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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Opinion poll: At what point does free 2 play become pay 2 win?

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70 posts found
  User Deleted
 
OP  9/22/11 2:52:18 AM#1

I've been playing a game, I won't disclose which it is because last thing I need is to make an enemy of another dev.

 

I got up a few levels and out of curiousity started poking around the cash shop.  I was astonished at how much was available.  Gear, armor, consumables, even in game gold was all laid out in a nice presentation.  Anything and everything one would need or want to build an uber character was ready for purchase.

 

I was blown away by the blatant commercialism of it all.  Absolutely speechless.  Is this the future of gaming?

 

I'm not anti Free 2 Play, but I am struggling with one concept.  At what point does Free 2 Play become pay to win?

 

Your thoughts on where the line is drawn... How much cash shop is too much?

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16620

9/22/11 3:01:28 AM#2

In PvP is it easy, when more than half of the top people have bought part or all their gear from the cash shop. I think almost all F2P PvP games are P2win.

PvE is a bit trickier, you can really blame the company for trying to sell you stuff, it is after all their income. If they either sell good stuff you can't get anywhere else (or stuff with the same stats) or if it takes at least 4 times as long to hit the endgame I would say it is P2win. 

Most F2P games isn't really free but then again, nothing really is free and if someone is saying so they are selling something. That is the reason I hope for more B2P games instead.

Of course B2P might become Pay2win fast as well, but I wouldn't be surprised if the P2P games itemshops turns them into pay2win as well soon.

  Blasphim

Novice Member

Joined: 8/31/11
Posts: 347

Darkness is Death's ignorance, and the Devil's time

9/22/11 3:01:50 AM#3

In my opinion, anytime you can buy with real money anything that can modify your characters stats, gear, or in game currency is pay to win.  Even if you can grind those things in game and never have to touch the cash shop at all should you choose, it's still pay to win, again in my opinion.  This has been my debate with a few f2p games with such cash shops in recent history.  My 2 cents...which won't get me much in game sadly :(

  User Deleted
9/22/11 3:05:49 AM#4

I'll make a little scale here:

Ethical: Appearance items, race/gender.name changes, classes/races/expansions (Appearance and Content)

Mildly unethical: Deed/experience accelerators, temporary speed increases, potions/revives, travel  (Convienience) 

Unethical: Permanent stat boosts, levels (straight to level X), weapons/gear. (Enhancements)

There are exceptions, of course. For example, even though Guild Wars allows you to buy all class skills for PvP, all that does it put you on an equal footing with the other players. Also, since LoTRO stat tomes can be found in-game, I would put them at slightly unethical. 

  Skuall

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/20/05
Posts: 795

9/22/11 3:06:00 AM#5

but the armor /weapons were inaccesible to others? or just normal crafted?

gold in cash shop ? O_O thats strange.....but oh well...

pay2win come more in a PvP enviroment , however when u cant do dungeons/raid w/o passing @ cash shop there is a problem

 

example runes of magic....is p2w in a PVE enviroment.......diamonds, puri ,

 

Allods.....after de FoD fiasco

 

Conan ,seriusly wth?

 

in a f2p game , exp boost , or something to lesser the grind time is ok....

 

but when u put thing like gear enhancements that are only accesible in cash shop...pfffff

 

oh almost forgot

 

 

  User Deleted
9/22/11 3:07:03 AM#6
Originally posted by WhySoShort

I'll make a little scale here:

Ethical: Appearance items, race/gender.name changes, classes/races/expansions (Appearance and Content)

Mildly unethical: Deed/experience accelerators, temporary speed increases, potions/revives, travel  (Convienience) 

Unethical: Permanent stat boosts, levels (straight to level X), weapons/gear. (Enhancements)

There are exceptions, of course. For example, even though Guild Wars allows you to buy all class skills for PvP, all that does it put you on an equal footing with the other players. Also, since LoTRO stat tomes can be found in-game, I would put them at slightly unethical. 

All this said, I think an MMO with PvE that you can "win" or "beat" is poorly designed. 

  pierth

Novice Member

Joined: 4/14/06
Posts: 1515

9/22/11 3:14:17 AM#7

IMO a game becomes pay to win when there are non-fluff items in the cash shop that are unobtainable by just playing the game or are better than what is available just by playing the game. For me it really comes down to gear if it's a gear-based game. Potions for exp and such don't really bother me and even gear purchases don't concern me so long as I can earn the same or better in game. Once something in the cash shop literally becomes a must have that's when it's pay to win.

