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General: It Is What It Is

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,717Administrator Uncommon

Free to play columnist Richard Aihoshi wonders at some people's unwillingness to accept LOTRO's announced change of business models.


Richard Aihoshi

After the announcement 10 days ago that The Lord of the Rings Online will become free to play this fall, it took almost no time at all for the silly reactions to begin.  Considering the hate-on some people have for anything and everything F2P, it was no surprise they didn't like the news.  But it was almost comical to see some of the spin doctoring they engaged in to try to soften or negate the impact on their tender psyches instead of simply admitting what's happening with the game and in the MMOG market. 

For example, one point of view was put forward stating this isn't an important development because LOTRO doesn't qualify as a major subscription title since it only has a single-digit share of that market.  The problem is that if we apply this particular criterion, practically every single release aside from World of Warcraft could adopt F2P, and not one of the conversions would be significant.

Read It Is What It Is.

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • XianthosXianthos lolPosts: 723Member

    [Mod Edit]

    Yay i shall know from now on never read his columns again.

     

    I barely participated at the discussion about F2P, as i simply dont like the model. I dont worry about future as there always will be a indy company or major company which will offer P2P model where i dont have to spend 200$ to be enjoy whole game :)

    EvE doors

    See the best doors on EvE-on!

  • EricDanieEricDanie Rio de JaneiroPosts: 2,238Member

    Besides all the usual flaming that can be almost seen as trolling/baiting done to people that have valid reasons for disliking F2P (same happens both ways, there are valid reasons to prefer "F2P"), you seem to have exceeded yourself this time.

    LOTRO is a Freemium concept, because you won't be able to reach the level cap or access all the game areas without paying real money directly or indirectly, not to mention carrying over 2 gold or playing PvP - Monster Play, heck, you won't even be able to complete all the quests. It's like Free Realms or Wizards 101, both of which are Freemium games. For those saying you'll be able to gain Turbine Points through normal gameplay, you can't be sure as to the rate it will be, to calculate how many weeks or months it will take for someone to avoid a $10-$20 cost that could be completed through a few hours of real life working on a job.

    Even supposing you're able to acquire all the mentioned things in a reasonable amount of time, there will still be VIP-only features, like spending Destiny Points and the aforementioned Monster Play (there's no saying "can purchase usage/more" like with many other features seen in the official comparison chart - http://www.lotro.com/betasignup/vipchart.html ).

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,978Member Uncommon

    Sweet, they're letting the columnists troll the forums now, its open season baby. image

    I for one don't think the announcement heralds the end of MMORPG's or even the P2P model, however it does point the way to an increasingly hyrbid model of payment options and revenue streams which I think all MMO's will soon employ. (even my beloved EVE)

    I do think its not fair to lump all alternate payment models under the single category of F2P, as there is considerable difference in how they are employed in a game like ROM vs that employed by DDO,  however its too complicated to invent a lot more new terms so what the hell, let's just stick with one and keep it simple.

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • jakinjakin somewhere, ONPosts: 243Member Common

    I'd go one step further and call it manifestly unfair to the rest of the F2P spectrum to lump DDO and LOTRO (and whatever the next AAA game is that adopts this hybrid model) in with the rest of the item-mall driven games.

    DDO was a borderline case, given it's popularity was never very high post-launch, but LOTRO released as a full on triple A game.  Box price, monthly sub and lifetime memberships up front and continuing.  It has been a successful subscription-based game for years, through two "boxed" expansions no less.

    While I'm not conversant in the business models and cashflow of a genuine free-to-play game (i.e. developed as such from the ground up), I've got to imagine that LOTRO has had access to development resources far beyond the wildest dreams of any free-to-play game to date.  Even Guild Wars probably didn't pull in the sustained revenue that LOTRO has.

    This trend of converting "aging" games to a freemium model as their popularity wains seems to be prone to putting a whole lot of pressure on genuine free-to-play games, similar to how WoW has put long standing pressure on the subscription-model, fantasy, quest-grinder market.

