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[Column] General: Subscription vs Free To Play

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,643MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Welcome back to another edition of Player Versus Player. This is the column where MMORPG.com writers collide and debate the topics you care about. It’s easy to get drowned out arguing on forums and sub-reddits, so we step to the podium to represent your side of the issue before turning it over to you in the comments. Ready for another spirited debate? See what our combatants think of the ever-present subscription vs free to play issue before leaving your thoughts in the commments.

Representing the issues we have:

Bill “The Manager” Murphy: Editor-at-large and playing the free-to-play advocate, Bill knows a thing or two about what makes an MMO worthwhile.

Chris “The Geezer” Coke: Columnist and podcast host, Chris wants you to take your cash shop and get off his lawn while playing subscription advocate. Whippersnappers.

Read more of Chris Coke's Player vs Player: Subscription vs Free To Play.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon

    In my opinion a game will ALWAYS be better if it was designed to be a Sub based game. Let me explain this.

     

    If a game wants to launch as a FTP,...

     

    developer need to spend alot of time thinking about what features they can "reduce in quality", so a cashshop can offer a fix for the shortcoming. This is actually my number one gripe about FTP. Games designed to be loved by the masses, but features that are disliked just enough to want to spend money to fix it. This simply feels wrong!

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

     

    focused on creating semi broken / unbalanced aspects to make sure people use the shop.

     

    If a game is designed with subs in mind,...

     

    the Devs can focus on what players want: Making a great game with features that never feel "wrong" and features that are complete.  If something comes up that sounds great, they can just toss it in and not first think about if they need to keep that shop only.

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

     

    focused on creating a game that feels awesome from the start and never stops feeling good, so people STAY and pay monthly. If something sounds like an upgrade for a feature they will usually just put it in asap to make people feel good about the game and stay.

     

    Another point against FTP is the community for me.

     

    I have played about every MMO there was since EQ1 and i jumped ship in the FTP games really quick usually, due to dreadful communities (not always, mind you, but most of the time). If the community was ok the cashshop usually was not.

    I have yet to find a FTP game that made me feel like i am playing a well designed game, without having my credit card next to my keyboard all the time.

     
     
     
     

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon

    Nearly every subscription locked game (p2p) has alternative revenue streams (PLEX/rmt gold sales, dlc/box/xpac costs, and of course cash shops).

    FFXIV has "collector's edition" dlc.  It's not much, but they do sell extra digital items for more money.  They also have their box fee.  It's not a pure subscription.

    Wildstar will have RMT gold sales and will have a cash shop ready in the works in case they need it.  Carbine has even said they don't plan on meeting the content pace of ANet with GW2.  Not a pure sub model.

    ESO - will have a cash shop, a box fee, and will charge for services in addition to the subscription.

    WoW has an out of game cash shop and is working on moving that into game for convenience.

    EVE has rmt gold sales and I thought they were adding a cash shop for vanity items, but that might have been nixed.  Still not pure subscription and you can have your PLEX and money destroyed through game play.  How convenient is that for CCP?

    Every game, p2p or f2p or b2p, all are concerned about revenue generation and all publishers using these models employ tactics to squeeze as much money out of their players as possible.

    The biggest difference between games now seems to be whether the subscription is required to be a part of the game and community.  And that makes me ask, what exactly is my subscription paying for?  Why would I have to buy things in a cash shop or pay for account services when I'm already paying that company $150 - $200 per year to rent access to their game.  Which brings me to my personal deal breaker - I don't like renting my games anymore.  And I don't really appreciate a game publisher that only wants me around if I'm willing to have them bill me monthly.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zaradoom

    In my opinion a game will ALWAYS be better if it was designed to be a Sub based game. Let me explain this.

     

    If a game wants to lauch as a FTP,...

    developer need to spend alot of time thinking about what features they can "reduce in quality", so a cashshop can offer a fix for the shortcoming. This is actually my number one gripe about FTP. Games designed to be loved by the masses, but features that are disliked just enough to want to spend money to fix it. This simply feels wrong!

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

    focused on creating semi broken / unbalanced aspects to make sure people use the shop.

