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It seems that just about f2p is a p2w. And all the f2p's without a cash shop are terrible because they have no funding. I've played quiet a few free mmo's and they all follow the same general pattern.
First few noob levels are really fun and easy with some tutorials. Maybe even a mini-boss to get you excited
Next group of levels is choosing your class and setting up all your skills. Just about everyone messes this up and wants to reroll
The level group after that is the hard grinding and you start to consider buying cash shop.
If you make it the end game you either pay for cash shop or quit.
So it always seems that it's better to just go for a p2p game, because if you're going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a game to get good, might as well just pay for a really well done game. Only thing is, if you don't like the p2p game that's money down the drain
I know maple story's cash shop doesn't really affect gameplay a lot, but all you do in that game is either talk or grind. Just a glorified chat room in my opinion
Runescape and MU and of the sort turn into p2p at the higher levels. I'm fine with this though, it's like a trial w/ no time limit. And if you like it you pay for it
But like perfect world and allods are exactly what really bugs me. People spend like $10,000 and get so far ahead of everyone else they pretty much have [gm] powers.