February 20, 2010

Once again, it’s the businesswonks who are to blame here, not the game devs. The game itself is a good and occasionally great game. They just screwed up a perfectly good business model.

I’ll second Andrew; DDO, W101, Free Realms and Puzzle Pirates all do the business model well. This… doesn’t.

But let’s be honest on this one and place blame where it belongs: the guys making the calls on the business side of AO. That doesn’t invalidate the game itself, or even the business model at large.

Terroni - February 20, 2010

I remember a musical called The Producers where they try to deliberately make a flop but accidentally make a hit. This game reminds me of that. Oh well

Slayer - February 20, 2010

Well said, mate. Very well said.

We’re currently all thoroughly surprised, disappointed and disgusted. I can’t remember the last time a solid game was seriously jeopardized through mismanagement and the ultimate alienation of its playerbase.

Yes, we all like the game. Quite a few love it, I’m sure. But we are not like the abused women who turn the other cheek and stay in a poisonous relationship saying “but he really loves me.”

Unless things change it’s beginning to look like Allods, despite being hailed as a game that can be played and enjoyed for free, is a punch in the guts or a kick in the nuts. It’s our choice if we want to drink piss or lick shit.

I truly hope things turn around but I’m realistic enough to understand that it very well may be time to move on. That said, I will play a while longer – it’s too early to jump ship – but will sit firmly on my wallet until I can justify spending my money on the CS content. CS content aside, I will not hesitate to quit when we are given no choice but to spend money in the CS to progress and “play”… no matter what the prices are. I’ll gladly spend money to enhance my enjoyment of the game but I will not spend money to ungimp my toons.

Misquote - February 20, 2010

While I agree with what has been said above, Keen should know better than to put a blatant misquote in his post. What he quoted was the general meaning of the F rating. If he had scrolled down he would see that the BBB has stated “We know of no licensing or registration requirement for companies engaged in this company’s stated type of business.” The reason given for the F rating was “unanswered complaints.” This still is a valid cause for concern though, as this means that they are less inclined to treat their customers properly.

Hazzerd - February 20, 2010

It’s as if gPotato/Astrum Nival is an Atomic Bomb and the player base is Hiroshima.

Keen
Keen - February 20, 2010

I’ll correct the quotation error as it was not intended. However, the BBB saying they find no licensing or registration requirement doesn’t exonerate them of the entire F claim.

Not that this BBB thing means much anyway. The intent of including it in the document was to point out a major forum fiasco going down.

Curious George - February 20, 2010

Bait and switch my friends, bait and switch. Couple that with clearly misguided managers and you have a debacle. I would rather see people stop playing rather then continue. Managers do not change until their bottom line is hurt and in the case of a F2P game player numbers equal bottom line.

If you really want them to come around stop playing and write a blog post that says exactly why, ask your readers that play (or would if gPotato/devs took their head out of their asses) to come and sign, then wait until they change their policy.

I’m not saying your blog will actually be the impetus to make them change but it is better then rewarding them by playing.

Phandy - February 20, 2010

Luckily I don’t find Allods overly exciting and doubt I would have continued with the game even if these issues did not exist.

However, the kind of stuff these companies are trying to pull are basic Marketing 101 mistakes. Specifically in the gaming industry where customers are very very fickle. Ask AoC, which is now a decent product, how difficult it is to bring back customers after their launch debacle. Souring the milk in this way makes it incredibly difficult for gaming companies to grow their customer base.

elvenangel - February 20, 2010

I plan to stay in the game for as long as I can but once that patch hits the US servers and if the prices haven’t dropped by then….

I guess its back to the search which really sucks. I mean its hard to find a good game to play right now. Champions shot itself in the foot. WoW just…just bores me…EQ2..same thing. So on and so on. Most Cash Shop games are more reliant but cheaper but the game itself isn’t good.

Allods is good, the stuff it offers for end game is awsome…the over priced reliance is not.

I wanna say RIP allods but I’m hoping a weeks worth of complaints gets them over themselves or once they see their master plan of evil isn’t working they try to be reasonable.

Man waiting for SWTOR … im going to be really really bored for a while if Allods doesn’t work out.

Gankatron - February 20, 2010

I agree with Curious George. Cancelling your account will be the impetus for their change. They are banking on people lasting out this initial phase of turmoil as players rationalize that it is still free. They then hope that they will become emotionally invested with their toon and reluctantly make multiple expensive transactions at higher levels. Kill it before it grows…

Zederok - February 20, 2010

What a bunch of dopes you all are. I seen from the very begining that this game would fail! Firstly from any lack of a real Melee DPS’er or any sort of Hybrid (WoW Shaman/Druid) to having to rely on a cash shop!

FTP is and will never be a valid form of MMO’s supscription generation. If you cant afford to pay $15.99 fo a subscrip then you should prolly go find a job at Mcdonalds since MMO’s are the cheapest form of entertainment I can imagine.

10 and 1/2 years ago when I started on Asherons Call on a very tight budget after leaving the military (minimum wage job to get my foot in the door) with a wife and 2 small kids I found jsut how cheap it was to play since I was no longer watching all the good rental movies every week, or playing MTG Mox/Lotus tournaments to sustain the every growing and expensive tourney level play style. I also no longer thought it was worthy to spend $100’s each year on console games for my PS or Sega.

MMO’s are cheap and much cheaper form of gaming entertainment then anything else out there.

Gankatron - February 20, 2010

I guess I don’t understand how people who dislike WoW can like Allods so much, they seem on par except Allods is more grind oriented (before you disagree, three words, intact mite shell…). WoW devs should capitalize on Allods self-inflicted misfortune and grab up he few solid improvements in Allods such as Astral ship combat and talent grids for greater specialization and put them in game.