  Dvalon

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/10/07
Posts: 320

9/22/11 3:16:42 AM#8

In Short, Any cash shop that sells items and stat boosts that make your character stronger in any way shape or form, is an instant turn off for me.

 

Cash shops I like, ones that only ooffer cosmetic items, vanity pets, XP boosts.

And

Potions for Health and Mana, but only when these are also available in the normal game, at a respectable drop rate.

 

AND with mobs that do not require a cash shop purchase to be able to kill.

  User Deleted
 
OP  9/22/11 3:17:41 AM#9
Originally posted by WhySoShort

I'll make a little scale here:

Ethical: Appearance items, race/gender.name changes, classes/races/expansions (Appearance and Content)

Mildly unethical: Deed/experience accelerators, temporary speed increases, potions/revives, travel  (Convienience) 

Unethical: Permanent stat boosts, levels (straight to level X), weapons/gear. (Enhancements)

I think this is close to my perspective also.  The way I see it is that a game would have to be pretty damn extraordinary to go fully ethical and make a buck.  GuildWars is like this.  Bank slots, alt slots, hero henchman slots... but not so much as even a healing potion in terms of anything game imbalancing.  That clean of a cash shop has to be very rare.  I'm guessing GW can do it because of box and expansions.

 

Thanks, very helpful.

  Dvalon

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/10/07
Posts: 320

9/22/11 3:18:54 AM#10

I should point out, I have noticed recently that some free to play games state that items can be obtained via normal game play as well as part of the shop, but what they dont mention is that the grind involved in getting them is far longer and harder than what the actual value of the item is worth, which is another kick from the devs to get you to save time and just buy the damn thing.

Its a horrible dispicible and I beleive illegal act and I wish the courts would get off their ass and audit and govern this type of thing.

  tom_gore

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 1803

9/22/11 3:20:56 AM#11

Simple rule. If it's obtainable by just playing the F2P part, it's fair game in the item shop.

 

If however you can purchase items that are not obtainable by other means, and those items give superior stats and/or other advantage, it's P2W.

 

I'd like to think the cash shops as "shortcuts". If you don't want to grind, you can pay instead. If you don't want to pay, you can grind instead. There are people with too much money and too few hours to play, as there are people with too much free time and not too much money. Why not make both happy without stepping on either one's toes?

 

This is what defines a succesful cash shop for me.

 

  User Deleted
 
OP  9/22/11 3:26:03 AM#12
Originally posted by Dvalon

AND with mobs that do not require a cash shop purchase to be able to kill.

That's one I hadn't heard of.  I can just see it.  Go kill Frogger and bring me the tongue.  But to do it you'll need to spend 2000 happy-fun points to get the Anti-Frogger sword.

 

Pardon my being less than objective, but that is a wicked game mechanic.  I'm surprised we don't see more of it.

  User Deleted
 
OP  9/22/11 3:36:07 AM#13
Originally posted by tom_gore

Simple rule. If it's obtainable by just playing the F2P part, it's fair game in the item shop.

I'm mostly okay with that as long as it's not extreme.  I mean if there's a 0.001 chance of a drop, but it's $10 bucks in the shop, and it's such a thing (like a level unlock token) that must be had for progression, then I'm not so happy with it.

 

For me things have to be black and white to be clear in my understanding.  This whole balance ethics vs income plus balance reputation vs income has a bunch of grey areas.  I'm leaning towards if it has stats, it doesn't go in the cash shop.  Anything else is fair game.  Only issue there is xp boosters because typically things like that don't drop or quest reward.

 

Bah, more to work out.  Thanks for the response.

  crazynanny

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/03/10
Posts: 175

9/22/11 3:39:45 AM#14

I'd say store exclusive potions, scrolls, gear that changes challenging encounter into easy fight when You use those bought cash shop stuff(and in case of PvP when Your opponent does not). For example In PvE that can be special mana pots that make it easy to maintain Your power bar in long and difficult fights(LOTRO and minstrels) or in PvP special immunity to status effects(stun, fear, sleep).

