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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » So what exactly are F2P games supposed to charge for?

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283 posts found
  lizardbones

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10953

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

 
OP  12/15/13 1:11:40 PM#21


Originally posted by Hanthos

Originally posted by lizardbones * Nothing is off limits. The only wrong answer is "Subscription".
Nothing like eliminating answers you just don't want to hear.



You're not getting it. One of the ongoing talking points is the things that get charged for in F2P games. Well, since one of the issues is what gets charged for, what can be charged for that isn't an issue?

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  muppetpilot

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/12
Posts: 53

12/15/13 1:11:49 PM#22

The OP raises a really good question, and honestly this is something that may never truly be answered.

I've had the distinct pleasure of playing both p2p and f2p games for years now, so here's my three cents:  I completely understand that an f2p game is still ultimately designed to make money.  My issue with many of the offerings I have played is that often times, it feels as though players are being herded towards the cash shop for bare necessities, and I can't help but think that such a business model is wrong.  Not earth-shakingly, human-rights-violation wrong, but wrong nonetheless.

I suppose one example that is undoubtedly going to be tossed around here is SWToR's limitation on action bars.  Now, here's the thing with that:  to actually unlock the bars is a small expense - I believe around five bucks?  I may be wrong on the actual amount; one of you vets may have to straighten me out on that.  My issue with this is that action bars are ultimately necessary in order to properly enjoy a game.  I've always been of the opinion that a cash shop should be mostly cosmetic and booster-oriented, or perhaps offer helping-type items that make a player's quality of game life a bit better.  I realize that five dollars or so is a very small number, and pales in comparison to the amount I paid in WoW sub fees over the years, but it's the nature of the necessary item or feature that makes such a thing seem off to me.  If I'm going to put money into an f2p game (and I have done so quite a bit over the years), it's because I was able to play the game enough to decide that I enjoyed it, and so my purchases are a form of support for the devs, a "job well done", if you will.

My problem is that if you're cutting out necessary game features and locking them behind paywalls, I don't think you're letting people decide whether or not they like your game enough first.  I know there are plenty of SWToR fanbois who will deride me for saying this, but let's face it:  action bars are necessary for your enjoyment of a game.  Reducing the number of available bars is reducing player choice, and that is never a good thing in an MMO.

Another case in point:  Blade and Soul.  I waited two years to play that game, finally got my chance right before Thanksgiving when the Chinese open beta let everyone in.  Wonderfully beautiful and fun game, and I was having a blast until I discovered that simply opening up my inventory and warehouse beyond a certain point required - yep, you guessed it - a cash shop purchase.  Again, I just found this to be excessive.  Anyone who's played MMOs knows how important inventory management is, especially when you're gathering and crafting and hanging on to items you  may need down the line.  I was only able to open a small portion of my inventory and warehouse with in-game gold, and then the game began requiring a cash-shop item to unlock any more.  By level 23 I was literally and completely out of space in my warehouse, and honestly with the lack of content in BnS I wasn't going to shunt money into it just to have access to some bag space. 

THAT is the sort of thing that can run people hot.  Things like action bars and bag space should at the very least be unlockable with in-game funds.  Denying players access to core needs like space and skill slots is just too much, if you ask me.  I'm sure plenty of folks are just fine with that, because as I said, f2p devs need money too, but herding players towards their credit cards simply because they need something they can't get any other way is just bad business, if you ask me.

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7490

12/15/13 1:13:53 PM#23

Isn't it obvious?

They can charge for w/e particular person does not care about so he can play without spending a dime while enjoying all he likes, for free...


In reality, campanies are supposed charging for what customers are willing to pay for. If people are not willing to pay for sub, there is no reason to make a P2P games(apart from racking up initial sales).

And in the same manner, if players are willing to pay for game play affecting/power items, why shouldn't they sell them?

Money and items sold are the best representative of what people want, unlike these boards.

  Panther2103

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/09/08
Posts: 2117

12/15/13 1:19:32 PM#24

It's a torn discussion, there are some people who believe that it is okay to have power in the shops, they usually don't pvp or do any endgame raiding or dungeons or anything like that so it doesn't really affect them. Then on the other hand there are the people that believe that cosmetics are the only thing that cash shops should have. 

Personally I think cash shops should only have cosmetic and exp based items, maybe character reroll tokens or name changes or anything like that. IDEALLY I think the shops should allow you to sell said items to other people, sure it inflates the market but it makes it possible for people who don't or cannot spend money to earn the items still through gold. Tera made it work, I had friends who never spent a dime but had enough gold to buy any of the cash shop cosmetics, it worked well.

  User Deleted
12/15/13 1:21:56 PM#25
Originally posted by CazNeerg

Originally posted by evilastro

So many subscription games did not produce enough content to actually warrant a subscription. It would be nice to see the market moving to systems which hold developers accountable for each update.

