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Ghost Dancer

We have to pay to test their game?

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They decided that if we paid for the printing and shipping and made sure that FLGS made a little something we could get to see the rules. The reason there isn't a free PDF is that Lucas Licensing are really strict and they don't hold the rights to digital distribution, EA does. 

 

But what about the dice roller for the phone or the X-Wing web app you ask then? Two different things, they support a product, they aren't actually the full product. It's also why it's allowed to have PDF's of the character sheets and career sheets.

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Here is a funny thought: having a Star Wars RPG is not a basic human right (U.N. somehow forgot that one). It's a luxury item. It's a contract between a company and you for a product (notice I mention a product, not specifically a physical good).

Don't buy it, or buy competing products that don't have that characteristic. You should survive that ordeal. At some point they'll stop doing it. In the meantime, those who can cope with the way the "contract" is offered will enjoy the product (until they get screwed, presumably, if ever), netting hours of gaming enjoyment at a certain price.
    
Also: did anyone mention one of the zillions free Star Wars conversions out there for a ton of other systems (Star Wars, GURPS, Savage Worlds, FATE, Wushu and a ton of others)?

By the way that argument about video games has exactly ZERO relevance the the current debate (I'd go for a fallacy of false equivalence, personnaly, but that's just me).

(Sorry, got up on the wrong foot this morning.)

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The PDF for all of Pathfinders Betas have been free as far as I know--certainly for all of the rulebooks. Obviously, a printed copy cannot be free, since it costs a considerable amount of money to produce and ship.

I didn't know there were physical copies sold.

And there's a check mark against Piazo... and they were doing so well.

 

I purchased the F&D beta because I've been waiting for this since Edge of the Empire was announced (and without Jedi).

I found a pdf copy laying unused in an alleyway... and since I'm running a game (gearing up to it anyway) and at least 1 player plans to be an ex-Jedi, so I figured I'd need it.

 

I don't expect that I'll purchase the finished product, though--hopefully a friend with more disposable income will, or I'll be able to find a PDF someone puts up and can edit in the changes to my copy of the beta with Post-It notes or some such.

One of the guys in my group buys "everything" Star Wars so he picked up EotE and AoR... and then eventually decided to give it a try running it even though most of the mechanics weren't to his initial liking*. He'll be getting F&D, but none of the splatbooks, he's decided FFG have made a terrible game (and he's only going to buy F&D because, well, Star Wars addict).

* He wasn't sure about the dice mechanic going in, but we both have turned around on that a bit (me more so than him). He absolutely hates giving up Narrative control as a GM and constantly gripes about the "lack of hard and fast rules and references". He'll be fine as a Player, but as a GM those things irritated to him to no end.

 

 

If we could get a discount on the final product for having purchased the beta, I'd seriously consider it, but I'm not paying for essentially the same thing twice.

Understood. My group basically refuses to "pay to Beta", so... yeah. And there we are.

 

 

When I said 'franchise' I meant other RPGs, not computer games. I was alluding to the fact that SW is probably the biggest franchise ever (esp in the gaming industry) so the model is more likely to be successful.

So far it doesn't seem to be hurting FFG (no, I don't consider being down 1 customer in the long run will hurt them).

 

Not aware of any computer games that have done it either TBH, all the betas I've known have been free.

It's "become a thing" in the Kickstarter market, in that many Kickstarters will have a "Pay this much extra to get access to the Beta test" level of backing. Also Early Release is Beta Testing by a different name, and that's cropping up "everywhere" in the computer game industry (but mostly Steam).

 

 

Has there been an official statement about the cost of the final F&D book? I guess a significant difference would make the beta more attractive.

I don't think there's been an official cost statement, but going off how the other two books went, expect the final F&D release to be full price and have 2 entire extra chapters (The Galaxy, and How To Fit This Game Into The Galaxy, chapters 10 and 11 in EotE and AoR).

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By the way that argument about video games has exactly ZERO relevance the the current debate (I'd go for a fallacy of false equivalence, personnaly, but that's just me).

I'm willing to grant it's more than possible it is.

Then again, I made comments to the effect "Why would anyone only rent their games, thinking they were buying them?" 10 years ago when Steam first started up and I figured out how it worked. I wrongly predicted it would flop or at best take a very small share of the market, the "Doesn't mind renting games" market.

I was wrong. Steam is huge and everyone* trusts them to never turn off the servers. C'est la vie.

* I don't. I don't trust them at all.

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I would like to point out ,

 

I am one who gladly paid for the Beta from GC. 

 

I'm one of the folks who would rather contribute to the process and make a better game for it. The first update had changes those who have been beta testing identified as issues and were addressed. 

