Would You Pay More to Pay More?

I need little in the way of fanciness or services with regard to an apartment. So, I’d *love* to live in a really cheap one. However, it would also mean I’m living near a bunch of people who can *only* afford that. […]
So, basically, I’m paying more, to … er, be with people … who can pay more.

How much does this perspective affect your online gaming choices? Do you avoid (some) free games because of the people who can only afford to play free games? Would you be interested in an online “gated community,” whose only gate was an extra $5/month in its fee?

Long-time members of our online gaming community can comment on the drop in civility that happened when you stopped paying by the minute for online time and/or games. When you have invested several hundred dollars in your character, you are less likely to do anything to get yourself banned or become a pariah. Today, griefers and goldfarmers can get back in the game with a $30 box and back to the level cap in a month of hardcore play. It is not as if they have better things to do.

The game’s content can serve as another sort of cost that deters the archetypal foul-mouthed twelve-year-old. Do you play Vanguard because it is hard to get into, therefore dissuading the undesirables? Anyone can pick up World of Warcraft and go, but it takes a certain type of person to play A Tale in the Desert.

: Zubon

11 thoughts on “Would You Pay More to Pay More?”

  1. First hand experience with this one. I paid $40 bucks a month for EQ1’s Legends (Stormhammer) server…which was almost 3 times as much as the regular subscription cost. Why? Because the playerbase was mature and helpful compared to the regular servers. I mean, it makes sense right? That’s why certain neighborhoods cost more than others, and why people want to live in them….hm.

  2. Pay more to pay more – that’s exactly how society works. In expensive high-class clubs, restaurants and shops, you do not pay for value (alone), you pay for exlusivity and not being bothered by those have-nothing low-class mobsters. Or look at refuge cities, like Sun City, where you can only be if you have the money: You want to live there because all people living there have the money. Rich people want to separate themselves from the poor.

    I don’t know if this is good or bad. I can have fun, with or without money.

  3. Two points against this idea:

    1. There are stupid/obnoxious rich kids/people, not just poor ones.

    2. There are nice/interesting people I would like to play with who would not bother to pay the higher price – either because they could not afford it or simply wouldn’t feel it was worth the effort. So by going to such a game/server I would be denying myself the privilege their company.

    For the above reasons, I don’t think having a server or game built on the “exclusive club” idea would be something I would like. Having guilds is I think a good enough solution in MMO games for this problem. You can make/join a guild only of people you know/trust/like, and if someone outside the guild is giving you grief – well, that’s what the /ignore command is for… :)

  4. I debunk every claim that money or some type of grind is a gate against immature people. As a professional, parent, husband etc., I am both more mature and more casual then I have ever been before. When I was twelve I was gaming and I doubt I would want twelve year old me in my guild today. I had endless free time to play, basically no financial issues due to no expenses etc…

    So I think if a game design accounts for social functions to allow player moderated community partitions, that is all that I need to have a good experience.


    /leave General Channel

    /join Guild of mature people

    That all it takes to get into my gated community in any game enviornment.

  5. /second

    I don’t think price has anything to do with it. There are many free games with a better community than a pay game like, say, WoW.

    However, price certainly plays into the level of maturity, in a backwards kind of way – it’s not that the game is free that attracts minors, it’s that the game is built for minors that causes it to be free (see Maple Story, RuneQuest, BattleOn, to some extent Puzzle Pirates). Games built for kids are often designed to be free with micropayments to reach higher levels, which works well for player retention and maximum nag factor.

    What plays a BIG role is the game’s level of complexity and focus. Immature gamers – young and old alike – may be scared off by a game that is different, or has a learning curve. Note that I do not equate “mature” with “hardcore”, and by corollary “casual” with “immature” – my definition of mature falls more solidly in the vicinity of “ability to postpone gratification”.

    This, I think, is why I have had a good time playing EvE, ATITD, and other more obscure titles with somewhat alien gameplay mechanics and steeper learning curves.

  6. I tend to aggree with most of the comments in here. I would rather have a barrier of entry for a game built on a learning curve rather then on a price tag.

    I’ve known a couple of friends who played with me that used gold buying services to get decent gear but thought learning to stance dance or ice trap in dungeons was too hard. Basically a money barrier does not guarantee maturity or good players.

    On the other side of the argument: any game that doesn’t require a monthly payment (credit card) will attract younger players.

  7. That much is true, but becoming less of a barrier all the time. Parents seem to be a lot more willing to pay a monthly subscription than they used to be.

  8. Back when I played World of Warcraft I stated numerous times that i would gladly pay double the subscription rate just to have a server with a minimum age limit.

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