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[Column] General: Becoming a F2P Convert

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 17,584MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

The MMO free to play market has exploded over the last year or two with decent high-quality games making it into the MMO space. In The Tourist today, we talk about how becoming a fan of F2P is a good thing. Read on to see if you agree.

Not long ago, many MMO players saw free-to-play gaming as the bane of the industry. They talked about how misguided and segregationist it was, a cash-grab that tempted developers with profits over player interests. Contrary to the picture painted by this column, I was amongst those masses and even went so far as to label MMO tourism as outright harmful. Times have changed but many players have not. Today I’d like like to break from my usual format to talk about how I’ve come embrace the model as a free-to-play convert.

Read more of Chris Coke's The Tourist: Becoming a F2P Convert.


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Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom



  • BlackadderaBlackaddera BruggePosts: 69Member
    I'd rather pay a subsciption than having to pay for the best items, or perks or whatever. And with paying subscription you help ensure the game services are top.

    the steel shines red with enemy blood. It sings of victory, granted by the gods. And as they return bleeding but proud, the horizon burns and the song is ringing LOUD!

  • TekaelonTekaelon Brookhaven, MSPosts: 542Member Uncommon
    I don't mind a B2P model like GW2 has. You don't buy gear, just a few skins boosters, and other I cosmetic items. However they are starting to annoy me with this chest ticket business. I'll NEVER pay for a key to open a chest that 'might' have a ticket in it.
    Anyway I will sub too but the game has to offer lots of content with no restrictions. People will rage at this but WoW and LoTRO are the only MMO's that have pulled this off. WOW especially gave me my money's worth.
  • outfctrloutfctrl Jacksonville, FLPosts: 3,619Member Common

    I have never played a F2P game.  I just cannot get into the micro transactions.  5 dollars here, 3 dollars there, 15 dollars for that.  Give me a game to really sink my teeth into.  I am old school.

    I have played many hours from the beginning in:

    UO, DAoC, EQ2, Jumpgate, Earth and Beyond, WoW and many many more.  I like the sub games and 15.000 USD a month is cheap.

    Except one time I had three accounts going...LOL



  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,916Member Uncommon

    Unfortunately, the F2P payment model is the worst possible design for a player like me.

    That's because I tend to love the "optional" content in MMO's. Those little things that give the game extra flavor, like outfits, dyes, weird mounts, crafting, etc.

    For instance, I can play Neverwinter from L1 to L60 in "green" gear. Yawn... If I want to add any frills to the basic "kill, kill, kill", I have to pay cash for every single item. Or else accept that by the time I start my third character, the previous two will have saved enough ingame currency to make the third playthrough somewhat more than generic.

  • Shana77Shana77 UtrechtPosts: 207Member Uncommon

    I like GW2's model as well. The developers get a large influx of money trough the box sales that enables them to proceed with developing content without having to nickel and dime everything to stay alive.

    The stuff in the store is just some skins, pets and boosters that you really don't need to enjoy the game. Yeah you can use the gems to buy gold, but many subscription games like WoW have goldsellers as well and with GW2's gear system you really don't have that much advantage with gold anyway compared to other games.  

  • Ice-QueenIce-Queen USA, GAPosts: 2,451Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Blackaddera
    I'd rather pay a subsciption than having to pay for the best items, or perks or whatever. And with paying subscription you help ensure the game services are top.

    Same here, I'd pay up to $50 a month for a good mmo these days, sad there aren't any. :(

    F2P and B2P attract a crowd I don't really care for.


    What happens when you log off your characters????.....
    Dark Age of Camelot

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,853Member Uncommon

    I'm an mmo-hopper since years, way before the f2p movement began, so if you were "amongst those masses and even went so far as to label MMO tourism as outright harmful" I must say you were in the kind minority back then :) I've heard much worse than "outright harmful"... (same goes to altoholism, with "only idiots wasting time on alts", etc.)


    To the topic, since after DDO went f2p I kept saying in f2p disputes that f2p is not the end, only a transition in the industry, and that this change will happen whether we like it or not. To be honest I never uderstood the hate towards it, It's just a payment model...

    I admit when the games I played went freemium under me, occasionally I spoke against the process, sometimes even a bit harsh too :) especially with LotRO and AoC. But that was different in the sense that I always looked at the game and its model, and criticise that, not the whole f2p movement in the industry which is a pointless thing to do (at least imo).

    There are well-built f2p models and weak ones, a working one can be a failure with an another game, etc. it's meaningless to generalize. Payment model is only relevant if it's harmful to the game, beside that the game's quality is what really matters. But I wrote that way too many times in f2p threads, I don't wanna waste your time with it. I'm not a "told-ya" type fella anyways...


