#1 Posted by CEhopeR (4 posts) -

So a lot of free 2 play games are just popping up all over the place these days. It seems that anyone trying to make money in the online games industry is trying to put a f2p game out there.

Now the problem about Free 2 Play might be that the developer has to make money and thus tries to squeeze as much money from the player base. I see a lot of these games implementing pay to win features like: buying high tiered items for money, xp boosters, loot boosters and other stuff. - I'm not exactly sure that F2P hakes players happy...

There is an Article that kind or represents my opinion very well. (link) I think this business concept might not work out for the best. Players get to play for free, but they get squeezed for money constantly and end up spending more. Sad, right?

Do you know games that do F2P right?
Do you know games that do F2P wrong?
Do you think its a good concept?

#2 Posted by AlexW00d (6183 posts) -

A lot of f2p play games become pay to win, and that's why I don't play them. The only games I can think of that do it properly are TF2 and Dota 2, cause you're only paying for cosmetics, so no-one loses out.

#3 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4285 posts) -

There are plenty of "fair" f2p games. Blacklight, Dota2, Aion, Lineage 2. Rift, Team Fortress 2, Warframe, Star Conflict, Star Trek Online, and plenty of others. Sure some of those games have things you have to unlock, but you aren't "winning" by paying. You're simply saving time. You can buy all the guns and weapons parts you want in Blacklight, but if you you're a shitty shot, you still won't be able to hit anything. Besides, there are people, myself included, who use stock or close to stock weapons pretty much all the time anyway because that's just what they prefer and the game is balanced enough to support everyone's playstyle.

In fact, I would more games do it right than do it wrong. I think this whole pay2win thing has been blown out of proportion. The only type of games I think do it "wrong" are the games where you have to pay for something that is somehow integral to gameplay. Like, a particular weapon or class is factually the best in the game, but the only way you can get it is by dropping some cash on it. Shit like that. I would list some examples, but I can't think of any. This particular model has pretty much died out over the years because it doesn't really work anymore.

I think f2p is a great concept, but, personally, I'm not sure how I feel about so many games going f2p these days. There's only a limited amount of people and only a few hours in a day. I think we're going to reach a point one day, if we aren't there already, where f2p games will just start crumbling one after the other. Not because they're bad or anything, but because there's so much goddamn competition that the market won't be able to support it all. There's going to be a ridiculously huge budget f2p game and it's going to be great, but no one is going to play it because they're already entrenched in whatever other 10, 20, or 30 f2p games they're playing at the moment.

#4 Posted by pandorasbox (302 posts) -

DOTA2. You literally get zero advantage from purchasing items in the dota store.

#5 Posted by believer258 (11633 posts) -

F2P games can, and have, been designed so that "pay to win" can't really be applied to them. TF2 and Dota 2 are examples of this.

#6 Edited by Elwoodan (759 posts) -

I think the best ones not mentioned so far are Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. Both offer a full game to play through, but sell side content in a store, rather than pay a monthly fee you can just by new zones/dungeons piecemeal as you want them.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of F2P, and even the games where you spend more on it then you would on a single box price are fine, as why would you be putting money into it if you don't enjoy it? The only time that becomes an issue is where it is exploited in a randomized system which blocks your ability to progress. The Dota 2 chests are fine because they are totally cosmetic, but if they had random heroes in them (and it was the only way to get those heroes) then it would be a problem.

#7 Edited by joshwent (2112 posts) -

The biggest problem (and reason that F2P has become popular for companies) is that it can force players to perpetually pay for a game. The kind of "boosts" you mentioned that help once or for a limited time and then disappear are incredibly insidious. People pay a dollar here and there not realizing that after a while they've paid more than a AAA title's price for a shitty match 3 knock off.

The only good F2P is if the payments don't effect gameplay, or the payments add up to a reasonable price for the game overall.

I've long thought that Jetpack Joyride did it very cleverly. The game is entirely playable without spending any money, but you can pay once for a "coin doubler" that will make it faster to unlock the cool stuff. That costs $4 if I remember correctly, so it's basically a roundabout way for you to just pay a reasonable price for the full game. Sort of like a demo that you can buy afterwards.

It can be done well, but the movement F2P boom now is thanks to psychiatrists and business people, not devs. And the more people buy in, the more gross non-games we'll be seeing.

