Ok, so I didn’t leave it completely. I still play Words with Friends with one person (only one, mind you; ok, occasionally with two, but only those two!) and an “action adventure” game called Castle Age, mainly because I’ve belonged to a few really strong guilds there and have met many wonderful people with whom I do not want to lose touch. (I have one other game loaded because a friend of mine works on it, but honestly, I haven’t played it in ages and occasionally try others, but tend to leave them after a day or two.)
But all the other games: FarmVille, Vampire Wars, Ravensky City, CastleVille, Hidden Chronicles, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, the Sims Social, Hatchlings, ChefVille, My Zoo, Adventure Something, some other dragon game, some cute little critter game, a game referencing Middle-earth, another dragon-ish game (these last few, now all apparently gone), I simply stopped playing and deleted them from my account.
Why? Usually the answers were, for the most part, pretty simple. Sometimes it was because the game was poorly produced and difficult to play, either in controls or in constant errors needing reloads. Sometimes the game play was insipid. Sometimes playing the game seemed overly complicated or mundanely slow. Sometimes it was because I wasn’t getting enough bang for my buck (and seeing that the games were free, at least free to play, that says something about the satisfaction that came from playing). I simply did not want to put my time in – and believe me, these games can end up eating a helluva lot of time! – with something that just didn’t satisfy.
The most frustrating reason I have for leaving a game – and unfortunately, what has caused me to leave quite a few games – is when greed becomes the main motivation for the game existing. Not on the part of the players (necessarily) but the company that built it and/or runs it. Greed for exposure, greed for publicity, greed for the bottom line. I’m not adverse to a company making a profit – profit is a necessary in order for a company to be a “going concern”. Profits are what allow designers and admins to live, to have homes and feed their families, it’s what allows for new games to be developed and current ones to be perfected. I completely understand that no one and no company can live on good deeds alone, and I abhor those gamers who keep defaulting to the greed of developers when a game doesn’t live up to their expectations (no matter how extreme or unrealistic those expectations are).
But when a game seems to exist only to force the player to promote it on their news feeds in order to play, or the only way one can advance except in miniscule, incremental levels is to actually pay for adequate energy, stamina, tokens, whatever to actually accomplish anything, or causes the player to have to beg other players to send them gifts or items needed to advance… that’s just sad. And maddening.
These kinds of games claim to be free, but like the proverbial crack dealer on the playground, they suck you in at no cost but do their best to addict you to their game so that you then will spend money in order to play in a significant manner, or make it so that you have to pay in order to partake in the most fun aspects of the game. Or, if you still refuse to pay out cash and settle for a slower advancement, you end up competing with and against those who do have the resources to buy buffs, tokens, energies, equipment and extra life. This makes it not so much of an unfair advantage for those players (my choice, their advantage) but makes it so that there is never a chance for a level playing field. I’d much rather a gaming company come right out and tell you the you will need a subscription to play a game, rather than keep dangling the only really fun aspects of the game for those who will pay for the ability.
In my next post, I will take a closer look at one of these social media gaming companies: Zynga.