     

    If a game is designed with subs in mind,...

    the Devs can focus on what players want: Making a great game with features that never feel "wrong" and features that are complete.  If something comes up that sounds great, they can just toss it in and not first think about if they need to keep that shop only.

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

    focused on creating a game that feels awesome from the start and never stops feeling good, so people STAY and pay monthly. If something sounds like an upgrade for a feature they will usually just put it in asap to make people feel good about the game and stay.

     

    Another point against FTP is the community for me.

    I have played about every MMO there was since EQ1 and i jumped ship in the FTP games really quick usually, due to dreadful communities (not always, mind you, but most of the time). If the community was ok the cashshop usually was not.

    I have yet to find a FTP game that made me feel like i am playing a well designed game, without having my credit card next to my keyboard all the time.

     
     

    You can say the same exact things about P2P games.  They keep people paying longer through systems and time sinks designed to slow down your progress.  They are focused on grinds rather than engaging game play.  It's not about feeling good.  It's about competition and worrying if you're keeping up and grinding through those arbitrary time sinks that add nothing to immersion or game play.  They are strictly skinner-box cash grabs.

    The community quality comment is complete rubbish.  Do you really think you're that much better than everyone else just because you like to rent your games?  Ridiculous.  What game has historically had the most criticism for having a horrible community?  That's right.  The most popular and successful sub game of all - WoW.  How about EVE and how some members of that community have driven others to suicide and self-harm.  You're not better than everyone else.

    Looking back at all the subscription locked games I've played, they've not been better in the long term than any other game.  And if an aspect of the game was better it certainly had nothing to do with renting the game.

     

  • swizards01swizards01 chicago, ILPosts: 27Member
    If i am a developer i did not push the player to pay monthly sub. I make FTP and not PTW. I can get a money from fashion, action and more add ons  to make the player not to bored in the game. Add-ons like you can voice chat  to people or funny expression. Action like you can dance or your character can play piano. Rich gamer can't buy to win. They can win for entertainment. Pushing the player monthly sub  and PTW in PVP is really bad idea.
  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,722Member Uncommon

    I don't have any problems with f2p, especially since all of my games went to b2p / freemium / f2p during the years... :)

    But even if I wouldn't be biased, I could add that you're wrong with your biggest criticism, Chris:

     

    Chris: Okay, but one of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard (and one you mentioned) about subscriptions is that they make the barrier to entry too high. I would argue that the barrier to exiting a free-to-play game is too low. Where is the investment? Players in free-to-play MMOs are far more likely to disappear overnight, leaving servers, guilds, and individual players in constant revolving door status.

     

    What investment, or disappearing overnight? As a hopper since ... ever, I can assure you, you can leave overnight a p2p game as well - I did it numerous times when a festival started, or a buddy made a new character in an another game and I wanted to accompany him. True, f2p made it easier technically (no need to cancel, watching over the expiration date, etc), but the revolving door is the same in f2p and in p2p.

    Being subbed doesn't mean jacks**t, let alone attachment or investment :) It means only what it stands for, that you pay for your game in chunks, $15 / month. Means nothing more. Or, as Torvaldr wrote accurately, that you only renting your games.

     

    Edit: for the record, I don't have problems with p2p either... for example when I go back to AoC I still subscribe, because their f2p isn't very friendly to altoholics. In other games I use the shop instead if that suits better my playstyle.

    P2p or f2p is not some dealbreaking issue for me, just a quality of the game, like fantasy or sci-fi, or tab-target or free-aim. Easy as that.

