I came across a rather shocking thread on the League of Legends board a few days ago, one where the author was arguing that LoL is not really ‘free’ to play, because in order to play at the highest level you have to have access to dozens of heroes, and the only way to have that many is to buy them with Riot Points (bought with $). He also argued that Riot was ‘nickel and diming’ people by releasing new heroes every few weeks and selling those in bundle deals as well.
It’s shocking on a number of levels. First off, the simple fact that someone who clearly enjoyed a product enough to worry about playing it at the high end was not willing to pay ANYTHING for it had my head spinning. How do these people imagine good games get created? Do they really think talented developers like Riot just donate their time to create something for you to enjoy? The only thing I hate more than crap games making money is good one not getting their due, and it’s this type of attitude that leads to a lot of that.
On top of simply paying for a quality product to support future development, LoL is actually far more ‘free’ than most F2P offerings of similar quality. All heroes can be purchased with IP (points you get for playing the game), and someone who reaches level 30 to play ranked games should easily have enough IP to purchase a few heroes and two rune pages, putting them at no disadvantage against someone who used $ to buy RP. The person who bought RP might have some different skins for his heroes (100% fluff), more total heroes, or they reached level 30 faster thanks to XP boosts (getting to 30 naturally is very, very doable, as plenty of Inq members are already there and I myself am at 21 now, having played only a month or so), but you can’t buy stronger heroes, more mastery points, or better runes with RP.
Now this is certainly not the first example of someone wanting the world for free, it happens all the time. But it stuck out to me given the recent news about a private WoW server selling item packs for $300 (and if they are selling them, my guess is someone was buying), games like Allods selling gem packs for thousands, and the now commonly accepted practice of paying 10, 20, or 30 bucks to change your characters name. Clearly the value of the dollar varies greatly not just between genres, but between games within a given genre as well. MMO X is really not worth paying $15 a month for, but paying $20 to transfer your character over to a server so you can play with your friends is?
Chuck-o-the-day: When Chuck Norris has a crush on a girl, it usually ends with a few broken bones.