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[Column] General: Subscription & F2P

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,619MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In Tingle's Touchy Subjects, we take on the hot discussion topics of the day when it comes to MMOs. In our latest column, we take a look at the much debated subscription vs F2P argument. See what we've got to say before heading to battle in the comments.

I feel slightly uncomfortable taking swipes at F2P. While I can undoubtedly see the "great" in not having to commit to monthly subscriptions, the implementation is often too confusing and convoluted. After the F2P conversion of an MMO, perhaps it's the quest packs and booster items that bother me  - or maybe it's just the fact that the software now closely resembles a spyware infected desktop after a sojourn to an exotic website.

Read more of Adam Tingle's Tingle's Touchy Subject: Subscription & F2P.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,778Member Uncommon

    when people say ¨you get what you pay for¨ jsut to bash F2P (and even B2P) mmos. I ask my self. As a cash shop supporter, if i pay more money than a subscriber in one month, why do i get less game than the subscriber? That ÿou get what yu pay for¨ phrase doesnt work very well there.... Its not about being able or unable to pay money for a game. Its about a commitment that not everyone agrees with. If i stop paying i cant play anymore with a subscription. And if i pay it i feel that i signed a contract and have to play every day until the contract ends.

    I, and many others i know happily support games with cash shop as long as i can lift every limitation permanently through the cash shop. If im going to spend  a good chunk of money just to keep my character locked from content and cant even be competitive... no money to them. SWTOR is the worst case because of what i said. Do not force me to either subscribe or quit. I like the game, i like the cash shop, i do not like the sub,. At least sell me every limitation unlock in cash shop or my money goes somewhere else.

    let the F2P hate begin in 3,2,1.....

     

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  • WicoaWicoa LondonPosts: 1,602Member Uncommon

    What a fantastic quote:

    "Ultimately it makes me feel less valued; it makes my sub fee feel less cherished. It makes me feel like we're headed in the wrong direction."

  • lugallugal Escondido, CAPosts: 639Member Uncommon
    People who claim they feel like they are forced to play every day if they sub to game, do they feel the same way about their internet access? Do they enjoy the unlimited access(bandwith throtling not withstanding) the monthly fee provides? Would they prefer a f2p package instead?

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    The reviewer has a mishapen head
    Which means his opinion is skewed
    ...Aldous.MF'n.Huxley

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,778Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lugal
    People who claim they feel like they are forced to play every day if they sub to game, do they feel the same way about their internet access? Do they enjoy the unlimited access(bandwith throtling not withstanding) the monthly fee provides? Would they prefer a f2p package instead?

    i surely get my moneys worth on internet acces because i use internet every single day, on my pc, on my consoles, on my phone, etc. for many different reasons. If i could do that in a sub based mmo then sure, a small 15 bucks sub would do fine. Meanwhile, a gaming sub is not for me. I am not 100% against it, i pay it if the game is totally worth it. But i dont pay every month. Because of what i said before. Dont try to look for excuses because everyone is different and comparing a bill like internet, phone, gas, or whatever  house bill with a gaming bill for 1 game that might not even worth it doesnt even make sense.

    You dont have to agree with my opinion jsut like i dont agree with yours. Theres no problem with that. People jus thave to stop pretending a sub is a saving grace or some godsend salvation

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  • YizleYizle Atlanta, GAPosts: 517Member

    I play 2 P2P games, 1 F2P very sparingly and 1 B2P sparingly.

     

    The 2 P2P games both have F2P models which I messed with at times but when I am seriously playing them and have time I am an active sub. Some companies can do a great F2P model while most are too restrictive and segregate the populations.

     

    Iugal I also use my internet access everyday.