  • FrinkiacVIIFrinkiacVII Scranton, PAPosts: 45Member

    When I was playing City of Heroes, it was subscription based only (at first), because at the time F2P was unheard of.  I used to play for a year or 2, then get tired of it for a while, then come back for another go-round.  During the 8 years that CoX was around, I left and came back twice, and the breaks were like a year or so in length.  My account remained fully paid the whole time because I had friends willing to take it over for me when I left.  When the game went F2P, that friend told me about it and said "so I reverted your account to F2P status now, so you may as well take it back, as it isn't going to cost you anything anyway..."  This prompted me to come back for the third go-round and within a week I had resubscribed, because I was feeling the old itch to fight crime in Paragon once again, and I wanted to be able to do subscriber-only content.  More than that, when they rolled out the cash shop, I took advantage of it.  I bought stuff.  Most of it was fluff like costume pieces (WHAT a game that was for customizing your avatar, Best. Character Builder. Ever.).  Also, as a mature adult with an income of my own (i.e. not a kid who had to get money for games from his parents) I wanted to support my favorite hobbies.  This means buying Magic the Gathering product from my local game store where I actually play instead of getting it (possibly cheaper) at Wal-Wart or off the internet.  This also means subscribing for a game in order to keep the good content rolling in, because programmers need to feed themselves and pay rent too.  One way or the other, whether it's F2P + cash shop or sub + cash shop I was spending money on the game when I was actually playing it and not when I wasn't. 

    CoX was probably a bad example, because its initial release predated WoW, so the planners didn't have that 900lb gorilla to think about, and because it wasn't fantasy based.   Of course, the other argument you could make about CoX is that by the time it went F2P, there was already so much backlog of content available that had been around for years that they basically made the basic game itself (which was mostly the older, original content) free and the new content (i.e. the new missions, dailies, etc) the stuff that the VIP subscribers got to do.   It made sense that only the people who wanted to consume the new content would become VIPs and continue to subscribe, whereas new people trying the game out for the first time could just play the older stuff which was still new to them.  It was almost as if the older stuff that had been around forever had become "public domain" in a sense.

    I agree with the idea that there are entirely too many game companies out there trying to vie for a bigger piece of a market which is finite in size and dominated by a few key players with entrenched player bases.  There are only so many gamers in the world, I'm one of them, and I barely have time for one MMO.   I think most people want to play the game that most people are playing, because it's more fun when there's a larger player pool, and because when you go to try a new game and you find out there are like a billion people on it, you feel like it must be pretty good if it's that popular. 

    "Well sure, the FrinkiacVII looks impressive - DON'T TOUCH IT - but I predict that within 100 years computers will be TWICE as powerful, ten THOUSAND times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." -Prof. Frink

  • vorpal28vorpal28 MIddlesbroughPosts: 103Member

    Sadly I have yet to play any F2P game thats any good or has engaged me for any length of time, sub games though have always engaged me and I've ended up playing them for years, literally years in EQ's case.

    I've tried several F2P's, even tried Neverwinter and they just seem to lack something that the sub games I've played have, which is namely commitment and a sense of community

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    The real issue, which I think Developers and pundits alike are coming around to, is that the payment model just doesn't matter all that much when compared to the basic quality and enjoyment of the game. Very few players are going to play (and spend money) in a game they don't find enjoyable.....and very few will refuse to play a game that is really fun because of it's chosen payment model....although some might not play it due to it's COST to play which is a different issue then the method of payment.

    Myself, I personaly strongly prefer the classic sub-model with no cash shop over the f2p model. The primary reason is pretty simple and it's the same reason that "all-inclusive" vacations also appeal to me. I want to be able to enjoy the experience I'm having (gameplay or vacation activity) without having that experience interrupted by having to shop/pay/buy something. If I'm able to pay a simple one price fee upfront.....then I can enjoy the actual experience (gameplay) without interruption, disruptive advertisements or having to worry about what I'm actualy spending during play. F2P feels to me similar to being in a movie but having to stick a dollar bill in a meter to see each individual seen. It's why when I do play a F2P game, which I sometimes do if they are good games....I make sure it's one that I can fully enjoy playing without spending anything during play. If I have to go spend or the game disrupts play with annoying adds....I just won't play it. Not because I'm too cheap to kick the Developers a few bucks for a good F2P game....but because interrupting gameplay to shop/buy something destroys the fun I'm having.

    This is personal.....some people actualy enjoy shopping.....and I guess that's why cash shops can be popular. I'm not one of those people though. I kinda loathe shopping.......and will be the person that tries to spend the minimum time possible in a store in order to get exactly what I want.

    In terms of most of the arguements put forward in the article,  there are different ways to address the issues raised by the different payment models. For example Free Trials are a mechanism that P2P MMO's can use to address the barrier to entry issue.

