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[Column] Elder Scrolls Online: F2P or P2P? Keeping Hush on the Business Model



  • TimEisenTimEisen Columnist Posts: 2,811Member Rare
    Tough call. I like GW2 but hate the transactions, but dunno if I would still play it for more than $8 a month. My decision is that I go both ways depending on the game and how its ftp.
    I used to role-play a Warrior Priest now I role-play a writer.
    "Basically if a Ninja Turtle used it, or close to it, I like it."
  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,775Member Uncommon

    TESO is going to launch as Pay to play. Unlike Wildstar on the surface TESO looks to have pay to play quality, it technically does but lacks the content and long term appeal to remain that way. 

    So expect this one to launch as a pay to play and in the not to distant future convert to buy to play or free to play/freemium model. I don't see a model as bad as SWTOR though when it does convert. 

  • JasonJJasonJ New Port Richey, FLPosts: 395Member

    If they are not going B2P or F2P right from the start it will just end up being one in a very long line of failed P2P games going cheap and ruining it with a sudden F2P change over that isnt well thought out.

    Go in with a B2P mindset now and have a good Cash Shop set up at release like GW2 did and maybe, just maybe you wont end up with 500,000+ TES fans that got suckered into buying the game thinking its an actual TES game getting royally pissed off at you and end up NOT getting TES6 when its released...and who knows, if you do it right, you may end up making far more than you thought you ever would.

    This game has no chance of retaining most of its playerbase if it sells well, its the DaoC model and it isnt popular due to its gameplay limitations. Most MMO players have never tasted it, many have voiced they dont like closed off faction lands and its already well know what TES fans think of it.

    They already shot themselves in the foot with the design model, why now take a shotgun and blow your leg off at the knee with p2p?

  • killahhkillahh calgary, ABPosts: 437Member

    buy to play, or subscription based


    why?  bercause from reading all these forums all these years i am convinced  75% of the people that play  these games nowdays are bums, cheapos, users and abusers, out for the free ride and trash on everything they can, if it impedes their free ride , because each of those 75% are convinced they know it the best, they have the right answer, and they are the smartest.

    it doesnt matter that any game, no matter how good, has to tie into a players inborn imagination to really become great in that players eyes.

    most of us that started out playing 20 years ago also played things like dungeons and dragons, warhammer, ect.

    nowdays  lol most people dont even know what D&D really was or is, outside of the online line game  for which it stands.


    no loyaty

    no  retention

    no responcibility

    and internet anomnymity (sp?)

    the four horsemen of the decline of the industry.


    Gonada Dahung,over 20 years of mmorpg's and counting....Please Lord, let someone make a game that had all the awesomeness of UO, EQ and EVE...

  • UltimatumUltimatum Fredericksburg, VAPosts: 5Member

    Articles like these are why I typically end up relying on other sources (websites) for information related to MMOs.


    I don't care what model Elder Scrolls chooses - If its a good game that delivers on what's expected then odds are it will succeed. Sure the IP helps draw people in, but in the end as with any MMO the content AND its delivery is what matters.


    If the UI is lousy (and unmoddable on top of that - if its a great interface then allowing mods won't matter as much), character responsiveness is horrible, or its seriously lacking in MMO staple features (e.g. it plays like a single player game, doesn't flesh out the guild/clan system, etc.), then odds are it will still fail, regardless of what its intended revenue stream is.


    As pointed out by others, SWTOR was a horrible example. Most F2P MMOs I won't even touch to be honest - sure they may have a great point of entry and even be entertaining early on, but as soon as I see you need to buy X to enchant or power up Y and the only reliable way to get them is $ (plus an inherent chance of failure) ... odds are I go another direction.


    If you truly can't afford the $15 a month, then I do feel for you, but let's be honest most other forms of entertainment can't come close (Netflix or w/e streaming service at ~$7 does beat it if you're into watching TV). I'd also hope if you don't have $15 of budgetable money per month, you're accessing these forums on someone else's device with someone else's broadband Internet connection.  

  • AyulinAyulin Mt marion, NYPosts: 334Member
    Originally posted by Xiaoki
    Really bad article.
    SW:TOR couldnt sustain a subscription payment model because it was a really bad game. People beat the singleplayer portion of the game then quit rather than stick around for the horribly buggy and unfinished endgame.
    A good article would have expounded on that rather than just say "subs failed for TOR which automatically means that subs will fail for ESO".
    And to say that subscription based were always failing is just ....laughably bad. I dont even have the words to express how wrong that is. "Always a losing proposition" is definitive statement which means he's saying that WoWs subscription are a failure ....I mean ....really can you
    *brain explodes*

    Yeah, the article is really just another in an increasingly obvious (and annoying) series where the authors are clearly trying to sell the idea that "P2P = bad; F2P = good".


    Difference is, in most cases, they at least try to be somewhat subtle about it, so as to not show their hand.


