Competition. Usually I consider this a good thing. It generally gives rise to superior products, lower prices, and drives any given genre forward as one attempts to best the other. I'm all for that.
The Free to Play MMO is slowly winding in that direction, though that path is somewhat hindered by the lure of making easy money with minimal effort, exacerbated by the fact that most free MMOs are little more than generic source code foundations that are purchased, then customized for the intended MMO in question. What you get at the end of the day is something barely original and hiding behind the excuse that it's free while expecting you to pony up cash up front.
Is this a sin? Depends on who you talk to, I guess. I have faith that these posers will slowly get weeded out of the MMO food chain as more serious developers see the potential of a micro transaction model. As mentioned in a previous entry, EA is already attempting this with Battlefield Heroes, and it won't be too long before somebody with deep pockets and a proven track record decides to run the F2P gauntlet for themselves... And hopefully bloody the nose of the companies currently squatting on the genre's real estate when they do. It'll be a much needed wake up call for what is more or less a stagnating gaming experience.
Why am I going on about this? Because until that silver bullet arrives with the head shot that F2P desperately needs to go primetime, we're stuck with companies like this... Perfect World. Under normal circumstance, i really wouldn't care. After all, what's another stale F2PMMO amongst a heap of stale MMOs looking to put as little effort into their product as possible while charging premiums to actually compete in said product? Sure, you can "play" for free, but depending on the company, you sure as hell won't go anywhere in terms of progression.
So what sparked this particular rant? Well, it's been a while in coming, but Perfect World's newest release pushed me over the edge.
For God's sakes, people... Give the ye ol China theme a rest. It's begging you to just stop molesting it for inspiration. And by inspiration, I mean "wholesale plot rape". I mean, if the other companies beating this theme to death aren't enough, I'd almost suspect PW of cornering the market on every last one they could possibly get a hold of. We have Perfect World, Jade Dynasty, Ether Saga, Kung Foo, and now Heroes of Three Kingdoms. Again, this is not even counting the other companies with their Ancient China/Orient themes. Hey look, there's World of Kung Fu in the side banner ad.
To the F2P developer's community at large, China called... they want their heritage back. They want you to come up with something new, original and something that won't bend us all over without the KY at the cash shop. And if you can't do that, I personally can't wait until another company with more serious intentions toward the F2P community comes along and puts you all out of your collective misery.
Bitter? 70% caco chocolate, baby.