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Reader Comments (55)

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:08PM archipelagos said

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Ryan Greene wins this one. And possibly my heart.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:26PM Wisdomandlore said

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"Despite claims of increased quality, in my opinion there is still a noticeable difference between even the best F2P titles (RoM and Mabinogi, in my opinion) and your average P2P title."

That's pretty much how I see it. It's pretty telling that the highest quality F2P game (DDO), was originally a P2P game. RoM is a polished WoW-clone with a ton of content, but it's still incredibly derivative and inferior to most P2P MMOs. I don't think F2P has to equal bad, but saying that F2P games are just as good as P2P games is hyperbole.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:35PM Demeter said

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To me, this "standard" of quality that P2P games are supposed to have deserves some scrutiny. I come from a background of playing P2P almost exclusively, til about the WoW beta. Since then, it's been F2P all the way. What changed for me? Not much, I realized the game play and the people I play it with had more to do than whether it was completely graphically up-to-date or not.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 2:18PM Ocho said

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See, when I think of F2P games, I'm not thinking of those two (primarily because I agree... I just don't think the quality is really there...), I'm thinking of Guild Wars, DDO and forthcoming LotRO and EQ2. These are very heavily established games with known quality. Where I believe DDO, LotRO, and EQ2 and going about it wrong is offering a completely free version. Like GW, there should still be the investment to even play the game, and then have the initial experience not be so heavily restricted. Offer a cash shop with extras to supplement gameplay and keep income flowing in, put in the initial barrier to keep out riff-raff and make players vested, and it works great.

I tried RoM and found it severely lacking ('Rent' mounts? Really?) and haven't even bothered with the others because they're just not my taste, so I agree, but using those two examples of games to describe the F2P industry is like using Spam to describe the meat industry.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 3:08PM Seffrid said

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Spot on.

I haven't yet come across a MMO that was designed to be F2P that has anything like the quality or depth of content of the best of the P2P games.

F2P games in my experience are variously shallow in content, clone-like in appearance (typically WoW imitation #23 or cutesy anime #2,323), and they mostly cost far more to play to an equivalent standard than the average P2P game especially if you tend to roll alts.

I keep challenging F2P supporters here and elsewhere to point me in the direction of a game that was designed to be F2P and which matches eg EQ2 or LoTRO for depth and variety of content plus quality of delivery at a total equivalent cost of a standard subscription, and I'm still waiting...

Demonstrating that F2P games are no worse than the worst of the P2P games doesn't quite cut it for me, I want to see the evidence that the better F2P games are as good as the better P2P games, and I haven't seen that evidence yet.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:29PM Keen and Graev said

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Jef Reahard's take is the best thing I've read on Massively in a year and not because I completely agree with him.

You're going to take this the wrong way, but that's fine. I'm tired of the half-in-half-out 'I don't want to anger either side' editorial balance that's been dominating Massively lately. It's fake and we know it.

That's essentially why I've stopped reading almost everything on Massively aside from the headlines. There's a lack of genuine thought and opinion and more of a wishy washy "you might like it you might not" spread of news instead of real thought.

I'd appreciate more directness from the writers here and more opportunities for them to speak plainly like this one. An overall shift back to the thinking and opinion and off of the reporting and news would also be welcomed.

A little more on topic, I think the lackadaisical "oh it's free so I can play it whenever I want" or one where someone says they don't care either way is an opinion of pure ignorance to how "free to play" actually alters the way games are designed instead of simply being about whether or not a game costs money to play.

"Free to play" is destructive to the nature of MMORPG's as evident by how much the industry has changed from long lasting virtual worlds to quick spurts of nonchalant distractions. It started with the shift towards WoW's style of mass appeal and has now turned into an all out quantity over quality fight to get the most money out of a game.

Jef summed it up though, so I won't ramble anymore.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:55PM Dril said

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It isn't just Massively, and I agree with you that there should be more opinions, but here's the issue that irks me at present:

It isn't just Massively, but a lot of the general news-reporting as well. This may be different in America, but in England if you watch the news now there's no thought, no asking questions, no actual intelligent reporting at all (and the BBC financial guy, while pretty cool, has a really grating voice, but that's another story). It's either opinionated crap designed to scare you or just plain reporting with a side dose of occasional one-sided bias thrown in. Now, when I say I support opinion, what I mean by that is I support providing an opinion, and demonstrating WHY you believe that, not just giving one and then having someone else give there's. What I mean is arguments, with sources for/against, not just opinions, but justifiable opinions, which actually can change the way you think, not just the same crap over and over again like "f2p is increasing in quality." That doesn't do anything for me. Jef Rehard's did, because he supported it. Where am I going with this, anyway? I have no idea. But the idea remains that justified opinions and arguments are the only way to go forward.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:58PM Xtofer said

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It's probably in the site's best interest to remain objective when reporting about anything unless they're doing an opinion piece such as this article.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 2:53PM Wisdomandlore said

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I agree, Keen. I understand Massively's position. I've done blogging on the professional level, and posting negative things can lose you access to links, cross-posts, exclusives, etc. However, Massively isn't too afraid to post positive things about games. Combine positive comments, the lack of negative comments, and the typical blogging practice of posting press releases and such verbatim, and Massively often comes off as a sugary mouthpiece for the MMO industry. It hurts the site's reputation and credibility with gamers.

That's not to say that Massively doesn't do some great reporting or have some deep insights, but their previews and impressions could use an overhaul.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 3:14PM Seffrid said

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I don't think news should be reported in anything other than an objective way, but there is certainly scope for a news item to be followed up separately by an editorial or article which is entirely subjective. That would maximise the benefit of both the information we receive and the discussions we hold.

