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Reader Comments (44)

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:02AM Skyydragonn said

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To me any game tha allows you to purchase ANY advantage over another player is paying to win. One person may only ever buy a single pay-2-win item, but there are many people who will buy as many as they can reasonably afford/need/want and that creates a shcism between the community members and not to mention the blatant idiocy of braggin how "leet" your wallet is.

There are right ways and wrong ways to do free-2-play, more companies should model there method after LoL, which IMO has one of the most balances cash shops of any F2P I've seen yet and I've seen a lot.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:04AM (Unverified) said

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Pay to Win makes money. There are people out there that buys items just to be on top. Unless that is change (yeah right), no developer or publisher in their right mind will change how their games are played.

There is also the issue of not just paying to win but paying to play the game. There's a barrier where content is essentially locked to you because you are not strong enough for it. (think Runes of Magic example from TortoiseCan).

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:40AM Seldra said

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P2W in some respect is a true statement. I've played enough MMOs and I do tend to see this kind of practice on a bunch of titles. Most of them though tends to be asian imports as well. Nexon and PW have mmos in their stable that offer costume items with extra stats.

Costumes you can get by playing the game have no stats or you can't even get costumes by just playing the game. They can't be crafted or looted, costumes are only available in the cashshop.

That's just one of the examples, another would be crafting or enchanting having huge failure rates. The only way to avoid getting hosed would be either buying an enchanted item in the AH for exorbitant sums of ingame currency or pay the cashshop for an item that gives you a 100% success rate.

Thankfully I don't see this practice in western made mmos(Yet) and I hope it stays that way.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:55AM Utakata said

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Lol, Mr. Lefebvre! I had forgotten I wrote that. And I admit I was being a bit of spoiled sport...even though every other question I had asked previously had been answered in this column.

Your right though...that question in question was best reserved for ArenaNet directly. As in when they release all the information about the their GW2 character creator and including if I can roll an Asura sporting pink pigtails. But thanks for answering that still, even you "don't know". :)

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 2:45AM Rhazes said

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I might be in a minority but I just can't take pay2win games seriously. The pricing system in the stores piss me off to. You can't buy that 1100 point package for 11 dollars you have to make two separate purchases to get it and then have 400 left over and to use those you need to buy more points to get to 600. Even single player games with DLCs are doing the same thing. That just shows the company is greedy and has no respect for you.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 12:12PM Utakata said

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@Rhazes

There is also an issue whether it can be called a game when you can buy your way to win over it. Since that takes no skill or play, it defeats the purpose of it being a game.
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Posted: Nov 4th 2011 5:36AM blackcat7k said

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Why is there any debate on this?

Free to Play means Pay to Win. It's simple:

Here is the game world.

Here are the rules and restrictions in that world as laid down by the developer.

The player not wanting to be under restrictions of the game world PAYS for them to be removed or lessened.

The player that does not want to be under the restrictions of the game world, has no other avenue but to PAY in order for the restrictions of the game world to be removed.

That is Paying to Win. It doesn't matter if it's "benign" or if it's "convenience", the player is paying to win. There is no gameplay challenge associated with it, it's always a 100% positive outcome in favor of the player for cash.

No success or failure, no risk vs. reward, just cash.

"Certain free-to-play games do make the cash shop pretty much mandatory for advancement, but again, that's sort of the core of the business model. It's like criticizing McDonald's for insisting that you buy food instead of eating it for free and then buying sauces."

Well if that's the core of the business model... THEN IT IS ETHICALLY BANKRUPT. The company markets these MMOs as GAMES. Games have a level playing field, or they at least TRY to maintain a leveling playing field throughout the course of play.

That's what gives a game weight, substance... That's what makes your success or failure in the game mean something. That the guy coming behind you had to accomplish the same task.

Tell me something. Why don't the companies show in the history of the player all the advantage boosters a player buys in their character history in a manner that can viewed by other players if it's not so important?

In fact lets ask for that feature in all upcoming Free to Play games or any game that has cash shop boosters. I right click on you:

*Select "Paid Booster Character History"

You get to view all of the boosters that the character has used and on what challenge they used them.

It's not important, right? It's benign isn't it? Then let the rest of the player base see it.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 9:18AM pancho72 said

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@blackcat7k

Couldn't agree more. Most F2P schemes allows players to bypass the standard ruleset by paying. A more accurate term would actually be Pay2Cheat, even if it sounds harsh thats basically what these features are. The effect is often minor, but that doesn't change the principle of how they work.

In some games it is seen as a convenience feature, maybe for people who don't have time to play as much. In practice those players are paying to skip gameplay. Maybe the game isn't worth playing but paying to skip parts of it seems like an upside-down approach in that case.

In general these features works against the idea of a game, an isolated system where players play on even terms. Payment models add an outside influence to the game, and removes the idea of even terms.
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Posted: Nov 4th 2011 6:27AM (Unverified) said

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Unless what you can buy is all purely cosmetical changes then all F2P games are Play to Win, to some extent.

