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Posted: Mar 30th 2010 5:49PM (Unverified) said

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I'd love to play free to play games, however I have two problems.

1.Someone needs to create a free to play that works on macs. Of those you listed only Runescape works on Macs.

2. Most free to plays seem to restrict their user base to US only or Asia only. Being in Australia this means we miss out quite often.

I (and my child) played Maple Story and Free Realms back when we had a Windows box and they were great games. Its just a shame that they weren't developed for Mac users as well. I guess that is where Pay to Play or Subscription based games such as World of Warcraft win out. It might cost me money but at least I can play on my mac.

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 5:55PM Beau Hindman said

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Ah, yes. The ole Mac issue. On that point, Kim actually recently said that they would not be bringing any Nexon games to Macs. :( Sorry about that. Aren't there ways for you to "fake" a Windows environment on your Mac?

Beau

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 6:19PM (Unverified) said

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Mac OSX comes with 'Bootcamp' built in.
It effectively means you can run Windows natively.

I've been using it for years - works faultlessly for every MMO I've ever played.

Info:
http://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp/
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1461
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Posted: Mar 30th 2010 6:43PM agitatedandroid said

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Beau, don't get us started (too late).

The problem with a PC isn't the the technology. It's the operating system. I'm terribly sorry you've never seen this but the Windows environment is flawed fundamentally from most OS X user's perspectives.

Telling a Mac person to, "just use Bootcamp" to play games isn't far off from telling a left handed person to write with their right hand. They might be able to do it but it just feels really wrong.

And the excuse that its just not worth the development time looks silly when you consider that City of, WoW, Eve, WAR and now even the indie Fallen Earth all have clients on the Mac. Soon we'll also have Valve jumping on board.

And, really, if you want to make money why aren't you trying to sell your product to people that, according to some, have nothing but money to waste on what the troll right after me will call overly expensive computers?
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Posted: Mar 30th 2010 6:25PM Seffrid said

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"He pointed out that many subscription based developers might have to start giving more bang for a player's buck in order to keep up with the new, higher quality games that are coming from the FTP market."

Can anyone put forward a FTP title that matches, let alone exceeds, the depth and overall quality of subscription-based games? I rather doubt it, they're all shallow PvP-oriented grindfests, and what's more they're all monotonously identical to each other both in terms of graphic style (cutesy anime or cartoony WoW) and gameplay. The only original ones are Guild Wars and DDO Unlimited.

Sorry to hear about Australians not being able to access them, no doubt due to the Western-based games wanting to limit IP access by region, but they are all readily accessible in Europe, more's the pity as they take away people who would otherwise bolster the better PTP games.

I can't help thinking that the bubble is about to burst on F2P, people will eventually recognise that you don't get much in return for nothing, and to get a lot you end up paying a lot more than a monthly subscription would cost you. Also, the degree of competition among near-identical games is fast becoming unsustainable.

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 7:42PM Beau Hindman said

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Sef:

On a technical note, if you re-read what you quoted, notice that he that he is talking about games "coming out"...meaning that are coming down the pipe, specifically the new Nexon.

As far as examples that exist currently that have the same depth and quality as sub-based MMOs, this depends on your opinion generally BUT these titles do it: Free Realms, Wizard 101, Mabinogi, Allods, Anarchy Online, Myst Online Uru, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Runes of Magic, and many others. The more important question should be "What sub-based games have MORE quality than FTP titles?" I think you would agree that there are players that would point to your favorite sub games and laugh at the suggestion that they have much depth or quality.

Graphically, the games are not all identical, that is just not true. Again, the question would be "How many sub games are not identical, graphically, to each other?"

Point being, you can find gripes, stereotypes and flaws (as well as gems) in both payment models.

Beau
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Posted: Mar 30th 2010 6:28PM TheRealStupid said

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I'm a long-time MMO player who started playing online back in the late 1980s - pre-internet even! I watched the industry go from hourly fees (it was more than $6/ hour when I first started playing these things), to flat monthly fees, and now to a micro-transaction model.

When monthly fees were first instituted, there wasn't nearly as much outcry as the micro-transaction push-back, but I think that might have simply been because there were fewer online gamers back then. And the companies who where developing and publishing what passed for an MMO in the late 1980s and early 1990s were dealing with such a rabid bunch of players/customers that they pretty much could ignore require you to send in a pint of blood every six weeks and we would have capitulated. After all, the "average" online gamer (back then) was online for fewer than 20 hours each month but still paid over $100 (per month) for that privilege.

