You should stick around - just because you have a dissenting opinion doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be welcome here.
PT back in the day was a singular place. I don’t know how it kept operating initially, but when Owen had passed on it was almost guaranteed to not be the same.
Unfortunately, Slitherine’s initial involvement soured a lot of people, and it never really got better. This was mostly due to the buyout which was kept quiet, and looked very suspicious after the fact. It then, from what it was, became what was looked at as a shill site (whether true or not, that’s how it looked) and it made a lot of people more bitter (bitterer?) about the whole transition.
I don’t really read PT anymore, but neither do I really read a lot of SP. The articles don’t really cover what I enjoy (not that there’s a lot out there that I enjoy lately), so I have kept pretty quiet on the topic, but damn if this one hasn’t made me want to yell at the people on SP.
I’m delighted for you to reply as much as you like, and there’s no need to go easy with me; after years of BGGRSP, I’m pretty comfortable with criticism at the more volcanic end of rhetoric. I’m unusual in that, though, and don’t mean to talk for Dave, who seems to have a more normal approach to criticism.
I wasn’t offended. What struck me about that piece was that it seemed very bound to its own perspective. Nothing in it seemed to me to express empathy toward those who might be in the position of being introduced to wargames; only those doing the introducing. It’s important to me to choose influences which will help me get outside my own head so that I can have the effects on the world I intend, rather than getting mad at the world for failing to conform to the rules I mistakenly believe apply simply because it seems like it’d be more sensible if it did.
There are a wide variety of concerns that touches on, and they don’t really seem to be on the radar at PT/SG/Wargamer. That’s fine—not only is not everybody looking for that, lots of folks find it aggravating to wade through. But it helped me realize that it’s not for me. I hope you never feel like it has to be. None of the most successful sites in the world are, either.
Realistically, I haven’t really needed something to fill the role of PT or Wargamer for a while. I feel like I know the SP crew’s tastes well enough now that I know how to read their work. Michael Barnes and Matt Thrower over at There Will Be Games are also in that category. And that’s pretty much enough for me—between them and in-person friends, I hear about the genres that interest me enough that I already learn about games I want to play faster than I can play them, and developing that sense of familiarity with new reviewers is enough of a burden that I’m not really looking. The way Slitherine interacted with me during the transition to your editorship left me unmotivated to go out of my way to prioritize reading their sites, yet I’d been clicking past most of the posts on Twitter and RSS ever since. I finally felt like it’d been long enough that I could realisticallly evaluate whether that was worth my time on the merits of its utility to me as a reader rather than as a reaction to past experience, and made the decision I’d been putting off for years. But I don’t take people realizing they don’t want to read my stuff to indicate that they’re necessarily offended—as @athros writes about our stuff here, sometimes it’s just not the best way to find the writing that most appeals to you.
Speaking of which, if anyone feels like yelling at somebody at SP, I’m pretty good at hearing that and caring about it without being bothered by tone or whatnot. So if you’d like to express a frustration and you’re worried about coming off like a jerk, feel free to direct that at me. Given my impression of the commenters here, if you’re telling me I blew it somehow, chances are, you’re right and I need to hear that.
I was trying to write a more reasoned post but @athros said what I was aiming for, but concisely.
Original PT was a labour of love, and somehow Owen managed to bottle the lightning. That would never have been guaranteed to last, but in PT rev. 2 (the Voldemort years) the new owners didn’t seem to care much for the site or the community. I was genuinely upset when the old forum vanished into the memory hole.
PT3 under @EICJoe is a different beast again, and we understand that. It’s just hard not to look back in the light of what was lost, sometimes.
SP captures some of the spirit of PT1, and it’s worth it to me to kick in a bit through the Patreon. But yes, it’s a different place again. Much of what is written about here doesn’t relate to my gaming life (another card game?!) but it’s a congenial place amid the familiar crowd.
Before we get to that though, I’d just like to take a minute to shout out to everyone who supports us on Patreon and have shopped through our Amazon links this year. When Apple killed the App Store affiliate program earlier this year, that left those two things as the only things still keeping us afloat. If you’re not a Patreon person and/or don’t shop through our Amazon links, we’d really appreciate it if you’d check the above links out, particularly if you feel like you’ve gotten any value out of TouchArcade’s continued existence this year!
I wonder if TouchArcade will survive 2019. Apple cut the affiliate commission rates in 2017, but now they are completely gone, as of October 2018. TouchArcade mainly covers games of little interest to me, but that’s more a function of the games that are popular on the mobile platform now, rather than a decision on their part to ignore what I prefer.
I don’t know how true it still is, but I enjoyed the fact that devs would participate in their forums. I recall that it was there that I learned from the developer of the difficulties in working with Apple’s implementation for sync’ing Guild of Dungeoneering between iOS devices, for instance. That’s one of the reasons that I’m a minor Patreon there, as well as here.
