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News & Features Discussion  » Star Wars: The Old Republic: Free-to-Play and Schadenfreude

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170 posts found
  Kakkzooka

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/06/11
Posts: 602

8/01/12 5:24:24 PM#101

::watches objectivity grow wings and fly out the window::

How on earth does a company's decision to change the monetization model of their game 180 degrees, from subscription based to F2P, after designing it as a subscription based game over the course of five plus years, only six scant months after its release signal anything other than trouble for that game?

 

Answer me that after you've caught objectivity with a butterfly net.

Re: SWTOR

"Remember, remember - Kakk says 'December.'"

  TheBigDRC

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/17/12
Posts: 161

I popped too many blood vessels to give a damn anymore.

8/01/12 5:35:51 PM#102
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by TheBigDRC

Going from sub to F2P is life-support.

Ok.  So explain why converting to Freemium always results in increased revenue, often to the point where previously stagnating games are able to release frequent updates, and on occasion even well received expansions.  Why do so many subscription worshippers insist on ignoring the reality that Freemium has been a more effective business model for every game that has tried it?

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers' money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much money flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

You know what's fun about chaos? I do, but I won't tell.

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17203

8/01/12 5:37:37 PM#103
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
 

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much moeny flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

As far as I know, every freemium game out there offers the a la carte version or a sub and you get everything.

So the consumer has a choice.

  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

8/01/12 5:41:46 PM#104
Originally posted by Kakkzooka

::watches objectivity grow wings and fly out the window::

How on earth does a company's decision to change the monetization model of their game 180 degrees, from subscription based to F2P, after designing it as a subscription based game over the course of five plus years, only six scant months after its release signal anything other than trouble for that game?

 Answer me that after you've caught objectivity with a butterfly net.

It does signify a problem.  Just not the problem themepark and/or story haters want to pretend it signifies.  The problem is that BioWare designed a game in a way which is *not* objectively "bad," but does appeal primarily to fans of single player RPGs, not traditional MMO fans, and then they applied a monetization model to it which not only doesn't have wide acceptance in the RPG fanbase, it's falling out of favor with large portions of the MMO fanbase as well.  They made business and marketing mistakes, but the design of the game itself was as high quality as any other BioWare game has been.  

They have always had an approach that focuses on producing high quality, entertaining narratives, filled with interesting characters, and then making the rest of the game just good enough to not distract from the quality of the narrative experience.  That approach has worked very well for them in games where people only pay once.  It just hasn't held up well when combined with the mandatory subscription model, because the kind of player who is willing to pay a sub for months or years on end, more often than not, is a player focused on how enjoyable repetitive multiplayer gameplay is, not on the quality of a game's single player RPG elements.  Hell, if not for the game's large budget demanding that it produce large amounts of revenue right off the bat, a Buy to Play with frequent expansions model, like the first Guild Wars, probably would have been the best one for the way the game is designed.

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.

  TheBigDRC

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/17/12
Posts: 161

I popped too many blood vessels to give a damn anymore.

8/01/12 5:45:03 PM#105
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
 

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much moeny flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

As far as I know, every freemium game out there offers the a la carte version or a sub and you get everything.

So the consumer has a choice.

True, forgot about that.

Just ran into so many people in-game from MMO to MMO that say, "Freemium is cheaper, I don't have to pay a sub." Nah, just gotta pay for everything else.

Thanks though, reminding me about that part of freemiums.

You know what's fun about chaos? I do, but I won't tell.

  Arawnite

Novice Member

Joined: 11/09/04
Posts: 162

8/01/12 5:52:08 PM#106

I've never met anyone in any MMO that has decided to quit because of the payment method or amount.

It's always based on them not enjoying the game anymore, for various reasons. As far as I'm concerned, the original sub amount is moot.

  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

8/01/12 5:52:50 PM#107
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
 

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much moeny flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

As far as I know, every freemium game out there offers the a la carte version or a sub and you get everything.

So the consumer has a choice.

