Monday, May 3, 2010

The Scariest Part of The New Expansion

Sigh. I have one more issue. Yup, just one more thing about the new pet expansion, and this one is a doozy unfortunately, and it may explain why the costs for the pet hatchery are so high and the risk of not getting the right pet is 50/50. The pet hatchery is the first instance where I've seen the opportunity for a business (outside of powerleveling) to be formed around Wizard101.

Imagine coming to a webstore front and there you see a message saying $20.00 buys you an egg with your choice of abilities. That's right, a virtual breeding service for Wizard101. For instance, I've been predicting that if the sheep pet isn't in the game now, it should be. Otherwise, the moment Kyle logs in and shows off his sheep, then I will get a barrage of tells asking me to breed baby baxter with their pet.

*dollar signs flash before eyes*

Disclaimer: This is a metaphor, not an actual proposal:

YOU WANT A RARE PET? $100 buys you a SHEEP! I'll even farm up the money for you (since I have to farm it up for myself and all too). Just give me your account username and password and in a couple of days you'll have your sheep.

Two things wrong with that statement: 1) it's against the rules. 2) I would never do that. . . . but someone might just try something like that on somewhere like ebay. You know, recoup their costs for a subscription . . . make a little extra on the side for kicks?

This is the first time where an actual gosh darn business could be made from the game. To me this also explains why they're taking away the ability to trade crafted treasure cards from tough and keen eyes . . . because you thought "cards for codes" or "cards for wings" was bad, "cards for hatching" would be even worse.

But while defeating one monster, perhaps another has been created. Picking and choosing your pet's powers through a breeding service could really mess with our game. When the kids with the cool pets have had their fun and they're ready to retire from the game, they'll sell their inventions so that everyone can have a super pet . . . and when every pet is a super pet, there are no super pets.

It could be bad. very bad. It could be very bad for fansites as well because fansites would probably be where they spam their webstore addresses and advertise their businesses. It may seem a bit slippery slope, but I thought I'd throw that out there since it's been bugging me. Actually, I'd like to be wrong on this one. In fact, please let me know if and why I might just be nothing more than a doomsayer on this one.

Happy Dueling!


Isaac Mistheart said...

I've thought of this too, x shifty eyes x Buuuuut there are so many Neeeew pets in this expansion even the brightest minds in KI couldn't know what is to happen. ( in the Twilight ZONE.)

blaze duskblade said...

where can you buy the sheep pet

P.D. (Luke GoldHorn) said...

I would like to say you're wrong, Friendly, I really would. But you're spot-on, as usual. But I think the players just need to use tactics. Like with the Cards for moutns, codes, etc, people had to learn that they were really just trying to rip you off. The same goes for this. People will just have to learn that it's wrong, and they can't do it. But even still, if someone, anyone, wants to hand their username and password over to an ILLEGAL business, you have no control over what that person does. They can change your password and keep your account. I think, though, that if someone wants to do that, then let them do it. They are just being irresponible.

Like I said, it really just boils down to how bad you want a certain pet and how much you trust it. Yea, sure, it will ruin gameplay for other; I understand that. But you are in control of your descisions. I really hope they lower the cost though, because what about us loyal players, who actually follow the rules? Why should we be punished for those that chose the wrong path. I really want to mix a bunch of my pets, and I might seem selfish, but I want to see the possibilities, as others do. /:

P.D. (Luke GoldHorn) said...

@ Blaze: You can't buy it. It was an old pet back in the day. Only certain players have it.

Kevin BattleBlood said...

I believe that when there are awareness calls like your post, and when there is a supportive and (tight-)knit community as Wizard101's, we can discourage almost anyone--even new players who are used to buying their way via third-parties to advance through games--from carrying through with these businesses.

We are more connected than any other community, especially when our fansites, blogs, and other expressions of interest for this game mutually promote one another, like our recommendations to a person's wonderful guides, and to another person's wonderful insight. With so much internal networking, if we all did our part to continuously warn* and keep checks to help stomp out the plague of scams, it would be an almost effortless effect in the long run. For example, when someone visits Central to check out a Reagent guide, if they are presented with one universal message warning* about the consequences and inherent risks that come with participating in online auctions or vendor websites, it may or may not quench his or her potential of harming their self. Give them another site, perhaps their friend's blog, with the same message, and it will seem reasonable to them. All it takes is a third separate yet reliable source before this person, regardless of how desperate they want that sheep pet, will consider the messages to be the truth or reality.

