Dungeon Keeper remake snarls classic gameplay in "scam" payment model

War for the Overworld is in early access on Steam. It’s a modern take on Dungeon Keeper and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Currently it’s $21.99, which you pay once to get the whole game now and when it’s finished on all platforms. So far it’s been fun to play with, but I am not really digging in until the final release.

1 Like

QFT. Seriously. I’ve spent some money on free games in the past, but it’s been something like $20 in 6 months. But even my current favorite game - Mechwarrior Online - has some retarded pricing structures. You can buy a mech, vs earning one with game money. Ok, alright, time is money. I’d pay $10 or so. No, they want $30?? The new clan mechs are finally coming out and you are looking at $50 for one of those bad boys. I am used to paying $50 for a whole game - not for one playable element.

And I would like to say that the original Dungeon Keeper was brilliant!

It still baffles me that people pay for this garbage. A lot of these games play out kind of like the old shareware models, but instead of being a decent demo with a set payment to a full version, you have this terribly inappropriate cost model. I think part of our problem is in how they are reported on. I think free-to-play and freemium are terrible terms to describe what these games do… Deprivationware perhaps? “Micro-transactions” is also a terribly broad term to use to describe anything from partially de-crippling game play to legitimate expansions and vanity purchases. While it might be difficult, I think it would be reasonable to separate the values for the “costs” of the games when describing them ie: $60 normal content, $15 normal subscription, $3000 deprivation content, $50 subscription deprivation content, $8000 vanity content available, $60 expansion content…

Actually it becomes harder to play as you pay. The more you pay the harder it gets encouraging to pay more. Once they figure out you buy cheats they make it so you have to buy cheats.

1 Like

It’s EA. Did you expect any better?

In any case, here’s a good rant on these.

And of course, it’s always in our hands. Don’t make shit profitable, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll stop selling us shit.


Agree. I was excited to play the new Dungeon Keeper on my nice modern tablet, vs the incredibly fuzzy original on a PC.

Ugh, that didn’t work.

So I spent $10 on Gog.com to get the original DK, plus the new-to-me Dungeon Keeper 2. The former was fun and a wonderful blast from the past. The latter has much better graphics, and is a lot of fun! My $10 was spent entertaining me for forever, vs paying for little things here and there in the new mobile EA game.


What these particular games and their ilk do are what Zynga refers to as ‘Fun Pain’. It is effectively punishing the players by giving them a decent game and then intentionally hobbling it for no decent reason. The intention being to make people pay to prevent the pain and resume the fun (but not making it so painful that the game is abandoned entirely). King is very good at it, Zynga far less so.

But neither of those are inherit condemnations of the freemium or Free-to-Play models, which have good examples as well as bad ones. Games like D&D Online, Team Fortress 2, Neverwinter, Warframe and Card Hunter all employ variations of the model without forcing the player to spend money just to enjoy the game. Card Hunter, for example, is a skill-based game that is proud to note that many of the top spots on their MP leaderboards are filled with people who have not spent a cent on the game. Games like Warframe and others only charge for cosmetic upgrades or shortcuts to things you can get by playing, if you are patient. And in Warframe, with the advent of trading, you can actually generate the real money currency for in-game use from trading useful items. So a diligent player (including some of my friends) can enjoy the game without spending any money at all.

Good F2P games don’t try to trick the players into spending money, they incentive them within a solid game. TF2 awards you will crates you can open by buying keys (or trading for them). But they don’t make the game easier or make it harder for non-spenders to enjoy the game. Cosmetic items like skins in Mechwarrior, hats in TF2, skins in Warframe and so forth. The good models of a F2P’s goals are either to land the ‘whales’ who spend lots (and thus bring in players for them to play WITH) or to make a good game that doesn’t allow you to spend a way to win but does give you cosmetic advantages or help you advance quicker (but not better) than non-payers.

1 Like

So the game version of the Nigerian email scam (where being an obvious scam gets rid of the less gullible people, leaving only the supreme suckers). Right off the bat get rid of all the minnows so your only players are “whales.” Makes a certain perverse sense.


