Okay, I know I said no more GW2 posts but... It's a Gamasutra article! C'mon!

The pre-order numbers for GW2, then, should tell us that trust itself is a commodity for which players will flock to pay.

Ok, enough about that, let’s talk about the actual game.

The point of all this long-windedness was two-fold: an attempt to understand why Guild Wars 2 is successful, but also to point out that once you strip away the value added by being genuinely player friendly, GW2 is—especially when compared to the achievements in design GW1 realized—honestly an underwhelming game, though not an unenjoyable experience by any means. That is to say, perhaps our evaluation of the game is skewed because it treats us like real people, not cash cows.

In many ways, it actually feels like a step backwards compared to its predecessor. Gone are the sophistication of GW1’s 8 skill/dual class system (where one skill change could impact every other skill on your bar, and in fact make entirely novel builds possible), the level 20 cap, and the secondary relevance of items and loot.

"The pre-order numbers for GW2, then, should tell us that trust itself is a commodity for which players will flock to pay."

Yup yup yup (and yup to a lot of other things too..).

But the problem with trust in a consumer relationship is, it's a fucking dangerous commodity. And if you have customers buying on trust you had bloody well better not betray that trust.

Trust in consumer relationships = of course I'll buy it!

But the flip side of that is, betray that trust and not only will the customer never buy from you again, they will go out of their way to warn others about you.

F2P Pricing Models & Preying on Decision Fatigue - NYT via NorthTemple

“Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain.”

Yes, yes, not all F2P models are evil.

But of those that are (even the amazingly beautiful luscious evil that is PWE's Forsaken World), I suspect a lot of them depend on decision fatigue pushing people to buy impulsively without calculating the costs, whether in-game or in actual cash.

It would also explain why I simply can't understand some of the Auction House prices in Forsaken World - where I've seen people selling stuff for half of what it's worth in actual currency, if you were to convert actual to FW's currency.

...people are tired, impulsive, don't want to do the math (gated through 4 currencies), and they want money NAO. So they buy a high-priced item and undersell it, because they honestly don't know it's worth / are too tired to think through its conversion.

I have personally worked out these numbers for some in-game acquaintances when telling them to buy/sell higher/lower, and they simply don't want to listen. That's too much work! Games should be fun! Let me spend my moneh how I want! Fairynuff.

I don't mean to imply I'm immune to this too. In FW, converting currencies (through all 4 gates) has become second nature for me. But in the other PWE games I've played, decision fatigue from constantly WATCHING myself (can't do this can't do that) contributed hugely to my dropping the titles.

...PWE are like the evil marketing gods the evilmarketingbits of nugget want to grow up to be.

Half-Empty Pancackle Mixes & How Knowledge Changes Perception

Sample Shake-It-Around-Half-Empty-Bottle-of-Pancackle-Mix via redmart.com

Soo, now that I have attained Pancackle Journeyman status, wherein I can craft satisfying, fluffy variants of my own pancackles that look like photo shoot pancackles, I have realised something. O.o

...I know why these half-empty pancackle mix bottles work!

See, I've always thought it was kinda nuts that people bought these things. 'Woot! Guys! I have an idea! Let's sell half-empty bottles to people and sell it as a feature! They'll totally buy it and we'll make even moar money!' >.>

But nao, nao having attained Pancackle Journeyman status, I know WHY! And I know why it works!

I figure it's 'cause if you are a Pancackle Noob, and you don't know how Pancackles work, you don't realise that the number one transformer of Fluffy Pancackles of HAPPY into Rubbery Pancackles of SAD is... overmixing of the flour.

Enter the shake-it-around-half-empty-bottle of pancackle mix, which a pancackle noob is far less likely to overmix. With these half-empty bottles, Pancackle Noobs add water, shakeshake, make pancackles that are (hopefully) fluffy, and they go, this is AWESOME!

And so what I thought was a WTF stoopid peepul clever company turns out to be a very clever company saving stoopid peepul from themselves *while making a profit*! It's brilliant, *and* it's not a con.