 

If you don't want to beta test... don't. Wait for the final book and thank those who did due diligence to ensure everyone has a better game. 

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When I said 'franchise' I meant other RPGs, not computer games. I was alluding to the fact that SW is probably the biggest franchise ever (esp in the gaming industry) so the model is more likely to be successful. I was not aware it had been done for Pathfinder (in fact it is the fist time I have seen such a model, hence my original post). Not aware of any computer games that have done it either TBH, all the betas I've known have been free.

 

Has there been an official statement about the cost of the final F&D book? I guess a significant difference would make the beta more attractive.

 

But as you'll note, many video games have actually been shifting into a "pre-order (and feel free to cancel if the retailer allows it) for guaranteed beta access" as well as "pay us completely in full (no refunds/cancellations), and extra for access into alpha and beta". Many wide-access open game betas tend to just be for short bursts of time to stress-test the servers, and even then, it's because they need that vast number of players at once as a necessity.

 

But really, if you're that big about costs, you're completely free to just buy the beta and use print-outs of the Updates and just never buy the Core if you don't care about fluff/ everything being combined in a nice hardcover package filled with neat visuals. Or if you do, then you can wait around for the final release like most of the general public will.

 

Official cost on the final book will be the same as the others, $60 retail, ~$40 from online shops. 

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Personally, I'm not offended by the Beta process.  It prevents a lot of errata, engages a passionate side of the fan base, and gauges initial interest in the products.

 

FFG is a company that gives little for free, and is a premium brand.  Their Board games, their card games are all based on the idea that you will pay $60 for this thing that should be $40, but we'll make it worth your while.

 

They are also tied down like no other company because of the limitations on electronic media.  They are simply not allowed.

 

The AoR beta was a waste for me.  I ended up getting the book so late, and there was little to truly critique compared to EotE and FaD.

 

It comes down to a simple question, "how involved do you want to be with the game."  For some people it is a life style choice (semi pros like Donovan fit into this category).  For others, like my self, I want the early access, and I have things I feel are Iconic in the SW universe (things like force grip being a viable and effective choice as force power).

 

And FFG makes money on these.  but why shouldn't they.  let's say they break even on the books at $20-$22, but they have to spend company resources to produce the beta updates, read all these forum posts (which can't be fun), and go over the reams of submitted data that is sent in via email, evaluate it, have meetings, meditate on their hatred of the fanbase, and then plot to take over the world.  This takes money people.  More than you can make working for Riteaid.

 

I'm a firm believer in non-participation.  if you don't like something, don't participate, and speak out in the appropriate place (which FYI, not this sub forum).  But it's not just about the 10-12 people that complain on the interent, it's the 1000 copies (totally made that number up) copies sold at gencon, and the X number sold through the online store.  and what they buy is a viable product.  nothing stops them from playing it for the rest of their lives.

 

So I don't really see the harm.  Buy it or don't.  Participate or don't.  That's up to you.

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Eh, some people see it as paying to beta test. I see it as a year long sneak preview.

 

 

I was wrong. Steam is huge and everyone* trusts them to never turn off the servers. C'est la vie.

 

You do realize that even if steam turns off the servers, you'll still be able to play what you've purchased forever* right? Unlike Sim City or the Sims, Steam connectivity is not necessary to play.

 

*Well, barring OS upgrades that render current games obsolete.

Edited by Desslok

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As I showed, people doing this are objectively a good thing for those of us who don't. I don't see a reason for such aggression.

I disagree that it's a "good" thing. It validates a business model, one that in other areas is leading to no longer owning the games you buy (Steam) and the "early release, fail to release" Greenlight model.

I don't see how the FFG betas are the same business model as software licencing.

While that would be impossible at the current level of technology (they can't take away your print books) just give it another decade (or two) when rpg publishers stop making print books* and then switch to the Stream model.

I actually have an MS Office subscription professionally - it's nice, actually. Always the latest version and the exact same software as an upfront purchase, costs are comparable. So I'm familiar with the model. But again, I don't quite see the connection between selling a beta and software licencing. This seems like paranoia to me as there's no natural step between selling a beta and refusing to sell copies of the finished product.

Sure, I know many will point and laugh, "Hey look at Chicken Little, sky falling much?", but this has begun in the video game market and is progressing there.

Not pointing and laughing, I just don't see the progression. Slippery Slope argument is only valid where one thing is a natural extension of another. Computer game licensing makes a lot of sense from a business perspective and from a consumer perspective. The value of a game diminishes over time and because the product is digital, is still available in perpetuity at reduced costs. So why, as a gamer (I'm not, btw, but for the sake of argument) would I not be interested in a subscription model? But for RPGs, the value depreciates very little with time. Ergo a licencing model has a lot less appear to a consumer and thus is less viable from a business and marketing approach. Additionally, we are returned to this same question as to why a paid beta is a step toward a licencing model.

