| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (46)

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 8:17AM EuchridEucrow said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Only the kind of content that would facilitate gold farmers. I.E. mailboxes, chat, etc.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 8:17AM FrostPaw said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
Turbine seems to have a good way of doing it, Both DDO and LOTRO have significant free play so when you begin playing you can actually get pretty invested in the game and your character. This leads to me wanting to spend money because I feel like I have already got my monies worth with the free content.

Where as a game like Lego Universe which I actually liked shut me out so early and then left me with nothing to do I felt resentful and unsinstalled it.

Champions Online on the other hand, locks so much fun behind microstransactions I felt like I was being treated as a cash cow, sure that may be the objective but you shouldn't be actively "mooing" at me every few minutes by restricting me and then asking me if I want to give you money for being greatfully at the constant dissapointment.

The key is to get your free players enjoying your game but wanting to improve it rather than putting a wall up and saying "pay me." Turbine just does it better for some reason.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 8:31AM GaaaaaH said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@FrostPaw
I think that part of getting the free players to have fun is to have a way to 'earn' paid sections through gameplay, similar to the turbine points system.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 9:41AM bobfish said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@FrostPaw

I don't understand this comparison. What content are you referring to?

There seems to be some magical brainwashing going on by Turbine with free to play. I'd rather have all the game's quests and areas from level 1 to cap available for free than anything else. LOTRO and DDO both restrict that kind of content, where as Champions, EQ2X, AoC, etc all give you every single quest and area from 1 to cap completely free.

Sure it is nice to earn Points through gameplay, but that is the only redeeming feature of Turbine's free to play system compared to the other games out there.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 10:36AM Caerus said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
@bobfish

At least for the case of CO, the "content" in that game is not the zones, which by the way do in part consist of Adventure Packs which are *not* free, but crafting your hero. I subscribed to that game for at least 6 months and never hit the level cap on a single character, and only have 1 above level 30, because SO much of the game is creating a cool character concept and choosing powers and costumes and playing around with them. All of that is locked behind an ENORMOUS paywall or subscription. When your sub runs out, you go from a god to a weasel in a heartbeat, with no appreciation for your previous subscription.

The reason Turbine's system is so much better than the rest is that F2P players can - with a reasonable investment of time - be competitive with subscribers on every level. EQ2X, AoC, (especially) CO, all of those games make F2P gamers feel like second class citizens no matter how much they spend in the cash shop, or how much time they invest in their characters. If a LotRO player spends 200-300$ in the cash shop, they've unlocked everything in the entire game and are essentially a lifetime subscriber. The same can't be said for any of those other games because they have locked so many things into the subscription to make the subscribers feel "special", because paying 15$ in a chunk is somehow worth more than paying the same amount or more piecemeal.

What good is having access to the max-level content when my character class is so ridiculously unfun, underpowered, and gimped that I never make it there? By giving you access to everything you'll need at the start, and then locking things off later on in the manner that they did, Turbine has put the choice of when and where to spend money in the hands of the players and has disguised spending behind a veil of convenience instead of forcing it on you. "Hey, you'll need to spend 500 TP to quest here. You've only got 450... so, going to go spend a few hours grinding deeds to make it free, or you want to spend 5 bucks and play here now?" It makes you feel like they appreciate your choice not to sub because it is an actual choice with reasonable benefits on either side.

Another massive difference that I feel you're overlooking is that if a subscriber wants something in the cash shop in those games, they *have* to spend *additional* money on top of the sub they've already paid. There's absolutely no way to earn in through gameplay, and that makes it look like the company is greedy. TP may come slowly, but I've never not had the points to buy whatever I wanted in the store whether my subscription was active or not in LotRO.

Turbine has made pure free play, no-sub with micros, and subscribing all equally viable means to play the game, and they've allowed purely free players to grind the absolute sh*t out of their game to earn anything in the shop - which encourages convenience spending and makes everyone feel appreciated.

