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General Discussion

General Discussion 

News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Do Subscriptions Make a Difference in Community?

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121 posts found

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/18/08
Posts: 2096

10/02/13 2:12:46 PM#101

No it doesn't make a difference. You lose just as many good players as bad by charging and in this market you better pull off an amazing game if you expect anyone to pay a monthly fee.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/20/12
Posts: 112

10/02/13 5:35:51 PM#102

am i the only person who remembers the HoGG incidents from a while back? remember, the guys who were proud and thought they were badass because they were making the game impossible for other players to play? found exclusively on P2P. as they stated in their videos they didn't care one whit about getting banned because they could just buy a new account. and they told about all the different games that they were in doing the same thing.

i'm shocked, SHOCKED to discover asshats and pricks have access to money too!

investment in a game doesn't just happen because you've spent money on it. if that were true then no one would ever leave a P2P game for the next over hyped P2P game. one can invest time in a game and be just as committed to a game that is fun as one that they have to pay a fee to play.

the biggest factor in community development is: is there a need for a community beyond "end game"? if the answer is no, then the overall community will be poor; regardless of pay model used.

one last point: not all "whales" are asshats, but a lot of them are. and everyone of those "whales" has one or more sub games that they are also playing.

there may be a difference, but the difference is negligible.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/02/06
Posts: 7

10/05/13 11:11:29 AM#103
Does that include players who went from a paid to a free subscription? 

Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/12
Posts: 85

10/05/13 11:31:19 AM#104

It's hard to say whether a p2p model involves a better community or not. I myself haven't played many f2p games. I tend to enjoy the games where I get access to everything available through the game, not through a cash shop. I also used to think that gold spammers were less in p2p games, but ffxiv kinda ruined that theory!

I have been trying more f2p games lately, mostly because the MMO games out at the moment feel somewhat stale to me, I thought maybe some f2p gem might be out there. One game I noticed, in particular where the community seemed horrid while it was p2p and stayed the same after it went f2p was Tera. I played this game while it was sub based and felt the community was absolutely terrible, recently I went back and tried it again (as f2p) and it felt the same :(  For example, when I logged into Tera back when it was p2p everyone was arguing about people who play the Elin race: the argument being that anyone who plays them must be a pedo. I logged in about a week ago and guess what?! The same, childish argument was filling up my global chat.

I really think it is more about the game itself, not the payment style, that reflects the community. A game that will attract more mature, possibly hard-core players who are in it for the long run, might be more invested in a better community (whether it is p2p or f2p). A game that seems flashy or immature in many ways may attract a less committed community, thus less of a reason to focus on one.



Elite Member

Joined: 3/30/05
Posts: 233

10/05/13 11:41:29 AM#105
While theoretically the more immature players would be attracted to the F2P games because they can log in and not have to pay anything this isn't necessarily true.  It all depends on the game.  Take for example WoW.  WoW is subscription based, but how is its community?  I've not played WoW, but I hear it can be pretty bad at times.  Then there's GW2.  It's a B2P game, but from my experience (and it's been a long while since I've played) the community was a pleasant one.

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/12/08
Posts: 227

10/05/13 1:24:46 PM#106
Originally posted by Nadia

when EQ2 went ftp on Freeport server -- i saw no difference in the community


the Freeport community was friendly and helpful and much better than some sub games

Wasn't the Freeport server the special server that in essence was the precursor and experiment for SOE for a fully FTP EQ II?

The people on that server were already in a community when the entire game went FTP.

insert appropriate forum signature here for the terrible signature functions that can't be figured out.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/02/08
Posts: 3745

10/05/13 1:35:41 PM#107

I think the type of game makes a bigger difference.

Most themepark games eliminate the possibility of players having a real impact on each other.  While every game has its jerks, there isn't much they can really do to another player in the standard solo-ish themepark, whether they are paying or non-playing players.

STO and LOTRO - two of the best communities I've seen - are both F2P games.