True, forgot about that.

Just ran into so many people in-game from MMO to MMO that say, "Freemium is cheaper, I don't have to pay a sub." Nah, just gotta pay for everything else.

Thanks though, reminding me about that part of freemiums.

Add to that, Freemium often has a faster pace of content creation, in keeping with the idea that they only make money from "free" players by giving them more things to pay for.  As a result, people who continue to subscribe enjoy total access to an increased pace of new content delivery, for the same amount of money they had previously paid for either no new content, or slow new content.

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.

  toddze

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/02/08
Posts: 2197

I am not a hater, I call it like I see it.

8/01/12 5:56:45 PM#108
Originally posted by Terranah

One of the problems with SWTOR is it was mislabeled.  If you think of it as a co op game and not an mmo it's good.  But as an mmo it fails.

This has been the story for the past few years now.

Waiting for:EQ-Next, ArcheAge (not so much anymore)
Now Playing: N/A
Worst MMO: FFXIV
Favorite MMO: FFXI

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17203

8/01/12 5:59:22 PM#109
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
 

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much moeny flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

As far as I know, every freemium game out there offers the a la carte version or a sub and you get everything.

So the consumer has a choice.

True, forgot about that.

Just ran into so many people in-game from MMO to MMO that say, "Freemium is cheaper, I don't have to pay a sub." Nah, just gotta pay for everything else.

Thanks though, reminding me about that part of freemiums.

Well, it might be true to some degree. I think for many, the freemiums do force them to spend more than they would otherwise spend. But then again there are people who can do without certain things so they might spend less.

In truth, I hate anything that bleeds players which is why I've always been a little suspicous of f2p games. I also hate games where you go to their website and all you see is "x dollars for 10 coinpacks" or "sale on bon bon xp potioins".

Mostly the asian games but that stuff is so tacky and clearly they are less about game making and more about setting up cash flow.

But if one were to go to a freemium game one might spend more in the short run than if they had a sub.

  TheBigDRC

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/17/12
Posts: 161

I popped too many blood vessels to give a damn anymore.

8/01/12 6:00:36 PM#110
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
 

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much moeny flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

As far as I know, every freemium game out there offers the a la carte version or a sub and you get everything.

So the consumer has a choice.

True, forgot about that.

Just ran into so many people in-game from MMO to MMO that say, "Freemium is cheaper, I don't have to pay a sub." Nah, just gotta pay for everything else.

Thanks though, reminding me about that part of freemiums.

Add to that, Freemium often has a faster pace of content creation, in keeping with the idea that they only make money from "free" players by giving them more things to pay for.  As a result, people who continue to subscribe enjoy total access to an increased pace of new content delivery, for the same amount of money they had previously paid for either no new content, or slow new content.

Rawr, how dare you sink my ship?! 

Meh, I just tend to stay away from freemiums due to so much bad experiences. Started with LOTRO, that went freemium and I swear to you, all the jack-asses that came out of nowhere was insane.

But still, damn it. Sinking my mojo like that. . . I've been ambushed!

 

You know what's fun about chaos? I do, but I won't tell.

  toddze

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/02/08
Posts: 2197

I am not a hater, I call it like I see it.

8/01/12 6:01:40 PM#111
Originally posted by Arawnite

I've never met anyone in any MMO that has decided to quit because of the payment method or amount.

It's always based on them not enjoying the game anymore, for various reasons. As far as I'm concerned, the original sub amount is moot.

Yes your right about that, but there is a big crowd out there that will not play a game with a sub. So the F2P version more so targets them atleast IMO.

Its becoming a disturbing trend, release as P2P then go F2P in 6-8 months. But then again these type of games are not MMO's.

EDIT: TSW will be another example of this, they will milk subs until they hit the low target mark then go f2p in 6-8 month

.

Waiting for:EQ-Next, ArcheAge (not so much anymore)
Now Playing: N/A
Worst MMO: FFXIV
Favorite MMO: FFXI

  Zorgo

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 2212

Who did wrong? The advertiser hired to sell the game or the consumer who put faith in advertising?