When my current "for pay" MMO of choice starts to lose it's luster, I turn to the free-to-play market. There are quite a few unsung gems out there that the 12M strong WoW fanbase probably has never heard of. Right now, today, there are probably more than 100 different F2P MMOs operational. Granted, 90% of them are asian-inspired grind-fests, but even if only one in ten is worth playing for longer than 8 hours, that still leaves around a dozen high-quality, entertaining and outright fun games that 99% of the MMO playerbase has never heard of or would dismiss out of hand, sight unseen.

And that's a shame.

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 7:14PM Gaugamela said

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I don't think that people avoid f2p's just because they're free.

It's because of the purely idiotic gameplay mechanics that are created to force people to spend cash, the lack of restriction mechanics implemented by the developers to prevent players that spend hundreds of dollars to become godlike whilst others lag behind not because they're worse but because they spend less and the "confusion" made by the developers when creating shops with macrotransactions instead of microtransactions.
And we can't also forget the worser support, the much worse communication with the playerbase (heck they are playing for frree why should the devs listen to them?) and yes, the bigger prevalence of bots and spammers (there's worse support so these are more prevalent and if you haven't seen that in f2p's i don't know which ones you were playing).

There's some decent free to plays in the market but didn't you notice the trend that most of the successfull ones give you the option to subscribe to the game, thus limiting the amount you spend per month to a reasonable limit?

Trying to implement a pure cash shop model with no soft limits on how much you spend to be competitive and balance the game around that is what hurts those games more.
If some of these developers/publishers implemented subscription options in their game and developed their games without worrying so much about a stable influx of cash the game woould be much better. Just look at Wizard 101, DDO or Fusion Fall (although this one changed to a cash shop model).

And Beau please, don't become the preacher in Massively about how amazing free to plays are. DDon't be that hypocrite that acts like he is educating the masses and doesn't points out the flaws in the model.

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 7:29PM J Brad Hicks said

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You lost me at FreeRealms. You're over a year behind in your news if you think that FreeRealms allows free players to participate in the endgame; FeeRealms now caps all non-subscription characters at level 5, and a level 5 character is worse than worthless, an actual liability, in a level 20 instance.

I have nothing against F2P games as a genre. I just haven't found one yet that holds my interest for more than about a week. For me, personally, scratch all the fantasy games; I got bored with D&D, and similar settings, back in 1979. Show me an F2P game in a science fiction, hardboiled detective, or historical and I will absolutely give it a try, as I did with Puzzle Pirates and Requiem: Bloodymare, and Remnants of Starstone is on my bookmarks list to poke at some time this week. I considered picking up FusionFall, but as someone who doesn't watch Cartoon Network, I didn't expect to relate to the characters or the setting, it looks from here like an inside joke that I wasn't meant to get.

But looking back at what the ones that I have tried, I just couldn't get past how cheap and out of date Puzzle Pirates felt; are will still playing isometric-view games in 2010? I'll probably have the same problem with Starstone being a side-scroller, and a pretty low rez one at that. Bloodymare had up-to-date art, but the game play and game mechanics dragged me all the way back to 2003.

And nobody has answered me yet this question: without a predictable revenue stream, how is any F2P game going to keep the programmers, story writers, and artists on staff to ever add anything NEW to the game, at least in a timely manner? That, to me, is the one thing that the subscription model adds to an MMO that no F2P game can match: regular updates (except for Runequest, because Jagex was just THAT smart in how they built their development tools, too bad the setting bores me). The subscription model gives me something close to a whole new game, a sequel to a game I love, into which I can carry my character from the earlier game, every 1 to 4 months. What F2P MMO other than Runequest can say that?

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 7:53PM Beau Hindman said

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Brad: Despite the fact that you can play a good part (depending on your goals, of course) of Free Realms for absolutely free, I never said that you could play all of the game for free. To clarify, I said that "most" could be played until even the end game, which is true.

Remember, there are many many more FTP games out there then any NA player has ever seen. And most players in the world actually play in FTP/hybrid model games making the sub model the minority.

Even just looking at the NA market, though, you will find most can be played for free. Here we have many more FTP games than we do sub-model games, and many of those have been around for years and have done pretty good.

As far as regular updates to FTP games, it just depends on the game. I was actually going to write another article comparing the update schedules of FTP games to their PTP counterparts. Trust me, many of them get an update just as frequently as PTP games, if not more in some cases. Remember, though, to compare it the other way: how many NA sub-based games receive regular substantial updates?