On the other hand, in sandbox games that is often different, as players usually can have an impact on other players.  If such games are free to play, the jerks can create character after griefing character at no cost, and therefore can have a significant impact on the play of others.

The real asshats of the MMORPG community tend to gravitate to games that allow them you ply their asshattery upon the community.

Hell hath no fury like an MMORPG player scorned.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/26/08
Posts: 52

10/05/13 1:45:33 PM#108
Originally posted by Adalwulff

The answer is YES!!!

I have been playing MMOs since 98' and I've been in many guilds and clans, and without a doubt, the community in subscription MMOs is FAR better.

People here will split hairs and say things like, "not all players are like that"

Experience trumps fiction  :)

No. The answer is "No." It may have been "Yes" at one time, but it is no longer the case.  The reason it was at one time "Yes" is due to virtually non-existence of Free2Play games/mmos out there.  The reason in difference in community isn't due to whether or not a person pays a monthly fee. It's due to the attitude/differences in the gaming community TODAY compared to that of several years ago.  World of Warcraft is not free 2 play, yet arguably has one of the worst communities out there.  I don't speak of every player out there. I'm meaning the community as a whole.  You may be one of the lucky ones that finds a good/friendly guild in the game (kudos to Blizzard and their amazing find-a-guild/post-a-guild build into the game now), but I challenge someone to go into general chat in just about any zone and start asking for advice/help.  Afterward, write down some of the responses you get.  Then, log into Guild Wars 2 and do the same thing.  Do this over a period of about 1 week and then compare notes and let us know the different responses you get.


"I am handicapped...I'm psychotic."


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/30/05
Posts: 32

10/05/13 3:54:41 PM#109

My experience, which is all I can speak from, is that there is a difference in outlook between those who subscribe and those who play free.


Free players treat the game as a vacation. They may be splendid people and fine community members, but they often feel no particular investment in the game or its community. They will come in, have fun for a few weeks or months, and leave as if they'd never been.


People who shell out for subscriptions tend to feel more of an investment in the world. They like what they see, and plan to stay a while. These are the players who persist for months or years. They are the rocks you build a stable community on.


On the practical business side, a free player may provide a quick boost of  income, but the subscriber is going to provide steady income for years to come. It's the difference between an energy drink and a protein shake, or a candy bar and a sandwich.


I don't think it's wise to exclude one group over the other. Offer a free mode for those who are looking to spend a few weeks away from their other games, and subscriptions for those who decide they like it enough to move in.


But the game should be designed in a way that encourages the free players to become subscribers. Off-the-cuff crude examples; free players can buy from the auction house, but can't sell. They can create and join public and private chat channels, but can't form or join a guild. They can have a bank vault, but not a house.


Advanced Member

Joined: 6/26/07
Posts: 279

10/05/13 4:12:42 PM#110
Originally posted by RudedawgCDN

YES - I will not play a "Free to Play" Game.

I've never met a free to play game that I liked.

For one; not one of them was ever Free.

The community is generally filled with 8 yr olds or 40 yr old men who act like 8 yr olds.

I prefer subscription model games 100% over FTP.

Hate reading these misinformed posts.  Go look at Path of Exile and Marvel Heroes for two examples of completely free games.


There are trolls and eliteists in every game regardless if its P2P, B2P, F2P.  Nothing makes them any worse or better than the alternative.


The major thing that creates a difference in the community is the game its self.  Depending on the game it attracts different types of people, and that is where the community is going to be formed from.  The payment model has little to do with the community, the game its self is everything to what community it draws.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/27/07
Posts: 38

Melandru guide my footsteps, Dwayna guide my heart

10/05/13 5:16:51 PM#111

I would have to say No. I have seen good and bad in both models and the sub model isn't a guaranteed barrier because as the game gets popular, those people are going to come over anyway. Just as an example, I have seen more gold sellers advertising in WoW than GW2, seen just as many undesirables in both along with kids as well (tip there, if you want to avoid kids join a mature guild), and as for newbies, well we were all newbies once.

