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[Column] General: Free to Play, ArcheAge, and LoL - Is Riot’s Model Better?

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,596MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Last time around, I discussed free to play and so-called entitlement in the MMO community. While I do think that some are called out or made to feel guilty for simply enjoying what developers and publishers are putting out, that could’ve perhaps been a narrower discussion. Again, this time around, payment models get another look, and it’s in part due to some recent topics that have come up in both the greater gaming community and among MMO players.

Read more of Christina Gonzalez's The Social Hub: Free to Play, ArcheAge, and LoL - is Riot’s Model Better?

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • VahraneVahrane Alpharetta, GAPosts: 375Member
          You need to correct your numbers for LP gain with a F2P account. It's 1 LP a minute when logged in, so 5 every 5 minutes, not 1 every 5 minutes. Just thought I'd mention that asap. Though you're still correct, LP feels restrictive as a F2P player even at 1 per minute. 
  • Nickhead420Nickhead420 Schenectady, NYPosts: 132Member Uncommon

    "Free players also won’t be able to sell on the auction house without the purchase of a special access unlock from the game’s cash shop"

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Kinda the same with subscriptions.  If I'm going to pay a subscription, I want everything.  I don't want to pay a sub AND still need to buy things from the cash shop.  You want me to pay $10-15 a month and I still have to pay $5-10 for more bag space?  GFYS!

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member

    LoL's model is better for the player but requires a huge player base to make it work. If 5% of LoL's player base spends money in cash shop they're hugely profitable, if 5% of ArcheAge's playerbase spends money the game probably goes bankrupt. This is why it's completely silly to use LoL or DOTA2 as a comparison for F2P MMOs.

     

  • YesusYesus KrakPosts: 8Member Uncommon

    You are speaking about two completely different games so it is hard to even compare F2P options and solutions.

    Perform comparison between some MMOs F2P solutions not MMO vs. MOBA

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon
    MOBAs are not MMORPGs.   They both use the microtransaction model, but they are essentially entirely different games.   Unlocking heros in a MOBA is entirely different than unlocking races in an MMORPG.    When comparing the two there needs to be an equivalent evaluation between mechanics. 
  • PepeqPepeq Poway, CAPosts: 1,487Member Uncommon
    I personally didn't find the LP situation in AA all that bad.  I'm not obsessive-compulsive about gaming anyways, so if I lack some resource to do something, I do something else until I do have the resource.  What gets me to stay in the game is the entertainment value, not how long or short it will take me to do X or Y.  If I have to buy something to do something faster, I'm just not that interested in doing it to begin with.  You'd think if it's something you really enjoy doing, you'd embrace the fact that it takes longer, not look for ways to speed it up.  What's the point of buying everything in the cash shop?  Might as well just design a game in which everyone has everything and is already at maxim possible level and saying okay, have fun now.  Why not just sell fully-decked out toons will all professions what have you maxed if being at the top of the heap is the only reason you play the game?  Seems to me, it's the getting that is the entertaining part, not the having.
  • danwest58danwest58 Cincinnati, OHPosts: 981Member Uncommon
    Again comparing MOBA to MMORPGs makes this article a pointless one.  The F2P Player needs to stop complaining that they dont get everything for free or the same level of a game for Free vs Subscription user.  Thats because they PAY MONEY and money pays for developers to be able to EAT.  PEOPLE CANNOT LIVE LIFE ON FREE so no you do not get the same level of game as a FREE player.  tough.  If you want the full experience spend some money.  Free Two Play is a very good model to give players a open ended trial and give them weeks to really see if that is what they want to do.  I might end up playing AA because of it being F2P and I am going to see if the game grows on me.  I am tired of shelling out a Box, plus sub to really see if I like a game.  Now If I like AA I will shell out the game price plus a sub.  I will But I like having 3 to 4 weeks of playing to really see if its what I want to do, but I will not sit and play the game for Free for months because Developers have to eat.  

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  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,453Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nickhead420

     

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Aren't those enough reasons to make you "want" to spend money?

    What do they have to do, wash your car?

  • GorweGorwe Ald'RuhnPosts: 2,473Member Uncommon
    Oh sovrath! You don't wanna go there...too late!

    Well, if they send a pretty comely woman of my age to wash my car(that sounds...xD), I'd buy a $250(or whatever) pledge INSTANTLY! Think of Liv in that movie(/erhmm hmmm hm xD). Do such a stunt and you have me money!

    ...what were we talking about then?
  • LudwikLudwik Rochester, NYPosts: 401Member Uncommon
    Another extremely well written article. Please write more often.

    Though I do have to say that I disagree with your perspective. There's a difference between Riot and everyone of these MMO developers out there.

