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Reader Comments (35)

Posted: Aug 21st 2009 8:37PM Dblade said

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They really aren't that good though. I play Mabinogi, which was number 3 on your 5 best F2P list back then, and for every innovation, there's a stumble if not outright gaffe. Things like mispelling basic words like Region, or having bugged abilities that have never been addressed, or horrendous gameplay imbalances.

They can be fun, but I don't think for all the player's I've ever heard anyone describe Maple Story as a classic, or even free realms. (Which has died down from launch here at Massively to near-invisibility.)

Posted: Aug 22nd 2009 7:08AM Krystalle Voecks said

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I sincerely hope you consider trying Dungeons & Dragons Online, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Wizard 101, etc. There are several really good F2P/Freemium games in, or coming to, the market. That's why I feel we're seeing a shift. The games we have now as F2Ps and Freemiums are worlds ahead of where they were just a few years ago. They continue to iterate and evolve, much like any other part of the video games industry.

That said, there are many games that exhibit localization problems, which I'll agree with you is a real black eye when it comes to recommending them. Of course, many Western-based games have glaring typos in them too (City of Heroes, I'm looking at you here) so to be fair, it's a pretty universal problem. :D
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Posted: Aug 25th 2009 12:44PM (Unverified) said

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Actually I've enjoyed lighter F2P/Freemium RPGs. The set of 3 (soon 4) RPGs offered by Artix Entertainment are pretty good for a free player, and their one-time low-cost option for lifetime member status was pretty good. Recently though they have implemented subscription-based membership for one of their games and they seem to really want to move toward a micro-pay system, so I'm not too sure what the future holds for them, but their model was fun for while.
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Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:19PM Averice said

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APB isn't F2P. You still pay for the original game, APB is like Guild Wars, which is completely different.

I cannot see F2P ever eclipsing subscription MMO any time soon. You get a lot more from a game when you pay for it, just like with everything else in life. Updates, patches, customer support, and even security. These are MMO games, you build a character through hours of time. A F2P game will shut its doors at any moment, while a popular subscription MMO will not.

Honestly, your distinction between F2P and Freemium doesn't make a whole lot of sense. A horizontal wall where you can't progress any further, or a vertical wall where you... can't progress any further?! lol. F2P is a game where you can go the entire breadth of the game without transferring any cash. Freemium is a game where you must pay in order to gain access to the breadth of the game. F2P offers items like XP boost scrolls, and IRL currency exchange for in game currency. Freemium lets you get to higher levels or unlocks classes that are better than what non payers get.

Maybe it's just Western thought process. But the concept of paying for every little piece separately sounds horrible, while paying for the freedom to use the whole thing at once, you know, the thing that you've bought, feels right.

I have yet to play a single F2P or Freemium game, and I've played a lot, that can hold a candle to any good subscription MMO. Even AoC in its first month, broken as it was, was astronomically better than any of these "free" games have ever been.

If MMO companies want to entice people into paying for their games, all they have to do is offer a free trial, like most of them already do. Oh yeah, and make a good game. It's honestly no different from enticing people to play your non MMO game, just look at the generated buzz from the Arkham Asylum demo. People who would never have thought to pick up that game have now started making pre-orders.

Blizzard could make their next MMO F2P, just because they have the money to make it quality enough to actually be worth spending more than 2 hours on, but honestly they have no reason to and I hope that they don't. I wouldn't mind if they offered an pay by played hour subscription option such as iRO used back in the day. Just look at WoW, it's about accessability. The game is not about having to hook up your credit card every 10 minutes in order to experience something new, it's about playing in an immersive world. What would Blizzard gain from making their game F2P? Nothing.

Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:29PM Brendan Drain said

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I think you're getting at the same points as the article but explaining it in a different way.

