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How do you feel about microtransactions in ONI?


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One part of me feels like this is a complete mistake, for this game specifically. For some games it works, but for others it may ruin them. DST was already a subpar game (it was mostly well made, but game design was never its strong suit) but it dipped a little more when there was more incentive to implement more skins and continued play. Grind that was more of a biproduct of bad design seems to have become a staple on keeping you playing for as long as possible. If it wasn't for that, I'm sure we'd all have x10 less hours spent in these games and would have had more enjoyment without having a repeating time sink of the same menial task for the 1000th time, many hours deep into a given save file.

The idea of skins dropping as you play the game seems annoying for ONI of all games. I would have preferred DLC 2, merchandise (there's a lot you could do with that) and best of all, distributing this game for educational purposes (schools, universities, workplace internships where applicable). With introduction of skins and microtransactions, I very much expect Klei to focus on decorative features for the game, completely ignoring major mechanics and their balancing. It would also become a distraction from regular gameplay when you just get a skin drop and keep being excited at what you're getting. It's a common tactic to keep you coming back and keep you addicted to playing something you have already played through many times before with very little genuine engagement and very little to no change of pace past a point.

They have been ignoring quite a few major balancing issues recently and focusing on things that, at this point in time, for the betterment of the game, do not matter in the slightest. Now imagine how much worse that will get when the incentive is to sell as many skins as possible? Seems shady to me that a company would be trying to squeeze as much playtime and money from a select number of dedicated players as opposed to broadening the game to a much wider audience and earning more money that way by balancing it accordingly, something that would actually not be that hard to do for this game, and doing that until there is nothing of good substance to add to the game. But that is not how it went with DST and I certainly doubt ONI would be any different. If anything I expect it to be worse, because stuffing this game with superficial decorative stuff would completely distract from what makes this game unique. They like to cling to their successes way past the point of potential yet never truly making them the best experiences they could be, rather than making sure they are the best they can be from start to finish and then looking for making new ones, and I would bet that was exacerbated even more with their deal with Tencent.

It also appears awful to me that, despite all that's happened over the years of development of their games, unquestioned appraisal is so prominent. Klei may be much better than many companies out there, but I can think of a few companies which given their policies and the path they have taken, compared to Klei, are ultimately more consumer friendly. Klei is not your friend, they're a company, and because of that, I would not trust even the best company out there to do good without criticism. Several things get kind of pushed under the rug seemingly because Klei can get away with it. Criticism like this tends to get burried over time however, and I'm sure Klei absolutely knows this themselves from what I've seen.

EDIT: I should preface that I do not hold a grudge for them either way, and whatever Klei decides to ultimately do is up to them. The point of the thread however, is to hear others' thoughts on the microtransactions decision and discuss not just that but possibly different approaches and their extent, some of which I've discussed further in the thread, and thanks to everyone giving their thoughts on the subject thus far! To me it appears as something that, if put forward, cannot be reversed, and even introducing them in the first place can come with long term detriments. But I hope they can continue their work on this and other games in this future to bring out the true potential of their games to the extent that they deserve.

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I really don't know how this one came about, but if we trust Klei on staying their course on how they do things then I don't believe microtransactions will bane us with their presence any time soon. (Just look at their stance on silly graphics NFTs and you'll see what I'm talking about.)

I do recall a very extensive knee-jerk reaction that happened when 10¢ got hold of Klei, but the current overlords have yet to bring out their Dr. Evil disguise out of the closet.

The only point of dismay for me is that Klei seems to be only placing their development chops on one OS... and that seems just sad. It also means I'm not buying. Even if I used the "tile thingy OS" for free, it's still too expensive for me.

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What micro transactions? The completely optional, exclusively decorative, non-fomo (almost everything is available all the time in some form) skins you can buy to support your favorite studio after you've already bought the entire game? Ones that you can acquire without spending money anyway, for the most part?