    "And when has close-mindedness ever been a good thing?"  exactly. Welcome aboard :)

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    I don't think it's even fair to put f2p as it's own category anymore. There are so many different free to play models out there saying free to play is good or bad is basically just generalizing.

    You take companies like sony that have free to play games but let you pay a sub and get everything. That is not the same as companies that don't offer a meaningful sub and charge for EVERYTHING.

    Hybrid seems to be a model that's catching on and from the sounds of it, it's going to be like what sony offers. I think as things evolve free to play is going to end up being the cash grab type games and it's hybrid that gamers have really been looking for.

  • azmundaiazmundai St Louis, MOPosts: 1,410Member Uncommon

    id rather play a game that is actually worth $15 a month

    LFD tools are great for cramming people into content, but quality > quantity.
    I am, usually on the sandbox .. more "hardcore" side of things, but I also do just want to have fun. So lighten up already :)

  • ZombieKenZombieKen Northwest, INPosts: 5,034Member Uncommon

    I can live with F2P, but that doesn't mean I adore it.  I see it as a functional system to monetize a game while providing free access.  I like free access, I can check out the game and goof off without paying.  For most, if they weren't free I wouldn't be playing anyway.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.
  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,926Member Uncommon

    We need to expand the F2P terms a bit.  add the following options: Cash Shop (cs), Sub Optional (SO) and DLC.

    So we have:


    This lets us know more what we will find in the game.

  • MothanosMothanos MordorPosts: 1,901Member Uncommon

    The best free to play mmo's are the one's that contain Z E R O pay to win shit.
    I prefer Buy to Play like GW2 did.
    Or how Eve online offers subsciption in the auction house (market).

    I was always agasint free to play stuff as most just required you to spend even more then a sub based mmo to even enjoy the game.
    This has realy changed past year(s).

    If we look at all the top sub based mmo's of the past 6 years then you got to scratch your head a little bit :P
    I wonder how long this will continue to be so, FFXIV is the next sub based mmo commin gout with a good score, they got something to prove after their last mmo wich was a outright abomination.

    I hope SE can pull it off and prove gamers wrong and show uis that sub based mmo's arent the last dinosaurs walking the earth.

    Crazy times ahead thats for sure :)

  • CalmmoCalmmo LondonPosts: 52Member
    Originally posted by azmundai

    id rather play a game that is actually worth $15 a month

    Like rift was? Yeh, people willing to pay for good solid content are the minority now

    Even my old love EQII is like that now and with Rift joining... well lets just say that I quit wow before even Litch King as I saw the signs of the game getting dumbed down, and I sure as hell wont bother with pandaland and the dumbed down times infinity existing classes. Maybe it's just the world economy (its very obvious just by looking at rifts launch demographics and current ones where you just see that the countries in deep trouble have near 0 players left while germans for example can even sustain 2 german only populated servers) and people just can't commit to.. a monthily fee on a video game. Or maybe it's just that the mmo rpg demographic has grown tired with and is much too split with the multitude of games fighting over that same one demographic thus making all mmos seem like they are loosing playerbase when infact they are just simply split in far too many games. Games that are worth a sub still exist, they just cannot sustain them selves based on their budget and the amount of players they can actually attract with their model, while going f2p and attracting far more players from which they will only get a little bit of something here and there through their cashshop they can actually increase their income at the expense of the overall quality of the gaming experience however.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by azmundai

    id rather play a game that is actually worth $15 a month

    The problem lies in finding it. Companies seem to be getting more hostile toward the "Buy it and Return it" game, and definitely much more hostile to the Chargeback game.


    Remember free previews and sample CDs? "Play 90 days free!"?

    Replaced by F2P and 'Open Beta' and 'Founders Packs'.

    Not sure the companies have any clear idea where they're headed, at this point, but it certainly makes sense to try a lot of different schemes. I imagine it'll all settle in a year or two.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • mindrotcorpmindrotcorp istanbulPosts: 10Member
    Originally posted by Blackaddera
    I'd rather pay a subsciption than having to pay for the best items, or perks or whatever. And with paying subscription you help ensure the game services are top.
    thats never happens for me ..


  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Adelaide, AKPosts: 953Member
    The great thing about F2P is it makes players feel less invested (&therefore locked into a title) so they are more inclined to move on from poor titles or titles that move in an unsatisfactory direction & move on without malice.

    For developers this means they readily lose players if the game is not what players want or if cash shops take a pay to win track.