    Riot had no expectations when it created League of Legends. It was truly a project of passion. Sacrificing some profits to provide a better experience for their players is part of the labor of love. It's really a nice gesture but it's not the same.

    These MMOs are not projects of passion. They are businesses first and games when they can be. I've seen enough EA and NC Soft products to know where they stand when it comes to profits and quality of life. It's not a labor of love, it's a labor of sucking as much money out of your pockets as they can get while minimizing their costs.

    Would an MMO that functions like Riot be more successful? Well again, that depends on your definition of success.

    To you, yes.
    To me, yes.
    To some corporate suit sitting in an office with a 50k Rolex and a pair of aviators, probably not.
  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by Nickhead420

     

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Aren't those enough reasons to make you "want" to spend money?

    What do they have to do, wash your car?

    Nah...It seems to a lot of people liking something is not enough of a reason to feel obligated to pay for it. I blame the internet making so many things available for "free".  

  • LlamaLordLlamaLord City of ClayPosts: 115Member

    How can you compare Archeage to LoL? They are completley different genres MOBA's and MMORPG's if your going to compare a business model to LoL at least pick Dota2 that would make  sense. What a stupid article.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,453Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Gorwe
    Oh sovrath! You don't wanna go there...too late!

    Well, if they send a pretty comely woman of my age to wash my car(that sounds...xD), I'd buy a $250(or whatever) pledge INSTANTLY! Think of Liv in that movie(/erhmm hmmm hm xD). Do such a stunt and you have me money!

    ...what were we talking about then?

    done and done!

  • jesteralwaysjesteralways ChittagongPosts: 1,023Member Uncommon
    Why are you comparing business model of 2 different genre? MMORPG like AA have way too many features in it and way too many things that they have to deliver than a MOBA like LoL. MOBA development is 1 new champion/hero every 2 or 3 week and balance fix. MMORPG development is much more complex and costly, developers of mmorpg have to provide players way too many things in a short period of time and sometimes with even shorter budget. for a person who have been running around online games longer than me and writing column for mmorpg.com for a long time; with all due respect; this post was ignorant on a whole new level. 

    i want an open world, no phasing, no instancing.i want meaningful owpvp.i want player driven economy.i want meaningful crafting.i want awesome exploration, a sense of thrill.i want ow housing with a meaningful effect on my entire gameplay experience, not just some instanced crap.i want all of these free of cost, i don't wanna pay you a cent, game devs can eat grass and continue developing game for me.
    Seems like that is the current consensus of western mmo players.

  • ShaiapoufShaiapouf Orlando, FLPosts: 20Member Uncommon

    While I don't mind F2P, the thing is so many of the companies abuse it. The reason why "whales" are what keeps the game afloat, is because the games are specifically -priced- to appeal to whales. Lets take Neverwinter for instance. You can play 1-60, and all the expansions, raids, etc. that you want to. However, as you approach the top tier, you start finding the cash shop part of things. Want a max speed mount? Well, you have your normal 50% Speed horse, but thats the only one you can buy really...to get the max speed one, you can upgrade your horse (Grind for ~a month to gather the AD), or you can buy one in the shop. The problem with the shop one? Its $25-$35. Companions, same deal. To get the top tier "purple" companions, its grind AD or spend another ~$30. Upgrading the best epic enchantments, the success rate is a measly 1%...unless you use a coalescent ward to guarentee 100% success. The problem with it? Its $10 per pop.

    The same can be seen similarly in plenty of other games though. If you price things so that its geared only to the whales...don't be surprised when only the whales buy things. It's all about price vs what you get from it...and for those who can't or won't just throw money at the screen, charging 1/3 to 1/2 of a brand new game so you can ride around on a unicorn is just a bad deal. Especially if its locked to just a single character.

    The thing that gets me about ArcheAge though, is it doesn't just want you to spend money...it wants you to spend money even -after- you subbed to really do other things. Even at 5/5 minutes offline, and 10/5 minutes online, it still takes a considerable amount of time to really do much of anything, crafting in particular. Some of the things were taking 100 LP to craft, with subsidiary things which needed to be harvested, and crafted, etc. Meaning to make a single item was a significant time investment, even if you're a subscriber. If someone is a subscriber, I would expect you're paying in order to 'bypass' the pay wall, not just mildly alleviate it. Of course, they do have those handy dandy LP potions...but you can't just buy those, as to have a house or use the AH, you need to have a sub.