* And tech savvy publishers are already switching to no longer making print version of large swathes of their media, SJGames for instance doesn't make print versions of most of their supplements for GURPS. While I trust SJGames to not eventually turn into a big bag of dicks (not while Steve is in charge anyway), I don't trust all the other games companies.

Digital distribution has major advantages for the publisher over print. Namely, instant distribution without middlemen (lower costs), not having to forecast your sales when ordering print runs (lower risks), minimal resource required to sell in perpetuity (longer sales period). All of these make producing product X much more viable for a company and that means the cut off point for where a company says "this costs too much / is too much risk / isn't worth still selling" is much lower. And THAT means products which wouldn't be viable before now are. All the little extras and limited appeal products can exist where before they might be short runs or never released at all. THAT is why companies are trialling or promoting digital versions of their product - not because it is a sinister plot to make you pay forever.

 

Personally this business model irks me a little that's all - I wonder if it would be as successful for any other franchise?

You don't pay much attention to computer games do you?

SW RPGS are not computer games. And the computer game industry seems pretty big to me. If you're going to talk about the impact of the paid beta model on the RPG industry you need to know how many people are actually buying into it. What is the overall percentage of people who buy the game who also buy the paid beta? 40%? 20%? 3% ? All have remarkably different affects. If it's a small percentage then it's not affecting the market at all and the only effect is for the final game to be much more polished and balanced. If it's a very high percentage then clearly FFG are going to getting a lot more money for the same investment and that too, can be good. Especially from the point of view of those of us not buying the betas. But my semi-educated guess is that sales of the beta are a fairly small percentage of the final product. And therefore are not distorting the final market.

Edited by knasserII

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I was wrong. Steam is huge and everyone* trusts them to never turn off the servers. C'est la vie.

 

* I don't. I don't trust them at all.

 

Hey... you still have GOG.com . :D Seriously, they thrive on the "Won't buy Steam" crowd and are a very good example of the "buy a product that does not possess the characteristics you don't want".

 

I file the "paid beta" trend as true innovation in the tabletop RPG industry. Remember: as a whole the RPG industry is estimated at 15M$ overall (source). That's not such a huge pie to split between gaming companies (CCGs are 450M$), so anything to help generate revenue, especially during development phases (those designers aren't free) to keep the hobby alive.

 

Licences such as Star Wars, although they can be problematic and restrictive (no PDFs...), can bring a lot of new gamers to the hobby. That's good.

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I found a pdf copy laying unused in an alleyway... and since I'm running a game (gearing up to it anyway) and at least 1 player plans to be an ex-Jedi, so I figured I'd need it.

See now that bothers me. I benefit from other people buying the beta whilst I don't, in the quality of the final product. But at least I acknowledge that I've done so and appreciate their voluntary participation in the program and it's just a delayed payment for me until the product comes out. Whereas piracy is just living off everybody else's money and trying to get the same thing other people have paid money for, for free.

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I found a pdf copy laying unused in an alleyway... and since I'm running a game (gearing up to it anyway) and at least 1 player plans to be an ex-Jedi, so I figured I'd need it.

 

See, that's bull. If you don't want to pay for it, fine - wait until the final release like everyone else. Pay the 45 bucks for the hardcover and enjoy your Jedi in 2015. You want the beta, pay for the beta. Pirating the PDF just so you can get the game for free is a level of horseshittery above and beyond.

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As this is a physical book I don't have an actual issue with the payment thing. If you want to buy it, if you don't don't, but if you do you are at least getting a physical product, which would have a not insignificant amount to bind and produce. I did irk at the idea of paying for the pdf beta's of the 40k rpgs though, as plenty of other companies have provided things like that for free, though you did get the discount on the final pdf, so I guess if you want a (legal) pdf copy there isn't really any reason not to. For this exact reason I passed on the Only War beta. Now, like a total sucker I did buy the Dark Heresy 2 beta, but that was because I wanted to see what exactly people were talking about when they had all these new mechanics.

 

£20 for a physical book of the quality of the previous betas? Don't see an issue with that... actually wish they released the main books in the same format... really like those softcovers.

Edited by borithan

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I would like to buy the Beta and the book, as a gift for a friend of mine and the hipothetic digital version for myself.

 

Also I would love the Spanish version of the book, but I suppose that we aren't a translation target :(

 

We have Edgeent but the publication level is REALLY slow. They only released until the moment the Starter Kit and the Basic book in Spanish (the dices too XD).