Now, if the site could just go a step further and introduce a proper forum system whereby we remain logged in and can edit our comments at least for a minimal time after submitting them it would be even better!
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 5:49PM Samael said

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I have to agree with you on the game design front, and that is what I do not like about F2P games. I do not like that the game is designed to make sure that somehow you spend money on the store. It is designed to make money, it is not designed to be fun, as it primary motivator. Or so I believe and the deduction that I have made from the amount of F2P games I have seen.

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Posted: Aug 6th 2010 2:34PM Existentialist said

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I love you, oh and Jef, I love Jef too.

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Posted: Aug 9th 2010 9:16AM Celeras said

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Seriously. Promote Jef, fire (almost) everybody else!
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:30PM Pingles said

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As an F2P supporter I think the way the question is worded this week is exactly what I find so frustrating in this whole situation.

Some folks seem to believe that everyone has been brainwashed into supporting F2P and couldn't possibly actually like it. It's as if they're running down the street shouting "It's made of people!" and nobody will listen to them.

I have this to say to them: F2P matches my play time perfectly. I am VERY happy in the F2P world. I've tried probably a dozen and have only bought things in a cash shop ONCE and it was just bags.

In other words in the last year Ive paid twenty dollars total to play a dozen games several months each (sharing time between 3 or 4 at a time).

Several years back I bought AoC, LOTRO and City of Heroes. When I gave each three months I paid about 120 dollars to find out they weren't for me.

I'll take F2P.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:33PM (Unverified) said

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Sorry, I have no mad Haiku skills. ;-)

However, F2P, as it has already been stated, is just another option for players--and it is an option I embrace.

I have been playing games since the 80s--especially RPGs. When MMOs became all the rage, I had already been playing them in one form or another. When I started, I had more time than money. However, as I have gotten older and gained more and more responsibilities, the equation had flip-flopped, I now have more money than time. Does this constitute an unfair advantage for me? Not if the developers of the F2P games do it right and balance it.

Let's be honest, some players, who want to get to that great piece of armor, or mount, just don't have the time. And sadly, many gamers, because they are younger and have more time than money, see it as a cheat that people can "buy" their way to good items. However, those players should note that most of us with more money than time are jealous of all the time the younger players have--I would much rather be able to put in the time to score some of that great loot or get that next level.

What developers are realizing is that there is a whole market of gamers out there that simply can't invest the time to achieve what they feel is success, F2P games with items shops somewhat remedy that. And just like any new game or concept, it will take time to smooth out the wrinkles and balance it for all gamers. With that in mind, I think the EQ2 model might do well--they just need to tweak their prices which I anticipate will happen before launch.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 5:52PM Samael said

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I can see where you are coming from. And I believe that you should have the choice to be able to get what you want, either through money or through time.

The problem is that most of these cash stores are about just the money and not the time. I mean that what you find inside the cash store is simply not available in the game world to earn. I want the ability to get it both ways, to buy it if you want to, or to earn it if you want to. The way the cash stores are set up now, it is just the people with money that get the advantage not the people with time. I fall somewhere in the middle on that line.
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Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:35PM wondersmith said

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Massively became my favorite website because it was willing to report--enthusiastically!--on F2P games when other MMO news sources still ignored them as rubbish. Indeed, I think Massively has helped the F2P business model gain traction here in the West, for which I give my hearty thanks.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:46PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with Jef on the point of being tired of "F2P is the only future" or "P2P is a dieing model" agenda from certain writers here. I've not played every F2P or every P2P but I've tried enough to form an opinion. From my experience P2P still has a level of quality, depth, maturity, and variety that I've yet to find in a F2P.

I wasn't closed minded when i tried F2P, in fact the first 2 MMO's I played were F2P. Then when I tried a P2P or even GW I felt like I had wasted my time with F2P(pay to win).

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:46PM Controlled Chaos said

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Not too bad of an article and sums up well what most sane people think about MMOs. Its a choice, you make it for yourself. If you want to pay per month, go for it. If you prefer a game where you can spend the money you want to spend? Fine too. Arguing over whether one side or not is better is utterly irrelevant.

This crap is getting as bad as the Sony Fans vs. The World. The console wars and who is 'better' has been a staple for years. You get things like Sony fans screaming about Final Fantasy XIII going to the 360 too and they start freaking out as though they've been betrayed, flaming Square-Enix, etc, because of a business decision. Funny how different communities can have extremists that sound almost identically insane, though arguing about how people should be contractually placed into paying per month for a good game seems to be new to me.

Oh, and Mr. Reahard, I must say I applaud you. *chuckles* You sound much less like a foaming at the mouth alarmist/elitist this time around. Well done.

Posted: Aug 5th 2010 1:50PM pencil said

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I'll take my F2P games after spending more than enough money on multiple P2P games and coming to find out I didn't enjoy them at all. I think the overall quality of the F2P games has risen quite a bit actually, and it's only getting higher with the more instanced, Guild Wars style F2P games that seem to be coming around the corner.

At least with F2P games I can try the game out and after I really feel I got my monies worth (if at all) I can drop some cash into the game. Whereas with many of the F2P mmo's, I didn't really feel like I was getting my $40-60+$10-15/month out of the game.

Plus, I always feel guilty if I don't play often, because it seems like I'm just wasting my time. I know that $10-15/month is only like 1 or 2 trips to the movies, but I don't go to the movies twice a month, or even once a month.

I can't wait to see what's coming up in the F2P world. My big problem now is finding items to spend my money on that I feel like are worth spending the money for.

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