Friday Flame Wars: F2P Founder’s Packs — Yay or Nay?

Friday Flame Wars is a recurring feature on Game Front. We present a hot-button issue and then encourage a no-holds-barred commenting battle royale healthy debate within our community.


Game Front’s James Murff recently wrote an article regarding the risks of Founder’s Packs in free-to-play games, weighing the pros and cons. For a consumer, the pack allows pre-purchase of a game that can’t otherwise be pre-purchased, but does so at a time when the game’s development is still in flux.

When a developer modifies a game in such a way that displeases people who purchased a Founder’s Pack, are these customers justified in their objections, or are they simply “entitled gamers?” Should they be allowed to ask for their money back? If you’ve ever purchased a Founder’s Pack, were you satisfied or dissatisfied?

Have at it.

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15 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: F2P Founder’s Packs — Yay or Nay?

Axetwin

On April 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

“When a developer modifies a game in such a way that displeases people who purchased a Founder’s Pack, are these customers justified in their objections, or are they simply “entitled gamers?” Should they be allowed to ask for their money back?”

Yes and no. It depends on the changes made, the promises made on the official kickstarter page, and finally the fine print that noone ever reads before clicking accept.

In the case of MWO and the addition of the coolant flushing system, no, I don’t believe players are entitled to a refund. Just because you donated what amounts to less than 1% of the total amount of money raised does not give you stock shareholder privileges. Demanding your money back because of this one addition does make you look like an entitled gamer. Not to mention, it makes it look like you donated exclusively for this one idea, which in my opinion, also makes you stupid.

The addition of coolant flushing doesn’t change the core elements in any considerable way. My advice is instead of immediately demanding your money back, sit back and keep watch. Keep a list of all the promises that end up getting broken THEN give it a shot if you’ve managed to form a legitimate list. However, dont be surprised if you get with the legality of the fine print that noone ever reads. I imagine it’ll go something along the lines of “gameplay is subject to change”. In times like this Im reminded of the Latin phrase; Caveat Emptor.

My thoughts on foundry packs will be in a different post as to not make this one super long.

Axetwin

On April 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

I think there needs to be a disconnect between Kickstarter and foundry packs. I dont have a problem with one or the other, I have a problem with them being included together. In my opinion, the idead behind Kickstarter is since you dont have a financial backer for your project, every dollar helps. Which is why for a minimum donation of 1$ you get something in return. Having foundry packs on your Kickstarter page in my opinion undermines that. It says if you cant donate at least X amount, then we don’t want your money. The addition of foundry packs to Kickstarters to me is just a way for companies to start milking players at an earlier stage of the development cycle.

With that said, I don’t have a problem with foundry packs in general. Its a way for companies to keep funding for their game rolling in from the time the Kickstarter ends to the time the game officially launches. For some players it gives them a chance to buy into closed beta and help the game along the way, for others its a way to feel superior and more elite to those that come after. I get it, I might not always agree with it, but I get it and that’s fine.

Flipper

On April 20, 2013 at 3:05 am

Of course there should be consumer protection in this, unless you’re “lol” and still hold an infantile belief that games are a ‘gamble.’ If developers can’t meet their assurances then they should always, ALWAYS be held to account for it. Not vilified, but definitely held to account.

R.J.

On April 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

That is a bit of a tough call, but ultimately, I think it is fair for someone to ask for a return of the money if they don’t like the direction the project is heading. The big difference between buying before the game is finished, and buying after is the ability to know what you’re getting. Once a game is out, a person can research it thoroughly and get a decent idea of whether they’ll enjoy it. While Founder’s Packs and Kickstarter allows someone to provide support for an upcoming project, they only have the developer’s word to go on, so the enjoyment becomes more of a question mark. While such funding might not be sufficient to give me a voice in how a game is developed, I think it’s a fair trade to allow me to withdraw my funding when I don’t like what I’m hearing. I find it rather concerning to allow a company to ask for funding and then behave as if they have no obligation to those that provided said funding, even if that obligation is something as simple as returning someones money. In that scenario, someone might be disappointed that the project didn’t turn out the way they would have liked, but at least they can say, “No harm done.”

ray charkes

On April 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm

When people pay for a product, they are in fact, entitled. Like when I make a contract, I am entitled to the benefit of my bargain.