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I'm a big FFG fan (and SW ofc), but not sure I like the idea of paying to test their game for them.

 

Then don't, problem solved.

 

 

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm not going to buy it (as stated in my original post). I was merely stating how I felt about the subject before asking the question related to it :P  

 

I should have realised it would start a heated debate. The crux of it for me i that when I buy a game (or anything really), I expect it to be fully tested and not a half-arsed product. Furthermore, I expect more from FFG as they generally release top quality products - its not like they are short of money to fund the development of such a game.

Edited by Ghost Dancer

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The reason is because they cannot sell PDFs and a large part of the cost is printing and binding. If they were allowed to sell the PDFs they would be much cheaper. 

The cost to print a book isn't that expensive. Most of the costs of a book are in the form of artists, editors, copy writers, etc... the people that make the book happen. For example, the cost of doing a 300 page, full color, hardback book at the numbers that FFG seems to do, would probably be just $4-$6 each. So, the price of the PDF wouldn't be "much cheaper" than the printed book.

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I'm a big FFG fan (and SW ofc), but not sure I like the idea of paying to test their game for them.

 

Then don't, problem solved.

 

 

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm not going to buy it (as stated in my original post). I was merely stating how I felt about the subject before asking the question related to it :P  

 

I should have realised it would start a heated debate. The crux of it for me i that when I buy a game (or anything really), I expect it to be fully tested and not a half-arsed product. Furthermore, I expect more from FFG as they generally release top quality products - its not like they are short of money to fund the development of such a game.

 

They spent 2 or more years developing the game before the first beta even came out. That's two years with a license, with people doing development, where no revenue from it is coming in to offset that cost.

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Their Board games, their card games are all based on the idea that you will pay $60 for this thing that should be $40, but we'll make it worth your while.

Ehhh.... wut?

If the product is worth your while, then it was worth the sixty sheckles. Not, "costs 60$ but only worth 40$".

And I agree, the board games (aside from X-Wing) are very much worth it. I have issues with the LCGs in the same way I have an issue with X-Wing. If I buy a boxed set it should have what I need, not come short on cards because, "LOL Buy another Boxed Set! (or three)".

Our Star Wars guy is also a LotR guy and recently picked up the LotR LCG. It's a great game, but I'd never shell out for it when the base set is missing so many cards. I got personally burned on Android: Netrunner this way... so I did see it coming for him.

 

 

You do realize that even if steam turns off the servers, you'll still be able to play what you've purchased forever* right? Unlike Sim City or the Sims, Steam connectivity is not necessary to play.

 

*Well, barring OS upgrades that render current games obsolete.

Yeah, I heard they changed that in the last year. I'm not going to say "a day late and a dollar short"...

I got burned on Steam. Bought Fallout: New Vegas and hadn't done enough research going in, didn't know it was Steam (silly me for thinking a physical DVD sold in a store wouldn't be Steam only). Couldn't play it with out a Steam account. Couldn't play if Steam couldn't connect. Couldn't play for a year when my ISP turned crappy and it became impossible to log into Steam at least once a week.

So, sure. I got burned on Steam (zing!) and probably have a bit of inner nerd rage simmering over it. I just stopped bothering with games that only had a Steam release. I vote with my dollars, I vote GOG and Humble Bundle and companies that release without needing a dedicated server to get access to the game.

 

 

I don't see how the FFG betas are the same business model as software licencing.

Right now they aren't. I can see a future where all media might go the way of "licensed".

I know of one book publisher/distributor that was looking into a way to what Steam was doing (before the change to not needing to log in more than once for the install), no, not so they could "take away people's books when they wanted to", but the option would have been theirs.

The project didn't get past the planning stages, tech wasn't good enough then to allow pure ereaders to do streaming books (it also didn't look cost effective).

Hulu wants to break out of the "internet only" model and become a major "pay per view/streaming library" provider in people's homes (which honestly mass media is already largely going this way).

 

The value of a game diminishes over time and because the product is digital, is still available in perpetuity at reduced costs.

Sure... I can agree tentatively with this. But mind you I still play Master Of Magic, a game published 20 years ago. For me the value has not depreciated, no "remakes" have ever captured the same feel no matter how they tried.

 

So why, as a gamer (I'm not, btw, but for the sake of argument) would I not be interested in a subscription model? But for RPGs, the value depreciates very little with time.

Similarly I know people who still play oD&D as no version since does it for them. However, I do note that WotC does not support those older versions of D&D... so from that perspective the company feels the value of that brand has depreciated. And I'm sure if Hasbro could "turn the servers off" on 3e they would (and the 4e servers would start feeling jittery, they know what's coming for them with 5e fresh from the oven).