  • battleaxebattleaxe Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 158Member

    Unfortunately, F2P covers a lot of different models and isn't really descriptive of what's going on.  Many games touting "free" simply aren't.  The following models appear to be encompassed in F2P:

    "Try before you pay through the nose", "Cash Stopped", "The first hit is free", or maybe "Freemium":  Level caps, money caps, experience caps, content caps are all used to keep you from playing the entire game for free.

    "You suck unless you buy stuff", or "Cash Slowed":  Limits your advancement by making you grind a lot more than someone that buys stuff from the cash shop.

    "You're a peasant unless you buy stuff", or "Paris Hilton's wardrobe":  Allows you to do everything the people with cash can do, except buy nice, shiny clothing.

    "Heroism time limits" or "Parking Meter Access": You can do everything the people with cash can do, but only at certain times of the day/week or only for a certain amount of time per day/week.

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    Like so many things, the devil is in the details. I wouldn't have gotten my nose out of joint too much if LOTRO had started out as a F2P title...though I might not have tried it. What chaps me is that they changed the model 3 years after launch.... and it's not like LOTRO was on life support where it couldn't continue with it's current model. Worse yet, all the resources they've secretly devoted to building the systems to support the new F2P model COULD have been devoted to putting in more content and improving the games systems... which very well could have boosted the number of P2P subs. Alot of even the casual players like myself were having issues with running out of content since they significantly reduced the frequency and scope of the content updates they had been doing over the past year or so.

    Essentialy, as a customer, I cant help but feel like I've just been dumped on by the Developer. I mean, it's like buying your car and then having the finance company tell you 3 years later that they are changing the contract to a lease instead because they are changing thier business model. That's not a good way to treat long term customers.

  • NightCloakNightCloak Barrington, ILPosts: 450Member

    As the title is aptly named... It is what it is.

    Now I don't see Richard as writing very thought-provoking or well styled columns. Nor do I find his writings very entertaining or informative. But I do see it as a great start to some interesting forum reads. I love reading forum PVP and F2P brings out the gankers.

    Though, I am not opposed to F2P. As I see it, its all about value. Is the money placed into the game worth my time and enjoyment? For the most part, F2P its not since I can put that money elsewhere and enjoy myself many times more.

    F2P just never seems to be up to snuff. There is such a vast disparity between the paid players and the free players that the small sums (approx same as a sub game costs) of money I would put in wouldn't make up the difference.

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member

    I must say, when I read this I was a bit surprised.

     

    MMORPG.com actually just released an article that both 1) Didn't have any news or cover any happenings in the last week and 2) Didn't discuss gameplay/being in some particular MMO.

     

    Literally we just got an article that resembles a forum post whining about people who are bitching. Whether you agree with Richard, or the people he is (purposely) inflaming, seeing this being posted as an 'article' is sad.

     

    This is a new low indeed. Granted it's not the first time he's used his article spot to attack people who don't agree with him on F2P issues, but this is low even for him.

     

    Congratulations on showing why people go to Massively.com to read any kind of news/information on MMOs. If Massively had a forum system like MMORPG, this site would probably get a tenth of the traffic it gets now.

     

     

    Edit: I feel I should add that I completely agree that some people are complaining about this change off of inaccurate information. Yes, it can be annoying to see someone say something is bad and then the reason they use be completely wrong.

     

    HOWEVER, there are people with legitimate arguments against these types of payment systems. These people fully understand how the system works, and still do not want to play a game that has it. Richard continually fails to recognize that people CAN understand the f2p market and NOT want to be a part of it. He seems to get a headache trying to understand that concept.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,578Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Xianthos

    Yay bitching about people reached new level. Now we got even a column about bitching.

    Yay i shall know from now on never read his columns again.

     

    I barely participated at the discussion about F2P, as i simply dont like the model. I dont worry about future as there always will be a indy company or major company which will offer P2P model where i dont have to spend 200$ to be enjoy whole game :)

     Just do not play your game for more than 10 months.  $60 box + (14.95 x 10 months) is roughly $200.

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,576Member Uncommon

    The reason that people seem to have issues is basic... lack of understanding.

    F2P is a basic marketting term for free client + free account. It is just a snazzy way of saying free trial.

    P2P is a basic marketting term for paid client/account. It is a snazzy way of saying you have to buy it first.

