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News & Features Discussion  » [Editorial] General: Free-to-Play Fatigue Part II: Bad News for Game Design

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93 posts found
  saker

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/11/04
Posts: 926

Make a WORLD,
Not a Game.

2/16/14 6:57:58 PM#61
Originally posted by JJ82

So, Free 2 Play killed the gaming market even though its been around since 1996 (yes that's right) and it was Zynga that did it, even though they didn't come around until 2007?

Right.

And here I though it was piss poor game design (as have been shown by countless sub based MMORPGs) and corporate greed that was killing it.

You want "everyone is trying to make the same thing and there is no room for creativity?" How about the countless WoW clone subscription based games made over the last 7 years? Try that on for size.

The genre is STAGNANT and it isn't due to F2P games, its due to corporations wanting to make the next WoW. If anything the only actual INNOVATION over the last 7 years have come from ACTUAL F2P games.

No MMO made recently has been more innovative than Vindictus with its true action combat in an MMO. Hell, even the overall craptastic Atlantica Online brought more innovation than TESO is going to bring, it had turn based combat with a 9 man attack squad!

What is TESO bringing that is new? Not a damn thing. Its so called claim to innovation is its lie about "open class" which is half assed and doesn't touch actual open class like TSW or even Asherons Call 1 which at least allowed you to choose all your skills. TESO is more of a class lock with more tree choices while allowing you to equip every weapon(which TSW and AC1 also did). Still limited and not innovative.

lack of innovation = lack of creativity. Thus this entire article is bogus.

I agree with 99% of what you said!

  coldandnumb

Novice Member

Joined: 5/31/09
Posts: 90

2/16/14 7:04:27 PM#62

Kudos to the author of this article. The points you raise have echoed my sentiment regarding the whole ftp invasion since it began. I'm at the point where I don't even play mmo's anymore as the old ones are just old and I have not found a new one worth more then a month or two of game time in like the last four years at least.

 I'm currently going through my back catalog of single player games that I've picked up over the last few years and having much more fun with those then anything on the market now. Once I play through all I got I think it may finally be time after 30+ years as a gamer to just give it up and find another hobby at least as far as pc gaming goes.

  saker

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/11/04
Posts: 926

Make a WORLD,
Not a Game.

2/16/14 7:08:37 PM#63

Wish people would be more precise with their writing. What is the definition of free-to-play being used here? Everyone seems to have their own! It seems to be like that old cliche about defining porn, I know it when I see it! Now pay-to-"win" that is pure evil! But some kind of "cash-shop" if done well (but isn't that always the thing! Devil in the details!) is perfectly ok. Cash-shops in already old-style box and subscription "model" is pretty freakin obscene, what is it people rightly call that double-dipping? Any-and-all-god(s) protect us from the cult-of-infinite-greed that is "merican-style" croney-capitalism...

Time to face it people the old model of going to the store and buying a box on a shelf, plus your monthly (and then later your expansion boxes) is pretty much gone. They threw that model out in the very successful "asian market" about a decade or 2 ago now. Anyone really expecting it to make a triumphant resurrection is, well.... 

  Azzras

Novice Member

Joined: 2/10/14
Posts: 422

One Shot, Two Kills.

2/16/14 7:13:26 PM#64
Originally posted by saker

Wish people would be more precise with their writing. What is the definition of free-to-play being used here? Everyone seems to have their own! It seems to be like that old cliche about defining porn, I know it when I see it! Now pay-to-"win" that is pure evil! But some kind of "cash-shop" if done well (but isn't that always the thing! Devil in the details!) is perfectly ok. Cash-shops in already old-style box and subscription "model" is pretty freakin obscene, what is it people rightly call that double-dipping? Any-and-all-god(s) protect us from the cult-of-infinite-greed that is "merican-style" croney-capitalism...

