Is Player Studio Unfair?

By Patsy Anderson -
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While browsing my multi-reddit that I have set up to follow several different games, I came across a self post in /r/Landmark that brings up the question of exactly how fair Player Studio is for Landmark. Given the current restrictions, it seems that players feel intimidated by even trying, and some feel that the upfront cost is too much for players. While there are replies on both the Reddit thread and a similar thread on the official forums that address the other side, these replies do not come in to defend SOE's decision or to white knight them. These replies are rather along the lines of “maybe it's like this because of this” than anything else. The biggest what if scenario that makes the mose sense to me is that Landmark is in closed beta, so all of this is subject to change.

What exactly has players calling Player Studio unfair? It's an accumulation of things. First, you have to sign up for Player Studio by registering and filling out tax forms. Next, when you want to add in your items, each item that you list on Player Studio costs 100 Station Cash. This does not guarantee that your item will make it into the market for other players to purchase at this point, because it still needs to be approved. Once it is approved, you might not see a sale due to pricing restrictions. Currently, items sold for Landmark are required to be a minimum of 100SC per 10,000 voxels submitted. One player was saying he had an 80,000 voxel roof, which he needs to sell for, at minimum, 800SC. No one is buying the roof and the player would be more than happy to sell multiples, if they could be listed for 200SC each. Any that does sell, 60% of the price is taken by SOE.

All players seem to be on the same page when it comes to why exactly there are so many hoops to jump through just to get to the gate of having an item on the market: trolls. SOE wants to make sure that quality items end up getting listed, instead of voxel dick pics. Players trying to understand why Player Studio is set up the way it is get that SOE wants them to be sure that when they are listing items, they're not just any ol' thing. I'm pretty sure no one is interested in buying the basic staircases I can build. It's pretty much the only thing I can build. Regular staircases, and hey, if I'm feeling sassy, a staircase pyramid. I wouldn't even waste my time, the approver's time, and players' time seeing my crappy staircases on the market. Then again, I know I'm a terrible builder with absolutely zero delusions of grandeur here.

Is this too much though? Certainly, they do want to keep the riff raff out, but that is already heavily gated with the registration fees and tax forms. Then again, having a listing fee to add your item to an approval queue, where it could possibly not be approved is discouraging. From what I've read today, the approval process is also slow, and getting to see your hard work on the market is even slower. Should they cut back the fee? As one community member noted, that 100SC is only a buck, so it's not a huge loss. It's more of an annoying loss if you've gotten this far, given SOE money twice, and don't end up getting approved.

On top of that is the minimum that players need to charge other players. My guess for this is that SOE doesn't want cut-throat undercutting, like you see what happens in some games on the auction houses. I've gone to see my crafted goods to other players in-game before, only to see them listed below what I could just sell to a merchant for. That's insane and those people are wasting my time. Of course I'd rather just sell my twenty newly crafted swords to a merchant rather than bother dealing with the auction house at that point. Would this be an issue with Player Studio, though? If it is a potential issue, should it stay at the current rate of 100SC per 10,000 voxels, or should it be modified to allow players to have better control over what they feel their creations are made.

The imposed minimum charge, if it is indeed to keep players from undercutting each other, doesn't address the 60% cut that SOE takes from item sales. I would think that this percentage alone would minimize any potential undercutting. Players like that this gives SOE a chance to make money for the game without using a pay-to-win store model and keeping the game free. From reading the community responses, it seems that players would like to see a smaller combination of monetary gates to pass through in order to get their items listed on the market, less hoops to jump through to begin with, and either have the listing fee removed, not charged until your item has been approved, or guaranteed approval for paying the fee in the first place. However, I think a guaranteed approval would negate the potential trolling reason that half of these gates exist in the first place. Players seem to be fine with the 100SC for the listing fee, if their creations are approved. It would be an extra step to email people with a “hooray, you've been approved, now pay the listing fee!” but it might be something that would players more satisfaction in the long run and build better trust between the community, the Player Studio and SOE.

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About The Author

Patsy "Vendolyn" Anderson
Vendolyn's been playing MMOs since 1999, although Vendolyn in-game often becomes a long-term shelved alt. When she's not gaming, she's likely marathoning some questionable TV show or babbling about music to no end. She really likes goats.