Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Posts Tagged ‘Pay to play

(Kind of) Free to Play

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I read this amusing article at Ten Ton Hammer earlier, and it got me thinking. Free to play. Now, if you say that to someone who doesn’t have the internet that you can play totally free games, they’ll probably laugh, cough a bit (likely they’re pretty old) and say ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch, my dear!’ (That’s how people talk where I live). But we, the internet-savvy generation, aren’t as wise. There is a lot of free stuff on the internet. Advertising pays for a lot of stuff, which in effect, works out as being free. But games are a different matter. I don’t mean flash games, put together by a wannabe game maker in his free time, but I’m talking full game MMOs. Even the simplest take countless man-hours to make, test and release. Yet I see the link ‘Free to play’ and fall for it. There’s something about human nature, where if we spot an oppourtunity, we take it. Some sort of neolithic instincts I guess.

I’ve not tried many free to play MMOs, but I have tried a couple. In the Western market, they’re kind of on the outskirts of mainstream, but in the Asian markets, they are massive. The ones that I’ve played rely heavily on catchy graphics to get you in. Then, they give you loads of quests and fun gameplay for the first few hours, after which it descends to grinding. But, nethertheless, you can progress, you can still level up – just grind these mobs, kill 200 to reach the next level. Then, you see someone else killing the same mobs, but he’s doing it 5 times as fast. You send him a tell, ‘What’s up dude? How you killing them so fast?’. He replies ‘I got my Sword of Chaotic Destruction. Bought it from the Cash Shop’. ‘Oh, Cash Shop’ you think. That sounds interesting. Now that is how they get you. You buy the Sword of Chaotic Destruction, and yes, you get to the next level much quicker. But then, the Sword of Chaotic Destruction is inefficient for theLoads of money. next level, you need the Sabre of Chaotic Destruction.

Pretty soon, your bank is full of all variants of the Sword/Sabre/Slasher/Katana/Blade/Dagger of Chaotic Destruction, and you check your credit card bill. Woah; you spent £25 last month on those items. And a pay to play MMO would have been 1/3 of the price. Still, the advert says ‘Free to play’.

Personally, I disapprove of so-called Free to play MMOs. But I don’t see them as a threat to the traditional  pay to play model, as the games are often rushed and not polished to ensure lowest production costs possible. And the Western market expects better.


Written by Gordo

May 31, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Posted in MMO

Tagged with , ,