If you are like me and quit years ago then you have a vast quantity of content (new and forgotten) at a standard price. Maybe we should all just migrate to a new WoW server and melt the baby fat off of some pink haired gnomes…

Gankatron - February 20, 2010

@Zederok: Exactly which bridge are you currently residing under?

Stuffysocks - February 20, 2010

I’m pretty embarassed about bringing my friends to this game aswell, its been a good game so far but FOD is ruining it and it seems that was only the begining.
I’m quitting the game for now and trying back after open beta to see if anything has changed, no use wasting my time playing a game that HOPEFULLY won’t screw us over.

Dispair - February 21, 2010

They must think they are selling crack cocaine and that you’ll take whatever they do to you. Just leave it and get back to talking about the exciting new games on the horizon.

I for one have high hopes that Guild Wars 2 will be the next big thing when it comes to competitive rpg’s, and SWTOR is looking like it will revolutionize the leveling and pve elements of the genre with its story elements and completely voiced game.

I am not going back to wow, but I recommend everyone who cant stand being without a mmo to play to do so. Blizzard understand the concept of customer service unlike these guys.

Nezz - February 21, 2010

@4: “I’m really up in arms about their decision to completely remove the mana/regen skill Liturgy/Calming Prayer for Healers from the game. A nerf is one thing, but do they really think that Healers don’t need Mana? Maybe I’m just missing something and will need confirmation from a Russian player but that’s simply unacceptable…”

All casters need mana, and I don’t see a reason why Healers should it get it for free. They can buy potions like everybody else.

As for the rest of the drama, I’ve never intended to spend a single cent on this game in the first place, so I don’t really care what they do with the shop. I’m having a lot of fun right now exploring and sightseeing.

Patrick - February 21, 2010

I think with all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the price levels in the cash shop, the more important point is being missed.

The recent announcement on the official forum states you can play the game as you always have without spending a single cent. Then the patch notes indicate speed buffs and resurrection abilities are being nerfed, and there will be items in the cash shop to get around those nerfs. They aren’t patching the game the interests of making a better and/or more balanced game, they’re patching it to force you to spend more money. This kind of behavior demonstrates that the core design philosophy is corrupt.

Regardless of whether a bag costs $20 or $2, the real problem here is that the designers are being dishonest with the players. Even if they do lower the cash shop prices in response to all the outrage, you cannot trust the company to manage the game well on an ongoing basis. Right now it is rezzing and speed buffs. What’s next? Any given spell/skill/ability is only guaranteed to be viable up until they add an item related to it to the shop.

I say as long as they claim the game is free and the cash shop is optional while at the same time patching the game to purposely gimp abilities corresponding to items in the shop, this is not a game worth investing time and effort into.

SkyPirate - February 21, 2010

You know… Plain and simple. you shouldnt fix whats not broken. gPotato, communicate with Astrum Nival. Tell them something along the lines of you wanting a different patch. Modify your cash shop oh so slightly. Yes, we understand that these items can be sold in the AH and all players get access to it. But thats not the main problem. Dont you understand that your customers are complaining about your price? If we as your customers arent satisfied you will loose a brick ton of business. Dont stress, dont worry and most of all dont hesitate. As a cooperation you only have one real duty. Listen and supply your customers.

Dblade - February 21, 2010

Its hard to say the cash shop is “optional” when they slap a 2 hour debuff on you after death, whether that 2 hours is a stack or single. Especially when it seems you cannot pay in-game gold to remove it mid-instance.

Tesh bro, I think you have to blame the developers here. No one forced em to up FOD’s burden, and they should know what kind of effect these changes would have on the game.

Man Keen, when I posted earlier worrying about the cash shop’s impact on gameplay, I was thinking it would just require you to get items to be competitive in PvP at 40, or maybe to keep your astral ship running. These changes though are game suicide. What on earth are they thinking? I wish you luck in sticking it out, but it looks like they are trying to remove that ability for people to do so without dropping a lot of cash in the shop.

heybarn - February 21, 2010

What the Hell is going on? Are they trying to kill the game before its rolling??? I’m a tad confused – I worry they won’t recover from such bad, bad publicity. There are many other game choices out there or coming so why isolated the community so drastically just now in OB?! x20 the prices of the Russian game CS – wtf, lol!?!

What levels are you and your Guild at around now Keen? My Empire PSI is going on 14, but I’m thinking of quitting now and moving on so I just don’t waste my time in all this debacle :-/

Damn, stupid launch planning and communication. Idiots!?

silvertemplar - February 21, 2010

Just a note on that BBB ratings, it’s not really something to go on.

Both Cryptic and Mythic also have an F…

http://mmofallout.com/2010/02/18/what-does-the-better-business-bureau-say/

And getting an F can mean something as simple as “not responding to BBB complaints” . So it’s all fluff..really.

ermansup - February 21, 2010

I would have been far more surprised if something along these lines would not have happened. It came a little sooner than I anticipated but it was always as predictable as the sunrise that it would happen. This just is how virtually all of the f2p games operate.

I understand the disappointment because the game at it’s core is good. But it was over optimistic and slightly naive if you thought the cash shop might not eventually ruin it, it always does.

Brian Inman - February 21, 2010

I haven’t given up on the game yet, but a 2 hour fear of death at level 40 is just insane. I guess it just pays to make sure you always run with hardcore guys who don’t die.

Dril - February 21, 2010

It may have been asked somewhere else but what’s the pricing like in the European (not Russian) section? I mean, if it’s more reasonable there you could always just play on those servers.

We Fly Spitfires - February 21, 2010

Sounds absolutely… insane. I’m very disappointed that they’ve turned what looked like a very fun and interesting game into a cash cow. I’m pretty sad about the whole thing but also kinda glad that I never played the beta.

Dugstar - February 21, 2010

Its such a shame the Devs have went nuts.. But in a way we should have seen it coming.

The game as whole is solid enough to me and enjoyable but you get the feeling of nothing but greed as regards to the cash shop and the whole FOD thing and having to get perfumes etc.

