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One man's quest through the world of MMORPGs...

Author: elvenprince9

Western Gaming Companies Should Make More Free MMORPGs

Posted by elvenprince9 Sunday March 29 2009 at 3:22PM
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It seems today that most ’Free MMORPGs’ and ‘Free MMOs’ are developed in places like Korea, Japan and China. What I’d like to know is why more western companies aren’t jumping on the ‘free to play’ bandwagon as it seems like a lot of these games are becoming hugely successful. Just look at games like Maplestory and Atlantica Online. They’re such big hits and generate millions of dollars a month in revenues for their publishers. There is little doubt that the ‘free to play, but pay for upgrades’ business model works, so why are Western companies still making pay to play games?

I wish I had the answer to that, but I don’t. It seems like just about every free MMO comes straight from East Asia. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m a bit tired of anime inspired generic grind oriented MMORPGs. I don’t mean to bash all Asian MMORPGs, as some are great, but they all feel a bit similar. Having companies like Electronic Arts and Activision-Blizzard churning out some free to play titles would certainly be interesting, as it would add some much needed variety to the genre because let’s face it, there is a world of difference between a Western RPG and an Eastern one. If you look at the current pay to play titles like Warhammer Online and Eve Online as they feel genuinely different than their Asian counterparts. Not necessarily in a good or bad way, just different. The difference between the East and West is most evident when comparing single player RPGs as the East is well known for their epic plot driven anime inspired titles like the ‘Final Fantasy’ and ‘Tales’ games while the West is better known for their stronger emphasis on gameplay with games like Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate.

 As it stands I think Eastern gaming companies are doing great in the MMORPG market as they’re making both pay to play games and free to play ones. One Korean company, NCSoft, makes pay to play games like Guild Wars, Lineage and Aion while at the same time has free to play titles like Exteel and Dungeon Runners. With the incredible growth of free to play titles in the last few years, there is no doubt in my mind that Western gaming companies will have to make some free to play titles unless they want to hand over that entire market to foreign competitors, which is unlikely. EA is actually on the right track, as they’re currently working on a free MMO shooter titled ‘Battlefield Heroes’ that will basically be a cartoony version of their popular ‘Battlefield’ franchise. ‘Battlefield Heroes’ is a good start, but I’d like to see more Western gaming companies enter the free to play industry sooner than later as it’d be nice to have some more variety.


Annwyn writes:

Personally I hate the F2P industry. Simply because to fully enjoy the game you must constantly pay for cash shop items which, in the end, cost more than a P2P monthly subscription. P2P also has more updates/patch/expansion than F2P too. P2P also has a much more mature community. I've seen many F2P being ruined by the childish community and I can't take it anymore.

Overall, even though they are some nice F2P titles, I still prefer the P2P for all the reasons stated above.


Sun Mar 29 2009 6:03PM Report
Derrial writes:

I think it's probably a cultural thing - Westerners, or at least Americans, like to know well in advance exactly what something is going to cost and exactly what we get for our money.  A monthly subscription is very clear - I pay you a set amount every month and I get access to all of the content in the game for that month.  OK, I can do that.  Item mall type of games are not so clear.  How much of the game can I really see and do for free?  How much will I actually have to spend to be competitive in the game?  We're generally wary of anything that claims to be "free" because, as the old saying goes, nothing in life is free.

Sun Mar 29 2009 6:36PM Report
mrcalhou writes:

From what I've seen all the F2P games are just the same old boring grindfests. To be perfectly honest, I feel this way about most P2P games too. The combat systems bore me.

Sun Mar 29 2009 9:32PM Report
SupaMutant writes:


in your case MY FRIEND you have no interest in the MMO genre at all... you should quit and stop playing before you start writing stupid reviews or kill yourself...

Mon Mar 30 2009 8:38AM Report
Thekandy writes:

Leave it to SOE to fulfill your western "Item market" game desire, EQ, EQ2 and Vanguard will soon, if they do not already, be having an "Item market" of course they're not free to play yet, but let's see how long it takes before that happens too.

I don't have anything against f2p games or the cash shop in particular, but i'm not a fan either.

Also, i don't hate SOE (too much, didn't get time to get into SWG much before NGE happened) so any sarcasm you might notice is (probably) lighthearted.

Mon Mar 30 2009 4:01PM Report
Cynthe writes:

I'm rather convinced there will be more western F2P stuff out there, but I don't think they will be entirely F2P, I say that because of the recent examples of upcoming games that are free to download:

Free Realms: expect to pay a monthly fee for access to all goodies.

Wizard 101: pay a monthly fee to access more of the world.

Mabinogi: pay a monthly fee to access the actual story line.

Twin Skies: Considering a monthly fee for premium service, whatever that means.

So while these high quality free to download games are cheaper then the big names, they are not really F2Play. :) Personally that's totally fine some of the titles are just so much fun they are worth it.

Mon Mar 30 2009 5:38PM Report
mcaddict writes:

I agree with CayneJobb, it's all about cultural approach. Westerners really prefer to expense in something clear and stable. Pay for monthly access or something...

This does not apply in Asian Market. Most of them won't even think of playing the game if it asks for monthly subscription fee. Because they really don't need to spend any money in some of their ftp MMORPG if they do not want to. They spend more time to retrieve game bounty, more accounts in return for cash items trading.

Anyway, i think there's no such thing as free lunch in this world. You play the game, enjoy the fun and you pay. For F2P, at least you can choose. You can play f2p mmorpg without spending any money or spend up to few thousand dollars within few months. It's all your choice. Undeniable, you might get a lame EQ or not be able to enjoy certain game features if you don't spend, but at least there're choices.

My opinion merely, no offend. xD

Check my blog:

Mon Mar 30 2009 10:39PM Report writes:
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