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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Ah. I get the whole F2P antipathy that's going around now.

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91 posts found
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

 
OP  10/09/13 10:58:41 AM#1

Some people at work are playing Clash of Clans so I'm trying it out on my phone. Yes, it is a mobile game, and not an MMORPG, but it is a F2P game, and it condenses the F2P experience that a lot of people seem to fear down into a 10 minute example.

In playing this game, I've been conserving the in game unit of exchange, called gems, or crystals. Little green things. The reason why is that I can see the point where I'm going to either have to check in with the game every ten minutes to collect resources, but really do nothing else, or spend money on those gems to buy resources, otherwise I won't be able to do anything. Now, I can take this game or leave it. There's not a ton of game play to be had. To me, it mostly seems like a system designed to siphon money out of humans by giving them numbers.

The people I work with are spending a lot of money on this game. At least it looks like a lot of money to me. If the average person who's spending money on this game is spending upwards of a $100 a month, what incentive does the developer have to create game play for people like me, who are never going to spend that kind of money?

What if this is not only an instance of something, but a trend? The average dollar amount spent per game is going to be fairly high, and there will be little incentive to create game play for people who won't spend that much money, effectively pushing them out of that segment of the gaming market. A segment that includes MMORPGs.

That's the fear. That the cost for playing MMORPGs through F2P will rise to the point that people who enjoy MMORPGs will no longer play them because they are too expensive.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  AlBQuirky

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 3201

Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

10/09/13 11:03:30 AM#2

That was my feeling when I was on Facebook and tried their D&D game. Doing 1 or 2 dungeons in one sitting was way too limiting. Of course, they sold more "endurance"(I think it was called that) for some major money, or one could just wait out the very long refill time.

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  Voqar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/28/04
Posts: 481

10/09/13 11:09:05 AM#3

I kind of doubt your average player will drop $100/mo on any game.  Fools and their money are easily parted for sure, but the average player doesn't have the luxury to be that foolish with money.

 

Obviously there ARE plenty of fools in the MMORPG world to keep crappy F2P MMORPGs afloat.  So you have to hope that designers would prefer to make good, quality games, instead of steaming piles of F2P crap.  ALL, and I mean ALL, F2P MMORPGs are crap.  F2P isn't an entirely horrible business model for SOME gaming genres, but it IS crap for MMORPGs, because the only way F2P can sustain an MMORPG is thru pay to win.  If you can buy even one piece of content that should be earned or anything like that, you've corrupted your game and the thing about MMORPGs is that moreso than in any other genre, the entire game is about earning stuff and making progress.  Even selling vanity clothing is lame in MMORPGs because it's something that SHOULD be obtained thru playing, not paying.

 

Premium MMORPGs do not feature built-in cheating via cash for gold pay 2 win. PLAY to win or don't play.

  apocoluster

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/15/07
Posts: 1297

\m/,

10/09/13 11:26:26 AM#4
Originally posted by Voqar

I kind of doubt your average player will drop $100/mo on any game.  Fools and their money are easily parted for sure, but the average player doesn't have the luxury to be that foolish with money.

 

Obviously there ARE plenty of fools in the MMORPG world to keep crappy F2P MMORPGs afloat.  So you have to hope that designers would prefer to make good, quality games, instead of steaming piles of F2P crap.  ALL, and I mean ALL, F2P MMORPGs are crap.  F2P isn't an entirely horrible business model for SOME gaming genres, but it IS crap for MMORPGs, because the only way F2P can sustain an MMORPG is thru pay to win.  If you can buy even one piece of content that should be earned or anything like that, you've corrupted your game and the thing about MMORPGs is that moreso than in any other genre, the entire game is about earning stuff and making progress.  Even selling vanity clothing is lame in MMORPGs because it's something that SHOULD be obtained thru playing, not paying.

 

<---fool.     *bows*

* and lol not smart enough to line this up better*

No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  udon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/23/07
Posts: 1614

10/09/13 11:27:04 AM#5
Originally posted by Voqar

I kind of doubt your average player will drop $100/mo on any game.  Fools and their money are easily parted for sure, but the average player doesn't have the luxury to be that foolish with money.

