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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Games that should go F2P.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday August 6 2009 at 9:26AM
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You know, the F2P argument is a lot like politics. People choose sides, start thinking black and white.

"I will quit the game if it gets any form of RMT!"

"I will not play a sub-based game!"

It feels a lot like the two major political parties. People join up and attach the badge of one side or the other. Of course, there are many shades of gray, so why have the two sides only? Why have titles? I have to admit that I do not think that many players are actually that divided on the issue. I reside in a world that most players probably do not: the world of blogging, podcasting, getting to know people that make these games, someday working on these games. My point of view is a little off from the average player that just, you know, plays.

But, I do have a side. I much prefer the RMT/cash-shop/micro-transactions model, for many reasons:

When you visit the theme park called "RMT Land", parking is free. (Client Download.) You get to ride all the rides, but can even spend a little extra cash to get you to the front of the line faster. (XP potions/better optional gear/services.) You can also choose to avoid spending the extra money by waiting in the line. (Leveling/grinding.)

And there are more new rides and souvenirs to buy all the time! (New content for F2P's comes out constantly, and new cash shop items.) The most brilliant thing of all? You can always visit, socialize, make new friends and play most of the games for absolutely free. And while F2P Land USED to be nothing but a ghetto fair-park, nowadays there are amazing new parks opening all the time that are the same in quality as "SUB Land."

"SUB Land" is filled with great rides, and great people. But the parking costs you (client purchase.) And while you have unlimited access to all the rides, no one can ride all of those rides forever. Also, the lines can be very long and tedious sometimes (the leveling, the grinding.) And new rides come out every 6 moths or every year, compared to some of F2P Land's monthly update schedule! Also, there are almost no live events in SUB Land, but F2P Land is packed with them! (Some F2P games have a few in a WEEK.) Worst of all? You pay the entrance fee every month, despite not visiting the park or while visiting other parks.

So why pay for something you do not use? Paying a monthly fee for access to more stuff than you can do in a month is...well, a waste of money. Granted, SUB Land is filled with some GREAT games, and some incredible people. But so is F2P Land.

Having said all that, (I'm sure I am missing some smarmy example) I would like to list off a few games that I would like to see go completely F2P with a cash shop add on.

1) Ryzom: This game has been screaming for F2P for a long, long time. I used to do a Ryzom podcast a few years back, and then and even now the game has financial issues. If they had plenty of subs, this would more than likely not be an issue, but obviously the game is not interesting enough in certain ways to maintain more than 3 servers of people. Or, of course, it's just that players do not see it as having the same worth as the other games they are paying for. I absolutely adore this game, but my 15 dollars a month over the past years have given me barely a thing. As a matter of fact, the most updating happened recently before and slightly after the latest FREE period.

foto_ryzom

Throw a cash shop on it. Sell special mounts. Sell XP crystals. I might be wrong, but I bet way more people would spend 5-10 dollars a month on cash shop items than the current player-base paying 15 dollars a month for a game that has gone under 3 times. I know, I know...the game IS special. But it needs money to survive. While the new owners seem to be doing more than the rest before them, I have been there and done that, and watched it close.

2) Vanguard: This game would be PERFECT for it, and already gives you the ability to buy gold, characters and items from other players through Live Gamer. A Station Cash shop would not be a far step behind. Also, I would love to see the emphasis of this game shift from high-end raiding and content (just so that the raiders can burn through it in a few months and start to complain  about lack of content) to filling out the fun for all levels. Sell housing items, get with the EQ2 picture. Vanguard is freaking amazing, and is holding in there thanks to the great dev team but thanks to SOE's lack of funding,  the game will continue down the path it's on for a long, long time.

thestra

I would rather shift the game away from any mention ever again about the "Vision" (being that Brad hasn't been involved with the game for YEARS) and shift it to allowing it to be even more of the really, really fun game that it is.

Shit, I'd pay 10 bucks just to fill out some of the ocean with some scenery fish.