     

    Both F2P and P2P are only actually applicable at the point of sale (remember when games were all about the point of sale, and not what you paid after that). These are terms that were coined early in the industry to apply to the marketting approach that was taken to the initial sale.

     

    Both F2P and P2P have traditionally supported many secondary means of revenue, to include advertising, monthly fees, item mall and/or microtransactions. These secondary payment options have over time become the LARGER revenue source and the focus of revenue growth. This means that the initial sale has become less valuable, and as such F2P options more desirable.

     

    The problem is that people generally are not thinking logically about this (and are not in the industry). They make emotional statements without actually understanding what they are saying.... and as such act as a mindless mob. Everyone is quick to jump on the bandwagon about how terrible (or great) something is, but most of them dont even take the time to think about what they are saying.

     

    Things change. Everybody knows this. However people dont ask what they can do to make the change more acceptable, they raise their fists and shout at the wold about how they are not going to take it...

    Which leads to this article. A rant about the rant.

     

  • KothosesKothoses GalwayPosts: 758Member Uncommon

    Do MMORPG.com pay you to troll their visitors.  Your colum sometimes has good insights but you too have to accept that public perception is of F2P games as a way of bleeding more money over the medium term out of customers.  And is typically associated with eastern grind fests.

     

    To change this perception perhaps present EVIDENCE AND FACTS about games, rather than just constantly rant like the rest of the EMMO kiddies.

     

    This is why I refuse to click on adverts here, I would hate to think I was subsidising you.

    Promoting thought a new Gaming video blog http://www.youtube.com/user/quinnthalas discussing games, gamers and the internet with gameplay footage as background.

  • simmihisimmihi -Posts: 615Member Uncommon

    This column is like an asian f2p. A mixture of "stuff" with no point and purpose. You could have just written "accept f2p or you sux, this is my opinion". That would have saved us 10 minutes of our lives which we wasted reading this utter garbage. Take a big break, please.

  • MalcanisMalcanis LondonPosts: 3,191Member

    Originally posted by Kyleran

    Sweet, they're letting the columnists troll the forums now, its open season baby. image

    I for one don't think the announcement heralds the end of MMORPG's or even the P2P model, however it does point the way to an increasingly hyrbid model of payment options and revenue streams which I think all MMO's will soon employ. (even my beloved EVE)

    I do think its not fair to lump all alternate payment models under the single category of F2P, as there is considerable difference in how they are employed in a game like ROM vs that employed by DDO,  however its too complicated to invent a lot more new terms so what the hell, let's just stick with one and keep it simple.

     

    EVE already has a "hybrid" payment option Kyleran, but can't you see - you foolish conservative dinosaur - that's it is the wrong kind of hybrid, beause it doesn't allow for soaking more dollars per account? It's a useless relic, because it still incentivises CCP to make the game worth subscibing to, instead of incentivising them to make it unplayable unless you're paying them two or three times as much as the normal $15 sub. Paleolithic is the only word to describe such an old-fashioned model.

    Get with the times, old man.

    Give me liberty or give me lasers

  • NightCloakNightCloak Barrington, ILPosts: 450Member

    Originally posted by simmihi

    This column is like an asian f2p. A mixture of "stuff" with no point and purpose. You could have just written "accept f2p or you sux, this is my opinion". That would have saved us 10 minutes of our lives which we wasted reading this utter garbage. Take a big break, please.

     Richard's work is largely like this in nearly every article.

    I will give him credit where credit is due. He is good at writing fluff around is basic message quoted above.

  • astrob0yastrob0y stockholmPosts: 702Member

    a new low as someone said. 

    I7@4ghz, 5970@ 1 ghz/5ghz, water cooled||Former setups Byggblogg||Byggblogg 2|| Msi Wind u100

  • black_isleblack_isle IstanbulPosts: 238Member Uncommon

    I don't see how this is any better than an average froum post. Sadly most of his articles are like that.

  • DrafellDrafell Virginia Beach, VAPosts: 588Member

    I agree with you totally.

    Game are moving towards hybrid models, and I can even see WoW going this way if it's subsription numbers start taking a dive.

    Developers will do what they need to do to keep thier games afloat.

