Jimquisition: Free To Wait

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irishda:
Holy shit, these free games are making me not play them. That's just the WORST! When you don't spend money to play a game that's really not all that immersive, and you don't get to play it all the time. I mean MY GOD. And then they take it to "AAA" games where they're like, "Hey, if you give us money we'll give you better stuff. You don't really need it, but it makes things go faster." As gamers, we can't be expected to THINK for ourselves or have any sort of consumer instincts or even have some fucking patience. We NEED gratification instantly! Otherwise we'd be building up an actual life skill or bettering ourselves somehow. Clearly the prominence of cheap little one off games we DON'T HAVE TO PAY A DIME FOR is the worst thing to happen to everyone.

But that's obviously missing the point. These *aren't* 'cheap little one-off games'. These are *incredibly expensive* games - if you actually want to play them as games. A Dungeon Keeper game where you have to wait 24 hours to dig out a brick is not a game at all. If you want it to be a game, you have to spend money. A *lot* of money. So these so-called games are devious excuses to persuade us to part with large sums of cash under the false pretence of giving us some kind of 'free' entertainment.

As others have said, I don't think this model is entirely impossible to implement fairly. I've mentioned Clash of Clans before as an example that seems to work pretty well - my son plays it a lot in the free mode, picking it up for a few minutes at a time every day, setting some things in motion and leaving it. My Singing Monsters is even better (and is one of the few games I've allowed him to spend some money on). But Dungeon Keeper does seem to have reached a real low point. And their ratings scam is frankly downright criminal.

Obviously some of the blame has to go on consumers too. We are far too unwilling to spend money on mobile games, making 'free' games the only workable business model. But I'd like to see more companies offering a simple 1-2-3 alternative: 1) Free demo; 2) Low-priced subscription or other incremental payment system; 3) higher-priced complete unlock. That seems to me a far more fair and transparent option.

deathbydeath:
Jim, shut up. You have nothing but scorn for every single free-to-play game with time delays (and their developers) while there are games out there that are absolutely sublime and happen to use that model correctly and in an inoffensive manner.

I agree this video is more of a rant but it's deserved in this case. Jim has often mentioned good free to play models that work - like Loadout in this video! It's not that F2P is a bad model it's just that it's being abused. Part of his/our anger, which was mentioned towards the end of the video, is that F2P can be a great model but is being completely abused by people like EA.

Catrixa:
I get the feeling that this business model isn't one that can physically last forever.

I was talking about this the other night. I'm by no means an expert, but I notice the term "short term gains that aren't sustainable" coming up quite often. I imagine the shareholders in these companies demand short term profits and don't care if it's not sustainable as they'll just sell up.

WarpZone:

Developers are beholden to publishers, publishers are required by law to be greedy bags of dicks, consumers are apparently too stupid to stop spending money on the goddamned things, and you and I don't matter.

How do we fix this?

Looks like the new big thing unfortunately.

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/free-to-play-games-ordered-to-address-misleading-exploitative-practices-by-uk-government/1100-6417471/

Let's hope this makes some difference (sorry I don't know how to hyperlink on this forum). Maybe if DK had a warning by the price tag "free, but costs £5bn to complete" it wouldn't look as good.

You fucking nailed it this week Jim...

Sad thing is I know someone who forks over I shit you now $1-200 a month on shit games like dungeon keeper. I have tried repeatedly I might add to reason with and explain this weeks video to him, but he refuses to see just how much money he is wasting on absolutely nothing.

Oh and on the flip side he also wonders why he is always broke...

So how many gems is it to buy a "Thank god for me" at the end? I neeeeeeeed one!

As far as things not being games goes, I think Total Biscuit offered a pretty good view on that:

I would be interested to see what you have to say as well, Jim. I do agree that The Walking Dead and Stanley Parable are games. Hell, I'll even agree that Gone Home is, in fact, a game. A completely shit game that fails miserably at achieving its goal, but the word game was still in there.

