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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: Dec 19th 2011 6:23PM Sam not Spam said

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The tiered approach (free vs bought in) is nothing new, and the reasons why the absolutely free accounts have so many restrictions have likely been well discussed here in the past, ranging from reasons to buy in to limiting what RMT farmers/spammers can do. Certainly, spammers are taking full advantage of Lineage II's model where there are no restrictions on accounts, advertising their websites and such in-game rather blatantly (and obtrusively).

As for Veteran vs Gold tiers, well, I'm not crazy about it, but it does fit within what I'd expect for a hybrid model (9.99eur is $12.98usd today). I'm torn between extended cooldowns versus completely locking things out (such as Paragon Studios and the VIP-only Incarnate system). For casual players its not as big a deal, but for hardcore players? That's something else.

We'll see. It seems like a reasonable setup at the moment, but until we see more as well as what's in the shop, its really hard to say. I will say that it makes me reluctant to reup on AIon here in the US, though, as the thought of it going free to play means I'd be subscribing for a less-populated game now. If it was free, I know some friends who would join me...

Posted: Dec 19th 2011 8:34PM Zetsuei said

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Why bother going F2P if your gonna have such a stupid system in place? If you can't offer the full game 100% accessible, with no negative, then don't call it F2P. I really wish companies would go the Vindictus cash shop route. The items are nice, a small bonus to something, but nothing game breaking. The moment a game limits me in anyway, is the day they are already sticking it to me.

Posted: Dec 19th 2011 9:23PM wahahabuh said

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@Zetsuei this system is a lot better than most other F2P out there. Besides, it's a hybrid model, not a full F2p model.
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Posted: Dec 19th 2011 10:17PM Sam not Spam said

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@Zetsuei
I semi-agree. It seems like a hybrid, but isn't explicitly labeled as such (and I really think it should be).

The Free restrictions are typical for Western conversions, and you'll notice the types of restrictions are annoying for you but more so for farmers and gold-traders.

The trick with free to play games is they have to, some how, get you to spend money. They are a real company with employees that have to be paid plus operational expenses (taxes, lease/rent, utilities, etc) that, say, a pirate server doesn't, after all. The Veteran tier reminds of free to play games from Asia, and that *might* be what they're modeling it after. You're paying for faster progression, be it experience, skills, or economically. So, either you pay for Gold and get all it offers, pay for items ala carte as a Veteran and enjoy select things, or pay nothing and work within the restrictions it has.

I would say, however, that Free and Veteran should be fine for new and casual players (like myself). Hardcore players will likely have multiple accounts, spend a little money, or go gold to get around the restrictions.

Vindictus has the advantage of being designed from the ground-up to be free to play; this has some real and definite advantages. When you change revenue models from subscription to anything else (free to play like L2, hybrid but favoring subscribers like COH, LOTRO, etc), you really do run into problems because the need to make money off of free players as well as subscribers (subscription costs can be seen as a revenue limit per player, so moving to hybrid means you can make more money per player than before), since the high-revenue players are subsidizing the game for the players who are low- to no-revenue.
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Posted: Dec 20th 2011 2:05AM Sente said

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@Zetsuei
Pretty much every MMO in the Western market that started out as a subscription-based game has gone with some kind of hybrid model and that seems to have worked out well in general for those that have made the conversions.

No surprise that Aion would go the same route really. They still want to make money and preferably more than they are making today and likely still have at least the same costs as before to run the game.
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Posted: Dec 20th 2011 6:28PM Sam not Spam said

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@Sente
Also, I guess worth mentioning Dungeon Runners. They offered too much for free and look where it got them? They were only asking $5/month for their subscription, too...
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Posted: Dec 19th 2011 10:15PM Yarr said

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I hope when Aion goes 'F2P' in the Americas (and it will be 'when') that they go with something more like the Lineage II model.

There is a lot of interest from my friends from other games about playing Aion if it went 'free' on this side of the pond. Of course there have to be some kind of limits/checks to control bots and gold sellers, while making money from players. I hope that doesn't mean making the RNG even worse and then selling cash shop stuff that we'll pretty much have to buy.

Guess we'll see, but my subscription runs far into next year, so I just hope I don't end up getting cheated on some poorly done pro rata refund scheme when it does go F2P.

Posted: Dec 19th 2011 10:29PM Sam not Spam said

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@Yarr
Understandable. I will say, though, that the Lineage II forums have a few valid complaints with the way its been done (although part of that stems from the age of the L2 client and server). Thus far, sadly, it seems that tiered accounts, with the totally free accounts being highly restricted, might be the best way to discourage spammers.

