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#1 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Free 2 Play games give me free content and broken gameplay and progression - the business being in selling me a more holistic experience - bit by bit. 
 
I dislike the Free 2 Play business model, because F2P games are necessarily designed to be broken. 
It shouldn't be the customer's charge, to balance and pace a game properly. A well put together F2P game might be good business, but it's always purposefully broken gamedesign.
Whole - upfront and in cash - that's how I like to get into games. The experience being sold in union, and not as a mosaic missing key stones - so the game stands or falls as a whole too.
 
I'm hoping the F2P model doesn't encroach any more on my home turf. Sadly - the trend points to the opposite. I shudder in fear of what the future holds in store for us.

 
What's Free 2 Play to you? Does it spell imminent doom to your enjoyment of games? Or do you see a future for yourself and F2P games? What do you think of Free 2 Play design and business methods in premium games?

#2 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

Never liked free 2 play games because they are below average... Haven't tried any of the payed MMOs that went F2P...

DOTA 2 is the only F2P I am/will be playing and spent money on...

#3 Posted by Athadam (697 posts) -

@Seppli said:

Free 2 Play games give me free content and broken gameplay and progression - the business being in selling me a more holistic experience - bit by bit.

I dislike the Free 2 Play business model, because F2P games are necessarily designed to be broken.
It shouldn't be the customer's charge, to balance and pace a game properly. A well put together F2P game might be good business, but it's always purposefully broken gamedesign.
Whole - upfront and in cash - that's how I like to get into games. The experience being sold in union, and not as a mosaic missing key stones - and it stands or falls a whole too.

I'm hoping the F2P model doesn't encroach any more on my home turf. Sadly - the trend points to the opposite. I shudder in fear.

What's Free 2 Play to you? Does it spell imminent doom to your enjoyment of games? Or do you see a future for yourself and F2P games? What do you think of Free 2 Play design and business methods in premium games?

How would it affect the games that you already play or are planning to purchase? Has Free to Play been widely successful so far?

#4 Posted by Bell_End (1208 posts) -

i see it as change and change never good. we should stamp it out before it has chance to develop into something that 'could' be pretty good.

#5 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
@phrosnite
 
There's one aspect of the MOBA F2P model that I like. The directed online experience - with free2play character rotations and such - a trend that's reflected in some premium core games like SSX, which has a daily mountain range rotation for global events - kinda neat, as long as I'm only playing casually. Stuff like that tends to fall apart the second 'I want to play, what I want to play...'. 
 
Albeit, I'd sure like developers to more actively design the online experience of their games on a daily basis. That's a F2P influence, I find personally interesting and promising. Could be great, if done right.
#6 Posted by CheapPoison (737 posts) -

a way to in teh end get way more money our of it then it is worth!

#7 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19367 posts) -

F2P games, for me, are silly fun that I'll stop playing sooner than later and usually Asian in origin like PangYa, MapleStory, Gunz, Rumble Fighter, etc. I will rarely spend money in these kinds of games.

I won't take competitive play in a F2P game very seriously as, yeah, I think balance is an issue for that kind of business model. Still, it makes a game more accessible to people and, if they end up liking it, they might end up paying for some stuff.

I'd definitely check Tera out if it was F2P, but I'm not gonna touch it with its current subscription model.

#8 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
@Castermhief117
 
In the big scheme of things, F2P games are widely more successful than 'our core games'. There's more money to be made at a lower risk. Of course the core market exists and will be catered to, but big publishers like EA show signs of 'lessons learned' with their F2P endeavors, and gamedesign suited for F2P-style exploitation sneaking into our fullprice games.
 
Free2Play-style monetizing of core premium-paid games is my personal gaming future terror, that keeps me up at night.
#9 Posted by Nentisys (896 posts) -

Shit games. Well, World of Tanks is pretty awesome.

#10 Posted by predator (352 posts) -

I like the Ryzom model.