Actually, there is one group not covered in this article which is predominant in sub-based games, and that's elitists, which can be just as damaging to the community as the ones they complain about. A sub-based game still needs the numbers despite the guaranteed income and these can drive newer players away, stopping the game from growing


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/09/13
Posts: 601

10/05/13 5:29:07 PM#112

Look at the community here. These are supposedly "MMO veterans" who always ask for a sub-based game. Now ask yourself how the community will be with people like them only playing it?

If you want more proof look at some of the top quality replies of the people saying YES.

From my experience, F2P or B2P have some really good communities. I played WoW and FFXIV recently and nobody talks anything in chat, everyone just like to solo their stuff. Have a question and you decide to ask it in chat? Good luck getting a reply to that.

In F2P/B2P games like GW2, Secret World, SWTOR, Rift, Tera, etc. i have found people to be extremely helpful.

- GW2 has one of the best communities i have seen and i have so many memories from that game that it became a part of my life.

- I have had several people in SWTOR and Secret World come and help me go through a dungeon (when my queue wasn't popping up) and help me farm mobs to get level and gold. Again, ask any question in SWTOR & Rift gen chat and you will always have a reply.

On the other hand, for P2P games,

- FFXIV had one of the worst communities i have ever seen. No one wants to help or talk. The number of incidents of people griefing in the game was a joke.

- WoW was kinda ok but still not as good as my experience with the other games i have played.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/06/11
Posts: 395

10/05/13 5:38:14 PM#113

If money was a shield against asshattery, I would finally be able to see a movie in a theater in silence.  $15/mo. is cheap, really cheap, and I don't doubt quite a small investment for someone who gets their jollies off trolling others and otherwise being a nuisance.  The biggest factor in shaping community is the willingness for players and those who manage the game to put up with bad behavior.  We've all become so inured to the horrors of general chat that we simply /ignore or turn off chat altogether.  We've allowed the creation of a culture where civility is second to the shiny and anyone not in our guild is simply an advanced NPC stealing our spawns and loot.  This is true for most MMOs, no matter their payment model, it's just that F2P is an easy target; especially since it presses all the right poltically-sensitive buttons and allows for phrases like "entitlement", "freeloader", "whales", and "this generation" to be tossed around.


I'd love to see the day when a newbie asks a question and gets flooded by helpful answers rather than by a sewage surge from all the failed stand up comedians and trolls of the world.  That's unlikely to happen in any game unless the community itself stands up and wrests the game from the vocal minority of internidiots.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/09/13
Posts: 601

10/05/13 5:41:37 PM#114
Originally posted by thecapitaine

If money was a shield against asshattery, I would finally be able to see a movie in a theater in silence.  $15/mo. is cheap, really cheap, and I don't doubt quite a small investment for someone who gets their jollies off trolling others and otherwise being a nuisance.  The biggest factor in shaping community is the willingness for players and those who manage the game to put up with bad behavior.  We've all become so inured to the horrors of general chat that we simply /ignore or turn off chat altogether.  We've allowed the creation of a culture where civility is second to the shiny and anyone not in our guild is simply an advanced NPC stealing our spawns and loot.  This is true for most MMOs, no matter their payment model, it's just that F2P is an easy target; especially since it presses all the right poltically-sensitive buttons and allows for phrases like "entitlement", "freeloader", "whales", and "this generation" to be tossed around.


I'd love to see the day when a newbie asks a question and gets flooded by helpful answers rather than by a sewage surge from all the failed stand up comedians and trolls of the world.  That's unlikely to happen in any game unless the community itself stands up and wrests the game from the vocal minority of internidiots.

Like i said and some guy in the SWTOR section said in a post few days ago too, try asking a question on the fleet area in SWTOR. You will ALWAYS get an answer. One of the most helpful communities i have seen.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/20/10
Posts: 292

10/06/13 3:13:12 AM#115

I prefer the subscription based system. The games that have it seem to have a more stable player base. Also when I enter a dungeon or want to play a certain race/class I do not have to pay for it.