  • Rthuth434Rthuth434 uniondale, NYPosts: 346Member
    Originally posted by lugal
    People who claim they feel like they are forced to play every day if they sub to game, do they feel the same way about their internet access? Do they enjoy the unlimited access(bandwith throtling not withstanding) the monthly fee provides? Would they prefer a f2p package instead?

    daily internet and phone use is part of our lives if you're not in the third world...this is a stupid question. there's no goddamn question about it becauseyou can't do your work or school work or keep in touch with your friends and family without a phone or internet.

  • danwest58danwest58 Cincinnati, OHPosts: 985Member Uncommon

    The real problem is not P2P or F2P.  The real problem is there are too many MMOs out there today and too few players for these new MMOs.  When you pay $200 Million to create an MMO you need to aim to have the same amount of players as WoW did.

    If you dont think there are too many MMOS out there think about this, most people can name 36 MMOS, and only 10 to 15 million MMO players.  Too few players spread over too many MMOS.  O and there are at least a half dozon MMOs coming out this year alone. 

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  • Rthuth434Rthuth434 uniondale, NYPosts: 346Member
    seeing how many P2P mmo's have been shit over the years, and borderline scams themselves it's funny that people have this attitude. you sure as FUCK do not get what you pay for with MOST MMO's, no matter how you pay. unless you pay for poor quality and the right to make a damn fool out of yourself defending it on the internet.
  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by Wicoa

    What a fantastic quote:

    "Ultimately it makes me feel less valued; it makes my sub fee feel less cherished. It makes me feel like we're headed in the wrong direction."

    It is a good quote. Good article.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • Rthuth434Rthuth434 uniondale, NYPosts: 346Member

    yea, the p2p brigade beating the chest on tera, tsw, swtor, etc. man's game, adult game ault model, honest business, pay for quality....that went well. and the upcoming batch of p2p's this year will be f2p this time next year.

    but hey, keep it up.

     
  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,778Member Uncommon
    F2P/B2P vs P2P will always bring mixed opinions both positive and negative from each side. People just need to stop being narrowminded and accept that every model is viable. Even if you dont agree with one. Just because a person doesnt support a cash shop model, it doesnt mean that a subscription is some godsend salvation. Its just an opinion. And dont compare a gaming payment with bills that are actually important and necessary in real life....

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  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by Rthuth434

    yea, the p2p brigade beating the chest on tera, tsw, swtor, etc. man's game, adult game ault model, honest business, pay for quality....that went well. and the upcoming batch of p2p's this year will be f2p this time next year.

    but hey, keep it up.

     

    As long as they have a sub option for those of us who have money and prefer quality, that is fine with me. It's the F2P's with no sub that are a bad idea. This is just for me of course, more power to anyone who loves the F2P stuff :)

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • Shana77Shana77 UtrechtPosts: 207Member

    I don't understand why more mmo's go for the B2P model (buy to play). Guild Wars 2 for example is a wonderful way to implement that. The MMO developer gets a large cash injection at the start of the project and for every expansion from box sales, and they have in the shop a bunch of items you don't really need. 

    In Guild Wars 2 you can enjoy all content, races, classes, pve and pvp without a subcription or using the shop. In the shop are a bunch of xp and crafting boosters you don't really need since levelling and crafting can be done fast enough as it is. Theres also a bunch of other stuff like outfits and such which are nice to have but not needed to enjoy the game. 

    A solid model that is fair to people that don't want to subscribe yet offers some nice toys for those that don't mind spending extra money. 

  • Kinh021Kinh021 Rio de JaneiroPosts: 27Member

    In f2p so you can afford when you're comfortable, without obligation to pay every month. I released all LOTRO by the cash shop, while I as a subscriber(for 3 months) I entered the game once every 3 days.

    The game is now really free for me(i do not need to pay for access to it) and can stay a year without play without worrying about the bill my card.

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,778Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
    Originally posted by Rthuth434

    yea, the p2p brigade beating the chest on tera, tsw, swtor, etc. man's game, adult game ault model, honest business, pay for quality....that went well. and the upcoming batch of p2p's this year will be f2p this time next year.

    but hey, keep it up.

