I posted this on the official Aion Forums as well and look forward to seeing the replies I get from this community which can arguably be more diverse in terms of game experience and exposure. Additionally, I have the ability to add a poll here.
I find it hard to believe that I am the only person who understands the problems that Free 2 play brings to mmorpg games. Especially free 2 play that is completely dependent on a cash shop such as lineage II is now and how Aion is estimated to be. I am not sure how people don’t see it, if I continue to explain this to newer and newer generations of mmorpg gamers who have not been exposed to it, or if the veterans like myself just stopped talking about it a long time ago. Regardless of what is going on, Free 2 play in Aion will bring about many problems which I will list here.
- I am sure even mmorpg newbies can understand why this will undoubtedly be a problem. Look at the company history, look at their other games. #2 Increase in the number of rude players
- Yes population booms bring about more good players, and more bad players. Unfortunately for some reason the proportion of bad players in large population mmorpg games tends to feel like it outweighs the good. Maybe they are just the vocal minority that get noticed? Who knows, I only know from my own experiences, mmorpg games with a lot of players have a lot of rude and disrespectful individuals. The same exact thing happens in real life. Take a look at the local news in North Dakota. Ever since the oil boom everything has been going up. Salaries have gone up, prices of homes have gone up, prices of goods have skyrocketed, and you know what else went up by over 400%? crime levels. #3
"The rich get richer"
- Now I don't know about any of you guys. I can only speak for myself on this, but to me it is a major issue with F2P mmorpg games. In pay to play games everyone basically has the same opportunity to do well and to compete. The difference between a good player and a bad player is desire and willingness to work hard and persevere. The difference between a Great player and a good player is generally connections made, time spent, and because of that gear obtained in game again through hard work. In free to play mmorpg games the difference between a good and bad player is again desire and willingness to work hard. Unfortunately, the difference between a great player and a good player in a F2P game is often times associated with how much money was sinked into the game for enhancement items, stat boosts, drop rate increases, potions, speed boosts, misc items that enhance opportunity, random item boxes. Etc. This creates an environment where the rich get richer and the poor get shafted. Again I speak for myself, if you are a wealthy individual who has made it to the middle class or upper middle class I congratulate you. If you were born into parents who have a college degree, are educated and have made it, again congratulations to you. You are genuinely a very fortunate person and should never take those things for granted.
Sadly, not all of us are that fortunate. I am a full time college student, part time worker, and part time intern. I am the first person in my family to go to college. I do not have $30-$50 to spend on a single game on a monthly basis. I live in a tight budget and limited income. Free to play mmorpg games from my experience heavily reward those individuals who can and will spend large amounts of money on their game, while in many cases making those of us who cannot spend the money nothing more than cannon fodder for those who have. From a business perspective it is genius for them to do this. It will likely increase revenue and I do not blame them for doing it. I just can’t imagine others not being aware of this or maybe just not thinking about it at all. Let’s take a moment and visualize this issue as a track and field race. When a game has a subscription fee everyone starts the race at the same time, when it is a cash shop, certain individuals start the race 10,20,30 yards ahead of everyone else. Worse of all you cannot simply spend the $15 you did before to get to that same starting line, in most cases it takes a lot more money than the basic subscription fee did to compete or….to start the race in the same place as those who pay. Bribing those officials can get quite expensive.
#4 End game Exclusivity
– If there is one major thing that I have come to find out from every free to play mmorpg game I have tried in the past 7 years is that if you ever manage to reach end game in them, then be prepared to pay an outrageous amount in order to compete at that level. How many of us know a guild master, or an epic player in a F2P mmorpg that has spend thousands of dollars on his character and account? I know I can name five off the top of my head who have spend over $1000 running guilds in two different F2P games. I am sure you all know people like this as well. In many cases the top guilds in F2P games have a very large number of paying players. Getting into one of these guilds and then competing at that level often requires people to spend money to remain on par with their fellow guild mates.
#5 The Vicious cycle
– I hope I am not the only one that notices this but maybe I am just very observant. In almost every F2P mmo I have experienced the cycle of advancement goes something like this.
Beginning Stages – Completely free, everything is great. The game feels fair, you don’t need to buy anything.
Intermediate Stage – Again the game is playable for free. You start to see a lot of people around your level with cash shop loot, exp boosts, pots, etc. Even so, at this level everything is still very doable for free without spending much. Most people at this point find it fair to spend the traditionally spent $15/mo for the game. A lot of people choose not to spend any money and these people generally have no trouble advancing.
Advance Stage – Things start to get quite hard to do. The game slows down tremendously if you do not spend much money. Assuming at this point you are spending the basic $15/mo you can get by without much suffering but you still begin to struggle. If you happen to be one of the players who made it to this stage for free, then you notice a severe (deliberately created) and often times outrageous slowdown in the speed of your progression.
End game – You find it nearly impossible to keep up with your fellow end game focused guild mates, things have gotten a lot more expensive now. You can’t simply scrape by with just the $15 you were spending before. To compete and progress in your gear acquisition and enhancing gear at this level you generally have to spend more than your standard P2P fee. If you happen to be one of the F2P gamers who made it here, congratulations! Unfortunately, although you just worked your way to the top, earned everything you got from hard work, and are finally done gearing up your character and preparing to jump into pvp……a new set of gear, or update is released that makes everything you just worked for basically obsolete. Congratulations! You get to have everything that the people who paid got, but you never had time to enjoy any of it before they raised the bar on you. Have fun playing catch up and never reaping the rewards.
This is what I notice happens in almost every F2P game I have played. I do not know if your experience differs from mine. If it does please post here and let me know how you play F2P games or how you managed to make it to the top. If you love F2P games and the F2P model, let me know why you do. If you hate it, let me know your thoughts about it. I am however primarily concerned with knowing if anyone else had seen this the way I have before reading my post.
Thanks everyone, I look forward to your replies.