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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The F2P Misnomer

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34 posts found
  shava

Novice Member

Joined: 3/09/05
Posts: 278

9/12/12 9:18:34 PM#21

F2P expresses a choice that is not unique to gaming and is endemic to markets -- the choice is one of playstyle and budget.  If you want to compete on a particular level you either need to have all the time in the world or all the money.  

This is pretty much what capitalism is about.  You either have to exploit markets where time is worth nothing (emerging markets, cheap labor, your typical f2p market which ranges from people who really do not ever pay to people who pay opportunistically, or constantly as addicted gamblers, and of course, the ecology of goldfarmers...), or earn a lot of money yourself (live in the West and earn a big salary and live in a gated community far from the rabble, whatever).

The only reason this is controversial here in specific is because the gamers who spend significant time whining on forums play games instead of applying their skills to business, in general, and really understand nothing extensive about business, economics, world culture, or history.

But hey, it means lots of page hits for mmorpg.com -- so it serves the site's economic ends, so they have no special incentive to educate away from opinion to facts.  It's far better to keep the pot stirred.  

Enjoy!

  Theocritus

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3613

9/12/12 9:47:06 PM#22
     Its very possible to play f2p games for free.....I've been doing it since 2005......Rule #1 is you never look in the cash shops...If you dont know whats there then there is no temptation....I just accept that I wont be the best in PVP or have the best weapons, but really it doesnt affect my enjoyment of the games one way or the other.....Its the people that have to be the best, or hit max level quickly, or have that uber sword that is bigger than they are that are the ones that feel they have to pay.....
  Ozmodan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6574

9/12/12 10:32:39 PM#23
Originally posted by thinktank001
Originally posted by wayward516

I completely agree with this article. "Free to play" while TECHINCALLY true, is often a misnomer.

This is completely untrue.   There is no truth to F2P.  It is possible to play a Cash shop based game freely, but the cost is either the time sink, or playing with a gimped character.

 

Also, many gamers (wrongly, in my opinion) take this marketing tactic at face value, and for some reason expect a free version of a AAA title game, with no advertizing or monetization model. Businesses, being businesses, need to make money and obviously try to encourage or otherwise wheedle money from their user base.

This is not a problem to me. I understand that businesses need to make money and have no issues paying NOTHING for an experience with the understanding that I'll be paying later if I like what I see. But for some reason, most gamers get offended at free to play games since apparently most of them are self-entitled children who have no idea how businesses work.

The problem with many free to play games is the MODEL by which they attempt to make money. And I think increasingly, companies are learning models that people are ok with.

I like Free to Play, but I feel that I have realistic expectations of what that means. Most people, I feel, don't.

I don't find it unrealistic to expect a game to be totally free when it is labeled "free to play".   If parts of the game are not free, then they should label it as such.  

 

Here is why F2P just doesn't work.

 

LOTRO offers limited access to their content without purchasing anything from the cash shop.  It is possible to earn credits while playing the game to purchase this content.   It labels itself as a type of F2P game.

 

EVE allows players to purchase a monthly subscription from other players via in game currency.  It would be possible to play a free trial and earn enough in game currency to do so.  It labels itself as a P2P game.

 

Both games allow players to play for free, but both consider themselves a different type of game. 

 

You cannot earn enough cash in an Eve free trial to buy plex to pay for a subscription.  There are limits on the amount of cash a trial account can have.  You really need to be able to do level 4 missions to amass that kind of cash anyways and ships that can do those missions are not available to trial accounts.  So no, you have to be a fairly experienced player to earn enough in a month to buy plex.  I would not classify Eve as f2p at all.

  thinktank001

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 1780

9/12/12 11:28:41 PM#24
Originally posted by Ozmodan

You cannot earn enough cash in an Eve free trial to buy plex to pay for a subscription.  There are limits on the amount of cash a trial account can have.  You really need to be able to do level 4 missions to amass that kind of cash anyways and ships that can do those missions are not available to trial accounts.  So no, you have to be a fairly experienced player to earn enough in a month to buy plex.  I would not classify Eve as f2p at all.

 

I just checked their limitations on trial accounts and there is no limit to amount of isk a player can have.  However, I did see there were limitations on how a player can trade that isk, but I thought that PLEX was sold in the AHs and not traded between players?

  Simphanatic

Novice Member

Joined: 9/11/12
Posts: 94

The problem with virtually every MMORPG: too much Pavlov and not enough Maslow.

