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Reader Comments (33)

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 7:19PM Wisdomandlore said

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Misleading headline is misleading. Yes, Koster talks about the evil of F2P. Specifically, that F2P isn't evil, it's just different than sub. But I'm sure you'll get more clicks with this headline, as opposed to,"Ralph Koster Offers Balanced Discussion on the Merits of F2P and Subscription."

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 7:27PM aurickle said

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He makes some very good points. Especially when it comes to subscription models charging you for time you're not playing. There have been many times I've walked away from a game for a little while only to have it stretch into months while I've either forgotten to cancel my sub or chosen not to because I was planning to return "soon". Or how about people who pay for a six-month subscription and then only play for two?

These people are literally paying something for nothing. Under the f2p model, you're not in that position.

Anyway, my tolerance ultimately comes down to how overt the store is. I don't mind paying here and there for stuff but I don't want to feel like I'm being badgered into it. This is actually my chief complaint with LotRO. Their model is pretty darned good overall but I'm sick to death of the constant sale emails and, "You've just gained 5 Turbine Points! Go spend them!" messages. I know the store is there, folks! I don't need to be reminded every time I blink.

Posted: Jan 12th 2012 6:53AM Floop the Squirrel said

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@aurickle

This! Exactly this is the main reason I can't play Lotro anymore... I feel like they would press my face against their shop window and yell "BUY, DAMN YOU! BUUUY!" if they could.

If they'd have implemented it with a bit more decency, i suspect many more people would play.
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Posted: Jan 11th 2012 7:34PM Alluvian EstEndrati said

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Misleading article title. The linked blog entry has nothing to do with the perceived 'evils' of F2P MMO models of revenue generation. Actually the article is a fairly well-written piece about how sensible the F2P model can be if it is well implemented.

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 7:43PM smartstep said

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Yet another article about "Hey F2P is not bad so stop whining ,play f2p games and spend money in our cash shops".


Tried, don't like it.

Thanks but no thanks.

Will stop playing if I can't find good enough p2p game (btw. Swtor is not good for me, just not my type of mmorpg).

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 7:58PM TheJackman said

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There is no F2P there is free 2 try and get suck in and find out that you got to pay to can really play.....

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 10:11PM aurickle said

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@TheJackman
Show me a quality title that is truly free to play. Show me a company that is willing to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to develop an MMO out of charity.

Yes, the term "free to play" is misleading but it is the term that is accepted for this type of revenue model. You can rail about it all you want but you're wasting your breath at this point. You'd probably have better luck putting an end to Chuck Norris jokes. Besides, anyone with even a modicum of sense understands that you don't get something for nothing.
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Posted: Jan 12th 2012 5:41AM (Unverified) said

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@TheJackman : yep, sad to say, slavery has been abolished in the United States for nearly 150 years, so yep, you do have to actually pay people to develop and publish and maintain games for you to play nowadays. Sorry!
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Posted: Jan 11th 2012 8:27PM Miffy said

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I wish he would make SWG 2 as SWG (Pre CU) was the only MMO I felt like was a virtual world I could spend all my time in. MMOs today just feel like cheap games and not seamless online worlds I can have another life in.

SWG was so ground breaking and amazing and even graphically it looked photo realistic to me, now that seems stupid but it did actually look like Star Wars. When I look at SWTOR it just looks like a cartoon and so dated, it isn't impressive...

Like when HL2 came out it blew me away and there hasn't been that experience for the MMO genre since SWG.

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 9:09PM Joaquin Crowe said

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@Miffy Or, more appropriately, he should just make the Ultima Online 2 that was square-pegged into the Star Wars IP as SWG. Star Wars really isn't a world for crafting. It's a world of action.
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Posted: Jan 11th 2012 8:28PM Miffy said

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hmmmmmm

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 8:43PM xilr said

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Why are the same opinions rehashed by different columnists over and over and over and over and over? Where is the other side to the story? I'm not even a trained journalist and I would have lots of cutting questions for "Raph Koster" about his information, where he got it and what his definitions of certain things are.

I'll take apart just his first comment:

"The typical F2P player does indeed play for 100% free. It is not a nickel-and-dime model, as some commenters think. The vast majority of players in an F2P model never pay anything at all."

Can you cite your source for this, Raph? Who do you consider "typical"? Can you define "play"? Is it considered "playing" if the game has embedded, non-consentual PVP and the "player" without money is there strictly for the amusement of the player with money? Looking at leveling and progression, what level of progression constitutes "playing" a game? What if progression costs more than the industry standard, are we still considered "players"? How about competitive play? Can anyone play competitively without paying more than what a subscription would have cost? If they can not play competitively on $15 a month or less, do they still fall into the catergory of "players", Raph?

Thats just picking apart his first declaration. I wish these game sites would have someone cover the OTHER side of the debate sometime..... The side that leads to the conclusion that F2P is driving the poor and middle class right out of a hobby they used to enjoy....