8/01/12 6:04:16 PM#112
Originally posted by Tayah

[mod edit] Warhammer and SWTOR subscriptions sharply declined in just months because they were both  poorly designed, wanna be WoW clones, that were rushed too soon. Developers didn't listen to beta testers in either game and paid the price, so yah "I told you so" is in order. They didn't listen and paid the price, losing hundreds of thousands of subscribers. It's humorous that BW and their hardcore fans try to spin it as if people just don't want to pay a sub as the reason for the game doing so poorly, it's laughable. The game is a niche game and will only retain the harcore SW and Bioware fans. Face it, the game is crap and will never recover to it's original numbers. Mmo fans are tired of mediocrity.

If WAR or ToR were the only two mmo's on the market, would you be subscribed to one? I know I would.

This is an example of how oversaturation of the market has a direct effect on our decisions to pay or not. In fact, it is a factor in how we develop our opinions of a game. It is a lot easier to vehemently hate loading screens, when there are many games which don't have nearly as many.

This is pretty basic business psychology.

If ToR or WAR was released along side EQ in 1999 would I have given EQ 6 years of my life? I doubt it.

The industry has grown in ways which show the good ol' days weren't all that utopian after all. Imagine logging into EQ and playing a warrior in 1999. Autoattack, kick, taunt and bash were the only skills you had originally for the ENTIRE game. If you sat a person down to play an original EQ warrior and then a ToR knight, and this person had never played an mmo before, which one do you think would blow them out of the water? Admit it - ToR isn't so bad relatively speaking.

Last analogy.

I'll write my master's thesis on how oversaturation of the market effected peoples' decision, influenced the intensity of their opinions and led to the growth of the f2p model.

You write yours on how everything after WoW sucks and is a clone and developers never listen.

Then let's see who comes out with a degree.

 

 

  TheBigDRC

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/17/12
Posts: 161

I popped too many blood vessels to give a damn anymore.

8/01/12 6:05:26 PM#113
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
 

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much moeny flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

As far as I know, every freemium game out there offers the a la carte version or a sub and you get everything.

So the consumer has a choice.

True, forgot about that.

Just ran into so many people in-game from MMO to MMO that say, "Freemium is cheaper, I don't have to pay a sub." Nah, just gotta pay for everything else.

Thanks though, reminding me about that part of freemiums.

Well, it might be true to some degree. I think for many, the freemiums do force them to spend more than they would otherwise spend. But then again there are people who can do without certain things so they might spend less.

In truth, I hate anything that bleeds players which is why I've always been a little suspicous of f2p games. I also hate games where you go to their website and all you see is "x dollars for 10 coinpacks" or "sale on bon bon xp potioins".

Mostly the asian games but that stuff is so tacky and clearly they are less about game making and more about setting up cash flow.

But if one were to go to a freemium game one might spend more in the short run than if they had a sub.

That's what bugs me is the focus on making more money than anything else really. I tend to view video games as art these days. I know there are still those that try to make great games, but when some of the artists are told by suits how they should make their art, everyone kinda suffers for it.

It makes me sad to see art butchered. "Sad panda face"

You know what's fun about chaos? I do, but I won't tell.

  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

8/01/12 6:12:37 PM#114
Originally posted by toddze
Originally posted by Arawnite

I've never met anyone in any MMO that has decided to quit because of the payment method or amount.

It's always based on them not enjoying the game anymore, for various reasons. As far as I'm concerned, the original sub amount is moot.

Yes your right about that, but there is a big crowd out there that will not play a game with a sub. So the F2P version more so targets them atleast IMO.

Its becoming a disturbing trend, release as P2P then go F2P in 6-8 months. But then again these type of games are not MMO's.