People however toss the word entitled around in the manner they use it to disparage the welfare people of America. There is a big difference between paying for a product and not getting it, and crying for something to be given to oneself (welfare).

a-brooding-mage

On April 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm

@R.J.
I don’t think asking for a return is fair. Buying a founder’s pack is an investment you are making to the development of the game. If you don’t like where it is going, you may ask the developer to change direction, or you may stop supporting it further. However, you may not ask for your initial investment back, especially since you have already spent some of that playing in the beta. You actually got a return for your investment, and you can now decide whether to invest more money or not. Founder’s pack are akin to asking a trusted financial consultant to invest your money. While most of the time you will be happy with the investment, there will be times that you are unhappy. When that happens you can change consultants, but you cannot ask for money lost on investments.

I have no issues with Founder’s packs because I can actually see the gameplay before investing. I think they are better than Kickstarter because I have a playable prototype, and I don’t need to spend money on faith that a developer will come through.

SquireZed

On April 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I’ve had mixed experiences with founder’s packs, and it varies based upon the game. For example, Warframe’s founder’s pack was decent, gave me what it looked like I would get, and the content was fairly, if not generously, priced. I liked both the game and the Founder’s Pack, and the content contained within was nothing too unbalancing for those who wanted to play for free.

On the flip side, there are times when founder’s packs are really a pain, see Neverwinter. Dungeons and Dragons franchise, right? Quick paced, enjoyable content, right? That’s what the trailers looked like, and then the game came along and slapped every D&D or Neverwinter Nights fan in the face. I kinda regret my founder’s pack for that game, since the rewards are in no way worth the money, and the game experience is quite different. I’ll give Perfect World some credit, they recognized that they needed to improve the gameplay and have been working on making it better. Perhaps I’m just a little too attached to my DDO/NWN/Baldur’s Gate style gameplay, but it seems like they just made a generic fantasy MMO and slapped a D&D license on top of everything, while slaughtering lore and the gameplay of the original entirely. The disappointing amount of content for the founder’s pack, coupled with the exclusivity of the founder’s content, especially for $60, makes it a painful purchase. Was Perfect World misleading? Probably not, I’m sure that the trailers could be emulated in game with enough work, but the game, once I was playing, felt overhyped and underdelivering. Perhaps the final release will rectify these concerns, but I’d rather honestly have dumped my money into DDO or Warframe or Blacklight Retribution (to stick with PWE) than settle for the meagre junk that I was given in Neverwinter.

Axetwin

On April 21, 2013 at 2:39 am

@ SquireZed – Im curious, how was Neverwinter a slap in the face of NWN fans? Did you go into the game expecting an isometric turn based RPG in an MMO format? The city of Neverwinter was not created by Black Isle/Bioware. So I fail to understand why you say it was a slap in the face to the fans. .

You say youre too attached to the NWN/BG/DDO style of gameplay. Again I’m confused because DDO gameplay has more in common with WoW and practically nothing in common with NWN/BG. Just a fair warning just so you dont feel like you were slapped in the face. The new Planescape game isnt going to play anything like Torment did.

TheDog

On April 21, 2013 at 8:10 am

Sorry Axetwin. I’m with SquireZed. Ever since I’ve heard what they were doing to Neverwinter, I was appauled. I don’t want it and neither did anyone else. When it was first announced, they were many cries of a outrage. Some have changed, other haven’t. I haven’t. I wont touch this game with a ten foot pole. You can love it all you want. Some of us never will.

Axetwin

On April 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

Again I ask why. Black Isle/Bioware did not invent Neverwinter, they only used it as a place setting just like Perfect World is doing. If you were going into this expecting it to have any serious connections to NWN, especially in the gameplay department, then you were foolish.