Yeah Gone Home, you have to do more character building than "they are your parents" to make me feel any kind of fear for why they aren't around. C&C4 couldn't make me care about the main character's wife by just saying "SHE IS YOUR WIFE", inFamous couldn't make me care about Trish by just saying "SHE IS COLE'S GIRLFRIEND" (and then following it up by having her be a massive bitch to you all game which actually has the effect of making me care LESS about her than I did at the start when you tried the "SHE IS COLE'S GIRLFRIEND" card; maybe Cole cares about her, but I don't and I can't understand WHY Cole cares about her either), and Gone Home, you can't make me care about Katie's parents because "THEY ARE HER PARENTS". I obviously know what kind of horror they were attempting to illicit, but they completely failed to do so correctly and instead veered off to a story so bad that I've replaced "still a better love story than Twilight" with "still a better love story than Gone Home" for when someone tells a crappy love story.

But sure, it's still a game, it has some basic puzzles for you to solve, I guess. It's got more to offer for gameplay than "tap this block and wait 24 hours for it to be mined so you can tap another block and wait another 24 hours".

Also if it wasn't clear already, I wish games would stop substituting actual character development and depth with "THIS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER'S ____ AND YOU HAVE A _____ YOURSELF IN REAL LIFE THAT YOU CARE ABOUT, THEREFORE YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT THE MAIN CHARACTER'S ______ TOO BECAUSE WHAT IF THIS HAPPENED TO YOUR REAL LIFE _____ HUH HUH HUH?". That's not my real life ____ game, that's a fictional character that exists in your fictional world, and you have to develop them in order to make me give a shit about them.

Darth_Payn:
Blech. You're right, Jim. That is repugnant (Pinky & The Brain reference!). I'd rather they remade Dungeon Keeper as a FPS, like they did with Syndicate.

'A Bile Demon has become angry as it has no chest high walls'

OT: My brother plays Simpsons Tapped Out, he doesn't spend money on it, he just opens it every morning, has his little chuckle at the recycled jokes and gets on with his day. Personally, I can see the appeal of having a little daily routine game, like a Tamagotchi or the daily events in Pokemon but the moment developers start holding it out of reach is the point I immediatly drop that shit. There are so many great games out there I can't understand why some folk would waste their time with this stuff.

image

Damn, Jim, your best episodes are when you're angry and you were like a goddamn tidal wave of righteous fury in this one.

Nothing else to say except that you're right as usual, Jim. So bloody right. And that mic drop at the end? Glorious.

i honestly wouldnt put it past them to stick something in the game description about this video "As mentioned on the jimquisition on the escaptist magazine!"

I overwhelmingly agree with Jim here.

Locking players out so they can't play unless they pay is despicable...UNLESS it's done properly, which is next to impossible.

There are games where it's done right (Fallen London does it well), and in most of those games, the wait times are both reasonably small and the game is designed to be at its most entertaining when played in small, spaced out bursts so you don't mind not being able to play more for a while. Then you come back in a half hour or so, play some more, etc.

But the overwhelming majority of games that use free-to-wait are absolutely awful.

For example, I played Spiral Knights, a Free-to-Wait MMO for a while. At first I was massively annoyed at it because you only get 100 free energy per day (slowly over time) and it costs 10 energy to go down one floor in the dungeons. So I stopped.

Then I picked it up again and found that it wasn't that big a deal, really. When I was out of energy, I usually felt done with the game. I even let the use-energy-to-revive mechanic slide since if you played with other people they could revive you for free anyway.

THEN, I got far enough into the game that I really needed to craft stuff. And then I found out that crafting equipment requires energy. But alright, I decided to use my off days when I couldn't play to craft equipment. It was here that I started getting really really annoyed.

And then, I hit the point where it takes MORE than 100 energy to craft stuff. I asked on the forums if I literally could not progress any farther without paying and was told to use the in-game currency to buy the Paid Currency (crystal energy) via the player-run market in order to forge stuff. And of course, getting the amount of in-game currency to buy one shot (100 CE) of paid currency requires multiple (At least 6) dungeon runs, or several runs of this one boss that drop a ton of currency (I think you can guess what dungeon run is the most popular).

That did it. That was the thing that finally killed it for me. I just could not put up with it anymore.

It also doesn't help that the market for Crystal Energy is entirely player dependent, so rates fluctuate weirdly. Although the trend seems to be that CE is going higher and higher over time, which just makes the whole problem worse...

The devs DID try to mitigate this a bit by letting you "pay the tab" of other players at elevators so you could carry them with you on your energy supply, and other stuff like that, but overall...It just made me really weary of the whole thing.

