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The Free Zone: Excerpts from the F2P Hater Handbook

Editorials By Richard Aihoshi on July 12, 2011

Excerpts from the F2P Hater Handbook

Editor’s Note: This is a bit of fun Richard’s having, and not really from any true reference material.  Though, if there were a book called the “F2P Hater Handbook” we wouldn’t really be surprised.

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If you've ever had cause to wonder about the levels of information and organization that certain free to play haters always appear to demonstrate, the reason may have come to light in the form of a partial document that came into my hands some days back.  I wouldn't have thought there was such a thing as an F2P Hater Handbook, but it seems I was mistaken.  What's more, I have to admit that the tactics I've now seen laid out are ridiculously effective.  It's obvious how and why they have kept non-subscription business models from gaining more than a tiny market share in the western hemisphere.  And it's scary to think that I've only read the four small excerpts reproduced below.  Since there has to be even more to the full manuscript, how can F2P not be doomed to wither and die, at least in this part of the world? 

Always Remember That It's Our Way or the Highway

At least a few dozen people here in our market, which is the only one that matters, don't understand yet that what they think is merely a worthless opinion, while what we believe is incontestable.  There's no room for points of view other than ours, so don't get trapped if they ask you to agree to disagree.  They're wrong.  That's all there is to it.  If they don't want to see things the right way, they're free to move to China where they can play hundreds of cloned grindfest games with the rest of their F2P-loving buddies.

Keep Chanting the "F2P is Pay to Win" Mantra

Some infidels have yet to be convinced that this is true, so we need to keep repeating it until they come around to our way of thinking.  If anyone tries to tell you it's a generalization, be aware that what they're really trying to do is to trick you.  It's an indisputable fact that all F2P games are pay to win.  And it's simple to prove.  All we have to do is name an example or two.  How can anyone miss the clear, logical conclusion that all the rest are too?  

Never Forget to Say "Freemium Isn't F2P"

Yes, we know freemium isn't subscription either; it's a hybrid.  However, why say so since we don't have to?  If we declare that it isn't F2P often enough, everyone will believe it's subscription.  We might even convince ourselves.  So don't forget to say it in every forum post you make, and if possible, in other forms of communication as well.  Better still, repeat it just in case anyone forgot they've seen it thousands of times and still thinks they haven't been told yet.

If you'd like to score a few bonus points, a particularly good way is to remind people that freemium is the last refuge of failing subscription games.  There's no need to explain this position since it's blatantly obvious to us and will be to them as well after we've said it often enough.

Don't Be Trapped Into Discussing Facts or Opinions

Just attack anyone who disagrees with us. Not that there's anything to debate, but why do so anyway when we can just impugn their character.  This is a pretty standard tactic among politicians.  And we all know how much everyone respects them.  So obviously, if we adopt their approach, we stand to gain similar esteem for ourselves.  It can be especially effective to question a person's integrity.  Don't worry about actually having any cause to do so.  Just pretend your targets said or did whatever you want to accuse them of. 

As a side benefit, remember that when you point your finger at someone, everyone will automatically assume that you are a paragon of virtue.  So, try to attack as many people as possible who don't share our opinion, and do it as often as you can.  It's not like they don't deserve it; they're probably communists or some other form of zealots or weirdoes anyway. 

When I see arguments so persuasive and realize there are others to back them up, I feel silly for letting the wool be pulled over my eyes for the past several years.  How could I even think F2P might have a prominent place in the MMOG landscape just because millions of gamers seem content to play games that use versions of this revenue model, and that multiple approaches could co-exist?  It's clearly just a matter of time until it's universally recognized that subscription is superior for everyone, regardless of individual play styles and preferences.

I admit I was stubborn enough to think it was valid to form my own opinion.  That won't be an easy habit to break, but if I see the above enough times...  Hmm, I wonder if it might be possible to change the column's title to The Subscription Zone. 


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Richard Aihoshi has been writing about MMOGs since the mid-1990s, always with a global perspective. As a result, he has observed the emergence and growth of the free to play business model from its early days in both hemispheres.

He is the former Editor of RPG Vault and his column, focusing on free to play MMOs, appears on MMORPG.com every Monday.
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