So, no, for you and I, licensing models on those "things we still find value in" are terrible. But for the company? If Hasbro/WotC could flip a switch and turn off all non 4 and 5e D&D? You betcha they would.

And that's the future I see coming.

As to "paid beta" = "licensing model", clearly it doesn't. Just like "Early Release/Beta" doesn't equal "License Model" in computer gaming. I'm drawing an ill fitting comparison, you can safely ignore it if you wish.

 

...not because it is a sinister plot to make you pay forever.

I don't see it as a "sinister plot to make people pay forever".

However, it is a "plot" to make their customers slightly worried about the company's future. I bought Fallout: New Vegas, it won't work without Steam. If Valve goes under (yeah, I know, not likely) I can't install that game, not even on a Windows 7 machine.

Thus those who have vast Steam Libraries are somewhat invested in seeing the company do well (excellent strategy from the company's perspective) so that Library never goes away.

 

 

 

Also I would love the Spanish version of the book, but I suppose that we aren't a translation target :(

Weird. There is a massive Spanish speaking population in America (North and South) and well... obviously Spain.

I'd have though Spanish language translations (followed by German, French, Chinese, and Japanese) would have been fairly important.

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The crux of it for me i that when I buy a game (or anything really), I expect it to be fully tested and not a half-arsed product. 

 

They're not hiding anything about what you're getting.  You're told it's a beta, and it only consists of the core stuff.  You're free to just wait for the non-half-arsed product.

 

...and, you're welcome for me buying it and providing feedback (whenever it finally arrives) so the final product is better.

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What I meant, Eeyore, is that FFG products are luxury products.  They use miniatures instead of counters, and in general are nicer than your average bear product.  You could also call them premium.  Which comes at a premium price.

 

Like a Luxury car.  you're not actually paying for the time effort and etc. that goes into it, you're paying for the name (see audi:volkswagon profit shares, revenue and sales numbers for more explanation).

 

Tis is not to say that FFG are flim-flam people, or that their products aren't "worth" their cost... but frankly they are a premium company that charges a premium price.  And I accept that.  But what is a $60 LCG card set from FFG would be a $40 equivalent game from rio grande, and the products would be the same "quality".  So that is what my statement meant.

Edited by Thebearisdriving

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What I meant, Eeyore, is that FFG products are luxury products.  They use miniatures instead of counters, and in general are nicer than your average bear product.  You could also call them premium.  Which comes at a premium price.

Ah, gotcha.  I agree.

 

FFG Board games are a bit pricier than other companies, but the production value carries this weight with ease.  I'd say the same actually about all their products, the product quality has been tremendous.

 

I may have some "quibbles" about business models (Pay Beta, 3 "Core" Genre books, lack of Expansion Decks for cards missing from the Base LCG games) but the overall product quality is exceptional.

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I don't see how the FFG betas are the same business model as software licencing.

Right now they aren't. I can see a future where all media might go the way of "licensed".

The question is, though, can you see an intermediary step between paid betas and licenced games. Because I don't. I don't see any way in which paid betas are an enabler for a rental-only model of RPGs. And without that intermediary step, saying your particular future would be bad isn't a indictment of paid betas.

 

As to "paid beta" = "licensing model", clearly it doesn't. Just like "Early Release/Beta" doesn't equal "License Model" in computer gaming. I'm drawing an ill fitting comparison, you can safely ignore it if you wish.

Okay, then that's what I'm getting at. You acknowedlge that it isn't but you've brought it up several times in response to people asking what's wrong with the paid betas. You can surely see that it's hard and perhaps not even right, to ignore that if it's used as a counter-argument to what someone wrote.

Edited by knasserII

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Why is it EVERY year we get this complaint. As if this is something new. They did it with the Beta for Edge. Then again with the beta for Age. And now they are doing it with the Beta for F&D. And yet every year we hear the exact same complaint as if it is something new. It is not. We know why they have to do it the way they are. We know why it is not a PDF. Even though FFG would probably love to do it as a PDF like they did with their other books for Warhammer. They can't. and the printing costs on a small print run are not insignificant. We are not talking the size of the print run they do for the core rule books. So the cost per unit is likely higher.  and shipping costs are not insignificant given the rising costs of fuel and they have to account for that in the price as well. 

Edited by Daeglan

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Thanks to everyone who kept this thread civil. No further discussion is warranted. If you don't wish to participate in the beta for whatever reason, we ask that you please not participate.

 

Simple.

 

FFG Webmsater

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