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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

The Upside of the F2P Parade

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday July 28 2010 at 5:32PM
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So I'm sure to many the trend of converting old games into Free-to-Play titles looks like little more than a fad in a world where everyone is struggling to ride the success of the one big dapper-suited gorilla in the room.  Yet I see it as a bold new step in Western online gaming, and frankly I wish it was one that could have come a couple years earlier.  I'm not sure what prompted Turbine to give it a try with DDO, but I'm glad they did.

Everquest II is one of those games that I've had nearly since launch but for some reason or another I've never really dug into it.  I find myself several times a year picking it up our of curiosity, leveling an old character or a new one to about level 30, and then I lose interest because I can't seem to get excited enough by it to shell out $15 a month.  I like it, but I just don't like it enough to make it my main game and in my household... it's only one sub a month.  That's a self-imposed rule.

So with the announcement of LotRO going F2P and now EQ2, you can probably begin to understand my excitement.  As long as both companies can do the F2P game without making it still seem a ripoff for those things that do cost money, I can foresee myself spending a few dollars here and there for items, extra experience, bag slots, and other types of "fluff".  I may never spend as much as $15 a month on each title, but the idea that I can play whenever I want and maybe occassionally buy something to advance my character a little easier while supporting their product is immensely tempting. 

But the real upside is that I won't have to decide on just one active subscripton any more to play two of my favorite "sword and board" MMOs.  I can pick up EQ2 and LotRO whenever I want to starting this fall with no cover charge.  Then who knows, maybe I'll see fit to shell out a few bucks for a mount or some extra bag space.  At least I'm not being deterred by an arbitrary subscription fee anymore. 

I only wish this attention to a hybrid business model could have come back when Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa were floundering.  What I wouldn't do to see both those games adopt this type of experience.  I'm betting I'm not alone in that area either.

What about you?  What game do you not play as much as you'd like due to the subscription rate, and find yourself wishing it would go the DDO route?