(That being said, if I had understood Pancackle Principles, I probably would never have come up with these gorgeous white chocolate pancackles, which basically break all the rules of fluffiness I outline above, but are still utterly amazing.)


Zomg, a SANE way to do development quotations.

Ever since we started Offroadcode we've taken the stance of never giving fixed price quotes for projects. Some people think this is crazy but allow us to explain why it makes sense for clients and ourselves.

What I'm going to cover here is nothing new to me and probably many other coders out there. To others though (both clients and designers in the business) it can be quite eye opening when I first tell them about it. All through the following post, remember the point below is what we do and what we give our clients.

We always want to give the client the best website we can for their available budget. Offroadcode
Keeping your cards close to your chest isn't the right way to work!Talking about budget shouldn't be a secret!

Asking a client what their budget is can come across as either rude or plain money grabbing. They hold back the true amount thinking we will quote back to them the full amount when we say how much it will cost. Difference is though, we don't give fixed quotes.

We will work up to the amount of budget the client is happy to spend. That to us makes sense. The clients gets the best site they are happy to pay for at a fair price.

We don't deliver rubbish for that money, we deliever the best we can to the amount of budget/time the user has. At the end of that we will have delievered the best, most feature rich site we could. All the client need do is pick and choose which features they want on their site.

"One assumption we're making is that you do have an idea of how much actual time a feature might take to complete. If you don't, you really shouldn't be in charge of quoting for a feature."

XD Just one of the great things!

Facebook wants you to 'like' things ... but it's complicated | Mariam Cook

Facebook will never embrace 'shades of grey' because it has this ethos of exuberance that says everyone you meet is a friend and everything is worth liking, if only to differing degrees. Don't underestimate this, it creates an environment that feels safe, especially to advertisers. this benefits Facebook in their quest to get people to share their lives as publicly as possible, which they may not do if they feel even subconsciously that there is a risk of negative response.

Article is interesting, but commentary is more so. It's personally very alien to this nugget *why* people "like" things on Facebook without incentive.

On the other hand, the nugget has 4 'friends' (or was that 5), and likes only things that work requires her to like. In fact, the only thing the nugget has "liked" of her own free will is Forsaken World - precisely because they incentivise it.

The marketer in me loves the comments section though, it's a great look into the brains of the masses I am supposedly brainwashing!

Invasion of the Body Coolers!

While I'm usually very admiring of PWE's nefarious marketing schemes, I think they've failed with HotK's CNY celebrations.

... technically, if you kill these snowmen, you get a chance to get a card. Collect all 5 cards, get some kind of shiny. Usually, players would be all over them. Only... the snowmen take about 2-3 minutes to kill, and you can only gain 4 cards per hour. Snowmen cages, however, load in player inventories every ?hour? or so. As a result, there's a massive invasion of snowmen that players by and large are totally uninterested in killing.

And then there's the New Year Statues.

This is a case where 'less is more' would have worked a lot better. These New Year Statues require the purchase of a US$1.75 lottery token (or key, as it's called here) before you can 'open' them.

Now, if PWE had limited them to oh, 5 tokens per character over the entire duration of the event, I'm sure they'd be worth a lot more - and more used.

As it is, I get 1 every hour (I think) that I'm online, and afk. Which strangely, has the effect of making me utterly uninclined to use them. When I only had ONE of the things... I was tempted. Now that I have 20, I'm not tempted at all. It's just easier to leave them in my inventory until the event is over. You can't even sell the things, no one wants them. I see some people trying to sell them. I see no one buying.

Add that to the fact that HotK just had an update... which bugged out the combat and made everyone hit like non-ninja bunnies - that means even MORE people sitting around town spawning even more snowmen that no one wants to kill while accumulating more New Year Statues that no one wants to buy... XD

And why, you ask, is everyone sitting around AFK instead of just logging off? Well, PWE likes to reward you for staying logged on no matter what. They don't care if you're AFK. They don't care what you do. They just want you to stay logged on. And because of that, every 30 min for the duration of this festive season, characters get a token that they can right-click for about 30% of their level's worth of xp - it scales. As well as other rewards.

And so, the snowmen slowly take over the Middle Kingdom. Hee!