     

    As long as they have a sub option for those of us who have money and prefer quality, that is fine with me. It's the F2P's with no sub that are a bad idea.

    that little part right there only shows ignorance. Indirectly (or rather directly i should say) saying people who prefer f2p automatically  dont have money is just ignorant. I do agree with the rest of your post. As long as the game has more options then its fine.

    f2p is only a bad idea in the wrong hands, and that applies to p2p as well.
     

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  • SagornSagorn Orlando, FLPosts: 19Member Common

    So many things to say... let's see if I can stay on track and get them all out.

     

    For the most part, I have no problems with a sub. I have had at most, 7 WoW accounts on the go at the same time, as well as probably a couple other games subbed at the same time. I've spent easily over 100 bucks a month on subs and felt I was getting my money worth with the time I was putting in. I could *easily* spend over 100 bucks on a night out with friends, or a nice meal, or some silly tech toy I felt I had to have, and then never used it. I think if most people sat down and calculated how many hours they played divided by the 15 bucks they spent it would probably be something much less than a dollar an hour (easily) and for a lot of people it would be in the 50 cent range. Tell me where you can get that sort of cheap entertainment anywhere else from the privacy of your own home.

     

    Moving on to the F2P vs P2P. I understand that MMO's cost money to make and maintain. A lot of money. I have no problems with a company wanting to make money. If I made an MMO.. I would want to make money too. That doesn't mean I wouldn't want to make a great game that appealed to the masses, but ya.. I would also want it to prosper. There's nothing wrong with that, until you start getting greedy and create a shitty game. (*cough* Diablo 3 *cough*)  I think F2P is a great way to introduce your game to people, but people also need to understand that the company DOES have to pay for it.. somehow. Don't expect to have the same benefits of the sub players or have nothing really useful in the cash shop JUST so you can enjoy the game and expect everyone else to pay for it. That's selfish, and pretty stupid. Sadly, that also describes a lot of gamers these days.

     

    IF I like a game, I will pay for it, but I also don't want my F2P experience to be bogged down by so many restrictions I can't enjoy the game. I'll never be tempted to sub if I can't get a feel for what the game is past level 10, or without access to certain classes or weapons or bag space, etc. There has to be a happy medium between not giving away the game and allowing people to experience it to the point where they would like to see more. I also do not like the new direction of buying the game, and then the next day paying for DLC. This WILL change if people refuse to "pay up", but apparently this is not the trend as it is becoming more popular. As Gordon Gecko said... Greed is good. Again.. there also has to be happy medium between making money, and giving the customer a fair price for what they expect, but in the end if the company can charge you more and you'll pay it.. they will.

     

    Give me the MMO that has EVERYTHING I am looking for and I'll pay 100 a month. Give me a PoS like SWTOR and I'll cancel right away. Create something great, and people will gladly pay the sub. Create crap, and people won't even play if it is free. Simple enough to me, and it should be simple enough for the companies designing games. It's not really a hard concept.

     

    --Sagorn

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,214Member Uncommon

    I'm not renting temporary access to my games anymore.  That's the foundation of my move away from sub-locked games.  The money I spent on renting temporary access is basically flushed down the sewer until and unless I cough up more cash.  I don't find value in that payment model.

    Sub-free monetization isn't any more confusing than the sub-locked p2p model.  Every major sub-locked game (I'm sure there some niche game that is an exception) out right now also monetizes their xpacs, rmt for game time tokens, rmt for game cash, and micro-transactions.

    I do pay for my games and I do buy premium status for games that offer that.  I'm currently subscribed to Tera.  Why?  Because when I want to stop and cancel that I can still play the game.  I still have access and my account has been improved by purchasing the elite account status.  The beauty of that system is I can still play and advance and if I want to sub again later I can.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    Play games because they're fun. If $15 a month is enough to make you feel like you're better than someone else.... it doesn't say a whole lot about your worth.