    So in order to play AA however you want, you essentially need to first Sub, then buy LP potions. Otherwise, even Subscribers will run out of Labor Points in no time, and LP fuel everything that isn't just fighting things. You can wait, but at 10-15 LP to mine even one harvesting node at the start of the game (No clue if cost goes up for rarer materials), even a subscriber can be left twiddling their thumbs for 5-10 minutes before they can harvest one node if they run out of LP. And -thats- why AA bugs me, because even if you sub to it, you still have a time gate.

  • SenadinaSenadina San Diego, CAPosts: 896Member Uncommon

    Correct me if I'm wrong but the term "whale" was used to describe big spenders in Las Vegas long before the above usage. I assumed the term was appropriated from that usage.

    As to Archeage and labor points: it's a game-killer for me. I don't play mobile games because of gating my playtime behind artificial restrictions on playtime and I won't be playing Archage for the same reason. If a game won't let me play it when and how I want, then I just won't play it at all. There are a LOT of games out there to choose from.

     

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  • GorweGorwe Ald'RuhnPosts: 2,473Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by Gorwe
    Oh sovrath! You don't wanna go there...too late!

    Well, if they send a pretty comely woman of my age to wash my car(that sounds...xD), I'd buy a $250(or whatever) pledge INSTANTLY! Think of Liv in that movie(/erhmm hmmm hm xD). Do such a stunt and you have me money!

    ...what were we talking about then?

    done and done!

    Curses! Why am I so horny today?

  • Nickhead420Nickhead420 Schenectady, NYPosts: 132Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by Nickhead420

     

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Aren't those enough reasons to make you "want" to spend money?

    What do they have to do, wash your car?

    That's only a single reason.

    3 days of a beta isn't enough to determine how good a F2P is going to be.  I also only got to around level 12 on 2 characters, neither of which used the AH.

    Rift, Neverwinter, Planetside 2 and Firefall are a few of the F2Ps that I've spent money on.  I've also recently become a Trove supporter (best alpha ever!).  Hell, Planetside 2 alone has gotten hundreds of my dollars.  But none of them were because I felt gated into spending.

    I'll note that Rift sells AH access as well, but does not make you spend money on it.  I had gotten AH access through REX before I paid for anything.  That's probably the biggest reason for me wanting to support them.

  • Righteous_RockRighteous_Rock Youngstown, OHPosts: 495Member Uncommon
    It's too much of a hassle to keep up with whatever is involved in cash shops. Major pain in the ass, takes all the fun out of gaming, I am to the point now if the cash shop has any kind of complexity, I just keep moving along, I can just keep playing wow for another ten years.
  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Elmira, ONPosts: 2,499Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ludwik
    Another extremely well written article. Please write more often.

    Though I do have to say that I disagree with your perspective. There's a difference between Riot and everyone of these MMO developers out there.

    Riot had no expectations when it created League of Legends. It was truly a project of passion. Sacrificing some profits to provide a better experience for their players is part of the labor of love. It's really a nice gesture but it's not the same.

    These MMOs are not projects of passion. They are businesses first and games when they can be. I've seen enough EA and NC Soft products to know where they stand when it comes to profits and quality of life. It's not a labor of love, it's a labor of sucking as much money out of your pockets as they can get while minimizing their costs.

    Would an MMO that functions like Riot be more successful? Well again, that depends on your definition of success.

    To you, yes.
    To me, yes.
    To some corporate suit sitting in an office with a 50k Rolex and a pair of aviators, probably not.

    Wow, that's a COMPLETELY uneducated point of view, sorry. If you knew anything about Riot, you'd understand that they are actually quite aggressive and not really unlike any other developer out there. 

     

    I have run websites as hobbies for years. I've had a bunch of games sites in the past, YouTube, etc. In, probably, 10 years, I haven't have had ONE issue with a company requesting that content be taken down, other than Riot. It happened to be EA (which actually contradicts my statement that you're completely uneducated), but nevertheless, Riot is an EXTREMELY aggressive defender of their IP because they know its value and they don't want anyone capitalizing in any way from that, even if it's just posts of your own games. There is a huge difference that you'll notice when looking up LoL and Dota 2 on YouTube and that's diversity, and there's a very, very good reason for that. Riot are simply a-holes. They might not charge their players money, but the only reason for that is because they want to dominate the market and you need a massive user base in order to do that. However, if you think that there isn't a corporate suit sitting in an office with a 50k rolex at Riot, you're freakin' insane! Dammit! They're nearing revenues of $1 billion! If they're so great, why not decrease the prices of their cash shop items? 

    Crazkanuk

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    Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
    Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
    Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
    Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
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  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,453Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nickhead420
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by Nickhead420

     

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Aren't those enough reasons to make you "want" to spend money?

    What do they have to do, wash your car?

    That's only a single reason.