TheDog

On April 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Axetwin, no one expected it to be the same, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be disappointed. To me they have taken the license and trashed it. Number one I hate mmo’s, especially ftp. The first two were classics. It’s all down hill from here.

Axetwin

On April 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Just like to point out that the first game to feature Neverwinter WAS a MMO and it predates NWN by about 11 years.

Bioware doesn’t own the license for the game, all they did was buy the rights to use the name Neverwinter and the right to use it as a place setting. Wizards of the Coast owns the license because its a Dungeons and Dragons setting in Forgotten Realms. So there is no “trashing of the license” previously owned by Bioware.

I understand the anger and frustration but you guys are looking at this the wrong way. Instead of looking at this in terms of Duke Nukem, where it looks like a new company has come in to takeover a much beloved franchise, you need to be looking at this in terms of Metroid. Specifically, look at Prime and Other M. The two games are their own entities set within a greater world, yet the two games themselves are not meant to be connected by anything other than the likeness. Its the same thing with NWN and Neverwinter. If you don’t believe me, then just look at the wiki page.

” Based in the fictional Forgotten Realms city of Neverwinter, the game was originally scheduled to be released as a crossmedia event coinciding with the release of a series of four books by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore and a tabletop game from Wizards of the Coast.[3] Announced on August 23, 2010, Neverwinter is a standalone game and not part of the previous Neverwinter Nights series.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neverwinter_%28video_game%29

So please go forth and spread the word that Crypitc is not trying to sully the former-good name of Bioware with this game.

Id like to finish this up by correcting a mistake I made earlier. When I discribed NWN as an isometric game by Black Isle/Bioware, I was mistaken. For some reason I kept getting the specific game confused with Icewind Dale.

TheDog

On April 22, 2013 at 12:14 am

And I would like to point out that it was bioware that made it huge, a household name. 2 was good, but not as good as the first. I know all about what they are making it and so do most people. You must not have read the forums when it was first announced what they were doing. At least 95% of the comments were totally against it and most of what I’ve read, still are. I said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a total trashing of the Neverwinter name and license and no one will ever convince most of us otherwise (can’t honestly say most, but a lot of us).
If you want to like it so bad, great, more power to you. I’ve played most of the wizards of the coast games (computer or pen and paper) and bioware game, and I can’t bear to look at this game.

SquireZed

On April 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm

In respose to Axetwin

D&D has always been a “low numbers” franchise. With dice. And random chance that actually means something. Neverwinter feels like a stats game. In DDO, whether or not I get a crit can change the outcome of a bossfight. In Neverwinter, how long I hold LMB (rooted as cleric, something that I hate) determines my damage output. That said, I’ve been really busy lately, so I haven’t really checked the latest builds, but it feels like Neverwinter discards everything but D&D vestiges. I mean, I’m not a particular stickler about level 20 and then perhaps a few epic levels, since that can get really broken and technical, but in the first iteration (thankfully fixed) you didn’t even choose skills, you just autoleveled. No other D&D game has had nearly that little customization- even the spinoffs like Dragonshard (RTS) and Demon Stone, a freaking action game, had more input into character design. Except equipment, Neverwinter strips all of that control from the player (again, they claim they’ve fixed this, I’m not sure since I haven’t had time to play it, but it was offensively dumbed down in first beta weekend).

It’s not the setting of Neverwinter that gets butchered, at least, not just the setting. It’s the fact that it take the name, and then is entirely different than the franchise indicates.

Kyle Klim

On April 24, 2013 at 4:21 am

@ray charkes – A lot of “the welfare people” have already paid into the welfare system themselves. They’re not all scroungers who refuse work, in fact the overwhelming majority of them have either been laid off or are actually already working part-time yet get paid so badly that they need benefits to keep them afloat. So yes, “the welfare people” are also perfectly entitled to expect a safety net if and/or when they’re thrown into a hopeless financial situation that they haven’t caused themselves.

Let’s hope you never have to experience that, since you clearly haven’t already if you’re making a comment like that.