The currency system in all free to play games are like shop vouchers. You can never buy the exact amount of shop gold to buy the item you want either. So you are left with a small amount that you can not do anything with. Even if you buy access to a class and race you always have those 20 or 30 gold left in the shop that you can buy nothing with. And if that is all you buy from the shop then its a waste of money.


I started to play DDO but stopped after I realised I was spending way to much money per month than if it was just a subscription based game. So for me they are a money sink and I would like to know each month how much a game will cost rather than some random amount.


SWTOR f2p cripples the player and unless you subscribe you can't use high level equipment or have more than 35k credits to your character. There is a problem there because you need over 40k credits to be able to use a speeder.

The reason the past mmo's have failed and gone free to play is not due to the market changing, but the fact that all mmo's released since WoW have tried to copy that game like for like. Fact is players go to the new games see that its the same game mechanics just with different classes, then the bugs and lack of content and then they move back to WoW in their droves.


I would like to think that TESO is going to be different from WoW in many ways and will be able to keep its subscription model going. Not sure about Wildstar although it does look like a nice game there is way to much hype over it.


I just remember the hype from SWTOR and GW2 and look how they turned out, most posts I come across about GW2 are saying how its badly designed and not worth the time to play.


Ultima Online released 1997 and is still subscription.


Eve Online released 2003 still subscription.


WoW released 2004 still subscription.


DAoC released 2001 still subscription


Four  MMO's that are still going strong. So whats  going on here?


They are all vastly different to each other and the original of what they are. No new MMO's has been able to be original they have all tried to copy WoW with raids, gear progression class and level system, map markers to quest hubs and fast travel.


DAoC uses the same game mechanics but with a twist it gives the first mmo true meaning for pvp other than UO. In the way of RvR and the relics system. Mythic tried to copy this for their failed mmo Warhammer. Eve does this but on a much larger scale and more vicious, which is why it has attracted a niche player base.


Mythic should of gone and converted this game to a MMO instead.


And made it a sandbox mmo. I know people who would of flocked to this in their droves because of the fond memories of sitting around a table with a character sheet and pen and note books. Instead they chose this table top battle system And then gave it cartoony graphics like WoW and horrible implementation of fake humour.



Novice Member

Joined: 1/20/05
Posts: 39

10/06/13 7:52:05 PM#116

Apart from asking the meaning of life, This must be the most stupid question presented.

People who like subscription will play the types of games which use that business model, and those people who dislike subscription will never touch them.  So basically; wtf r u deluded retards arguing about?


It's like asking whether we should remove all public transport from the roads because of the "crowd" which gets attracted.  Seriously, grow up and shed ur stupid selfish child mentalities.  You make me sick with ur pathetic arguing!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/29/06
Posts: 2

10/07/13 1:15:09 AM#117

I remember when I returned to swtor a few months after it went f2p - the group content prior to end-game was simply unplayable due to the surge of f2p players who ruined everything by total incompetence, rudeness and ignoring common looting rules. In just a few weeks I hit the limit of the ignore list, and I never ignored anyone during the 1st 3 months I played since release.

Theorise all you want, but there is a significant difference between p2p and f2p community quality.

// believing is bleeding


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/24/06
Posts: 40

10/07/13 4:13:15 PM#118
In some countries it's impossible to play if the game is not freemium. So I believe is a good thing.
Cypruska Xfire Miniprofile

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/05/08
Posts: 193

10/07/13 6:27:35 PM#119
Originally posted by Adalwulff

The answer is YES!!!

I have been playing MMOs since 98' and I've been in many guilds and clans, and without a doubt, the community in subscription MMOs is FAR better.

People here will split hairs and say things like, "not all players are like that"

Experience trumps fiction  :)

Same here and I agree. I have played a few f2p and b2p games, and they never really had the community feeling I found in the p2p games.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 4723

Aim Bot

10/07/13 7:55:11 PM#120
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