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F2P: THE FUTURE
Free-to-Play (F2P) is really an option more than a model, which inherently creates its own weaknesses. It is a world within a world that limits players' ability to fully experience that world. As an incentive to get players into the world, more than a free sample, players can pursue F2P.
SOE EMBRACES THE F2P TREND HALF-HEARTEDLY
The market overall seems to be trending toward this direction, but SOE seems to embrace this option as only half full (or half empty, depending on your perspective).
F2P RESTRICTIONS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
SOE's restrictions/limitations (items, platinum, among others) have two practical consequences that prevent both the F2P option from achieving success and the larger paying players from benefiting from the F2P option:
The paying players have all the "pumped up kicks" while the F2P can have none of them - not even one pumped up item. Why should F2P players bother, and why should paying players bother with them?
A BETTER F2P OPTION
This Vanguard F2P option is the worst I have yet seen as it is designed to fail from THE VERY BEGINNING. Instead, allow the F2P players to fully experience the world, develop characters, and reach a point/level in which they must pay to continue to play. Tthe F2P players reach this crucial point after which they have made a significant commitment.
The Vanguard F2P option prevents players from being able to even make that commitment or reach a point that they feel they are committed. The current Vanguard F2P option prevents players from being committed because they cannot fully experience the worlds. In MMORPGs of this kind, items are one of the most exciting aspects of the game.
SOE seems devoted to reinforcing stereotypes that it hoists itself with its own petard.
"The truth is EA lies." - Youtube User
Sim City. Everquest. Civilization. Dungeon Keeper. Vampire: The Masquerade. These are the games that I love and cherish.