3) The Matrix Online: Rez this game! Yeh, the combat, the community and the role-play were not enough to save this sometimes crappy game, but there is something there for sure. This game, of all, is probably the very best candidate for the F2P model. Look at how important fashion was to the game, and how wonderfully extra story chapters could fit into a cash shop! Rez this game, now. Start it over and re-launch it like DDO is doing.

mxo

Of course, many games will not do well despite what kind of model they follow. Generally, though, cash shop games go on and on. In fact, I am hard-pressed to think of one that has gone under. And is success only measured in sub count? Wouldn't success also be just surviving in this mad world of a million MMO's to choose from? I have played some cash-shop games for the last 5 or 6 YEARS. That's way more than many "AAA" MMO's can claim.

I want to save these games mentioned above. While some might argue that they are doing fine, I will argue that they could do way, way better. The problem with them is that many people like the games but not enough to do away with their "main game" sub to play. But a F2P game can be owned at no cost, something anyone can afford.

Beau

MadnessRealm writes:

There is actually one thing I would love to see more often in sub-based games : Life Time subscription. For the exact reason you mentionned, why pay when you can't always play? Life Time Subscription basically cost less in the long run and you get the play when you want without having to worry about subscribing every month or making sure that you have desactivated your subs so they don't bill you an extra month.

I know a few games have Life Time subs. For exemple Champion Online and correct me if I am wrong but Age Of Conan. But then again, a life time sub is about $200 so unless you plan to play for more than 2 or 3 years....

As for P2P games that should go F2P, one comes to my mind: Dofus. Published in 2003, graphics are old and were made in Java and the monthly fee is about $8/month. I mean, the game is really fun, there's a lot of things to do (crafting, harvesting, PvP, RvR, PvE) and this game could have a cash shop with pets,  XP candy, Drop candy, Mount perhaps.

Dofus remains quite popular after all these years but in my opinion, I do not wish to pay for a game with dated graphics and I'm not a graphic maniac but when it comes to monthly subs, I do have a few requirements.

Thu Aug 06 2009 11:40AM Report
Death1942 writes:

Lifetime subs rock and they pay themselves off in just over a year.  As for the F2P/sub stuff...i honesly don't care what the devs choose so long as they provide value for my money and to me thats constant updates and a decent game.

Thu Aug 06 2009 6:21PM Report
haratu writes:

Somethign I never thought of, you could ressurrect so many games with free-to-play and shops. I think the thing stopping such games is the risk of loosing their current income and risking it on a new income.

Some people will make that risk, others will not.

Thu Aug 06 2009 8:01PM Report
tupodawg999 writes:

I'm not a fan of F2P in general for various reasons but yes, if a game was aiming to be a good sub-type game but just missed the boat then going F2P is better than all that good work going to waste and would mean more people getting to enjoy what had been created.

Thu Aug 06 2009 8:11PM Report
Inktomi writes:

" Also, there are almost no live events in SUB Land, but F2P Land is packed with them!"

Are you sure about this statement? I played FFXI, and they had events for every single holiday. Easter eggs, invisible tours, quests that gave you extra exp, funny  gear and pumpkin heads. They always got players involved being a heavily social game.

They were fun, my mog house was packed with useless items but my friends and I always had a good time doing them. Swearing when we were done,  "this is the last event we are getting involved in!" Only to find ourselves doing something silly come the next holiday. They started an event this june that has to do with writing poetry, that's a new one.

Also, as I am getting involved with phantasy star univers (subland game) I found out they too have holiday events regularly. PSU has also finished the summer event aug 6th and are just starting a new one that runs into Augusat 27th. Hey, they even had an event for Sonics birthday, who turned 18 this july. Plus many more!

Hasn't Ryzom just finished a major worldspanning event, or is it still going on? The invasion one?

WoW: the gathering and opening of Ahn Qiraj was a major event, so was the invasion of the scourge that introduced the Argent Dawn. That was patch 1.11, Shadow of Necropolis that introduced Naxx. Naxx was brutal back then.