#11 Posted by SteamPunkJin (1286 posts) -

I've been slowly getting more and more on board w/ F2P titles - most games don't hold me for more than a couple months anyway. This ends up being a cheap (or free) way to tool around a bit. Let's just take Super Monday Night Combat for example since it has both F2P and P2P versions.

What I spent on MNC: $15 and I only played Support. Stopped playing 2-4 months when community died out.

What I've spent on SMNC: $6 I have all three classes I want (Support, Leo, Combat Girl), I've gotten several free updates and feel secure that some kind of community will still be there if I take a break and come back.

And besides the game itself should be why you're playing not grinding out so you don't have to spend money.

#12 Posted by Toxeia (730 posts) -

Free2Play to me means a place where I can fulfill all my pedophiliac desires by picking up underage Brasilian children.

More truth to that then I like to admit, but back in 2005 when I played Fly for Fun (FlyFF) it was very popular with South America - and something about those little girls makes them lust after American males. Way creepy.

Anyway, Free2Play to me means progression in the genre. This might sound weird to some, but let me use FlyFF as an example (and depressingly a failure I suppose). Back in '05 when FlyFF launched and a year or two after it had an interesting skill system. You started as a Novice, and at level 10 you could pick your class. At level 30 or 40 I believe you could pick a class that branched off of each of those. Nothing new there, that had been done in Ragnarok Online prior to that (and I have to imagine RO picked that up from somewhere else).

What I loved about FlyFF's skill system was that it fed off your experience bars. Yeah, plural. Experience BARS. You had your normal experience bar that increased your level when it was filled, but there was a secondary bar that was much smaller (typically filled with 2-3 kills of mobs at your level). This bar had to be full for your normal bar to fill, but at the same time if you used abilities they consumed the smaller bar to level themselves. You could turn skill-leveling off per skill if you didn't care to level it (or typically because 1 use of the Assist's Haste buff ate the entire bar for me). Being level 15 and already having level 6 buffs for everything made the Assist class ridiculous. You could rival classes 20-30 levels higher than you.

I loved that system. It felt novel to me that I didn't just have arbitrary points to toss into skills. Unfortunately around 2010 when I went back to the game to see how it had developed I found that they kicked the system for the mainstay system of "You leveled, here's a point to put in a skill." It greatly saddened me.

I'll look at Free2Play games and it seems they each have one thing that I haven't seen before that's interesting and would probably benefit other games to take a look at. The truth of it is though, F2P games are a dime a dozen now. There are definitely some out there that are absolute hits (LoL comes to mind) but they are too few and far between for the genre to really benefit the greater MMO community.

#13 Posted by BBQBram (2256 posts) -

I don't play F2P games because I like good games. That's also exactly why I don't have any fears about social gaming, appstores or F2P stuff destroying core gaming; never gonna happen.

#14 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

If the purchasable content is cosmetic, isn't required and doesn't affect the overall balance, then it really doesn't matter. Unfortunately, I can't think of many F2P games that have managed this at all.

#15 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

League of Legends is what F2P is to me. It's F2P done right and the only time I've ever played a F2P game and been compelled to spend money on it. As a result I've spent nearly 200 dollars on it and don't regret a dime.

I definitely don't want all games to become F2P because I've played a bunch and LoL is still the only one I actually care about.

#16 Posted by GabrielNox (13 posts) -

Age of Conan, LOTRO, DDO, DCOU, Blacklight, Tribes, Vindictus, Aion, Firefall, Dota 2, TF2. LoL etc.

All F2P titles and all triple A titles that can easily blow the "core games" out of the water. Tribes alone is the first true PC FPS in years. Dota 2 and LoL are the flagships of an entire genre. I fail to see where they contain less quality then the buggy ports that are todays "core games".

#17 Posted by Salarn (465 posts) -

Free to play games are safer for the developers and the users.

If you are unsure of the game, you can get access to a very solid demo and play as much as you want, in fact you could earn quite a few things.