    I will say that I do think the F2P model is much easier for a Developer to do wrong. The basis of that model is that you want the player to enjoy the game but not enjoy playing it too much without making some purchases within it. IMO that's a much finer line to have to walk.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by Zaradoom

    In my opinion a game will ALWAYS be better if it was designed to be a Sub based game. Let me explain this.

     

    If a game wants to lauch as a FTP,...

    developer need to spend alot of time thinking about what features they can "reduce in quality", so a cashshop can offer a fix for the shortcoming. This is actually my number one gripe about FTP. Games designed to be loved by the masses, but features that are disliked just enough to want to spend money to fix it. This simply feels wrong!

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

    focused on creating semi broken / unbalanced aspects to make sure people use the shop.

     

    If a game is designed with subs in mind,...

    the Devs can focus on what players want: Making a great game with features that never feel "wrong" and features that are complete.  If something comes up that sounds great, they can just toss it in and not first think about if they need to keep that shop only.

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

    focused on creating a game that feels awesome from the start and never stops feeling good, so people STAY and pay monthly. If something sounds like an upgrade for a feature they will usually just put it in asap to make people feel good about the game and stay.

     

    Another point against FTP is the community for me.

    I have played about every MMO there was since EQ1 and i jumped ship in the FTP games really quick usually, due to dreadful communities (not always, mind you, but most of the time). If the community was ok the cashshop usually was not.

    I have yet to find a FTP game that made me feel like i am playing a well designed game, without having my credit card next to my keyboard all the time.

     
     

    You can say the same exact things about P2P games.  They keep people paying longer through systems and time sinks designed to slow down your progress.  They are focused on grinds rather than engaging game play.  It's not about feeling good.  It's about competition and worrying if you're keeping up and grinding through those arbitrary time sinks that add nothing to immersion or game play.  They are strictly skinner-box cash grabs.

    I think you are making the assumption that a players primary interest in playing an MMO is "progression" which certainly doesn't hold true for all players. I could care less if an MMO has any progression/advancement whatsoever. My metric is simply whether I'm having fun doing what I'm doing at the moment or not. If the experience is fun at the moment...I play, if not (e.g. it feels like a grind) I don't come back.

    Therefore a P2P game only captures my revenue if the experience it provides while I'm playing it for however long I'm playing it that month is fun every moment I'm playing it.

    The F2P game, in order to capture my revenue, has to purposefully find a way to make my experience less fun then it would be if I bought something but not so much less fun that I walk away (eliminating all future potential to sell me anything)......and since it's not actualy a fixed fee they need to try to push me to the point where I'm just shy of walking away from the game because it gets too spendy. That's a much finer line to try to walk, IMO, then the classic sub-based games. In the sub-based game, they really don't care what you are doing in game as long as you are having fun. In the F2P they are trying to control your behavior in game toward spending activity.

    Edit: That's not to say that there aren't F2P games which can't do a decent job of walking that line. Just that it's much more complex design issue to address.

     

  • dgmakodgmako Orlando, FLPosts: 23Member Uncommon
    Personally, I would not have ever made arguments about F2P games and throw Guild Wars 2 into the discussion. GW2 is B2P not F2P. Sure it's free after the fact but you already invested in the game at that point, the player base will always be better with invested players vs non-invested players. That's why there are so many problems with F2P, there is no real responsibility per se. If I spend $60 on a game and play it for a while, I don't want my account to get suspended, and if i'm in a guild, I don't want to just drop out, I may come back, because i'm invested in the game. I felt all the good points were made by chris even though I really enjoy many of the articles by Bill Murphy, I don't feel he made any great points and of course that's my opinion. I would prefer to start playing a Sub game any day over the F2P ones.
     

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  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon

    F2P is so crappy, you gotta use a B2P game as its posterboy. Who are you fooling?

  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon

    Exactly my point.

     

    FTP has to lessen your fun somehow, you would not spend money otherwise.

    PTP has to enhance your fun, you would not spend money otherwise.

     

    So what is better for a gamer? And i am not making up things here, this is all i see since playing MMOs in 1999. The past 14 years went downhill, fast. Games today are crap compared to what they COULD have been. All in favor of trying to walk this narrow FTP-crap line.