 

Obviously there ARE plenty of fools in the MMORPG world to keep crappy F2P MMORPGs afloat.  So you have to hope that designers would prefer to make good, quality games, instead of steaming piles of F2P crap.  ALL, and I mean ALL, F2P MMORPGs are crap.  F2P isn't an entirely horrible business model for SOME gaming genres, but it IS crap for MMORPGs, because the only way F2P can sustain an MMORPG is thru pay to win.  If you can buy even one piece of content that should be earned or anything like that, you've corrupted your game and the thing about MMORPGs is that moreso than in any other genre, the entire game is about earning stuff and making progress.  Even selling vanity clothing is lame in MMORPGs because it's something that SHOULD be obtained thru playing, not paying.

There have been some articles posted on this web site in other posts that seem to suggest that the average F2P player does pay more than $15 a month though.  It's hard to nail down and easy to read anything you want to into the numbers since F2P companies don't release average revenue per player numbers but I think it's safe to say that on average F2P games cost more than a traditional subscription does.  Sure F2P gives people options to work around that and pay less but I'm talking overall across the entire player base.

What that tells me is that traditional true subscriptions are underpriced.  Now some companies have made up for that with "vanity" shops instead of increasing the monthly price but one has to wonder if a AAA MMO was released with a $25 a month sub fee and no add on costs if it would really hurt it being priced higher like that?  It probably would even though it shouldn't be since it's easier and safer to charge piecemeal and hide the overall cost rather trying to put it up front.  

Ultimately I think the $15 a month barrier that companies seem unable to push subscriptions over is sub games biggest enemy and what assures F2P and "Hybrid" models are here to stay.  Consumers are willing to pay in many cases much more than that on a game but only as impulse micro transactions not a upfront subscription.

  FinalFikus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/01/13
Posts: 910

"We're up all night to get lucky"

10/09/13 11:34:24 AM#6

Next year they have to increase profits and cut cost, and then again the year after, and so on...

 

 

 

 

 

 

"If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  Wicoa

Novice Member

Joined: 1/08/07
Posts: 1613

10/09/13 11:38:12 AM#7

The people you described are known as "Whales" in the industry.

This is where F2P makes the most of its money.  Not sure of the statistics but once they make a large profit from a few, the majority then play for free.

I can't be bothered with F"P tbh. I much prefer P2P mainly because then everyone who plays is on the same "level" of service and if you don't play well your not gonna play the game then are you ;).

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

 
OP  10/09/13 12:58:44 PM#8


Originally posted by Voqar
I kind of doubt your average player will drop $100/mo on any game.  Fools and their money are easily parted for sure, but the average player doesn't have the luxury to be that foolish with money.

 

Obviously there ARE plenty of fools in the MMORPG world to keep crappy F2P MMORPGs afloat.  So you have to hope that designers would prefer to make good, quality games, instead of steaming piles of F2P crap.  ALL, and I mean ALL, F2P MMORPGs are crap.  F2P isn't an entirely horrible business model for SOME gaming genres, but it IS crap for MMORPGs, because the only way F2P can sustain an MMORPG is thru pay to win.  If you can buy even one piece of content that should be earned or anything like that, you've corrupted your game and the thing about MMORPGs is that moreso than in any other genre, the entire game is about earning stuff and making progress.  Even selling vanity clothing is lame in MMORPGs because it's something that SHOULD be obtained thru playing, not paying.

 




One person who spends $100 a month in a game is worth 6.6 regular subscribers. So if a game can get $100 a month, and has four times fewer people paying money, they would still be ahead of the curve.

Now, I don't know if this is a real thing or not. I think things are more complicated than my experience with one F2P mobile game, otherwise we wouldn't have two new major league games coming out that are going to charge a subscription. I'm just talking about how people feel about the F2P financial model in general and why that fear or dislike might exist. There has to be an "end game" to the F2P movement, and if that "end game" is something bad, then what is it? The cost rising to the point that most MMORPG players aren't wanted or needed is something bad for all those people.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4760

10/09/13 1:21:32 PM#9
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Voqar
I kind of doubt your average player will drop $100/mo on any game.  Fools and their money are easily parted for sure, but the average player doesn't have the luxury to be that foolish with money.

 

 

Obviously there ARE plenty of fools in the MMORPG world to keep crappy F2P MMORPGs afloat.  So you have to hope that designers would prefer to make good, quality games, instead of steaming piles of F2P crap.  ALL, and I mean ALL, F2P MMORPGs are crap.  F2P isn't an entirely horrible business model for SOME gaming genres, but it IS crap for MMORPGs, because the only way F2P can sustain an MMORPG is thru pay to win.  If you can buy even one piece of content that should be earned or anything like that, you've corrupted your game and the thing about MMORPGs is that moreso than in any other genre, the entire game is about earning stuff and making progress.  Even selling vanity clothing is lame in MMORPGs because it's something that SHOULD be obtained thru playing, not paying.