If Energy wasn't required to craft shit, I'd probably still be playing Spiral Knights even WITH the limited amount of playing time per day. Because I really liked it. Once in a blue moon I'll load it up to do a run, but unless things change seriously, I don't think I can ever play it seriously again.

In the meantime, I've gotten into League of Legends, which does Free to play well. I can play as often as I want, as much as I want, and even playing only one match a day, I've gotten enough in-game money to unlock basically any character I want at the moment. I literally only bought ONE champ with real money in the past 6 months, and the rest I earned with in-game money. Now I have a decent enough champion pool that I don't really feel the need to buy more.

As for Dungeon keeper...24 hours to mine ONE GODDAMN BLOCK? What kind of [email protected]#$wit thought that would make for a fun game?

Those really are the worst kind of games out there, but the sad thing is; a lot of people play that kind of shit.

For the life of me, I can't understand how people can become addicted to those kind of games...

irishda:
Holy shit, these free games are making me not play them. That's just the WORST! When you don't spend money to play a game that's really not all that immersive, and you don't get to play it all the time. I mean MY GOD. And then they take it to "AAA" games where they're like, "Hey, if you give us money we'll give you better stuff. You don't really need it, but it makes things go faster." As gamers, we can't be expected to THINK for ourselves or have any sort of consumer instincts or even have some fucking patience. We NEED gratification instantly! Otherwise we'd be building up an actual life skill or bettering ourselves somehow. Clearly the prominence of cheap little one off games we DON'T HAVE TO PAY A DIME FOR is the worst thing to happen to everyone. Even worse, it's infecting other media now. Did you know I have to wait a WHOLE WEEK for a new Walking Dead show? And I PAY for cable; it's not even free, like these games are.

I mean fuck's sake, Jim, it doesn't help the media perception of gamers as giant children when you're treating them as a bunch of lemmings or Family Guy's James Woods, who can't help but follow the trail of candy to wherever it leads because they have no concept of money or willpower. It's just pathetic now.

I'm just going to say, I don't think waiting 7 days to watch a 30 minute episode can be compared to waiting a day to play a game for 5 seconds (or in my case, waiting 30 days to watch 10 minutes of an abridged series). Maybe I just don't know how to appreciate that style of game. Still, you do raise the important question, where do you draw the line between customer responsibility and company responsibility? Unfortunately, I haven't yet decided on that part.

So, I'm only a few seconds in, and for a moment I was afraid you totally lost it.

castlewise:
Yeah, its wierd though. If these are so bad (and they are) then why do the dominate the market so badly.

Not quite sure, but I have two guesses.

1. These games have something in them that tries to make you addicted. In some cases, it succeeds.

If you have already used a sum of money in one of these fee to pay games, say f.e. Shakes & Fidget (and yes, I'm a victim), you might eventually realize "Oh, f**k, this game sucks after all. But now, I'm already so far into it, there's no turning back."

In my case, I don't give any more money to Shakes & Fidget, but I have made a few friends in it, I'm already pretty high level, so I still continue to play.

Don't know how long it will last though.

2. The casual market is big right now.

And....no offence, but new gamers these days, regardless of age, seem to be more likely to play a game that basically holds their hand.

Give it to them "for free", and it's easy to bait them in.

It's a huge chance for game companies who want to give us less and less for as much money as possible.

Btw, all you need is a concept that will look interesting to gamers.

The world doesn't have to be ready for it, and it doesn't happen only in mobile gaming.

The Kinect is an example of a non-mobile gaming concept that suckered gamers in, despite many games not functioning properly.

And it doesn't happen only in gaming.

Movies have 3D.

It's an interesting concept that yet causes huge eye strain, and in some cases it's completely unnecessary, the world is obviously not ready for it, yet movie companies keep using it, so they can charge you (I don't remember) double prize for the ticket.

But I digress.

You get my point, I hope.

P.s. Oh, I know what will break Jim.

A f2p Aliens game. :P

*sees everyone in the forum glaring at him, preparing their Load out guns*

I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding, don't shoot. XD

The Homer lip syncing was absolutely brilliant!

Thank god for Jim! (and me)

Good... good... let the hate flow through you, Jim!