Beau
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Posted: Mar 30th 2010 7:52PM (Unverified) said

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I got to say one of the most fun MMORPGs I have played in a while was Earth Eternal. I am not quite sure why its so fun (a closet furry me? ugh) but it was great.

As a freelance writer bootcamp is a great. It means I can't play games on my "work" OS so I tend to do all my work then switch to Bootcamp to play.

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 7:57PM EdmundDante said

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There's is almost too much competition now. If I've payed for a game, or have currently two mmo monthly subscriptions going - I want to get the most out of these subscription/games - and that takes time and regular play. I still have Mass Effect on my hard drive that I haven't finished, AND Dragon Age I barely started.

Of the MMOs I play - the most rewarding for me is depth of play, getting involved in my toons and building or creating the gameplay I want - if it's for example, a sandbox type game like Eve Online. Just jumping from game to game upon every release doesn't do it for me.



Posted: Mar 30th 2010 8:41PM (Unverified) said

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I think it's the fact that some of the more prominent F2P MMOs tend to be mostly "few quests, lots of monster killing" grind that makes people lump them all in the same boat. Good examples are Runescape, Mabinogi, and Maple Story. (Seriously? Kill 100 boars as a quest?)

But there is some fun to be had in the F2P MMOs. One of the best experiences i had was with the beta and early Mabinogi, sitting around a campfire in the middle of a field just chatting and playing music while dangerous wolves circled around was rather neat and felt rather community oriented. I wonder why more people don't try them out, i'm sure some of them would give some of the sub MMOs some decent competition if they were more well received.

An example of what i mean would be Aika. I've had fun with it so far (although at just level 13 out of 50, i've got a good while to go) and the end game seems (pvp-wise, need to look into pve-wise) to consist of organizing raids to steal relics (special items which provide a boost of some sort, from xp gain to cooldown reduction to skill damage to dealing damage to players of other countries) from other countries or just plain robbing from their treasuries of gold and items to make the relics better. The only things i can see holding it back from being popular is that it's F2P and that the classes are gender-locked (3 of 6 classes are male, and the other 3 (including both healer classes) are female.) but other than that from what i can tell the world pvp ideas look like they could give AoC or WAR pvp a run for their money.

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 9:03PM (Unverified) said

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They need to realize that freemium is the optimal model. During that free time, that F2P character is FREE CONTENT for the paying players. They are filling up the servers, energizing the game economy with low-level items and item purchases, filling out groups, etc. These are all things that the game needs to keep working.

Without them, you're in a battle to keep existing subscribers on your servers so that they don't get into that downward spiral where people log in, see very few people online, and log back out 'cause there's nobody to play with (which is where a lot of the waste-your-life-grinding crud comes from - that's not by accident). With them, you've got a volunteer playerbase that's keeping the game alive for the subscribers and providing a source of new subscribers.

Posted: Mar 30th 2010 10:43PM (Unverified) said

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All F2P means to me is that a good portion of the game is going to suck and the good content is going to be controlled by people with deep pockets (especially where PvP is concerned).

There's nothing wrong with subscriptions. The reason people don't like most subscription based MMOs is because you have spend a good chunk of change ($40+ usually) just to see if you even LIKE the game. Then you have to pay for expansions if you want new content.

I really don't get why the industry can't figure this out. I mean, have you noticed just HOW MANY different types of broken F2P payment models there are? It's like everyone's groping around in the dark hoping to get hold of something that works.

Pathetic.

Posted: Mar 31st 2010 2:38AM (Unverified) said

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Broken F2P models?

oh you mean Zynga? Playfish?

wait do you mean Habbo Hotel? Allods Online?Puzzle Pirates?

No no you must mean Club Penguin. Or Fusionfall.

Ahh...you must mean Dungeon & Dragons Online.

Or essentially any current Gamevil, ngmoco game? (ok 99 cents but that's due to App store policy)

Yup all broken. groping around. *rolls eyes*

Posted: Mar 31st 2010 9:26AM (Unverified) said

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Exactly. These aren't cases of companies "groping around", these are cases of companies trying to see what works for their fanbase. Some F2P games have a fanbase that is perfectly OK with Cash = End-Game Viable, No Cash=Not EndGame Viable (Runes of Magic was like this right when it came out of beta). What happens in these cases is someone gets bent out of shape about it, posts about it in every blog that ever mentions the game, and people just assume 1) the game is not worth playing and 2) that all F2P games are like that. This is not the case for every game, and even in the case of Runes of Magic, once people actually started downing the big bosses, their gear got good enough to where they didn't need a fully decked out cash shop team to down bosses.