    MikeB, in this case, just cranks the 'rhetoric dial' to 11 and lets it fly. It reads more like a propaganda piece than an opinion column.


    Subs have always been a losing proposition? Are you kidding me, MikeB?  MMOs survived just fine on subs for over a decade, and some are still around longer than that, still charging subs and maintaining active playerbases. New MMOs are being released with subscriptions, and people are perfectly fine with that.


    Many MMOs that go F2P maintain a "membership option" (aka "subscription"; a rose by any other name) for those who'd rather pay a flat monthly fee than deal with the nickel-and-dime, "pay as you go" approach of F2P/Cash Shops. A monthly sub option is still offered because there's still a demand for it.


    Calling something a "failing proposition", when there's still a very clear and demonstrable demand for it, is one of the most blatant reality-distortion efforts I've witnessed in a long time. Some serious mental gymnastics at work there.


    No P2P/Sub-based MMO has ever failed because of its revenue model. They fail - like any product - because they weren't good enough to maintain an adequate player/customer-base. Just like any service that requires a membership/subscription fee. You don't provide a good enough service, you won't maintain loyal customers - or at least not for very long.


    Subscriptions are still popular. They're not going anywhere, nor do they need to. People, like MikeB, who keep perpetuating this myth that P2P/Subs are some horrible, out-dated thing, just need to snap out of it, let it go, and just be satisfied with the F2P options they already have.



  • JasonJJasonJ New Port Richey, FLPosts: 395Member
    Originally posted by Ayulin Subs have always been a losing proposition? Are you kidding me, MikeB?  MMOs survived just fine on subs for over a decade

    And compared to the revenue of F2P games, they failed.

    If a BAD F2P game can make more money that most P2P games, its a fail model which is why it is finally dieing in the west and it only took so long because companies just couldnt let go of the massive greed they had.

    Too bad for them they lost so much of the market to South Korean companies I doubt they will ever get it back...even Blizzard is targetting the eastern market more

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,978Member Uncommon
    I predict BtP for it, with some sort of cash shop. They are probably having to work on that, as I am pretty sure that a cash shop wasn't designed in originally. If they go subscription, I'd bet that they'll have a pretty serious drop in subs fairly quickly, and that sort of thing can increase the negative feedback into a death spiral.

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • sbrite10sbrite10 Vancouver, WAPosts: 71Member
    Originally posted by Fluxii
    Originally posted by duggyfr3sh123
    both TESO and WildStar are P2P.

    Source? I haven't seen an announcement for either and it's quite a heated debate for Wildstar at least.


    Also, I didn't know TESO was releasing this year... seems like it was just announced.  I thought it'd be '14 or '15.  Then again, I haven't followed that closely.



  • JustsomenoobJustsomenoob lexington, KYPosts: 865Member Uncommon

    I really do like the Guild wars 2 model and would like to see it become the norm in the MMO industry.   (Buy to play with cash shop, cash shop currency buyable with in game gold).



  • ComafComaf Chicago, ILPosts: 1,149Member Uncommon

    They can sugarcoat the whole F2P is best BS all they want...reality is that the very people that will find a tri realm in depth mmorpg will be will to pay a sub.  Those same people will be turned off by the ever abusive CASH SHOP TO WIN BONUS XP PACK blah blah crap that permeates and is a literal cancer to the creative side of the industry.



  • reeereeereeereee Posts: 1,636Member Uncommon

    I can't believe any rational person believes they'll pass up the opportunity to try and sell a million+ $60 boxes.  There may be a slim chance they'll go with gw2 style over subscriptions, but I've got to think that is very very slim. 


    The more likely question is will they still be selling subscriptions two years from now, and that will depend largely on the quality of their product.


    And...  SWTOR's f2p is bad even by f2p standards.  I'm also having a hard time believing anyone would even sugest that any other company would emulate that model...  I mean...  Gpot, Nexon, and PWE have to look at SWTOR's f2p model and snicker.

  • KareliaKarelia HeraklionPosts: 668Member

    if its just an 'ok' game then i dont mind what payment method they will implement. but if its a great game that it will be my main mmo (i hope), then imo p2p is the only way. i hate cash shops, i really hate them.

    in most mmo's i have played, the only stable community, either to my guild or to the entire server, is when there is a sub in the game.

