MobyGames Offering “Pro” Membership

It’s a bit upsetting to see that MobyGames is going a bit more for-profit, and now offers a trail Pro membership account. Usually this kind of move means fewer features and a degraded experience for those not sending in their dimes. The trial rate is $5 a month, which seems both high ($60 a year?) and low (how much revenue will this bring in given the small number of people with a paying need for MobyGames information?).

MobyGames has long been a useful resource for game research and images, but was recently bought by Atari, which is not the same as the old Atari, although as time passes that distinction becomes slowly less relevant? The company calling itself Activision has slightly more continuity with the Activision that was founded by ex-Atari developers to sell VCS/2600 games, but very little of it remains I’m sure, and they passed through a phase where they had renamed themselves Mediagenic, which worked out badly. The CEO that pulled Activision out of their nosedive, as it turns out, is Bobby Kotlick. There’s a name that’s been in the news lately and on which I will not comment at this time!

So, it seems inescapable that Atari is behind this move by MobyGames, to try to get the site to pay for itself. I honestly don’t think there’s much of a market for these features unless they make the site downright painful to use for free users, and how many people are willing to pay for full MobyGames access? When people (myself included!) contributed to MobyGames all those years, did they know they were merely building up Value for later Purchase? Will this turn into yet another Gracenote situation? Does anyone now remember what Gracenote did?

Well, this is speculation on my part. Nothing necessarily means MobyGames will soon be ruined. But it is a pattern that’s happened many times before, so let us keep our eyes open. At the very least, it seems like a ripe opportunity for someone to create a new game cataloging site. Me? No no, it can’t be me, I’m sorry, my brain is too full of things, and I have this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side….

Goblin Bet

Goblin Bet is a website that presents an endless sequence of D&D 5th edition monsters fighting each other one-on-one. You bet pretend gold pieces on the outcome. Like the similar-in-concept Salty Bet, none of the money is real, you can’t pay for extra currency and it can’t be exchanged for anything. In fact, the game won’t let you drop below 50 gold, so you might as well bet all-in if you get to that point.

The game follows a rough tournament structure. It starts with eight low CR creatures 1/8th to 1/4th, that fight each other in a branching kind of format. (There is nowhere to view the bracket, this has been determined largely through observation.) The winner gets to advance to the 1/2 CR round, where it might die quickly, but it might not. Most monsters are granted one added advantage randomly from a variety, and some of them are pretty powerful.

The brackets continue: 1 CR, 2 CR, 3 CR, and up and up, until around the 16 CR range. The higher the Challenge Ratings, the harder it is to figure out the winner of each match. A few abilities, in the combat system the site uses, are ludicrously powerful. We watched a Giant Crab stop over two complete brackets, at one point taking out a lion, because it had an ability, Stong Grappler, that was basically inescapable, so once its opponent was grappled, it just got advantage on all its attacks, and the opponent had disadvantage. In 5th edition D&D terms, “advantage” means, when you roll, roll two dice, and use whichever value is higher, and “disadvantage” means roll two dice and take the lower value. It’s a huge factor.

A lot of the fight outcomes come down to things like this, which you have to pick up by watching many matches. Flight, to give another example, is pretty strong, because it lets a creature keep attacking and retreating, forcing opponents without missile attacks to sprint sometimes to keep up, wasting turns. Often there will be fights where the outcome will be decided by whoever rolls better; it’s best to save your pretend money when that happens, and wait until there’s a fight with a clearer outcome.

It’s surprisingly addictive, and there’s an included chat that’s often pretty entertaining. I’ve enjoyed it anyway.

Goblin Bet