No, seriously. Let it ride. You're absolutely right and I am always saddened every time I see one of my friends getting tricked into playing one of these 'games.' I had heard of the Simpsons game but didn't know about that Dungeon creator one.

Bravely Default actually has a mode exactly like that, except that instead of currency, you collect street passes to get more workers. So it's either social interaction or wait it out. I guess I'll be leaving my 3DS on all the time now...

*Are* there loads of free to play games worth playing, Jim?

I ask genuinely because I can't find any. I'd love to play some.

I think I've worked out what the dividing line is on these Free to Wait games and I think it's that microtransactions should never be for consumables. I don't mind paying money for something that makes the game run faster *for ever*. What makes thinks like DK despicable is that they make you pay a fairly considerable amount just to get past *this bit* - and then it's done. And then you have to wait some more. That's what makes it feel like being held to ransom. But a game where I can pay to make it *better* seems perfectly fair. Paid upgrades - good. Paid consumables - bad.

Obviously for multiplayer games that's still a problem because Pay to Win is pretty despicable too, so for multiplayer there's an additional stricture that you should only be asked to pay for things that have a purely aesthetic effect - costumes, decorations etc - or that are shared between all players - new level maps, weapon drops etc.

Even though EA made this piece of garbage of a "game" I can't see it being any worse then Square Enix with their Final Fantasy price gouge or the over inflated price of their "remakes" of classic Final Fantasy games or any of the people that just make these games to treat people like a walking wallet. Personally I have never found any of the "games" that require me to wait or pay money to go faster to attract my interest at all, there might be good versions, but like anything in life people will exploit it.

JimmyPage666:
I agree this video is more of a rant but it's deserved in this case. Jim has often mentioned good free to play models that work - like Loadout in this video! It's not that F2P is a bad model it's just that it's being abused. Part of his/our anger, which was mentioned towards the end of the video, is that F2P can be a great model but is being completely abused by people like EA.

No, he isn't hating on free-to-play games, he's hating on free-to-play games with time delays/free-to-wait games. Loadout is not a free-to-wait game, it's ftp with inoffensive microtransaction options. I have seen two types of successful ftw games (the aforementioned Fallen London and Eliminate Pro), and I peruse those kinds of markets far less than the "casual" gamer, let alone someone like Jim Sterling.

Laying out these sorts of blanket condemnations despite evidence to the contrary is simply bad practice, especially for someone with a voice as loud and as heard as Jim's is. I don't doubt that the examples he used in the video are deserving of the verbal thrashing they've been given, but merely saying something is wrong is useless unless you provide ways to do it right.

I love this video jim and I am very glad you had the balls to call out the developers on being apart of this shit. I don't like the fact that people are willing to give developers a pass because the big bad EA and other publishers are "forcing" them to exploit customers. I always felt that as a cop out excuse and pathetic.

I have spent over $100 on Dota2 cosmetic items and I don't feel like I was ripped off at all. I've played over 800 hours of fun on that game and every purchase I made was completely optional. Where I did try Simpsons tapped out due to a gf who enjoyed it and I couldn't play it for longer than 20 minutes without requiring a purchase to continue the "gameplay". I never spent a dime on that game and pity those who lack the willpower or foresight to not waste money on a reverse ATM.

It's all the allure of a slot machine without the promise of a small chance of return.

Warframe to me is just the best F2P model I've ever seen. I downloaded that game on a whim since it looked decent back in July and figured I'd play it a while, get bored, and go off to something else like I always do. 6 Months and 306 hours of gameplay later I've gladly paid around $30 for some cosmetic stuff but the fact of the matter is that I could have not spent a single cent and still had all that entertainment for FREE.

95% of Warframe's store stuff can be earned in game if you wait long enough meaning you end up paying for convience like you're supposed to in these type of deals. I want a new helmet? My options are pay for it, or wait till the RNG throws it up for free to be earned in-game. Plus they even make getting the premium currency (platinum) stupidly easy to get by by offering random coupons as log in rewards (going as high as 75% off for 24 hours).

This is how you do F2P, use great gameplay to lure people in then let them make the choice of what they WANT to spend without making them feel like they HAVE to.

shteev:
*Are* there loads of free to play games worth playing, Jim?

I ask genuinely because I can't find any. I'd love to play some.