Time to face it people the old model of going to the store and buying a box on a shelf, plus your monthly (and then later your expansion boxes) is pretty much gone. They threw that model out in the very successful "asian market" about a decade or 2 ago now. Anyone really expecting it to make a triumphant resurrection is, well.... 

To each their own.  I prefer sub model for a MMOs that I enjoy compared to pretty much every f2p/b2p model that's come out recently.  You prefer asia.

  Hanthos

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/17/13
Posts: 228

PROUD P2P Elitist...

2/16/14 7:18:40 PM#65
Originally posted by mohit9206
I admit i love free2play.I avoid or quickly uninstall the bad ones but invest lots of time in good ones that i enjoy.I have never spent anything in a f2p and probably never will,i just want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment for the least amount of money i don't care about the developers or publishers there are enough whales out there to fund them.All you need to do is avoid bad f2p games and keep playing the good ones so that soon enough the industry will realize that fair implementation of f2p is vital to retaining playerbase.

This is the rot that has set in and caused the genre to become the cookie cutter purveyor of garbage that it is. This is why we have no creativity, no challenges and no risk taking.

  itchmon

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/21/07
Posts: 1614

2/16/14 7:31:24 PM#66
Originally posted by Carl132p

Free to play is awesome!!! I love not paying for my games!!!

few years later...

 

Why do all these games suck? I can't possibly figure it out?

 

QFMFT as they say :)

RIP Ribbitribbitt you are missed, kid.

Currently Playing EVE, DFUW

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

Dwight D Eisenhower

My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.

Henry Rollins

  MadnessRealm

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/02/09
Posts: 2717

Ignorance is Bliss.

2/16/14 7:37:47 PM#67

The F2P market is, to me, where most of the "innovation" has come from as of the past couple of years. Because there are more of them, they are required to find something different about their MMO that will allow them to compete in the F2P market. This is where games like Mabinogi, Vindictus, etc comes in. They offer some features that are very different from what is available on the market, both F2P and P2P alike. So the claim that F2P hinders creativity is actually rubbish and using Zynga as an example, a company known for cloning other games, and using it to represent the whole F2P industry is just absurd. Worse is that Zynga doesn't even make MMOs, meaning that it's really like comparing apples to oranges.

 

I spend money in F2P as well. In fact, that's where most of my money has been over the past 5 years or so. If I like a game, I'll just spend a certain amount in it. Since there isn't a box price, I spend the amount that I feel is justified for the amount of fun I'm having and based on what I can get from the Cash shop using that money.  I see this as no different than when I'm buying games for my 3DS. The only difference is that with F2Ps I get access to the whole game for free and I get to decide when I want to pay and how much I want to pay rather than being blocked by a pay-wall.

------
Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  syriinx

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/24/13
Posts: 996

2/16/14 8:06:20 PM#68
Originally posted by Bigbadwlf

 

1.) Developers don't work for free on F2P games.  Free to play games make MORE money, not less money, MORE money then P2P games.  This has been proven many times.

 

The thing I don't get is if they make more money, why do they have inferior development?

P2P games simply put out more content than F2P games.

  Kells

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/23/08
Posts: 66

2/16/14 10:08:36 PM#69
Originally posted by coldandnumb

Kudos to the author of this article. The points you raise have echoed my sentiment regarding the whole ftp invasion since it began. I'm at the point where I don't even play mmo's anymore as the old ones are just old and I have not found a new one worth more then a month or two of game time in like the last four years at least.

 I'm currently going through my back catalog of single player games that I've picked up over the last few years and having much more fun with those then anything on the market now. Once I play through all I got I think it may finally be time after 30+ years as a gamer to just give it up and find another hobby at least as far as pc gaming goes.

Ha ha! That is funny, I have been doing much the same thing myself.

Okay, weighing in on the topic, I am with the OP, I don't like cash shops and would prefer paying a sub to experience a game that doesn't have microtransactions.

  Ramonski7

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/21/03
Posts: 2702

"A wise man has something to say, but a fool just has to say something."

