Anyone think the reaction to this game is a bit knee jerk?

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#1 Posted by muttjones (95 posts) -

Plants vs. Zombies free to play structure has been getting a lot of flack since it came out what with Brad and Vinny's Quick Look, the bombcast and this week's Idle Thumbs podcast all calling out the game for its "egregious" push to have you pay your way through the game. Naturally then, I went into this game being ready to turn it off ten minutes in.

But I'm well past halfway through this game and I haven't payed a cent.

Sure this game makes you replay the levels of each world once you complete them for stars to progress, but does this really matter? No two levels are really any different from another. It's all zombies walking down a grid to your plants, just the window dressing happens to be different each ten levels.

I mean does it really matter in this game if you're replaying 2-2 instead of playing 2-3? Especially since each star gives you a completely different challenge each time you play the level with altered parameters, goals, mechanics, etc. making the star replays a pretty altered experience each time.


I'm right at the end of the second world and am now getting to the point where the game is racking up the star requirement forcing to me to other complete a bunch of star levels or fork over some money to get through. But you know what? I've played and enjoyed this game for at least 4 hours now, so maybe that's worth me giving PopCap a couple of bucks?

I'm not one to defend the free to play model, just maybe let's not always assume a game is junk if it uses it.

#2 Posted by Korwin (2813 posts) -

Unlock my opinion for $1.99

#3 Posted by zombie2011 (4968 posts) -

I loved the original perfect game to play while i'm bored at work.

When I heard the second was a grind fest I didn't really care because I have time between projects to grind, however, I just don't find it fun. Yeah they give you new objectives but they are more of a nuisance than a whole new way to play.

#4 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4242 posts) -

Yeah, it seems to get treated a bit to harsh by some people. The little I saw of the game and cash shop and everything seems very inoffensive compared to most of the other f2p games I've seen. That said, I've never really been a fan of the "wink wink nudge nudge, pay a little and you can fast forward through this game" business model, but then I was browsing PSN, remembered I bought some of that same shitty type of DLC for Cross Edge, Hyperdimension, and Trinity Universe and realized I could no longer pass judgement on anyone or anything.

#5 Edited by Aetheldod (3494 posts) -

@korwin: Is there anyway to "star up"to unlock it? D:

#6 Edited by Dredlockz (340 posts) -

Of course the core game is good, it's plant vs zombies, the main formula for the game remains faithful to its predecessor.

I worked as a game programmer making evil F2P games for 3 years. The main problem of the business model is that once you start designing games around monetization you need to start making bumps on the road to bait people into giving out money. It's called monetizing on "friction", since you're breaking player flow every time you stop and ask for money, or send the player back to grind, or wait for some timer to count down or w/e.

So basically, if your game makes money out of selling convenience to a player, it's only natural that you'll want to make the game inconvenient enough so that they would want to spend money, but not so much that they wont want to play the game. That sweet-spot is what you're talking about by saying "hey, it's no so bad". But really, that shit goes against all tenants of software engineering, user experience, game design, etc. Why should you have to grind or stop playing or have a shitty experience?

The reason is that some people can't help themselves and just spend absurd amount of money on these games, like 2% of players make a shitton of money so the other 98% can play it for free. All users are having a subpar PvZ experience so that the whales can make these guys rich, it's so dumb. But as long as people keep playing it, and buying those $99 bundles, we're fucked.

Please don't encourage people to play this :(

#7 Posted by CptBedlam (4449 posts) -

No, the reaction is entirely justified.

Every game, whose gameplay is designed around a monetization model, is inherently flawed and not worth my time (or money).

#9 Edited by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

@dredlockz: That's why he said "Whose gameplay is designed around a monetization model", which is entirely valid. As you said yourself, Dota 2 is not so I don't really get your point.

#10 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1526 posts) -

@korwin said:

Unlock my opinion for $1.99

lol ... that was pretty good.

#11 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5115 posts) -

I have nothing against the developers who make them or the people who play them, but I really don't want to play a game that nickle and dimes me as I play it. There's so many great games out there there that aren't designed around micro transactions for me to play, the first Plants vs. Zombies for example, that it's literally not worth my time to bother with the one's that are.

#12 Edited by Brundage (371 posts) -

Yes. played the game offline, never saw one micro-transaction add.

#13 Posted by Patman99 (1556 posts) -

I wouldn't care if these sorts of games give me a "full game" payment option. I would pay whatever ($10-15 in PvZ's case) to be able to play the game sans micro transactions. Sure, I could just buy that amount in in-game currency but I want an explicit option that jumps me pas the pay wall. They would probably never do this as the whole point of most micro transaction games is to get more money out of the hardcore fan while getting some money out of the more casual player.