Hah, as honoured as I would be, I don’t really like F2P either. I’ve made it no secret that mobile is not my primary gaming platform, but I do game on my phone from time to time. I’m more or less like you guys though. I play premium games (I usually wait to pick up something cheap and never spend more than say £3 on a game). I’ve dabbled in the odd F2P thing, some ok, some largely trash.
I think it can be done well, and PT has covered those games as and when they appear, but they are few and far between because being “done well” in the context of a premium-preferring audience doesn’t seem to be a sustainable model either, otherwise more devs would try it.
As I’ve alluded too in the past, I’m hoping games like Fortnite will lead to a salvation of sorts. That’s one of the most popular, most lucrative games in the world right now, and the primary way it monetises itself is via harmless skins and content passes. You don’t have to like Battle Royale itself, but say if they apply that model to the board game or strategy game genres - say you can buy customised playing pieces or meeples or whatever, it’s probably the best premium audiences can hope for, and it’s not all that intrusive IMO.
As far as editorial goes… losing the Apple revenue was annoying, but not as apocalyptic as TA made it sound for them. Now all we really have is ads and any other applicable affiliate schemes we can try to hitch on to. The sponsored content was helpful though, so like I said we’re going to be open to more if companies feel like they want to target our audiences directly.
I mean we probably weren’t going to cover Langrisser normally, since it’s F2P, but I can label the content as an ad and it can be treated as such, and who knows maybe someone did learn something or felt like checking it out (there are plenty of people who enjoy FE: Heroes and it’s targeting that audience after all). Every little helps and no harm was done from my point of view. It gives us the space to then invest in content on more important things.
While I’m not invested in the type of games that currently dominate the mobile scene, I enjoy reading items such as Eli’s discussion of e-sports and AR spectating … I completely agree that I don’t understand the attraction of jumping around from player to player’s first-person perspective in a first-person shooter.
I find things like The Overwatch League to be borderline unwatchable, as they primarily just rapidly flip between the first person view of different players.
In Guns of Boom , you just load up the AR viewer and you can see the whole map, where all the players are, and you can move around to see other angles of the action. It was real, real weird being at the actual championship event, able to watch the players live, and having the in-app AR experience be better .
About all the bad things and controversies around Toucharcade - the site is good for one thing tough:
Shaun Musgrave is Touch Arcade’s resident RPG-nerd and his dedication to and insights into the RPG-genre are a delight to read.
If the site goes down it may spell bad news for the already aching Premium (or any) mobile gaming market as a whole, but losing the main outlet of his pieces will hurt more (for me at least that is).
How is their Discord? I’m not a Discord person, personally, Discord seems to me like more of a chat or stream of consciousness type of deal, but I’m an admitted Discord novice and not on their Discord. However, “kids these days” seem to prefer Discord to forums so it’s hard for me to readily know if forum inactivity is due to Discord or not.
I wonder if that was before or after that big Fortnite invite code that Eli talked about?
From a community perspective, it’s been interesting watching our forums community migrate over to our Discord server. Discord(Free) is turning into the new normal thing for everyone to be on, which I couldn’t be more excited for. I’m an old school chat guy, with IRC channels I’ve been a member of for quite literally decades. (If you’re looking for a modern IRC solution, check out IRC Cloud.) It’s real cool following along with what people are talking about in real time, and this year our Discord server saw a massive explosion of popularity surrounding the Fortnite invite code thing where you needed to get a code to unlock the ability to play the game on your iPhone. We had thousands of new people join, and while most of them bugged out after they got their code, a few have stuck around to grow the community even more.
I’m with you 100% (well, other than the liking part), which was why I was curious. I recalled that I had read mention of their Discord server being popular, I went back and found where Eli says “it’s been interesting watching our forums community migrate over to our Discord server”.
Which I don’t understand, given that my limited experience with Discord was it was more of a group of chat channels, it seems to me, than a forum with topics.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m against Discord, I’m just not really a chat / stream of consciousness type of person, which is likely one of the reasons I don’t “get” Facebook, either, and I fail hard at social media.
The marketing team of that publisher seems to be going all out here.
I myself find it bad form to compare your (unreleased) product to another successful one just to ride on that game’s coattails into success-sunset (here FE:H) but I will at least test it out. I was able to get past my loathing of F2P to give FE:H a fair chance and I will try to give Langrisser the same chance.
Not that FE:H stayed long in my focus. I was ok with the F2P elements but couldn’t get bothered with the barebones story/gameplay. Same with Terra Battle by Mistwalker I fear the same approach and therefore result here. Terra Battle 2 died in a spectacular plane crash all the same.
Still…rerelease/remaster the TRUE Langrisser games (Edit: in the west)! grumble