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Reader Comments (58)

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:08AM (Unverified) said

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One thing is for sure: even making Aion F2P won't save NCsoft.

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 10:11AM (Unverified) said

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NCWest is busy blaming the players for Aion's balance problems, ignoring the bugs and design flaws, and playing around with ugly tiger outfits. But what can they do, the only actual devs are in Korea and apparently NCWest is still "slowly opening communications" with their parent company; guess nobody in Korea speaks English?

NCSoft just closes stuff down, they never admit to major problems with their games. Even some Guild Wars staff seem to have that attitude, sadly, talking about how much better the German players are because they don't complain, like the North American players do.
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Posted: Aug 1st 2010 5:16PM (Unverified) said

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Well, unrelated to Aion/NCsoft, Americans are very good at complaining. :x
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Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:19PM (Unverified) said

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Drifting completely off topic....

Americans (I can say this, as I'm one) probably do complain more than others. But I think I'd rather live with complainers, than those willing to put up with anything no matter how badly they are treated, especially when they are paying for something and that something has problems, problems that could be fixed fairly easily, but the company just couldn't care less about the customers, let alone their own products.

Sadly, that is now the norm. Doesn't seem to matter what industry it is these days, the people running things don't care about their own customers. If anything, they see the customers as "the enemy".

That said, I'm pretty tired of the people in this country, and I'd move to Japan if they didn't have earthquakes (always wanted to learn the language). So, just how bad are winters in Sweden these days? They don't have earthquakes there, right? :)
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Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 11:32AM BigAndShiny said

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lol, Guild Wars 2 will do so well, that even if every single player left every one of ncsoft west's other games, they would still turn a profit.
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Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 11:41AM (Unverified) said

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I agree, JH.

I wish ArenaNet would get a different publisher, but that's never gonna happen since Anet is part of NCwest now.
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Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:14AM (Unverified) said

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WAR will be next. I wish SWG would go F2P you hear me Sony??? Then in about a year AoC.

I personally don't think f2p is bad and anyway no games have gone f2p they are all going free to try (ftt) or gimped to play (gtp) as with LOTRO.

If a cash shop of sorts means more development and bug squashing (yes AoC I am looking at you) then I am for it but then I can afford it. I would buy sparkle ponies for the games I like there I said it, having said that I would probably buy full T3 armour if a cash shop sold it, but that's just me.

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:13AM pcgneurotic said

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I think it's a given that if EQ2E works well enough, other SOE titles will follow suit, although whether just as straight conversions a la DDO or as spin-off servers a la EQ2E, I can't say. You'd think they could convert their other titles quite easily - EQ, VG and SWG could all be DDO'd nicely.

I'd personally love to see CoX do it, it might at least mitigate some of the attitude that the engine and graphics are getting long in the tooth. STO would be a good candidate... but really I think we could say *anything* would work better as some kind of F2P. If a game has an embedded, loyal community full of prejudices about the F2P model, just 'Extend' it. Otherwise, just convert the whole damn shooting match over DDO style.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 4:08AM pcgneurotic said

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You've got a point there, but you have to think of it like this: whilst a lot os us EQ2 regulars will be rolling Extended characters as well, the whole shooting match is designed to be approached by Norrathian virgins. If these lovely, fluffy newbs were that concerned about the pricing and so on, they'd go full sub over on the legacy servers after trying it out first F2P style. Which in my view is the ultimate prize for all EQ2 players - fresh blood for us grizzled vets to play with! :D
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Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:27AM reech said

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Star Trek Online. It's perfect for the STO model; it has a partial store already. Buying 'season packs' or 'episode arcs' of missions makes great sense.

I played it for the first month and thought 'grind!' but for an F2P that isn't too bad; you can dive in and out, and you don't feel bad about grabbing the occasional set of extra missions.

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:21AM (Unverified) said

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I would also like to add that I feel free to play is a model is some way ALL mmo's will be adopting to some degree. I can gaurantee all Developers are planning /cinsidering it right now whether they admit it or not. It is the future but there need sto be a shift from crappy Asian mmo's shafting players with cash shops (Allods) to a real working model.

Free to Play is here to stay and it change all mmo's forever.

(SWG to ftp Sony please!)

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:27AM Toggit said

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I've been seeing around the net a lot about the desolation of Vanguard, and how much committed players want to see the game revived. Not only do I want Vanguard to go f2p because I've always wanted to try it, but I'd like to see such a dedicated fan base be rewarded.

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:28AM Valdamar said

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> "(Might we even see them reviving The Matrix Online as a F2P if the profits are really good?)"

I doubt it - Warner Bros wanted SOE to shut Matrix Online down (it was run under licence) and Warner Bros own Turbine now, so I would think that the legal issues would be insurmountable. You'd be more likely to see a new Matrix MMO from Turbine, though no I don't think that is likely either with an old franchise that didn't get that many MMO fans the first time round.

If SOE makes colossal profits from EQ2 F2P then I'd expect most of their games to follow suit eventually - probably Vanguard next as it's declining population would make it a low risk choice for the next "experiment" into F2P to see if the trend continues - there's nothing SOE like quite so much as making wodges of cash - and some games like Planetside could really benefit from being F2P as FPS fans aren't known for wanting to pay a sub when they can just play Battlefield/CoD multiplayer straight out of the box for free.

