Please don't make the game Free To Play!


Pathfinder Online

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Goblin Squad Member

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Sure free to play games get a lot more people but those people don't have any skin in the game so to speak. Because it doesn't cost them anything they don't really care about what they do and they can ruin the experience for those that are invested. This arguably works out okay in some theme park games because character actions have limited effect on those outside their party let alone the game world in general. In a sandbox game however these issues will be magnified greatly.

My suggestion is that the game be cheap, perhaps $5/month or $50/year. Also if a boxed copy is sold it could go for the regular game price ($50-$60) but include a year subscription instead of the normal month. In addition have seasonal/quarterly free to play weekends as well as a once a year "try us again" week form former players whose accounts have lapsed more than a month.

The big suggestion though is to take a page from EVE Online and allow players to purchase with in-game currency tokens for a month of free access. This means that the game could effectively be free to play for those who are actually being productive instead of people who don't really care about the game. These tokens could also be traded to other players or given to friends to get them to try the game.

I'm also not opposed to a cash shop that sells cosmetic enhancements or other non-game balance altering items.

Goblin Squad Member

I don't think they are anywhere near making a decision on this. I think Ryan has said he has an idea of what he'd like to see happen, and he's mentioned subs.

I honestly don't care either way as long as the game experience measures up to what's being promised.


seriously, if this won't be free to play the game will lose majority of RPG players that don't stick only to pnp. I for one ask for it to be free-to-play, because I know a lot of people I usually play with would not even try it out unless it is.

With everything going free-to-play and DDO already being that, it is the way to go. Even the recent Star Wars MMO plans to go F2P in 2 or 3 years. Even if it will go F2P there will be a huge competition, but at least it will have a chance to shine.

Goblin Squad Member

SWTOR will probably go F2P alot sooner than that...


Kryzbyn wrote:
SWTOR will probably go F2P alot sooner than that...

I know, but the factual date only says 2-3 years, but I would say it is half a year to 1 in truth :)

Goblin Squad Member

They started talking free trials and F2P as soon as the initial significant decline in subs happened. I think they're waiting to see if server moves and legacy content can keep enough subbers to not have to go F2P. I personally don't think it will. The game literally ends at 50 once the story is over. The rest is grinding for better gear.
They've mentioned big changes to come in regards to the space combat system. If this isn't a flight sim type, nothing will change. They've mentioned adding new planets that will be kind of 'open'. This would be significant, but maybe not enough.
We'll see.

I was in the last several closed betas, and still bought the game. I hit 50 in <4 weeks. I hate theme park end game content. There is nothign else to do in that game...I ended my sub after week 5.

Goblin Squad Member

@da_asmodai, the plan is for the game to be free-to-play but require an investment in order to train skills. Ryan has already said there will be something like Eve's PLEX, where players can avoid spending any real-world money on the game as long as they're able to buy in-game Skill Training Packages from other players.

The Money Changes Everything blog discusses this in more detail.

Goblin Squad Member

Yeah as nihmon said, the basic description GW has given, is that it will be a f2p system, BUT skill training (IE leveling), will require you to either pay, or to purchase skill training in game from other players, similar to eve except that instead of not being able to play , you can play but not actually level.

I would point out that in eve, the prices of plex for new players pretty much requires them to grind money for more or less 5 hours a day for the entire 3 week trial period. I imagine that with people being able to grind money without a subscription, that the prices of skill training will likely be notably higher than eve's system, meaning people attempting to play in f2p, will either
A. Only be able to gain skills one in 3 months or so, making them level at 1/3rd pace.
B. Spend 95% of their time desperately grinding money, spending virtually no time in PVP or any other events
C. Eventaully develop some advance infrastructure or business model to allow them to afford to play. This will be pretty far down the line for most people, and will likely take months to accomplish.

As a result of this I don't think you really have much to worry about. even going f2p, people are going ot have to work their tails off to really be able to focus on playing, making f2p people as invested in playing as paying customers.