Being F2P does not make a game good or bad by itself, Team Fortress 2, is F2P and probably one of the best and well maintained games out there.

Super Monday Night Combat, League of Legends, and countless others. Some games are bad. Some games are F2P. Not all F2P games are bad.

The benefit for the developer is that they have a way to constantly attract new players. Even if they never pay a single dollar for the game, new players provide content to the community. It's no mystery why most F2P games are multiplayer games.

There is also the added benefit to both the user and the developer in terms of pricing. In a quality MMO where you pay to unlock balanced options, players can find something they like and end up paying only a few dollars. Otherwise you have situations where you drop $60 on a game and expect the world from it.

#18 Posted by EXTomar (4837 posts) -

I consider Free To Play as a class of games that are low barrier to entry, low maintenance. It is a model that doesn't fit all games but it can work wonders for some systems.

#19 Posted by BonOrbitz (2212 posts) -

I enjoy playing AirMech in Chrome. Needs more single player maps before I drop any money into it (unless I'm missing something) but it's the only F2P game I play.

#20 Edited by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

It means awesome games like Firefall can get made and great games like LOTRO and DCUO can keep expanding. Free2Play is fine. Pay2Win PvE is fine too. Pay2Win PVP competitively isn't, IF you care about level playing fields. If not then that's up to you. There are definitely examples of bad Store Centric F2P experience, but there are also a ton of a really bad Single Player and MMO Subscription experiences too. The idea that F2P games are somehow lowering the quality of SP experiences is a joke, it must be. It HAS to be when the OP adores Kingdoms of Genericlore.

#21 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow
 
A trend to towards skewing progression towards the absurd in favor of IRL-money unlock schemes, as seen in a couple recent EA games - that's not scary to you? What is?
#22 Posted by Sergio (2160 posts) -

@Seppli: I think you pretty much nailed how I feel about most F2P games. While their proponents say you don't have to buy anything, the games are inherently broken in order to entice people to pay for the workaround.

#23 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

I steer away from that shit. There's always a catch.

#24 Posted by damswedon (3196 posts) -

They are great, I can play games I wouldn't normally try because I didn't think the cost associated to them was worth it for the time I was going to play it. If I like a game I can pay an ammount I think the game is worth to the developer.

#25 Posted by Heartagram (1182 posts) -

Have you played SMNC or LoL Neither of those games give you anything you can't earn yourself through playing. They are pretty much purely based on skill with earnable perks and what not.

#26 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

I like free2play alot. I didn't like it when it was all these shitty korean MMOs. But now with Team Fortress 2, Tribes Ascend and LOTRO, the quility is very good now. The main problem presented is that the graphical options and actual specs and steamlined and aimed at bad computers. They design them for technically inferior people as well as pc gamers. It will be interesting to see more and more games of diffrent genres jump aboard. That RTS game looks interesting.

#27 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

Freemium games are the worst.

#28 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

@Sergio said:

@Seppli: I think you pretty much nailed how I feel about most F2P games. While their proponents say you don't have to buy anything, the games are inherently broken in order to entice people to pay for the workaround.

They're not ALL inherently broken. A lot of older games are. DCUO is completely playable with dailies and the like without any Freemion Content. Sure, it can be more of a slog to PVP endgame without any at all, but really you get to experience the game's ending to the level cap without any pay for content. LOTRO is similar as well. Yes, both have some restrictions which can be payed to unlock; DCUO limits your cash to 1500/2000credits (Free/Spend 5 bucks at least) or Unlimited if you sub for at least a month while LOTRO locks of areas (none of which are part of the core story, but rather mission packs which were DLC originally). There are games that can do the F2P model well. Thing is, harder core players are bound to subscribe anyway, especially if they raid or PVP regularly, so these models just lower the barrier to entry.

@Seppli said:

@SeriouslyNow: A trend to towards skewing progression towards the absurd in favor of IRL-money unlock schemes, as seen in a couple recent EA games - that's not scary to you? What is?