* By "warning", I don't mean cautioning players in the sense of telling them to "be careful when making transactions." I mean for us to explicitly state "DO NOT..."

Another part that we can play is to influence others in-game, by calling out advertisers and spammers and reporting any hint of malicious activity. True, I can see the issue of us getting trigger happy with reporting, but that is another topic that I hope we won't have to consider due to the positive nature our players have. But from my personal experience in this game, rationality spreads like wildfire to other players when a point--like actively discouraging "Wings for Cards" or "Please give me Wings!" by speaking out that no one enjoys being begged or harassed into giving out hard-earned money--is openly made.

(sigh) True, this is starting to sound Public Service Announcement (PSA)-esque, but my point is that we have a strong chance in battling what has made many other games rampant with scam-fests.

P.S. Lol, if you allowed the second post to go through moderation to make a point, Friendly, thank you, but above is my argument ;)

M.W.S said...

That is scary lol...

Isaac Mistheart said...

@Blaze: you can't.
@ Friendly I say Make certain Pets un breedable.

Blaze Silverfist said...

I completely agree with Isaac. Certain contest pets shouldn't have the ability to breed. (THE DANGER HOUND! Us, Central Members worked hard encouraging friends to fan W101 on FB and we earned it) But if people just go around breeding these special pets... they're not so special anymore... I believe that King Marley and all the other Danger Hounds deserve better than this. The beta testing pets (are there any???), the gift card pets, and limited time code pets, should in no way be breedable. That's just imo, but I hope that this will be implimented into the live-realm.

Thanks for listening as always.


Heather Emeraldflame said...

Seems like the only smart thing to do at this point for KI is: Don't make the expansion go to the Live Realms, KI!

...but that probably isn't going to happen :(

...And how about we just go ahead and bury the Storm School, Life School, and Balance School...since they are the only ones that will suffer most in PvE for cards not being able to be crafted...which, actually, includes mutations as well(so no Lightning Elves can be made either.) None of them have a way to get rid of shields unless they destroy their entire set-ups. And, sorry, but using Dissipate(as Storm) is a lottery(not to mention I'd have to take the time to cover every enemy(when there is even one Myth mob involved) with that spell, which would take rounds)...Myth really likes to use Storm attacks as well as shields.So that next outgoing Storm spell might just be a shark or a Bat or something...which I can already take pretty easily with my resistance and my good shielding skills.It's the shield I don't want them casting.

It also makes Life become an almost required secondary school, since no one will be able to craft Satyrs to give to alts, or friends who need them and don't have Life already.But as a primary school Life will be almost useless unless they only want to sit there and heal. And before anyone says: but Death doesn't use Life shields...I know this. But Balance at higher levels sure does(and more often than some realize) when they throw up the Spirit Shields. And as weak of attacks and few buffs as Life gets, and there not being THAT MUCH of a boost on Balance; that one Shield will be enough to mess up a Centaur attack.

Balance is already plagued when a weakness is thrown on them, which they can work around that, but have that as well as a Ice creature toss up a tower shield they can't easily get rid of. Balance, like Life will then become a support-only unit.

Sorry, Friendly, to bring this to your page. But this is the most frustrating thing to me with the cards. I can easily ignore the pet garbage. But when you mess with PvE, which the game has been based around, until this goes live, then you are killing the whole game.

So, instead of Wizard101, how about now calling the game Neopets102? And the questing we have been doing in-game is actually the newest version of the Meridell RPG. Because the questing seems to be taking a complete back seat to the pet expansion.

Friendly, it hit me as funny and sad at the same time when you mentioned burying KI in your last post. Before I read that I had been thinking of making a graphic of a headstone with the words "Wizard101" on it. It seems you and I had been thinking the same thing in our own ways.

I really hope that KI will read all the posts of dissatisfied people who have been in the Test Realm and they will decide not to bury themselves by changing the entire face of the game we all love.

Alex Deathshade said...

there still are problems, and i am here to voice the newest fear.
will all of wizard city be trashed with people asking for people to breed with them? even MORE scammers?

also, will the loss in real players, becoming scammers, become so demoralizing that KI will take out ALL trading?
these are my fears that would make this game horrible.i

Heather Emeraldflame said...