     

    My biggest concern? Way to many people fall for the FTP myth and even support it, just because they can hop in as a freeloader. Then i get talked into how 15dollar a month is alot... oh sure. It is really alot for a hobby that could possibly entertain me for hundreds of hours per month. Try going into a bar 30 days a month. Make that 10 days. Hell, make it one day per month. Try to get out with spending less then 15 dollar. Can make this example for every hobby there is. Show me something that is cheaper AND needs other people to provide you a service.

     

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,604Member Uncommon
    The biggest moneymaker for F2P in the west is monthly subs, in the east it is timecards. Most P2P now have item malls as well. That means the only real difference between the two is that you have to pay FIRST to acces the P2P.  It really seems that this is more a discussion of games for the masses (F2P) vs games for the elite (P2P). One is always going to be smaller, because it requires that you put the money up first... but the other is always going to appeal to a broader audience.
  • VorchVorch Somewhere, FLPosts: 800Member

    GW2 is B2P; NOT F2P.

    That isn't a simple difference in symantecs; those are two VERY different models.

     

    B2P has a barrier to entry to make the player invested; however, that barrier is the only door. You OWN your character.

    F2P has no barrier to entry...essentially an open door policy. However, many times in order to do anything one must pay a fee. You OWN your character; however, you often must pay frequently to experience the game as intended.

    P2P has an initial barrier to entry. Then, it adds barriers to entry every month. You never really own your character...you're paying rent.

     

    Here's my final argument against P2P:

    You can pay 8 bucks a month to watch 75,000 movies and 20,000 tv shows on Netflix.
    You can pay 5 bucks a month to play PS+ games for free.
    You can pay 6 bucks a month to rent games from gamefly.
    B2P and F2P games don't have any fee associated with them.

    So why would you pay 15 dollars a month, on top of a 40-60 dollar box fee, to play one game?

     

    "As you read these words, a release is seven days or less away or has just happened within the last seven days— those are now the only two states you’ll find the world of Tyria."...Guild Wars 2

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    The biggest argument to be made here is regarding the quality of the game rather than the payment model. Bill supports the theory that in order to maintain or sustain profitability you need a game to be F2P and then makes the comment that the game needs to be good.

     

    I think the game just needs to be good, period. I can't agree that the payment model has that large an influence on things. In my experience most F2P games I've tried have been lacking in some ways, be it graphics, gameplay, story or whatever. In almost all cases they are inferior to a well made sub based game.

     

    Then there's the ever present fear of pay to win situations.

     

    Let's use Bill's example again and his statement that most of the games on this site aren't worth a subscription, and he's right. And most of them are F2P.

     

    Let's look at sub based games that failed and why. SWTOR, crap went F2P with one of the worst F2P models I've ever seen in the industry. Rift, not bad but not brilliant either, went F2P. Age of Conan, buggy as hell at release, failed to sustain players, finally gave up and went F2P again. All examples of games that failed. Poor games, not worth a sub, that eek out an existence as F2P. Says a lot about the quality of F2P imho. Either that or the general freeloader attitude of modern gamers, take your pick.

     

    I also tend to agree with Chris' statement that too many games end up going F2P because they try and follow WoW too closely. WoW was something a bit different when it first arrived which is one of the main reasons it did well.

     

    Nobody is going to stay with a new MMO that is too close to WoW, they already have it. If you want a new success story, you need to make something new. GW2 is a good example of this being true. Different enough from WoW in design and it's payment model (I will not support any allusions to this being anything like a F2P game so just STFU before you start on that one) to stand out from the clones. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but you can't deny it's done better than any other MMO in recent years.

     

    I have to say Chris makes the better argument for me. Bill's just got it completely wrong. While I agree with him saying a game needs to be good, it doesn't need to be F2P. Even the name is BS. None of them are "free".

     

    For me personally the best single thing about subscription games is your ability as a player to let the devs know when they get it wrong. It's hard to vote with your wallet in a F2P environment. With a sub game if the devs fuck up they know about it fast when players start to cancel their subs. It's the only time you really get to have your say about things and we, as players of MMO's, shouldn't be too quick to give up this power over devs.