EDIT: TSW will be another example of this, they will milk subs until they hit the low target mark then go f2p in 6-8 month

Let me guess, you are one of those who thinks "Not a sandbox" = "Not a MMO?"  It has become a trend, and I agree that TSW will be another example of it.  But why is it disturbing?  Why do so many people have an emotional attachment to not having the option to play a game without a subscription?  When did having choices become a negative thing?  When they are done well, Freemium conversions lead to a situation where subscribers are getting more content while paying the same amount as before, while new players get the ability to save money by only paying for the parts of the game they want.  Everybody wins, except for people with an apparently totally baseless and irrational hatred for the hybrid model.

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.

  iceman00

Novice Member

Joined: 5/04/05
Posts: 1367

Kevin Tierney

8/01/12 6:46:32 PM#115

I'd really like to say I agree or disagree with the evidence Mr. Britton cites...... but he cites absolutely no evidence.

There's no evidence that one of the main failings of TOR was a business subscription model.  No analysis of which parts really work well for F2P.  And when people point out RIFT (that sub games can work when they aren't colossal piles of bantha poodoo), he just dismisses it as "nothing to see here, move along!"

Other games indeed succeeded in going F2P.  yet those games mainly had revenue problems.  TOR doesn't have a revenue problem.  As everyone admits (and as you do with the mentioning of pvp and ops), it has a serious game problem.

Going F2P won't fix this.  It will offset it.... for a time.  Yet there are a lot of F2P games out there nowadays, and they are done a lot better than TOR.

  KyngBills

Novice Member

Joined: 6/13/06
Posts: 452

8/01/12 6:48:29 PM#116
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by KyngBills
 

It's a ridiculous statement...The Game does not stand up as is...And it won't either...The vote in my Guild was 15 against, and 2 for, and there is not a single person who had a problem paying $15 a month...The Game is lacking severely in many areas...And it's not like I wanted that...I was looking forward to this Game and talking about it since before the actual announcement on the old BioWare Forums...So...Sorry...Disagree...

Different games are designed to serve different niches.  TOR was clearly, and this was obvious from before it launched, designed for people who wanted more RPG in their MMO.  And judged as an RPG, it is at *least* as good a game as most of BioWare's other offerings, and BioWare is one of the best RPG creators in the business (even if the ending of ME3 does suck.)  The areas in which the game could be perceived as "lacking" are exactly the areas which a game needs to focus on in order to justify a subscription, which is why the game never should have launched without a free option.  

The core of the game is an excellent single-player experience, eight of them in fact, but charging a subscription for single player content is just bad business, and most of the type of people who want to spend the majority of their time in a MMORPG doing single player content aren't going to get enough value out of the multiplayer portion of the game to justify 15/month, even if that content was up to the same quality standard as the single player story content.

"The Game at it's core is a great single-player experience..." Yet it's an MMO, and was designed and Marketed as such...And you still think the problem is the Sub model?...lol...Okey doke...haha

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5763

8/01/12 6:58:15 PM#117
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TheBigDRC
 

It's making them money sure, but by sucking their customers money out like a vampire. Freemiums are blood-suckers, leechs, parasites.

Everything in a freemium would cost you.

Want to access this zone? $7 for a month.

Want to make better gear? $10

Want to join in the raid tonight? $12

I'm not going to deny that, at a business view-point, it's effective. And with so much moeny flowing in they gotta spend it, need more stuff to keep people spending. It's just not good for the consumer in the long run.

As far as I know, every freemium game out there offers the a la carte version or a sub and you get everything.

So the consumer has a choice.

As far as I can think there is no "freemium" model out there that provides everything for the subscriber.  They all have to hit the cash shop for quest packs, expansions, some unlocks, and what not.  If the gamer's monthly allowance doesn't provide enough game cash (and it rarely does for the significant items such as expacs) then they either have to save over several months or pony up for more points.  This is true for LotRO, EQ2, DDO, and I'm pretty sure for AoC too, but it's been a while since I've played that one.

In all, the restricted freemium types seem the most restrictive and "nickle and dimey" to me.  STO and Aion maybe sell buffs and boosters and some power items, but at least I can play their game and spend as I want.