2/16/14 10:19:43 PM#70

Interesting article. Too bad the basic point of the article was lost on the droves of people blinded by their own feelings of being offended. I saw a few posters touch on the base of the problem. Two types of mindsets are splitting here at the development level:

  • Developer A with the F2P mindset, who's main goal is to get players to invest.
  • Developer B with the P2P mindset, who's main goal is to get players to become vested.

The mmorpg genre use to be dominated with developers of the P2P mindset with the goal to build loyalty among its playerbase in hopes of maintaining and building on their player retention. The way it worked was you had developers of the P2P mindset working on content in hopes of keeping players playing your game longer. More players playing for longer equals more monthly subs. Problem with this method is that it required long term goals for slow burning profits (in the eyes of publishers/investors)

 

That was until internet cafe style playing habits of the East (in the form of sub free and cash shops infused mmorpgs) showed western publishers/investors (developers were not sold on it just yet) the power of player impulse buying and survivability in a saturated mmo market. Combine that with the emergence of western casual mobile gamers and their core values (quick sessions, easy of play, short term goals, monetized content and less game play variety), publishers/investors had a way to introduce F2P to mmorpg players in the west. Give it away for free and charge for extras.

 

Now we have a genre infused with developers of the F2P mindset. That's fine, as long as players understand the type of reaction developers are looking for. It's not in hopes of you becoming vested in their new shiny mmorpg. By the way it's not the creativity that is in question when it comes to devs with the F2P mindset, it's the price tag they want to place on that creativity.


"Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  TheCrow2k

Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 956

2/16/14 10:42:51 PM#71
If you are going to pan f2p concept in MMO's at least cite MMO examples.

Every example of bad practice you gave In your writeup is in reference to garbage social & mobile games.

And FYI interest in making money is why p2p companies keep cloning WoW in ever more bland ways in hopes of replicating its success financially. Which has nothing at all to do with F2P.
  Carl132p

Novice Member

Joined: 5/12/06
Posts: 558

2/16/14 11:26:52 PM#72
Originally posted by mohit9206
Originally posted by eric1000
Originally posted by mohit9206
I admit i love free2play.I avoid or quickly uninstall the bad ones but invest lots of time in good ones that i enjoy.I have never spent anything in a f2p and probably never will,i just want to get the maximum amount of enjoyment for the least amount of money i don't care about the developers or publishers there are enough whales out there to fund them.All you need to do is avoid bad f2p games and keep playing the good ones so that soon enough the industry will realize that fair implementation of f2p is vital to retaining playerbase.

If everyone was like you we wouldn't have a games industry.

F2P needs to go away and the faster the better.

What do you mean by that ? How is me not paying for f2p games and enjoying them for free killing the games industry?99% of people do not spend any cash in a f2p game so are all those people also responsible for killing the games industry?

He is saying if no one payed for the games we wouldn't have them, in other words, if everyone was you, there would be no games.

  Notimeforbs

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/13
Posts: 302

2/17/14 1:02:32 AM#73

Reading this article... something clicked in my head that made me realize a great way to correlate what the F2P market actually is.

F2P is the new Arcade.

Back in the 80's and early 90's, people, especially kids, flocked to the arcade at the mall.  It had all the latest games, you could play with your friends, it had the best graphics technology, they were fast, smooth, and it was a blast for 25 cents at a time.  Arcade games were the cream of the crop in gaming experience, because each one was like its own event.

And then the Sony Playstation came out, and that was pretty much the end of that.  It was no longer profitable to build an entire machine to run one game, then distribute a million of them around the world, when a console that is already built can run it better and be just as if not more enjoyable.  And the original Playstation had some pretty amazing games.  It was the first time in history that a gaming console made an Arcade game, better.

It never occurred to me until I read this that the F2P market is nothing more than the Arcade era all over again.  Except this time, the games are cheaper to make, and they make exponentially more money.