I wouldn't mind a pay-for system but I stay away from per year billings as I rarely stick to a single game for a year solid.


Agreed that low cost is the way to go. I definitely have no qualms shelling out $5 or even $10 a month, but beyond that it's a pretty hard sell to me. Also, the pay-increase-skills is good...but hopefully the prices aren't exorbitantly high at low levels.


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You saying that, Fust, makes me almost want a tiered training cost. The cost to train something from 0 to 1 might be free whereas 1 to 2 might be a dollar. The cost to train something from 19 to 20 might be $10. That said, you'd still have to wait for the time to elapse so you couldn't go from 1 to 20 in a class overnight, obviously.

What I don't want to see is a system whereby I have to purchase a set amount of time for a set amount of money (e.g. 1 hour of training for a dollar) only to find out the upper tier of skills take several days or weeks to train. That'd make me jump ship in a heart beat.

Goblin Squad Member

OP: It's a decision between:

1. Accessible F2P - to open the game to all market of players so they can try the game for however long and that influence their purchase decision

2. A gated community to set a threshold of invested players to reduce the problem of anti-social free-riders.

F2P is unavoidable business model, so it's then question of what FORM of F2P is utilised and how F2P is part of the skill-trainIng purchase and behaviour of those invested players.

I guess PfO will be so that F2P won't have big reputations for a while and limited utility while they are F2P but that they'll have low order uses and recruitment from invested groups of players that'll feed them into the game. So I'm hoping they'll be useful for small positive things while limited ability for large negative things.

I am a bit concerned though that F2P opens the door to hackers, bots, gold farmers to create cheap accounts from which to act malignantly on the game?

Goblin Squad Member

Buri wrote:
You saying that, Fust, makes me almost want a tiered training cost. The cost to train something from 0 to 1 might be free whereas 1 to 2 might be a dollar. The cost to train something from 19 to 20 might be $10.

That's effectively what we're going to get. Since there's a constant cost per unit of time, and the units of time required increase as the skill rank increases, that means there's an increasing cost at higher tiers.

Buri wrote:
What I don't want to see is a system whereby I have to purchase a set amount of time for a set amount of money (e.g. 1 hour of training for a dollar) only to find out the upper tier of skills take several days or weeks to train.

I'm fairly certain the plan is to make "one month" of skill training be the smallest unit of time you can buy.


They could do F2P like DDO does. As no game is worth a monthly fee IMHO.

That said if your charging 50-60 bucks for the game anyway. 30-40 dollar expansion packs later. And pay for extras. You shouldn't 'need' a monthly fee. Haven't played it, but I think that is Guild Wars model.


As long as that month of training time is reasonable, and not, say, anywhere close to $50, then I would be okay with it. A price point somewhere between $15 to $20 I could be okay with as long as even a high-level skill or two could be trained within the same month. By high-level I mean those which are last in line before you get those capstone abilities. :)

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

I'm hoping that it's something like where we need to pay cash to actually get a copy of the game and basic access to X. Then is one desires Y it can be paid for with a subscription.

I'm more curious about the more limited scope of allowing players access that was discussed a while ago and how that will work. If only so many new people were going to be let in every month, it has to have something to make sure that it's people who want to play rather then the freebie MMO crowd stumbling in to trash it.


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In Guild Wars, each game was $60, maybe $50. It's been a while. :) But, the point is that non of the expacs were cheaper and were their own separate games built on the same universe.


Morgen wrote:

I'm hoping that it's something like where we need to pay cash to actually get a copy of the game and basic access to X. Then is one desires Y it can be paid for with a subscription.

I'm more curious about the more limited scope of allowing players access that was discussed a while ago and how that will work. If only so many new people were going to be let in every month, it has to have something to make sure that it's people who want to play rather then the freebie MMO crowd stumbling in to trash it.

