By BirthWild 8 Comments
This seems to be a pretty fervent topic lately what with outernauts coming out on facebook recently, arguably one of the nicest facebook games available.
It is... The energy system, effectively putting a block on "hardcore" players who sink their time into a game hour after hour. Its gotten mostly disdain from us and less so from casual players, and people who can steal energy by spamming messages and having a large amount of active friends that also got roped into the energy system. It's almost like a quarter effect in arcades where you must sink in more cash to keep playing if you want to. The difference is this is a device coupled with failure, urging the player to continue on after defeat. Energy couples itself with progress, urging a player to continue playing the game even though they already want to - which is gross to me. Now from our perspective it's disgusting and rightfully so, if we have the time to invest in some bad facebook game ( in insomniacs case a good one ) then gosh darn we want to and not feel limited or pressured into spamming people or spending money on continuing to play the game.
Now final fantasy XIV for awhile put a cap on experience you could earn in the day. A similar progress stopper that was eventually removed but it was coupled with a monthly fee so there was no point in impeding the progress of people with this. The energy system is almost a way to handhold you into making sure you don't spend time on the computer to long, almost, since they allow themselves to take money from you to continue playing if you so desire than it sometimes is more expensive than a monthly fee. It's a really horrible way of using the F2P model, if we look at Team Fortress 2, Super Monday Night Combat, and an MMO I've played for a while Vindictus, personally I've put money in all these games, Team Fortress 2 is a jerk for making crates that need keys you must buy, BUT HEY I buy them because I want to, and SMNC lets you buy characters so you can use them without the weekly rotation limits, vindictus is the standard MMO cosmetic and booster thing. People spend a lot of money in these games and are more encouraged I think because they don't have to, it's an option. Recently Mike Krahulik posted about this and that's what made me start thinking about it, he gave the examples of League of Legends to outernauts saying the same thing.
It's a time sink that we can't sink into, but it protects some people from spending to much time with it... but people bypass that with the gross system they've put in place which is energy, the evil modern day arcade quarter pump. This is just another rant of mine, but I'm scared that when "hardcore" and "casual" bleed together systems like this don't get worked out and purged from the new generation of games and their push towards free to play games. An example of that I can think of is Spiral Knights on steam, it gives you so many points to delve into dungeons and at a certain point you can't progress and grind out materials and exp, impeding my progress. It's a cool little game and I like it's style and combat but that system kills my desire to play because I can only play for the set amount of time they decide for me. I don't think this system will stay in place as games continue to be made, maybe it will keep on social networks like facebook and G+ but currently I don't like it and it needs a look at from companies. I was hoping insomniac games would be the ones to look at it and change it, but they plug into the same power supply, our wallet.