It does not matter that you can earn it in game because buying it is still a short cut which makes it Pay to Win.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 7:12AM EuchridEucrow said

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If what you can get in a cash shop is something that you can't get in the game through the investiture of time and it provides a non-cosmetic, in game advantage then that game is "pay-to-win" and should be avoided like the plague.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 7:53AM mindblwn said

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You can tell that the writer of this article just spent $100 in the cash shop and is trying to keep from looking RETARDED.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 8:45AM (Unverified) said

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@mindblwn Really? Because I thought your post was doing the same.
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Posted: Nov 4th 2011 8:27AM smartstep said

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It is more a thing or a perspective and opinion on certain things.

Pay-to-win is not 'sharp' term in logical sense.


Some person might view something as pay to win while other person will see exact same thing as nothing more as convenience.

Diffrent opinions. There is no absolute truth.


So imho instead of throwing a 'tag' on anyone that say 'p2w' that he's f2p hater think a while. Try to view thing from perspective.


I realized that for me many more things are p2w than for some other people.

F.e. - minor damage boost for me is p2w, even though it does not guarantee you a win - just a very small advantage that can be nuufyfied with player skill. Still it is very clear p2w for me.

For someone this might be nothing much that a convenience and that person might think that as long as non-paying user can win against paying one, there is no pay-to-win, even though paying one can have hteoretical better odds (cause of f.e. some buff he paid for in store).


So for me most f2p games are p2w to a smaller or bigger degree as they offer 'advantage' items. Diffrence is mostly in how big of an advantage they offer and in what form and for how big price.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 8:57AM BGExorcist said

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Just take any asian MMO that has:
1. Upgradeable gear
2. Uses special items with chance to upgrade gear
3. Uses special items with the special items which increase said chance.
4. Upgraded gear has 3x the stats of nrmal gear.

all above is only doable by paying a big chunk of cash for CHANCE one use items.

Pure pay to ownage, like RoM,. like BoI, liek everything.

Not to mention the bowser based games with clicking, which if you wana top the charts require you to pay cash equal to 5 game subs per month :D

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 9:04AM BGExorcist said

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Thats most felt, when the game features PvP

And of course all of this is posible, because people pay :). And the set price of sub MMOs is of course highly unjustified. Whats the real cost of a few megabytes HDD space and minimal bandwidth to acces their server?

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 9:09AM Caractacus said

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I dunno. Maybe I'm a bit more laid back than all you, but they're games, i.e. I don't really care too much about them. Some people say 'they're games' and thus one person shouldn't be able to get an advantage based on their real world wallet. I say 'they're games,' and thus there's not really a reason to fuss. Play it if you like it, pay if you want to. That's the real mantra behind F2Ps. And if it practically demands that you play? Don't play. I enjoyed Dragon Nest for a while (which is apparently P2W) without dropping a cent. Same with DDO, LOTRO, RoM, and a big list of a bazillion others. Never dropped a penny. Didn't have to. They aren't sending thugs to your houses. Pay if you want to, and don't gripe about them "forcing" you if you do. No ones forcing you. And if you're too worried about leaving the character you spent hours on, just consider how many characters you've already left behind. And if other people enjoy the game enough to drop a million dollars a month? Live with it. Don't play with those people, or ignore them, or accept them, or just leave the game. It's a consumer's market: you have all the choices you could need (a lot of people just don't seem to notice).

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 9:10AM Caractacus said

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@Caractacus And if it practically demands that you {pay}? Don't play. EDIT
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Posted: Nov 4th 2011 9:55AM avidlurker said

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My only experience with a Free-to-play/Pay-to-win game is with Runes of Magic.

What struck me is the huge disparity between in power between free, paying some sensible amount of money for cash shop items and the power attainable by no-holds-barred cash shopping.

To deck out a character in the "perfect" way you needed to spend stunning amounts of money.

For me the worst effect of what cash allowed you to do was the general attitude of "that's not worth doing".
That dungeon that was very hard to run with only greens and dirty stats? Not worth doing.
Pimping up that piece of gear you got with stats you got yourself? Not worth doing.

One day after hearing a "not worth doing" too many I just couldn't log in anymore.
It was supposed to just be a few days off but I never returned.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 11:01AM VikingGamer said

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The games that either slowly or directly make themselves unplayable without paying are part of the problem. This is why I don't like F2P that is models more after DLC where you have to buy access to the later stages of the game either in terms of what zones you can enter or what levels you can get to. Just as bad are those games that basically make it so that you have to buy cash shop items in order to reasonably craft necessary endgame gear. If it is virtually impossible to craft the gear without the mystic widget from the item shop then it is for a reasonable purposes a cash shop only item

The trick is that the game needs to make it neither too easy nor too hard to play the entire game and get all the items, including cash shop only items. It is fine if it is a bit time consuming, but it can't be made unreasonable. which is what way to many free to play games do.

If you can trade a few hours of game time for about a dollar of cash shop access then you are in the ball park. And this makes it so that nothing, not even the items of the cash shop, are outside the grasp of free players. It may take them more time and in our instant gratifcation culture that doesn't work well for many people but they can still do it.

But if the company makes This access to the cash shop artificially high then they still effectively cut the free players off. That is no good either. This is why allowing the customers, between themselves, to set the price of cash shop cash to an in game currency though a market place is the best setup.

Posted: Nov 4th 2011 11:02AM VikingGamer said

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Truly pay to win games will eventually be their own downfall.

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