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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

Just how free is free to play? Runes vs. Requiem: Round 1

Posted by Inktomi Wednesday May 20 2009 at 10:59AM
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    Before I get into the article I want to say that I am always open for suggestions, on my writing, grammar, ideas and outlooks. Anyone can send me a mail and I will be appreciative to any input, so please just don’t hit the bury button before you think about why you are pressing it; Because I may benefit from what you have to say. If you’re still not happy with what you read here, then bury me to death.
Thanks for reading my posts, I’m enjoying writing for MMORPG.com almost as much as playing the games…almost. – Ink


     Now let’s get down to business here. I started out playing Final Fantasy Online for about 2 years and I paid my $15 a month subscription religiously, I had 1 main character and 3 mules in which one turned out to be a very good alt. After I moved on to wow I was buying 6 month packages for 80 bucks and I felt I was getting more for my money. In the long run I was paying the same amount and getting a heck of a lot of game for $15, and then my gaming came to a halt…girlfriend.


    I recently got back into the MMO scene about a year ago and my first impression was that there was so many good games around I had to budget myself. I just couldn’t run around playing all of them and found myself combing websites like MMORPG.com to find cheaper alternatives. That’s where I found Atlantica Online which was in essence my first free to play game, I had signed up for the open beta and got accepted. I was excited, I downloaded a full game FOR FREE and opened an account FOR FREE and I was playing right away. This article was originally supposed to be Atlantica vs Runes, but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison, Runes of Magic is a 3S game meanwhile AO is a Turn base strat. 3S is my personal term for Single Sprite Sandbox, like wow or Lotro that you get one character and an open world to roam around in. 

What's the price for Paradise?


     While I was playing Atlantica I received closed beta invite for Runes of Magic from a guildmate, he coined it as “the poor man’s wow”. And I played RoM from Closed to open beta all the way to release. I wasn’t until release then I found out just about how much the game had begun to cost, it’s not that it’s not good, it just wasn’t worth the money. RoM has an interesting system of Microtransactions, and that’s how these “Free to plays” make their money. Cash shops and personalization’s of your characters is what they depend on to pay the bills, I don’t blame them because this is a business. Here is an example of what the rates are for Diamonds on RoM, diamonds is what you buy stuff ingame with. They recently hit the million dollar player mark, my hats off to them for that milestone

   

              

Amount

              

100 Diamonds

 

 

Charge

 

$4,99

 

Cost per daimond

 

        $.05

200 Diamonds

      $9,49

$.0475

500 Diamonds

      $21,99

        $.044

1000 Diamonds

      $39,99

        $.04

2000 Diamonds

      $74,99

$.0375

 

 

Now this is a quick breakdown as per what you are paying per diamond on the Rom Exchange, obviously you get a better bang for your buck when you buy mere. There are not any subscription packages for RoM, it’s all a WYSIWIG cash shop. Now let’s take a look at what you will be using it for. They first thing that you face is storage, or the lack of it to be more precise. You start off with 2 bankslots and 2 bagslots that cost you anywhere from 22D for 30m days to 80D for 6 months. I read in Dr. John B. Williston’s blog The problem with modern computer RPGs” that his biggest problem with RPG’s this day is the fact that quest items take up a lot of space in your bags.

       Some CRPGs require quest items to take up precious inventory space; others “remember” that you have them but don’t display them in the inventory. Either way is painful. The former sort of game effectively punishes me for every additional quest I accept, while the latter makes it difficult to figure out what I’ve collected and what yet remains to be done.  – Dr. Williston.

In a game like RoM that space is critical because you are holding on to weapons and gear for 2 classes not one, they have a unique double-class system. Akin to FFXI but you don’t get half of the abilities but only some are usable by your primary, ANYWAY. Here’s what they are charging you for storage, you can go for 3 days for 5D or a week for 22D or go all the way out 3 months for 50D. Now if you bit the bullet and bought 1000 daimonds, you big spender you! Here is your choices…

 

Time in days

Diamonds

Realmoney cost @ 1000 Daimonds

X 8

3

5

$.02

$.16

7

9

$.36

$ 2.88

15

16

$.64

$5.12

30

22

$.88

$7.04

90

50

$2.00

$16.00

180

80

$3.20

$25.60

   

 

 

 

 

 Doesn't seem like alot, does it?