That depends entirely on where you place the bar for what "warrants a subscription."  To me, if I get an hour of fun for every dollar spent, I feel like I am ahead of the curve.  So if I can manage to enjoy a MMO for more than fifteen hours out of the month, it warrants a subscription.  Even if it has a F2P option.

I would place the bar at 'actually introducing new content every month or so'.  Some games would go up to 6 months between actual content updates and still expect people to be paying a subscription.  The shift to F2P / B2P means you only pay for things you want at that time, you aren't paying for the promise of content 4 months from now.

  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 15960

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

12/15/13 1:23:27 PM#26
I think they should charge for whatever guarantees sales. As long as they add other options (like a sub) to get those thing for a flat fee I have no problem with whatever they decide to sell piecemeal.

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 5224

12/15/13 1:34:51 PM#27
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

People will spend money in order to somehow have a better overall game experience then those who don't pay. Games put all these spins on it. But in the end, they are almost all P2W to some degree. Most have just hidden it.

This just isn't true.  If it doesn't impact PvP, it isn't P2W, because outside of PvP there isn't anything to "win."

Again, I hear this all the time, but it's not true. No one wants to go side by side with another player always know your are second best. Which player will be in higher demand in grouped content? You play for free, you are always second rate, you always know this, this is not winning. PVE is just a better place to hide the P2W factor but it's still 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.

  CazNeerg

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 2220

"So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Dark Helmet

12/15/13 1:39:02 PM#28

Originally posted by muppetpilot

...

I suppose one example that is undoubtedly going to be tossed around here is SWToR's limitation on action bars.  Now, here's the thing with that:  to actually unlock the bars is a small expense - I believe around five bucks?  I may be wrong on the actual amount; one of you vets may have to straighten me out on that.  My issue with this is that action bars are ultimately necessary in order to properly enjoy a game.  I've always been of the opinion that a cash shop should be mostly cosmetic and booster-oriented, or perhaps offer helping-type items that make a player's quality of game life a bit better.  I realize that five dollars or so is a very small number, and pales in comparison to the amount I paid in WoW sub fees over the years, but it's the nature of the necessary item or feature that makes such a thing seem off to me.  If I'm going to put money into an f2p game (and I have done so quite a bit over the years), it's because I was able to play the game enough to decide that I enjoyed it, and so my purchases are a form of support for the devs, a "job well done", if you will.

My problem is that if you're cutting out necessary game features and locking them behind paywalls, I don't think you're letting people decide whether or not they like your game enough first.  I know there are plenty of SWToR fanbois who will deride me for saying this, but let's face it:  action bars are necessary for your enjoyment of a game.  Reducing the number of available bars is reducing player choice, and that is never a good thing in an MMO.

...

THAT is the sort of thing that can run people hot.  Things like action bars and bag space should at the very least be unlockable with in-game funds.  Denying players access to core needs like space and skill slots is just too much, if you ask me.  I'm sure plenty of folks are just fine with that, because as I said, f2p devs need money too, but herding players towards their credit cards simply because they need something they can't get any other way is just bad business, if you ask me.

Two points here; first, they can get it another way.  Most F2P games, including TOR, still have a sub option, and those who sub have everything unlocked for as long as they sub.  In a game with such a hybrid model, F2P players aren't supposed to get everything that is necessary for enjoyment without paying anything, because if they did there wouldn't be much incentive to sub.

Second, at least in TOR, everything is unlockable with in-game funds, because people who buy the unlocks on the cartel market can sell them for in-game credits on the trade network.

Originally posted by evilastro

Originally posted by CazNeerg

Originally posted by evilastro

So many subscription games did not produce enough content to actually warrant a subscription. It would be nice to see the market moving to systems which hold developers accountable for each update.

That depends entirely on where you place the bar for what "warrants a subscription."  To me, if I get an hour of fun for every dollar spent, I feel like I am ahead of the curve.  So if I can manage to enjoy a MMO for more than fifteen hours out of the month, it warrants a subscription.  Even if it has a F2P option.

I would place the bar at 'actually introducing new content every month or so'.  Some games would go up to 6 months between actual content updates and still expect people to be paying a subscription.  The shift to F2P / B2P means you only pay for things you want at that time, you aren't paying for the promise of content 4 months from now.

I would argue that you are never paying for a promise.  You are paying for unfettered access to whatever is currently present.  If what is present is sufficient for you get to get fifteen hours of enjoyment out of the game in a month, it makes sense to sub.  If it isn't sufficient, it probably makes more sense to cancel your sub and wait until it is.

Originally posted by Distopia
I think they should charge for whatever guarantees sales. As long as they add other options (like a sub) to get those thing for a flat fee I have no problem with whatever they decide to sell piecemeal.