In any game model (P2P, freemium, F2P, B2P) there are grind traps that keep players paying more either through time or the cash shop (or sometimes both).

Curse you AquaScum!

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5763

8/01/12 7:02:13 PM#118
Originally posted by KyngBills
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by KyngBills
 

It's a ridiculous statement...The Game does not stand up as is...And it won't either...The vote in my Guild was 15 against, and 2 for, and there is not a single person who had a problem paying $15 a month...The Game is lacking severely in many areas...And it's not like I wanted that...I was looking forward to this Game and talking about it since before the actual announcement on the old BioWare Forums...So...Sorry...Disagree...

Different games are designed to serve different niches.  TOR was clearly, and this was obvious from before it launched, designed for people who wanted more RPG in their MMO.  And judged as an RPG, it is at *least* as good a game as most of BioWare's other offerings, and BioWare is one of the best RPG creators in the business (even if the ending of ME3 does suck.)  The areas in which the game could be perceived as "lacking" are exactly the areas which a game needs to focus on in order to justify a subscription, which is why the game never should have launched without a free option.  

The core of the game is an excellent single-player experience, eight of them in fact, but charging a subscription for single player content is just bad business, and most of the type of people who want to spend the majority of their time in a MMORPG doing single player content aren't going to get enough value out of the multiplayer portion of the game to justify 15/month, even if that content was up to the same quality standard as the single player story content.

"The Game at it's core is a great single-player experience..." Yet it's an MMO, and was designed and Marketed as such...And you still think the problem is the Sub model?...lol...Okey doke...haha

The game isn't worth $15/mo to me.  No game right now is.  So, for me, yes it is about the subscription.  When they go F2P I can play the game with my son and family.  We'll probably drop $50 on game cash and unocks if we like it just like most other F2P games we play.

Curse you AquaScum!

  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

8/01/12 7:17:41 PM#119
Originally posted by KyngBills
 

"The Game at it's core is a great single-player experience..." Yet it's an MMO, and was designed and Marketed as such...And you still think the problem is the Sub model?...lol...Okey doke...haha

MMORPG, oh ye of selective reading skills.  The RPG side is excellent.  The MMO side is no worse than average.  No matter how excellent, the number of people who will embrace a mandatory subscription model for a  RPG is just not that high.  The game was designed as a story-based RPG experience that could be shared with other people (Flashpoints/Mutiplayer Conversations), with a few warzones and a couple ops thrown in on top.  This was known from before it released.  Anybody who both paid attention to the game's development and expected something different absolutely had to engage in self-deception in order to reach that expectation.  

The mandatory subscription model is dying in the MMO market, but even if it weren't it would have been a bad match with the design of this game.  That isn't a design failure.  That is a business and marketing failure.  Quality design starts by making the game, then making the business and marketing decisions that fit the game, not starting with a monetization and marketing strategy and then designing the game to fit it.  

Trying to sell pork sandwiches in a Synagogue would be a bad decision, but that doesn't mean they are bad pork sandwiches.

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.

  iceman00

Novice Member

Joined: 5/04/05
Posts: 1367

Kevin Tierney

8/01/12 7:20:30 PM#120
Originally posted by CazNeerg
Originally posted by friednietz

SW:TOR going F2P will not make it successful. The work the new dev team puts into the game will determine its success or failure. Nothing else at this point. 

Newsflash; on a month to month basis, TOR is already successful.  This change is aimed at keeping it that way.  As for the "new dev team," huh?  When did anybody say anything about them hiring new devs?  They let some people go, but other than Vogel and Zoeller, the team hasn't been reported to have lost a single "name,"  certainly not any of the names responsible for the parts of the game that have been popular.  By most reports, the heaviest hit part of the company in the layoffs wasn't even related to development, it was the community staff.

Damn, that kool-aid is awesome no?

When a game launches with 2.4 million, and 6 months later is "above" 500k, that isn't a success!

Nothing else to say.  That's a huge amount of kool-aid drinking.

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