#14 Posted by 49th (2666 posts) -

Yeah, it's really not that bad. Paying for plants is dumb but it's completely optional. All the challenges are pretty varied and difficult. If they didn't have the replaying stuff I think the game would feel too short and easy.

The first PvZ also had micro-transactions on iOS where you could buy whole level packs for coins and I unlocked everything just through playing.

#15 Edited by Dredlockz (340 posts) -

@cloudenvy said:

@dredlockz: That's why he said "Whose gameplay is designed around a monetization model", which is entirely valid. As you said yourself, Dota 2 is not so I don't really get your point.

Derp, you're right.

Sorry, misread, deleted the post.

There are some gray areas tho, and I guess that comes down to personal opinion of what is fair and what isn't. For example games like Jetpack Joyride or Knights of Pen and Paper + 1 Edition, I don't have a problem with those types of games, and the gameplay is designed around player progression and a bunch of grinding, the monetization comes from cutting corners.

It is a subtle difference, so much so that I'm not even sure if I'm ok with them now :D

If Pokemon (a real grindy game), didn't have its gameplay changed in anyway, and just offered XP boosters, for a price, would that be ok?

Or, for example, is the monetization scheme of planetside 2 ok?

#16 Posted by geirr (2468 posts) -

Well, to be completely objective and not emotional on the subject..

I loved PvZ one, that is before EA raped it of its soul and being like it does with everything else I ever liked, so PvZ2 can basically go fuck itself. Thankfully this game doesn't need to fuck itself as I'm sure plenty of people are already filling this cum dumpster of a game with delicious, juicy cash.

n_n

#17 Edited by Baillie (4025 posts) -

@geirr said:

Well, to be completely objective and not emotional on the subject..

I loved PvZ one, that is before EA raped it of its soul and being like it does with everything else I ever liked, so PvZ2 can basically go fuck itself. Thankfully this game doesn't need to fuck itself as I'm sure plenty of people are already filling this cum dumpster of a game with delicious, juicy cash.

n_n

Have you even played it? Probably not. Game's fine, doesn't live up to the first but it's still having some fresh content.

#18 Posted by Haruko (284 posts) -

Fuck the F2P stuff in it. I don't care if I have to grind for 4 hours but you know what locking 1/3 of the plants behind a paywall with NO way to unlock them without giving them money is bullshit. Yes I've played the game yes I've unlocked everything I can without giving them money and no I will not give them a fucking cent unless its a one time unlock everything as a normal priced game.

#19 Posted by DarkShaper (1319 posts) -

I don't really play it in long stretches but I ind the challenges more fun than grindy. If I'm having fun with a game that I payed nothing for, I don't really give a shit if the internet agrees with me or not.

#20 Edited by BisonHero (6045 posts) -

@haruko: I'm on basically the same page. Some F2P games (or hell, even games that cost money), if I really like the work they've done, I look for a thing or two of DLC to buy, as a sort of tip jar to reward them. I bought a couple things in Spaceteam, I bought some Awesomenauts character skins because I really like all of the work that developer does, and I bought the Mark of the Ninja DLC even though the DLC is a little light on stuff to do, just because I like the base game so much.

But PvZ2, I'm buying nothing on principle, just to spite the people that designed it. Making you replay the stages to get stars does kind of come out of nowhere, but it's not even the worst part. The keys are fucking bullshit. I played through the entire pirate area, then went back and got all the stars; having just finished that, I only ended up with a total of 3 pirate keys, when in total you need 16 to open all the gates in the pirate area. Granted, my luck was much better in ancient Egypt and I think I've used 7 keys so far in that area, but still, grinding for keys is totally stupid when I've basically done everything there is to do in both of those worlds.

Also, simply put, the game is never challenging, even when going back for stars, because I'm sitting on 40,000 coins, and if I really wanted, I could cheat my way through any stage by just buying fertilizer or using those ridiculously overpowered supermoves that let you kill most or all of the zombies on the screen.

I'll keep playing it because it gets pretty slow at work sometimes and the game still contains a bunch of the good original foundation laid by the first game (Crazy Dave, most of your bread-and-butter plant and zombie designs), but PvZ2 isn't getting a dime out of me. HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH THE PLANTS IN THE STORE COST?

#21 Posted by Haruko (284 posts) -

@bisonhero: O yeah the cost of the plants is goddamned insane $3 a plant and $3 a power up for a total of $30 plus tax if you want all the upgrades and plants. $30 on a iphone game. I'd pay that much gladly for a steam version but you can be goddamned sure they wont do that.

#22 Posted by chiablo (889 posts) -

I would pay $2 to remove the link to the store from the UI.