DST is a fantastic game, and the skin system is great- for the first half a year of owning the game I refused to buy any skins with money just to see what I could get with random drops and spool. I managed to get a bunch of full outfits, tons of universal clothing which i could turn into spool to get stuff i wanted specifically. It was when I realized DST is going to be a permanent part of my life for the next while I decided to spend money on skins, and I still buy every new pack just as a way to say "good job creators, I appreciate your work".

If ONI's skin system will be anything like DST's, no doubt I will do the same. 

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The "DST is a sub-par game" strikes me like my own take on The Witcher 3, which I consider unplayable hot garbage despite it being very well regarded by like... all other humans.

I feel a general sense of idle negativity and criticism from OP, and I'm kinda tired of it already. Y'dun know what you're talking about, and hearing about the doomsday of every video game and how it could -easily- be fixed if the devs just did -one little thing- is as ignorant now as it was 10 years ago.

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Devs must earn money to eat, and the company must somehow make money for their salary. If ONI made no profit, there would be no reason to continue support for it, because, as you said - Klei is a company, not our best friend who would do everything for free. So, if you want to have more content of any kind for ONI (let's discuss quality of that content a moment later), there must be a way to earn more money with ONI.

So, how to make more money with it? Just selling vanilla may not be enough - so long after the release probably most people already know about it and those who were interested already bought it.

So, what else? DLCs? Could be, but there is a problem - if they were of a scope of DLC1, they would affect game design a lot. With each next DLC, amount of possible game configurations doubles. Being a modder I can tell you that supporting both vanilla and DLC is not fun when there are big differences between them. If there were 2 DLCs, I would need to consider 4 configurations and I would hate it. At 3rd DLCs there would be 8 possibilities and most of us wouldn't even bother. And the same happens for devs. For each new feature they would need to consider - if you have DLC1 and DLC3 enabled, but not DLC2, does it make sense to add it? Or would it be OP? At this rate, we would probably never see DLC4, because balancing anything would be impossible and nobody would have time to make it, because there would be too many crazy bugs somewhere on the border of existing DLCs.

So it is much more safe and stable idea not to have too many DLCs, but to have all new features enabled by default. So, how to make money with that? Yearly subsciption, WoW-style? I'm sure you wouldn't like that.

Optional paid features seem like the best option for everybody:

  • It will be easier to maintain and balance it
  • Players will get new features for free
  • Those who want may get more optional content for their games
  • Klei will get money
  • ONI will still be supported

You don't like paying for cosmetics? There is the best part - you don't need to pay for them. Isn't it great? Every time Klei adds new content, features, systems to the game, you may ask yourself a question "would I paid for those new game features were a DLC?" If so, you may pay for cosmetics instead and pretend they were all in one DLC. Or you may consider that too expensive and not pay for anything, just enjoy new content you got for free.

I would agree that paying just for cosmetics would not be something I would get excited for. But if you look at bigger picture, it feels like the best option for me... Or maybe I am missing something? How would you suggest to handle it, so Klei could earn and we got ONI supported for more years?

The only risk I can see is new features quality drop and focus on adding more and more cosmetics instead. But quality drop could happen in the DLCs as well... Also, Klei proved to be good in hearing our feedback, and as long as they continue to do so things should be OK. Because if the players won't be happy with new content, they will lose them and with them - people buying their cosmetics. And you cannot say people here blindly praise everything Klei does - there are plenty voices with suggestions, improvement requests, even voicing their disappointment if there is any.

Ofc I cannot promise you it will be pink fairy tale forever, but I cannot see better solution. I'd love to hear one if you had better idea.

Btw, I never played DS or DST, I'm not aware how does it work there

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4 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

DST was already a subpar game (it was mostly well made, but game design was never its strong suit) but it dipped a little more when there was more incentive to implement more skins and continued play.

Hey I know this isn't the focus of the post but I'll be honest, opening your post with "this game I constantly talk about was already really bad, but 7 years ago it got so much worse because they added skins" does not bode well for any sort of opinion on the topic. It begs the question of if you even like ONI itself, if you're willing to play a game like DST for 7 years after it went from a "subpar game" to even worse.