League of Legends and DOTA 2 have reasonable Free to pay setups.

Tribes Ascend and Team Fortress 2 also do it well. I think there's also Path of Exile and Warframe...But I haven't played path of Exile yet, and I haven't touched warframe in months...

So yeah, good free to play DOES exist. It's just becoming more and more rare as everyone and their CEO jumps on the bandwagon and tries to ride it full speed off a cliff.

If you're looking for good "free-to-wait" games...The only one I know of that's good is Fallen London.

shteev:
*Are* there loads of free to play games worth playing, Jim?

I ask genuinely because I can't find any. I'd love to play some.

Are you kidding man? They are every where. Just looking at my desktop icons I've got League of Legends, Blacklight Retribution, Warframe, Path of Exile

That 'addressing the devs making these 'games'' bit...

That was a thing of beauty Jim, it's been to long since we've seen such righteous fury and these fools deserve to be bent of a rail like that.

Jim, for once we completely agree. Mobile games are the "populist" option now - for many people who wouldn't otherwise play videogames - and it's just disgusting that they're exposed to this when they first get into them. It just sickens me that some people will be so short-sighted in their outlook that that they'd bring down the credibility of themselves and the business that they're in for a quick payday.

What I really want to say, though, is th

[TO READ THE REST OF THIS COMMENT, PLEASE SEND $79 VIA WIRE TRANSFER, CHEQUE OR CREDIT CARD BALANCE TRANSFER, TO TMDC MEDIA ASSOCIATES INC.]

I can't say I agree with that last sentiment. Developers work at a studio doing what they're told. It's a job, they're people living in a society that requires money to survive, so they'll carry on doing what they're told. They won't necessarily like it, but if they don't do it the higher-ups that make these awful decisions will stop paying them, and then those developers won't be able to support themselves or their families. Please don't shout at the developers for this.

.

TheMadDoctorsCat:

[TO READ THE REST OF THIS COMMENT, PLEASE SEND $79 VIA WIRE TRANSFER, CHEQUE OR CREDIT CARD BALANCE TRANSFER, TO TMDC MEDIA ASSOCIATES INC.]

No thanks. I'll just check back in 23 hours 48 minutes. ;)

Megacherv:

I can't say I agree with that last sentiment. Developers work at a studio doing what they're told. It's a job, they're people living in a society that requires money to survive, so they'll carry on doing what they're told. They won't necessarily like it, but if they don't do it the higher-ups that make these awful decisions will stop paying them, and then those developers won't be able to support themselves or their families. Please don't shout at the developers for this.

One, working as a developer for EA has a ridiculously short life expectancy anyway.

Two, I agree with Jim regardless. I've personally walked off jobs that asked me to work against my ethic. Sure, it wasn't easy. But there are always options available. No one is stuck in a job in a free market unless they want to be.

contla:

xEightBitPlayerx:
I hope this game model dies a quick death; Who would support something like this?

It can be done well."Triple Town" on IOS was essentially it's demo. You start with a certain number of moves. When you run out you can wait for some moves to regen or pay a dollar for more moves than you start off with or pay $5 for infinite moves and 3 other maps. It's developers like Ea and Activision who take advantage of it then other talentless studios rush to copy them. I can guarantee Glu,chillingo, or gameloft are this second making a free to wait flappy bird clone, and it sickens me.

I was going to post something like this, but then I realized that Jim's point still holds water. Yes, some games offer expedited waiting for really cheap, and others with a stamina system let you play for 90 minutes+ and recharges stamina at a decent rate, but the fact still remains the games are using a hostile system for getting the player to spend money. His argument is that a good Free to Play model uses incentives to reward players for supporting the developer rather than punishing players that don't.

There's a bigger problem than the developers: The c***s that eat this shit up, throwing their money at these corporations and f***ing liking it that way.

Megacherv:

I can't say I agree with that last sentiment. Developers work at a studio doing what they're told. It's a job, they're people living in a society that requires money to survive, so they'll carry on doing what they're told. They won't necessarily like it, but if they don't do it the higher-ups that make these awful decisions will stop paying them, and then those developers won't be able to support themselves or their families. Please don't shout at the developers for this.