I believe the first wave of players are going to be selected from this board. Well, not just from this board but will consist of players who want to build chartered companies, visibly work with the community, etc and will be a bit of a cherry-picking thing. That said, even though I'm psyched to see the finished result, I'm not going to be on 24/7 like my perception of what GW and Paizo want out of the first few initial player waves and so I have no expectation of getting an invite to join any sort of soon after launch so that saddens me a bit.

Goblin Squad Member

Buri wrote:

You saying that, Fust, makes me almost want a tiered training cost. The cost to train something from 0 to 1 might be free whereas 1 to 2 might be a dollar. The cost to train something from 19 to 20 might be $10. That said, you'd still have to wait for the time to elapse so you couldn't go from 1 to 20 in a class overnight, obviously.

What I don't want to see is a system whereby I have to purchase a set amount of time for a set amount of money (e.g. 1 hour of training for a dollar) only to find out the upper tier of skills take several days or weeks to train. That'd make me jump ship in a heart beat.

From my understanding training time is bought in months, rock bottom skills will likely take hours, top level skills will likely take months, that's more or less how eve works, minus the biggest difference being that PFO intends to allow people to play without training.

Odds are an hour of training isn't meant to be significant or noteworthy at all, remember characters train 24/7 as long as you are paying the training cost, whether you are online or offline, so one hour is meant to be insignificant as even a casual player who signs on 1 hour at a time 3 days a week, is training 24 hours a day.

Quote:


They could do F2P like DDO does. As no game is worth a monthly fee IMHO.

IMO DDO did the best f2p model of any theme park, but I can't see it translating well into a sandbox. DDO's method worked so well because content was specifically seperated, PFO content isn't going to be specifically designed areas dungeons are going to be primarily random etc... so defining areas of purchase won't really make much sense.

Morgen wrote:


I'm more curious about the more limited scope of allowing players access that was discussed a while ago and how that will work. If only so many new people were going to be let in every month, it has to have something to make sure that it's people who want to play rather then the freebie MMO crowd stumbling in to trash it.

I'm pretty certain they said something to the regards of the f2p option not even existing during the heavily limited player selection months. Every reference to how many players are let in is phrased as "new paying players", in the blog.

Goblin Squad Member

Just doing some quick research on Eve, it looks like the biggest skill (Rank 16) at Level 5, with fairly good attributes (25 for both) would take about 75 days to complete training, or almost 100 days if both attributes are 20 instead.

I would be kind of surprised if every skill level in PFO could complete inside of a month.


Depends on how deep the skill trees go. It could still very well take over a year to capstone a class. If you look at almost any PF class and break down each thing you get at a certain level as a skill to be trained then going from 1 to 20 very well could encompass dozens of skills. Even if the last 6 take a month each, that's half a year right there.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

Just doing some quick research on Eve, it looks like the biggest skill (Rank 16) at Level 5, with fairly good attributes (25 for both) would take about 75 days to complete training, or almost 100 days if both attributes are 20 instead.

I would be kind of surprised if every skill level in PFO could complete inside of a month.

I haven't really played eve, but from my understanding the max levels of a skill are far harder than that, as you are looking at a few weeks for rank 1, 2, 3, and 4, then getting rank 5, to start training the second version of the skill that has 5 ranks and a pre-req to have the previous one at level 5.


On type 1 skills, level 1 takes 15 minutes, level 2 is 30 minutes, level 3 is an hour, level 4 is 6 hours and level 5 is a day. These are all approximations from memory, so I very well may be off. From there, it scales to be about what Nihimon said. But, skills are far from hard. So long as you have the ISK to buy the skill book, have the pre-requisite skills and have time, you can train any skill. Once you gain access to a skill you can train it from 1 to 5 without needing anything else. That said, some do require level 5 skills as pre-reqs, though the vast majority fo the lower tier ones do not. Once you get into tech 2 and 3 skills, you'll have to go back and bring the majority of those underlying skills up to 5.

So, I guess it's more accurate to say it's like an onion. The core skills are very easy and quick to train and even to train up relatively high to ranks 4 and 5. The next tier is cheap to acquire and takes just a little more time to get. After that you start focusing a bit more and specializing which takes ISK that both not cheap but not hard to get.

