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TOPIC: Pay-to-Win?

Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #1

There was recently a Facebook conversation about TD and quite a few people weren't interested because they said it is "pay to win". This isn't the first time I heard this.

Even as somebody who sells tokens I'll be the first to tell new players not to buy tokens or worry about them. If they really want to I tell them to buy a a couple of random 10-packs but that's it. We all know that a good team with good strategy can do fine on Normal mode with only the free 10-packs. On the other hand I'm guessing due to the way GenCon sells tickets to TD you could end up with a newbie group with no tokens AND no teamwork AND no strategy and perhaps that causes them to fail. I wonder if this is where they think that they have to pay more to win?

Or is it just all of us crazy token people that gives the impression that the game is pay-to-win? I just don't feel like it is a fair comparison to a game like MtG which is competitive and, yes, to some degree more money means you'll win more. But with TD it is a co-op game and you get to choose your level, so how can we better get the message out that you only need to "pay to win" if you want to play Hardcore or Nightmare? Or how do we better encourage random newbie groups without any tokens that perhaps they should do their first run non-lethal?

I'm rambling a bit but I'm just trying to better understand the mindset and where it comes from. I also think there are plenty of other popular games in the world where the more money you spend the more you'll win. Golf for example: good equipment is more expensive than cheap equipment, and lots of practice costs lots of money. Or auto racing...
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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #2

I think a lot of it comes from the bad group experiences you mentioned or bad dm experiences which were brought up a lot this year.

People get upset they didn't win the game and they tell everybody about it. Sometimes they say I would have won if I had more tokens. The auto 3 tokens will silence some of this, but bring up new issues most likely.

I'm fine with not encouraging new groups of people to play until TD sees an expansion of some sort.
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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #3

How do you define "Win"

My dad use to ask me every week after we would wrap up a DnD session if "I had won yet".
Strange to think there was a game that I've played for 20+yrs and never won.


Likely at the core of the person's problem was a very specific issue, potentially one that a token would have solved or so they were told. This lead them to believe that the only way to "win" is to spend money.
I guess they didn't know they could "win" in the coaching room by selecting the nonlethal difficulty.

I don't know this particular individual's beef nor did I read the FB but I suspect that's what is going on.
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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #4

I can give you a perspective on this based on now eight straight years of playing TD. I know some others have played longer. In my opinion, there has been a steady increase in the emphasis on tokens as a means to an end in TD. The importance of tokens to success (defined as surviving to the end of the game) rather than cleverness and wits has become progressively greater over time. While it is none of my business how Jeff martin wants to structure TD, the focus on tokens, coincident with the unmistakable token power creep and associated cost, is the reason I believe rumors abound and entry level potential players see TD as "pay to win".
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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #5

you can the starter pack...and win...you can have all the tokens..and still lose

you need to be able to slide, have a good group and solve puzzles


the bold above is the most important part of winning TD
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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #6

I'm not sure I understand the "Pay-to-win" idea. This isn't a game that you "Win" really. Is there a contest within each room? Sure. But this isn't something where you are competing again each other.

I have always described TD to those outside the gaming world as a Haunted House using D&D as the theme. And it really is just like that, but obviously more interactive.

To me TD is really more about the experience. Both with the interaction of the dungeons, and your team.

I don't jump onto too many forums for any game, but if I ever hear someone mention this type of attitude, I'll be sure to at least try to enlighten them to my POV.

This game really is fun. And like Kirk and others I know have said, you don't need to buy $$$$ worth of tokens to start or enjoy TD. They just enhance what you want to do with your character, like any D&D.
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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #7

I would tend to dismiss such carping. It's unfortunate it creates negativity around the game, perhaps I'd write one response offering a different perspective, but that would be for everyone else, not the original complainer.

In my observation there is a certain segment of gamers who can not handle the idea that anyone else has a different game experience than they do as a result of investing either money or time in a game. That segment tends to chant "pay to win!" as an epithet regardless of whether paying more is truly a substantial impact on the game experience as opposed to skill, practice, or luck. "Pay to win" becomes shorthand for "I played a game with a commercial component, and another player had an experience I would have preferred, and that's not fair - the obvious conclusion is that the other player was only able to achieve that by taking the shortcut of paying, and therefore this whole thing is a morally dubious cash grab!"

Since people who say "pay to win" are frequently basing it off a negative emotion (something happened to them and they found it unfair), trying to dissuade them with arguments is generally not fruitful.