The difference between S&^t and stuff. (its a link)

       Now let’s just say you are holding armor to use for enchants or Heaven’s forbid you are a crafter, you need all your bags and bank slot opened up. That’s where the X 8 column steps in because that’s the max amount of bagslots you can have. And you would probably say that they give me a free house, a free chest and I will buy furniture.

        

One piece of furniture will run you anywhere from $2.00 to $2.76, but you will own it and it looks nice it makes sense because no one likes an empty house or a cluttered inventory. Now how are we going to ride around? In style I hope and here comes the mounts…

Vanity Plates

Now the perma-mounts...

       That really cool Wartiger Mount: $12.00
Designing it in the vanity window: $4.00
Looking cool while riding out of Ant Daily: Priceless.

T.I.M.E. - Things I Must Earn.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not some cheapo that play a free game and doesn’t spend a dime. When I play a game and spend my TIME on it then I always support it with some money. I’ve spend my fair share of money in RoM, but my point is that if you went full throttle to get the most out of this game and really enjoy it, now you’re talking about spending over $41.00. And that’s just the beginning, the people over at Frogster have put all sorts of goodies in the cash shop, from potions that allow you to take no death penalty (for 64 cents a day) to enabling you to reset your dailies to really get the grind going.

        
             My problem with RoM is that it makes the game too cash shop dependent especially in the endgame phase where I was before I left. Some said you HAD to use clean mana stones for crafting stats on your armor, which cost close to $5.00 a pop because you needed three and you needed so much stamina just to survive some boss fights; you had no choice but to stack on the stamina. At the end we were just grinding for stats and putting clean enchants on armor for $5.00 a shot. That can quickly rack up big bucks and in the guild I was in it was expected if you wanted to raid, there is a knight that has over 25,000 hit points. He has the most HP in the whole game, his name is Azurans and his guild is Uncensored on the Mach server. Go check him out, he’s a cool guy and he’s got some awesome gear, but it cost him a pretty penny to do so.


         I drew the line with RoM because Frogster released an instance that dropped all these little chests, and in these chests where items and such. They required a key that sold on the cash shop for 6D each, not a lot at .002 cents each. But you would get anywhere from 20- 30 per run and that’s when I had had enough. I was getting frustrated with the game, raiding constantly for gear and so much BS with stamina and this dungeon and that dungeon you need this. I ended up yelling at my Gm, who was a really good friend and got kicked from the guild. They actually did me a favor, I’ll use one of Beau Turkey’s lines I was “clocking in” and not having fun; he recently wrote a great article about virtual value, check it out.
 

Moving on

       About Requiem; That to me is the dark horse of free to play, it’s surprisingly very good and even more surprising it’s really free. The publishing company Gravity Interactive has recently announced that it is lowering it’s rates; I never heard of a F2P that got cheaper, I didn’t know you could make a free game free-er.


              The angle I am coming from is not to sit here and QQ or cry about having to spend money on a game, I never had a problem with that. My point is I am a budget and time conscious guy and I’m sure a lot of people are these days, we have a flood of new games coming out and many people are in between games looking or waiting for a new virtual world to “call home”. The bottom line is the value is in the time, play time and the time it cost to make the money to play the game to get the Uber this or super-duper flying mount. No matter what your time is important and you have a choice on how you spend it. There has been a lot of criticism about free to play games lately, I’m just giving my experience and giving you the financial heads up.


         This blog has gotten quite long so I will continue tomorrow when I take a look at Requiem: Bloodymare to see just how “free” this free game is. Until then…
Play safe,
Ink

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