Save the F2P children

I think I’m slowly transitioning from hating F2P players to feeling sorry for them, somewhat similar to my changing views of WoW and its players. When WoW really mattered and every dev team was trying to clone it, I felt a serious distaste for WoW post-WotLK and the players supporting it. As WoW has faded not only in success but influence, things like MoP earn more of a sad headshake than any real scorn. F2P is rapidly approaching panda-time for me.

There are of course the clueless ramblings of former MMO bloggers, still worrying about bandwidth costs like its 1999, trying to convince anyone who will listen about the evils of players who actually enjoy playing MMOs for more than a few minutes a week (those same evil players who drive most of the player content in games, like your guild leader, mod maker, video people, etc, but yea, evil), and trying to justify their outdated and dying existence in a genre that either offers them farms or famine (rimshot). That group has, for some time now, been in the MoP-like sentiment category. It’s like visiting your aging grandma and just going along with how wonderful basic cable TV is in variety; knowing that explaining Netflix would only confuse her.

Others, however, I still feel for. Here we have an entire post devoted not to the quality of content, or upcoming additions, or anything even remotely player-driven, but worrying about the nickel-and-dime rate of an ‘update’ to F2P. Trying to justify how selling HOTBARS is maybe OK because… um… you can also buy a cute dress or pet? Or wondering if they play a game with feature X and Y blocked will still be OK enough to bother logging in. You can’t help but feel bad. These are not the things you should be thinking about.

Compare Rift-related posts of late to SW:TOR posts of late and the picture should become crystal clear.

The worst part of it all is the actual cost we are talking about here. People really are considering the value of having additional hotbars for a few bucks over paying the cost of going to lunch once a month. Playing an inferior version of something for 20, 30, 40 hours A MONTH to save $15 bucks is beyond insane. And god help you if you actually really like the game, because now for a lesser product you will be paying MORE than $15 a month to get access to everything. The true ‘sweet spot’ is liking something enough to bother loading it up, but not liking it enough to really care more than that. F2P MMOs are like justifying gaming purgatory, and it’s amazing and yet sad to watch people continue to try.

Aim a little higher people, find a game you actually like, so you can justify that mountain of $15 a month. Or yea, try to convince yourself that a limited inventory or just two hotbars is ‘good enough’.

25 Responses to Save the F2P children

  1. Red says:

    Did you read Neal Stephenson book, reamde? In it he described a price tiered sandbox world wide MMO that included Free to play.

    • bonedead says:

      Wow, there are books about MMOs?

      • Red says:

        About 1/8 of the book was about the MMO. The rest was about terrorists, spies, gun fights, kidnappings and hackers. The model he described for the MMO was interesting, but you have to read the entire book to get the full picture.

      • Stormwaltz says:

        There’s also Charles Stross’ Halting State and Rule 34 (which I’ve read and enjoyed), and Diane Duane’s Omnitopia (which I haven’t).

      • Anonymus says:

        Sure there are – for example Mogworld by yahtzee, or one of my favourites: “Daemon” and “Freedom” by Daniel Suarez

    • SynCaine says:

      I have not. It’s on my list, but I read at an EQ1 leveling pace.

      • red says:

        Have you used audible.com? They sell full length books for around 10 bucks with a long term membership. You can then listen to them on your phone computer, ect.

    • pkudude99 says:

      Another excellent one is This Is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams. It’s set more present day and looks at it from more of a social-media type of standpoint, but I still liked it and let a friend borrow my copy and he’s refused to give it back. . . . .

  2. Stormwaltz says:

    “There are of course the clueless ramblings of former MMO bloggers, still worrying about bandwidth costs like its 1999…”

    Thank goodness bandwidth is now free, and MMG operators no longer have to pay for it.

    • SynCaine says:

      How 2012 of them right?

    • Rammstein says:

      the combination of his post yesterday, and his post today, is hilarious…”Video game piracy and MMORPG piracy means voting with your wallet *against* more games of the kind you like being made. Given how cheap MMORPGs are to play per hour, and how many free to play options there are today, there really aren’t any good arguments justifying to steal them.”

      Well, actually, there’s the argument that playing MMO”s costs the maker money if you play too much, so stealing the game is now doing them a favor. Yes, it’s an inane argument, but it’s his, so you think he’d remember it from the day before.

  3. Lyss says:

    No mercy for the Blogguy. He plays ToR on the Light side, and thats ok since he doesnt want to pay that much, and as a casual lightly play he just wants to uncripple his characters, its ok to pay money for that because well, he is not a hardcore player.

    also theres the awesome fluff, but that will have to wait since he only plays it smooth and light.

    What a disgusting idiot.

    A whole entry how he not really wants to play and rather wants to casually clicking around but still throws money at them. And to top it all off he will buy the fluff items for a game he doesnt really play (as in play regularly as his main mmo timesink hobby whatever you call it).

    Im rather sad about something I truly like but cant afford at the moment then watching someone butchering it and then paying him to violate the corpse of it just for a little fun. On the light side. After all its just a game. Nothing that really matters. bragh.

  4. Duchy says:

    Here is the solution: A PVP territory conquest full loot sandbox that is monetized by paying for killing players. Each kill cost say $0.25. The sheep will continue to play in the sand knowing that at least it costs someone money to be killed, and the wolves can enjoy the slaughter as long as they have the bank roll.