 

And lol at LOTRO stat tomes being "available" in game. It's like 0.0001% drop? But then they aren't really what I can call P2W as 50(or with Isengard xpac 60) more of a stat, when You have bout 1000 of it is like drop in the ocean.

  rissies

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/23/11
Posts: 162

9/22/11 3:40:51 AM#15
Originally posted by WhySoShort

All this said, I think an MMO with PvE that you can "win" or "beat" is poorly designed. 

 

 

Pretty much this.

 

in answer to the topic question: the point of cash shop-dissatisfaction for me, is when I feel I have to buy something in order to enjoy playing.

  Quirhid

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5520

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/22/11 3:49:06 AM#16

The way I see it, offering something that a non-paying customer cannot obtain is clear P2W. If itemshop offers a shortcut for buying an item that would be otherwise very hard to get (a rare loot perhaps), then it matters just how hard the item is to acquire - and that is subjective. This is where the line gets unclear between F2P and P2W.

For example, if the only thing you can buy in the game is an XP boost, paying and non-paying players will still be equal when they reach level cap (League of Legends). The game is not P2W. However If a player can buy an advantage from the itemshop that cannot be otherwise obtained, or it is very hard atleast, the game becomes P2W.

World of Tanks is still in the gray area for me since you can buy gold ammunition which is better than normal ammunition, but it is still possible to get gold without buying it through the Clan Wars system. I understand if someone calls it a P2W game tho.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Quirhid

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5520

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/22/11 3:50:50 AM#17
Originally posted by WhySoShort
Originally posted by WhySoShort
 

All this said, I think an MMO with PvE that you can "win" or "beat" is poorly designed. 

That makes everything poorly designed.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  User Deleted
9/22/11 4:07:53 AM#18

When “winning” is defined as having fun (the object of game playing) then Free to Play becomes Pay to Win at the point where spending money on offered cash shop goods results in a better gameplay experience for the shop user when compared to those who do not spend.  This makes the term “free to play” a misnomer in the current market needing change.


It leads to a question of professional ethics that is not so clear cut in that the business model is based on taking advantage of a user’s desire for convenient advancements when presented with an intentionally frustrating game situation. This is because it is likely to result in a spur of the moment purchase or impulse buy of goods created by the developer to fill the need they have intentionally created for the player to attain a happier emotional state of being during play. 


It is this designed situation that allows shop transactions to draw more money for a developer in the current industry market than simple flat rate subscription fees.
 

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5224

9/22/11 4:11:55 AM#19

its just too obvious.. a game is P2W if it has items in the cash shop that affect combat/gear/stats etc..  which basicaly means anything other than vanity items = P2W..  can include P2P games not just F2P.

  Emoqqboy

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/28/10
Posts: 187

9/22/11 4:24:19 AM#20

Short answer: from the point the company decided it was going to take the free 2 play path.

From a player's perspective, it depends how long you can live in self-denial that the game you love is not pay 2 win. Every game company will try as much as possible to reap as much revenue as possible without driving away all of its population. You can keep lying to yourself that it is balanced playing an F2P without spending a single cent, and of course there are gonna be numerous posts after this that point out they did not spend a single cent and are fine with it. Reality of the situation: the more serious you are about the game you love playing which has adopted the F2P path, the sooner you will see the truth behind the F2P business model, and along with that your hard earned money pouring out of your pockets. Here you are intending to play 100% for free and there the marketting team of the game company is trying its very best to do the exact opposite, and you can be damn sure if they are not hitting their revenue quota, they will MAKE SURE they add items to their cash/gift shops to make you spend.

They usually start off with non game changing frills, like costumes, visual enhancement items for your chars. At this point, you pray to god there are enough vain morons playing the game alongside you that will spend loads of cash on these useless vanity items, because its pretty simple, if there arent enough vain morons, they decide vanity items wont be enough to gain revenue, and they are forced to add game changing items. (From my experience, games that only sell vanity items in their F2P cash shops dont manage to survive, as majority of the players will reach a decision that they can live without frills as long as it doesnt affect anything game changing, thus, back to my "Short answer")

My 2 cents, flame on.

<QQ moar plz. kkthxbai.>

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