     
  • SgtPepperUKSgtPepperUK YorkPosts: 30Member Uncommon

    Free to play is, in most cases, a misnomer, really should be pay as you go because that's effectively what it is.

    I could say a lot on this subject but it would be a massive response.

    I will say my biggest gripe though is the use of extremely powerful psychological techniques that are basically designed to trick the player into spending money, often more than a sub would cost.

    Think about it, nobody wants to die, there's rules to this game son, I'm justified.

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I hate f2p - I dont care to hear any side of any argument. F2p is simply not tolerated at all in my book. As far as I am concerned f2p games do not exist. I refuse to recognize an f2p title as a playable game.
  • raykorraykor Seattle, WAPosts: 326Member

    It costs a whole lot for an automaker to develop a new sedan.  They increase their costs further by offering nine paint colors, six interior color & material combinations, four trim levels, and a coupe version.  But they know that offering choices increases the likelihood that a particular combination will appeal to a potential buyer.

    Many MMOGs offer servers with different PvE, PvP, and RP rulesets.  Game developers should simply put an end to this whole debate and offer servers with both FTP and subscription business models.

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by Zaradoom

    In my opinion a game will ALWAYS be better if it was designed to be a Sub based game. Let me explain this.

     

    If a game wants to lauch as a FTP,...

    developer need to spend alot of time thinking about what features they can "reduce in quality", so a cashshop can offer a fix for the shortcoming. This is actually my number one gripe about FTP. Games designed to be loved by the masses, but features that are disliked just enough to want to spend money to fix it. This simply feels wrong!

     

    You can say the same exact things about P2P games.  They keep people paying longer through systems and time sinks designed to slow down your progress.  They are focused on grinds rather than engaging game play.  It's not about feeling good.  It's about competition and worrying if you're keeping up and grinding through those arbitrary time sinks that add nothing to immersion or game play.  They are strictly skinner-box cash grabs.

    The community quality comment is complete rubbish.  Do you really think you're that much better than everyone else just because you like to rent your games?  Ridiculous.  What game has historically had the most criticism for having a horrible community?  That's right.  The most popular and successful sub game of all - WoW.  How about EVE and how some members of that community have driven others to suicide and self-harm.  You're not better than everyone else.

    Looking back at all the subscription locked games I've played, they've not been better in the long term than any other game.  And if an aspect of the game was better it certainly had nothing to do with renting the game.

    You are 100% correct about skinner-box based content. If one compares the two negatives the skinner box MMO design is certainly worse.

     

    The skinner box is like a cat chasing a string or a rat in a maze looking for the cheese. Cats don't chase strings because it is fun for them but because they are biologically compelled to chase the string. It is an evolutionary survival instinct and they can't help but chase the string or endlessly look for cheese. It is the perverbial carrot on a stick that is always out of reach. The skinner box is based on the same principle applied to humans. People can be compelled to do things through conditioning. Subs condition people to keep paying long after logically they should have stopped. That is why sub based games have people raiding the same boss 100 times at end game.

  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Adelaide, AKPosts: 953Member
    Originally posted by Zaradoom

    In my opinion a game will ALWAYS be better if it was designed to be a Sub based game. Let me explain this.

     

    If a game wants to launch as a FTP,...

     

    developer need to spend alot of time thinking about what features they can "reduce in quality", so a cashshop can offer a fix for the shortcoming. This is actually my number one gripe about FTP. Games designed to be loved by the masses, but features that are disliked just enough to want to spend money to fix it. This simply feels wrong!

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

     

    focused on creating semi broken / unbalanced aspects to make sure people use the shop.

     

    If a game is designed with subs in mind,...

     

    the Devs can focus on what players want: Making a great game with features that never feel "wrong" and features that are complete.  If something comes up that sounds great, they can just toss it in and not first think about if they need to keep that shop only.

     

    Their intentions have to be,...

     

    focused on creating a game that feels awesome from the start and never stops feeling good, so people STAY and pay monthly. If something sounds like an upgrade for a feature they will usually just put it in asap to make people feel good about the game and stay.

     

    Another point against FTP is the community for me.

     

    I have played about every MMO there was since EQ1 and i jumped ship in the FTP games really quick usually, due to dreadful communities (not always, mind you, but most of the time). If the community was ok the cashshop usually was not.