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I feel like the statement that Don't Starve wasn't great and then was made worse by the inclusion of skins as a way to keep the lights on, made 7 years later as the game continues to receive ongoing support and new content, and the seeming implication that it's a mark of poor game design for the playerbase to have several hundreds of hours doing the same tasks, rather than any sniff of consideration at how that might speak towards how such a task can continue to be engaging even to heavily experienced players, speaks volumes for where OP's head is at.

2 hours ago, Fleetfeet said:

I feel a general sense of idle negativity and criticism from OP, and I'm kinda tired of it already.

Wholeheartedly agree.

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47 minutes ago, Ntr1cate said:

Is this officially announced or is suggested by the community?

It's official:
  

On 10/4/2022 at 8:31 PM, JarrettM said:

Bigger things like new starting biomes, richer world gen options, and even new sim systems are on the horizon too, but these take longer to develop, so no short-term promises.

Another long-term goal we’re working on is a cosmetic skins system. Our skins system will be modeled on what’s worked for Don’t Starve Together, so anyone who’s ever played DST will feel right at home. We’re starting with some new decor, buildings, clothing and then will gather feedback and see what else you’d like skinned. It may be a little odd to add cosmetic skins to a single-player game, but we’re hoping this’ll let us keep making free content updates for everybody rather than DLC.

 

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@goboking reviews for such a game mean very little when a lot of them come from either players who played very little and then dropped the game because "it was too hard" or something along the lines, or players who got swept by into the grind and and just do not care to mention it because "look how much time I spent playing this game, it must be good!", that's many of us here. You can't make a recommendation, but you can whimsically post a positive review if you had a laugh and took the game as more of a joke. Not applicable everywhere, but reading through the positive reviews, a lot that was said as good things for recommending the game, has often been a negative for many other games. Context matters more than anything.

@JRup there already is some shady stuff going on, just looks like it's been swept under the rug. That's usually how this sort of stuff happens. Gradual changes to ease you into it. None ever talks about it. Do you want me to list some things?
1) The trade-inn is a loot-box system none wants to mention. If your argument would be that it's hidden and none uses it anyway, why is it still there after ?
2) Grindy gameplay, to keep you playing thousands of hours, when the content could easily have been boiled down to a couple hundred at most.
3) The fact you have to play online to use paid-for characters that you have yourself already unlocked. They could make these characters downloadable DLC and make them unweavable, but the last time I mentioned that, none really seemed to care, there was more question of whether it would be possible, something that should absolutely be possible. And if it is, them leaving the characters in such a state is pretty anti-consumer.

@Fleetfeet that strikes me of as "if others say it's good, it must be true" type reasoning. Which is terrible. Contents and context matters. Why do you not like it? Why do others like it? What about games where it's the other way round? Why is that? That will give you a better idea of whether it's more on personal preference or if there's something more to it. The point of this topic was to ask what others think of microtransactions being added to ONI was, and I gave my own thoughts on it to start off. At this rate, you're all going off-topic.

I never said if Klei fixed one thing, the game would be better. I said it would be EASY to fix these things. But there are quite a few things that need to be tweaked or implemented to do so. There is a huge difference between those two ideas. Implementing small things akin to that of what 100 mods accomplish together would be easy, but it would take time and . You just wouldn't need to do so much preproduction and wouldn't need to create so many assets as other updates usually would. I know it would be easy, because I've had first-hand experience and it is exactly what I've outlined here, not to mention that modding Klei's games is even harder than it is for Klei to implement a mod's content into the game as a feature due to lack of documentation. And do not tell me to "just make a mod then" because what I have outlined before, and quite a few have tended to agree with several suggestions I've mentioned before (or it has been been me reiterating what has been suggested countless times before by others). Not to say common agreement implies inherently that those are issues to be concerned about, but since there has been a pattern among many players, maybe such things are really something to adress?