EA and Activision are always seeking to monetize things and have been doing things like this well before F2P MMOs hit the world. EA had their own XBL servers right from the get go in 2006 while Activision always charged HUGE amounts for their DLC since MW2 and they announced COD ELITE before the F2P MMO craze exploded. This isn't new. I do hope this isn't another of your highly irrational threads again.

#29 Posted by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

Alot of the stuff in lotro sold have fuckall to do with stats. Vanity items. Purely asthetic.

#30 Posted by PolyesterPimp (256 posts) -

Playing League of Legends has quickly turned from F2P to god dammit they got me again. Small transactions are more preferable to me in all honesty as I dont necessarily want everything a F2P has to offer. I enjoy them enough though its its crazy cause the game I play the most is F2P and all the games i've paid for have quickly collected dust... Hopefully Diablo 3 will hold up for a good amount I doubt it though.

#31 Posted by project343 (2833 posts) -

@Seppli: The design doesn't have to be inherently broken, at least no more than unlockables 'break' a non-F2P game (like characters in Mortal Kombat, or guns in Call of Duty). Most games that do F2P right give players the ability to unlock content via playing for free, or paying for instant access. There's nothing broken about this business model so long as the game balances it's unlocks so as to not give paying customers the unfair advantage.

Tribes: Ascend, Team Fortress 2, Super Monday Night Combat, DOTA 2, League of Legends... there's nothing wrong with the business models in these games.

#32 Posted by AlexW00d (6302 posts) -

@BBQBram said:

I don't play F2P games because I like good games. That's also exactly why I don't have any fears about social gaming, appstores or F2P stuff destroying core gaming; never gonna happen.

Because TF2 and Tribes Ascend and Dota 2 are all bad games? And LoL, that's f2p right?

There are good f2p games, just like there are bad full price games.

#33 Posted by jakob187 (21690 posts) -

The OP tries to address F2P as a whole, but within that business model, there are shining examples of how to properly handle it.

League of Legends is probably the best example. It's a game that sees balance and content patches very often, usually every two weeks. Riot has consistently stated that the game will never be in a state of perfect balance because "perfect balance is boring", and they are right. They have a solid pricing model that any League player going in can automatically look at and say "I know how much that is". Moreover, they only allow you to spend real money on the champions and their vanity skins. All gameplay elements, such as your runes, are purchased with the in-game money, meaning that you HAVE to play if you want to get that advantage. You can also unlock the champs with in-game money, meaning that you can literally never spend a dime on the game and get everything out of it that you want. You can unlock every champ, all the runes, all the rune pages...and never spend a dime. It's smart business, and because of that mentality, they've been hugely successful.

Heroes of Newerth has been handling it pretty well also.

Dungeons & Dragons Online has handled it well for some time, despite getting that feeling that buying an adventure pack sometimes feels like "I'm buying the ability to get all this loot". Nonetheless, the adventure packs they make are pretty excellent dungeons, and I've yet to be truly disappointed with the ones that I've bought (but I've only bought three adventure packs, one being Sands).

Games like Tribes Ascend and Age of Conan get it WRONG, where they allow the users to buy an advantage with real money. Sure, if people have the money to blow, you can't fault the company for offering the option. However, it means that someone just starting out could get everything they want right off the bat and just wreck on people in some cases. This does not equal up to "fun" when it comes to the game. It's infuriating, and you more often than not decide to quit playing rather than continue with it.

Super Monday Night Combat is also proving to successfully handle the F2P model, going so far as to offer Steam Trading on items!

So the F2P model isn't as grim as the OP makes it out to be. There are some games that fucked it all up (I keep looking at my copy of BattleForge every time I say that...), but there are plenty that show how well it can work.