Crap like this is why the mobile market is still viewed as the red headed stepchild of the industry by PC/console/handheld gamers. A few steps forward here and there, then charging backward as fast as the moneymen can herd them.

Indeed! Why they didn’t go for that model is beyond me. If it works for valve why not right? All I can call it is greed. Then again ea is run by a guy that wants pay to reload so I only have myself to blame.

I think this is just a bubble as tablet game play matures. Some people might get rich off of it but the market will eventually catch on and avoid freemium type games. Remember when the internet was just a mire of popup ads? The market corrected that and it’s going to correct this problem too. In fact, folks are already talking about the problem and avoiding those sorts of games

I’m fully willing to pay for good games like Oceanhorn, Lost Winds, World of Goo and Badland. Developers know this and will start producing quality games and will be able to charge what they’re worth


The owners of this remake are the actual Dungeon Masters and you’re a Minion, dontchaknow?

Sad as it is a classic IP got whored out we can use this as an object lesson on how things are with the mobile market.

Though I wonder why not use a shareware model?

I’m not sure the market fully corrected, in that the scummy marketers did not go away, we just got better tools for filtering out the trash. If Facebook was a game, the way it makes money would look like one of these games. My bet is that all it would take to really take is for merchants and reviews to start consistently labeling less desirable monetization schemes… I don’t care if a game attached a semi-decent game to a terrible monetization tactic, it should still be labeled for what it is. The latest mechwarrior online game has this terrible money grab where they want you to pay $20-80 at a time to get the equivalent of grinding the game for some 200 hours. Paying for rate increases is equally BS. The marketplaces promoting these behaviors stands a good bit to blame for giving these products a marketing advantage over more consumer friendly models.

The reason it has so many 5 stars is because you can hack it to make it playable. (I think anyway, maybe my faith in humanity really is doomed)

Wow, that’s bad. If they had kept updating the older versions, people would have never noticed.

But, seriously, Google and/or Apple should come down on this hard. As in a 3-6 month moratorium on EA publishing new games.

1 Like

Yeah, no kidding. There was a game I was introduced to that I was really enjoying, but there were two “slow down or pay us money” points that drove me to remove it completely. The first, which wasn’t so bad, was you had a 20 min wait if you ran out f your 5 attempts. Not that bad, it was 20 mins for each failure and they overlapped so I barely noticed. The real insidious one was when I hit a checkpoint I had to get 3 “map pieces” that would take 8 hours each (this time serially) and there was a 50% chance of getting garbage instead of the needed item. Needless to say I was pissed off about that. Promptly removed it from my devices and from the play store.

I don’t entierly hate the free-to-play model, it does give people to try out games, play games at no cost and the like and even give a sliding scale onto which people can choose to spend on the game. The thing I hate, no loathe, is that some companies are treating their customers as individual endless streams of money and not someone who buys the game once.

1 Like

I agree, this nicely sums up everything that is wrong with mobile gaming.

Dark District is the same way and the pricing is way off as well. Heck no i’m not going to spend $30 so that I don’t have to wait one day, i’m going to delete your app is what i’m going to do.

1 Like

@mewyn I know the one you mean. it gets much, much worse. At higher levels, you have to wait 24 hours for one map, of the three needed to continue. So if you don’t pay, there’s a minimum three day wait for new levels. Why am I still playing? I’m a total sucker. And bored.

The worst part about this gaming model is that the market is being saturated more and more each day to where this generation and the next generation of kids are use to it so they have no qualms about it when they spend $100+ for some shovelware games.

Company leaders want to make money off of it in every way they can with every game they make. It starts out as “Oh relive some maps from a previous game!” then evolves in to this sort of crap. And when they do things like this, I see it as testing the waters to see if the market is right to do it on a larger scale. As in, they do this with little risk phone games and if they see it going well there, within a year or two you’ll be having a AAA game that makes you pay for the ability to have more than one clip of ammo per life.

If you want to ensure future profits, teach the kids of today that paying for simple tasks is “normal”.