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Seems all the mmos that go F2P end up heavily restricting players that are free. Has anyone done any research on which game or games are the least restrictive. I know businesses need to make money, just curious though.
The ones created to be F2P ie the asian ones tend to be unrestricted, it's more the western games that end up having to change from P2P to the model that restrict you. Conversely though the western ones aren't quite so pay 2 win centered.
My vote would go for Dungeon Fighter Online, Vindictus or Dragon Nest. None of them are 100% MMORPGs though, in that, like Guild Wars, you have Town Hubs where you form parties and then leave into your own instance. Although this time rather than the normal world map like GW, you directly jump into a dungeon.
Dungeon Fighter Online's Cash Shop does offer Cash Shop Avatars items which will imbalance the overall experience, BUT players can trade those items to other players in-game using in-game currency. Meaning that even without paying a single buck, you will be able to gain access to those Avatars items.
Vindictus cash shop contains mostly fluff costumes, "Merc License" which increases the XP and drop I think, and the usual potions. Overall, not necessary at all. The game isn't much of a grind.
As for Dragon Nest, while the cash shop info hasn't been released yet, it's highly likely that it will be similar to Vindictus'.
I've been playing Global Agenda lately, it's a 3rd Person Shooter (basically Team Fortress 2 in the future) and the only reason to pay is to double up money/XP from missions. The only thing is there are no quests after level 17, so you'll be doing those missions from 18-50 >.<
Spiral Knights is pretty good. The game relies on energy, like many Facebook games, but energy is cheap to buy and 100 energy recharges every 22 hours. You can also buy energy with in-game money you accumulate!
My blog is a continuing story of what MMO's should be like.
I agree with Vindictus. It's perhaps the most f2p friendly game out there now that they took out the token system.
Another one is Guild Wars. It costs to buy the game and expansions, but I think you can get all that for less than $50 nowadays. You don't really even need any of the expansions. Anyways, it has no subscription and a friendly cash shop.
What I have noticed, and far from a statistically significant analysis of the entire sub-genre but...
Western games that transition to a F2P model seem to have the most restrictions. That is, they seem to make them more of an extended trial game that you then have to buy the remainder in parts. I am taking this mostly from my own experience in LotRO and EQ2. You have to pay for some of the classes or races. You have to pay for the expansions as well as having a game effecting cash shop on top. This strikes me much more as being a downloadable content model rather than a true F2P model but that is simply based on my own definitions.
I have also played Perfect World and Forsaken World, so I am far from having extensively sampled all the F2Ps out there. But in comparing these two, "designed from the ground up to be F2P" games with the western "converted to F2P" games mentione above, I would have to say that these two perfect world games are much less restricted and yet you stand the possiblity of spending a lot more money. Both of these games allow you to play any class, any race, you can go to any zone or instance and you have no level restrictions. You can literally play the entire game from east to west, 1st to max level without spending a dime. It is at least theoretically possible. Now you will level slow because they are serious grinders and you be strongly tempted to go to the cash shop because playing without some of the super mana or health pots is very difficult but you can still play. Also both of these games give you a way in which cash shop credit can be traded in game. So if you are very very good at making in game coin or you simply can play 22 hours a day, then you can sell that coin to people with cash to blow who buy the cash shop credits and you can in this way even play the game with access to cash shop only items without having put your own cash into the system. Somebody has to pay the real money but PWI doesn't care who.
So how do these games all compare? EQ2 has the most extensive world and the best housing system but I hate there F2P model passionately. To get the fullest, most updated version of the game you still have to pay a monthly fee except that you are now paying month to play in a game that has a full on, game impacting cash shop. Worst of both worlds.
LotRO is also a great game. It is very polished. You also have to pay a subscription to get certain features but it is not quite as bad as EQ2. But still, to play the whole game you need to buy the expansions and extra character classes.
Forsaken World is the newest PWI game. It is probably the best true F2P out there. It has great art. Interesting classes. Tons of people meaning lots of active guilds and easy to find groups. But on the downside it has sluggish combat and you get very few skill in general to use. At least that was my impression though lvl 32. FW as with PW and most of these "True F2P" games, you do have a strong thrust of "Pay to Win" The cash shop will not only effect how fast you get to end game but once there it will effect your competitiveness. So if you are very competitive you will want to stay away from this game. There will be too much temptation to spend huge amounts of money. On the other hand, if you are very casual or mostly play socially then it can be a great game.
Perfect world is pretty much the same as Forsaken World just in a different world with different classes and some difference in mechanics. All the same points above would apply, I just think FW, being newer, is simply the better game of the two.
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