It Has to Be Said: Time Beats Money?

by Jessica Holyoke on 16/06/10 at 1:26 am

I have been taking a break from Second Life lately by playing the MMO Allods Online.  Its a free to play MMO similar to World of Warcraft developed by Russians.  Seeing how their players respond to a situation is very telling on how MMO’s and virtual worlds might be paid for in the future. 


World of Warcraft is a subscription model, similar to SL’s premium membership.  People sign up for automatic billing and tend to forget its there.  Allods has an item shop but the game developers provided players with opportunities to avoid using it, which players tend to do, even when it makes no economic sense.

One of the items you can get is a bigger deposit box for banking the weapons, armor and other items you accumulate in the game.  This box costs approximately $10 US.  You can pay the $10 or you can perform a Wandering Alchemist quest.  The Wandering Alchemist quest is; a player must find the Wandering Alchemist, a non player character or NPC, in order to obtain a potion.  The potion has 14 constituent parts.  Each time the alchemist is found, one part, at random, will be given to the player.  The Alchemist can be found in ten different locations.  Each time the Alchemist is found, only one player may interact with the Alchemist.  After a player talks to the Alchemist, the Alchemist disappears for four minutes to reappear at one of the ten locations at random.  After receiving the 14 parts, the player must find the Alchemist again and give him the parts to make the potion.  Then you must take the potion to another NPC in order to get the deposit box.  Or you can pay $10 US. 

The interesting part is that based on the chat, and people looking to form parties to make the quest shorter, players choose the quest frequently, even though at a minimum, with no other players interfering, being able to travel to the correct location where he appears next, and the parts being given in the correct number and order, this quest will take at least an hour.  Which means players are willing to give up well over an hour of their time either running around or waiting in order to avoid paying $10.  In the meantime, the game is still running and the company needs to keep the servers going. 

Without money coming in somehow, servers do not run.  And if a player is willing to put up with the Wandering Alchemist, game developers need to come up with new ways for payment in order for games to run. 

8 Responses to “It Has to Be Said: Time Beats Money?”

  1. V

    Jun 16th, 2010



    Wandering Alchemist Quest?

  2. All Seeing Eye

    Jun 16th, 2010

    Or they can go pay Sony or Blizzard $15 a month and quest all they want. After a while the mind numbingly boring crap gets old.

  3. Darien Caldwell

    Jun 16th, 2010

    First off, SL’s Premium is in no way similar to WoW’s subscription model. In WoW, the subscription is required, in SL, Premium is not required.

    In fact SL’s current model more resembles Allod’s model if anything. And the results are the same. If people can avoid paying, they will, in every instance. The fact that people engaging in online games have lots of free time is kind of a no-brainer. If they had things to do, they wouldn’t even be there.

  4. Gundel Gaukelei

    Jun 16th, 2010

    When I was a child of about 6, I tried to explain something I had realized to my parents. And as always they were asking “How can you know?”. They had done so in the past, leaving me speechless. But this time I came up with an answer “I was eavesdropping on 3 old ladys gossip in front of the store you sent me this morning in order to buy milk”. This time, I was leaving my parents speachless. While the 3 old ladys were only a product of my childish imagination, I had realized two important things: that adults always want you to proof your point and that you can solve this by refering to a source they trust.

    While gossip turned out to be sufficently proving the point of a 6 year old, in order to prove your point you would have to come up with a lot more then replacing the required market research and reliable numbers by “based on the chat, and people looking to form parties to make the quest shorter”.

    The closest feasible, scientifically proven answer to the question is, based on your article: Depends!

  5. Emperor Norton hears a who?

    Jun 16th, 2010

    What SL calls greifing is what FRG MMORGs call PvP and a standard part of the game. I doubt if the Herald will find much drama there to bottom feed in with stories on which guild is ganking which guild or what toon class has been hit with the dev’s nerf bat.

  6. Jayd3n

    Jun 17th, 2010

    Yep I tried Allods online, it is a piece of Shi* but I have played MMO for many years, so maybe that is why. I am waiting for some new MMO of 2010 to come out, and generally I rather pay $15 a month for a MMO than a free to play, because Free 2 Play, require big ammounts of cash to obtain the best gear, best items, and is just about the ammount of paying $295 a month Second Life Tier per month it can get just as bad, and their prices like $20 for a costume in some Free to play games is really screwed up, when they could offer bigger discounts and more options on their items, like making all items you buy account bound, so you can trade between characters when you want, and all that type of stuff, for certain items, but they wont do it because they want cash.

    Over all I Like P2P MMO a lot better at standard Rates, because everyone gets a fair chance F2P they dont, and mostly MMO got boring and that is why I came to Second Life to begin with.

    I Love Second Life, I just wish that Linden Lab would get rid of the people who are ruining our grid, data mining residents, Slandering residents who have done nothing wrong with BanLink/CDS systems, It Ruins our comminity, but other than that SL is Great, and Thanks to Linden Lab blocking out Neil Life, Theft has became a lot less in Second Life.

  7. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Jun 19th, 2010

    I like corn.


  8. Mimika Oh

    Jul 4th, 2010

    Griefing is not like PvP in one important way: both parties sign up for PvP. You’re claiming that hitting someone in the street is just like boxing.

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