#8 Edited by SKaREO (23 posts) -

It's usually games people won't pay a price tag for. If a game is free to play then the catch must be that if they charged you an admission price you wouldn't likely pay for it. Others do it to try and get people to play games that they've given up on years ago. It helps make a very big community of freeloaders. Dota 2 is a great example of a game that people wouldn't pay money for and has a ton of freeloaders, mostly Russians and Brazilians who otherwise can't afford to buy their games. That game sucks because of the F2P model. Most games with F2P that I've played have sucked badly.

#9 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

League of Legends and Dota 2 are both not play to win.

#10 Posted by Irvandus (2823 posts) -

Plenty of Free to Play games do it right. Dota 2 and Dungeons and Dragons Online come to mind. The issue is that way more do it wrong.

#11 Posted by Vade (393 posts) -

I dislike F2P games that require you to either invest an absurd amount of time or an absurd amount of money to unlock everything (namely League of Legends). For competitive games that's just silly, and I believe that's just doing it wrong. Works great for getting people addicted though.

#12 Posted by ajamafalous (11848 posts) -

Plenty of games do it correctly, though yes, a ton of games do it horribly, too.

#13 Posted by Pazy (2561 posts) -

There are small examples of F2P games done correctly but most are simply unfair to the player. Most games seem to think that breaking the design and balance, especially in games converted to the business model, is perfectly fine despite it damaging the experience of the game.
More importantly it just seems to "taint" the experience. Its harder to simply enjoy the game because the cash shop always exists and every can be equated to real time and money. Just because it exists its way too easy to assume the low drop rate on an item is because of the cash shop and be annoyed, reducing your idea of the game to cynical cash grab, rather than just bad luck. I would rather buy a game outright or pay a monthly fee for the exact same game (see the Borderlands 2 Free to Play article on IGN) because it just feels better.
Though the recent Plants vs Zombies 2 Quick Look is a good example of this. While I have yet to play the game, owning no iOS device, you can earn the next world by finishing the current world then doing some of the challenge maps (which are supposed to be fun and interesting). All of the extra plants are also inside challenges on the map. To me that sounds like it might be a fun game but as soon as that stuff exists on a cash shop you assume its a random cash grab and so during the quick look Brad slowly got more angry as it went on and never even bothered to look at the challenges assuming it was just the standard F2P grinding crap.

#14 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2917 posts) -

Lots of peeps posted good examples of F2P games that do it right.

I still have a big problem with F2P though, and maybe I'll never get over it. It's basically just a psychological/emotional reaction. They only way to describe it is to say that I detest the idea of monetizing time, which most F2P is usually about. I never want to know how much my time is worth to a developer, or how much my time = money within any given world. If I can pay to level up faster, then I probably don't want to level up at all. I feel it's cheating. A broken system. A game system can't have two doors. You can't have a slowly opening door for people who try hard as well as a quickly opening door for those who want to pay. A good system has one door, and it opens at just the right pace.

Some other F2P games sell content rather than time. In most cases I still have huge problems with this. For example, in MMOs. The most exciting part of MMOs and big RPGs is exploration and item accrual. Well, if you want to completely gut exploration for your game, the best way to do it is but a dollar amount in a dungeon. Oh, you thought you climbed through this jungle and found this cave huh? Nope. Log out first and charge your VISA, then you can enter the secret forest cave. Hey, you can either spend 30 hours grinding for this item, or 5 dollars for it at the store... It all just kills the magic of the game. I don't like buying games 1 gun/sword at a time or 1 level at a time. I will buy expansion packs or DLC, but not this piecemeal stuff.

#15 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

Games like DotA 2 do it right, games like League of Legends do it wrong (but make a fuckton of money in the process).

#16 Posted by EkajArmstro (380 posts) -

Yes, but I don't think pay2win is any worse than grind2win. If you have to play a bunch to unlock better gear OR pay to unlock better gear then I probably won't play the game.

#17 Posted by 71Ranchero (2675 posts) -

I dont think pay2win is as big of an epidemic as people think it is. Maybe in newer games and on IOS, but PC games have been f2p for decades and most of even the shadiest korean mmo's only really sell convenience items and cosmetic stuff.

Pay2lingerie is probably more widespread than pay2win.

#18 Posted by Flacracker (1597 posts) -

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Dota 2 are the only good free to play games that I can think of. They give you everything at the start and that is all there is to play with. W:ET is the exception out of F2P games though as it doesn't even have a business model at all so I guess it doesn't count.