#34 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1817 posts) -
#35 Posted by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

@jakob187 said:

Games like Tribes Ascend get it WRONG, where they allow the users to buy an advantage with real money. Sure, if people have the money to blow, you can't fault the company for offering the option. However, it means that someone just starting out could get everything they want right off the bat and just wreck on people in some cases. This does not equal up to "fun" when it comes to the game. It's infuriating, and you more often than not decide to quit playing rather than continue with it.

I disagree. Not everyone has dozens of hours to spend playing a video game. People work. Have children, wifes and other stuff to do. Paying with money instead of time seems incredibly fair.

For a someone with the time, they can simply grind and not pay a dime is they so feel.

#36 Posted by Kidavenger (3582 posts) -

I don't understand how you can rant about something that is free; and even if you do have to pay to be competitive, as long as it isn't more than a regular retail game would cost, you are still coming out ahead with an added bonus of knowing there will probably always be a healthy playerbase to keep the game alive.

Say you had to pay $60 to be competitive in Tribes Ascend and you enjoyed that game as much as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, wouldn't you rather pay the $60 for Tribes knowing that the game was going to last more than a year before they charged you another $60 to get Call of Duty: Black Ops II?

The games like League of Legends where you can be competitive without paying a dime are definitely better, but I have no issue paying for a "free" game if it offers good value compared to traditional games.

#37 Posted by Jadeskye (4367 posts) -

league of legends is pretty awesome.

#38 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -

I dislike F2P most of the time.
 
I love Lord of the Rings Online though, extensive playing and earning store credits got me most of the game for free, not counting my purchase way back when and the months of sub I paid then.
I can now play all the zones, skirmishes and instances I want, without having spend anything but time.

#39 Posted by Sergio (2160 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow: I think those used to be games that weren't F2P. MMOs that started off with subscriber fees were already as balanced as the developers had in mind. When they shift to the F2P model, they generally just limit some of the things you'd normally get. I'm more referring to games such as Tiny Tower that became very boring to me unless I shelled out for their microtransactions so I can play continuously.

#40 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

@Sergio said:

@SeriouslyNow: I think those used to be games that weren't F2P. MMOs that started off with subscriber fees were already as balanced as the developers had in mind. When they shift to the F2P model, they generally just limit some of the things you'd normally get. I'm more referring to games such as Tiny Tower that became very boring to me unless I shelled out for their microtransactions so I can play continuously.

Firefall and Tribes : Ascend were certainly designed with F2P in mind and they do it right. Many other games will. And Tiny Tower?? Seriously? That's not an MMO. That's single player game made for rubes by a company who no interest in their customers.

#41 Posted by AngelN7 (2970 posts) -

Self control man , I played League of Legends for a year and I didn't spend a dime on it , even when my friends where really pushing it like "buy that rune dude it totally fits your style with [insert hero name]" or " hey we all got the new skin for [hot lady hero] you're still using the deafult one?" , I mean you'll spend real money if your really into the game and playing competitively if not what most of them offer you for free is totally worth it for the time you spend with the game , I much rather FTP than something with asubscription fee because it is you that puts the value in the experience you get with the game rather than forcing you to play at some pace that you don't enjoy or feel like is worth it of your time.

#42 Posted by Little_Socrates (5683 posts) -

While I think LoL is an excellent competitive F2P game, I usually play F2P just relaxing and not worrying about competition. iOS actually has a few great games representing the F2P model in a positive way. For example, Hero Academy is excellent.

#43 Posted by ajamafalous (12029 posts) -

I really enjoy free to play games.

#44 Posted by SexualBubblegumX (542 posts) -

I have mixed feelings about Freemium games. One hand if done well they're worth playing, on the other if it's not it degrades to a rich boys game. 

#45 Edited by BBQBram (2256 posts) -

@AlexW00d said:

@BBQBram said:

I don't play F2P games because I like good games. That's also exactly why I don't have any fears about social gaming, appstores or F2P stuff destroying core gaming; never gonna happen.

Because TF2 and Tribes Ascend and Dota 2 are all bad games? And LoL, that's f2p right?

