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Some of you may have seen my post on Facebook. I want to have a little bit longer discussion here because it is something that is important to me and close to my heart.

From Facebook: “Maybe it is because I have some experience in game design (very little, but enough to understand the unfathomable amount of effort that goes into making a game) that comments like ‘it’s not fair I have to pay to get to be a star rider’ or ‘you’re just trying to steal my money!’ that really irk me. I try to be considerate and explain that what you have put into the game is really an amazing feat, to make it all so beautiful. Every little movement of the horse or rider, the change in the scenery, the dialogue, the quests, everything, I can’t even begin to imagine how much time has gone into this. I’ve seen some players who don’t have the patience for a few days to get leveled up, let alone the YEARS I’m sure it took to develop something like this. There are live people who sit at a desk day in and day out and answer our emails, or sit at a computer and physically make the new parts of the game. Now I know many of the players here are too young to understand, and will probably gripe anyway, but I am not one of them. I wanted to say I am more than happy to spend my money on the game, so that your team may make a living and be able to continue to run this wonderful game we all enjoy. The best things in life are not free. I know that. I’m sure you all have families to take care of, and I don’t know if this is your full-time jobs or a side project you do, but it has to pay the bills somehow. I for one am grateful for all that you do, and I hope you share this message with the whole team. I just wanted to say thank you for this, and keep on doing what you do!”

Now bear with me as I explain my point of view. This is directed at the players who post the ‘it’s not fair I have to pay to be a star rider” and that is who I shall refer to as “you.” If you, as a reader, do not do that, please disregard my directed comments. Now:

I’ve seen too much of this complaining to sit and do nothing. I understand that being young, you may not have the money to be able to pay for the game. I get that. I was there not too long ago. But I have to say I don’t think you realize how much time and effort goes into making a game. I also beg you think of any other games of similar scale that are free to play. World of Warcraft certainly isn’t free. And forget about console games.

The entertainment industry is a huge business. And it’s exactly that. A business. To make money. To pay its employees, so they can feed themselves and be able to work to make more games. Like it or not this world is run by money. And while we all would like things to be free, it will never happen.

Now think if the roles were reversed. How long do you spend on an art project? Two, maybe three hours? I spend ten hours, at least, on mine. Two commissions a week (average about twenty hours) is practically a part time job for me, and I get paid for it as such. What you do in your free time is none of my concern, but when it comes to making a living, time is money. And as an artist, the amount of time you spend on a project are your wages. The people who make this game are artists. Their time spent should be rewarded by some incoming cash flow from their creation.

Also, I’d love to hear what your parents have to say about getting things free. I would bet that you don’t have to pay them rent or a monthly sum to live and eat in their house. And I wouldn’t expect you to, because that’s what parents do. But think about it. You’re complaining about having to pay $80 for a year of game membership, when it probably costs at least $7600 to feed you for a whole year (average $7 a meal x 3 meals a day x 7 days a week x 52 weeks a year, I’m assuming you live in a household that can afford food as well as extras like a computer and internet). Being able to play an online game is not essential to life, as eating is, so just be glad you don’t HAVE to pay for something you have to do to live (at least for the moment, enjoy being a kid, adult life sucks sometimes).

There are certain issues in this world that are important to us, especially if it has some value to us personally, and this is one of those things for me. I don’t think I would be able to run this blog or be a part of this community without discussing this topic. It is also why I will remain strict on maintaining such an attitude on this blog. I’m not trying to change the world, but I do want to try to change your perspective on things.  While the image of the ‘starving artist’ lifestyle may seem glamorous, it really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Take it from me, it’s really hard to make art when you’re hungry. And if you enjoy this game, I really hope you don’t want its creators to all die of starvation. I’m not saying that you all have to go out and purchase a star rider upgrade now. What I am saying is be grateful you even have the amount of game to play for free that you do.

So, next time, before you complain about having to pay for the game, think about what I’ve said here, because if you don’t, I will find you.