#23 Posted by jimmy_p (278 posts) -

I have problems with the plant selection actually, since ive played the first one alot and theres just not enough new plants. Also, the enemies do have different designs but they still function the same way

#24 Posted by OurSin_360 (822 posts) -

@korwin said:

Unlock my opinion for $1.99

Add mine for 299.99 **BEST DEAL!**

#25 Edited by BisonHero (6045 posts) -

@oursin_360 said:

@korwin said:

Unlock my opinion for $1.99

Add mine for 299.99 **BEST DEAL!**

Haha, man, I almost forgot about fucking "Best Deal".

Also, dear god, why would you ever buy coins in this game? Nothing even really costs coins! There's no upgrade or item that costs coins! All the coins ever do is let you cheat by buying more fertilizer or using more of those OP supermoves.

#26 Edited by EXTomar (4443 posts) -

No I don't. It doesn't take much inspection or math to see how fast you can skip past things if you paid money.

I'm not opposed to IAP that accelerate things but the way it is done in PVZ2 it feels crude, clumsy and kind of gross. It is very annoying to come close to beating stage with an arbitrary challenge to be reminded "Spend $N for upgrades!"

#27 Posted by spankingaddict (2655 posts) -

Not me . So far it gets my most disappointing game vote .

#28 Posted by ShaggE (6288 posts) -

From a gameplay standpoint, I'm cool with it. I replayed PvZ many times, and still play Vasebreaker Endless regularly, so playing levels twice to proceed is alright by me.

Now, from every other perspective, it's disgusting what they did to this game. F2P is here to stay, and there will be missteps like this, and that's fine. My issue is with a fantastic dev like PopCap being thrown down this path. If Peggle 2 is like this...

Of course, thanks to the joys of timed exclusivity, I'm still waiting to actually play the damn thing. I can only hope that the PC version makes some changes. Again, F2P hooks are fine, just reign it in a little. I don't want to feel like I'm playing an ad for the game I'm playing.

#29 Posted by Brendan (7663 posts) -

@bisonhero: Unlock dick pic bonus packs for $5.99 each!

#30 Posted by buft (3300 posts) -

I would love this game but i have only got android devices, unfortunately my ipod touch is long out of commision. Really need to grab another one some day.

#31 Posted by Irvandus (2774 posts) -

The core game seems fine but I refuse to support anything that uses such gross attempts to get money from folks.

Online
#32 Posted by Irvandus (2774 posts) -

The core game seems fine but I refuse to support anything that uses such gross attempts to get money from folks.

Online
#33 Posted by MikkaQ (10261 posts) -

See I'm totally fine replaying levels, but being forced to do so in order to progress sucks. I want to feel like I'm replaying levels for my own fun, not to slave my way into some a real new level.

#34 Posted by BisonHero (6045 posts) -

@mikkaq said:

See I'm totally fine replaying levels, but being forced to do so in order to progress sucks. I want to feel like I'm replaying levels for my own fun, not to slave my way into some a real new level.

Yeah, I'm curious how they could've restructured the game's progress to NOT piss me off.

What about this: no gate barring you from the next world, you just keep going once you've beaten the main path of levels. Instead, there are NO keys, but those same sidegates instead require stars to open. If it worked that way, I wouldn't still be waiting for all the bullshit sidepaths to open up due to random key drops.

I guess I'm fine with replaying levels for stars to get side shit, but it seems fucking ridiculous that you need to replay a bunch of levels just for fundamental, main path progress.

#35 Posted by Lanechanger (442 posts) -

I've unlocked the 2 new levels and have another like 24 stars already and haven't paid a cent. I didn't really care about the game "hiding" those stars as I like the PvZ games and didn't really mind having excuses to play more. The game is stupid easy already in the regular maps that the 3-star challenges are a nice change that forces me to play differently.

My only gripe is that it's those same challenges over and over again: don't plant on crazy dave's mold colonies / don't let the zombies trample over the flowers / don't spend more than x sun / don't lose more than y plants / kill x zombies in y time.

I would have liked more of a unique challenge like for each level, don't beat it with plant X,Y and Z [where X,Y, and Z are plants that are obvious counters to the zombies of the level;]

#36 Posted by ProfessorEss (7253 posts) -

I dunno, I'm enjoying the base game and I have yet to run into any serious key or cash shortages so I haven't really stopped to even think about what lies behind the paywall.

#37 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3716 posts) -

Totally think its knee jerk considering you can unlock everything if you wanted to for $15, which seems reasonable for the game. And otherwise you can just play it free.

It was funny listening to Gamers With Jobs after the Giantbomb coverage because they didn't have any complaints, love the game and its F2P set up.

The one thing that for sure is pretty crappy to me though is the bait and switch on that first star gate.