 




One person who spends $100 a month in a game is worth 6.6 regular subscribers. So if a game can get $100 a month, and has four times fewer people paying money, they would still be ahead of the curve.

Now, I don't know if this is a real thing or not. I think things are more complicated than my experience with one F2P mobile game, otherwise we wouldn't have two new major league games coming out that are going to charge a subscription. I'm just talking about how people feel about the F2P financial model in general and why that fear or dislike might exist. There has to be an "end game" to the F2P movement, and if that "end game" is something bad, then what is it? The cost rising to the point that most MMORPG players aren't wanted or needed is something bad for all those people.

 

But would they be? That figure only looks at one month. What about next month? Or every month thereafter? How many months in a row does someone spend $100.00? How many months before they walk away forever? I once calculated how much money I had spent on WoW over the years. It was up there.

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  DamonVile

Elite Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 4806

10/09/13 1:44:35 PM#10

I understand where the fear comes from but I still think it's misplaced.

When UO and EQ first started to get big I remember ppl talking about every game charging a sub and soon there will be no game without one.

The problem with all these types of examples is they all fall under " what if everyone did the same thing " The day that actually happens we'll no longer be human.

There will always be people who want to do something different, someone who wants to make something better rather than a cheap knockoff.  Just like there will always be people who are looking for easy money.

These cheap money grab games will earn their reputation and people will learn to stay away from them. They'll rise and fall like any trend.

There's a saying about evolution and why we have two eyes and two ears but only one mouth. Clearly it didn't see the internet coming or it never would have given us ten fingers to type with.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

 
OP  10/09/13 1:50:40 PM#11


Originally posted by GeezerGamer

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Voqar I kind of doubt your average player will drop $100/mo on any game.  Fools and their money are easily parted for sure, but the average player doesn't have the luxury to be that foolish with money.     Obviously there ARE plenty of fools in the MMORPG world to keep crappy F2P MMORPGs afloat.  So you have to hope that designers would prefer to make good, quality games, instead of steaming piles of F2P crap.  ALL, and I mean ALL, F2P MMORPGs are crap.  F2P isn't an entirely horrible business model for SOME gaming genres, but it IS crap for MMORPGs, because the only way F2P can sustain an MMORPG is thru pay to win.  If you can buy even one piece of content that should be earned or anything like that, you've corrupted your game and the thing about MMORPGs is that moreso than in any other genre, the entire game is about earning stuff and making progress.  Even selling vanity clothing is lame in MMORPGs because it's something that SHOULD be obtained thru playing, not paying.  
One person who spends $100 a month in a game is worth 6.6 regular subscribers. So if a game can get $100 a month, and has four times fewer people paying money, they would still be ahead of the curve. Now, I don't know if this is a real thing or not. I think things are more complicated than my experience with one F2P mobile game, otherwise we wouldn't have two new major league games coming out that are going to charge a subscription. I'm just talking about how people feel about the F2P financial model in general and why that fear or dislike might exist. There has to be an "end game" to the F2P movement, and if that "end game" is something bad, then what is it? The cost rising to the point that most MMORPG players aren't wanted or needed is something bad for all those people.  
But would they be? That figure only looks at one month. What about next month? Or every month thereafter? How many months in a row does someone spend $100.00? How many months before they walk away forever? I once calculated how much money I had spent on WoW over the years. It was up there.



If they can add new players as the old players leave the game, then it doesn't really matter if the players don't stay. They may not have an expectation that the game or games stick around and make money for twelve years. Especially on mobile platforms, but the same mentality could be used for MMORPGs.

Build a game that is expected to live for a year or two, with 20k people each paying an average of $100 a month. Don't spend $20M on developing the game and make a ton of money. Release a new game every six to eight months and then buy a private island.

Or something like that. Like I said, I'm not sure how much of what I've characterized about the F2P stuff is actually real or not. I'm only talking about how people feel about it, and why they might have a decidedly antagonistic view of F2P games. If F2P developers are pushing the ongoing costs of gaming higher in general, then that would be something to have a decided dislike of. It doesn't even have to be true. Someone could play one game, hear about what people spent in one month and form an opinion of every F2P game or developer.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  SpottyGekko

Elite Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2933

10/09/13 2:08:21 PM#12

The reason why I hate F2P games with a passion is because they cost me MUCH more to play enjoyably than any P2P game I've ever played.

