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Reader Comments (46)

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 4:36PM Brianna Royce said

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I am always flabbergasted by this argument. How is a game that rewards time-invested in any way equal? You are conflating equality and fairness, as so many do, across so many philosophies.

It may be *fair* to set up a game so that everyone's time is weighted equally, but players cannot logically be *equal* when each brings a different amount of time to that game. Like it or not, one of the things offered by these sorts of pay-for-power games is an equality -- a conversion between time and money, so that those with less of one or the other can still participate, spending either time or money or both to compete... to stay equal.

I've never understood why time must be the sole measure of a player's power, although I understand why people with lots of time but little money might think so. There are good reasons to support P2P over F2P and vice versa, but this isn't one.
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Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 4:29PM Ocho said

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"LOTRO is the supposed oddball here, due to most industry folk assuming that it was one of the healthiest sub-based games (if not the healthiest) not named World of Warcraft. Obviously, though, it wasn't healthy enough."

I'm curious. Do you have real figures to support the "obvious" claim? Can't a game just decide to go F2P even if its still posting a profit? Even if you were making money, wouldn't you want to switch to a business model that made you MORE money? Its true, DDO was going down the tubes. Too many sword and magic MMO's out there. F2P saved it, that can't be denied. But did they learn instead that its just a better business model? It not only saved it, it revived it to the point it outshines other MMO's.

In the long run I see it this way... I love MMO's. I really do. Do I want to shell out $45/month to play them? No. Is any one Really great to grab me to play exclusively? No.

Will I try DDO and throw some money at it now that its F2P? Yes. Will I try EQ2, where I never would have before, and throw some money their way because they are F2P? Yes.

Something tells me that most people are thinking along these same lines. Not all games will change, and thats okay, it keeps the Flex pay and Sub markets seperate. Will I most likely keep a sub game along with these F2P? Absolutely. But to not waste money, I'll only pick one.

I see where you're coming from, but you're putting me, a newlywed, entry-level job, doing alright enough to still play games but not looking to waste money guy into the same group of "childish and immature freeloading players just out to troll with Chuck Norris jokes". I am not one of them, nor I'm sure are a lot of people who think the same.


Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 4:39PM (Unverified) said

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Amen Mike, well said. Opinions on the system can come and go, but to write 'obvious' or making broad assumptions it should be backed up by fact.

I'm not in the troll crowd either, just don't always have the time to justify a monthly charge to basically 'upkeep' my character. Having diversity in payment options is definitely a good thing as much as inviting more players to play with.

I'm not too sure how the separate server idea with EQ2 will go though.
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Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 5:34PM Jef Reahard said

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You're right, "obvious" was the wrong word choice since that is my conjecture. Is it possible that LOTRO was wildly successful and just decided to switch?

Yeah, but I don't find it very likely. I'm sure it has cost them a fair amount of money (not to mention development time that could've gone toward paid expansions) to make the F2P conversion, particularly since LOTRO didn't lend itself to the change quite as well as DDO did (it was a much bigger, more wide open world, whereas DDO is tailor-made to be parceled out in chunks).

It was a gamble, just like DDO was a gamble, and generally corporations are pretty conservative when it comes to taking risks with their money. Gambling generally goes hand in hand with desperation unless you're just made of money (which Turbine apparently wasn't before being bought out). So, no, I don't think LOTRO was doing as well as everyone assumed it was.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 8:33AM Ocho said

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It is true that the latest expansion offered pretty much nothing in comparison to what Mines of Moria did. And the fact I was able to (during a special) purchase the game, along with both expansions, and a months worth of play for $9.99... is a little rediculously low priced. The gameworld itself felt a little empty, but thats probably because I was still in the lower levels. Beginning areas are okay, mid-game areas empty, endgame areas are filled... like every other game thats been out a long time.

So there are signs that the game isn't doing as well as they probably want it to... Turbine did had some layoffs in Dec of 2008. But one can argue the latest expansion is lacking because programming efforts were going into the F2P transition, and to expect things to progress much more steadily now.

Overall, I think there are points on both sides. Why would Turbine be acquired by Warner Bros., including all the game rights to LotRO, if the game was a sinking ship? That wouldn't make good business sense... It may not have been as profitable as expected (heck, when WoW owns pretty much everything, even having as good a market share as LotRO does is pretty impressive), but it had to at least been steady to make a good acquisition bait.