That's why it's the best.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 6:58PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@FrostPaw
Like League of Legends. I love the game and thus i spend money on my favorite skins for my most played chars
Reply

Posted: Oct 23rd 2011 2:15AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@bobfish : "I'd rather have all the game's quests and areas from level 1 to cap available for free than anything else."

Well, obviously. That's why they charge money for it.

If you had all the quests and areas free from level 1 to cap, what would be their revenue stream?

Pay-to-win? (pure power selling?)

Don't say cosmetics, they would make like 1% of the revenue from those that they make from content.

They have to sell something. Selling content lets you pay as you go, at your own pace (e.g. I've been playing LOTRO off and on for the 1 year+ since it went F2P, I'm not level cap and have not spend much on content, maybe $30?), without distorting the game the way most cash shops do.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 8:29AM (Unverified) said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
Fallen Earth has done it perfectly...

The store has ONLY cosmetic and account(transfer, namechange) items

And there are no content/character/etc restrictions. The ONLY restrictions are slower XP and some chat stuff, THATS IT!!

This is what a REAL f2p game is. Any game that says they are f2p and forces players to buy half the content from the store.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 9:18AM D4rth I4n said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

Agreed 100%. I've looked at a lot of "free-to-play" games and fallen earth has the best system that I've seen. 100% access to all content and classes. You just level and craft a little slower and have some chat restrictions. I'd play LOTRO and Champion's Online if they had a similiarily non-restrictive system.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 11:25AM DevilSei said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

+1 to this.
I hate when content is heavily restricted for the sake of making the game "f2p". DDO I might actually be a little fine with it... but Lord of The Rings? Age of Conan? Champions online? It is horrible.
If you aren't subscribed to LoTRO you're screwed unless you want to shell out some bucks JUST for the privilege of knowing how to ride a horse. Then you have to pay just to be able to progress further through the game.
Age of Conan? You get a fraction of the classes and fraction of the slots, the only thing I can be even slightly okay with is that they at least didn't lock ALL of the content behind a barrier.
Then there is Champions... One of its biggest selling points is locked behind the cash barrier, as well as several pre-mades (if I'm remembering right). The adventure packs are a whole other issue with me, but the biggest complaint I'd have is the lack of choices in what was championed as a game of choices.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 7:07PM DeadlyAccurate said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified) Agreed. I hopped into the game the other day, and I never felt the restrictions, except noticing that harvesting was a bit slower than normal. I still have all the bank slots I had before, still have as much inventory room as everyone else, and still had access to the AH and mail.

It makes Turbine's and Funcom's models look positively rapacious in comparison.
Reply

Posted: Oct 23rd 2011 4:36AM jh3141 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified) I often wonder whether GamersFirst only manage to offer their games under such good terms because they buy them at knock-down prices after the original subscription-based launch fails. I don't know how much they paid for Fallen Earth, but I'd bet good money it doesn't actually reflect anything like the original cost of developing the game.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 8:34AM Graill440 said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
As is pointed out the fallacy of free to play is to get people invested and get them to pay. If a game is labled as free to play it should be free to play with no restrictions. However, many people subscribe to the dev spin on the phrase free to play even though its misleading.

You cant lead a horse to water but you obviously can lead a whole mess of lemmings over the cliff of free to play.

This will be the first time i have typed this but i hinted at it a few months back. There is something going on to get this practice rebranded properly or reworded, and i was among the first to start it, we will see where it goes. Companies hate to lose money and seeing as the free to play content is restricted and thus not "the game" that is paid for in the clearest term it will most likely be changed. I will drink my cup of spite on that day. Nothing personal, just business.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 8:48AM Renko said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think you answered your own question, Guild Wars box purchase. We all know free to play games are not free, so why do companies feel the need to continue to pretend, just be upfront about it like Guild Wars.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 11:25PM DeadlyAccurate said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Renko But doesn't Guild Wars have a RMT shop? I tried the demo, and I thought I remembered seeing that additional bank slots were sold for real cash, and I see mentions on their forums that dyes and other vanity items are RMT items. And everything I've read about GW2 says it's going to have a cash shop, too.