 

That's because I like the "fluff" and "optional" and "quality of life" stuff in MMO's. Those extras make the game world interesting for me, and I almost never play MMO's that don't have them. To me, killing mobs until I hit level cap is of secondary importance. I want to enjoy the journey, I want to LIVE in that virtual world for a while.

 

In FFXIV:ARR, there's a wide variety of clothing dyes and all are player crafted. With an hour or two of play, I can have 100 pots of dye to experiment with. In most F2P games I've tried, that would have cost a substantial amount of RL money, or many, many hours of ingame grinding. That's why I prefer subscription games, because they suit my play style.

  Edli

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/03/10
Posts: 883

10/09/13 2:09:17 PM#13

This started becoming popular with facebook game. The point of the game was to make a lot of money from 5% of the userbase. The other 95% were useless customers. They were there just to make that 5% feel superior to them, to give a reason to those 5% to spend money.

Before it became the norm on MMOs you could see a really extreme version of it on those private servers. On one of them, in a small L2 private server I actually knew the guy that owned it. Basically the model was simple. We let all these people that will never pay for anything because they serve as targetting dummy, meatbags for the those few people that pay. And they did pay a lot to own others. I don't know if they're all rich or just bad at money management or just really desperate to feel superior to another player even though they didn't have the skills. Although not all these f2p MMOs are this extreme, just that L2 used to be very gear dependant. 

Usually on a game a player is better than another one because of skills. Has played the game more, is generally better at picking up games and will beat the opponent in fighting, racing, FPS, sport games. This model however removes the skill part from the game and I think it removes the game from the game.

Because of that, because I had my fair share of these games I absolutely hate it. 

  silverreign

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/09/08
Posts: 325

It is what it is

10/09/13 2:22:38 PM#14


Originally posted by SpottyGekko
The reason why I hate F2P games with a passion is because they cost me MUCH more to play enjoyably than any P2P game I've ever played.

 

That's because I like the "fluff" and "optional" and "quality of life" stuff in MMO's. Those extras make the game world interesting for me, and I almost never play MMO's that don't have them. To me, killing mobs until I hit level cap is of secondary importance. I want to enjoy the journey, I want to LIVE in that virtual world for a while.

 

In FFXIV:ARR, there's a wide variety of clothing dyes and all are player crafted. With an hour or two of play, I can have 100 pots of dye to experiment with. In most F2P games I've tried, that would have cost a substantial amount of RL money, or many, many hours of ingame grinding. That's why I prefer subscription games, because they suit my play style.



i couldnt agree more. down with the f2p crap. if u cant afford $15/month for a game then u should b working not playing.

  crack_fox

Novice Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 398

10/09/13 2:28:44 PM#15
Originally posted by lizardbones

There's not a ton of game play to be had. To me, it mostly seems like a system designed to siphon money out of humans by giving them numbers....

The people I work with are spending a lot of money on this game. At least it looks like a lot of money to me. If the average person who's spending money on this game is spending upwards of a $100 a month, what incentive does the developer have to create game play for people like me, who are never going to spend that kind of money?

This is fascinating. The game has minimal gameplay and yet your colleagues are throwing $100+ at it each month. What's driving this behaviour? Are they competing with each other? Are people playing simply out of fear of missing out on the water cooler topic of the moment, or does the game have genuinely compelling aspects? 

I have no idea what this means for the MMORPG genre, if it means anything. I don't know how much you can infer from player behaviour in a mobile game. However, with PC sales in steady decline and the rise and rise of tablets and other portable devices, perhaps MMORPGs as we know them will cease to exist entirely. Your post suggests that there is a huge new ocean full of whales out there, ready to be exploited by opportunistic developers. And if that is the case, why paddle about in this pond at all? 

  TiamatRoar

Elite Member

Joined: 8/05/10
Posts: 167

10/09/13 2:37:11 PM#16

An employee of R2Games actually held a conference or presentation on this to explain things to investors (you can find the link to it if you search).

 

Basically, he listed the pros of "fishing for whales" (and yes, he called them "Whales", too) using a cash shop that gives power (IE, pay to win) as high profit margins, etc, and then he listed one of the cons as "shorter game life span".

 

In short, they KNOW they're compromising their game when they design a pay-2-win system that fishes for whales.  They also know that it's a drawback that shortens the life of the game. They just see it as an acceptable from a business standpoint.

 

(and yes, those whales exist. I know of people that spent OVER A HUNDRED THOUSAND on a lame browser game).

 

Kinda makes one wonder why even bother spending time, money, and hopefully love creating a good subscription game when a stupid browser game (maybe) makes more money as long as it manages to hook a few whales.

  DamonVile

Elite Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 4806

10/09/13 2:39:02 PM#17
Originally posted by silverreign

 


Originally posted by SpottyGekko
The reason why I hate F2P games with a passion is because they cost me MUCH more to play enjoyably than any P2P game I've ever played.

 

 

That's because I like the "fluff" and "optional" and "quality of life" stuff in MMO's. Those extras make the game world interesting for me, and I almost never play MMO's that don't have them. To me, killing mobs until I hit level cap is of secondary importance. I want to enjoy the journey, I want to LIVE in that virtual world for a while.

 

In FFXIV:ARR, there's a wide variety of clothing dyes and all are player crafted. With an hour or two of play, I can have 100 pots of dye to experiment with. In most F2P games I've tried, that would have cost a substantial amount of RL money, or many, many hours of ingame grinding. That's why I prefer subscription games, because they suit my play style.



i couldnt agree more. down with the f2p crap. if u cant afford $15/month for a game then u should b working not playing.

 

How can you read this thread, agree with that post, then say something like " if you can't afford $15 a month...."

Are you sure you understand what this thread is about or did you just see free to play and that's your canned answer to it every time ?

There's a saying about evolution and why we have two eyes and two ears but only one mouth. Clearly it didn't see the internet coming or it never would have given us ten fingers to type with.

  Mendel

Elite Member

Joined: 7/22/11
Posts: 636

10/09/13 2:42:48 PM#18
Originally posted by lizardbones

In playing this game, I've been conserving the in game unit of exchange, called gems, or crystals. Little green things. The reason why is that I can see the point where I'm going to either have to check in with the game every ten minutes to collect resources, but really do nothing else, or spend money on those gems to buy resources, otherwise I won't be able to do anything. Now, I can take this game or leave it. There's not a ton of game play to be had. To me, it mostly seems like a system designed to siphon money out of humans by giving them numbers.

The Gems/Crystals/Keys/items thing is a huge problem.  But it's not inherently a F2P thing.  Any game with a cash shop, subscription or otherwise is potentially subject to this 'trend'.  Keys to unlock loot have been around in sub-based games for years  (Star Trek Online, PWI, Champions Online, others).  A loot box item drops, but using it requires paying RW money to buy a key to even see if the loot you've won is better than what you already have, or in the most extreme cases, if your character can even use that particular item.  It puts a veil of secrecy over the loot, that the player has to pay to unlock.  I would consider this a form of pay-to-win, although the development team might consider this a micro-transaction form of pay-to-play.

This 'trend' could manifest itself in any game with a cash shop, and many of the traditional subscription-based games (EQ, WoW and others) already have or are implementing a cash shop.   The only 'defense' against this is development team that isn't trying to gouge the player, and that is totally dependent on the management's prevailing attitude.   Ultimately, the player can ignore the loot boxes and resist the temptation to buy the unlocks, or they can leave the game.  I've got a string of these games in my past.

Game providers haven't seen the frustration these gimmicks cause; they are only seeing the income.

Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  iridescence

Elite Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 1237

10/09/13 3:05:15 PM#19

Honestly, I have a hard time understanding how F2P survives as I barely ever am even tempted by stuff in F2P shops. The only thing I've ever bought in a F2P shop were extra classes in Rift, which I did partly to support the game itself. I guess I'm the small minority, but I just don't see the point in buying stuff to make these games easier when they're already pretty easy or buying basically dressup doll stuff. If I have to buy stuff from the shop just to play the game properly I will uninstall that game as there are plenty of F2P games that don't force you to do that.

I'm kind of glad that "whales"  and suckers exist though because they allow me some pretty good games for free.:)

 

  thecapitaine

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/06/11
Posts: 394

10/09/13 3:16:58 PM#20

I definitely see where the OP is coming from and where there could be cause for alarm.  However, I think it's somewhat dangerous to interpret mobile and MMO gaming 1-for-1.  Though the former do try to get people to behave socially and drag their friends into it, the lifeblood of MMOs is other people.  And, as many have pointed out elsewhere, free players are of immense value to the survival and success of F2P games.  The fact that many of the most restrictive F2P schemes have loosened up over time proves that they can't survive solely by counting on whales or subscriptions. 

 

It's a complex situation on the whole but there is some irony to be found in it.  In the days of pure sub games, the box price and sub kept a lot of people from trying new MMOs.  Now there's concern that the same thing may happen for games that let everyone play them for free.

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