@pether with DLC's that is true, I am perfectly aware of that. There are ways to mitigate that however if you make things more uniform, making sure that each DLC adds something that you cannot mistake will affect the game if it's enabled and not without it. I suppose there would be extra testing involved. But look at it this way; the potential of this game may very well end with content that's that base game and 3 DLCs, I have mentioned before elsewhere the potential major mechanics Klei could explore. But if it's a microtransaction haven, you gotta keep the train going continuously, adding in decorative stuff, never addressing core gameplay problems and never really moving onto new projects. If need be, some DLC content can be retrofitted for the base game, like the SO rocketry system for example, to some extent at least, that's how you make things more uniform.

Klei has kind of a cult following at this point, this thread and any announcement thread is pretty solid proof of that idea. Such fans may still have standards but at a steady pace, these could be dropped over time due to good will earned before, and I would argue I have seen exactly that. It's just not so self-evident to most, understandably so. I don't see any dips in anything or push to do better if a signiicant part of the fanbase wants to support them for the sake of it anyway.

And I mentioned 3 things, if you read what I wrote again, that Klei could do to earn money to continue development of the game. DLC, merchendize and setting the game up for education. After this, finishing core issues with the game and letting it be. To me, it's a distraction for them and the playerbase to always stagger content quality. I would argue that, in part, this has happened with DST. But those 3 approaches is my suggestion in place of microtransactions. So those are the 3 approaches I would suggest they take for further funding potential of the game, but not beyond it. Education through games especially is something rather new and for this game, it has all the potential in the world to teach. Simulations are already used to teach people how to fly planes and drive trains, for example. Paid deals with schools, universities and other workspaces, if they can get the game up to quality for that (because at the moment I wouldn't exactly say it is) should allow them to garner a fair amount of revenue if enough deals can be made. With microtransactions into the picture, that potential can go out the window. You think these institutions are going to be eager to use your game as a learning tool when it drops a lootbox every 20 minutes on them?

@sylvia wander o o for a long time, I always had a nagging feeling that there are some sort of core problems with DST. I enjoyed the game, but later continued playing it because . I could never outline such issues though, because I did not understand game design and because I did not understand DST's gameplay loop. It takes hundreds of hours to become competent at realising that for this game. That in and of itself was the biggest major flaw with the game. It's like a self-perpetuating grindfest. To understand it, you must play it for way too many hours, more than most games of this scale would have you play them. But if you don't play and quit now, you won't udnerstand the reasons why and will never be able to explain to someone why you don't want to play this game. There are a few who somehow have been able to do so, mad props to them, if you read some of the negative reviews specifically for DST, but I couldn't. If you haven't, play DST for like 2000 hours yourself, or this game for almost as long, try out different things, and maybe you will see where I am coming from (ONI is much better balanced and paced than DST however, that is something I can say for certain). Look up guides, read the wiki (that should already be a negative for a game, but for whatever reason most don't care). It should not be something you would do in the first place, but there is no other way around it to see the full picture. Because of this, no wonder there are so many positive reviews from thousands of people who have barely played the game.

@Ntr1cate and just as I expected, there are some people who aren't even aware that microtransactions are planned for this game. Here.

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19 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

With introduction of skins and microtransactions, I very much expect Klei to focus on decorative features for the game, completely ignoring major mechanics and their balancing.

Dont think klei as a person, think klei as a company, it is preferable for them to have more work on different area of expertise.
Unlike working on new content, working on new skins or cosmetic wont cost much dev time (other than the first time implement that), as the game go on, all the cosmetic and skins will be the work of art department.
Having skins on single player game doesnt sound that great, but as someone played DST a lot before, even when noone around, i'm still have fun with skins alone, by myself, so the idea for skins and cosmetic for single players game are not that bad, they can finally official change color for drywall, you can decorate different area of your base with different theme? sign me in.
 

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2 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

... And I mentioned 3 things, if you read what I wrote again, that Klei could do to earn money to continue development of the game. DLC, merchendize and setting the game up for education. ...

 

Making money from merchandise is hard and making money from education is nearly impossible.They tried making money with DLC, but apparently they were not happy with that approach. They have a history of making money with micro-transactions, so they are going to try that next. As long as the micro-transactions, or whatever other money making approaches Klei tries, do not screw anything up, good for them. If making money means they can tackle some of the outstanding problems in ONI or create a new kick-ass game, great. If not, no loss.