    I have yet to find a FTP game that made me feel like i am playing a well designed game, without having my credit card next to my keyboard all the time.

     
     
     
     

    If a game wants to launch as a FTP,...

    &

    Their intentions have to be,...

    Games that Launch as P2P or Microtrans (lets try not to call them F2P) actually dont have to "hold things back" at all, infact the holding back mechanic is generally the realms of games that launches as sub only then transitioned to Microtrans and their first (and poorly conceived) Idea on this road was putting paygates on content (Turbine & Funcom I look at you in particular) with games that launched as Microtrans like Neverwinter, Marvel Heroes, MWO etc (I am aware not all 3 are technically MMO's but its the model that is important).

    None of the above 3 games actually have pay gates. instead they offer you the ability to achieve things faster such as in neverwinter buying a bag or companion from the store instead of earning enough Astral Diamonds in game to buy one from the player A/H, or in MH buying a new character to play or costume to wear from the cash shop instead of Earning enough Eternity Splinters to pay for them, or in MWO buying a new mech from the cash shop instead of earning enough cbills in game to purchase it.

    Granted some Microtrans games do launch with abherant models but in 90% of cases where the cash shop sucks the actual games themselves suck as well so its no real loss.

    Buy 2 Play is another beast entirely and actually my preffered model nowdays, Buy 2 play doesnt need to really put up any roadblocks at all except not allowing players to access expansion pack content if they do not own them whcih given the model of paying for content out right with box prices + expansions makes total sense.

    If a game is designed with subs in mind,...

    Well I think I managed to Debunk this in the above, if anything some Sub games have become too greedy and now want you to subscribe monthly so they can fund their next expansion, then they want you to pay outright for the expansions which if you think about it is like gating content you already paid for the development of. Then some of them even have the gall to affer you a cash shop....

    Their intentions have to be,...

     

    "focused on creating a game that feels awesome from the start and never stops feeling good,"

    Sorry but you are dreaming.... did SWTOR feel awesome from the start ? did it "never stop feeling good ? was it not designed as a Subscription game ? A Myriad of other games have launched as sub to play that felt very much less than awesome from the start (FFXIV anyone) so yeah. Being subscription based doesnt guarantee anything except that you will be required to pay $10-$20 per month after the first month you paid for (first month is not free people !) in the box price. I can see you want this to be their intention but lets just say their real intention is "to make money from subscriptions" which generally translates to trying to make your trip from level 1 to level cap as slow as possible to keep you subbed as long as possible without making it so slow people give up too early.

    Most Sub games dont even give you decent content updates (patches are not content updates, patches is developers fixing the broken game they sold you that you already paid for) for free, instead you pay a sub just to be able to pay the OOTB content & then pay for expansions + subscription to pay any new content. Neverwinter has a massive ammount of content from both users & official channels & it is being added all the time, has for the last 3 month had one large content patch every month, MWO is a bit slower that the previous 2 but they are adding new content & maps all the time. I am happy to kick a bit of money to these microtransaction games because I enjoy them and in all 3 of the games I listed here for the time I have played them and the money I have spent, I have spent far less than i would have had to spend for a box + ongoing sub in a sub game and in NW and MH cases I have had far more new content added for free than I have ever gotten from the developers of a subscription game.

    Another point against FTP is the community for me.

    Here it is, I always know this is coming. Dreadfull communities abound in every game, the only difference is in Buy2Play and Sub games the trollops usually have to regulate themselves to just within the rules (rules and how moderators/GM's handle them is usually the governing factor) so they can still be offensive but stay just within the rules so they dont get banned (unless mummy and daddy are rich) and lose their accounts, the thing is they are still in Pay 2 Play communities and every now and then they get banned but for the most part the percentage of asshats in any game at launch is about the same. Where in Microtrans/F2P they can be that bit more obnoxious and step over the line of the rules & if they get banned they can just make a new account. In the later scenario they do however still lose anything they bought from the cash shop so it does hurt & anyone who isnt buying from the cash shop is likely a general troll anyway which can be found in any game or internet forum anywhere. The Community itself and the community moderators generally decide how the broader community will act, antisocial NW players are named & shamed ingame then left out in the cold for group runs which more or less wrecks endgame for them so the people who want to actually play NW get on and stay within the rules. Marvel Heroes the reception you will find is much  the same as NWN, people who enjoy the game get on and play with likeminded players while trolls and haters are left unable to really function after mid 30's leveling is done because no one wants to play with them.