Advancing this, you really have start going back and bring up any skills you've left dangling and then buying the more expensive books. This is where to advance a particular area can easily take weeks to a month. After this, you get into skills that take several millions a piece to acquire and that take a day to simply go from rank 2 to 3.

After this, you get into super capital ships where some skills start costing billions, etc until you get to titans. After titans you pretty much back fill all the skills you didn't train and start generalizing more and more.

Goblin Squad Member

From what I found, the formula to determine the number of minutes it will take to train a particular level of a skill is:

Level * SkillFactor / AttributeFactor

Level 1 - 250
Level 2 - 1415
Level 3 - 8000
Level 4 - 45255
Level 5 - 256000

SkillFactor can range from 1 to 16.

AttributeFactor = PrimaryAttribute + SecondaryAttribute/2. It looked like Attributes were generally in the 15-30 range, and that 25 would be "pretty good".

So, my numbers are for training only Level 5 of a SkillFactor 16 skill.

And to be clear, when I said:

Quote:
I would be kind of surprised if every skill level in PFO could complete inside of a month.

I meant to say that I would be surprised if there weren't at least a couple of skills that took more than a month to train.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:


I meant to say that I would be surprised if there weren't at least a couple of skills that took more than a month to train.

I agree there, it is also possible that some of them could require a merit badge that requires either luck, or extreme skill to get before you train or to make use of your training,

Goblin Squad Member

What type of behavior do you think is going to ruin the game? And why won't people want to pay to play so they can do those things?

Goblin Squad Member

The invite only ramp up period should serve to minimize alot of the abuses one normaly see's with disposable accounts in F2P games.

Once they get past the invite only phase, I expect they'll probably have or put some measures in place to limit what one can do with a brand new account that hasn't had any investment of time or cash involved in it yet. GW seems pretty saavy about ways griefers and exploiters operate, I'd be shocked if they didn't address the disposable account phenomenon to at least some degree.

Goblin Squad Member

It would be kind of silly to sell training in one month increments. That's a subscription. You'll be able to buy training in amounts potentially as short as 24 hours.

Goblin Squad Member

Well, that'll teach me to be "fairly certain" about something that hasn't been clearly stated :)

Goblin Squad Member

So if free players can't train and thus advance then it's a pay-to-win system? The more you pay the more of an advantage you have? I'm honestly asking, I want to be sure I understand what is being said.

You can only train one skill at a time per character and that skill trains 24/7 no matter if you are online or not right?
If that's the case there is no incentive to buy more time then real time, buying a month of training time each month would effectively be a monthly subscription. I guess that's good in limited the pay-to-win effect but it also caps the revenue generated from the more dedicated players. The removal of such caps is commonly cited as one of the main reasons free-to-play is thriving. DDO developers often cite for example how they have many players who pay well over the old monthly fee but there would be no point in doing that in Pathfinder Online. As stated by others though DDO can do this because it's a largely instanced theme park game and what a character does has minimal effect on other players and the game world in general. That will not be the case with Pathfinder Online.

Does that training time apply to every character you have or do you have to pay per character?

If the minimum training time you can buy is 24 hours, assuming a 30 day month for easy math, then at $0.50/day it would cost $15 (the going MMO monthly subscription rate.)

I just don't see how this model can work. Perhaps it's because I'm just not understanding it correctly but it sees to highlight the weak points of the various models. It seems to be pay-to-win with revenue caps. One would think you'd either embrace pay-to-win and let people pay as much as they want to boost their character's stats or oppose pay-to-win and give the characters at least the possibility of advancing without having to pay (even if you can pay to advance faster).

Maybe I AM misunderstanding it though. The other interpretation I can see of "buying training time" is that free players advance in real time but you can buy time to "skip ahead". Training a skill that takes two weeks? You can either wait two weeks and get it for free or you can buy some or all of it. Buy two weeks of training time and your skill is instantly trained. Buy one week and you've cut the real time it will take in half. This doesn't sound like what others are saying here and is more of a pure pay-to-win mechanic but it at least appears to make more sense then the previous interpretation.