  • DKWFirstbornDKWFirstborn VantaaPosts: 32Member

    *Reads people's comments and shrugs few times*

    Richard this is a very intresting post in my honest opinnion.  It brings out many very true aspects that I see. I find myself in some examples in someways, which I find curious in terms of  self-discovery.

     

    Also this column is very interesting since it provokes very harsh opinnions from people, some agreeing with you some disagreeing. F2P market really needs people whom introduce different types of opinnions and different aspects, favourable aspects to the topic F2P itself.

     

    I find a vision of fully accepted world for F2P market filled with quality gaming curious, even interesting. It truly oppens some new fields to explore.  Still a major problem in F2P market is mass produced games based on the very same engine that are exactly alike with each others in game content. But with Turbine going free to play with 2 extremely good quality mmorpgs one would figure that people's opinnions start changing and positive opinnions start rising too.

     

    I personally have 2 publishers in my black list: SOE & Nsoft due how they produce games, and what kind of games they produce and how they kill them. I find it taunting idea of playing on game world the publisher will kill, or stop updating once hype is over and the game is required to fix it's downsides. But this is an entirely different topic all together.

     

    I don't know what is with the hatered against F2P games. In my case it's due the fact that I have played tons of F2P games that have been installed and deleted in a month me. But i have also played 2 superb F2P games. Other is turbine's DnD title and a small publisher's Gunbound are the sole exceptions.

     

    Anyway, Richard there has been great news for the F2P genre as younger gamers who's parents might find monthly fees for games outrageous, now they are able to play more quality games. (The young gamers are what also annoy us paying folks. XD)

     

    Anyway, let's stop waging war... All have said their pieces, many in very loud inpolite manner, Leave the poor man alone for being excited off quality F2P games!

    Kindest regards,

    DKW

  • DracondisDracondis Reston, VAPosts: 176Member

    Originally posted by Malcanis



    Originally posted by Kyleran

    Sweet, they're letting the columnists troll the forums now, its open season baby. image

    I for one don't think the announcement heralds the end of MMORPG's or even the P2P model, however it does point the way to an increasingly hyrbid model of payment options and revenue streams which I think all MMO's will soon employ. (even my beloved EVE)

    I do think its not fair to lump all alternate payment models under the single category of F2P, as there is considerable difference in how they are employed in a game like ROM vs that employed by DDO,  however its too complicated to invent a lot more new terms so what the hell, let's just stick with one and keep it simple.

     

    EVE already has a "hybrid" payment option Kyleran, but can't you see - you foolish conservative dinosaur - that's it is the wrong kind of hybrid, beause it doesn't allow for soaking more dollars per account? It's a useless relic, because it still incentivises CCP to make the game worth subscibing to, instead of incentivising them to make it unplayable unless you're paying them two or three times as much as the normal $15 sub. Paleolithic is the only word to describe such an old-fashioned model.

    Get with the times, old man.

    I would NEVER want to play a game with your idea of a proper hybrid pay scheme.  If a game isn't fun to play, there's no way they will get any of my money.  I don't spend money on things just to be  seen as the best or to hve the best gear.  I play games, and therefore spend money on them, because they are fun to play.  Once a game stops being fun to play, I leave it.  If you want to keep paying for a game that isn't fun, that's your monery you're spending.  Don't tell me how to spend mine.  Give me the good old days when something had to be good before anyone would spend a dime on it.

  • LawlmonsterLawlmonster Dallas, TXPosts: 953Member Uncommon

    I think it's fair for people to be concerned about getting ripped off, Richard. People can continue to say, "they're as free as you want them to be", but the fact is this: content is locked and divied up for sales in such a manner that encourages for, or in some cases punishes you for not, buying it. It's a great way for small companies to charge premium costs for a sub-standard product. Sure, there are examples that prove otherwise, and this is a generalization of the F2P experience I've personally encountered, but the whole design principle for F2P was devised to convince players to pay for something sub-par, or inadequate. That's the reason so many F2P games are related back to poorly made, asian grinders, and not DDO, or in some cases, the upcoming LotRO pay model rehash.

    "This is life! We suffer and slave and expire. That's it!" -Bernard Black (Dylan Moran)

  • WSIMikeWSIMike Catskill, NYPosts: 5,564Member

    Hey! Aioshi's back!