The game could have been truly epic but now is non starter as the damage is now done ..

I will still play ofc..but like many other people once the Overpowered Pvpers start taking control and CS items are an absolute must .. it may be time to move on.

mbp - February 21, 2010

Conspiracy theories aside this is a PR disiater of the highest order. One thing puzzle me though:

Quite a number of people who like the game are making comments like “I would be wiling to pay €15/month to play”. That is completely unrealistic unless Gpotato introduces a subscription service. It is well known that the majority of players of Free to Play never pay a cent so those who want to play seriously and partake in end game have to pay a lot more than the usual €15 sub. I have seen figures of $50 to $100 as typical revenue per paying customer. That is the economics of a Free to Play so if you want to partake in end game activities that is what you should expect to have to pay.

mbp - February 21, 2010

Apologies for the double post but it occurs to me that one way Gpotato might be able to recover from this PR disaster is to introduce a subscription service that gives you access to most cash shop benefits for a flat monthly fee.

I can’t really comment on the gameplay changes but is this not just the normal whining that happens whenever a patch nerfs something and don’t players usually get over patch changes given time. It is unfortunate (or perhaps incompetent) that the timing happened to collide with cashshopgate of course.

Patrick - February 21, 2010

@mpb

“I can’t really comment on the gameplay changes but is this not just the normal whining that happens whenever a patch nerfs something and don’t players usually get over patch changes given time.”

I would say no.

Normal whining is over balance nerfs.

These gameplay changes are not balance nerfs. They are specifically introducing player inconvenience to the game and then providing a way around that inconvenience if you give them cash.

A normal gameplay change people might whine about is like ‘Okay the Zap spell did too much damage so we are reducing the damage by 20%’.

These changes are more like ‘Okay if your character dies you have to wait 2 hours to continue playing the game unless you give us $1 in the cash shop’

See the difference? There is no reason for the extent of the FoD penalty other than to make them money.

Jason - February 21, 2010

“FTP is and will never be a valid form of MMO’s supscription generation. If you cant afford to pay $15.99 fo a subscrip then you should prolly go find a job at Mcdonalds since MMO’s are the cheapest form of entertainment I can imagine.” – Zederok

Thats the cheapest form of entertainment you can imagine?
A box of condoms is 3 or 4 bucks and sex is free you know.

mbp - February 21, 2010

@Patrick thanks for the clarification. Thanks also for summing up in one sentence the key problem as I see it with the free to play Business model:

“They are specifically introducing player inconvenience to the game and then providing a way around that inconvenience if you give them cash.”.

On the one hand it makes sense that they should do this in order to encourage people to pay them money but at a more fundamental level it makes no sense at all for companies to deliberately make their products “inconvenient” or their games “boring”. Eventually they will just lose customers.

Pedro - February 21, 2010

This is a pity really. After years of waiting an MMO with polish, features and lore of excelent quality finally showed up on the market just to be shot down by the publishers and the developers who both seem more interested in reaping money from it than seriously improve the game.

The changes brought with the latest patch in Russia will just coerce players to spend money in the item shop to play the game with minimal frustration levels (mounts properly fed to run fast enough, Perfumes required because of the changes to FoD…). Along with that gPotato released the CS with outrageous prices killing the interest of a load of persons in spending money in it, especially when they look to the other MMOs on the market.

I just hope that someone comes along and snatches Allods from the hands of gPotato, buys the game from Astrum Nival and releases it with a subscription model.

The irony of this is: for people interested in spending money in MMOs, subscription based games are actually CHEAPER than free to play ones. I will never look to a free to play game as a viable alternative for subscription based games.

This debacle simply reignited my wish of playing WoW since it seems that Blizzard is the only company with decent bussiness practices that doesn’t tries to rip-off their clients that has a great MMO out.
Memo for all the greedy companies: RESPECT YOUR CLIENTS (subscribers/users) AND YOU WILL GET THEIR MONEY. TREAT THEM LIKE WALKING PILES OF MONEY AND YOU WON’T GET NONE.

Locust - February 21, 2010

Yeah this was kind of what I was afraid of 🙁

If only it were just one of the entities involved mucking things up, but both of them independently? Well it’s a novel way of ruining a launch.

So a customer enters a pet store..

Crackbone - February 21, 2010

Quite frankly, I’m completely flabbergasted as to what the hell they are thinking.

It’s almost as if someone over there has a fucking death wish.

Tolakram - February 21, 2010

No one can afford to run a free game. Just think about that for a second.

I’ll repeat what i said a few days ago. If they make it so the average player will end up paying $15 a month in items to enjoy the game then they hit the sweet spot. If they screw up and people don’t spend enough the game is gone anyway, so why bother.

No one can afford to run a free game.

So, while the latest round of changes looks way over the top, does it really exceed the $15 a month target? It looks like you’ll have to spend a bunch up front to enjoy the game (bags, perfumes, etc) but then as you reach max level perhaps the cost does drop for average players?

>>>>Given that the NA version must pay $13.50 for a stack of 20 perfume, the math was done and we’re looking at over $50 / month in order to participate in end-game PvE. Top it all off? Fear of Death now lasts 2 hours at level 40. <<<<

This appears to say, clearly, no. It will cost too much to play. if this is true, ie if it costs more then WoW per month just to play the game, then they will fail. I'm shocked they don't see this, but perhaps someone is panicking and wondering if they will ever see a return on their investment.

No one can afford to run a free game.

Jack - February 21, 2010

Sounds like a huge bait and switch. Get them hooked in beta and change it all when they really want to play.
Sounds like the Russian Mafia got involved.
With all the money to be made fromMMO’s these days, it wouldn’t surprise me in organized crime got their hand in things.

Longasc - February 21, 2010

Just to clarify something: Astrum Nival made the game, but the prices of the shop are made by gPotato which belongs to Gala.net, a company founded by Japanese that specializes in microtransaction financed games.