When you say an F2P game allows you to access the entire breadth of the game, that's what the article calls a horizontal wall. You can access everything in the game (under the wall) for free but you can pay cash to do it better with xp potions etc. And when you say Freemium is a game where you have to pay to access the breadth of the game, that's what the article calls a vertical wall. Where there are barriers and you can't access all the game without paying like not being able to get past a certain level or access a certain zone.
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Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:42PM Averice said

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The article says that F2P is like "whacking your head against the glass ceiling that keeps you away from the coolest stuff." I disagree with that statement. I believe that in F2P there is no glass ceiling, you still have access to all the coolest stuff. It just may take you a lot longer. My example of Freemium can be used to better explain my stance here as well. When I said that in a Freemium model you can pay to access classes that are better than what everyone else has access to, in a F2P model you can pay to access classes that are different, but are made to be just as equal as all the other classes.
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Posted: Aug 22nd 2009 7:42AM Krystalle Voecks said

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We're making some slightly different distinctions in the terms, but by and large you and I agree. It sounds like you're just disputing the terms horizontal and vertical, which is fine. I simply use the two for ease of reference.

For example, FusionFall's Freemium model: In FusionFall, you can play everything in FutureEarth. All the race/instanced 3d platforming content, all the regular nano-killing, all the quests in that area, all the travel modes, all the clothing, all the pets, etc. are yours - for the first few levels. After that, you hit a wall. You are essentially given two options: you can idle in the first part of the game, grinding whatever little things you didn't already get in leveling up (maybe win a few races or pick up alternate clothing options/weapons that didn't drop) but that's it. You can't level your character further, you can't use extended chat, and you can't leave that area. The wall is essentially in front of you, stopping your forward momentum. The rest of the story is blocked until you pay to get past it. Thus, I say it's a vertical wall, stopping linear progression.

In F2P games, you can wander the entire map, you can do some of the quests, get some of the items, maybe rent a mount on occasion, have a basic house with basic furnishings, and wear basic outfits. There is no limit, save endgame, that's really in your way in a F2P if you don't mind putting in the grind-time to achieve it. Now, if you want fancier clothing, permanent mounts, bigger bags, more classes/jobs to choose from, more bank space, a nicer house, potions to give you extra speed or faster xp gains, better armor/weapons, etc. (depending on how the game is structured) you'll drop money in the item mall. You can have the basic starter levels, but anything above that - thus a horizontal layer - you have to pay for.

Also, keep in mind that "good" is subjective. What's good to me in terms of subscription games - currently EVE Online - is as boring as watching snails racing to other people. I'll openly admit like many of the F2P games I've spent time in, because my idea of fun is exploring new things and checking out interesting innovations. Ultimately, I'm a strategy nut, so if there's something in your game that requires me to think three steps ahead and plan, plan, plan, I'll probably love it. You may think that's boring, which is entirely cool. Luckily, there's room in the genre for both of us - and our own tastes in what's "good."

Mind you, I still think someone will put out a F2P or Freemium game in time that will change your mind. ;) I'm an optimist like that.
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Posted: Aug 22nd 2009 9:52AM Averice said

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Good is subjective, you're right. I've always felt that F2P had a slightly different definition then the one you gave, but as you say in your article, all of that's still being defined anyway even among those in the industry making these F2P games.

I'm glad that Eve has a trial out, but I haven't tested it out yet. If CCP can pull off the xbox merge concept then... that will mean a lot for the future of MMO's.

I love strategy games, that's actually one of the only other genre's I play. I do get bored of them after the winning strategy has been figured out though. I actually had to return the latest Total War game it was so bug ridden. It's one thing to play against the system, it's another to have the system full of holes making random impossibilities.

TBH, the most interest I've garnered into possibly playing Eve Online came from Zero Punctuation review of it where he compared Eve players to "high powered business men..." I don't like sci fi much though. If you haven't seen it, it's a rather funny review.

But that's just it, Eve is another subscription game, and I feel that there is no way CCP could have pulled off what they did by following a F2P model. The only way I can see a F2P game making it big within the next decade is if they are made by an established company like CCP or Blizzard, and even then I think their best business model would involve a F2P option tied in with a subscription option. F2P games just don't offer enough quality content.
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Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:19PM elocke said

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Yeah, F2P can be fun....for about one night. Then I just don't get the desire to play them after that.

Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:41PM Floweringmind said

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Maybe you guys have never played Runes of Magic, but it is awesome! You will see more game go in this direction. The reason why is that you make way more off Micropayments than you do off a monthly subscription. People tend to spend way more than $15 a month of buy goodies for their characters. This also bypasses the problem of gold sellers. A user would rather buy it through the game than from some unknown person in Asia.

Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:44PM Averice said

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Couldn't stand it. Terrible graphics, no weight behind the characters, slippery controls, and honestly that's as far as I got. As Rob Pardo points out in the link in the article, the F2P method just would not have supported what they were going out to accomplish. F2P can support bad games, it can't support the good ones.
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Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:35PM (Unverified) said

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Maybe it's just me, but the lack of coverage may be because the A18-34 still aren't sold on the free model. Or are still playing WoW.

>>for every innovation, there's a stumble if not outright gaffe.
Again, maybe just me, but this is practically par for the course in MMO's, free or pay. As much as it's fun to wonder what the next wave of MMO's will play like, I'd rather have a game that's quality-assured out of the box than a nifty twist.

Posted: Aug 21st 2009 11:57PM Dblade said

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Joemello it's not the same. I'm talking stuff that is basic. It's hard to explain without doing a huge list, but it's stuff you take for granted in sub games.

Like misspellings. Mabi has a tickertape announcing events that pops up on screen, and virtually every time its up something is wrong with it. Simple things you think would take little effort to correct in localization, like a programming variable instead of the winning guild's name in the guild battle, or not skipping what exactly is being held in channel 4 emain macha instead of truncating it.

Or support shot. It's an ability that does not work, has never been fixed, and is still there. The devs do nothing with it at all, if even to remove it.

It's cheap stuff other sub MMOs would fix in a patch, but the f2p mmo doesn't care about, they care more about putting new things in the shop that we don't even need.
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Posted: Aug 21st 2009 9:56PM (Unverified) said

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Runes of Magic looks better than some subscription games. If ROM looks terrible to someone who plays WOW, its just the bias talking. If WOW is a 7 on a scale of 1-10 , ROM is a 6 maybe.

Posted: Aug 21st 2009 10:05PM Floweringmind said

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Well it doesn't really matter if you couldn't stand the game. It has over a million registered users. Lets say half of those are playing and 1/5 of those actually buy $10 or more a month. Then they are making at least $100,000 a month.

Free Realms by Sony has over 3 million users. Fusion Fall by the Cartoon Network has over 4 million users.

Those numbers blow away most MMOs that currently charge a fee unless you are talking about WOW which is around 9 million users, but they have their game in multiple languages and countries.

So you really your comment about it not being able to support good MMOs it just plain wrong.

Posted: Aug 22nd 2009 9:14AM Averice said

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F2P can support faux MMO games, or just bad ones, that have been cheaply made and aren't worth wasting time on. F2P doesn't provide the same support, security, content, drive, quality, etc. that a subscription MMO can provide. In order for a F2P to generate that kind of cash they'd basically have to turn their game into a subscription game anyway.

Perhaps I'm just looking for more from an MMO than a single player experience that involves doing quests forever. Mini games? If you like mini games then Free Realms is great. I don't see how they could think to charge for an MMO that does nothing more than put together a bunch of flash games into one place. Is there really even any MMO interactivity in Free Realms besides kart racing and showing off what you've managed to collect while doing everything solo?

There's nothing wrong with Free Realms. It does what it set out to do using a F2P system because that's all that's needed to support it. Honestly, the game would flop if it was subscription based because it doesn't offer what one would expect from a subscription based MMO. It would have never garnered all the attention it did if it hadn't been free in the first place.

So yes, my comment about F2P not being able to support a good MMO is right. We just have a different concept of what a "good" MMO is. I have yet to find a single good F2P or Freemium MMO. All an MMO has to do to be good is make me want to login and play.
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Posted: Aug 21st 2009 10:25PM Pingles said

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Free Realms is clever and I like their pay model. $5 a month to unlock all jobs. They have SC cash for buying stuff but as a cheapskate I don't spend any SC cash and am enjoying the game just fine without spending anything beyond my monthly fee.

Posted: Aug 22nd 2009 1:12AM (Unverified) said

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I used to try a lot of f2p games and now I just don't even bother with the download and install. I've yet to try one that even remotely resembles the quality of a true p2p mmo, and yes I've tried Runes of Magic and Atlantica online.

Posted: Aug 22nd 2009 1:37AM Floweringmind said

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Dude talking to you is like talking to a table.

Posted: Aug 22nd 2009 9:52AM Averice said

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I'm sorry that you lack basic reading comprehension skills then.
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