There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the Free to Play model for MMO games. I have heard pros and cons for this debate, and thought I would toss out something for you to chew on (spit or swallow – your choice).
From a profit standpoint, I suppose F2P (Free to Play) is a financial win. The player, who feels $15 a month for a game subscription (can’t afford $15/month? Really? Cheap bastards) is not possible, can still buy the game and enjoy playing it, but without a number of options in-game that are available only to paying subscription players. Then, the MMO company opens an online game store, where a player can go to buy game expansions, certain types of gear, modes of transportation, special abilities or skills or crafting items or attire or experience point boosts or whatever. In essence, the player might as well have paid for the monthly subscription, because they’ll get proper reamed (in the pocketbook) for buying all the extra crap F2P players can only acquire through this specialized e-store. And the corporation makes money. huzzah.
Now that I think of it… it’s rather Sithy in its endeavour…
Now, the Downside to F2P is that (not all, but most) the free players tend to be adolescent spazzoids juiced up on red bull, twinkies, and ass-hattery. They swarm the nodes like cockroaches. They cause amusement park lines to form for boss spawn points. They further degrade the chat channels with idiocy (as if we didn’t have enough of that already). In general, the whole social atmosphere goes right in the toilet, reducing enjoyment of a game that is already struggling along like a gimpy slug. Since so many people have already left these games due to lack of enjoyment, further digression seems counterproductive to me. But wtf do I know, right? It’s not enough that these belch mutts have their cracked out friends over for 36 hour Xbox game marathons… now MMO companies are making it possible for them to invade our sacred virtual getaway world. Thanx, Frakks. Appreciate it.
So… I watched the community degrade and dwindle with LotRo (Lord of the Rings Online). Now I get to watch SWtOR either dwindle or fill up with the worst kind of poopulation (thought I typoed, didn’t ya?) in a couple months, as they go F2P. Granted, I have a couple friends who will finally join the game (who are just against the whole subscription model), but I won’t hold it against them. They’re good people – just broke.
I even read that TSW (The Secret World) is considering it. Wouldn’t surprise me since they just went live not two months ago and have already laid off half their staff.
I am just glad I am in a solid guild that might ride this out.
Personally, I would rather Bioware fix the game, add the things we have been TELLING them they Need, since Beta testing, and draw back all the clientele they lost. I’m sure most of them would Gladly pay for monthly subs if they fixed space missions, clothing, brought in A LOT more species to play, added more classes, planets, space stations (or other social gathering places), added more ship types, gave us some kind of housing (that people can enter and socialize in), made furniture you could frakking SIT on (not just look at), and a few dozen Other things that would Greatly increase virtual immersion (like chat bubbles in social areas).
However, with EA at the reins, and Bioware semi-stuck in past precedence, I doubt it will happen. Thus, we’re gonna get stuck in a game with 90% kids. Frakk me.