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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:52AM Its Utakata stupid said

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I never claimed what GW payment model was new, Carson...rather it's the only MMORPG that appears to using it, as you yourself have seem to have confirmed.
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Posted: Aug 4th 2010 11:35PM wondersmith said

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I agree with Carson; there was really very little new about Guild Wars' business model. Diablo II's in particular was nearly identical: Buy the game (and its expansion) once, then play it on centrally hosted servers forever for free. The cities in GW are fancy versions of Diablo II's chat rooms, and the instanced adventures outside are similar to the private (password-protected) games you could set up on Battle.net to play with friends.

Posted: Aug 4th 2010 11:38PM wondersmith said

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Oops, I meant my prior post as a reply Utakata and Carson. Sorry, folks!
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Posted: Aug 4th 2010 11:43PM Jade Effect said

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Sshhh, you might blow the minds of some of the people here by telling them there's a whole new world out there where players simply buy the box copy (for example, Diablo in 1996) and play online as long as they want (or until the server comes down).
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 12:12AM Skyydragonn said

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Several inelligent replies to this.

First to defend WoW a bit, large content patches are released every 3-4 months with one major expansion a year (so far for 5 years running) thats is by no means "once in a blue moon" so take that for what its worth.

Secondly I'm more of a fan of subscription games for two interlaced reasons.
a)I sign up and my payments are made automatically, no hassle, no interting my playtime to "shop".
b) I'm not getting nickel-and-dimed to death. As another article elsewhere has shown more than 80% of F2P users have purchased at least 1 item from the games cash shop. It's more of an inconveinence to have to consciously track how much your spending in a cash shop (or several if you play more than 1 F2P title)

It's not that F2P are subpar, its that a lot of us are aware that you will eventually NEED to purchase if you plan to be competative at the level cap in a given MMO. With that comes the idea of "Pay2Win" becuase if your not paying, then someone else is, and chances are thier going to have an edge on you, which might bump you out of a chosen activity (most endgame content for a standard PvE MMO) I recall Atlantica Online being really bad for this. In the end it feels like the company providing the F2P knows they have us by the proverbial balls if we want to be competative in thier game so we'll fork over the cash a nickel at a time. In the end Subscription titles will return to the forefront as the prefered billing method. Right now the elephant i the room that is WoW is so firmly dominating the P2P market that there is very very little room for any one to compete with a P2P title of thier own. Making F2P/cash shops that much more attractive.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 12:23AM Bizzac said

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"...one major expansion a year (so far for 5 years running)"

There's 5 expansions for WoW? Must of missed some I guess.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 12:18AM Jade Effect said

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I thought it was quite clear from my post that the way to eliminate gold sellers is not to eliminate gold, but rather eliminate the need for gold.

In Warhammer Online, drops are plentiful and when people sell it on the "auction house", they are quite affordable. If the player want much better gear, he'll have to go earn it in dungeon raids or through accumulating renown points. These better gear can't be traded.

Taking away in-game currency is just silly and replacing it with barter trade is worse. Barter trade is simply a very inefficient method of trading. Take up some Economics classes.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:53AM Graill440 said

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There was also one misconception not addressed, F2P games are actually F2P. Was any research done into where F2P originated and what it actually means?

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:59AM Graill440 said

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Beau, i spent 4 years over in korea. You wonder why i harp about what F2P actually is and why most people use it improperly.

Mybe you will understand these next couple of comments maybe not.

"This game is F2P" Asia.

"This game is F2P" The west.

And no thats not a typo.

Let me know what you think, you folks have my email.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 2:18AM Its Utakata stupid said

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Conversley, I find the F2P model that encourages to "buying items which skip/speed up advancement" as form of legalized cheating. That is, it's no longer game if you can simply buy your way threw advancement.

As for your claim that $15/mnth seperates "rich" and "poor" players is straining at best. Since most incomes can well afford that price which gives *most content included upfront. As opposed to peicemeal fashion gained threw nickle and diming everyone every step of the way.

*Note: This excludes unscroupulous double dipping models such as the Blizz/SOE sparkle ponies, Roper-recons and the Paragon wedding packs.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 3:21AM (Unverified) said

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"F2P may make you think about the payments more, but it's a very good thing if people actually think about their finances rather than waiting until they find they don't have enough. F2P also saves money for many players, likely most of them.


The only logical reason I can see for people exclusively supporting P2P are those who can't control their spending.
If they can't stop themselves from spending a lot in the cash shops of F2P games then it is not a fault of the pricing model, but a fault of them as people.

They need to learn to think about the money they spend on games so maybe they need F2P more than the rest of us who just want to get more value and save money. They need it for a valuable lesson."

Hmm, so Tempe Magus, I couldn't disagree more about the above statements. First off, let me make it totally clear that I think there is room in the MMO market for different types of subscription models, just as there is room for games that aren't high-fantasy. That being said, I don't think this is the type of business model that should have any major footing in the market.