Pedro - February 21, 2010

@Tolakram

Everyone knows that no one affords to run a game for free. But the people who are outraged are the people who were going to spend money in the cash shop. The players who are not going to do it can’t be bothered with all the drama.

The latest round of changes in the Russian patch coupled with the moronic prices in the American version will make the game way too expensive for people who wished to pay and play at max level without worrying with FoD and lack of competitiveness.

This game had everything going for it to be the WoW of the f2p markets in terms of paying users and quality. But they just managed to shoot themselves in the foot and scare away a LOT of people that were interested for the first time in a free to play MMO from that segment of the MMO market.

Gankatron - February 21, 2010

@Jason: hehe, you forget he is married…

Guin - February 21, 2010

I’m going to say that although I’m dismayed to not be able to purchase my bag upgrade for a reasonable price, I’m going to continue playing and enjoy it for as long as I can. If it stops being fun for free, or it stops being fun for more than say $10/month, then I’ll stop playing.

I also wonder at the cost estimate of $50. It sounds like a more casual player would not have to pay that much. How much time (in instances) does $50 currently buy?

I’ve read quite a few blogs about how the $15/month (in WoW and others) puts a soft cap on what other companies can charge. I’m sure there are many players in WoW that would actually pay more than $15/month for the end game raiding. If this endgame is actually that much better than WoW, then it could be worth it. (hard to see how it could be 3.5x better, but that’s a subjective decision)

Broom - February 21, 2010

My question is this: Should I even bother to level up my Warden at this point, or just cool it and go back to WOW and finish leveling my DK until things settle down? I am very disappointed in Allods at this time. Really liked the steampunk atmosphere and the promises of endgame ship battles. 🙁

xXJayeDuBXx - February 21, 2010

I guess we have entered a new era in the f2p market. I feel for all of you who wanted to play this game.

Giles - February 21, 2010

I think people are unfairly comparing the Russian cashshop prices to the American one, not just because of the differences in the relative economies but because the changes in the latest patch are a strong indication that the Russian model isn’t generating enough revenue. With that in mind it’s not that surprising that Gpotato went with the same pricing model for Allods that it uses for its other MMOs. Is it expensive? Yes, but it’s hard to criticize a company for utilizing a pricing model that it’s been making money off for years.

The problem is the way Astrum Nival is designing the game, turning perfume into a necessity to try and force more people to use their cash shop. It just doesn’t fit with Gpotato’s luxury pricing model and you’d think they’re going to have to significantly reduce the price of perfume at some point.

Kleus - February 21, 2010

Just started playing when OB started. Between this game and runes of magic, I’m enjoying allods alot. RoM’s cash shop is way more reasonable though and I’m proud to say I’ve spent all of 120$ in zeevex cards for RoM.

Allods gameplay and so forth is very appealing to me, but their FoD mechanic and the cash shop prices are retarded. I would like to see a subscription model @ 15 a month and the cash shop turned into a ingame currency shop.

I urge all Allods fans to continue to play the game as I will. I will be building alts upon alts upon alts. Everytime I get FoD, I will just switch chars. No CS bullshit, no worries and all the fun.

Keen
Keen - February 21, 2010

That’s what we’re all saying. If they want to gouge us on the prices fine — we’ll play for free. However, add the design changes + cash shop prices together and the game is literally unplayable unless you can spend $50-74/month.

If I Could Improve Allods I Would… - February 21, 2010

[…] the writing and the world design might get screwed over by the idiots in economics or marketing. If the conspiracy theories mentioned by Keen are correct, I hope the contract between gPotato and Astrum Nival crumbles and someone like Frogster picks up […]

Blog Rage vs. The Army of Allods « Bio Break - February 21, 2010

[…] Keen! Petter! MMO Misanthrope! Mind Bending Puzzle! Tipa! Kaozz! Zubon! […]

mbp - February 21, 2010

Again I have to asked why are you surprised to have to pay $50 per month for end game activity in a Free to Play game? I thought everyone knew that is what serious players have to pay in games like this.

This Gamasutra article explains it well: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4046/what_are_the_rewards_of_.php

Quick Summary: In Free to play Puzzle Pirates the vast majority of players pay nothing but a small number of serious players pay about $50 per month each and that is what is needed to pay the bills and keep the game running. Surely the economics for Allods are likely to be similar.

saga - February 21, 2010

@mbp, I have no experience with Puzzle Pirates, but if they are still in the business, I assume their cash shop model differs from the one in Allods.

i guess their cash shop adds convenience for the buyer, while the game remains enjoyable for the free player. That creates an environment where people decides to purchase to enhance their experience.

In Allods however, the game design revolves around creating as many inconveniences as possible to the free player to the point of forcing him out unless he pays, and pays a lot, I must add.
In this case I seriously wonder if the developers weren’t a bit too overzealous in their efforts, since for a free player the game no longer is a game, but an exercise in frustration.

It creates an environment where people decides to leave for good.

Kleus - February 21, 2010

@mbp
I’m sure those puzzle pirates players probably choose to spend that money because they enjoy the advantages it offers. And that’s okay.

When a game like allods comes along and says that the cash shop -is not necessary- and then pull this bull with the FoD mechanic that clearly makes the cash shop items a needed cure…

It’s all about the pitch. They threw a fastball right into the batter’s face.

preston_69 - February 21, 2010

This is an extreme measure for me, but I feel it is necessary. As of today I am boycotting logging into Allods until there is a proper response from gPotato.

1) We the community do not want a “fluffy” response where you hedge your bets and do not take a position on what you will actually do.

2) We want a definitive answer on measures you will take regarding the outrageous Cash Shop prices and the community’s response to it.