9/12/12 11:59:49 PM#25

I'm a big girl, I understand business, and the need for dev studios to recoup investment and to pay for ongoing maintenance, overhead, and future development. That doesn't mean I don't detest the F2P models utilized by many MMOs; namely, providing, even encouraging players to spend massive amounts of cash to positively leverage their position within the context of the game.

 

I may understand business needs, but I'm also a serious player. My circumstances are such that I can spend quite a lot of money monthly on gaming. And since I don't work, haven't a husband or children, I have much free time. Yes, I have a life outside of gaming, but a progressive illness is increasingly limiting what I can do, aside from reading (which I do obsessively), listening to music, or watching TV (which I'd rather avoid). But I digress; in my past life I was a workaholic, and that carries over into my gaming style. Previously, it wasn't at all uncommon for me to play for 72 hours straight. I don't do that so much now, but 12 to 18-hour days are still quite common. In its broadest sense, I also possess a strong Puritan ethic, which equates to earning my rewards honestly. So, while I have the fiscal capacity to buy into the cash shop mentality, I'm bereft to do so.

 

Paying real money to have the best gear simply isn't good sport, it accomplishes nothing exept stroking the egos of players who can't or won't earn their prizes legitimately. Contrariwise, most P2W models disrupt game cultures, marginalize dedicated players, and inevitably imbalance game worlds to the extent that power flows to the few who are willing to expend the most cash. In some cases, P2W models destroy in-game economies, which negatively impact those who cannot pay or those who cannot pay as much.

 

I don't mind financial models that charge for premium content. I certainly don't mind those that have only vanity items in their cash shops. And, mindful that not everyone has the time I can dedicate to a game, I don't particularly mind cash shops featuring items that can otherwise be earned reasonably by players willing to expend sufficient effort. What does get my hackles in a tizzy are cash shops offering up weapons and armor, or other sundries that provide purchasers a significant advantage over those who can't or won't expend significant funds to acquire them. This latter model is an absolute bane to online gaming, and when we encounter it we should vote our disgust through nonparticipation.

  bugse82

Novice Member

Joined: 5/17/09
Posts: 189

9/13/12 12:30:01 AM#26
Originally posted by crazynanny
Originally posted by bugse82
Originally posted by crazynanny
Originally posted by bugse82

on top of that, in big percent of the f2p titles, it's just cheaper to unlock averything for 2-6 months and after that there's no need to spend money atleast for some time (until x-pack etc.)

Actually this is as naive perception as expecting free lunch. Of course you would like to unlock and have no need to spend extra cash. But devs update their cash shop far more often then game itself. Furtehrmore they make some cash shop items needed in order to have fun and those items are by accident consumable and temporary.

So sure you can stop paying and still play content you bought but you might find that it's not nearly same game. But compared with subscription you either pay more in long term or play poor mans version of game(THIS is what people often not realize) while being satisfied that you paid less.

 

 

oh, realy?

i think it depends for the game and the person who plays it.

and maybe it's just me, but the miss of any temporary consumables isn't fun/game breaker for me.

Tolerance indeed depends on person. One will grumble at experience booster, other at skill reset and third will grind anything devs throws at him. That doesn't change that without those consumables you still do play poor mans game version.

nope, you play the original version (and you will know it, if you ever played lotro before f2p). you just have to pay to  play the boosted version.

if you can't stand grinding, man, don't play MMOs!

  VirusDancer

Novice Member

Joined: 11/18/04
Posts: 3684

Heroes are about character - not gear.

9/13/12 1:18:00 AM#27

It's a shame how this thread's kind of derailed in to the regular discussion... it's missing the key aspects of the article, imo.  How would people feel if there was a little more truth in the advertising - rather than using certain buzzwords?

People could not complain that a game was calling itself F2P when it was not, if it never called itself F2P in the first place.  If the game was specific in the terms used, laying out what was going on - then bam, it automatically loses that bad press.  It would be refreshing, no?  That's one of the reasons I felt the article was a damn good article.

In my humble experience, the games that tend to do best - have a matrix that clearly defines it.  Sure, the game may have other issues - but there's sleight of hand involved.  Be honest, be upfront...folks can't complain that you're not.

It may still not be something that folks are fond of (personally I'm not); but it takes away the sleeze aspect of it...and the sleeze aspect bothers me a lot more than the model.

I miss the MMORPG genre. Will a developer ever make one again?

