Ways To Change Social GamingBy: Zanpakutou posted at Jul 15, 2012 7:55 am
A while back, I posted a list of complaints about social games that basically force players to make a ridiculous amount of friends and deal with a ridiculous amount of spam. On top of that, some of them make far too many things exclusive and require people to fork over like $10 to make a single purchase that provides a game breaking item. In some games, that is up to $100.
1) Eliminate The Need to Make Permanent Friends
The idea is for you to just play with people. They can friend you if they want, but it should not be a requirement. Just have players able to help out other players that are on the same Wi-Fi network or have some sort of random generated list. There is no need to have everyone add each other as friends and confirm their statuses to carry this out. Doing so just makes it annoying to deal with social games. It would make the game more enjoyable for several reasons. You could have random match ups as few social games are actually competitive. Most social games just function as single player games anyways except they are actually impossible by playing alone. Interaction is almost pointless besides sending each other gifts every day. The fact that much of the interaction is involved in ROBBING your friends kind of makes it pointless to be a social game when you are antagonizing all your friends.
2) Stop Making "Energy" Based Games
Most social games rely on the structure of maintaining a set schedule. You have a certain amount of energy to spend and that energy has a cap. At certain intervals (such as every 10 minutes), you get an extra point of energy to spend. Sometimes, you have to collect rewards based on a certain time frame. As a result, we have social games that engineer people to follow a fixed time schedule to be able to play. It ends up requiring a ridiculous amount of your time throughout the day to continue playing. This is not what social gaming should be. Social gaming was born from the idea that a few people who do not know each other can get together and play a short game together. There needs to be a conversion to the older 4 player "party" games. Side scrollers and beat em ups are a good example of what party games should be like. A few people can just play a short game, save, and quit on the way to work. The social games that we have all over facebook? Seems like any other browser game to me except they are just trying to market it to a different audience now.
3) Reduction of Spam
One of the major problems with social games is the sheer amount of spam that they generate. They frequently require people to click links in order to earn rewards, but those links have to be posted somewhere for people to click it. It is fine if it was just one consistent link that you could use such as a referral link. The problem is that it is not. Each time you earn a reward, you have to make a link for it. Afterwards, all of your friends have to compete just to use the link once. Maybe more than once if you are lucky. The fact that almost every little thing you do requires you to post it to your Facebook wall or you get a pop up telling you to announce it to everyone else just makes it very annoying to deal with. Even a game that requires you to only login once a day to do things might end up giving you half a dozen pop ups in a few minutes not counting the ads you have. Luckily, games outside of Facebook do their best to advert this by only having pop ups every few clicks.
4) Microtransactions Should Be Micro
The concept of microtransaction is the idea that you should only be spending little bits of money at a time for small bonuses and features, but many games charge the equivalent of a monthly fee for each of these transactions. Selling things for $50 for a one time boost is not really a microtransaction. It is more like you are charging the full price of a game for one in game item. They only remain microtranasctions as long as they are sold in small one time payments for small things. The moment you start charging big amounts of money for small things, you are no longer doing microtransactions. It soon becomes similar to the idea that you are making big purchases for durable goods that are supposed to last. Unfortunately, social gaming is anything but that. Many games rely on pumping out new severs or games for people to spend on rather than continuing work on an old game. Whatever you buy ends up being worthless in the next few months as people drop out of the game and move on to the next once they get bored of waiting for energy or things to build.
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