Posted: Jan 12th 2012 3:33AM (Unverified) said

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@xilr this article isn't really much of an opinion piece, it's simply reporting what a MMO developer said on his blog.
I think the big problem with getting both sides of the argument is that there aren't a whole lot of MMO developers following a sub-based model willing to come out and argue against F2P most of the arguments are from players whose, as you can imagine, opinion doesn't carry as much weight as someone actually in the industry.
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Posted: Jan 12th 2012 5:43AM (Unverified) said

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@xilr : I'm hardly Raph Koster's fan, but y'know, I kinda think that someone who has experience in the industry probably knows a LITTLE more about the cash flows than some random halfwit commenting on Massively..
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Posted: Jan 12th 2012 6:37AM bobfish said

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@xilr

I've worked on both subscription and free to play MMOs and what Koster says is true. Most players on a free to play MMO don't spend a single cent.

They are the majority, the silent majority, the ones who "don't have to win, don't have to be the best, don't have to come first" type of people that make up the majority of any online game.

Just because here and other MMO sites have a lot of people posting on them, doesn't mean they represent the majority of people playing MMOs.

You can complain all you like, but there is nothing wrong with the free to play business model, the problem is how it is abused by some companies to "knickle & dime" the customers. A well made free to play game doesn't need to do that, they unfortunately are as rare as subscription games that don't copy WoW though.
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Posted: Jan 12th 2012 9:14AM xilr said

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@bobfish

So all those people who try out the game are considered "the majority" that dont pay a cent. That isnt a free game, its a free trial. If I cant play competitively for $15 a month or less I don't consider it a game and most F2P games you can NOT compete in the top end without spending a whole lot more.

IRL if your rich you get all kinds of great benefits in life. Thats just how life is. But video games dont "NEED" to reflect life. In a video game where the developer controls the rules the playing field *can* be fair and equal for all (like it is for subscription games).

I dont go water-skiing. That hobby is out of my price range. But playing online games is something a lower income person could always have done in the past. In the past you had to come up with $1000 every 4-5 years for a decent PC... $50 for a game and $15 a month. BAM! Your in! And the world you join is an equal and fair playing field. Subscription MMOs didnt discriminate against your condition in real life.

Enter F2P MMOs. Now your told to pay *big* amounts or be present solely for the amusement of the payers. Sure you can log in and try the game completely free, but you will need to pay to play the end game. And not a paltry $15 a month either. Most of the F2P MMOs I've played I figured out that about $50 to $100 a month + some work would put me at a competitive end game level.

Of course as an MMO developer you enjoy moving the price point from $15 a month to $100 a month. Of course they are going to have nothing but positive things to say about the system. They get rich off this system.

And they get to use statistics to make it sound as if its good for the industry, after all "90% of players dont pay dime" right? Forgot the fact we count them as players once they demo our game. If I got to define who is a player (Someone in the end game) what percentage of them are paying, and HOW MUCH?? Statistics can show whatever you want them to. You know what? The more firefighters show up on the scene of a fire, the more damage that fire ends up causing. I guess that means we should cut the budget of firefighters, so less show up, right? See what I did there? I used a statistic that is totally true to paint a completely different picture than what is really going on. The reason more firefighters showed up was perhaps it was a bigger fire, and THAT was the real reason for all the damages. Well its the same situation with the F2P games, they can cite the statistics of who doesn't pay, but its irrelevant. What matters is the players who are actually consuming the content (read PLAYING the game, not demoing it). How much do they have to shell out, and is that were you want the industry to go?
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Posted: Jan 12th 2012 12:50PM (Unverified) said

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@xilr

Damn, "poor" sure ain't what it used to be. I remember a time when "poor" meant you couldn't afford a computer. Or food.

Kids are funny these days. "Poor".LOL

~V
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Posted: Jan 12th 2012 9:33PM Anatidae said

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@xilr About 8 years ago when I worked in game development I sat in plenty of round tables about F2P games. There were even MMOs back then, mostly text based, that were F2P models.

Although Raph was being vague about actual numbers, what he says reflects the general consensus from the people who ran the F2P games at the time and also what I continue to read in articles on Gamasutra - again, from people who actually run the F2P games.

I specifically asked, at a roundtables, if they consider the majority of players who never pay "trial" player or "continuous" players and, at the time, it was continuous. From my personal experience, it was 10% of the playerbase that paid, and he considered his playerbase people who actually played. He said there was a far higher number of people who just come and go quickly, or "trials" as it were.
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Posted: Jan 11th 2012 8:56PM Doran7 said

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""essentially, is a trick. You'll be forced into paying for the game somehow, or you'll be able to pay extra money and walk away with all of the best stuff in the game.""

This is not entirely true... more players see f2play as a model that destroys fair play. f2p is a slippery slope into designing your game to not just hassle your player enough to make him pay but also make him pay or he will not be able to perform and compete at the same level as those who pay.

I prefer to skip these type of games.

Posted: Jan 11th 2012 9:04PM Utakata said

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I must say, this is one more balanced pro-F2P articles I've seen in awhile. And quite refreshing from a certain Massively writer's POV that thinks F2P's more unethical sides are okay and justified - Ralph doesn't.

...doesn't mean he has convinced me to trust F2P business model. I still don't. I just like to see once in awhile a well written and informative article about it.

The whales are telling though. O.O

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