The Price of Free
The four we chose for the strip literally the first four that came to mind; in no way does this sample represent every savage threat trying to push its face through the rapidly thinning membrane. It’s true what “Tycho” says in the first panel: our ability to afford these free games is evaporating with great speed, and as the players start emerging from the ranks of Triple A brutes, the stigma this genre once had is being dismantled on the daily.
Financial concerns are certainly part of it; I believe we’ve described the pitfalls of the model as well as we probably can. Where you hit a fucking wall is when you recognize that you’re dealing in various denominations of the ur-Currency; that we’re all trading cubes, slices, and shards of congealed time. That’s what I don’t have. I like how I’m investing my time, now. But there isn’t any more of it. I’m convinced that a day has less than twenty four hours in it, and I’m not sure you could convince me otherwise.
The weirdest manifestation of this shift is how you might consider a new PC game you’ve just heard of. How about Carbine’s incredible, pitch-perfect Wildstar? It would be no slight upon them if they didn’t go free; that’s certainly how things seem to be going, but I make a living in a creative capacity too and I’m not gonna tell people how they should sustain themselves. What I’m saying is that this is a new idea altogether: that you could see something incredible, and there is a part of your mind that wonders if playing this game might cost you nothing.
Alon the same vein, I’m watching some of these DOTA2 matches; it’s incredibly beautiful. I mean, to the extent that it’s hard to watch. I want to see it full-res. Could I even play this? Probably not.
As a recent convert to this modality of play, I really wonder what this fucking monster means for the space. Heroes of Newerth feels more like the core DOTA experience (micro fiddliness like denials come to mind), though I’m sure someone could tell me why that’s wrong. It hews closer to the Old Ways and is home to many of the Ancients, and I wonder if drawing so directly was a great strategy that is growing less great by the second now that the genre’s true heir has reached the age of majority.