@Kevin:...I was wondering the same thing when I read that comment...*sigh*
And I guess you are talking about actually talking TO the scammers and telling them that. Well, sometimes I wonder if those are not just bots? Yesterday I was in the bazaar for a minute(and this scenario has happened many times before) and someone kept repeating "PLZ GIFT ME COINS", over and over and over, that is all they said. Is this even a real person? I can't believe anyone stands there and does that all day. Needless to say I switched realms so I could sell my items in peace.

But, as KI have told us many times; we can not use the reporting system to report these people for scamming. So there is little in-game we can do other than to be smart and ignore those who choose to beg and harass us for items and gold.

So I see little we can really do about it. If you ask me; actually talking to these "people" is like talking to a brick wall. A KI rep. might pat you on the back for doing so, but is it really worth the time? Just ignore these scammers, everyone, and be smart.

"If it sounds too good to be true; it is."

Mike said...

I completely agree with u friendly. When everyone has the rare pets, no one will.

Kevin BattleBlood said...

@ Heather: Oh, no, I don't mean we confront "scammers" at all, since they have no reason to listen (they're there to hurt someone), and because we aren't able to prove they have or will do anything.

What I mean is: get everyone else to understand that when things happen outside of KingsIsle's jurisdiction (their product, in this case), there is no safety net or exceptions for the consequences.

Corwin Ravenforge said...

I think the post is a good one, with some clearly thought out theories and insights but I wonder if we're rattling up a scare based on ifs, maybes and possibles at the moment. How big a deal is real money trading likely to be in a game that's as unique in design and target audience as Wizard101? I don't know.

The simplest solution to the potential for it might be Blaze Silverfist's - just make certain pets unable to be used with the hatchery.

I don't think telling others not to scam/farm/etc is going to have much effect. There's only so much influence you can exert on a stranger you may not know through anything but an internet connection and humans are stubborn creatures for the most part. Telling them not to do something's just as likely to see them do it as follow your advice.

shadowfist said...

After a couple of days on Test, I conclude that Pet Pavilion is the new Crafting, by which I mean to say a peripheral game element -amusing if you're into it, but not actually practically useful as far as moving through the story lines.

If it were possible to hatch better pets than what my grands already have, that might be different, but improvements beyond the level 48 pets look to be incremental at best. When Crafting went live, I thought "cool, I can make my own more-powerful clothes." Nope. The crafted stuff isn't better than what can be had at the bazaar, and the hatched pets aren't really better than what's already available.

Like crafting, the pets stuff will be another part of the game I ignore while I wait for new storyline content (Celestia!).

Heather Emeraldflame said...

@Kevin: Ok, I got ya now :)

@Corwin: Good thought you have there and in a way I think that could be partly true that we are basing all this on "if." is the But:

What is scary is that some of these people at KI probably put a lot of work and time into all this, even to put it in the test realm.

I almost feel sorry for KI. I mean if it were me I would hate to have done so much work to make something that I think people will love, and then to only find out that most people...who up until then loved the entire product...HATE the new addition "I" spent so much time on.

But I hope that they can take it in stride and make the needed improvements to it if they want it to go through.
I do think the idea of having some pets as "no hatchery" type pets is a good idea.
And also: please don't punish everyone in the game for what a few bad eggs(no pun intended) might do. In other words: if you are taking away the ability to trade "enhanced cards" because of problems in PvP...then don't let them use it IN PvP. Don't punish everyone else for it.

Or, as Friendly said: if you are taking the ability to trade enhanced cards away to prevent spammers/scammers/outside business interference...well, the same thing goes here: don't punish the entire community for it. You can't protect EVERYONE. People have got to learn not to fall for scams, even if that means learning it the hard way.

And Friendly, sorry for the third comment. I think I have said my peace now...for today :)

Anonymous said...

You wont be able to do cards for hatching since the new update is so that you cant treade enchanted treasure cards.

Kevin BattleBlood said...

@ Corwin:

Very good point there about considering if our fears are based on unrealized events and paranoia, given that this is over the internet. However, the events are proven by the occasional shouts from victims of scams, and complaint emails sent to the Company, and this is just over Treasure Cards, which are virtually free to obtain through using game gold, enhancing, or crafting. Players have proven that they can bring the negative cliches of an in-game economy, such as scamming, to Wizard101, which technically *has no* player-driven economy.

If you were KingsIsle, and you intended for players not to trade equipment because of your mission statement to create a family-friendly MMO (which -in part- means to prevent scamming), but people were still able to pull that act off, wouldn't your next move be aimed at the source of these actions: the trade-able Treasure Cards, to uphold your integrity as a company?