    No more of this " well I've been subbed to WOW for 4 years & even though in not really enjoying it I don't want to abandon my investment" mindset. Now players stay because they enjoy a game & not for reasons of financial investment.
  • youngloenoeyoungloenoe GoianiaPosts: 7Member
    I change games all the time, and have had friends bitch at me for it. I guess I'm what they call a "casual gamer" . Honestly though, the mmo scene doesnt have much of the excitement that it had when i first got into it in '09, so I find it hard to commit for a long time in games that are just more of the same. F2P suits me just fine, I play as much as I want, if something interests me, i buy it. I would hate the feeling of being attached to a game because I've invested so much money and time into it. 
  • Nhoj1983Nhoj1983 Mount Vernon, WAPosts: 185Member
    I'm pretty much of the same opinion as Christopher.  Used to look down my nose at these things but in most cases it's a good change.  Unlike him though, I do believe that it's here to stay.. in some form or another.  Eventually f2p won't "save" games like they have in the past and it's unlikely that we'll get investors to put as much money into something that doesn't yet have an initial box price but it does change the gaming landscape.  For example how WoW has started ramping up with faster updates because they realize that there are legitimate other options to go to that may not even have an upfront cost or even a sub.  I'm not certain it'll change much for them but they can't afford to be considered second tier dev's when compared to the likes of say trion.  Basically f2p means competition and that's usually a good thing in the long run.
  • wordizwordiz Eugene, ORPosts: 464Member
    LOL. Like conversion is even a choice now a days. It's forced by market trends. If you're playing anything but WoW, it's probably free to play or soon to be.
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 14,247Member Rare
    Originally posted by Blackaddera
     And with paying subscription you help ensure the game services are top.

    What do you base that on?

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • KhalathwyrKhalathwyr Denton, TXPosts: 3,138Member

    I don't agree with your "we are nomadic" point at all. I think alot of the non core gamers that MMO companies have courted since WOW are nomadic as you say. That said I think there are just as many if not more of us types that were playing computer games before it went mainstream out there that would love to find a MMO of quality and substance that have deep systems that didn't focus around combat (PvE OR PvP) but instead were applied alongside them in equal merit, to call home for years.


    Unfortunately MMOs like that were just not made by companies with enough talent and money to do them right post WoW. So what we have instead is a bunch of combat oriented games that don't have enough content to last more than 30-60 days and dev teams that can't keep up with the consumers. Forced nomadic behavior.


    Fortunately we have a few Kickstarted games on the horizon that hearken back to that old first generation MMO style that gave reasons to stay around for years. Games like The Repopulation, Pathfinder Online, Camelot Unchained, Embers of Caerus, and a few others. Even non MMO marketed games like Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar. These games are being built with the idea that there is more to a world than just fighting and that that more is soundly built on the shoulders of the players making it happen IF they get the right set of robust tools.


    You can't just label your kid a pepperoni pizza lover if you don't give them the choice to have other things on the pie for 8+ years. You may be surprised when you give them a supreme and they tell you how all those toppings make for a much more interesting pie than just the combat...I mean, pepperoni pie.


    "Many nights, my friend... Many nights I've put a blade to your throat while you were sleeping. Glad I never killed you, Steve. You're alright..."

    Kickstarter 2 / Naysayers 0

  • observerobserver Houston, TXPosts: 3,069Member Uncommon
    It all depends on the f2p model.  If it's akin to Swtor's f2p, then i won't support it.  I mean seriously, they are limiting players with hotbars and other minor inconveniences, etc.  That's just too extreme.  The upcoming Rift model looks reasonable though, but from what i've read, they are offering dungeon gear for real money, which is essentially "pay to win".  Buy-to-play is my preferred model, ala GW2, and so far, they only offer convenience & cosmetic items.  The only MMO i will sub to though, is WoW, because it has so much content: 11 races, 11 classes, and 4 expansions worth of content, etc.
  • observerobserver Houston, TXPosts: 3,069Member Uncommon

    "When game's can't develop under a subscription model, free-to-play gives them a second chance."

    To be honest.  I would rather have them die, instead of letting them live with another chance.  They failed for a reason, and that's because players didn't want to support bad development, and bad game design.

  • centkincentkin Asbury, NJPosts: 951Member Uncommon
    The most expensive games are free.
  • DanitaKusorDanitaKusor AdelaidePosts: 551Member Uncommon

    I used to maintain up to 4 subscriptions to MMOs at once, but now there are a number of good free-to-play or buy-to-play offerings out there, I cancelled all my subscriptions late last year which saved me enough money to buy and pay for my new mobile phone.

    I personally believe that pay-to-play options are dead and doubt I would ever pay another game subscription.

    The Enlightened take things Lightly

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