I'm just rambling now. I see where you're coming from, but I feel the issue is certainly not as black and white as most people are making it out to be. Keep up the good work, man. Its tough getting through my day without the articles. :)
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Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 4:55PM Bladerunner83 said

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Monthly sub. models will never die. There will be hundreds of Free to Pay games, but they will never match up to the quality of AAA games. Its nice to get a taste of the game before you buy it, but how in the world do you expect a company to come out with a AAA game for free?
Wall Street Journal anounce Starcraft 2 cost 100mil to make, which is not a MMO, but quickly retracted that and announce that it was the budget for WoW. With a number hitting 11mil payed sub base, the most obvious answer to the MMO gaming is, give us quality or forget it.
Times are hard for some right now, with the unemployment rampent and jobs scares, but Free to Pay games bring a community unwanted, like throwing a cock in a hen house. Not saying all Free to Pay moochers are all bad, but a select majority have no respect for other people, as they tend to ruin a good experience. When you pay for somthing, (unless your a child and someone is paying for you), you tend to have more respect for what you maintain and earn. Well now with all the Free to Pay drama, I can log into some server for free and become a total jerk, go clear some lower level areas so paying customers can't complete their quests and blab on the gobal chat saying things young people shouldn't read. Now if only I had some money to buy those potions i need to keep going further in the game, or some new armor from one of those item malls. Hell if I didnt have the money to do that, what else is there to do other than annoy other people.
EQ2 was on a downward slope, it could have been like DAoC and held a cult collection of people. It is like a top hit song poplular one week and not even on the chart the next week, people had their fill. They saw what it had to offer and now its day is done, SOE is trying to make it that top song again, or at least hit the charts. Open it up to more people so they dont have to pay, then show them things they have to pay for and there you go you got a pay model. Good luck sony, you should have just stuck with TVs, and radios.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 3:21PM (Unverified) said

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I completely disagree, I have been playing a lot of F2P lately and every single one of them has had an equal or better community than the sub based games I have played in the past.

In fact the worst community I have ever seen is in a sub game, not a single F2P game I have ever played could hold a candle to how horrible the community is in the game that shall remain nameless.
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Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 7:57PM breezer said

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TLDR:

"Well...well...well they didn't even say it was better, they're just doing it cuz they have to... And the big titles are still P2P so there! Subs are still better.

Not that I care, it doesn't affect me. But I was still right all along!"

Typical air of superiority and unwillingness to adapt, but this time with over-defensiveness.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 5:28PM Araxes said

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Nice article.

All I can say at this point is that we'll have to see where it all goes.

I don't like the idea of segregated servers any more than I like the idea of segregated populations in real life.

It's just asinine to separate people -- you have far more opportunity to grow and expand when everyone is unified, even though you also have more potential for drama and stupid-ness. (Just as in RL!)

But we shall see how things evolve.

I think at this point the fear on the part of many veterans, like myself, is that our Live servers and the game as we know it will simply fade away, and we will be forced to either "adapt" a model we never asked for.

I personally would much rather we simply have ALL players on the CURRENT servers ... those who want to buy their way up -- fine, go ahead -- but me I want to pay my 15 per month and be done with it, as I always have. No limits, no restrictions. Work for what I earn.

I mean would you rather be on salary? Or would you rather be paid by the hour? Hmmm.

Same principle, here.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 6:33PM (Unverified) said

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I would think that there is plenty of data to tell what type of player a F2P customer is. Are they like the play free for 14day or 30day types? From my experience, the 30day free player will often play with a rush to get as much leveling, experience as they can in, within their alloted game time. IF the F2P player is like the 30day for free player, In my opinion this type of player will always benefit from MORE F2P games. After 30days they are gone and on to the next free to play game and can often times make a complete cycle in 12 months.
They are a big draw on a guilds resource and will often times seek out a guild to help them with, in game money, equipment, and time. , but they are a draw on the resources of P2P players and their values.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 6:24PM pcgneurotic said

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Eh, I don't claim this to be scientific data or anything, more the feeling I have just from years of being a gamer, reading forums, blogs, in-game chat across many different mmogs... you know, the usual.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 6:28PM Monkey D Luffy said

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I don't care about all these crappy games going F2P as long as they don't end up making WoW F2P.


Would love to see Final Fantasy XI go F2P one day, and Phantasy Star Universe even though it's not even an MMO and should have been F2P to begin with.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 4:41AM Tovrin said

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Gated and segregated communities. No thanks. Free to play or not, I'll be sticking with LotRO.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 7:58PM wjowski said

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You people predicting some sort of bizarre 'golden age' where you'll never have to pay for a PC game again are, quite frankly, fools. With F2P you *will* end up paying something and chances are if you're playing it seriously you'll end up paying more than you ever will with a sub game.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 8:35PM ed511df3 said

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Are there people actually predicting that though? Other than a few random oddball posts -hoping- for that? I think anyone with half a brain cell knows that you're going to have to invest something if you want to expand your play experience. But I think people are getting used to the idea of only paying for what they want to use. People look at F2P and say why bother paying so much more for everything, when 15 dollars a month usually gets you everything. Not everyone will look at it with that attitude though. Maybe a guy just wants to play a dwarf something or other, and never play anything else. He unlocks the dwarf race... and that's it. He's content. He doesn't feel cheated because he could have access to everything with a sub.