    It seems people speaking critically of "his precious" finally got Aioshi to drop the "aloof and unaffected" facade he's had up. . It's fine.. We knew the real him was lurking in there somewhere. He's back in full-on pro-F2P Hyper-Nerd mode.

    You know... It's perfectly understandable to have a column that covers the F2P market. Regardless of what side of the debate you land on, it's a part of the MMO scene and it's here to stay. It is worth keeping up with and knowing about what's going on. There's no denying that.

    That said... the task should really be taken on by someone more qualified to do so and, dare I say, more professional.

    Yet again, Aioshi completely ignores the numerous relevant and accurate arguments given against F2P on these threads - which he clearly reads, though he dare not condescend to engage in the discourse...oh no no. He might have to answer direct challenges to the BS he regularly spews out; something he's clearly averse to doing.

    Well since you apparently do read the posts... You're right Aioshi... It is what it is - and many of us on these forums - myself included - have experienced it first-hand. We've played the games. Checked out the cash shops. I personally spent some money in a few of them to see how it works and feel it out. We see through the marketing and PR and aren't dazzled by the word "Free!" - no matter how many times it's repeated. We are all too aware of how F2P games are designed to get more - potentially far more - out of a given player than a subscription model ever would.... without actually increasing the value of what they're paying for. Anyone who can look at something critically, do some hands-on research and not simply buy into marketing spin can figure it out for themselves. It doesn't take a rocket scientist.

    Your own "knee-jerk" response to valid criticisms notwithstanding, the fact is, many arguments given against F2P are more spot-on than you apparently want to admit. Hence your continued refusal to even acknowledge, much less address them - not to mention the nerd rage that inevitably comes out over it in articles like this one.

    Suffice to say... You're clearly so personally affected by criticism of the genre you love so much that you wasted an entire weekly article ranting about it instead of using the space to write something... oh I don't know... informative. Congrats. You're a true class act.

    To the MMORPG.com staff... Is Aioshi *seriously* the best you could find to cover the topic? Seriously? In all the MMO scene, there's no one better you can find to cover the topic than this guy? Hell, a non-fan of F2P could do a better job of discussing it on its own merits than this glorified forum poster could ever dream of.

    "If you just step away for a sec you will clearly see all the pot holes in the road,
    and the cash shop selling asphalt..."
    - Mimzel on F2P/Cash Shops

    image

  • CodenakCodenak HullPosts: 418Member Common

    I think the art of irony is lost on some people, or they just don't expect it :)

    I suspect Malcanis actually likes the Eve hybrid as it incentives CCP to produce a better game rather than more cash store items, I could be wrong though, i have been before :D

  • InktomiInktomi merrick, NYPosts: 663Member

    ...and it ain't what it aint. 

     

    One of my favorite sayings Richard. 

     

    I am starting to understand your vision as I descend further down the rabbithole of video game economics.

     

    RMT is inevitable, but it isn't horrible if its done right and players can show self control.

     

    Embrace the future.

     

    Play safe,

     

    Ink

  • qombiqombi Unknown, LAPosts: 1,180Member

    Richard is a puppet for the industry that is all. After, all he has to eat. If they paid me to  cram this scam "F2P" down people's throats untll they accepted it, I may too.

    There is nothing free about these "F2P" games. They should stop calling them that. They always will end up costing the customer more than P2P .. why in the hell do you think they are migrate to this model and paying people like Richard to be the spokes person for it.

    Yeah, Richard may say he isn't a puppet for the industry but I believe other wise. No customer in their right mind would push for a system to pay more and get less.

  • markt50markt50 DarlingtonPosts: 132Member

    What a hate filled article, borderline rude in tone, insulting to sections of the MMORPG community and practically overflowing with a horrible sense of smugness. I expect it on the forums, but expected better from the Columnists.



    So the article seemed to basically be saying that anyone who is against F2P is a retard and Richard failed to even provide balance in his article by maybe mentioning some of the valid objections some people may have with the F2P model and LOTRO's move to it. Ohhh but silly me, anyone who dares say anything negative about F2P must be a hysterical, tin foil hat wearing loony. Sorry, my bad.



    Probably to worst article I've read in the many years I've been reading this site.

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