Wow, has tons of events coming every month, even a pirates day AARRGGGG. Look for yourself: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/events/calendar/

If you just google (game name) Event you will find something happening. Maybe you meant that F2P games have MORE events than p2p, but then your just counting apples.

Fri Aug 07 2009 12:37AM Report
beauturkey writes:

 Thanks for the points, Ink!

 I KNEW you couldn't stay away from here too long! :)

 Well, you are right, sub MMO's have more huge events I would say, but some F2P's have several in a month, ran by GM'.s Also, some of these F2P easily have the same pop as most of these major NA sub MMO's, so GM support should be the same.

 One thing, though, if you are needing help, GM's in F2P's are many times  non-existant. I don't know what's up with that. But if you want an in-game event, there will be like 6 of them there! lol

 

 Beau

Sat Aug 08 2009 8:17AM Report
Inktomi writes:

I will never forget where I came from. I still enjoy this site and the community, I'll be crawling around here often.

~Frank

Sat Aug 08 2009 11:13AM Report
sazabi writes:

good article.

i think DDO devs should be truly respected since they are risking so much. well that might nto seem much, but the fact that no one has done this before is very important.

Sun Aug 09 2009 4:48AM Report
Ozmodan writes:

Man you just don't get it do you.   Your blog is so jaded towards the  f2p model I just feel it is important to provide some counter arguments. 

Number one, there is NO free to play game out there that more frequent updates than the subscription games.  At least none of the major ones that I am aware of.

Secondly, RMT lets your buy your way to the top.  Where is the sense of accomplishment?  At least in a subscription game when you see a high level or someone with a rare item you know they worked for it.  In a RMT they are completely meaningless.  What is the point of developing a character if the process is a joke?

As your silly comment that you can play for free, sure only if you want to severely limit yourself in what you do in the game.  Pvp is out, the RMTers will make you pay dearly.  Joining a high level guild is out as they are restricted to RMT levelers.  Participating in some of the content is out because your guild does not have the high level people to do it, the high levels went to the RMT guilds.

Everyone of your blogs is so one sided I have to wonder if you wear blinders in real life all the time.

BTW there is nothing wrong with free to play games, I play them myself and enjoy them, but I recognize their limits. 

As to your list of games, I would think going free to play would hurt Vanguard, the download is too large and many of the existing players would probably quit.  Not sure the game would survive with that, but I do expect SOE to add RMT to the mix in the game and make it a hybrid which could work.  Ryzome is probably a good candidate as well as the Matrix, although the Matrix was never that good a game to start with.

Mon Aug 10 2009 8:04AM Report
beauturkey writes:

 My blog is "jaded" to the F2P model? You mean it's for the model, right?

 As far as events, name me the P2P game that has as many in-game events as Mabinogi, Runes of Magic, Dream of Mirror online, or many many others. I didn't say that they were the type of game-changing events like the release of WoW's expansions. I am talking about holidays, "find the GM" type things, and many other siege events.

 If you think that you canot play these games without RMT, then I cannot convince you otherwise. I am not even going to try because I have already covered that a million times.

 Also, you are obviously the type of player that thinks there is a "top" when there is none. Top what, exactly?

 And Vanguard already has RMT..it's called Live Gamer. It's not F2P, but you can buy entire characters, gold or items with real money. The fact that the items and characters come from other players doesn't matter to the person that is paying real money for something virtual.

 

 Beau

 

 

Mon Aug 10 2009 9:05AM Report
weblinkz2002 writes:

I like your post Beau, however I do not like the fact that this would help to futher push that F2P transaction model should be used as a last resort.

Granted, and I agree with the games that you have selected to be changed to a F2P model. I would prefer to stress on the fact that the games would fair better as F2P and not use the model as a last resort to survive,

Tue Aug 11 2009 4:03AM Report
beauturkey writes:

Good point, I hadn't really considered that! But, maybe we are still in a period pf companies and players getting used to the idea of a F2P on one of their NA titles.

 Thanks for the comment!