Like anything, this is a matter of perspective. I'll play devil's advocate here: When you play TD, "winning" is two things:
  1. Experiencing all the content (e.g. living through the end)
  2. Getting treasure

It's pretty obvious that in TD you can get more treasure by spending more money. If people want to tag that as "pay to win" then by their definition it clearly is.

It is also indisputable that the better geared out you are, the more likely you are to experience all the content. Gear may not be the determining factor, or even the most relevant one, but it's patently obvious that someone who is wearing an Earcuff of Vitality is more likely to survive to the end than someone with an open ear slot. If people want to tag that as "pay to win" you will probably not change their mind.

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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #8

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Pay to win?

Clearly you can pay to have the capacity to rofl stomp normal level. Enough AC, HP and available healing will allow you to laugh at combat and push damage at that level. Enough gear and you can hit on marginal slides.

Pay to play?

Well if you want to play nightmare combat, you could say that I suppose. Though the semi sealed pack nightmare run we did at WYC demonstrates that not to be the case. Well, not the case on old nightmare.
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Last edit: by Harlax.

Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #9

Just speculating here but it may come from the recent years where the final room has just been really difficult (and in our case impossible) with the monsters hitting hard and, as I saw mentioned previously, overwhelmed DM's who only let us get 3 rounds of combat in. Nobody can beat the final combat room at any level with 3 rounds of combat unless you are nightmare equipped.

This would definitely give the impression that its pay to win, though to me winning is having a good time. Dying in the final room is almost expected for us at this point.

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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #10

Well, if someone buys legendary gear and enters normal, they may have gear to where they really can't be hit, and even their bad slides deal huge damage.
That's certainly someone that has paid to win on an easy difficulty. (which can come around to a discussion on "what is fun?" and to some, wrecking on super-mode is fun... except not as much for others that notice that power)

It's just the same as a D&D game I played where one player was allowed to have an uber power. Others felt like they didn't matter. (they may have critically important roles, but because they couldn't breathe 10d12 fire, they didn't "matter").

I think the intent is more that you have the hard core or nightmare modes to pull those people out of the Normal pool, but that doesn't always happen. And you can't tell a player who owns a legendary they can't use it.

My personal experience with this was in 2014 (as a newbie) where if I had bought an anti-petrification token I wouldn't have just instantly been out of the game with NO options: "you're petrified, bye.". That screamed 'pay to win' at the time. And I still live in abject terror of one-shot death failed rolls. I dislike feeling like I have to buy something out of a fear motive:

I fear having my experience of the other rooms taken away, so I have to buy tokens that will block status problems, in this case (Pay to keep Playing).
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Last edit: by Sharkley.

Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #11

I think part of the "pay to win" argument has already been solved by the fact all token stamps are guarenteed in 2016.

One of the arguments was definitely, I don't have the gear, so we don't pass the room, so I don't get the treasure, thus not getting any more gear. Though I think some of this mentality exists still with the treasure enhancer have and have nots.

Having better gear can also compensate some of having a bad group. I admit I've had relatively bad luck with groups the last couple years, which added some frustration, but runs like the Green with Envy run showed me how truly awesome TD can be with a good group even with subpar gear.
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Pay-to-Win? 4 years 6 months ago #12

I think "pay to win" is too vague of a whine. If you feel like having a discussion what the person who said that (note that I did not say "confront"), I would ask them to elaborate on what "paying" and "winning" mean to them.
  • The cost of entry must be paid for you to play. Even if you don't pay for it, someone, somewhere pays for it. Since you can't win if you don't play, in that sense, one absolutely must pay to win. But I doubt that's what that person was kvetching about.
  • Do you have to pay (for additional tokens) to win (overcome all obstacles) on Normal or Non-Lethal mode? $%#& no!
    Will paying for additional tokens help you win on N/N-L? Perhaps, but it's by no means a guarantee. Advantage != win
  • Do you have to pay (for additional tokens) to win (overcome all obstacles) on Hardcore mode? Not necessarily.
    HC will absolutely be a challenge with just the free 10-pack, but it's been done.
  • Do you have to pay (for additional tokens) to win (overcome all obstacles) on Nightmare mode? Technically no, but practically yes.
    Again, it's been done, but it's really, really difficult.
  • Will spending a fortune on tokens make you a better slider? $%#& no!
  • Will spending a fortune on tokens make you better at solving puzzles? $%#& no!
  • Will spending a fortune on tokens make you a better player? Double $%#& no!
  • Will spending a fortune on tokens increase your e-peen? Within a very small group of people, yes.
  • Will spending a fortune on tokens get you laid? Send pix and we'll talk. :evil:
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