Explorer: 87%, Killer: 67%, Achiever: 27%, Socializer: 20%

  LordOfPit

Novice Member

Joined: 12/22/10
Posts: 77

9/13/12 1:11:03 PM#28

I've always understood and equated any F2P game as an experience that allows me to control a character and interact with the game-world in the most basic way. Anything above and beyond the basics could and may cost time and/or money.

 

I never needed anyone to explain things to me because if the game is free-to-play, I'm free to download it and make up my mind about it.

 

I think whenever F2P is discussed, most people automatically employ wishful thinking and expect every in-game asset to be completely free, no strings attached.

 

Therefore, I don't think new models are required, I just think people need to stop expecting free lunches, no matter how appealing the idea is.

  Rossboss

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/10
Posts: 241

9/13/12 4:04:58 PM#29

Until we have an Open-Source MMORPG, there will not be a pure F2P model (No money can be accepted by the companies in any way, shape, or form aside from donations) as there will be atleast one company trying to rake in money from the consumers. There is no monetary benefit to offering a game for free unless they plan on taking the playerbase and holding them over a barrel to pay them for something. All companies need to generate revenue to stay in business. If you don't pay for their product, they don't get any money. If they don't get any money, the game sinks. Simply put, a true F2P game would sink unless the userbase shelled out enough money to keep the company floating.

I played WoW up until WotLK, played RoM for 2 years and now Rift.
I am F2P player. I support games when I feel they deserve my money and I want the items enough.
I don't troll, and I don't take kindly to trolls.

  umcorian

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/06/11
Posts: 317

9/14/12 1:20:14 PM#30

There's two types of F2P models that I find extremely dishonest:

 

One: The Everquest 2 and Age of Conan one, that basically lets you level for free, but if you want to experience end game content or equip a certain quality gear, you have to become a gold member. To me, that's not a F2P game. That's a Subscription model with a very long free trial.

 

Two: Mechanical advantage to those who pay. I'm looking primarily at Champions Online there, where if you pay a monthly fee, you have the ability to cherry pick the best talents from every archtype and become a better damage than any f2p player can AS WELL as having the abilities to heal or tank. That was a deal breaker for me - a hidden Pay-To-Win model. 

 

Free 2 Play models I like: Aion and Guild Wars 2. They don't restrict content or gear. The cash shop just gives relatively extreme convenience benefits that are still, ultimately, not needed to compete. This is fine by me and what a true Free 2 Play game should be. Pretty much everything else is either an Extended Free Trial or a Pay-to-Win model. 

  Calerxes

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/06/09
Posts: 1658

9/14/12 6:05:55 PM#31

“Advertising is legalized lying.” - H.G. Wells

 

Remember this quote, use your common sense and you will not go far wrong.

This doom and gloom thread was brought to you by Chin Up™ the new ultra high caffeine soft drink for gamers who just need that boost of happiness after a long forum session.

  Ozmodan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6574

9/14/12 7:00:32 PM#32
Originally posted by thinktank001
Originally posted by Ozmodan

You cannot earn enough cash in an Eve free trial to buy plex to pay for a subscription.  There are limits on the amount of cash a trial account can have.  You really need to be able to do level 4 missions to amass that kind of cash anyways and ships that can do those missions are not available to trial accounts.  So no, you have to be a fairly experienced player to earn enough in a month to buy plex.  I would not classify Eve as f2p at all.

 

I just checked their limitations on trial accounts and there is no limit to amount of isk a player can have.  However, I did see there were limitations on how a player can trade that isk, but I thought that PLEX was sold in the AHs and not traded between players?

If players can't give you money and you can't get big enough ships to get such please explain to me how you are going to extend a two week trial into a sub without paying money?  Right, it is not possible, even if played 24/7.

  Konfess

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/07
Posts: 695

9/14/12 8:51:20 PM#33
Or you could realize that “it would be defined as a massively multiplayer online game where no player is required to pay a fee to acquire the full experience of the game.” Is just an incorrect definition. A F2P game is a free and limited trial, with the expectation that you will eventually pay for your game time. Wanting 2 + 2 to equal a million doesn’t change the rules of math. And wanting an MMO to be absolutely free will not make it so.

Pardon any spelling errors
Konfess your cyns and some maybe forgiven
Boy: Why can't I talk to Him?
Mom: We don't talk to Priests.

  snapfusion

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/17/11
Posts: 976

9/15/12 2:06:30 PM#34
Anytime you need a flow chart to desribe your payment model, youve got a problem.
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