3) We want a definitive answer on how the Fear of Death will be removed, changed or kept the same and a response to the community’s reaction. (I have made a good suggestion that solves FoD and so far it is favorably received by the community: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=8792 )

4) We want to know how Perfumes and other Cash Shop items won’t be abused in PvP.

How this game has turned from something brilliant in CB4 to a steamy pile of turd droppings is beyond belief. Our trust and faith in gPotato and Astrum Nival has taken some serious beatings ever since the patch that implemented Fear of Death and PvP flagging. I and the community need some very strong reassurances or Allods will be deleted from our hard drives. We are committed to see some changes in the right direction instead of the wrong direction or we will drop this game like a hot gPotato !!

Sign this thread and join the Boycott!
http://allods-forum.gpotato.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9434&sid=c332555468f1057ade5b94c15826a767

The Best Of The Rest: Opium Edition - We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog - February 21, 2010

[…] not fear mutants, sums up his thoughts on the game. Meanwhile Keen isn’t a happy chappy and doesn’t like the goings on with it’s overly expensive items. Our favourite rascal Syncaine even has his say about why the move has completely harmed F2P […]

Gankatron - February 21, 2010

@mbp: Actually people who support that pricing structure are being naive if they think they are going to make Allods get off of the ground with a massive player base as is evidenced by the uproar of the player base and the design flaws built into its CS. As has been pointed out the CS is built around gimping players forcing them to buy items to un-nerf their class. It sounds like all players will have to pay an exorbitant monthly fee if they are going to play endgame content, not just hardcore fans. I am a big fan of over-priced exp boosting items for dopey power levelers who don’t care about storylines and want to beat everyone to the cap by a few weeks, and vanity purchases, while maintaining reasonably priced items for the average player. I can’t comment about Puzzle Pirates CS mechanics, for one major reason, I have never heard of it; perhaps their CS model isn’t so hot for a massively multiplayer online game after all?

Saylah - February 21, 2010

Both ROM and W101 had done F2P successfully. The only thing that pissed me off was the bags. There’s enough information out there now so that you don’t bork your spec so screw them and those over priced items. If I die and have to wait longer to rez how well that’s how it will roll. When I come back and am only 3/4 potential then players will bail on their end game and leave. Revenue stream for those items will tank. It’s the other pre-end game nonsense they have going that really burns my buns. It’s not necessary to be that high priced.

There are WAY too many other F2P games to compare the prices against. Heck, I never rented bag space in ROM, that’s crazy talk. Yet I spent money on permanent things that felt valuable and reasonably priced to me. They got their $15 while I was playing a little at a time. But F Allods if they think they can get that $15 +5 for 6 more spaces in my bag. I don’t care what they add to the CS now. I won’t even open it unless they get a grip.

» Allods Online Cash Shop Witz II Itemgelaber: Meine Sicht der Dinge - February 21, 2010

[…] Allods Online Cash Shop Witz II Posted in Februar 22nd, 2010 by admin in Allgemein Was ist besser als einen Cash Shop mit utopischen Preisen zu haben? Einen Patch hinterher zu schieben der die Spieler dazu zwingt, noch mehr in genau diesem einzukaufen… […]

Pedro - February 21, 2010

Well after seeing what the cash shop of a free to play game looks like i guess i simply won’t be playing one, ever from now on.

Allods proves that free to play games can have quality comparable and above that of many subscription MMOs but it also proves that this business model is very unbalanced since it relies on a few players spending obscene amounts of money while others don’t play anything. Players that wish to spend just a moderate amount are left behind.

Tarridus - February 21, 2010

@Nezz

Every caster class in the game has some sort of mana regen skill. Ask a Psion or Mage, what would happen if they removed skills like Trance or Meditation from their respective classes?

Maezer - February 21, 2010

Keen,

read this.. explains everything why ALLODS is in this stage

http://allods-forum.gpotato.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9447

Gankatron - February 21, 2010

@Maezer

Thanks for the info source. That is depressing if true as it seems that the new company looks at it like a dead end product, which they want to milk for as much money as possible before riding it into the dust. Perhaps they will be able to sell it to a company that realizes its long term money making potential and is willing to make player friendly marketing decisions, but for now the game seems dead in the water…

Here is another link on the subject: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/270311/page/1

Scott - February 21, 2010

Well after reading that stuff I do wonder if I should even waist my time with it.

Gankatron - February 21, 2010

info@nival.com is their actual e-mail address.

Gravity - February 21, 2010

That info on them having had merged with an IT conglomerate doesn’t leave you with much confidence.

Keen
Keen - February 21, 2010

Apparently that merge was about a year ago from what I’m reading in guild chat. Who knows anymore. I’m just going to play while I enjoy it and until they force me out with their patches being too expensive for me to play.

Ben - February 21, 2010

As I noted on your last Allods post… the companies behind Allods Online have terrible reputations for gouging players, etc. gPotato, AN, whoever it is (I can’t recall) — but I remember reading a LOT of negativity about the way that Allods was run in Russia when I started investigating Allods.

Good luck guys… bummer it’s happening to NA too!

The Curious Case of the “F2P” MMORPG Allod’s Online « Taugrim's MMORPG Blog - February 21, 2010

[…] of Cash Shop items and over the changes announced for version 1.0.07.07. Keen has written an excellent summary of the concerns of the […]

Gankatron - February 21, 2010

Think I’ll lay off of the game for a while…

As I posted in the Allods Forums under “Wastefully”:

Which makes a stronger statement:

1) Large number of people playing before CS announcement, large number of people still playing after CS annoucement

OR

2) Large number of people playing before CS announcement, low number of people still playing after CS announcement

Is this really in doubt?

Allods Online, de volgende RoM - Pagina 31 - 9lives - Games Forum - February 21, 2010

[…] Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog Blog Archive Bringing you up to speed on Allods Online’s La… gPotato Presents ALLODS ONLINE – A Completely Free To Play Online Game! • View topic – Russian Players Are Angry To!!! Precies slecht nieuws ? […]

Youngneil - February 21, 2010

I will do the same as Keen – continue playing and enjoying, which I greatly do, until things become too expensive for me. I have been having several good and free weeks of gaming Allods the betas now. It’s the way that counts, not the destination, isn’t it that what they say?

