Insane Design Decisions and Being Crazy Developers

Apr
07

Insane Design Decisions and Being Crazy Developers

Giovanni “Eldaran” Martello here to address some things we have seen from our community and explain why we are doing what we are doing.

A few people think we are crazy…

In today’s MMORPG world, everyone seems to be going Free To Play (F2P). Because the community sees this happening, anyone who still has a subscription model is viewed as absolutely insane, and a masochist for bringing unnecessary pain upon themselves. “No one can survive with a subscription model,” they cry. “Subs are old news, we want it for free,” they shout from the rooftops.

It is true that a subscription model is “old news” because we’ve seen all the biggest MMO’s launch suffer a huge amount of attrition due to the short attention span of the modern MMO community of instant gratification gamers, and then merge servers, start cross-realm play, and/or go Free To Play. We’ve seen it dozens of times over the past 10 years.

The community sees this pattern and automatically assumes that we have to build our game the exact same way.

Pros and Cons of a Subscription Model:

1. Pro – The bar of entry is set higher. When you are building a game for a niche community, and it is being designed as challenging, not for solo players, and not for those who want hands held, you don’t want every child with a computer logging into your game because it was free.

90% of people who try our game just because it is free, would most likely misunderstand what we are trying to accomplish, get frustrated, and scream to all their friends on the internet what a piece of garbage our game is because it’s not like World of Warcraft/the latest MMO-of-the-month.

Requiring a subscription limits the entry to our game for a higher percentage of people who can actually read and understand what we are doing here. They make their own money, they want a more challenging group oriented experience, and they will know what they are spending their money on.

2. Con – You will never have as many players as a Free To Play game. This would normally be a huge loss for a AAA MMORPG and the millions of dollars they spent developing it. For the Saga of Lucimia development team, we don’t require millions of dollars to make a profit, or to keep our game running. We are building this game out of pocket, and our development costs are very low because we are all working for free.

This is called sweat equity. For those of you who have bought a house cheap, fixed it up and raised the property value, that’s what we are doing. We are putting free work in right now, so that we can more easily make a profit in the future. We love what we are doing and we could theoreticallykeep this game running with even as low as 1,000 active players. No MMO on the market right now can support their game with 1,000 players.

3. Pro – The community members who are playing are game, are paying for it, and therefore want to get a return on investment. They will want to play as much as they can to justify the money spent each month. This makes sure that the community is invested in our game, and wants to make it the best place they can. They will play 20+ hours per week.

4. Con – Players who pay a subscription are prone to a sense of entitlement. They pay for the game and they want everything as fast as humanly possible. Server downtime, Maintenance windows, Bugs that affect them, are all things that some paying players will attempt to get a reimbursement on.

I could go on, but these examples are just to show you that we want to set the bar of entry a bit higher so players know exactly what they are getting into, and also that we don’t need 10 million people playing our game to continue development.

Some People Think We Are Stupid….

We must be stupid, trying to launch a game where players are forced to at least group up with at least  two or three other people to do ANY type of adventure, right? We must be completely dense to launch a game that people have to pay for, and then have the nerve to ask for X dollars a month JUST TO PLAY. We must be crazy going against the archetype of every modern MMORPG today, right?

Let me just explain why we are doing what we are doing…

There was a time when MMO’s required people to talk to each other and work together to complete goals. Some games were more friendly to new players, and some were not. The MMORPG world has turned against this way because they want to reach the highest amount of players they can.

The MMO playerbase has grown 100 fold over the past 15 years. This can be attributed mostly to the influence of World of Warcraft. That game reached more players than any MMORPG before it. It also opened everyone’s eyes to the opportunity to get rich like Blizzard did if they make an MMO just like that one. Enter Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Aion, Allods, Everquest 2, Forsaken World, The Secret World, Star Wars the Old Republic, and so many more that were all trying to cash in on the success of WoW.

While this was great, that someone had created millions of MMORPG players, it also caused the entire genre to be watered down to 99% World of Warcraft clones. After years and years of seeing all the different games come out, but just churn out more of the same, its gotten very old for some of us.

That is why we have decided to fill the void in the MMORPG community, and bring back a game with a sense of community, a reason to group for ALL content, not just dungeons. A reason to talk to each other, build friendships, create guilds, start caravans and trek across the world to places no one has been before. Create a unique character, and flaunt equipment and skills that no other player has yet discovered.

Everything in Lucimia is about exploration and discovery. If you do not want your hand held, and you want to feel a great sense of accomplishment for every single task you complete, then we are building this game for you.

We, the developers, want to play it right along with you. We miss the forced grouping of Everquest 1. We miss the character customization of Ultima Online. We miss the sense of danger from those games, and are bringing it back. Players will need to work together or they will fail, and if we’ve learned anything from our time in EQ1, no matter what you are doing, it is always a memorable experience. When you struggle to succeed you appreciate that success far more.

If you want it easy and to solo whenever you feel like it, there are plenty of games out right now that you can play, but if that just isn’t enough for you anymore and you have been dreaming of the old days of your favorite MMO, follow along with us and see if Lucimia is the world you have been waiting for.

See you all in Lucimia soon,

Giovanni “Eldaran” Martello
Co-Producer/ Designer

The Saga of Lucimia MMORPG

Like what you read here? We’ve got an ongoing Indiegogo campaign where you can pre-order copies and help support our developers during our ongoing production.

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