  5. tithian says:

    Didn’t you know? 15$ per month for something you enjoy is 15$ too much. The dev should offer everything for free, so that he will have the priviledge of hosting a game for JonnyAwesome123 and his cheapskate friends.

    What is even more hillarious is that the very same bloggers that are bashing on the sub model, have made known that they own an iPad and are more than willing to pay up the arse for mobile package deals and downloads from the app store. Even more so when the same people are butthurt with the monetization of an MMO, when for the prior 5 months they were evangelizing about the merits of the conversion to F2P.

    But yeah, sub-based games sure are evil and offer no value for your money.

  6. cobratrumpet says:

    Syncaine, are you advocating mono-gaming now?

    I’m excited to give Darkfall another chance when it re-launches. It might even become my main game. But I’ll still hop into GW2 on occasion, along with LoL, Tribes, and a couple smaller titles, and I’m glad it won’t cost me $60+ a month to do so.

    • Lyss says:

      Comparing the Model of Lol or GW2 to the F2p MOdel of Tor is stupid.

      F2P for a game meant to be time consuming is always bad, you get what you pay for.

      If a MMO is not able to interesst me for more than occasional play its not a very good mmo, therefore i will not pay for it, be it sub or otherwise.

      LoL is no MMO and the arenanet devs stated somewhere that GW2 has his particular payment model because they dont expect you to play it like a “classic MMO” timewise.

  7. cobratrumpet says:

    I didn’t mention TOR’s payment model.

    I’m interested in the idea that liking a game well enough to play it, but not well enough to throw money at it, is basically “gaming purgatory.” Why so dramatic?

    • Anonymous says:

      I have the same question. Just because some players like to play more than one game (or have financial obligations that make the subscription model unattractive) and thus appreciate the f2p option does not make us “children” requiring your pity. Same thing for WoW. I suppose it is better than your previous “serious distate,” but why do you seem to believe that players who prefer more casual gaming should be such an object of scorn?

  8. coppertopper says:

    You are missing the point about why ftp works and sub models don’t. Its that when you add up the $15/mo over several months, did you really get $30/60/75 worth of entertainment that you maybe could have gotten for the price of a box or free even with any of the other online games out there (thinking MOBAs and shooters as well as mmorpgs). Eve gets it right in one way – that you can pay for your sub via in game money. Other then that they use a cheap hook – offline training that baits people into keeping that sub up so they can be +1 in game. GW2 gets it right in allowing in game money to pay for cash shop items. Either play smart to get your items or spend your time out of game so as not too worry that you just spent $7 on a vanity item. Rift isn’t worth a sub to me, because its that same mmorpg formula that I can get my fix of for free now, and allow me to reward the devs hard work in an amount that I deem appropriate. Its the same with internet content – its why people bought their Darkfall boxes from your site instead of Adventurines. I’ll watch ads all day long on Giantbomb to read a few articles or watch quicklooks, but I don’t get enough out of the site to warrant buying into their sub model.

    • SynCaine says:

      MOBAs and shooters don’t factor into this, we are talking F2P MMOs.

      As for those, yes, I’d rather pay $15 a month for 2 titles (assuming I was playing two MMOs at a time, which I don’t because when I play an MMO, I actually play it rather than pop in for 30min a week) than have LotRO selling the One Ring in the item shop and reminding me every two seconds about it, or having to actually pay MORE than $15 a month to get access to everything (and still have the game remind me to keep spending). Not to mention the impact the F2P model has on design going forward.

      F2P is the model for MMOs that suck enough not to be worth $15 a month to most of the player base. That some people are looking for a game just eh enough to load up but not pay for, well, can’t account for taste I guess.

      • Azuriel says:

        F2P is when you need warm bodies in the door.

        While that is technically just a rewording of your own point (i.e. “suck enough to not be worth $15/month”), I find the distinction important because it is unlikely that the average player has multiple subscriptions. If we assume that the MMO genre in general has a fairly static population level (which it likely does), that means each new MMO splits the market instead of growing it. And many (all?) MMOs simply do not work below certain thresholds of population.

        So, while it is true a lot of MMOs truly are terrible, I think the F2P reaction is more to do with the logistics of a divided marketplace than necessarily a bunch of people putting up with crap games because they’re cheap. Besides, these companies would be leaving money on the table if someone can justify $20/month in subs but not $30/month, or if they mentally treat $9.99 cash shop purchases differently in their budget than an actual subscription.

      • Shiolle says:

        How much time (in terms of hours/week) would you consider a mandatory investment to properly play EVE or Darkfall (the way you play them)?

        • SynCaine says:

          20hrs+, with solid 2-3+ regular hour blocks and being able to play during the prime nights (tues, thurs, sunday), while also being able to schedule to play 3-4+ hours for something major like a siege?

          Some of it will depend on the player though. If you are self-motivated, you can get away with fewer hours or more random times. If you can’t in a sandbox, you will need to be online when the majority of the clan is, and for INQ that’s EST 8pm-1am.

  9. bhagpuss says:

    I have one paid subscription currently, which I will have maintained for 13 consecutive years come this November, barring a single six month hiatus. I’m getting Storm Legion on the 12 month pre-order thing which is not technically a subscription but amounts to much the same.

    While paying for those, I will play loads of F2P MMOs as well.

    It’s not an either/or.

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