Besides that and all doom and gloom, we simply don’t know how things will turn out in the future of Allods.

Gankatron - February 21, 2010

The last item I received in game was the “Bouquet of Broken Dreams” little did I know how prophetic they would be…

Giles - February 22, 2010

@Gankatron: I cringe when I see all the people advocating boycotts and threatening to quit the game. Seems like most MMO forums these days are full of whiners who don’t know what they’re talking about.

What Keen says is absolutely correct, the game isn’t broken(yet). It’s exactly the same game people were enjoying a couple of weeks ago in closed beta. You may as well go enjoy it.

Allods Online: No good news « Exploring War Like Worlds. - February 22, 2010

[…] From Keen and Bio you can hear about the bad news for allods […]

Zoozie - February 22, 2010

Very good summary of the situation Keen+Greav.

Ashkir - February 22, 2010

A lot of BBB complaints can be just because they weren’t responded too. Blizzard Entertainment got an F because they didn’t respond: http://www.wow.com/2009/04/20/blizzard-gets-an-f-at-the-better-business-bureau/

I personally see it sad that it’ll cost more to be a hardcore raider in Allods Online then it would be to multibox an entire team in WoW.

Thallis - February 22, 2010

I think it’s pretty arrogant of gPotato/AN to assume American’s are willing to pay those prices. This game is fun and it’s keeping me interested (for now). They’ve got a hook in my mouth but it’s nowhere near as embedded as they seem to think it is. And the changes to classes (i’m a psioncist) has me po’d too…. seriously, 30% speed…. that was kinda already a lil lame… nerfing it to 10%?!?! Really?

Sumitallup - February 22, 2010

A sad day indeed. Thanks for the great informative post though. I am going to stick with other MMORGS’s and come back now and then and see what they have been doing in even trying to make it better. No sense investing my time in my chars if they are going to crap all over it and over charge us to keep playing once we get to higher levels.

Pleh!

Office Jerk - February 22, 2010

I read until “It’s as if gPotato/Astrum Nival is an Atomic Bomb and the player base is Hiroshima.”

you need to get f*ing over yourselves people.

jesus, tapdancing, christ.

heartlessgamer - February 22, 2010

This isn’t about the cash shop. These are dumb game changes. The people using this as an example of cash shops being bad are saying that if Allods was a subscription game they would be fine with these game changes. Its like saying WoW players would be fine with a 2 hour death debuff that costs 2000 gold a month to remove. I don’t think that would fly for WoW and this shouldn’t fly for Allods.

gankatron - February 22, 2010

@Giles:

Well I don’t intend to exchange insults as flaming each other isn’t productive. I believe that a concrete message needs to be sent before too many marketing decisions get set in place. IMO seeing their player base drop immediately after enacting these changes sends a stronger message than just continuing to play in the face of them and calling the protesters whiners. This isn’t your typical “hey no fair they increased the cool down time of my spell by 5%” rant, these are major game breaking changes that I would rather see addressed in the short term rather than 6 months from now; there is a good chance they are willing to wait and see if they retain enough of a player base over time who become attached enough to their toons and are willing to pay exorbitant prices; by most interviews I have read from F2P designers,they seem content to let the minority of “hardcore” players foot the bill for the rest, which of course requires high prices in the cash shop to be profitable; unfortunately this will turn Allods into another unbalanced Asian money machine and ruin end-game play for those unwilling to pay $50+ a month to support the rest.

I prefer to immediately convince them otherwise, but that won’t happen if everyone is all talk and waits to quit months from now. Maintenance of a player base in the face of these decisions sends a stronger message to forge ahead with the plans they have likely concocted for some time, than being an apologist for their company and verbally attacking the protestors, but obviously we disagree on that point, perhaps you will turn out to be correct…

Нет, спасибо (No Thanks): Allods Offline « Im Talkin Games - February 22, 2010

[…] Exorbitant prices in the item shop are one thing, but when patches go into the game that basically require you to purchase these high priced items (thanks Keen for this insight) from the shop, it’s game over. Most US gamers are not idiots […]

smthin - February 22, 2010

it’s the russian business model.. aka fuck the customer as hard as you can I am not surprised at all

If I ever bothered to play this I would take a month off at this point, by keeping yourself in game you create an impression that you are fine with the changes..

office jerk - February 22, 2010

” Its like saying WoW players would be fine with a 2 hour death debuff that costs 2000 gold a month to remove. I don’t think that would fly for WoW and this shouldn’t fly for Allods.”

I thought a recent debate here on K&G was about how you wanted tougher death penalties?

Not fearing death in MMOs enough? here’s your game!

heartlessgamer - February 22, 2010

@office jerk

As my analogy to WoW shows, this is a fairly extreme change for Allods. Making a death penalty sting is needed. However, making it so that you CAN NOT play the game after a single death is not what Keen or anyone else has been arguing for.

Pedro - February 22, 2010

I won’t be playing Allods and getting emotionally invested in a character and an amazing game world to just leave it when they screw us over.

Such a shame. This game has the potential to be an amazing MMO and extremely lucrative if properly managed. Independently of being a free to play or a subscription based game i bet it would draw an enormous number people to it.

mel - February 22, 2010

I don’t think this is a mistake at all. Gpot is obviously banking on the crazy people out there who buy tons of virtual items and don’t ask a lot of questions. All you have to do is check out craigslist and see that numerous people are selling WoW accounts for around $1,700. That’s a lot of money imo, but someone out there will most likely buy it. That example is a bit extreme. So I’ll bring up Zynga (the Farmville people) are bringing in somewhere from 30 to 50 mil a year selling virtual plants and animals. Worldwide the virtual goods industry is supposedly bringing in an average of 5 billion a year and this was an old number from Nov.