    It shouldn't matter what payment model a game has. If it's fun for the people playing, it's a fun game. The amount of money we're talking about for an idividual is so small it's really quite pathetic that it's even an issue.

    Personally i don't even consider the cost of playing each month and don't consider myself a p2p or f2p player. I play both. It all depends on what I want to play not the cost of the game.

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by rojo6934
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
    Originally posted by Rthuth434

    yea, the p2p brigade beating the chest on tera, tsw, swtor, etc. man's game, adult game ault model, honest business, pay for quality....that went well. and the upcoming batch of p2p's this year will be f2p this time next year.

    but hey, keep it up.

     

    As long as they have a sub option for those of us who have money and prefer quality, that is fine with me. It's the F2P's with no sub that are a bad idea.

    that little part right there only shows ignorance. Indirectly (or rather directly i should say) saying people who prefer f2p automatically  dont have money is just ignorant. I do agree with the rest of your post. As long as the game has more options then its fine.

    f2p is only a bad idea in the wrong hands, and that applies to p2p as well.
     

    Would like to clarify, didn't mean this to come out that way but I see what you are saying. Not that people don't have the money in general, just those of us who do want to spend the money is what I should of said. Apologies.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,778Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
    Originally posted by rojo6934
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
     

    As long as they have a sub option for those of us who have money and prefer quality, that is fine with me. It's the F2P's with no sub that are a bad idea.

    that little part right there only shows ignorance. Indirectly (or rather directly i should say) saying people who prefer f2p automatically  dont have money is just ignorant. I do agree with the rest of your post. As long as the game has more options then its fine.

    f2p is only a bad idea in the wrong hands, and that applies to p2p as well.
     

    Would like to clarify, didn't mean this to come out that way but I see what you are saying. Not that people don't have the money in general, just those of us who do want to spend the money is what I should of said. Apologies.

    so you think the option to pay in cash shop instead of a sub is for people who dont want to spend money? lol no sense at all..... But its ok, no need for apologies. You have your opinion. I have mine. Like you said before, as long as both options are there (and well managed i might add) then its fine.

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  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by rojo6934
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
    Originally posted by rojo6934
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
     

    As long as they have a sub option for those of us who have money and prefer quality, that is fine with me. It's the F2P's with no sub that are a bad idea.

    that little part right there only shows ignorance. Indirectly (or rather directly i should say) saying people who prefer f2p automatically  dont have money is just ignorant. I do agree with the rest of your post. As long as the game has more options then its fine.

    f2p is only a bad idea in the wrong hands, and that applies to p2p as well.
     

    Would like to clarify, didn't mean this to come out that way but I see what you are saying. Not that people don't have the money in general, just those of us who do want to spend the money is what I should of said. Apologies.

    so you think the option to pay in cash shop instead of a sub is for people who dont want to spend money? lol no sense at all..... But its ok, no need for apologies. You have your opinion. I have mine. Like you said before, as long as both options are there (and well managed i might add) then its fine.

    Agreed the choice is what's important. As long as it's there and there is an option for most people. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if they have a B2P option for most games (like gw2) soon where they charge you by optional content patches similar to how LotRO does theirs. That's the way consoles have been for a while now, and It's strange to me it hasn't spilled over completely into the PC market.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,645Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    I'm not renting temporary access to my games anymore.  That's the foundation of my move away from sub-locked games.  The money I spent on renting temporary access is basically flushed down the sewer until and unless I cough up more cash.  I don't find value in that payment model.

     

     

    No, instead people are renting temporary inventory space, temporary mounts, and temporary buffs that make the game actually bearable to progress in.

     

    And let's not even touch on the strong trend of making loot a paid for RNG gamble. Or the pay to achieve factor in buying progression (because in these games,developing your character, even visually, *is* a form of progression). Lets not talk about how they create super transient and non committed player bases that make it very hard to build half way decent communities (and give us ones that usually just end up as a toxic sludge of trolling).