Goblin Squad Member

Kryzbyn wrote:
SWTOR will probably go F2P alot sooner than that...

SWTOR will be F2P this fall. Their F2P FAQ.

Goblin Squad Member

da_asmodai wrote:

So if free players can't train and thus advance then it's a pay-to-win system? The more you pay the more of an advantage you have? I'm honestly asking, I want to be sure I understand what is being said.

You can only train one skill at a time per character and that skill trains 24/7 no matter if you are online or not right?
If that's the case there is no incentive to buy more time then real time, buying a month of training time each month would effectively be a monthly subscription. I guess that's good in limited the pay-to-win effect but it also caps the revenue generated from the more dedicated players. The removal of such caps is commonly cited as one of the main reasons free-to-play is thriving. DDO developers often cite for example how they have many players who pay well over the old monthly fee but there would be no point in doing that in Pathfinder Online. As stated by others though DDO can do this because it's a largely instanced theme park game and what a character does has minimal effect on other players and the game world in general. That will not be the case with Pathfinder Online.

Not quite, yes whatever the maximum amount of training is the most you can level up, you can't level at a faster rate via paying more, from my understanding alts are seperate from a main on a bill, it may be a discount or something for your second character, but it will not be free to train your alts.

There are also other things that will be sold for skymetal bits (cash shop money).

blog wrote:


You'll use Skymetal Bits to purchase four kinds of things:

Enhancements to your account: Things like having multiple characters, paying for skill training, and other premium services
Convenience consumables: Things that your characters might want to use in–game in lieu of relying on always having specialist characters with you while you adventure, or as a way to recover from an encounter that goes horribly awry
Bling: Visual displays that have no in–game mechanical effect, such as specialized clothing, decorations for buildings, and interesting–looking mounts.
Theme park adventure content: In–game modules that you can unlock for yourself and your friends

Goblin Squad Member

da_asmodai wrote:
DDO developers often cite for example how they have many players who pay well over the old monthly fee but there would be no point in doing that in Pathfinder Online.

You're making the assumption that skill training time is the only thing you can buy.

da_asmodai wrote:
Does that training time apply to every character you have or do you have to pay per character?

It is my understanding that we'll have to pay for each character's training separately. It is my hope that we'll be able to train two character's on the same account at the same time, so that we're not forced to running multiple accounts.

da_asmodai wrote:
The other interpretation I can see of "buying training time" is that free players advance in real time but you can buy time to "skip ahead".

Nope.

da_asmodai wrote:
... give the characters at least the possibility of advancing without having to pay...

You will be able to advance your character without having to pay real-world money. You'll just have to earn enough in-game coin to buy a Skill Training Package (or whatever they call it) from another player.

Goblin Squad Member

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Nihimon wrote:
da_asmodai wrote:
... give the characters at least the possibility of advancing without having to pay...
You will be able to advance your character without having to pay real-world money. You'll just have to earn enough in-game coin to buy a Skill Training Package (or whatever they call it) from another player.

Manual of Gainful Employment +1 ?

Goblin Squad Member

@Gregg Reece, a better name than I used, by far!

Goblin Squad Member

In addition to purchasing training and fluffy items from the skymetal shop, you will see people who want additional in-game currency buy the bits and sell them on the market. This gets them the currency they want/need in-game, and it allows someone who doesn't have much RL cash to pay for their training with in-game currency.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

AvenaOats wrote:

OP: It's a decision between:

1. Accessible F2P - to open the game to all market of players so they can try the game for however long and that influence their purchase decision

2. A gated community to set a threshold of invested players to reduce the problem of anti-social free-riders.

F2P is unavoidable business model, so it's then question of what FORM of F2P is utilised and how F2P is part of the skill-trainIng purchase and behaviour of those invested players.