    In both cases the community has just said no which (if you ever played older MMO's like UO you will know) is always a far more powerful response and sends a far clearer message to the wider community than the developers banning some players. Perhaps your experience is truly your experience and nothing more or perhaps your couple of negative experiences have been compounded by reading about the negative experiences of other players which seems ot happen a lot only you will know, but keep in mind players who complain on forums usually seem like legion but the players who are having fun with a title are generally playing it not moaning about it on the internet.

     

    Lastly as I said Buy 2 Play is actually my prefered posion nowdays & I have been having a lot of fun with Payday 2 and Baldurs gate HD online (Even neverwinter Nights Pw's back in the day) and I would absolutely Put down $30-50 for a box price on Neverwinter or Marvel Heroes without hesitation if they were Buy 2 Play. If any of these titles were Buy2Play MMO's and managed to transition their gameplay to the genre then I suspect they would do exceedingly well in that space.

     

    if a Studio & Publisher can offer me an MMO with a subscription were I am actually getting something for my subscription beyond simply access to the game I already paid a box price for I am happy to pay a subscription, trouble is with the MMO market foetid and stagnant the way it is today there is no such game, no such game on the horizon and Publishers and studios dont even grasp such a concept.

  • Sajman01Sajman01 Rochester, NYPosts: 204Member
    The fact that Bill points to GW2 as being one of the better F2P games out there is why I will never touch one again.

    From diminishing returns to real time gating to temporary content, it comes as no surprise to me to see ARR booming despite it's rough launch. The quality of the game when you get to play is just so much better.
  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,461Member Uncommon

    I like to look at simple math.If a developer is going to make further content,they need money,they will factor that into the original design and the cost of running the game.

    I will use Arena net as the prime example.GW1 was designed to run cost free,full of instances cheap 2d models instead of 3d,example buildings with no insides ect ect.They took some heat and wanted to be with the big boys so set out to tell everyone ,not only did they change but did it better.Nice speech but they did nothing of the sort,they actually found a way to mimic GW1 exactly by doing it slightly different.Then the selling point was that cheaper design was called "dynamic events".Again a nice speech,nice wording of something simple all to get people to accept another GW1.

    If a developer has to make a profit from JUST box sales AND finance further content and all it's overhead from that same box sale,how in depth and how hi end is that game going to be?Answer is not very.A developer that does NOT rely on only box sales has the ability to go a little further with it's game,ability to go high end and with more depth and systems.

    They all have budgets,there might be slight differences in wages/salaries and overhead but for the most part,they all work under the same conditions.A developer is not going to invest 100 million to get back 110 million and use that same 10 million to finance the company until the next xpac.They all aim for that simple math,a set profit/loss margin and will design and charge for the game accordingly.

     


    Samoan Diamond

  • DeanGreyDeanGrey Fresno, CAPosts: 154Member

    F2P has allowed me to play games I otherwise never would have. I have been playing APB: Reloaded over a year now because the barrier for entry was so low. I have put more time into APB than I have any other MMO in the last few years, probably more than all of the MMO's I have played in the last two.

    I don't think F2P is a dirty word. I think mishandling of a payment model is an issue, not payment models. ESO is one upcoming game that I think is playing dirty. Charging a monthly fee and having a cash shop is wrong. Even if only fluff is sold, what if my playstyle is one that loves fluff and lives for it? You are attacking how I want to play the game despite already taking a monthly subscription from me. Not to mention the $60 box I paid for.

  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon
    You guys so much make this column worth it. I got into MMO blogging to start and take part in conversations. PVP and its readers consistently make me smile, agree or disagree :-)

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • PrecusorPrecusor PalmaPosts: 4,733Member Uncommon
    Using a buy to play game such as GW2 to further the f2p talking points shows how crappy the f2p model really is. 
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