This.  If fifteen dollars a month is such an incredible burden on your finances, you probably shouldn't be spending your time playing games anyway.  I love the presence of the F2P with optional sub model, because it keeps games afloat that might otherwise fold, but I never actually play free when there is a sub option.  To me, any game worth playing is worth paying a sub to have unrestricted access to.

 

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

  Hedeon

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/27/05
Posts: 927

12/15/13 1:42:17 PM#29
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

People will spend money in order to somehow have a better overall game experience then those who don't pay. Games put all these spins on it. But in the end, they are almost all P2W to some degree. Most have just hidden it.

This just isn't true.  If it doesn't impact PvP, it isn't P2W, because outside of PvP there isn't anything to "win."

Again, I hear this all the time, but it's not true. No one wants to go side by side with another player always know your are second best. Which player will be in higher demand in grouped content? You play for free, you are always second rate, you always know this, this is not winning. PVE is just a better place to hide the P2W factor but it's still there.

 

 

could turn it around...WTF is there to win in PvP, you die sometimes and you kill sometimes but it makes no damn diffrence, why is it P2W, there is nothing to win since you will always end up dieing at one point no matter how good and careful you are, unless you re a cheater.
 And when you kill someone they just respawn WTF

  lizardbones

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10953

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

 
OP  12/15/13 1:44:24 PM#30


Originally posted by Gdemami
Isn't it obvious?

They can charge for w/e particular person does not care about so he can play without spending a dime while enjoying all he likes, for free...


In reality, campanies are supposed charging for what customers are willing to pay for. If people are not willing to pay for sub, there is no reason to make a P2P games(apart from racking up initial sales).

And in the same manner, if players are willing to pay for game play affecting/power items, why shouldn't they sell them?

Money and items sold are the best representative of what people want, unlike these boards.




There are a few posts echoing the same sentiment. People expect developers to charge for those things they do not want to buy. I suppose this makes sense given all the threads or posts that contain the idea "F2P is not Free".

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  CazNeerg

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 2220

"So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Dark Helmet

12/15/13 1:44:25 PM#31
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

People will spend money in order to somehow have a better overall game experience then those who don't pay. Games put all these spins on it. But in the end, they are almost all P2W to some degree. Most have just hidden it.

This just isn't true.  If it doesn't impact PvP, it isn't P2W, because outside of PvP there isn't anything to "win."

Again, I hear this all the time, but it's not true. No one wants to go side by side with another player always know your are second best. Which player will be in higher demand in grouped content? You play for free, you are always second rate, you always know this, this is not winning. PVE is just a better place to hide the P2W factor but it's still there.

Winning requires a competition.  Generally one that actually has rules, victory conditions, and exists somewhere other than in the player's mind. "Competitive PvE" might be theoretically possible, but I have never seen it.  As for "no one," I can tell you right now, you are wrong.  When I group, it's because there is content I want to complete that can't be soloed.  I couldn't care less about the comparative power of the people in a PvE group, as long as the combined power is sufficient to complete the content at hand.  Relative power between players only impacts "winning" in PvP, because PvP is the only competition.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 5224

12/15/13 1:51:01 PM#32
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

People will spend money in order to somehow have a better overall game experience then those who don't pay. Games put all these spins on it. But in the end, they are almost all P2W to some degree. Most have just hidden it.

This just isn't true.  If it doesn't impact PvP, it isn't P2W, because outside of PvP there isn't anything to "win."

Again, I hear this all the time, but it's not true. No one wants to go side by side with another player always know your are second best. Which player will be in higher demand in grouped content? You play for free, you are always second rate, you always know this, this is not winning. PVE is just a better place to hide the P2W factor but it's still there.

Winning requires a competition.  Generally one that actually has rules, victory conditions, and exists somewhere other than in the player's mind. "Competitive PvE" might be theoretically possible, but I have never seen it.  As for "no one," I can tell you right now, you are wrong.  When I group, it's because there is content I want to complete that can't be soloed.  I couldn't care less about the comparative power of the people in a PvE group, as long as the combined power is sufficient to complete the content at hand.  Relative power between players only impacts "winning" in PvP, because PvP is the only competition.

Now we are going back to something I've been saying on these boards for a long time.

 

Until we have a universal definition of why anyone plays MMOs, we cannot have a universal definition of what it means to win. Why you play is how you win. I don't tend to PVP all that much in MMOs. So PVE is how I win.

What is my "payoff" in any given game? When I identify that,  and if I can get it out of the cash shop, then the game is P2W. 

P2W for me could be meaningless to another.

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

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 4909

12/15/13 1:52:22 PM#33
You can't talk about f2p without the ranters showing up :)
  CazNeerg

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 2220

"So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Dark Helmet

12/15/13 1:58:49 PM#34
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
 

Now we are going back to something I've been saying on these boards for a long time.