There is a big difference between being good with your money, and needlessly managing finances. It's very important to know how you appropriate your spending money, but having to constantly make sure you aren't going over a certain limit is a little ridiculous if you ask me. Surely it has occurred to you that a primary reason some people become stressed in their everyday lives is over finances, so why would it make sense to have them regularly manage money while they're trying to enjoy their entertainment?

One of my beefs with people who strongly support F2P is that at no point have I seen the topic of quality addressed; it is always about convenience and payment flexibility. There is no doubt in my mind that there needs to be an option for those looking for easy entry into MMOs, but making it the standard practice for all/most MMOs is ludicrous. Let's address both of those topics.

While MMOs certainly come out regularly, you aren't paying $50 for a new game all that often. I've played Aion/EQ2/AoC/EQ1 and a little Fallen Earth over the last year and I spent maybe $100 to $150 buying the games, if that. If coming up with that kind of money is an issue, then there needs to be some selective purchasing going on. Research needs to be put into which title I'm getting, and how I plan on enjoying it.

Along those lines, I see people constantly talking about the flexibility of monthly payments. We're talking about $15 a month for P2P games. That isn't even the cost of one 1.5 hour DVD. That's 3 grande lattes at Starbucks. If you can't come up with that kind of money in a month, you have bigger worries than playing MMOs. And thats not even including the value you get out of your playtime. On the flip side, with a F2P store there is obvious temptation. Spending in cash shops is similar to people making tons of small purchases with credit cards. That stuff can add up quickly. At least in the P2P you are set.

So then the argument becomes, "Oh, I am not tight on money, but I don't feel that I should pay the extra $5 a month for my game." But then I have to ask, is that $5 a month/micromanaging worth sacrificing community? That's supposed to be one of the big reasons we play this genre of gaming. Are you going to tell me that you enjoy dealing with 90% of the player base who are treating the game like a single-serve ice cream? Sure there are plenty of asshats in P2P, but at least I know that there is a minimal desire on their behalf to play and enjoy the game.

And in terms of game quality, what game has come out that is purely F2P and has rivaled your WoWs, EQs and so forth? Everything about this genre screams "wade through a ton of bad shit just to pick the few good nuggets to get your enjoyment." There is a place for this type of payment model on some level, but I cringe at the thought of it being the primary means of enjoying MMOs.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 4:20AM Pan1 said

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Oh God, am I the only one having a problem with the authors of 2 independant websites collaborating to educate us about f2p?

Sorry Beau, if you are not able to produce a good blog on your own then you are just not suited to have one. If a blog becomes a collaborated piece of opinions, not facts, then I don't know whats going through your head.

Its 1 thing to explain some terms or clarify some Free2play concepts.
Its something entirely different to push a well defined agenda.
That does not mean you are willingly pushing this, chances are you are not even aware of what you are doing.

Naa I think this is the last straw for me.
If you don't see whats going on, then I can't help you.
Enjoy your Frankenstein.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 8:07AM (Unverified) said

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When they said "All F2P games are not grindy!" I braced myself and excitedly waited for the authors to provide at least one example, preferably several, of a non-grindy F2P with handy links to sign up and try for myself.

Instead they blew it off by saying P2P games are also grindy and this is a generalization.

While this is true, this really doesn't do a thing for me in regards to finding a fun game to play, which is the primary reason I keep visiting this website.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 8:44AM Beau Hindman said

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Niko: (and a few others! hehe)

Sorry I didn't list games that are not grindy, but the article was already getting a little longish. I can advise you to watch my other column Rise and Shiny recap, which can be found here: http://www.massively.com/category/rise-and-shiny/
...also, there are way too many to start naming.

We have to understand that "grind" *does* come in some form in almost any game. Players will *make* a grind if they need to. All I can say is that, yes, if you want to obtain certain goals (like speeding your way to the high levels) then you will grind 9despite the payment model.) I just don't do it, but again the ability to take my time and avoid the grind (yet still gain levels and achievements) comes from the fact that the games do not close their doors on me because access is free.

(Another point) Notice that I am not saying that every player plays absolutely for free. The FTP companies need to make money, too, and they do. But it is common knowledge in the industry that the majority of players *do not* spend anything, at all. They are kept in business by the minority, not the reverse. If you do not trust this, contact some of the FTP community managers...their job is to help the community. Ask them. They will not give you specific numbers (no company will) but they might be able to address some of your concerns. Approaching them with rough language or mistrusting tone will probably not get you very far, though. lol The development of games like DDO and LotRO will be interesting, though, as some players seem to think that spending money in a cash-shop based in those games is alright, or somehow different. I'm not sure I see the difference, but it's all good! :)

Graile: Sorry, man, you lost me. I need to go back and read your comments again. If you look, I have a lot to read here, though, so if you want to tell me what you meant that would be awesome!

Thanks guys! Remember to keep the discussion civil.