Arcades were notorious for their unfair difficulty (or downright cheating) in order to make you plug in just one more quarter.  I wouldn't say F2P games go so far as to cheat (though some are questionable) but then... they don't have to.  They aren't charging you a quarter anymore.  They're charging you $2-5.  The time spent playing vs the time spent paying ratio is about the same though.  But then, that doesn't really have to change, because you don't have to leave a mall and wait til the next weekend to enjoy the game again.  You can do it at home every night or at work if your job is boring - you can literally play all day.  And many people do.

People love this because they are still getting that Arcade experience.  They get to play a game while socializing with their friends or with whomever they're playing with or against at the time.  This is only possible because of the online aspect.  The power isn't in the game - the power is in the social aspect.  And these metrics make sure you pay for that pleasure - just like the Arcade used to.  Nothing sucked more as a kid than when your dad took you to the arcade and gave you $2.  Why?  Because that $2 didn't go very far, and the rest of the time, you were the kid no one wanted to hang out with because you couldn't play the games - no money.

I think eventually someone will come along that actually sees the value that "real" games can provide.  As long as games like The Witcher or Metal Gear - quality games - are still being made, there's no real danger of ever worrying about this F2P stuff to take over completely.  Why?  Because people know the difference.  Those sorts of games are just better in every conceivable way.  And I think the MMO market in particular is about to turn a corner on this.

  DMKano

Elite Member

Joined: 6/17/11
Posts: 6407

2/17/14 1:33:46 AM#74

OP - not all F2P games are the same - this article strictly applies to cheap-ass F2P non-mmo games.

It does not apply to AAA F2P MMORPG titles at all.

Sorry.

  Notimeforbs

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/13
Posts: 302

2/17/14 2:04:02 AM#75
Originally posted by DMKano

OP - not all F2P games are the same - this article strictly applies to cheap-ass F2P non-mmo games.

It does not apply to AAA F2P MMORPG titles at all.

Sorry.

He addressed this in the article, you know?  He mentioned GW2 as being an example of a good F2P game.

But even still... I actually think it doesn't matter how much money went into the game.  The problem isn't the game.  The problem is the economic system its designed for.

Sorry.

  Arndush

Novice Member

Joined: 10/27/09
Posts: 309

2/17/14 2:52:49 AM#76
Originally posted by JJ82
Originally posted by Arndush

I have never played a game that was F2P and had good customer service.

SNIP

If there is a market for F2P games, there will always be F2P games and I really hope they are good games for those who enjoy that type of game but, my money is going to a sub based game.

I had an issue during GW2s first month of release and had the problem solved in 2 days. I have also had several issues in Neverwinter and both took less than 24 hours to fix. On the flip side, I had one issue take a week to resolve in WoW and an issue that took 3 WEEKS to fix in Anarchy Online.

Doesn't mean a damn thing does it? Nope. Sometimes a company is overrun with issues and it takes longer, other times they don't and problems are solved fast.

As for your F2P comment at the end. Give your money to sub based games, they are even more than likely to turn out bad and it will cost your more in the end. Sub based games have proved themselves to be poor quality so many times over the last 10 years its almost shocking that anyone still gives them money.

You try to be nice and civil about things and people just have to be a condescending know-it-all about it. Just as much as my experiences didn't convince you, do you think that your experiences are suddenly going to change my mind on the issue? Of course not. Once bitten, twice shy as the saying goes. My personal experiences have taught me to shy away from F2P games and it will likely stay that way for sometime to come.

Also, your assertion that I will spend more on subscription based games is flawed. Cash shops are notorious for getting players to fork out more than $15/mo. If they weren't adept at bringing in revenue, devs would not employ them. Also, if there is a sub based game I really enjoy, I'll usually pop for the 6 month subscription which generally gives you $3 to $5/mo discount on the normal $15/mo sub price. So, I'm paying $10 - $12/mo while F2P and B2P players are getting raked over the coals by their games' cash shops. Your other assertion that sub based games = bad and F2P/B2P = good is also flawed. There are some pretty terrible games using the F2P/B2P model and some of the better ones, started off as sub based games.