I'm sorry to pick you out, but you touch on a point in a way that I'm curious about. I can understand your opinion. it's one shared by a lot of people even on this very site. But this side issue that has popped in my head after reading your post made me curious about something that you didn't even touch upon, but I still want to ask the question to the Escapist because of it.

I wonder why we offer such leniency to Developers who produce game tripe just because they are told, but we as gamers as a large majority have nothing but vitriol and disdain for Game reviewers who need to eat just as bad as these developers? They were told by their upper ups to give a ten out or ten for an average game because that game paid to be plastered all over their gaming site. At large, we jump on that reviewer for not having the credibility to possibly lose his job and go hungry.

It's not like his or her company will say '... we support you for sticking by your moral constraints. We're going to get sued, but we're going to back you a hundred percent for having the balls that we didn't have when we accepted the money'. No. He or she will be fired. And probably won't be able to find another job for a while because even though people want good writers, they want people to follow the rules of the company.

And lest we forget, The game pr team didn't go to the reviewer, they went to the company. They gave that reviewing company the money and said give us a good review. But we give the reviewer equal amount if not more hate as we give the reviewing site as a whole. Why is that, Escapist?

I'm surprised there was no mention of the "5-star rating or else we pester you" or the "only way to unsubscribe is in grey-on-black german text" crap with Dungeon Keeper as well.

Sseth:

shteev:
*Are* there loads of free to play games worth playing, Jim?

I ask genuinely because I can't find any. I'd love to play some.

Are you kidding man? They are every where. Just looking at my desktop icons I've got League of Legends, Blacklight Retribution, Warframe, Path of Exile

Ok, right, sorry, I was lost in my own little bubble there for a second. There are indeed good free to play PC games. I haven't found a good mobile one since Triple Town tho.

Megacherv:

I can't say I agree with that last sentiment. Developers work at a studio doing what they're told. It's a job, they're people living in a society that requires money to survive, so they'll carry on doing what they're told. They won't necessarily like it, but if they don't do it the higher-ups that make these awful decisions will stop paying them, and then those developers won't be able to support themselves or their families. Please don't shout at the developers for this.

I completely disagree. There is always another option. Those developers choose to make this product fully knowing what kind of company EA is and what type of game they are making. People need to be held responsible for their actions, stop blaming it on "society", "corporations", or the "government" forcing them to work these jobs.

They have every right to sell out their ethics and integrity to support their families, but that does not mean they are somehow immune to being called out for it.

deathbydeath:
Jim, shut up. You have nothing but scorn for every single free-to-play game with time delays (and their developers) while there are games out there that are absolutely sublime and happen to use that model correctly and in an inoffensive manner. Have the dignity to properly inform yourself before you start spewing bile over an entire idea.

(For the record, the good games I was thinking of were Fallen London and Eliminate Pro, and while I don't play many FTP/mobile games both of them handle the "free-to-wait" model in two different and equally good ways)

xEightBitPlayerx:
I hope this game model dies a quick death; Who would support something like this?

Because some games do it well and the developers producing that content deserve money.

EDIT: The mike drop at the end made me squee a bit. Glad that's back.

You know in future maybe instead of acting like a crying six year old you could show examples about how "free to wait" can be done well because by starting out by being rude and telling someone to "shut up" and to "inform themselves" when the vast majority of this model (to an outsider like me anyway) does indeed seem to be quite exploitative, makes you look like an hysterical moron who's opinion shouldn't be taken seriously (I'm assuming you are someone who get a little too emotional over the subject and posted something from a place of passion rather than logic). I don't type this to be mean or lash out but you really did hurt your own argument by lashing out rather then calmly showing examples of the model done right.

Secondly though I would ask the question, Would either of the games you mentioned be any worse of if they removed the timers?

The only response to the uses this business model has been put to is sheer blind indignant rage. You nailed it Jim. These games are an insult.

Well Jim what is so bad in this game type?
It's only going to affect idiots who pay, not you, me or any other sane person.

This would be the right time for a indy studio to create a "cell supervisor, vault guard, torture chamber steward, oubliette superintendent" game. The gamplay consists of little magical beings (gremlins, urchins, devilings) that maintain said structure underground and are guided by a supernatural entity. Switch the chicken for little piglets and we are set.

It's a free market Jim. With the outcry created by EA this game gets much free publicity. Don't get to upset about idiots and their games, you will live longer.

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