There's a lot of psychology involved in cash shops, too, especially in the American market. There are huge numbers of American players who want nothing more than to see their name at #1 in the list of "Top Badasses Who Ever Played The Game". However, when they hear that someone spent $5,000 in the cash shop and now has a godly decked-out character, they say to themselves, "I won't play this game now because I'm not about to spent $5,000 to reach my goal of Top Badass Who Ever Played The Game." And when other people find out about Mister Five Thousand they say to themselves (and on other blogs), "Well it must be the case that he spent $5,000 in the cash shop because that is what it takes to play the game at the highest level."

As many sensible people will tell you though, just because you spent $5,000 on your character, doesn't mean you know how to play it!
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Posted: Mar 31st 2010 6:26PM (Unverified) said

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Hey, this is Larias, one of the Emissaries of the League for League of Legends (www.leagueoflegends.com). There *are* games, such as LoL, that do not require money - ever. Literally, you can have EVERYTHING in the game without paying a dime. You are never at a disadvantage against people who decide to pay. Those who pay get cool stuff like special skins for their champions, but they do not gain any in-game benefits at all.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Posted: Mar 31st 2010 7:03PM Beau Hindman said

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Thanks for mentioning it! I think we could find a lot of games that work the same way, so thanks for pointing it out.

Beau
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Posted: Mar 31st 2010 10:21PM (Unverified) said

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Hello, I am also a player of League of Legends. I want to confirm what Larias said, you can get everything in the game without paying and you don't require endless months of grind to be able to beat people who pay.

LoL is a MOBA, anyone who played the mod DotA on Warcraft 3 should give it a try, so does everyone who never played a MOBA, just give it a spin for a few games, it's free!

LoL, basically, is a game in which you are a Summoner with a level(Up to level 30), it plays in games, in which you have to destroy the enemy nexus, these games last from 30-60 minutes(And the new map Twisted Treeline that was just released takes 15-40 minutes). In each game, you get to select a Champion to fight for you, each Champion has it's own set of abilities.

There is 47 different champions in League of Legends, each one needs to be unlocked either by paying cash or with Influence Points(Which you earn by playing), about 25 champions can be unlocked within 15 victories, once you unlock a champion, you have it forever to play. And each week, there is a rotation of 10 champions that are free for the week, this rotation changes every week.

Also, cheaper champions are not weaker, just simpler, price is based on the difficulty of the champion. All the other champions take 30 victories to buy and a very few ones take 60. But most essential champions are the cheap ones.

I mentionned Influence Points, the good thing, is that Riot encourages Casual Play, each day, your first victory gives you double the Influence Points and Experience Points(For your summoner level)! And to encourage winning, winning gives more IP/EXP than losing.

Your summoner, in a Diablo/WoW-ish fashion, also have mastery trees, they affect your champion in the game and you gain one point to input in them per level. There is also rune pages, in which you input runes of your choice that give minor bonuses. You have to pay Influence Points to buy runes, but you cannot buy runes with cash. There is 30 runes in the grid, one slot unlocks at each level and a rune can cost 1-4 Victories of IP to buy(The most powerful versions). Like the champions, once you buy a rune, you have it forever.

The only things people can buy with money is champion unlocks, cosmetics for the champions and IP/EXP boosts which I assure, are not necessary to play; I got from level 1 to level 30 in less than 3 weeks without any boost, most people who play for free are pretty much able to buy a full Final Tier rune page at Level 30 considering they didn't waste all their Influence Points buying only champions.

If you want to buck in for the game though, there is the Collector's Pack which is 30$, it gives you 20 champions unlocked from the get-go, 10$ of Riot Points(The game's cash currency) and an exclusive skin for one champion! Then you can buy the Champion Bundle which is an additional 15$ if you have the 10$ in the Collector's Pack which unlocks 20 other champions.

Anyway, League of Legends is one of the best free games out there, it gets updated very often, has a dedicated staff and a nice community which the staff partakes in. If you doubt it, just give it a spin and I promise you will like it :) . I have personally decided to support Riot Games in their free game endeavor and bought both the Collector's Pack and the Champion Bundle.

www.leagueoflegends.com
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