Gpot and Astal are running a business. While their business model might not sit well with everyone, it’s my bet that they are banking on at least 10,000 players that will each pony up 600 dollars during 1 year to play Allods. This will bring them 6 million in 1 year. They don’t need the huge numbers that WoW and Farmville have to meet their business goals. They didn’t make the game for you, they made it to make money and they are targeting people who will buy stuff at insane prices. And people do, all the time.

H.Kunde - February 22, 2010

While Mel (post#112) is right, the companies with these kind of businessmodel miss the point of a MMO.
WoW with it’s 10 million customers paying $15 a month has shown the numbers of MMO players are far larger than 10,000.

With reasonable prices the could earn 10 times than the 6 milliom he suggest. And of course you can have both. The insane buyers and the more rationale willing to spend $10 a month. You just need to adapt prices and the right products for each group of players in the item shop.

Intentional crippling of the game like the fear of death does clearly, is very common however. But that always keep population low in these games and therefore revenues too.

At last the player decide what’s possible and what not.
If you don’t like the way they handle it, stop playing.
That send a clear message they understand.

mel - February 22, 2010

@H.Kunde Hello, thanks for commenting on my comment through Keen’s comments. Anyway, Allods, even with a sub based model, cannot overtake WoW’s numbers. So why even try? Gpot and Astral are trying to go another route with this game because so many MMOs with traditional subs are just not performing as well as companies were expecting (see WAR, Champions Online, Conan.) While companies like playdom, playfish, zynga are raking in the money on virtual goods. If they did go the sub route, people would be sick of the game in a few months anyway and move onto the next big thing (ie cataclysm). At least with insane prices on goods and a F2P model – they can rope in those 10k players a year and hopefully make some money back. It’s not how you “play nice” in the industry but it’s a proven model for making money, maybe they’re just not willing to risk it at this point, which sucks cause I was in Allods beta since CB2 and loved the game.

One last thing about what you said “At least the player decide what’s possible and what not.” I think that letting players buy as much crap as they want without a 15 dollar cap per month (and not having WoW’s numbers) will bring them more money in the end. We I don’t really see them lowering the prices since it will anger people greatly who paid top dollar for a 6 slot bag, but they might who knows! -Mel(issa) 😀

Romble - February 22, 2010

i dont understand why they cant adopt both payment types. Cash shop always available with heavily discounted prices if you pay a monthly fee of 12.99 to 14.99 or no monthly fee and leave the cash shop as is.

This way they get both casual and hardcore players and can pay their bills.

stompfoot - February 22, 2010

I’m mildly surprised to see ppl debating the merits/pros/cons of this. I don’t see calculated marketing decisions here. I see some sort of internal management meltdown or a completely ignorant miss-management by a parent company (the even wilder theory I’ve heard, that its money laundering operation for Russian gangsters would seem more plausible than to say that this was a planned marketing decision). Were you actually planning to properly gouge your player base like this, you would have waited till you had actually established a player base, that had reached end game level raiding content, then you would have started incrementally upping the prices and crippling the end game to be dependent on the Cash Shop. A good crack dealer lets the customer get addicted before he starts taking all their money. This looks like some sort of death spiral.

David - February 23, 2010

I will be the one to now say. Thanks Keen for clearing this up. BTW I was the one that called you guys jerks for not giving this issue time. Sorry about that.

Now that we have the whole story, I will say this. Never let corporate run your vision. This is always going to be the result. They care about money and not the hard work required to get it. Sadly I was hoping this game was going to do well. As long as gPotato (gay name) runs this bitch, it will suck.

It will be fun to see how they get out of this hole. Unless Blizzard or some other famous company buys the rights to the IP this game won’t take off.

You can laugh at the thought of Blizzard buying this game and hosting it, but think about it. This game is FREE to play. It is completed. All Blizzard has to do is put cash shop in new bnet and done deal. They get money and don’t have to worry about WoW sales.

A f2p company cannot run and manage a game of Allods quality. They have to make up 12 million bucks lol. GG

Blizzard, NCSoft, Arenanet, Bioware, Activision…these companies are IMO the only ones that can run this game well. They have the servers and experience for large projects.

That being said, I don’t take back what I said to you Keen. I think you could have waited on posting the facts for a company that helped you get viewers. What they did is wrong but they scratched your back…so you should have left it alone and just let the large MMOsites report.

When a friend starts to take the wrong path you don’t stab them and betray them. Try guiding them first before force.

Timka - February 23, 2010

One should notice that after the patch 1.0.07.07 the stack of 20 perfumes costs around $0,8 in Russia contrary to $13,50 ( 0_o ) in U.S.

gankatron - February 23, 2010

from their latest news page:

“We want to make clear that this is something we are not taking lightly. We are not sitting and waiting just to see how many dollars we’re going to make over the next four weeks. It is very clear to us that players are already disgruntled with the situation and we are actively working on new pricing options to accommodate the masses. However, we ask the Allods community to please be patient with the situation! Adjustments like this cannot happen overnight. That’s why we continually encourage everyone to submit constructive feedback to us regarding your opinion about both the game and the item shop. In fact, we started a forum thread that we will be checking on an hourly basis here (http://allods-forum.gpotato.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9748).

The Allods team works hard on this game and loves it just as much as many of you do. When we see a problem we want to address it and take the most appropriate actions that make sense for both the players and the game. With that said, we encourage everyone to voice your opinion, even if it’s about something you absolutely hate, just please do so in a constructive manner.”