#19 Posted by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

First off, I don't think your link to the article is working, OP.

Second, there are many games that are in no way a "pay-to-win" situation. I would even go so far as to say that I spend more time playing free-to-play games nowadays than I do with any paid games. I have a Steam library filled with games that I haven't even/have barely touched, and this is mainly due to the time that I spend playing games like:

  • League of Legends
  • Warframe
  • Path of Exile
  • Marvel Heroes

Those four in particular take up most of my gaming time. Why? They are deep experiences with a lot of forward progression and/or competitive natures that are what I am looking for. These are FREE-TO-PLAY GAMES, and they offer more hours than many of the games I can think of on my Steam library, my GOG library, my Origin library, etc.

None of them feel like they are pay-to-win. In particular, none of them really ARE pay to win. Hell, three of them don't even offer any type of advantage by paying money other than maybe leveling up a little faster or getting a little more in-game currency via a booster. With Warframe, you can buy many of the in-game items, sure. However, they will still be level 1 when you get them, so you still have to put the work in to level them up. You STILL have to put in hours upon hours to get progress.

There are a slew of games that I could list which completely go against the philosophy of "pay-to-win." On the flip side, there are definitely many games which embrace "pay-to-win." In all honesty, I don't think it matters. If someone wants to drop their money on something, that is their prerogative. The only time that I hate it is when it's involved in a competitive type of game (i.e. Tribes Ascend). THAT is when the advantage of paying for something can be a little bittersweet for someone working their ass off to get their items and gear.

#20 Posted by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

@irvandus said:

Plenty of Free to Play games do it right. Dota 2 and Dungeons and Dragons Online come to mind. The issue is that way more do it wrong.

I don't know if I would TOTALLY put Dungeons and Dragons Online in that category. While they aren't exactly "pay-to-win," you DO have to buy adventure packs if you want a much better experience, and those do contain some fairly powerful gear. I'm pretty sure it's one of the few ways to get gear in order to fight Beholders.

#21 Edited by Hunkulese (2642 posts) -

I think LoL has the best f2p model.

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

#22 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

I think LoL has the best f2p model.

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

How can people feel this way? DotA gives you the whole game and then allows you to buy cosmetics if you want, LoL locks 90% of their characters behind a paywall (or you can grind 50 hours to unlock a character with IP) and makes cosmetics impossible to obtain without paying real money.

#23 Edited by Flacracker (1597 posts) -
@hunkulese said:

I think LoL has the best f2p model.

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

What the fuck did I just read?

#24 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4154 posts) -

Killer Instinct seems be doing it alright.

#27 Posted by schreiberty (204 posts) -

@hunkulese said:

I think LoL has the best f2p model.

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

How can people feel this way? DotA gives you the whole game and then allows you to buy cosmetics if you want, LoL locks 90% of their characters behind a paywall (or you can grind 50 hours to unlock a character with IP) and makes cosmetics impossible to obtain without paying real money.

While i agree that dota has the better model, lols model is no where near as bad as people make it out to be. First of all, eventually, all of the champions will have been free to play if you play for long enough, because they make 10 different champions free every 2 weeks or something like that. Secondly it takes no where near that long to unlock even the highest ip priced tiered champions (6300) and many of the champions, probly around 40-50, are priced at lower tiers.

The only thing that i think is slightly unfair is the ability to buy more rune pages for real money, yes you can buy them with ip but 6300 for one rune page is kind of alot. (If you dont know what rune pages are, just think of it like if call of duty sold extra custom class slots for real money)

#28 Posted by Hunkulese (2642 posts) -

@hunkulese said:

I think LoL has the best f2p model.

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

How can people feel this way? DotA gives you the whole game and then allows you to buy cosmetics if you want, LoL locks 90% of their characters behind a paywall (or you can grind 50 hours to unlock a character with IP) and makes cosmetics impossible to obtain without paying real money.

You don't need every champion, especially when you're starting the game and it doesn't take that long to get the IP for a champion. You get a pool of champions to use that varies every week. By the time you find someone that really clicks for you, you'll probably have enough IP to buy them. By the time you're actually playing competitively you'll probably only be playing with ten or so champions anyway. It looks a lot more daunting than it is.

A good f2p model works for both the consumer and the company. I've happily spent hundreds of dollars in LoL and never once felt ripped off. I've now switched to DOTA and can't see myself ever spending a dime.