I guess PfO will be so that F2P won't have big reputations for a while and limited utility while they are F2P but that they'll have low order uses and recruitment from invested groups of players that'll feed them into the game. So I'm hoping they'll be useful for small positive things while limited ability for large negative things.

I am a bit concerned though that F2P opens the door to hackers, bots, gold farmers to create cheap accounts from which to act malignantly on the game?

I'm afraid bots and gold farmers are simply part of the MMO market. I've been playing MMOs since Everquest 1, and they've found their way into games with Subscription, Free-to-Play and Hybrid payment systems.

Goblin Squad Member

KarlBob wrote:
I'm afraid bots and gold farmers are simply part of the MMO market.

I agree about bots, because they offer a direct advantage to individual players.

However, I'm not so sure about gold farmers. If there are legitimate markets for in-game coin, then there's less demand for the gold farmers' product in the first place. If that in-game market trades coin at a price near or below the price at which the gold farmers make a profit, then the institutional gold farming will dry up.

Obviously, there will always be individual players who are "farming" their own gold. There's nothing wrong with that.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Nihimon wrote:
KarlBob wrote:
I'm afraid bots and gold farmers are simply part of the MMO market.

I agree about bots, because they offer a direct advantage to individual players.

However, I'm not so sure about gold farmers. If there are legitimate markets for in-game coin, then there's less demand for the gold farmers' product in the first place. If that in-game market trades coin at a price near or below the price at which the gold farmers make a profit, then the institutional gold farming will dry up.

Even better- if it is cheaper to buy coin with cash (illegitimately) and buy skymetal with the coin, then the price of skymetal (in coin) will rise to compensate. The rise in skymetal prices will result in more players willing to buy skymetal with cash and sell it for coin, resulting in a soft cap on gold prices. So long as skymetal bits are useful enough in their own right, the price that can be reasonably earned by gold farmers can be lowered by reducing the price of skymetal, to a degree.

I don't think that CCP ever changed the price of PLEX in order to make RMT trading unprofitable, but I bet they considered the possibility. I think their actual response was to aggressively identify and banhammer RMT sellers and buyers.

Goblin Squad Member

That and it's very hard to flourish with an illegal system that has little to no advantage over a completely legitimate system.

The people providing the illegal service will generally give up in that scenario as it won't be profitable enough to pursue as most people will generally prefer to take a legitimate route if one is available.

See iTunes.

Goblin Squad Member

@OP

The targeted payment model does not carry the same detraments as all of Perfect World's F2P title. There is a money barrier to entry into the game, you will have to put up some cash for the first bit of training. The only way to get in and do anything will be to buy training time, or have a very rich friend in-game, that will give you money for skill training.

You will not be able to play this game for free without a serious time investment. What I see happening is people paying for 2 or so years of training time, and then they are able to generate enough wealth to play for free, or fund another character.

Goblin Squad Member

So far I didn't like f2p games because if you really wanted to play the game competitively you had to pay a lot...

Also I envision hordes of nameless smurfed accounts with no or almost no training rampaging through the countryside with impunity because they can simply delete and start all over again...

So I am wary of this model although it seems to lie int he future of most games.

Goblin Squad Member

With the latest Battle.Net hack stealing a/c info... I'm still a bit jittery about F2P making it easier for hackers to get a foothold?

Goblin Squad Member

Security is a separate concept from a product's profit model.

I'm not sure why you would think otherwise.

Goblin Squad Member

Well the product's business model is going to include F2P, is almost an imperative for various reasons. All I'm doing is trying to wonder how this could have a negative impact on the game?

First question: One possible way is the account management and barrier to entry, which I'm assuming is lower with a F2P model, does that make life easier for hackers and other agents interested in 'screwing' the game for whatever motivation?

The other possibility I'm curious about, is more general: A lot of mmorpgs especially themeparks seem to be game designs from other genres just using an online engine to expand everything. I think one real problem with mmorpgs is that they are designed too much along the line of other computer games with content and the player does this and that etc. But I think the big difference is for the mmorpg to be much more a social engineering project. So the "the content is the players" sums that up and how best to design everything to that effect?