Cryptic's two-tier system for Star Trek Online (free and subscriber) doesn't seem too bad on paper; we'll have to see how it holds up when it comes into contact with players. I personally like the three-tier system that Turbine has for LOTRO and DDO best, although Paragon Studio's three-tier for City of Heroes is pretty good, too. Granted, those are hybrid systems, not completely free to play, so...

My biggest concern is whether or not Aion will have its own microtransaction currency or not. Right now Paragon Studios has one (Paragon Points) while Lineage II has another (NCoin), and you can't use one with the other, and Guild Wars doesn't use either. Part of this is due to COH subscribers getting 400 points a month as well as bulk discounts which L2 players don't get. Whichever way they go, I really, really want to see Aion use NCoins so there's some sort of standardization (similar to Nexon, SOE, etc).
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Posted: Dec 20th 2011 4:50AM Sylvian said

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I still don't understand whole discussion about that. Game is dying due to low population on servers so there are 2 possibilities. Shut servers down for good or turn them into F2P.

It's normal thing - like @Sam not Spam already said, it's company. People working there and have to be paid.

In proposed Aion F2P model those free players can do everything just with time limitation. What's most funny that even if I for example play for golden package some kid with whole lot of time will progress faster. So nothing unusual and nothing to be angry about.

If anyone want totally free service - be my guest. Create company, hire team which create another great MMO and let everyone play there for free.

Posted: Dec 20th 2011 5:38AM Lorell said

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As a European player I'm concern about F2P, sure I've talked with our soon-to-be new EU Community Manager, but seriously - same instance cds for Starters and Veterans? I know they HAVE somehow to make money, so they have to make some + which will make that you want to buy Gold Packs, but omg at least make that Veterans has maybe +50% cooldowns compared to current ones, but not 5x longer... >.>

But on the other hand - maybe it's good that they will focus on making money via this "gold pack aka sub" instead of putting omg pwn p2w items in store...

Posted: Dec 20th 2011 8:14AM Tazmanyak said

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@Lorell i do agree, vets should have "reduced" instances cooldowns. Not the original ones, but not the same as free accounts :/
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Posted: Dec 20th 2011 6:24AM (Unverified) said

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they should focus on making this game fun to play insteed of free to play.

Posted: Dec 20th 2011 6:32PM Sam not Spam said

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@(Unverified)
The biggest question is "what is the fun that will attract more paying players?" Theme-park content is expensive and players burn through it very quickly. Remove all PVP restrictions so its a free-for-all PVP? That'll drive more people away than it attracts. Over-simplifying the game could drive away existing players while making it easier to burn through existing content, so that's a potential double-whammy.

Now, if they made it so lowby's could contribute more in PVP? Or high-level players had reason to work/play with low-level players? That'd be good. STO and COH benefit from this tremendously, as does EVE, methinks.
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Posted: Dec 20th 2011 6:35AM Allenomura said

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I appreciate you looking in to this a little more, pulling the facts out (despite reading the pages on the change a lot, it's the first time that I've seen that detailed chart showing the facts free of candy-coating) and then offering some analysis and interpretation of what's being proposed.
I agree with other's misgivings about the instance cds for Veterans being equal to that of Starters.

It needs to be fun to play, before it's fine to pay. After all, by doing that, you're supporting whatever is in place, and indirectly insisting it continue.

Posted: Dec 20th 2011 8:12AM Tazmanyak said

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i dont agree with those "freemium" models, mixing a disguised premium monthly fee with an extended and usually overpriced cash shop.

Their global idea is players that payed their monthly fee will now pay the monhly premium + some cash shop features and items, that will cost more than the old monthly fee.
And by saying more, i mean usually twice more :p

Posted: Dec 20th 2011 6:36PM Sam not Spam said

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@Tazmanyak
Of course, the players who are willing to pay in 2x, 3x or even more of the former subscription price are encouraged to do so for all the players who pay 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 or less of a subscription price (including absolutely nothing, revenue-wise). The tradeoff here is the players who pay in less to nothing are populating the game, and for any game (PVE or PVP), players are effectively content.

I can't think of any working (ie, not failed) F2P/freemium model that doesn't function in this manner. Those who can pay, and pay lots, are given a means to do so in order so those who can't pay much, if anything at all, can play as well, so everyone can play and enjoy the game that otherwise shut down.
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