#29 Posted by Flacracker (1597 posts) -

@davidwitten22 said:
@hunkulese said:

I think LoL has the best f2p model.

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

How can people feel this way? DotA gives you the whole game and then allows you to buy cosmetics if you want, LoL locks 90% of their characters behind a paywall (or you can grind 50 hours to unlock a character with IP) and makes cosmetics impossible to obtain without paying real money.

You don't need every champion, especially when you're starting the game and it doesn't take that long to get the IP for a champion. You get a pool of champions to use that varies every week. By the time you find someone that really clicks for you, you'll probably have enough IP to buy them. By the time you're actually playing competitively you'll probably only be playing with ten or so champions anyway. It looks a lot more daunting than it is.

A good f2p model works for both the consumer and the company. I've happily spent hundreds of dollars in LoL and never once felt ripped off. I've now switched to DOTA and can't see myself ever spending a dime.

And why is that a bad thing if you never spend a dime? Sounds like the best free to play model ever. In LoL you have to grind or pay money to unlock the characters you want to play and then you need to pay for cosmetic items. In Dota you don't need to pay money or grind to unlock characters and you can get cosmetic items for free.

#30 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

@davidwitten22 said:

@hunkulese said:

I think LoL has the best f2p model.

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

How can people feel this way? DotA gives you the whole game and then allows you to buy cosmetics if you want, LoL locks 90% of their characters behind a paywall (or you can grind 50 hours to unlock a character with IP) and makes cosmetics impossible to obtain without paying real money.

While i agree that dota has the better model, lols model is no where near as bad as people make it out to be. First of all, eventually, all of the champions will have been free to play if you play for long enough, because they make 10 different champions free every 2 weeks or something like that. Secondly it takes no where near that long to unlock even the highest ip priced tiered champions (6300) and many of the champions, probly around 40-50, are priced at lower tiers.

The only thing that i think is slightly unfair is the ability to buy more rune pages for real money, yes you can buy them with ip but 6300 for one rune page is kind of alot. (If you dont know what rune pages are, just think of it like if call of duty sold extra custom class slots for real money)

I did the math in another topic a while ago but I think I figured out that if you wanted all the champions you would have to play the game 40 hours a week for, like, 9 months to afford them all with IP alone (and thats not counting rune pages and runes). I don't like arguing it too much because LoL's not a bad game or anything, and its not really all that gross of a model compared to many out there, I just don't like that somehow people have become convinced that only having access to 10% of the heroes at any given time is a GOOD thing. Having to unlock or pay for heroes has sort of damaged the creativity that the new champion creators are allowed to have because they have to keep in mind only 2 or so AD carries will be available each week to players, so champions that play similar roles do similar things in the majority of cases because of this (such as typical AD carries have an AOE nuke, an attack speed/damage steroid, some sort of mobility skill, and then an ultimate which is typically actually unique).

But the last thing I want to do is start some sort of flame war, I just don't think people should praise LoL's model too much because its unfair to players under level 30 and is incredibly hard to play optimally without spending real money.

#31 Posted by TAFAE (150 posts) -

@hunkulese said:

I hate DOTA's model and will probably never invest a dime in that game because paying $2.50 for something random is dumb.

You could always buy the thing you actually want instead of keys. Opening chests is really more like playing the lottery than buying a cosmetic item, the real reason to do it is for the chance at something worth hundreds of real life dollars. You just get something else a consolation prize 99% of the time so it isn't actually gambling.

#32 Edited by Veektarius (4592 posts) -

I like f2p games that have some things worth buying that I want but don't need, for example, Neverwinter and Star Trek online, as it gives me a good reason to compensate them for the time I've spent in the game. However, I don't think that the amount they ask for most items with a mechanical function is reasonable. There's also a problem with rewards coming too slowly (particularly in Mechwarrior Online), and I bail when the first purchase or two I have made does not significantly improve that aspect.

What I don't think I've ever seen in an F2P game is an experience that's more fleshed out than in a fully-featured release (like say, Mass Effect or Skyrim). For that reason, I have a hard time justifying in my mind why I should need to pay more for an F2P release to get all of its features than I would for a regular game, even if the free product is a great value proposition in the short term before it becomes frustrating or repetitive. If F2P games allowed you to use all their features with no DLC required so long as you paid the standard MMO subscription, I'd be way more into them, because the subscription never bothered me.

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