#38 Posted by NicksCorner (409 posts) -

Reading some of the replies in this thread it seems the difficulty is not an issue. But still, to hide Plants behind a paywall seems bonkers to me. How to keep a straight progression if all players don't have the same tools?

#39 Posted by BisonHero (6045 posts) -

@artisanbreads said:

Totally think its knee jerk considering you can unlock everything if you wanted to for $15, which seems reasonable for the game.

Please explain where you're getting the $15 figure from. By my count, there are 6 plants and 4 upgrades you can only obtain through in-app purchases. Each costs $2.99, and there's 10 of them, so really it's $30 to get all of the things hidden behind a paywall.

#40 Posted by spraynardtatum (2519 posts) -

I think it's a disgusting model. but I have issues with f2p in general. I think models like this effect how the game is delivered way too much. I don't like the set up of stuff like this and I don't really think that the fact that it's "optional" means it's okay.

#41 Edited by Rafaelfc (1311 posts) -

The response is not strong enough against free to play.

It is the worst trend in gaming by far (much much worse than some draconian DRM schemes)

#42 Edited by ajamafalous (11793 posts) -

Yeah, I do, and for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I'm not sitting down and marathonning PvZ2 on my phone for six hours; it's a phone game, so I'm playing it while waiting in a doctor's office/for my next class/before I fall asleep. I'm playing 1-5 levels a day. It feels a little grindy with the number of stars it requires, but each star has a different challenge, so it manages to still feel fresh. Would we be having this conversation if, instead of putting the stars on the previously completed levels, they'd just extended each world by 3x the levels and asked you a third of the way through if you wanted to pay to skip to the next world? I don't think so at all, and that's why the reaction is incredibly dumb.

#43 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (1170 posts) -

It's a totally fine game that people overreacted to. Some people are really dismissive of things that're different.

#44 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2855 posts) -

I don't think it's a knee jerk reaction so much as people taking out their F2P frustrations on PvZ, which was degraded from being a real game to a F2P game.

Frankly I don't believe any game designed around a monetization model should be supported, plain and simple. Either you go the Dota 2 "all cash = aesthetics" or you GTFO. Might sound harsh but I like games, not being gamed.

#45 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2855 posts) -

I don't think it's a knee jerk reaction so much as people taking out their F2P frustrations on PvZ, which was degraded from being a real game to a F2P game.

Frankly I don't believe any game designed around a monetization model should be supported, plain and simple. Either you go the Dota 2 "all cash = aesthetics" or you GTFO. Might sound harsh but I like games, not being gamed.

#46 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1502 posts) -

@korwin said:

Unlock my opinion for $1.99

Or unlock both our opinions for $3.99, which is the BEST PRICE.

#47 Edited by joshwent (2041 posts) -

Any game not primarily designed to give the best player experience possible should be revolting to all of us. By all means, grind through PvZ 2 without paying if you really want to, but realize that every level you play is one more step towards a future (which is practically here already) where game design decisions are made by business men and psychiatrists, rather than designers.

#48 Posted by DeeGee (2113 posts) -

I don't why people are so focused on the whole free play to thing that they're not noticing that the game is substantially worse than the first one, gameplay wise. Cutting out all the night, water and roof levels that had actually different gameplay and strategies and replacing them with different locations is a terrible idea.

The worlds are pretty much carbon copies of each other, with a few minor differences such as there being a few slivers of water on the pirate stages. You fight the mostly same progression of enemies all over again, as if making the pirate zombie have a wooden bucket on his head is any different than the steel one they have in Eygpt. There are a few world specific zombies which help to make it feel different, but not enough to compensate for the amount of times you'll be playing those levels.

I haven't finished everything yet, but if there's not some sort of mode or option for you to be attacked by a mixture of all the zones zombies, I'll be super bummed out. The end game of PvZ threw literally everything they had at you, wheras the end game of the first two zones is almost identical to the very first stages, except there are one or two different zombie types in there.

#49 Posted by hughesman (312 posts) -

While I don't think that a FTP model benefits game design in any way, I also don't understand the whole "this is sleazy and crooked" attitude that they project onto everything that asks for money at regular intervals.

I mean, if people don't have enough common sense to not spend hundreds of dollars on plants vs zombies then God help them.

#50 Posted by Dietomaha (104 posts) -

I see no problem with this game. If you want to play the entire game and access everything it offers without paying a dime, you totally can. If people want to buy a $99 pack for...some reason (though I don't even know what the hell you would spend that many coins on here), let them.

If someone lacks the sense to realize spending $99 on a free mobile game is a bad idea, who cares what they do with their money? It allows the rest of us to play completely free. We should be thanking them, they're essentially paying our admission.

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