Are there people that will spend a whole lot more to gain advantages? Yes. But I'm willing to bet those same people were always willing to pay a lot more real money for those same advantages. Take WoW for example. I have seen people buy gold so that they can buy their way into a 25 man raid to get themselves gear, mounts, etc. They don't care that it's a bannable offense. And this has been going on since at least Everquest. Should we continue to treat these people like trash simply because they're willing to play, or be content that they're willing to pay the company directly so that it covers the costs of the people who don't spend much at all?

Just remember. Not everyone is walking into this thing blind. Hardly anyone is going to be truly surprised when they have to lay down some cash to get what they want. What we should be focused on is working on a system that is tolerable to the majority of players, new and old alike. I personally think LOTRO's system is tolerable, while SOE's is not.
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Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 8:23PM Controlled Chaos said

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Wow...

The 'moral correctness' of F2P? Freeloaders?

You sound pretty elitist yourself, Mr. Reahard. *chuckles* Gather a little more spit in your mouth, I don't think you've caught all the F2P players whom are just don't want to pay a subscription fee each month.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 8:47PM Graill440 said

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It isnt a mindset of if it is F2P or P2P, all titles are pay to play, the only factual choice is how much will you decide to pay to play your game and in what way?

Free to play does not exist, its a marketing spin that sucks in the weakminded with that term...FREE. Nothing is free, like the spoon, FREE doesnt exist, the companies bend you to their will and do quite well from what i read. If you have common sense and can see past your nose you will understand that.

The monitization that is happening is a market trend, many of us saw this more than two or more years ago, many are jumping up and down mad, yet there is nothing you can do short of closing your wallet.

Thats an amusing thing too, when you think about it......closing your wallet will force those companies making all these seemingly FREE TO PLAY titles go back to monthly subs instead of the nickle and dime micro payment system for items that do so well.

They will get your money regardless, how fast and how much of it and in what way is entirely up to you.

There is no spoon.

Posted: Aug 2nd 2010 9:00PM (Unverified) said

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Many don't want monthly subs.

Yes F2P isn't really free all the way. You will pay for stuff thru shops.

But F2P is much better in term of payment flexibility than subscription games.

You can effectively tailor your game costs to your individual play style with ups and downs in play time. Even when you pay alot, you can be getting more direct benefit to your game play.

With subscriptions you always are paying even when your only playing a little. Top MMOs will keep subscriptions and cash store. Yet, subscriptions are only good, playerwise, if you are goign to be playing consistently and hardcore(timewise).
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 1:54AM (Unverified) said

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I would be interested to know how many of the pro-F2P players have thoroughly played MMOs in the era before WoW. Not because I believe that EQ/UO/DAoC are so great, but rather I suspect a lot of people favoring F2P are doing so based on playing WoW and the games that have proceeded it. I think the F2P model sacrifices a lot of the things that made those older games so special, all in the name of payment flexibility.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 3:12AM Jade Effect said

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I agree the f2p model lacks a lot of things. As the game revenue comes from the cash shop, the company running the MMO often has little incentive to improve the game beyond regular churning out new stuff to sell.

Online GM support in f2p games is often non-existent, since GMs cost money and don't bring in money. The MMO company also has little incentive to police the game, to make sure players aren't cheating or exploiting.

When I was playing Allods Online, I was appalled to find out that, in order for gPotato to take action against players who use speedhacks or banner exploits, the player has to submit fraps to the gPotato forum for staff review. It's like gathering all the proof needed to ban a cheater headshotting people through walls in Counter-Strike yourself, while the server admin is sitting there twiddling his thumbs. Why are the players doing the gPotato's job of ensuring there's a level playing field for everyone?

Serious bugs are often left in f2p games for the longest time. The MMO company has little incentive to fix it. Allods Online's english version was released recently, so people who didn't knew it was already released in Russia since 2007 wouldn't think too much about a whole chunk of skills that either did not work at all, or did something totally different from what the skill description say. I can't imagine how long the Russians had to put up with that.

Some people will say "Well, it's free, what do you expect?" It's as if we should excuse shoddy games, but are still expected to help pay for the game.
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