 

  Spawnblade

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/02/05
Posts: 197

2/17/14 3:36:24 AM#77
Originally posted by Notimeforbs

Reading this article... something clicked in my head that made me realize a great way to correlate what the F2P market actually is.

F2P is the new Arcade.

Back in the 80's and early 90's, people, especially kids, flocked to the arcade at the mall.  It had all the latest games, you could play with your friends, it had the best graphics technology, they were fast, smooth, and it was a blast for 25 cents at a time.  Arcade games were the cream of the crop in gaming experience, because each one was like its own event.

And then the Sony Playstation came out, and that was pretty much the end of that.  It was no longer profitable to build an entire machine to run one game, then distribute a million of them around the world, when a console that is already built can run it better and be just as if not more enjoyable.  And the original Playstation had some pretty amazing games.  It was the first time in history that a gaming console made an Arcade game, better.

It never occurred to me until I read this that the F2P market is nothing more than the Arcade era all over again.  Except this time, the games are cheaper to make, and they make exponentially more money.

Arcades were notorious for their unfair difficulty (or downright cheating) in order to make you plug in just one more quarter.  I wouldn't say F2P games go so far as to cheat (though some are questionable) but then... they don't have to.  They aren't charging you a quarter anymore.  They're charging you $2-5.  The time spent playing vs the time spent paying ratio is about the same though.  But then, that doesn't really have to change, because you don't have to leave a mall and wait til the next weekend to enjoy the game again.  You can do it at home every night or at work if your job is boring - you can literally play all day.  And many people do.

People love this because they are still getting that Arcade experience.  They get to play a game while socializing with their friends or with whomever they're playing with or against at the time.  This is only possible because of the online aspect.  The power isn't in the game - the power is in the social aspect.  And these metrics make sure you pay for that pleasure - just like the Arcade used to.  Nothing sucked more as a kid than when your dad took you to the arcade and gave you $2.  Why?  Because that $2 didn't go very far, and the rest of the time, you were the kid no one wanted to hang out with because you couldn't play the games - no money.

I think eventually someone will come along that actually sees the value that "real" games can provide.  As long as games like The Witcher or Metal Gear - quality games - are still being made, there's no real danger of ever worrying about this F2P stuff to take over completely.  Why?  Because people know the difference.  Those sorts of games are just better in every conceivable way.  And I think the MMO market in particular is about to turn a corner on this.

This is a pretty fantastic analogy.  Very cool and very accurate.  I'll have to remember it.  Amusingly, though Arcade games were extremely expensive to manufacture, I'm pretty sure they demanded less money from me, per time played, than any cash shop game I've played. Aside from ticket games.  Now those were just... Well those were just little versions of Vegas trying to slip in the pants of kids before they were old enough to know any better.

  Rinna

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/04
Posts: 387

2/17/14 3:37:53 AM#78

I gave GW2 and RIFT 20 bucks a month while I played, even if I didn't use the currency/gems in game or didn't need any more.  This was my "Thank you for developing and maintaining a great game" fee.  

That being said, not many companies do it right and I hate constantly feeling like someone has their hand out looking for a buck.  I'd much rather just pay a sub and have everything included.  I don't mind if there's a cosmetic cash shop like WoW has.

Pay developers for their work people.  You hurt the entire industry by playing for free and not contributing to the pool.  We have yet to see if RIFT, NW and GW2 will continue to stay afloat... Turbine just laid off more people but hopefully LOTRO will stay with us as well.  SWTOR can crash and burn... yeah give my name away bitches.  If you love your F2P, cough up some cash!

No free lunch.

No bitchers.

  Drevar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/25/04
Posts: 140

2/17/14 5:05:13 AM#79

Just pondering...which games do you tend to stay around the longest in; subbed MMOs or F2P?