  • pantheronpantheron calhoun, GAPosts: 256Member Uncommon
    I just see the P2P model as a way to get more people to pay for what they don't need. I've had more fun in GW1, GW2, Maplestory, and a F2P im under NDA for than i ever had in WoW, Aion  when it was P2P, or the  myriad others ive tried. I felt like i got  ripped off on my subs more often than I  was like "yeah, this 15 dollars a month is a great use of my money"

    I play MMOs for the Forum PVP

  • dr.manhattandr.manhattan SLPosts: 1Member
    I hope Elders Scrolls Online will be a P2P, in my experiences with mmorpg's the F2P ones was just suck, I played PW, LOTRO, GW2, WoW, TERA, L2, AoC, 2Moon, AION and some others, all I could see was that F2P is a bot game and Payed to Win. GW2 was the best between the F2P(B2P), but after sometime the bot's begun. I don't know which is better for the business, but for the players the best probly is the P2P, some people may don't like it, but it's better for the game lifetime...
  • nlthornenlthorne Milwaukee, WIPosts: 4Member
    The reason SWTOR failed has nothing to do with the fact it was a sub.  A lot of people will happily pay if the game is actually worth it.  They started "hemorrhaging" subs when they decided RP fluff was more important then game content, including substantial PvP improvements.  Personally I'd much rather pay the monthly sub.  The "F2P" crowd isn't exactly a stable backbone to build an MMO on.
  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 580Member Uncommon

    If you make a bad game and you are sub based, you will fail.


    If you make a bad game and you are F2P, people will still play it because it is free and you can still make money on vanity crap.  Not to say there aren't any good F2P games, because there are plenty.  It's simply F2P let's the developer be lazy if they want to, and still make money.  


    Personally I prefer sub games, because they are provide value and quality or go home.  I play some F2P games too, but what they offer is limited, I grow tired of all the store advertisements in game, and the fact that 90% of new content are store items.  For me F2P is something to kill some time, sub games are for games I want to really sink my teeth into.

  • SilveruneSilverune West SussexPosts: 126Member Uncommon
    Free to play with a in game Cash shop like GW2, will not touch it if it is pay to play. Subscribtion based games yesterdays news. Not only will you keep the numbers up with F2P you will also have more of those free to play accounts willing to spend a bit more in the cash shop. With so many free to play mmo's on the market and in development it would be a tatical error for The Elder Scrolls Online to go to a subscription based payment method.
  • nlthornenlthorne Milwaukee, WIPosts: 4Member
    Where are all these "good" F2P games?  B2P maybe, but F2P's are trash, and only attract the like.  Also, GW2 was B2P with a cash shop, not F2P. 
  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,694Member Uncommon

    Problem with subs in this day and age. Is there are so many MMOs out there that if you play more than one a sub makes you feel like you're wasting that sub time by not playing every single day. Like WoW for instance, sometimes I just like to pop back in and check out a new patch or play whatever for a couple days. I have to pay $15 for a whole month of game time every time I do that.

    F2P or B2P makes it so much easier to play multiple games and not worry about if I've wasted half a months sub because I was playing something else or busy at work/out of town etc.

    Best model (though I doubt they'd ever do it) would be some type of game time purchase that only ran down as you used it. Pay for X amount of hours like a prepaid cell phone and every time you log in you star to use up your time. That would be really nice, but P2P kinda bank on people paying for more than they use so they wouldn't want to do it.

  • GroovyFlowerGroovyFlower RdamPosts: 1,245Member
    Well if it sells like Skyrim(very doubfull 15+million) i say B2P is only way to go that will still make them billion +
  • DeanGreyDeanGrey Fresno, CAPosts: 154Member Uncommon
    Subscritions work like Kickstarter except you often don't get to know what content you are paying for. I prefer b2p and f2p, and I have seen all models done terrible and great. I don't think it is reasonable to dislike a game solely based on its business model.
  • WhitestepWhitestep BudapestPosts: 61Member Uncommon
    I hope it will be hybrid or a B2P model.
  • ZutchZutch famagustaPosts: 53Member Uncommon
    tbh after the horrers of cash shop , i will delightfully pay sub  to ensure pleasant gaming experience , so P2P for ESO is all the way in my opinion , i mean its big franchise...why start as  low f2p cash shop doped p2w items ?!
  • crasset15crasset15 Posts: 190Member Uncommon

    Ah the good old days when everything you had in-game came through honest work.

    I don't have respect for item shop games. I don't care if it makes you the most profit, in my opinion it is unethical business practice. If your monetisation methods start affecting the design of your game, then I aint playing it. You make your game insanely grindy, and basically bait people to play with the aid of the item shop. A game is a game, why should one person have any kind of edge (and yes, reducing the time it takes to reach max level is an edge) on someone else just because he has more money irl. Any xp potions and such are pay to win. You don't have to put in the same effort as everyone who did it normally, thus devaluing their honest work.

    Age of wushu for example. There is a gathering book in the item shop that doubles the amount of resources you get for 30 days. Otherwise a solid game, but any kind of motivation I had to be a crafter went straight down the toilet when I found out about their monetization schemes. You can stick your book up your ***. I'm not choosing between either paying, or gimping my character. Extortion is the word for it. They advertise free, but then you have extreme disadvantages, and end up paying more than a sub model, just to play the freaking game.

    My sincere middle finger to all item shop games. Hope you burn.

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