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2 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

2) Grindy gameplay, to keep you playing thousands of hours, when the content could easily have been boiled down to a couple hundred at most.

ONI has 1000s of hours gameplay without even grinding systems, so that argument doesn't really fit ONI. Also, is it confirmed (eg by DST system) that ONI cosmetics will be grindy lootboxes? If not, why even bring this argument now?

2 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

3) The fact you have to play online to use paid-for characters that you have yourself already unlocked.

Again - is that a case for DS? I understand DST is coop and by definition requires you to be online.

2 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

There are ways to mitigate that however if you make things more uniform, making sure that each DLC adds something that you cannot mistake will affect the game if it's enabled and not without it.

That's why I said "if they were of a scope of DLC1". Also, I believe it's hard to make such DLC in ONI - one that's both big in scope and doesn't mess with other things. In ONI everything is closely connected to each other. Other games have easier time adding many DLCs of characters/maps/items. In ONI there are no characters that affect game in a big way, maps are generated randomly, items would need to affect game balace to be interesting. And even if you managed to make small, contained DLC it would look pale and not exciting when compared to SO!: DLC1 - unlocks totally new game mode, parallel bases, new sim systems, new buildings, new biomes with own critters and plants, new starting asteroids. DLC2 - here, we got a new biome for you - it contain's existing critters and plants not to disturb the balance, but it's new. 

3 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

I have mentioned before elsewhere the potential major mechanics Klei could explore. But if it's a microtransaction haven, you gotta keep the train going continuously, adding in decorative stuff, never addressing core gameplay problems and never really moving onto new projects.

Here lies our biggest difference about upcomming changes. I believe Klei when they said they are going to expand ONI by adding new features, systems, and mechanics, some of them of a scope of small DLC and I am super excited for that. I will gladly accept optional decorative system if that means Klei will have resources to continue adding good new content. Don't understand that I am excited for those cosmetics only - TBH I might not even care about them, I often ignore how my base looks, what my dupes wear etc. I am engineer, I have fun with ONI by solving problems and challenges with unique tools and mechanics. I am not excited that Klei will allow me to buy new painting variants I will ignore in my base - I am excited that I can buy them to support other changes that will make my game fun.

And believe me, if I will feel the game is moving in (IMO) wrong direction, focusing too much on cosmetics and not enough on gameplay, I will voice my opinion. I already addressed it at a time of Fast Friends update and I will do it again if future updates won't bring fun/unique/required changes to the game. But if they will, I will praise such update, believing that possitive feedback is as much important as constructive criticism - that doesn't make me Klei's cultist.

3 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

3 things, if you read what I wrote again, that Klei could do to earn money to continue development of the game. DLC, merchendize and setting the game up for education

I addressed DLC idea already and as I said I don't believe it to be the best solution (valid, yes, but not best, and creating more problems with each new DLC).

Merch is out of the question for me - as I live in Europe, I would pay more for shipping than for the items themselves. Also, I don't like buying useless things just to have them, I don't have enough space for them. This idea might be a good addition, but I don't think it can support ONI for as long as paid cosmetics.

I don't see how ONI could be educational nor how to earn money with it. Who you gonna teach? Pip ranchers? Saturn farmers? Astronauts? Oxygen breathers? Sure, it's better than FIFA or CS, but nothing in the realm of simulators you bring up.

3 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

just as I expected, there are some people who aren't even aware that microtransactions are planned for this game

not everyone is up to date with everything. that doesn't mean that Klei does shady things to conseal their evil plans in the future. I believe there were 3 announcements about future system already, they are pretty transparent about it.

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15 minutes ago, pether said:

Again - is that a case for DS? I understand DST is coop and by definition requires you to be online.