 Until we have a universal definition of why anyone plays MMOs, we cannot have a universal definition of what it means to win. Why you play is how you win. I don't tend to PVP all that much in MMOs. So PVE is how I win.

What is my "payoff" in any given game? When I identify that,  and if I can get it out of the cash shop, then the game is P2W. 

P2W for me could be meaningless to another.

Well, sure, if you want to throw out the dictionary and redefine what the word "win" means, that changes the discussion. ;) Unfortunately, it also makes the term "P2W" completely meaningless, because it no longer has any way to be objectively defined.

To me, talking about "winning" non-competitive content makes about as much sense as talking about winning a book, or winning a movie.  If the only way for an experience to end without completing it is to voluntarily quit before you finish, that isn't something you "win" or "lose" it's just something you finish or don't finish.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

  azmundai

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/18/10
Posts: 1424

12/15/13 2:11:29 PM#35

ideally nothing, or if they are selling cosmetic items, they should be selling cosmetic items that are still obtainable in game, but that require a great amount of effort to get. furthermore, I really prefer not to cash grind. that being said, some cash grind things are ok, but there should be a variety of ways to achieve things, not just cash grinding.

otherwise I will just play the game for free until a sub game comes out that is actually worth $15 a month.

LFD tools are great for cramming people into content, but quality > quantity.
I am, usually on the sandbox .. more "hardcore" side of things, but I also do just want to have fun. So lighten up already :)

  crack_fox

Novice Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 402

12/15/13 2:21:10 PM#36

Sell everything. Sell access to everything in the game a fixed hourly, daily or even monthly rate. 

Or else, sell everything. Sell everything you have - fluff, power, titles, max level characters etc and let the players decide what they want. Everything's for sale, my friend, everything. Let the market decide. Just be upfront about it and do it from the outset.

 

  zymurgeist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 5212

12/15/13 2:32:26 PM#37
Content, the same as every other game business model. The problem is balancing discrete packets of content so it doesn't ruin it. If you want an example of the proper way to do it look at theme parks, real ones. There are two ways they gate content at theme parks. Daily passes and ride tickets. Either the lines control how much content you consume in a given amount of time or the ride tickets do. The gaming analog is time cards and pay per use content. For a few extra bucks you can get a cotton candy or balloon. The same as a mount or special clothing item. What free to play games are doing now is just stupid. You should pay for the content you actually use.

"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  lizardbones

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10953

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

 
OP  12/15/13 2:32:35 PM#38


Originally posted by azmundai
ideally nothing, or if they are selling cosmetic items, they should be selling cosmetic items that are still obtainable in game, but that require a great amount of effort to get. furthermore, I really prefer not to cash grind. that being said, some cash grind things are ok, but there should be a variety of ways to achieve things, not just cash grinding.

otherwise I will just play the game for free until a sub game comes out that is actually worth $15 a month.




If a game is worth a $15 a subscription, wouldn't the same game be worth buying something from in a cash shop?

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  Holophonist

Elite Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2050

12/15/13 2:37:48 PM#39
So far the best implementation of f2p imo is path of exile. They don't offer any in game advantages (not pay to win). They have a variety of cosmetic things like pets, but also functional things like extra tabs in your stash, the ability to name tabs, guild stash, etc.
  Destai

Elite Member

Joined: 8/31/09
Posts: 526

12/15/13 2:37:49 PM#40
Originally posted by lizardbones

I'm sure everyone has seen at least one thread on at least one F2P game where whatever the developer or publisher is charging for is somehow P2W, underhanded or just a flat out rip-off.

So given that people are willing to go into such granular detail on what developers shouldn't charge for, what exactly should they charge for in a F2P game?

In your hypothetical scenario, keep in mind the following:

* The game must actually make money. Yes, this is a consideration. Even for your favorite game, they must make money. Not only must they make money to cover expenses, they have to make a profit, or the game will not continue to exist.

* "Subscription" as the answer will not work here. The game is F2P, and must sell stuff in their cash shop, either in or out of the game.

* Nothing is off limits. The only wrong answer is "Subscription".

**

"Some F2P Options OR Subscription" would be a fine answer. "Subscription" by itself is the only wrong answer here. It's a F2P game, so something has to be charged for in the cash shop.

They're supposed to charge for the game. 

My belief, that some will call narrow, is that you should charge for the game. You can create a limited character in a limited trial, but to play the full one should pay for the game. I don't believe it's fair to the devs or paying clients that some people can experience an entire game for free and not contribute to its well being. 

I'm okay with cosmetic items being sold, and I'm okay with new content being sold (so long as it's reasonably priced). I think paying to unlock the full game prevents price barriers further down the road. Buying the actual meat of the game also allows developers to focus more on that content as profit generation than cosmetics/boosters. 

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