 

I spent YEARS in each Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, Star Wars Galaxies, Eve Online, and Horizons (now Istaria).  However I find myself only playing for a couple of months in games that are F2P.  Sure, I've also played in sub-only games that only hold my attention for a couple of months as well, but those were obviously not games that I honestly enjoyed. 

 

There is just something about F2P games that always turns me off.  Even if the design is great and I am having a blast, the F2P nature and all it entails inevitably drives me away.*cough*AgeofWushu*cough*

 

Bad translations, bad support,  P2W, horrible community, sociopathic players, gold sellers, slow actual game development vs new cash-shop feather hat of the week, and the lack of any sense of responsibility for fixing any of the above from the developers since it is "free" all add up in a very short period of time.  Most of all, though, I am turned off when the game forces you to pay to get any actual enjoyment out of it.  Things like ridiculous limits on xp gain or bag slots or mounts or housing being restricted without shelling out cash is a huge mark against the game in question. 

 

If I do choose to pay, I am forced to deal with all the negatives of a F2P game on top of that, when I could just pay a sub and get all the content and not have to deal with most of the negatives of F2P. 

 

Also please note that I am comparing a "good" sub MMO to a "good" F2P game. Yes I know there are crap sub games with most of or all the same problems as any other, but even in a good F2P a lot of the issues are forced on you whether you pay or not.

 

tl;dr

Do you play sub-games longer than F2P games? I do, the good ones anyway.  Just too many issues with F2P that overshadow any fun/neat/innovative features.

Basically: Bad sub MMO I don't play, bad F2P MMO I don't play, good F2P MMO I can only stand for a couple of months at most, good sub MMO I will play for years.

 
 
 
 

“If MMORPG players were around when God said, "Let their be light" they'd have called the light gay, and plunged the universe back into darkness by squatting their nutsacks over it.”
-Luke McKinney, The 7 Biggest Dick Moves in the History of Online Gaming

"In the end, SWG may have been more potential and promise than fulfilled expectation. But I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."
-Raph Koster

  Notimeforbs

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/13
Posts: 302

2/17/14 5:28:27 AM#80
Originally posted by Drevar

Just pondering...which games do you tend to stay around the longest in; subbed MMOs or F2P?

 

I spent YEARS in each Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, Star Wars Galaxies, Eve Online, and Horizons (now Istaria).  However I find myself only playing for a couple of months in games that are F2P.  Sure, I've also played in sub-only games that only hold my attention for a couple of months as well, but those were obviously not games that I honestly enjoyed. 

 

There is just something about F2P games that always turns me off.  Even if the design is great and I am having a blast, the F2P nature and all it entails inevitably drives me away.*cough*AgeofWushu*cough*

 

Bad translations, bad support,  P2W, horrible community, sociopathic players, gold sellers, slow actual game development vs new cash-shop feather hat of the week, and the lack of any sense of responsibility for fixing any of the above from the developers since it is "free" all add up in a very short period of time.  Most of all, though, I am turned off when the game forces you to pay to get any actual enjoyment out of it.  Things like ridiculous limits on xp gain or bag slots or mounts or housing being restricted without shelling out cash is a huge mark against the game in question. 

 

If I do choose to pay, I am forced to deal with all the negatives of a F2P game on top of that, when I could just pay a sub and get all the content and not have to deal with most of the negatives of F2P. 

 

Also please note that I am comparing a "good" sub MMO to a "good" F2P game. Yes I know there are crap sub games with most of or all the same problems as any other, but even in a good F2P a lot of the issues are forced on you whether you pay or not.

 

tl;dr

Do you play sub-games longer than F2P games? I do, the good ones anyway.  Just too many issues with F2P that overshadow any fun/neat/innovative features.

Basically: Bad sub MMO I don't play, bad F2P MMO I don't play, good F2P MMO I can only stand for a couple of months at most, good sub MMO I will play for years.

 
 
 
 

Word, brutha.

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