Friendly made an excellent point in tying this loophole to the Pet Hatchery. His example is based on the view that when something is made tangible by anyone, yet is limited and a form of hard work or luck is involved in obtaining it, VALUE is given to it. And with VALUE, you require commodities to make exchanges.

Here's the scenario: We don't want to use Crowns. And, we can't trade gold. We can't trade Grand armor. We're left with the only functioning option: Treasure Cards.

Bam, take away trading Treasure Cards, problem fixed(?) Nope, it hurts people like Heather who use Treasures in PVE to overcome obstacles due to a class's disadvantage.

(to be continued...)

Kevin BattleBlood said...

(continued from above...)

Back to Friendly's example: Isaac Mistheart, who made the original comment about preventing certain breeds from being mated, has given us a solution regarding special edition pets. Okay, let's make certain pets unable to breed. It's a logical move, especially to keep the Sheep a limited edition item, and to keep evil twin Friendly from making bank. But what about the upcoming Icezilla, Spider Golem, and other bizarre pets, which lie in the gray areas of rarity? (All players will have a chance at them (same drop rates), but not everyone will have the same drop results.)

Player A wants a chance at Icezilla, which Player B has. Player B has no desire for Player A's pet, but has the motive to help Player A AND find some compensation for the 80,000 Gold fee for breeding. Without a trade system, there is a potential for external business practice, like the one Friendly mentioned.

Keyword: "External." The outside. In KingsIsle's terms, off the record. Let's jump back into the Company's shoes. Now that you've prevented scamming within your game, everything should be "cut & dried." (if you're unfamiliar with this quote, check out KingsIsle's response to Central regarding the subject I'm about to go into).

Oh, wait, there's a loophole: people can take communication outside of our jurisdiction, onto Central, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, cell phones, emails, etc. Well, anything that can't be said in the game must be potential harm to children or someone, so let's block that too. Sorry everyone over at Central, just can't be too safe. (End roleplay).

So, will we end up preventing rare drops being mated (an indirect, complex, and lucky way for someone to obtain something of high rarity) as well? But what about the promise of "millions of possibilities?" What if I want to prepare myself for a challenging Celestia by combining useful stats from a rare pet and a common pet?

So, Friendly, to directly answer your post's question, I think KingsIsle has taken quite a lot of steps in preventing such a circumstance as your "Mate For Mooh-la" example.

To everyone: The point I tried to make in my first post here was that we have had too many privileges stripped from us, not as KingIsle's wrongdoing, but ours, the players. No, not everyone violated the Terms of Use, but the innocent are getting punished, regardless. You're all right, we can't influence the so-called sellers/vendors/scammers away from doing what they do; but that wasn't what I was focusing on. Instead, I'm hoping we play our part in reminding the potential *buyers/victims* about the type of trouble they could be getting involved with, such as having real money and/or information stolen. The more successful infringements on our Agreement with the Company, the more restrictions.

Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

On a slightly different subject, though it pertains to the update, check out the balance house on live, then, put on your sunglasses and check it out on the test realm. The floor is so bright it hurts your eyes! I haven't checked out all the other houses yet, but my 7 year old twins (grandmaster balance) complain every time they go into the balance house.

Rogan Firehammer

Wolf Shadowheart said...

Its true that could lead to some issues. Still, the community around here isn't all that gullible. Sure, we have a few here and there, but nothing too much. My true complaint is pretty much the price. Its not that its outrageous (it is depending on what pets you want to breed, however. I just want to breed a Black Spider), I'm saying that perhaps there should be optional crowns purchasing. Its not that I want half the game to be money-gets-you-further, its that it would help both those who are terrible at saving gold (I know I am) and the company itself. Don't quote me on this, its just a little "possible" thing in my eyes. It works with mounts, why not breeding? *Raises shield*
@Blaze: Totally agree. I got a Death Scarab, and I don't want people begging me to breed it. I watched a lot of Pokemon for that thing, darn it!

Anonymous said...

You are completely right, Friendly, however you are exaggerating a little.
What you are a describing is a scam, and, just like all the other scams in the game, we will simply have to learn to overcome it. It may not be easy, but I am optimistic that it will happen.

autumn og said...

i agree friendly. also one of my saddest moments in the teast realm was when i found taht you could no longer buy pet at the bazaar. i mean come on when everything's special no thing will be right? so why not make it so you cant see the pets strengths when you buy it but you can still but it? i like that idea of some pets not being able tobreed. how about pets with cards cant but pets without can?