Though speaking of a game that SOE publish and run servers for, but otherwise have little to do with, I'd expect Pirates of the Burning Sea to be the very next MMO to go F2P.

I don't think WAR/DAoC will go F2P this year - I expect EA will want to see how much money SW:TOR can bring in before making any big decisions, seeing as the existence of the Bioware/Mythic entity that is their MMO department probably rests on it. And for all we know EA are thinking more in terms of multi-MMO subs (like SOE has, but no idea how their move to F2P will affect that) than dipping their toes in the F2P market. If SW:TOR is as successful as WoW, or even close to it, EA won't even need to consider F2P again for at least 5 years, for any of their MMOs.

Likewise I think Funcom will want to see how Secret World performs before considering F2P for Age of Conan (aren't AoC subscriber numbers on the rise anyway?)

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 10:37AM (Unverified) said

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I have serious doubt that NC Soft is going to be making any of their games F2P anytime soon. Especially given that they just killed Exteel. They have a history of cutting all of their games that do not live up to their money making expectations. And they already have a subscription game with a cash shop going, so why would they give up having people pay monthly for City of Heroes when people are perfectly happy paying the $15 a month, plus extra for costume packs, character slots and the like...

I could definitely see SOE doing more F2P games, and if I were them, I'd be looking at Star Wars Galaxies really close. But that announcement will probably come about the same time as Star Wars The Old Republic is released.

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:45AM (Unverified) said

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Champions Online. I heard the population there is dreadfully low

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:50AM BubleFett said

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Vanguard, AoC, Warhammer Online, and I think that Halo mmo when it comes out
should be F2P. Oh yeah you read right, Halo Online. It was in the works.
It was shelved because of the shut down of Ensemble Studios.
I mean where else can this franchise go now to keep it alive. It could be huge!

http://www.incgamers.com/News/21928/cancelled-halo-mmo-details

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:51AM Seffrid said

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In this current phase of the genre, any or all of the subscription games could go F2P before much longer I guess.

Then developers will realise that the switch to F2P or even a hybrid F2P/P2P model has proved a big turn-off for a lot of their existing customers and that it isn't bringing in all the new customers they were looking to attract either, and that coupled with the hit all the existing games will take when FFIV, SW:TOR, GW2, Tera and Rift come along will lead us into the next phase which I predict will be the wider availability of lifetime deals. Developers will realise that they only get one bite at the cherry so they'll try and make that bite as big as they can.

There are too many MMO's these days for any of them to be massively successful in the way that EQ was in the early days, and WoW of course was just a one-off. Most will have to survive on no more than a couple of hundred thousand customers, if that, and large upfront payments will be the only viable way of meeting the development costs which aren't going to get any less, so lifetime deals are the way for the future. SOE are also clearly looking to address the same problem by introducing annual subscriptions payable in advance, although I don't see that being successful without significant discounting.

The genre is going through a series of changes in my view, not just a switch from subscriptions to F2P, and what's driving those changes is the simple fact that there are now too many MMO's cluttering up the market. A good many of the present ones aren't good enough to attract a subscription, which is the other point driving the present F2P move of course!

Ultimately we'll go back to subscriptions but at a higher rate than at present. A lot of the financial pressures developers are under is down to the fact that development costs have raced ahead while subscription rates haven't changed from 10 years ago. Once enough people make it clear that they'd rather have a decent quality game with deep content for a higher subscription than a half-finished game with shallow content and a cash shop the market will adjust and we'll move into the final phase of the changing business model for MMO's.

Posted: Aug 1st 2010 8:58AM (Unverified) said

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With regard to your last part where people are willing to pay for a decent game, well I agree with this and I think this is why many p2p games are going to go f2p as they ARE decent games atm and so fit the move to f2p as there is a in the most part solid game underneath.

I play AoC and would certainly pay more for a awesome-sauce server like EQ2 did.
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Posted: Aug 1st 2010 9:11AM (Unverified) said

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I think you missed the part where F2P saved DDO and made it more of a success then LOTRO. Even though LOTRO was already setting above the 500k subscription mark at the time.

I don't think the F2P (hybrid) model is going to go away anytime soon. The developers have finally seen that us the players want different types of payment options. We want the ability to choose how we pay for the game and this is exactly what we are getting. You like the subscription / monthly fee model? Its still there and you still get everything the monthly fee gives you now. You want to pick and choose exactly what and when you pay for something? That option is there also.

What this new model does mean is that we the players can no longer get ripped off for a large upfront box purchase and then at least a monthly fee hit on top of that for a shady game. This will push developers into having a more polished game up front or risk not getting any players at all.

And as more and more MMO's come into the market the model will continue to evolve from this point. Cause lets face it there are only ever going to be more MMO's from this point on. Every year the number of MMOs coming out seems to double and as more options are there, developers are having to find more ways to hook people to try there game and hopefully buy into there game.
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Posted: Aug 1st 2010 11:26AM Bhima said

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You pretty much hit the nail on the head. Except for the part where you infer that EQ was "massively successful" and WoW was just a "one-off". WoW may be similar to EQ in playstyle (making it a "clone" of sorts), but its success is in far greater magnitude than EQ's ever was or could be. I would argue also that EQ's success was because it was really the only game in town, it had the privilege of drawing RPG gamers into something totally new (UO was way too niche for most gamers, that is why I don't really reference it) without the disadvantage of having any real competition.
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