Allods – Vaikeuksia taikamaassa? « Rillikerho - February 23, 2010

[…] lähteestä (muun muassa pelin foorumit, Keen and Graevs Gaming blog ja Mmorpg.com) kiirivät huhut lisäksi väittävät että pelin alkuperäinen kehitystiimi ei […]

Allods Online Pricing | Super WOW Guide - February 23, 2010

[…] a mini-controversy about pricing for Allod’s Online. Keen has details. Allod’s Online is a Free-To-Play game that started out in Russia. Apparently prices in the […]

Dick - February 23, 2010

Good information here. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind paying a subscription fee JUST TO STAVE OFF FoD!. That’s all. He’ll I’d even pay what I pay for other P2P mmo’s charge for monthly’s. I think they need to offer some sort of alternative to the perfume purchase crap, and they better do it quickly because, if the activity in the forums are any indication on the future of this game, we have hit the event horizon of the mmo black hole.

Arnzen - February 23, 2010

The FoD debuff is clear as day for most to see…its an intentional mechanic introduced into the game to force most players (particularly those who endgame) into fairly frequent MTs. The spirit of it just doesn’t sit well because it contradicts the notion that “you can play the game for free if you choose to.” That statement with this mechanic in the game is disingenuous at best and most people will not fall for it. Most of this comes down to monthly budget expenditure, and overall price worth for a fun gaming experience. The problem Allods faces is that most NA MMO gamers who like theme park games are going to look at WoW with fond memories and determine that they are willing to pay 15/mo (maybe a bit more, give or take) for a quality MMO gaming experience. Anything that remotely goes much higher than that price outlay is immediately going to be met with much consternation and turn away a significant portion of users, especially when a f2p is “forcing” something on them to have an enjoyable experience.

Nollind Whachell - February 23, 2010

“When a friend starts to take the wrong path you don’t stab them and betray them.”

David that’s just it. Many of us feel like we have been stabbed in the back and betrayed. So who’s doing who wrong here? All we’re doing is communicating the fact that we have a knife sticking out of our backs. It’s up to the company to pull it out and tend the wound to address their wrong doings.

And Arnzen is absolutely right about the FoD. It gives you no choice but to utilize perfume (even more so with the russian patch notes). That goes against the cash shop approach. For example, I can live without a mount, extra bags, potions, whatever because they provide bonuses. Perfumes for FoD on the other hand remove a game stopping debuff. There is no option here. It’s essential to play the game. Thus either remove it or reduce it so that it does become optional (i.e. 15 min time max).

Arnzen - February 23, 2010

Yep, that’s exactly the crux of the issue Nollind, and why the outrage is what it is. Ridiculous prices for bags, bank space, and mounts aside, unless FoD gets completely revamped to not “force” players into buying perfume in bulk at price points they aren’t comfortable with, this game is in serious trouble…

Seboid - February 23, 2010

It’s gone way past the cash shop prices now (seriously, how on earth could such pricing ever have been thought as acceptable). It’s obvious to anyone that looks that the game itself is changing rapidly to force people to the cash shop. It really is one big cluster****. The infamous suits have got a hold of Allods by its dangly bits and are squeezing with all their might. In my opinion, Allods has been damaged beyond repair for a lot of people who were following it. Maybe in the coming weeks/months they’ll get customers that stumble upon it, but for me it’s simply way too risky an MMO to get invested in.

Game by Night » Come on, we’re overreacting about Allod’s - February 23, 2010

[…] we’ve had in the last year. After reading the masses of posts, some in favor, some against, I have to toss my own two cents in the […]

Howdy Doody - February 23, 2010

Holy smokes, I didn’t see this coming. I just CAN’T understand their thinking. I’m trying to be open minded and see their side, but I just can’t.

WTH would you not want to start the community off slow and get them used to transactions. Like Xbox Live or Battleforge. Make it so it’s so damn easy to keep buying in small doses that it snow balls. I just don’t get it….at all.

First time ever I am so thankful I had no interest in this game. Sorry for all you all that like it. That really sucks.

wow…just fascinating. I’m still dumbfounded.

Dblade - February 23, 2010

http://www.massively.com/2010/02/23/allods-online-releases-updated-statement-solicits-player-input/

Looks like they have started to realize problems are brewing.

Crud - February 25, 2010

Wish Aeria games had taken the contract instead of failpotato. Aeria is not very friendly with cashshop pricing, but atleast not crazy either. Wouldnt be the first great game for potato to destroy 🙁

Trust Is Such A Fickle Thing - March 1, 2010

[…] the storm that the players of Allods Online stirred up on the official forums and blogs across the Internet. Darren Allarde, associate producer for the game at gPotato, even went on Massively Speaking to […]

Vajto - March 1, 2010

Hi , Im playing warden on the russian realms myself and after reading your post i see that theres some information you missed , i hope this can ezplain the situation for you. ( hope noone wrote this above )

Allods online became a huge succe ! Gold ! ANd lots of people started playing it all 6 realms were about 90+ % allways, but mail.ru saw that most players on allods did come from mail.ru’s other games and they were loosing money on it as they earned more money having people playing all the games. So here the game came to a change , Mail.ru bought Allods Online and the main director of the game and the KEY crew more or less left the game to continue with their other projekt they didnt want to be part of waht mail.ru was gonna do. Mail ru started MAKING people HAVE TO pay to PLAY becouse they knew the people who didnt wanna play allods would play the games they came from which are mostly owned by mail.ru. And mail.ru is jsut out to earn money and right now are ruining the game , dont answer to the BETA TESTERS and have no idea of what is happening on the forums. Russian players migrate in loads , my guild chose to migrate to the EU today even when restarting evrything is worth it and we are hoping that Gpotato will prevail. I hope this post gave you some insight … i know its on the bottom ( N132 ) But if people are interested they scroll =) )

– Vajto soon on eu realm

The Curious Case of the “F2P” MMORPG Allods Online - May 2, 2010

[…] of Item Shop virtual goods and the changes announced for version 1.0.07.07. Keen has written an excellent summary of the concerns of the […]

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