 

 Beau

 

Tue Aug 11 2009 5:27AM Report
BC_Animus writes:

Tabula Rasa had lots of fun little mini events, and the GMs did stuff for the players too...  god I miss that game...

Wed Aug 12 2009 7:53AM Report
BC_Animus writes:

Personally I'm not a fan of F2P games, since they are normally not as polished as the P2P games, plus a lot of them uses these RMT which tends to add up to more than the sub price if you want to progress.  I have nothing against things like mini pets or armor dyes and such - but things like XP potions and mounts and weapon sharpening stones and such IMO do give paying players an advantage over the non-paying ones...  and in some games the RMT systems used  IMO are extremely intrusive.

Not the mention the fact that a lot of F2P games attract a lot more players, and usually the worse kinds of players out of the gaming community, including (no offence to you younger players) immature folks who constantly spam the word "gay" and toilet humour, plus a lot of gold sellers.

I'd rather have a P2P game where I know how much I am paying, and have access to all the rides that I choose to ride on, when and if I want them, rather than having to pay a little bit of extra every time I want to do something or go somewhere.

Wed Aug 12 2009 8:01AM Report
Senadina writes:

Sticking with the themepark analogy, years ago Disneyland switched from tickets for rides to a single upfront fee for access to all the rides. Instead of 10 tickets for ride A, and 5 tickets for ride B, we can now ride whatever we want all day long. This is a model I prefer in my themepark AND my MMO. I see MT as a slippery slope, not only with cosmetic services at the beginning morphing into game advantage items once established, but also with the ease with which one could exceed $15 a month in purchases. Have you ever been to a state fair, where each ride costs a number of tickets? At the end of the day you spend  a LOT more than the one lump sum entrance fee at a themepark.

Wed Aug 12 2009 10:36PM Report
Golarum writes:

"And while F2P Land USED to be nothing but a ghetto fair-park, nowadays there are amazing new parks opening all the time that are the same in quality as "SUB Land."" 

Are you kidding me? The F2P games are far from being of the same quality of P2P games. It's like comparing a 3 day visiting fair in a small town to Disney Land, asking Disney Land to charge the same as the small fair.

The ONLY type of quests that F2P games have are kill 20 bees and 40 turtles. It's a grindfest. In P2P games, there is a storyline you follow, you go to scout somewhere, then kill the boss but be careful not the harm the innocent citizens who will also be attacking you. Stuff like that that make questing interesting. Also the crafting system is always more complete in P2P games. The dungeons don't all look alike and feel alike. There are a lot of points I can talk about, but I think you get my idea.

I play both p2p and f2p games, and I will never compare the 2 things, it's like when I drive, in the summer I get my Mercedes out, in the winter I will drive my Mazda, they're both good cars, but I will never suggest that they are of the same quality and they should cost the same.

As for the games you suggested to go F2P, I agree with Ryzom and Matrix Online, having played both, I think they would go further as F2P games. As for Vanguard, I think all it needs is for SOE to invest a little more time in it and it would be a success, the game is great,the only reason it did not succeed is all the bugs it had at release, and then people went on to other games and never looked back.

Thu Aug 13 2009 10:12AM Report
Thanosxp writes:

Not to forgert the obscene quantity of bots in some of the F2P (silk road online, MU, atlantica, flyff...) or gold vendors spamming at will. Or, the classic korean mmo trading model,where a guy stands in some place filling a slot in the server, to sell his stuff all night long afk. No central auction house in there.

OR, maybe the bugs that never get solved in many F2P games (not as many as daily events,i would presume for the reading), or item mall selling things not only to speed up the leveling process or make your char look cool,but giving combat bonuses in PvP situations, creating a "i win" button based on money.

But, they have more events, if you're right. well,i stick with good game,less events.

Thu Aug 13 2009 5:30PM Report
Tisiphone writes:

Then again, look how good of a game Anarchy Online was for so many years, even after it went F2P.

Sat Sep 05 2009 6:13PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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