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The F2P Warfront - A New Hope

Posted by Ozzallos Tuesday May 28 2013 at 11:29PM
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My position concerning Free To Play gaming is fairly well known to those unfortunate enough to stumble across this caustic cesspool of opinion mistakenly titled a blog. It's generally filled with vitroil, disgust and malcontent toward developers routinely seeking to rip their gamers off by subjecting them to a real money ponsi scheme... Or their game failed with players as a subscription and now they're hoping- begging -for money as F2P. It's not horrible or immoral of them. It's just nobody liked their game enough to commit to a monthly payment.

My biggest problem with F2P is that these two categories have dominated the free to play landscape for the last decade. Games with content failure. Graphical failure. Games recycled from other markets well beyond their shelf life. Cash shop rip offs. It's not that F2P gaming can't work... It's just the lowest hanging fruit for devs looking to make a fast buck and they flooded the commerce model with crap. Thanks to these people there's a lot of folks out there who associate the words "free to play" with "rip-off".

Fortunately, that's changing.

I've been of the belief for some time now that F2P gaming can give players a quality product and make money at the same time... Without ripping them off. You can make a free to play game without crippling advancement for the non-payers. You can make a free to play games without gear rentals. You can make free to play games without limiting bag slots or any of the other inane mechanics usually used by lazy devs to encourage you to pay repeatedly into a system without calling it a subscription.

What a lot of devs don't realize when considering a free to play commerce model is you will get out of it what you put into it. Quite literally, if you will build it, they will come and the industry as a whole is finally beginning to embrace the design philosophy. Quality free to play games are starting to emerge as a force within the genre; games that actually put the goal of making a great player experience first and foremost while hoping you're discerning enough to know the difference between some generic chinese theme MMO with cash shop shenanigans versus a real gaming experience that you would actually pay something for. They realize gamers are motivated by hats, of all things. Costumes. Paint job. These brave devs are hoping you will spend money on convenience as opposed to being slaved to weapon rentals and pay to play dungeons and other like contrivance.

These are developers deserve our full and complete backing because right now they are the minority amongst the flotsam and crap permeating the industry. Sure they're looking to make a profit, but they're willing to give the player a quality product in return. I'm good with that, frankly. I'll pay for a hat. Or a unique mount. Or not, but i'll player your game just for respecting us enough by not screwing it over. Games like WildStar, Firefall, Mechwarrior Online, Guild Wars 2 and others. If enough of these games succeed, it sends a message.

2013 is looking to be a great year for F2P by all accounts. It's looking to be a year of imagination and quality and free to play. It's giving me hope. Sure, there will always be the bottom feeders because ultimately anybody can buy a pre-fab mmo engine, slap some cute anime skins on it, set up a cash shop and call it an MMORPG, but if we can reward fairness and hard work we can also reclaim Free to Play as it should have been define all along. Free to Play with minimal hindrance and maximum enjoyment, allowing you to opt-in as you choose, not as the developer strong-arms you into doing so.


Ragnarok Online 2 - Barely Worth You Time

Posted by Ozzallos Tuesday May 28 2013 at 6:19PM
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There's lots of nice things I want to say about this game. The original Ragnarok Online was a unique and inspired production. The sprite based artwork was imaginative and full of personality. Ragnarok 2, on the other hand isn't. For everything that the first Ragnarok was, the only thing the second can claim from its predecessor is the move from 2d to 3d and even that isn't handled especially well. Rather than tie up the next ten minutes of your time burninating Ragnarok 2 for its inadequacies, we'll try and sum this up:

It's stale.

In the time it's taken Ragnarok to move from sprites to polys, the rest of the industry has already been there, done than and in many cases executed with more competence than RO2 has shown to date. It's not so much that it's a horrible game, it's just that nothing about it attempts to rise above the competition. You could say that RO2 is potentially a victim of its own success-- It did such a good job that it was copied and built upon by every anime themed MMO to walk in its footsteps. Since Ragnarok Online first debuted in 2002 the industry has undergone a F2P arms race that has forced everybody involved to refine their gameplay and graphics. The crap fell to the wayside like a speared corpse. Even the good stuff still has to struggle for its place in the sun.

The minds behind RO2 apparently didn't get that message.

The graphics are at least a generation or more behind the front lines of this war and there simply is no unique artistic style to speak of to help roll a last minute save versus meh. When lined up against other popular titles that have debuted with the last two years, RO2 manages to illicit a yawn at best. The core gameplay likewise suffers. It's solid, but does nothing to get the adrenaline pumping and nothing that you can't get in a better looking package, sometimes evolving on the RO system like RO2 itself should have. It's as if the devs decided that 3D would be enough to sell the game and barely put effort into the rest. They might be right based on the fan base of the original, but they shouldn't be rewarded for what is, in effect, laziness.

If you've still got an RO account, I wouldn't be giving it up just yet. RO2 sure as hell isn't giving you much of a reason to do so.