Perhaps the above is an incoherent ramble, but this also requires I'd assume more ways for the mmo community to be selective with the type of player that would enhance the game for the other players? I think possibly that's another thing that F2P may be negative for? Just off the top of my head LoL (league of legends) is quite a social-requirement, at least teamwork, game but the community has a terrible reputation!

So another question: Is F2P (the upcoming business model) bad for community?

Goblin Squad Member

AvenaOats wrote:

Well the product's business model is going to include F2P, is almost an imperative for various reasons. All I'm doing is trying to wonder how this could have a negative impact on the game?

First question: One possible way is the account management and barrier to entry, which I'm assuming is lower with a F2P model, does that make life easier for hackers and other agents interested in 'screwing' the game for whatever motivation?

Only for those attack surfaces that having an account in and of itself exposes, and then only for 'noisy' attacks.

Pathfinder Online's attack surface, like any service running on the Internet, will be larger than what you see inside an account. Most typically, it's an employee that gets compromised these days, so the actual attack goes through someone's fan site or some other highly targeted medium e.g. spear phishing.

Security is a process, not a checklist. You have a certain set of services to provide, and you work out how to minimize the impact of a compromised interior system, while still allowing work to be done in a reasonable timeframe. Security that people break to make things work isn't, after all.

----

As for your question about the impact of f2p on culture, I imagine the first few 4500 or whatever size batches they pick are going to have a major impact, and they are probably well aware of this. I wouldn't do it any other way for just that reason, though numbers might be different.

Goblin Squad Member

There is really only one "hack" that matters these days. Getting the username/password file and/or the credit card information file. (Getting the username/password file is actually worse, because many people use the same usernames and passwords on their financial accounts as they do on game services, so getting the username and password could allow someone to get into your personal data on other sites and open you up not only to theft of money but identity theft too.)

When these files are stolen one of two things happens:

1: The company sheepishly admits that the file was not stored in a format that would be resistant to common attacks, and that even though it may be "encrypted", the encryption is so weak and/or compromised that it is effectively not actually encrypted at all. (See: LinkedIn.)

2: The company admits that the file was stolen, but due to using good policies and procedures, the file is likely highly resistant to being decrypted, and the odds are that no harm will come from the hack.

Of course nobody wants these files to be stolen. But unlike a physical object that can be put into a single location and secured, a digital object is subject to many forms of theft that are hard to notice. From insiders to social engineering to obscure technical defects in networks and protective software, there are just too many attack vectors to ever allow a service provider to feel they have "guaranteed" anyone that they cannot be compromised.

Which is why you have to do robust and effective encryption. Always. And you have to test it to make sure it is working as designed. Regularly.

It's not perfection but it is raising the bar high enough to protect most of the users, most of the time.

Goblin Squad Member

I would not want to be known as the first mmorpg that pushed a compromised client through the update pipe, personally.

E-mail addresses have value. So does the code base itself (see Ragnorok Online and the leak of AEGIS).

While hacks are easily over hyped, 'encryption' alone is not sufficient for security. If I have control of your login server, I don't need the 'file'. SRP and MDAC were developed for such purposes, but if you tie a user's account to web services, defeating MDAC is just a matter of some slight JavaScript adjustments.

Goblin Squad Member

- Thanks for the info, clearly more informed on security than me; I've gone through my internet security/AV manual, perhaps a bit like a patient going through a doctor's dictionary of diseases and self-diagnosing every one of them, ^_^

(There was very readable article on gamasutra about how important even getting the basics of encryption can be and how many companies/wesbites and the like failed at even that level).

- I forgot the seeding initiative, that does make a substantial difference I reckon. As said, mmorpgs are apart from anything selling "trust" that user info is safe, that other players are not running riot using hacks and further means of manipulating the game code to bend the game rules.

A quick google search pops up all sorts of security hacks from Lol, Steam, Sony and most recently Blizard's Battle.Net. :(

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