It isn't the case for either, really. To my understanding, you do not need to be online in order to play characters that you weave/pay for. In fairness, this is a fairly recent development, but I suppose while I'm at it i should also mention that out of the 7 "new" characters added to DST from DS,  3 are free entirely, 1 is free with the purchase of hamlet, and lets face it, all of them require an infinitesimal amount of effort to acquire if we're going by practically any other video game with a similar system at play.

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I pre purchased DLC for 10 EUR. I won't pay for a single skin. Not my thing. I just can't support this model and one of the reasons I loved ONI was lack of microtransactions. I also believe the game is very educational and would love to see schools giving assignment to build a rocket in ONI :d Sadly, with microtransactions I won't show this game to my nephews anymore - I teach them to avoid games with microtransactions so how can I recommend ONI?

I feel like DLC was greatly undervalued. So much amazing content - it's like ONI 2. Sadly Klei listened to few early haters complaining about "small maps" and other silly things - so now we have microtransactions.


Having sad that, I didn't complain under announcement and I don't really want to rant further beside this one time, as I wish Klei, ONI and players further success. Crossing fingers for everyone, and for Klei to find reliable and ethical way to make money out of this amazing game. Chers!

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17 hours ago, arvenil said:

I teach them to avoid games with microtransactions so how can I recommend ONI?

I understand and respect this argument. Maybe you can teach kids to avoid microtransactions themselves, not games as a whole? If not - shame...

 

17 hours ago, arvenil said:

Sadly Klei listened to few early haters complaining about "small maps" and other silly things - so now we have microtransactions.

First of all - those were not haters, nor trolls, not anything like that. People can like or dislike anything they want, and just because they like bigger maps doesn't mean they are evil or sth. Second - Klei didn't remove your small maps based on their feedback, they added more maps for them, but you still have 8 small asteroid starts. Third - I have no idea how can you connect big maps to the microtransactions. I believe the main issue with DLC is that managing many colonies at once could be too hard for many players and thus they didn't enjoy this game mode (I love it, I will never play vanilla gain, but as I said, we can like different things). Also, you can't expect one DLC to sell in more copies than vanilla, nor that it will earn profits forever.

 

17 hours ago, arvenil said:

Crossing fingers for everyone, and for Klei to find reliable and ethical way to make money out of this amazing game.

I would say that paying for each rocket trip would be unethical and immoral (diablo-style), and that selling cosmetics is the best thing to sell, because nothing (except your whim) forces you to buy them to improve your gameplay. You are not forced or encouraged to do it, and you can do whatever you want. But I understand you don't like microtransactions in general and I respect that.

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@ZombieDupe my reasoning certainly isn't "other people like it so it must be good", it's that I'm an overly pessimistic butt, and the fact that I can't enjoy The Witcher 3 doesn't entitle me to be upset that other people do enjoy it.

You haven't made any compelling point. To some extent, criticism of a shift in the monetization model of ONI is merited; it's a good thing for people to discuss and there are MANY harmful microtransaction models we can look at. My issues with your approach are that you're citing issues sight unseen, doomsday forecasting the end of ONI via lootboxes and skins, with the supporting evidence being "lootboxes and skins are bad" and anecdotes about how they might implement such a thing. Pessimist though I am, I enjoy and have enjoyed ONI as what it is, and tend towards trusting Klei to make decisions for their own game. They've done well so far, and if they do "mess up" and implement unsavory microtransactions, then.. oh well, I just go play other games!

That's kinda where I'm at. You're coming across like a dupe in a sandwich board saying "THE END IS NEAR, MICROTRANSACTIONS ARE COMING" and that's not really something imma give much weight to.

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9 hours ago, ZombieDupe said:

If you haven't, play DST for like 2000 hours yourself, or this game for almost as long, try out different things, and maybe you will see where I am coming from

I'm at 3,000 hours in DST currently, and I've only got ~30 hours in ONI currently but my wife's been playing and loving it for a good 11k hours. Don't understand this claim that having lots of hours in a game is like, inherently bad, that's silly. Personally if I disagreed with a game's inclusion of skins and believed that it had gone down hill 7 years ago, I would quit playing and quit talking about it constantly, rather than continuing playing it and following the developer for 7 years after the fact.

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