    3 days of a beta isn't enough to determine how good a F2P is going to be.  I also only got to around level 12 on 2 characters, neither of which used the AH.

    Well, he did say the game was "more fun than he expected" and "it was a game he would like to support".

    Since that is done with money and since there are a variety of ways one can spend that money it shouldn't be an issue.

    I mean, is adding some useless "hat" for purchase really the way to go?

  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon
    Rather than debate the difference between LoL's model and AA's model, two very different genre, why not debate the differences of Trion's RIFT vs AA which seems like a much closer comparison especially given how much freedom is available to free players...freedom that is often locked behind a cash shop in AA like access to the market place, housing (Dimensions), etc.  AA would benefit better by having a model similar to RIFT which gives players incentive to purchase without giving them the feeling that they HAVE to pay to continue playing or enjoy the game. It's more balanced.

    ------
    Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,185Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nickhead420

    "Free players also won’t be able to sell on the auction house without the purchase of a special access unlock from the game’s cash shop"

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Kinda the same with subscriptions.  If I'm going to pay a subscription, I want everything.  I don't want to pay a sub AND still need to buy things from the cash shop.  You want me to pay $10-15 a month and I still have to pay $5-10 for more bag space?  GFYS!

    Exactly! 

    I do agree that the f2p model that Rift uses would be a far better comparison.  I doubt that many people on this board play LOL because of the caustic environment.  I subbed to Rift, but I would not waste any money on a sub to AA.

    As to LOL, they get far more volume with a game design like LOL, than you would ever get with a MMO, hence they can actually charge far less and still bring in plenty of money.   Comparing two very unlike products does not a good comparison make.  Hence not a very good article.

    Trion's cash grab in AA will doom the game to a limited audience.  

  • botrytisbotrytis In Flux, MIPosts: 2,567Member
    Originally posted by Ozmodan
    Originally posted by Nickhead420

    "Free players also won’t be able to sell on the auction house without the purchase of a special access unlock from the game’s cash shop"

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Kinda the same with subscriptions.  If I'm going to pay a subscription, I want everything.  I don't want to pay a sub AND still need to buy things from the cash shop.  You want me to pay $10-15 a month and I still have to pay $5-10 for more bag space?  GFYS!

    Exactly! 

    Well this is the cash grab mentality that companies have now.  The LP is very limiting as an F2P player so you have to buy in CS or sub. I have limited money to spend on trivial things, like games. This is the classic gating idea as it is happening in society also as a whole. The more money you spend or have the more special you are treated.

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  • Tad030Tad030 University Place, WAPosts: 7Member
    Originally posted by Nickhead420

    "Free players also won’t be able to sell on the auction house without the purchase of a special access unlock from the game’s cash shop"

     

    I got to check out the game over the weekend.  It was more fun than I expected, and thought it would be a game I'd like to support.  But that statement right there is exactly why I won't be spending any money on the game.  Make me want to spend money.  Don't make me feel like I have to.

    Kinda the same with subscriptions.  If I'm going to pay a subscription, I want everything.  I don't want to pay a sub AND still need to buy things from the cash shop.  You want me to pay $10-15 a month and I still have to pay $5-10 for more bag space?  GFYS!

     

    i totally agree with this. if you are going to market a game as F2P, then RELEASE THE ENTIRE GAME - don't intentionally break a game mechanic and expect your players to pay to fix it. how is that fun?  ENTICE your players to throw money at you by building a good game that people want to play over and over again.  Guild Wars 2 is probably the best example of this type of F2P model - you buy the game, and play.  you never have to visit the cash shop if you don't want to.  the cash shop in that game offers perks, not a fix to game mechanics that have been purposefully broken.  if you build a good game and stand behind it, people will more than likely spend money on it.  if you intentionally break game mechanics and expect players to pay to fix those mechanics, you're going to turn off a lot of people.  

    on top of that, and probably even more importantly, monetization models like ArcheAge fracture the game community.  on one hand, you have founders saying 'suck it up, you get what you pay for', and F2P players scratching their heads saying 'this game is anything but F2P!'.  both sides make a point, but there are very good F2P models out there that do not punish players, so i ultimately have to side with the F2P players here, especially since the game is marketed as F2P.  but the larger point i am trying to get at here, is that a game publisher should be doing everything possible to make all their players feel like they have an equal chance of being successful and having fun in a game.  that's clearly not happening in ArcheAge, and a game with a community divided based on the actions of the publisher before launch isn't a good sign.

    i've been looking forward to ArcheAge for a very long time.  i don't know who came up with their F2P model for this game, but it's terrible.  i would much rather just pay a sub and be done with it.  F2P can be good, but so many developers are doing it wrong, and their game communities suffer as a result.   

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