There are good f2p games, just like there are bad full price games.

Agreed, but not bothering with them has worked out fine so far. There's definitely a lot more FarmVille-esque addictive shovelware out there than those admittedly quality games you mentioned, who more often than not seem to go F2P halfway during development because of a fear of failure or at the tipping point of sales like Team Fortress 2, where it made sense to go F2P to get a double whammy out of it, profits wise.

Shitty retail games I tend to ignore as well, it's just that F2P isn't even on my radar. But it's a pet peeve as well; I hate the idea of constant in-game microtransactions to get the "complete experience", especially in those cases the OP was talking about where it's not even a fair or balanced game without paying for power or resources.

I tend to blurt out high horse statements to see who actually cares to read the thread instead of immediately posting, it often results in actual discussion which is much preferred to five pages of one-liner opinions no-one reads.

#46 Posted by AlexW00d (6302 posts) -

@BBQBram said:

@AlexW00d said:

@BBQBram said:

I don't play F2P games because I like good games. That's also exactly why I don't have any fears about social gaming, appstores or F2P stuff destroying core gaming; never gonna happen.

Because TF2 and Tribes Ascend and Dota 2 are all bad games? And LoL, that's f2p right?

There are good f2p games, just like there are bad full price games.

Agreed, but not bothering with them has worked out fine so far. There's definitely a lot more FarmVille-esque addictive shovelware out there than those admittedly quality games you mentioned, who more often than not seem to go F2P halfway during development because of a fear of failure or at the tipping point of sales like Team Fortress 2, where it made sense to go F2P to get a double whammy out of it, profits wise.

Shitty retail games I tend to ignore as well, it's just that F2P isn't even on my radar. But it's a pet peeve as well; I hate the idea of constant in-game microtransactions to get the "complete experience", especially in those cases the OP was talking about where it's not even a fair or balanced game without paying for power or resources.

I tend to blurt out high horse statements to see who actually cares to read the thread instead of immediately posting, it often results in actual discussion which is much preferred to five pages of one-liner opinions no-one reads.

Everything you say I agree with to be honest, except I don't ignore f2p games. Most of them are shitty absolutely, but most retail games tend to be shitty. I dunno. If a game is of interest to me, I won't ignore it solely because of f2p, but I will probably be more cautious.

#47 Edited by aquamarin (555 posts) -

Been wrestling with this recently since Tribes and some other notable f2p games have been getting some discussion. F2P to me still means bad, cheap or not a full experience without "paying to win". The barrier of entry of paying up front to me is still something that ensures that what I'm getting has some quality that's in it. Additionally, as a person who gets bored with games easily, paying up front for a game only to find that I'm not into the gameplay mechanics or whatever usually brings on "stockholm syndrome" for the game. I will see a purchased game through and/or start to enjoy it because I want to get my moneys worth whereas with a f2p game I will quickly quit it and never pick it up again.

#48 Edited by crusader8463 (14423 posts) -

So far every implementation I have seen has just felt like a scam to trick people into paying more for what they used to get.

#49 Posted by FLStyle (4765 posts) -

I am excited at F2P's potential to stick it to the current state of gaming. I'm looking forward to seeing the the quality between F2P games and their normal counterparts becoming very similar.

#50 Posted by Majestic_XII (95 posts) -

@FLStyle: It's just a matter of time. New games are being announced all the time, with increasingly higher quality and more impressive tech.

In the end P4F games are just another way of charging for games. Instead of buying the whole game in one go, you could decide how much you'd like to spend on a P4F game. You could play it entirely for free, if you'd like. The P4F game needs to be designed to be fun for everyone, but at the same time telling the customer "Hey, look at how much fun you're having for free, think of how much awesomererer it can be if you just pay 15 bucks!".

On top of that, P4F games are made to be online for a looong time, and continuously evolve during that time. A perfect opportunity for building a strong community that follows the game and have input on it's development.