Beau
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 9:52AM Ocho said

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Nice article, guys, although I do agree with some posters here... not hard hitting enough. Instead of being against the real 'content vs time vs value' debate, it came across as "stop picking on them, they're not ALL like that". One of the biggest complaints I hear is: All the freeloaders will ruin our community. Or how the P2P crowd looks down on F2P as automatically inferior due to cost. "Only the poor people play F2P, that makes me superior to them". (ie Apple computers cost almost twice if not more than equal specced PC's... yet people still buy Apple. Paying more gives them a feeling of entitlement, and they HAVE to stick up for it, else they'd feel like a fool for making a bad financial decision... don't get me worng... I like Apple products, I just don't get why they're priced so damn high compared to everything else)


I love the F2P concept, but have not played any real F2P game yet (I will when EQ2 and LotRO go F2P, now I'm playing GW, which walks the line between the two amazingly). But I was a big member of the P2P group. I looked at my spending and realized I shelled out, over the years, almost $800 to Blizzard. $800!!! To play one game! To me, thats rediculous. And I could justify it by saying "Well, it prevented me from spending more at the game shop". Which could very well be true... but that figure was just too high to justify giving them more money.

So, basically, the P2P crowd is so fervent about it because they have to be to feel justified in spending the cash, and the F2P crowd (mostly all ex-P2Pers who have been burnt or seen the light) is just trying to help the P2P crowd out and show them there are alternative methods of paying for a game than just a wasteful straight sub. Quality, gameplay, updates, etc. will always be different with every game. Quality of a game is in perception and playstyle, which differs from person to person. There are crappy sub games, there are awful F2P games. There are great F2P games, there are amazing P2P games. The point of quality and updates is moot between them.

The REAL differences between the camps should've been much more hard hitting.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 10:10AM Damn Dirty Ape said

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I agree with this. I have been reading a lot of editorials and comments from columnists concerning the changing quality of F2P titles, and yet I have yet to see any real articles picking a few 'good ones' and reviewing them or describing them in detail.

It seems that there are quite a few F2P fans on the staff, so why not start a column called 'F2P Spotlight' or something like that that picks a game and describes to us what it is really all about (good and bad). What is the gameplay like? How big is the world? How is the community? Is it skill based, class based, etc? What is the 'grind' factor? What type of stuff is in the cash shop? How necessary are cash shop items?

I'd like to see more detail than 'such-and-such game is pretty fun and totally is not a grinder like you think it is'.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 10:46AM Its Utakata stupid said

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But for some of us who spent $800 on WoW or whatever P2P we've played will argue it was well worth it, Mike. We got all our game up front with litte or no fuss. We don't play in an environment where player B is better at raiding or PvP because they happen to have a bigger wallet. We play in a world that fully immersive, without having to be constantly reminded that a RL credit card is attached if you want to get anywhere. And for the most part, we play in a game that is usually has a better quality and love when it comes to development...

...but bottom line, there are those who enjoy their F2P with their cash shop models. More power to them. And I am sure this model makes many game companies lots of money. More power to them. But as a player, I don't want to play in an environment like that. And I want to be in world that I can make that choice.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 10:56AM Beau Hindman said

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If you want to see more in-depth coverage of FTP games, there is plenty to see here! :)

There is a LotRO column (soon to be freemium) a DDO column, an EQ2 column and many, many news features and exclusives from the world of FTP.

For example, Rise and Shiny (my other column, just search for it or click on my name up top) features a new (usually) FTP game each week. While it is more of a "First Impression" type thing, I report on my experience. If my experience is that I poke into the cash shop, I report on it. Generally, though, my review style is to tell you how the game makes me feel, instead of just listing off several facts. I attract you to a game and then *you* discover the cash shop and other goodies.

Also, there are so many games in the FTP world that I could not possibly break each one down to such a fine point and have time to write them all. Other columnists talk about single games, so they can spread their points out over an entire run -- I have to review and move on, review and move on. The brilliant thing about FTP games is that you can try as many as you want without spending a dime.

I have thought of comparing cash shops and value (and will in the future) but the issue is not that simple. It would be similar to expanding on different sub-models, with each person already having made up their mind as to which works best. And honestly, discussion on how players pay simply detracts from other more important issues, and is slightly boring to me. (Just being honest.)

So, search for "FTP," "free-to-play," or "F2P" and you will find plenty, trust me. Also, search for "First Impressions" and click on the category and you will find plenty FTP games reviewed in-depth.

To sum up, I have to weigh what is important when I talk about FTP games. When I review, my job is to let you know if I liked it or not. When I discuss open subjects like this, my job is to allow you all to discuss it in the comments, as a community. That's my favorite part! :) Also, I try to draw in members of the particular game community (as is the case of Rise and Shiny) or players that joined me in-game to post *their* experiences.


Beau
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:05PM Damn Dirty Ape said

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Thanks Beau, I suppose I'll have to work a little harder to remove my 'F2P filter' and read some articles I may normally skip over.
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