Quick note before I get to the topic for today: Is it just me, or is The Witcher 2 freaking hard? I have the game on Normal after doing the tutorial, and I’m getting my ass handed to me every second fight. It’s to the point that I’m mashing quick-save more often than the attack keys. More thoughts on the game later (very solid so far), but anyone else find it much harder than the original?
Today I want to talk about F2P games, specifically P2Win titles. At a high level, I’ve noticed that there are two types of P2W games; blatant and hidden.
Blatant titles are those that very clearly sell power in the cash shop, and most if not all updates revolve around new content being added that further pushes you into the shop to keep up or at least play at the highest tier. Korean MMOs like Atlantica fit the bill here, as do the slew of iPhone games with cash shops.
Hidden P2W titles will attempt to hide the selling of power, either by making the connection to power less obvious (cash = gems = energy = gametime = power, compared to the obvious cash = BiS item), or by making the power not absolute. The cash shop sells items, but they are not BiS (just second-best, and the BiS is nearly impossible to get). Or the cash shop sells ‘optional’ boosts (and without those boosts, you can’t get those BiS items).
What has surprised me is that I personally don’t mind the blatant P2W model. Not because I spend and win, but because not spending and still doing well is its own game, and a very enjoyable one at that. Plus there is a certain kind of honesty with the model; the devs don’t pretend they aren’t selling power, and you don’t get the smoke-up-the-ass PR releases that come from companies like Turbine.
When you are online with thousands of others, those who are also playing the “don’t pay but play” game also tend to band together, and this in turn gives you more ‘content’ or at least camaraderie.
Finally, when you do spend, it’s not because the game finally twisted your arm and made the ‘convenience’ items (hotbars, bag space, travel speed) so damn inconvenient to be without that you caved, but because you are have enough fun playing for free that spending a bit is justified and just gets you more of what you already liked (power), vs just filling in a hole left in to take your money.