     

    Yeah, cash shops are awesome. The piecemeal breaking up of content to be sold to us for 10 times (or whatever) the price of an expack (which you could also actually, y'know, play) is a fantastic step forward for the consumer.

     

    I find full on value in a sub that allows me to play as much as I like and access all the content in game according to my own achieving (and not the use of my CC).

     

    'F2P' and cash shops have a horrible additional impact on core game design. They are a shady model that hides true cost and one that has an active interest in manipulating it's more gullible and vulnerable players to spend ever more. Folks need to think about the true price of it all before stopping at 'kewl, I saved £10 this month' (because, if they were truthfull, they probably didn't).

     
  • ReizlaReizla AlkmaarPosts: 3,300Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by rojo6934

    when people say ¨you get what you pay for¨ jsut to bash F2P (and even B2P) mmos. I ask my self. As a cash shop supporter, if i pay more money than a subscriber in one month, why do i get less game than the subscriber? That ÿou get what yu pay for¨ phrase doesnt work very well there.... Its not about being able or unable to pay money for a game. Its about a commitment that not everyone agrees with. If i stop paying i cant play anymore with a subscription. And if i pay it i feel that i signed a contract and have to play every day until the contract ends.

    I, and many others i know happily support games with cash shop as long as i can lift every limitation permanently through the cash shop. If im going to spend  a good chunk of money just to keep my character locked from content and cant even be competitive... no money to them. SWTOR is the worst case because of what i said. Do not force me to either subscribe or quit. I like the game, i like the cash shop, i do not like the sub,. At least sell me every limitation unlock in cash shop or my money goes somewhere else.

    let the F2P hate begin in 3,2,1.....

     

    Very well spoken. Both on the 'contract' called subscription and the F2P part.

    Right now I'm playing World of Warcraft (60 day timecard) and I feel kinda forced to play because I have paid up front for the game. That while at times I totally do not feel like playing it at all and want to remove it from my harddrive. Okay, I'll level one toon to 90 (yeah, still none there) and then I might as well quit...

    On the F2P part... I agree with the SWTOR remark on being forced to subscribe or be a 'lesser player'. Though I haven't touched SWTOR after it went F2P (nor did I really play it before that - 30 days from box only), I did get that same 'force to subscribe' feeling from EverQuest II. Once you have had a subscription there, droppeds lots of bah in your inventory and bank, you need to keep subscribing to keep access to them. The moment you quit subscribing all but a few bags (4 total iirc and that of over 30 you had when subscribed) are available. As long as $O€ is not allowing me to unlock bagslots for my character, I'm not touching it again, nor am I paying them an other dime. Much like you, my money goes elsewhere...

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  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by Reizla

    On the F2P part... I agree with the SWTOR remark on being forced to subscribe or be a 'lesser player'. Though I haven't touched SWTOR after it went F2P (nor did I really play it before that - 30 days from box only), I did get that same 'force to subscribe' feeling from EverQuest II. Once you have had a subscription there, droppeds lots of bah in your inventory and bank, you need to keep subscribing to keep access to them. The moment you quit subscribing all but a few bags (4 total iirc and that of over 30 you had when subscribed) are available. As long as $O€ is not allowing me to unlock bagslots for my character, I'm not touching it again, nor am I paying them an other dime. Much like you, my money goes elsewhere...

    That type of game model most ppl call freemium and it's ( imo ) a weak attempt at cashing in on the f2p popularity while remaining a p2p game. I have no real issue with games that are desinged from the ground up to work with this model but in SWTORs case it's more a matter of EA not wanting to admit their game can't survive as a p2p sub game and still make them a profit.

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    What works? Whats attractive? Thats all. Just when you think you got the right model for maximum money. For both sides consumer and producer, the GW2 model is the right model for all games.
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