Jagex Controlled By A Us Company - A Follow-Up ReviewEdit This Entity
First off, if you have not read the my previous blog on this subject ("Jagex being controlled by a US company - My Views") - I would highly recommend doing so as this article will make several references to it. There I talked about what we could expect to happen to RuneScape under fresh American management, and now the time's ripe to see how accurate those predictions (if any) were!
Mere days after the IVP takeover of Jagex, when Andrew Gower finally jumped ship I wrote a blog on what I expected to happen with RuneScape being run American-style. As most people probably know, U.S businesses have a very different marketing model to European and Asian ones, the money usually comes before the customer! So with regards to what I had previously mentioned in my other blog, how correct was I?
I mentioned IVP was filthy rich and that they could pump MILLIONS into RuneScape's development, and seeing the staggeringly gorgeous visuals it has to offer at the moment, I think it's safe to say that this is an area of our beloved game they're really helping to take to the next level. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of all of the new spirites and models. I quite liked the old Barrows sets, for example, others such as the new plateskirts have definitely grown on me. They didn't look like the most protective things in the world beforehand, but with the additions of leg-plates underneath the skirts - that's completely changed.
On the note of IVP's wealth', the Combat Evolution BETA is on it's way! RuneScape's present system has been...and is in DESPERATE need of a revamp. I'm incredibly overjoyed as well as somewhat impressed at the mere mention of change to it. The prospect of which has got me, along with some friends, out of retirement even after swearing never to play RS again!
I also raised the question of whether IVP would know how to market the MMORPG effectively, especially considering the company's limited experience in the gaming industry prior to getting involved with RuneScape. But regardless of whether their two new directors had the right vision or Jagex just happened to carry them along well - IVP seems to know exactly what we want in 2012 (which is good as they have a lot of money to make back!). With the standards of graphics and gameplay more important than ever in this day and age, they're bringing RuneScape up to speed in these areas perfectly.
Now those negatives I mentioned... The whole 'squeeze every penny out of us' thing. Excuse me for believing I was just about spot on. You can probably guess what I'm going to bring up straight away - the ability to buy Squeal of Fortune spins and increased membership prices. The latter was to be expected, this game is worth far more than £3.20 a month. I'm happy to pay £5 as that seems a fair price to me. It provides hours of entertainment in a way that few other games can claim to as well. The SoF spins is something I kind of predicted. It was either going to be that or a real money-shop. Whilst I hardly approve of the ability to potentially buy expensive items using real-life cash, or just get free money outright, I am nonetheless impressed with the way they dealt with top-tier gear (such as Divine Shields, Godswords and God Wars armor) in this modified version of roulette.
It would be totally unfair for someone to spend $20 or so and get a Divine Spirit Shield which they then went on to sell for 400M whilst players who don't have that kind of money to throw around have to be content with scraping together maybe a mere 2 or 3 million coins a day. That was a really clever move on their part. It keeps the game a bit more equal and serves also the purpose of not completely drilling what's left of the in-game economy into account. Imagine the prices of these items if you could sell them? There is also the fact that they have an obscenely low drop rate, I personally haven't had any of these lucky items in around 80 spins.
However the Squeal of Fortune (SoF) can be a trap for players who can't control certain addictive tendencies. Once you have 2 spins, you might want more, especially if you get decent loot. This can lead to all sorts of problems centred around children either starting to beg their parents for more money to spend on the wheel, or older players (who might be for example at university) running risk of wasting what precious little they already have too. For what seems like a 'harmless minigame', the SoF could easily lead to greater problems revolving around gambling.
Yet this isn't to say that it's all doom and gloom. Sensible budgeting stops me from purchasing any extras, meaning it's easy to wait the 24 hours for my next set. It's more fun sticking to just 2 spins a day (not counting tickets from NPC drops and skilling) because it's like buying a lottery ticket once a week. All you need is a dream! Maybe one day I'll get something better than 500K!
To conclude, I am in awe at IVP's performance. I don't think they've listened to the players much since taking over BUT they have figured out what players actually want in a game. They could go very far with RuneScape and make so much money back after profits they'll laugh on their way to the bank. The magnitude of the botting problem, however, still remains; and it is something they will have to tackle very soon.