I don't see how the GW model with its B2P + cash shop model is better than the cash shop-only games. A player could install Runes of Magic or Fallen Earth or APB Reloaded and play all the way to level cap without spending one penny.
Reply

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 8:56AM DarkWalker said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
IMHO:

- Content - or, at least, group content - should not be restricted. Not because of some inherent fairness requirement, but because group content is better experienced when there are plentiful willing players to do it with. Restricting group content runs the risk of seeing the non-restricted content become more popular - as had happened, for example, with Need for Speed World, where players were discarding their paid for account and getting free accounts in order to have more players to play with.

- Options - more classes, different powers, etc - are fair game for being paid options, as long as the dev/publishers let enough options available for free so the free players can actually work out in a group. This can even be used to balance out specific aspects of the player population, such as role demand - say, let free players take "premium" classes with roles that are currently needed.

- Cosmetic options - new skins, cosmetic gear, etc - are fair game anyway. There should be enough free but "cool" options, though, to avoid players feeling like the publishers are pushing them too hard to spend money - some don't react well to it.

- Convenience is a bit complicated. I prefer games where all convenience is provided either for free or with the basic subscription; if subscribers must fork money besides the subscription to get the convenience, I usually avoid the game.

- Flat out power should never be sold piecemeal; this would make the game "Pay to Win", and a lot of players will never play a game that manages to be known as such. I don't even think it's a good idea to tie flat out power increase with the subscription.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 9:00AM Pingles said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Being a casual, older player F2Ps worked great for me in the past because as long as I didn't want to be in the top tier of players I could play the entire game for free. For many I paid into their cash shop (Allods pre-patch, Zentia, Runes of Magic) even though I had nothing to buy. Just to pay a bit for all the free gameplay they gave me.

That was for the "traditional" F2P games.

The new, commercial batch all put pay walls on content. They give you a portion of the game free then require payment to see the rest. In other words: If you want to see the entire game -- YOU'RE PAYING.

I don't like the new locked areas of F2P and still prefer the traditional XP potions, upgrade charms, etc. of old-school F2Ps.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 9:09AM Dumac said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think from the perspective of paying players, locking free players out of group content and crafting/economy is a waste of potential. Removal of price barriers and more players on the server means nothing if they cannot integrate into and contribute to the unique multiplayer setting and have to settle for casual solo grinding until they decide to subscribe or buy access to your premium dungeon.

So preferably not that.... Classes, races, maybe reduced XP gain, inventory, appearance slots or items ...

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 9:27AM Lucidus said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Turbine's model is the best. The star of their system is that you can earn Turbine Points from playing the game.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2011 9:59AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Very little bag space and not being able to use mail boxes or chat (for guild, say and private) are turns offs for me. I usually try f2p games with my girlfriend or pals on vent. When we are leveing up together and cant trade items with one another or only have one or 2 bags to put stuff in, it makes me want to uninstall the game and I normally do.

As a potentinal customer I am trying a F2P game for 2 reasons. 1) To have fun. 2) To see how they treat their players. If they are trying to go after every last dime I have by having stupidly high prices on things or requireing to make me pay for the most general or commonly used things, then I know they are greedy.

Good buisness to me is all about makng invesments and having a steady flow and growth of profits over time. Greed is snatching up all u can on the spot with no thought for the future other then to find someone else to do it to again.

Good f2p game models I have tried and actually stuck with are Fallen Earth and LotRO. I have actually spent money on both because I felt the prices were fair and they gave me alot of content to make me want to invest into their games.

An example of a bad model is Champions Online. Cryptic already has a shady reputation and knowing you have to make pre determined power characters made me say F#$@ them. I only want to play predetermined power characters when I am playing a single player game (batman, spiderman etc). They need to open up powers and find a better hook to get people to spend money on their game and stop blocking the content that people are really there for in the first place.. There has to be a better way.

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW