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DC Universe Online Goes F2P

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-think-we-can-safely-call-this-a-trend dept.

Businesses 103

mlauzon writes "It seems a lot of companies are seeing the light and turning their subscription based games into the F2P model, or 'freemium,' as it's now being called. Quoting Massively: "For those of us who lack Batman's financial resources, maintaining several monthly MMO subscriptions can be a challenge. Sony Online Entertainment recognizes this, and as a result, the company has just announced that DC Universe Online will be officially joining the freemium revolution toward the end of October."

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103 comments

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Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452134)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452478)

Hit the road spammer!

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

thunderclap (972782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453546)

its confidant. Cosmonaut is a space traveller.

Re:Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454124)

What's more annoying than this guy spamming every third story is the inevitable response correcting him about the cosmonaut/confidant thing. Can we just accept that if he's not seen/doesn't care about this issue by now, he probably never will . You're just encouraging him by replying and you're spamming by replying with the exact same reply that 50 other people have already given. Come on people!

Free or Free with a catch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452182)

Free as in free, or free as in micro-transactions? There is quite a difference and most take the latter.

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (2)

earls (1367951) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452248)

Free as in now that you're here, shut the fuck up and give us your money!!

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (4, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452266)

You forgot your tl;dr

Here are the highlights

Free: New players will now have access to the current gameplay in DC Universe Online (including Gotham City, Metropolis, and all current raids and alerts), with the ability to create two characters, join a league and many other benefits. Free level players will be able to purchase downloadable game packs/updates, additional character slots, powers and more through microtransactions.

Premium: Any player who has spent at least $5 USD (including former paid subscribers and new players who have purchased $5 of in-game items) will qualify for the Premium access level. Premium level players will have more benefits available to them than the Free level player, including additional character slots, additional inventory slots, and higher cash limits. Downloadable adventure packs, additional character slots, and more can be purchased in-game.

Legendary: Maximum features and benefits are included at this level. Loaded with enhanced additional features, Legendary access will be available for a $14.99 USD monthly fee and includes all DLC packs at no cost, more than 15 character slots, more than 80 inventory slots, the ability to form unrestricted-sized leagues, and many other benefits.

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (1)

ZzzzSleep (606571) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452312)

Sounds very similar to how City Of Heroes is doing things (or will be, Real Soon tm). I'm not sure how it compares with Champions Online. Anyone able to tell me?

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452678)

CoH's engine may not be as pretty as CO's is (kinda stands to reason since the CO engine is essentially a second generation of the same one in CoH).

Still, CoH has 7 years of content built. And it's fairly evenly spaced all along the leveling path. They even have stuff to do once you hit max level (Incarnates).
They have over 50 zones. 4 PVP, 5-co-op.
They have alignment shifting, so you can play as hero, villain, or two intermediary alignments.
CoH has made attempts to balance their ATs. So nothing is "clearly superior" to play. With the enhancement and invention systems, just about ANY toon can eventually become ridiculously powerful if you have a mind to make them so.
Also, the devs and art team keep pushing further and further with how much detail and such that they can wring from the current engine.
The development team is fairly involved with the community as well. Not as much as they were in the early days, but it's still REALLY common to see devs and artists replying in threads other than "official announcement" type things.
Their current Community Manager is also quite active. Every Wednesday there's a live video stream put on as well as he drags various and sundry members of the development staff from their caves and into the light.
Roughly 2 weeks ago, they just upgraded their servers for better performance.
Last week they launched Issue 21, which has the F2P component in and we're in the VIP (subscriber) head start right now. The new store is a bit...crude. But it mostly functions. And I expect it to eventually get a lot better. Usually their initial implementations on new UI stuff are somewhere between horrific and "WTF!?!?". But after a couple revs they tend to get a lot more usable as they get more and better feedback.
It really IS a micro-transaction system. You buy points in blocks of 400 (which is roughly $5). And most individual items are between 20 and 120 points. Sets of items, like complete costume sets are 3-800 points.
Also, VIPs (subscribers) get a dole of 400-550 (based on veteran status) points a month for free. Since monthly price for a sub is about $11 (can be $9.50 if you buy NCSoft 60-day time cards online), you're getting nearly half your sub back in points every month.
There's also the updated rewards program. Previously it was the veteran program. But they've put so much cool stuff into it in the last 7 years, it wasn't fair to expect new players to come in and wait ANOTHER 7 years before they saw it. Now vets start out just about where they were in terms of rewards BEFORE the switch-over, but usually are slightly higher. The rewards are now in 10 (#10 is only open to VIP players though) tiers. You have to fill up an entire tier before you move to the next, but while in that tier, you can prioritize which rewards in that tier you select first. Also, buying blocks of market points rewards you with extra reward tokens, moving you up faster. If you don't spend ANY money, you can move into Tier 9 (what would be 6-7 years of rewards) in about 3-4 years. If you want to get there SOONER, you can buy points. And none of the rewards or stuff on the market are game-breaking "sell power" type of things. But lots of them are DAMN nice to have (team teleporters, remote access to the auction house, remote access to personal vault (off-character) storage, etc). Tier 9 and VIP Tier 9 are a rotating rewards setup. Certain rewards will occupy these slots for a while then rotate out. And new rewards will replace them. The toons who claimed them don't LOSE them. They just get the opportunity to get NEW stuff so they don't hit cap and have nothing to do with their reward tokens.

You can hit the City of Heroes site to learn more about it.
http://na.cityofheroes.com/en/news/freedom/freedom_overview.php [cityofheroes.com]

Or you can hit the Paragon Wiki.
http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/City_of_Heroes_Freedom [paragonwiki.com]

Seriously, there's a LOT of playability in CoH. CO is starting to get more content, but their virtual world is still TINY compared to CoH. All they have are (arguably) better graphics and a couple of nifty mechanics in a few places.

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452840)

That's pretty interesting, and I may have to try it out. The price model works better for those of us who play with our kids, but only have them from time to time, as deemed by the courts. Some months, I have stuff planned, other months we just want to veg out and play WoW. But either way, I pay for a whole month's subscription, despite only using a few days (he cannot play at his mother's house).

And then there's the fact that CoH is available on the Macintosh...

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452936)

Yeah. This makes it a lot easier for houses with kids (or multiple kids).

It allows the kids to have a couple characters of THEIR OWN without filling up mom or dad's account. The ability to purchase more character slots (up to 48 per server now), gives you something to hold over them as "reward" too.

What I might suggest doing though.

Instead of sticking with the "standard" account. Buy a 1 month subscription up front. It allows them to play initially as a VIP player. Then, when they go back to F2P, they're a premium player (with elevated rights).

To see the differences, in tiers, go here:
http://na.cityofheroes.com/en/news/freedom/player_cho.php#tabs-4 [cityofheroes.com]

Premium players, while they can't START supergroups (guilds) themselves, can join (and even lead) one.

Also, they're allowed to send whispers (private tells to people) rather than being limited to local and team channels only.

They'll also be able to use the in-game mail system (once their toon gets to level 10 IIRC). This allows you to send them stuff (enhancements, salvage, recipes, in-game currency), offline, in the game.

It'll also give them limited access to the invention and auction house systems without having to pay for it the way base F2P players do.

Also, the month of subscription gets them their first Paragon Reward (vet) token and 400 points ($5) they can spend in the store on whatever the heck they want.

Also, if the expense is a problem for staying subbed, take a look here as well.

http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/R_M's_Guide_to_Getting_Cheap_Months [paragonwiki.com] .

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461552)

So of course, when I had a few hours to kill, when WoW was down for maintenance, they had some Tuesday maintenance for CoH. Just my luck. At least I got the client downloaded.

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37456546)

Divorced fathers unite! Yeah, I've been searching for good f2p for time with my daughter. Luckily I get her far more than most dads, which is 3 days a week. Still, after homework and chores some nights it's more fun to fire up a video game than go waste money and gas to "go do something". I found a good site, mmohuts.com , that reviews this stuff. I can tell you most of the crap advertised on kids channels (I don't even have TV, but her mother does at times) is full of velvet ropes and really is a demo more than f2p.

If you're kids are slightly older you might like Dungeons and Dragons Online (which has a good amount of f2p stuff and has huge point sales 2-3 times per year) or Lord of the Rings Online (same company, I haven't played it all that much though).

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461536)

My son has been playing WoW for about a year, maybe two. The only one we see on the kids channels that he plays much of is Wizards online. I think he played a bit of the Clone Wars one. Honestly, I think he'd play just about anything if it gives him a chance to hang out with dad.

Re:Free or Free with a catch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452348)

There is not really quite a difference between the two. 95% of all F2P models provide an experience where you're not missing out on important stuff if you chose not to pay for things. Take Team Fortress 2 for instance. You never need to buy anything under any circumstances. Anything that can be bought can be made (or randomly found).

I don't think I've ever seen a popular online game be 100% free with no F2P model in this day and age. It would be nothing but a massive money put. What would be the point of that?

S.O.E. does this with all of their online games. (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452256)

Not shocking, as the game sucks and paying a monthly sub for it is just retarded. I think everyone but the die-hard masochists subbing it right now have figured that out.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452298)

Agreed. I had high hopes, but their insistence upon re-inventing EVERYTHING and going against common MMO UI elements (screwed up movement, no way to put things the way you want them) made the game unplayable at best. Last I heard PC and PS3 players weren't on the same servers, so why bother making the game interface dumbed down for the PC? Chat interface was ABSOLUTELY THE WORST one ever created for an MMO. I've played early beta versions of stuff like LOTRO where stuff wasn't completely baked when players were let into the world, and the release chat system in DCU was completely useless.

I'm a huge comic book fan, but the superhero MMOs so far have been disappointing. CoH made endgame play impossible without a group AT ALL TIMES. Champions Online managed to sort of capture the flavor of the P&P game that I loved in the 80s and 90's but then fell into the RMT store crap. DCU Online, for all of it's great license potential, is the biggest crapfest of the lot. After the first two days trying to play it, I never logged in again. Didn't even play out my first "free" Month.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452474)

I'm a huge comic book fan, but the superhero MMOs so far have been disappointing.

Well, it is kind of a stupid idea. Seriously, if you have a city with a couple hundred thousand superheros in it, are they still "super" or just "above-average"? Since nobody's going to play as Jimmy Olsen or Alfred the Butler, and everybody wants to be a hero, then they've got to create cockamamie NPCs for you to save, and usually you don't really care about the NPCs because the characterizations in MMOs are rarely good enough to create any kind of emotional bond. Throw "F2P" into the mix and you've got certain fail on your hands.

It appears that the people making most online MMOs just aren't very creative except when it comes to building business models that piss off the customers.

If the game was good enough, I'd pay $15/mo to play. I didn't mind paying to play Eve-Online for a few years because it was clever and hard and involving and the community was good.

All of the microtransaction games where you do or do not choose to give them money online all seem kind of skeevy. The ones I've played at least. They all make me feel a little queasy, like a greasy video poker machine in the back of a working class bar. You know it's nothing but a machine for taking away the money of the desperate and ill-informed and just knowing it's there makes you feel bad. That's how the "F2P" games come across for me. I'm not sure there's a remedy, either.

When a truly interesting and compelling F2P game comes along, I'll be happy to admit I'm wrong. Until then, I'm not going to try any new ones without a really solid recommendation from someone I trust, or two. And even then, I'll expect the worst.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452614)

All of the microtransaction games where you do or do not choose to give them money online all seem kind of skeevy. The ones I've played at least. They all make me feel a little queasy, like a greasy video poker machine in the back of a working class bar. You know it's nothing but a machine for taking away the money of the desperate and ill-informed and just knowing it's there makes you feel bad. That's how the "F2P" games come across for me. I'm not sure there's a remedy, either.

I agree completely. As soon as that's the business model there is an irresistible urge for them to start nickle and diming you, to start designing the game around tempting you to insert another quarter at every turn...

My advice for MMOs is -don't- go this route.

Personally this is what I'd like to see... a pay-as-you-go model... $1/day... and if I hit more than 15 days in a month then it caps at 15$.
My problem with MMOs is that I might play a weekend, and then not log in again for 3 weeks... or play daily for a 2-3 weeks and then not log in for a month... I have no problem with $15/mo when I'm "playing" but I don't like seeing the bill for $15 hitting my card and me realizing I've only played 1 evening in the last 4 weeks... so i cancel... and then the next time I want to log in.. .its not worth the hassle of re-activating and so forth... and i just play somehting else instead.

I'd still play 3 or 4 different MMOs casually if they supported this, and a few more I'd try.. but as it is I'm not sub'd to any of them.

Unfortunately, if an MMO did that many of its current subscribers would pay less, and its unknown whether they'd pick up more players to offset the loss as a result... meanwhile many of the F2P models out there actually end up costing most players MORE than it did when it was a subscription game... which just solidifies my objection to the f2p model.

Shows how little you understand about money (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452784)

You do know about credit cards right? There are all kinds of fees for a transaction and this makes a 15 times a $1 fee NOT the same in money earned as a 1 time 15$ fee. It is part of why iTunes is so expensive, the CC companies are cleaning up on those small transactions. That is why micro-transactions are often done through points, so that you don't end up paying most of your small payment to the credit card company and NOT the company you are buying from.

Expect about half of a dollar transaction not to make it to the company at the end. That means your proposal would net them 7.50$ for a months worth of playing... oh my goodness! The richess! If you even make ONE support email that can be answered easily and with no going back and forth, they are already paying you to play.

It is part of the whole MMO problem, MMO players are stuck witht the idea that 14,99 is not only the amount games should cost for 20 years already but complaining that this is insanely expensive! While drinking 5$ dollar coffees.

Most MMO companies keep their figures hidden but anyone who has ever run a service requiring support knows just how expensive it all becomes especially if you want to moderate. Players often demand instant assistence in the game but refuse flat out to pay for it.

It would be interesting to get an honest answer from players in a poll like way to this question:

How many minutes of support from a human being do you expect for 14,99 in a month?

Pretty damn sure the answer will show absolutely zero understanding of the costs of labor. Just look at budget airlines, the reason they are so cheap is because they cut all the service but then people complain they don't get service for their 50 dollar around the world ticket... no shit sherlock.

It was nice to read the parents post, just another reminder about how little the average MMO gamer understands about economy. He should have mentioned how Guild Wars can offer a MMO for just the box price! Prooof! (that offering an extremely cut down MMO experience with no support and no moderation is cheaper then offering a full game)

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452884)

Wait, so on $1 charges, processing, credit co. fees, etc. take 50%? I thought in the Apple bashing threads, Apple taking 30% of a $1 purchase was considered highway robbery?

Besides, if the per transaction charges are too high, then limit the actual charging of VISA, MasterCard, etc. to once or twice per month. Gets you to almost the same place.

Hmm, close reading of your post shows that you are in nearly the same place. I'm just not convinced that the GP is wrong in the broad brush strokes: pay for time played, not by the month. A point system accomplishes nearly the same thing.

As regards price: WoW seems to be doing ok for $15/month. Perhaps a 30 second ad prior to playing for the 'F2P' games?

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453318)

Most credit card transactions have a gateway fee of something around $0.15 to $0.30, and then take a percentage (1-3%) of the transaction amount. So yes, small credit card transactions are eaten up in large part by transaction fees. Probably not 50%, but certainly as high as 33%.

This is why many places that accept credit cards require minimum transaction amounts to use them.

Most people don't consider CCs highway robbery because they don't know how they work on the back end. Merchants most certainly see some CC gateways as highway robbers, because they are the ones who have to deal with the margin losses on small transactions because douchebag consumers don't care and want to buy a pack of gum on their Visa without realizing the implications of their laziness.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453572)

Oh I realise the implications, and if I have to shop at Tesco's rather than a local store, I always use the credit card as a means of trying to equalise the cost savings multinations have compared to the local businessman.

Small local store = always pay in cash (although there are charges for this as well) National Chain = Always in credit cards, even for an 80p item.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463132)

Yeah, I suppose I can get behind that logic. Most people don't have the clue to actually make that sort of informed decision though.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37453796)

A few companies (like airlines) are starting to charge an extra fee if you pay by credit card, to compensate for this. I think this is sensible: if you pay for a $10 item by credit card, you're actually paying $9.50 to the vendor and 50c to the credit card company. It's entirely fair for a vendor, if they sell an item for $10, to expect you to actually pay them $10 - so, to do that, you need to pay $10.50 in total ($10 to them, and 50c to the credit card company).

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37458406)

A few companies (like airlines) are starting to charge an extra fee if you pay by credit card, to compensate for this.

Wouldn't a more sensible and productive approach be to negotiate with the credit card companies to get them to come down on their ridiculous transaction fees?

Banking is an evil business. It's a relic of a bygone era, but because they have amassed huge power and wealth they keep every consumer and business tied to their system of skimming wealth. I think it's well past time to curtail the power of banks.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463138)

When there are only two parent providers for the overwhelming majority of transactions, negotiating isn't really that much of an option.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454352)

This is why many places that accept credit cards require minimum transaction amounts to use them.

The credit card companies don't like this of course and in fact the agreement that merchants sign with Visa and MasterCard specifically prohibit them from setting a minimum transaction amount. Theoretically if enough people complained Visa could cut the merchant off.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37457766)

Same goes for discounting for cash transactions or charging a surcharge for CC transactions; also prohibited by the merchant agreement.

Though, there are companies out there who use affiliates to process their CC transactions, and recouping the gateway fees by having the primary company charge to have their payments processed through the affiliate. They then cost-share with the affiliate to cover the fees.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37458998)

The credit card companies don't like this of course and in fact the agreement that merchants sign with Visa and MasterCard specifically prohibit them from setting a minimum transaction amount. Theoretically if enough people complained Visa could cut the merchant off.

That used to be the case, but not anymore [creditcards.com] .

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461168)

This is why many places that accept credit cards require minimum transaction amounts to use them.

Which is a violation of their merchant agreement and, if you notify the credit card company, will result in them being told to either drop the minimum or stop taking cards.

IThey are not allowed to have minimum transactions for cards and they are not allowed to charge a premium for card-using customers. They are, however, allowed to give cash discounts.

/merchant account reseller for the last 5 years.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463172)

The merchant agreement doesn't trump federal law, which allows up to a $10 minimum purchase requirement.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461576)

I actually used to be a small vendor, so I know the math. My question was mostly meant to elicit information for those who don't. My practice is that for megacorps, I always use credit. For mom and pop shops, I will use it as a debit card unless it's a large transaction.

WoW has bulk (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453368)

What people forget is that bulk really allows you to cut costs. Call center support is a good example. Running multiple call centers is expensive so can't be done for small setups BUT this means you need night shifts. The bigger the support, the more I can specialize each support tech and still have them work full time. Example? Apple could have one person answering all the calls for how to start your phone and have them busy all the time. Your local plumber's wife probably got to call her husband who is out on a job to answer a technical question.

I know this because I have been in both situations, written applications that were supported by a tech center with scripts and been in places were the receptionist just patched customers through to me, the developer. Needless to say that the small setup spend more and therefor had to charge more then the big place.

WoW does alright but it does it because it is the only game in town and some claim they have left the game because of the lousy support and the lack of moderation leading to lots of assholes misbehaving.

I am reminded of Pathe, a dutch cinema chain. For years they neglected their cinema's leading to lots of stable customers leaving because they had their movie interrupted by late comers, misbehaving people, callers etc etc. Now they are trying to cleanup BUT this is going to cost them way more because they will have a time when neither group of customers will be coming. The late comers will be refused a ticket and I am watching on my home cinema.

How is this related? Support costs, WoW charges little but does little and the game is overrun by 12 year olds who complain about the high fee. While people like me play other games and could happily pay tenfold for a smoother experience if there was the option.

One of the reasons I know how high costs are is that years ago I researched the option of human assisted config. It wasn't always simple and making it simple would involve to many elements, so why not have people do it over the phone instead. Since that company already payed a LOT to call customers back who had done it wrong. Then I learned just how much a call costs. I believe the absolute minimum we got at was a guilder (half a euro or so) per minute and that was leaving lots of costs like the building out. And what can you do in a minute? Jack of twice of course but not much in the way of support. Try it. No, not the fapping!

As for the high charge rate, Apple actually got a low rate because of their size. I can't tell you the rates I work with because they are highly confidential but the transaction costs for iDeal (dutch bank system) are very low in comparison consisting of a mere flat fee per transaction of 45-55 cents depending on the amount you do. Whenever I tell this figure to American businesses in trying to persuade them to do business in Europe, they don't believe me, no way can it be that cheap.

Apples taking 30%, the credit card companies laugh at that.

The best thing that could happen to online transactions is for the credit card companies to finally get some competition.

Why do you think Credit Cards are so unpopular in the rest of the world? Many dutch business charge nothing for iDeal but charge a couple of euro's for CC because that is what they end up paying. On a thousand dollars that is the cost of doing business but on 1 dollar.

Another piece of proof? Dutch shops WANT you to pay with pin (debit card system) rather then cash for ANY transaction, even a CHEAP cup of coffee. Try that with a credit card.

Re:WoW has bulk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454148)

"Another piece of proof? Dutch shops WANT you to pay with pin (debit card system) rather then cash for ANY transaction, even a CHEAP cup of coffee. Try that with a credit card."

This is because handling cash has "hidden" costs:
-bringing it to the bank will take some time and there are handling fees.
-security risks, robbers really like cash.

The Netherlands has an 20+ year old network[*] for authenticated (PIN) direct debit payments. Compare this with credit cards and suddenly there is a huge risk for the merchant will never see their money. This possibility for fraud is calculated into the costs of using the credit cards, the merchant passes the extra costs on to the buyer. And being Dutch everybody will opt for the cheapest payment method.

*: depending on it may backfire on occasion, like this weekend. EMV PIN transactions stopped working and it took some time before people figured out the old style magnetic stripes on the cards still worked. I always carry some 20EUR of emergency cash, but I had to leave a couple of items.

Re:WoW has bulk (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461652)

Your suggested changes would be an ideal situation in the US, but would require sacrifices of banks (credit card issuers) and we all know how the US likes to reign in banks </eyeroll>

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454874)

>MMO players are stuck witht the idea that 14,99
See that is the problem with people like you....thinking that this business model is ok.

No one I know that plays these games feels ok that the game they bought can not be played single player mode without the internet connection.
The fact that this game now forces you to have a internet connection (and many people dont) just to play sucks....
so when they come out with their 15$ a month ...hell yeah thats is a lot...you already made 1billion of your sales total for the game itself,
you mean to tell me that answering a few support calls is a problem....(most now defer that to the forums anyways, so they pay out even less then they used to)

All in all, I am glad to hear this, because as soon as Blizzard sees that they are making no money any more supporting the online servers...they will
close down shop...and then you are left with a worthless game....what is the purpose in that?

"If you havent done a 40 man 85 heroic raid, then don't bother voicing your opinion"

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

AntiNazi (844331) | more than 2 years ago | (#37457692)

I know a fair number of gamers and none have every complained about not having a single player mode in an MMO. Kinda would defeat the entire purpose of the genre don't you think?

Add another vote from me for $15/mo rather than Free2Pay(in smaller chunks).

Not saying they don't exist, but I've yet to meet anyone (that has an income capable of paying their owning gaming costs) that prefers micropayments over subscriptions.

The game would suck ass (even more? haven't played for over a year) if it was single player, so even if that was an option it would be worthless if the servers were shutdown. At risk of sounding like your quote, it seems like you haven't played for very long if you think there is much (fun) to be had solo. On the bright side, if you like being a courier (90% of questing), people will actually pay you to do that IRL.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37466906)

You know, you are the second person that read my post and thought I was complaining about that, when in fact I was complaining about the game not being yours even after you pay for it....you have to keep paying for it afterwards monthly, and then if ever they think it not profitable enough , they shut the servers down, hence stopping your game play altogether....

also have you done a lvl 85 40 man heroic raid for you to even reply?

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#37464198)

If you want a single player game, buy a single player game. The whole point of an MMO is to be on line in a persistent world. Complaining that an MMO requires an Internet connection is like complaining that a computer game requires a computer.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454966)

You do know about credit cards right? There are all kinds of fees for a transaction and this makes a 15 times a $1 fee NOT the same in money earned as a 1 time 15$ fee

And since they'd bill at the end of month it wouldn't matter in the slightest. Sure there will be some <$15 charges but they aren't doing 15 $1 charges instead of 1 $15 charges.. Charging in the CC in $1 increments would be stupid and nobody would do that.

Heck they could even charge a $15 minimum - via the points system you mentioned. At the end of the month they take the number of hours the player has played and cap it at 15. Reduce the number of "time points" the player has by that amount. If the "time points" value is now negative charge the CC $15 and add 15 "time points" to the player's account. There that took more time to type than it did to make up - where did you get this "charge the card every hour" crap from? Tweak that "negative" to some other number if you want a pay in advance system. Have a minimum too if you want " if you play <5 hours a month you are charged for 5 hours".

How many minutes of support from a human being do you expect for 14,99 in a month?

And I expect as much support as it takes to fix their screw ups. I've never called support for a game. I've emailed support once or twice because something wasn't working - but that cost was amortized over everyone else since "their shit was broken" (the latest was steam not letting me buy something because my laptop was in the wrong location - that took 1 minute of a support person's time, assuming they are very slow at reading email).

It was nice to read the parents post, just another reminder about how little the average MMO gamer understands about economy

Whereas I got a reminder of how some people like to project their own idiocy onto others. Given nowhere did that post say to make multiple charges on a CC - just to allow for a lower charge on months in which there was little game time used. A system that works just fine for the phone companies, the electricity companies, the water companies, the gas companies, cloud computing providers, etc, etc. Metered pricing is hardly a new idea.

But you ignored that and decided to focus on a suggestion that was never made. Oh well it's nice to get reminder of how retarded at reading comprehension the average furry creature is.

Re:Shows how little you understand about money (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37458862)

You do know about credit cards right? There are all kinds of fees for a transaction and this makes a 15 times a $1 fee NOT the same in money earned as a 1 time 15$ fee. It is part of why iTunes is so expensive,... rant rant rant

Look, I'm the poster you responded to, and I don't know what you are going on about. PAYG doesn't require that there be a multitude of tiny transactions.

I'd be happy to pre-pay them in $20 or even $50 lumps, and then chip away at the balance over 3-12 months...

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452856)

I'll go with this. See my earlier comment regarding partial custody and playing with kids.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37453740)

What they're actually providing you with, when you play an MMO, is server time. So why don't they charge for that? 20c/hour, or something like that - so someone who plays a few hours a day ends up paying $10-20 per month, and someone who only logs in once every 2-3 weeks only pays for the time they use.

Amalgamate it into a single bill at the end of the month, plus an extra ~50c to pay for the credit card transaction fee.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454510)

The problem with that from their point of view is that it makes it far too easy for you to walk away. If you have a lot of money invested in a "F2P" model game, or you have a running subscription that means unless you're playing two or three nights a month you feel like you're not getting your money's worth, it's much harder to take a few weeks away from the game, and people who find it easy to take a few weeks away might also find that they like to do other things and end up leaving the game completely. That's why they'll never make it easy for you to dip in and out when time permits, they'll always want some hook to keep you coming back more often.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37458758)

The problem with that from their point of view is that it makes it far too easy for you to walk away.

Agreed. But at the same time, it ensures I never leave completely, because I never left.

The current model, has the casual player in this perpetual frustration cycle... of enjoying the game, and not wanting to quit, but resenting how little they play and pay for it. Sooner or later, they cancel... and then they are gone for good.

My proposal makes it easier for them to walk away... but leaves the door open to come back. I know I would still be playing MMOs today if they had a reasonable pay as you go option.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453150)

The only way I found it comfortable to play was with a controller and not with my keyboard. It is another example of a grand scale fuckup in the MMO industry.

I won't be subbing to or playing games from Sony ever again after the SOE hacks.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452418)

This game is by Sony right? So you have to sign away your right to class-action them for anything, risk receiving rootkits, and have your personal data distributed to criminals?

Did I miss anything?

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454518)

The new ToS that Sony has made would not stand up in court, at least not in Canada, because companies are not allowed to do what Sony is trying to do with that new ToS!

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454412)

Not all of them. I would start playing Everquest again if there was a F2P option. Unfortunately that's just for EQ2.

Re:S.O.E. does this with all of their online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37456672)

The EQ 2 implementation is pretty bad unless you really enjoy grinding, because the highly restrictive cash and inventory limitations keep you from being able to do much else.

Awesome (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452262)

I played this as a beta tester for free for about 6 weeks and found it to be fun, but simply not worth the money. Now that it is free, even if it is with advertising I can follow the story and watch more of these cool cinematics [youtube.com] .

As to how this all relates to the New 52 though, that will be interesting.

Re:Awesome (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452388)

As to how this all relates to the New 52 though, that will be interesting.

The MMO is also a complete suckfest? Not happy with the first couple of weeks of 'the New 52' (haven't seen the releases from last week yet).

Fuck you, Sony. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452274)

Suck my asshole.

Re:Fuck you, Sony. (1, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452302)

That requires a premium subscription.

Free is never free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452288)

These free to play games are usually pay-to-win or at least pay-for-power. That's not automatically bad! Here's how to think about that: a pay-for-power game is never actually free. The cost of the game is the price for buying all the power that it's possible to buy. A game like Age of Empires for example costs about 100$ - it's not free, it's really expensive! Think of a free-to-play but pay-for-power game as a gimped free trial, just like lots of other games have free trials. This way of thinking cuts straight through the marketing bullshit. From this perspective, it's clear that it's just not true that games are becoming free. All that is happening is that trials are becoming more comprehensive and that the marketing departments the world over have gotten a new toy.

Re:Free is never free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37457012)

While essentially true, I think the effect depends on the implementation. Some games can be essentially free to play, by which I mean you may pay but it's up to you and not dictated by game design.

EverQuest II is increasingly crippled once you get out of the newbie areas (around 20th level) because your inventory is sharply limited. The highest level areas are unavailable. In addition, the last time I looked the store was too expensive; it actually cost more to play on the "free" server with everything unlocked than it would to just have a subscription! I think this one's a poster child for what you are describing.

Lord of the Rings Online is fantastic until you get to about 20th level, whereupon you are done; you're out of content unless you pay for more. The points you earn in-game do not come fast enough to pay for new zones. An extended demo is a great description; in reality this is substantially the same offering as the trials from games like Warhammer Online and World of Warcraft, which aren't claiming to be F2P.

However, some games do buck this trend. Dungeons & Dragons Online can be played all the way to the level cap and end-game content without paying a dime, because essential purchases can be made using points gained by playing, and most of the paid content, while perhaps attractive, isn't essential (extra character creation options, lots of cosmetic things). I have not played it beyond a cursory look, but my understanding is that Free Realms works the same way. While not an MMO, I think League of Legends fits here, too.

Some games (usually based in Asia for some reason) have as a primary barrier to advancement an extreme grind at mid-high levels, and paying money often won't do much to ameliorate it. Atlantica Online and R.O.S.E. Online are examples of this; you might be able to buy a mount, which is nice, and you can often buy things to make you look neat and sparkly, but you'll still need to kill thousands of mobs to level; the moment-to-moment gameplay is completely unaffected by the pay scheme. These games have stores but if you avoid them you're not disadvantaged in any real sense.

Then there are games like Vindictus, which really don't have enough content in the first place; making them "free" convinces players to put up with things they would not tolerate in a traditional pay scheme. I'm not sure where these fit into your structure.

ehhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452292)

F2P never really described what i've seen. I'd call it nickle and dime you to death with little bits of crack as a reward.

Yeah. That fits pretty good.

At best it's free to try. But to play? You need all those things the free account won't include to play with friends. You WILL be paying. Sooner or later. You WILL.

Re:ehhh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452356)

Waaaaah! Do you need some tampons for your aching pussy?

Re:ehhh (-1, Offtopic)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453730)

Tampons don't relieve the pain in any way or form, they're only there to block the blood from going everywhere. And it isn't "pussy" itself that is really aching, it's the womb and the musculature needed for childbirth.

Say, what was your point again: making the OP look stupid or making yourself look stupid? ;)

Re:ehhh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454544)

I didn't say tampons relieve pain. It was a joke about him being a menstruating bitch.

Re:ehhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37460696)

So which failing f2p game do you work for?

That active hostility sure didn't contribute to your games failure right...

Re:ehhh (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452986)

Take a look-see at CoH.

Their setup sells NOTHING you HAVE to have. Granted, some of it's very NICE TO HAVE, but required for play? NOPE!

You can run from 1-50, EASILY without ever touching the store.

Access to the stuff in the store or the stuff enabled by subscription merely takes you from "damn powerful" in comparison to upper levels in other games to OMGWTFBBQ where classes and power combinations previously described as "gimpy" or "needs a team" can SOLO ARCHVILLAINS (Minion, Lieutenant, Boss, Elite Boss, Monster, Giant Monster, Arch-Villain). AV's are basically meant to give stiff fights to WHOLE TEAMS (or in some cases SETS OF TEAMS). Yet some specially built characters can solo them easily.

Case in point, my main tank could basically fight everything in the game to a standstill. But couldn't kill them (Tanks = High durability, crap damage) because his damage output, while impressive, couldn't overcome an AV's regeneration. With the new Incarnate stuff (that's only available to VIPs), he can finally kill AVs and GMs.

Thing is, this stuff only works at the top-most levels of play in the Incarnate system itself. At lower levels it adds nothing.

You can't play them all (1)

Bensam123 (1340765) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452766)

Despite game makers thinking f2p is the next bastion of making easy money, they'll eventually realize, even if they make it free, when everyone else is free, they're back at square one... with a game encrusted in micro-transactions. Going f2p won't make a game good. If it sucks it will continue to suck regardless.

I also seem to be part of a growing crowd of gamers who also would rather pay for a good game, rather the having to play it after it's f2p. f2p models, even ones like TF2, tend to ruin games. Even know the content Valve is continually adding to TF2 to make it desirable is starting to pass a quality threshold where it doesn't even seem like the properly balance stuff before kicking it out the door.

Re:You can't play them all (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453026)

Thing is, they're not simply doing it "because everyone is" or "because it's hard to compete with "Free"".

At least in CoH and CO's case, they're running a Hybrid model. They have a F2P and a Subscription tier. In CoH's case they also have an intermediate tier for people who were previously subscribers.

So they have a regular income channel from their subscribers. And they will periodically get infusions from the F2P/store. Their subscriber level may go down a bit. But it'll eventually normalize (subs in CoH are head-and-shoulders above F2P in terms of non-power perks).

Hell, with the switch-over right now in CoH, a whole TON of stuff people have been asking for, for the better part of 7 years, has been put into the store (extra costume slots, additional storage, costume unlocks, enhancement unslotters, etc). There are people dropping hundreds of dollars right now and $5 bills are falling from the sky at Paragon Studios right now.

AND THE F2P component doesn't go online until NEXT TUESDAY!

Re:You can't play them all (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453648)

All these people complaining about being nickeled and dimed with temptations must not have ever been on the subscription model. Subscribing to EQ was one of the biggest gaming mistakes I ever made, right up there with playing the bottomless pit of spending known as Magic the Gathering. On the subscription model, I felt pressured to play, because it was costing me money. Not playing felt like buying a ticket to a movie, and then missing it. But playing so easily became a grind. I found it much easier to ignore the temptation to buy extras than to let a sunk cost go. Throwing good time after bad money. I finally quit EQ, and didn't replace it with anything until LOTRO went F2P. Some friends tried to suck me into WoW, but I declined, and now they don't play any more themselves. Burned out. Now I can play much more casually, just a few hours per month, without it costing a small fortune.

Still need a game where we can run the servers, a sort of "P2PMMORPG". I don't like that an MMORPG could shut down. I thought Neverwinter Nights might be it, but was not impressed with its editor.

Re:You can't play them all (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453720)

I understand where you're coming from.

Honestly, I don't think the same way. If I take a couple weeks off playing, so be it. $10-11 a month comes out to around $0.35 a day.

I pay more than that just driving to work.

F2P works for me because now friends that can't afford to pay can come back (albeit on a more limited basis) and play as regularly as they want.

And, in between my yearly sub renewals, if I have a budget crunch, I'm not missing anything.

Re:You can't play them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37455576)

When I started playing M:TG back in Revised, it was known as Tragic: The Spending. I quit and restarted many times over the years. Each time I did, pretty much most of my existing decks became worthless because the tactics changed so rapidly. So, I'm pretty much stuck with a hundred pounds (weight) of useless cardboard.

Most of these F2P games you spend the same amount or more as Magic, but you don't even get the cardboard. With games like M:TG or 40K you at least have something to hold and play later on for nostalgia purposes. With F2P games you get nothing tangible to remind you of your time there, unless you get something akin to a plush toy from the cash shop.

Re:You can't play them all (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37457434)

"With cocaine, once you snort it, you have nothing to show for your money. At least we alcoholics have lots of pretty bottles to help us reminisce on the glory days of our addiction."

And when I started playing back in Revised, we called it Cardboard Crack. :)

Re:You can't play them all (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37459350)

I tried to save some money by printing up proxies. Scan, print, and slide into a sleeve, on top of some worthless common card. It was amazing how people vehemently objected to that. Acted as if I'd committed a crime, and as if that was cheating. Demanded to know whether I had the actual cards. Why should they care? It's not like they were stockholders. It's like they paid for their cards, and they wanted you to share that misery! Was another factor that helped me decide to quit MtG. Sad to see people acting like a bunch of rabid sheep. Tragic: The Spending indeed.

Re:You can't play them all (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454460)

I see F2P as an absolute last resort for MMOs. If the MMO start off poorly and never gains traction, it's a good step to salvage the game and attempt to break even on the development. If the MMO was fairly popular and F2P is a response to subscriptions falling off, I think it's more of an eleventh hour money grab before it tanks. Players that were subscribing but never made it very far in the game will be tempted to drop to a free subscription. New players will try the game but will rarely, if ever, make micro transactions. The few new players that do get hooked might help revenue a bit, but I think you'll see a lot more subscribers quit subscribing than you'll see new players making microtransactions. Servers getting inundated with people who aren't serious about playing the game will further frustrate subscribers as well.

That being said, I think DCO is one case were it might work. Console gamers have a different mentality than PC gamers and your typical MMO players. Microsoft proved that people will spend more to dress an avatar. In a free game, especially a super hero game where appearance/identity is everything, micro transactions might flourish...at least up front...if Sony ramps up the customization end of the game.

Re:You can't play them all (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454558)

This is exactly what I thought. If anything it's going to eventually work against them. Once the novelty wears off, people will start seeing these for what they really are - extended trials with hidden payments if you want to fully participate. At that point people will use the trial to critique the game not as "something that's free" but as "something that's likely to cost at least $X over the next year". At that point the games had better stand up as solid experiences or people will just look for the next free thing (at least with the old fashion payment model you'd get an initial bulk of purchases in the first few weeks instead of gambling the business on a freemium model that may or may not attract enough customers).

Re:You can't play them all (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455388)

I'm with you on this one.

I would much rather pay a monthly fee to play an MMO than play a micro-transaction supported one. It's much easier to control how much I spend on the game each month. I was pretty hardcore on both FFXI and WoW for quite some time (over it now, thankfully). I know there were "black markets" for currency trading around those games, but I never used them - partly for ethical reasons but, if I'm honest, mostly because I didn't want my account suspended. Legitimise that kind of thing - indeed, make it essential for hardcore players - and I know full well I will end up spending a lot more per month.

And that's even before you get into discussions of quality - of both the game and its player-base.

Re:You can't play them all (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461952)

Maybe that's why the most successful ones have a choice?

Re:You can't play them all (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461974)

A good game is a good game, how people pay is a different subject.

What it does do is get more people looking at it, and in the cases of some games, make the company more money.

Face it 60 bucks AND a monthly fee is a steep hill for a lot of people. A hill I won't climb again.

Neat! At what level... (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452938)

Wow, neat! At what payment level do I get to have my personal information stolen [soe.com] ? I'm so excited, I can't wait to have my credit card number sold to the Russian mafia and my username and password hash posted on 4chan!

Re:Neat! At what level... (1)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453042)

In Sony-speak, "poor internal security" translates into "massive business opportunity [soe.com] ".

Re:Neat! At what level... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37456662)

Wow, neat! At what payment level do I get to have my personal information stolen? I'm so excited, I can't wait to have my credit card number sold to the Russian mafia and my username and password hash posted on 4chan!

And don't forget, you can't form a class-action lawsuit, AND can only submit to arbitration!

(Those PSN terms are coming to all Sony online services near you, if they haven't already).

Meh... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453092)

I was recently involved in a discussion about F2P game models...here is a an except from a post I made regarding some recent experiences with F2P games (DC Universe most closely resembles DDO in the examples I give).

""Google free to play MMORPG some time, and see what is out there."

I did that, and without exception, there was always some serious catch to the "free" part of the title. Paying wasn't much better.

The worst example is my last experience--Runes of Magic. Most of the in-game equivalents of such things as the items required to upgrade gear are severely gimped, making them almost useless in comparison to the items bought with RL cash from their store. To make matters worse, MANY of the items, both free in-game and item store purchased, have a chance, repeat, a chance of giving you exactly what you wanted--a purchase is often a bag that has a chance of having what you paid for in it. It is nothing more then gambling, only with payouts in virtual items. I asked in open chat how much people were paying, for item store purchases, each month in order to have access, gear-wise, to end-game content--the first person that responded stated he spent $600US the previous month on consumables alone. Needless to say this sort of brought chat to a standstill for a little bit. After that, a few chimed in, with clearly stated guilt, that they spent around $100-200 a month to play the game. It's a Casino disguised as an MMO.

Dungeons and Dragons Online was even more frustrating--you had to have a monthly account, or you had to purchase "modules" for dungeon/zone content. If your friends didn't have them you couldn't play with them in those areas. What really pissed me off was paying for the monthly account only to find out that some of the areas still had to be purchased from the "item store". It's a bait-and-switch.

Those two models are how all of the "free-to-play" games I tried worked. One plan, or the other--and each screwed over both paying and non-paying customers alike.

Thus, I am back to UO."

Re:Meh... (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453378)

The only F2P MMO I've ever played that had a developer who actually gave a shit was Puzzle Pirates. Then again, it's also the only MMO I've ever played that rewarded skill much more highly than how much you paid. A skilled player could easily afford anything in the game, and there's no such thing as level grind when all stats are ranked against averages created by all the players on the server. Create a new character and you can immediately rank at the top of the charts if you are among the best at playing the puzzles.

Certainly you could buy your way into end-game play, but that's by no means a guarantee you won't be trounced by a flag (guild) of players who makes their way on nothing but skill. Flags that do fund their end-game operations that way still have to stay in the good graces of enough exceptional players to ensure it's something more than just burning money.

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454216)

Dungeons and Dragons Online was even more frustrating--you had to have a monthly account, or you had to purchase "modules" for dungeon/zone content. If your friends didn't have them you couldn't play with them in those areas. What really pissed me off was paying for the monthly account only to find out that some of the areas still had to be purchased from the "item store". It's a bait-and-switch.

That's a load of crap. DDO has one of the best F2P models of any game I've seen. They don't allow you to buy power, and they do allow you to play, for free, and earn store points through play; which you use to buy more content and earn further store points. It's undoubtedly a slow process if you never put in any money yourself, but hey, you get what you pay for. Also, paying the the VIP account gives you access - but not ownership - of all modules for that month, there's no such thing as a module which has to be bought by VIP account holders. And if you happen to be playing with a F2P friend, you can buy them an hour long "Guest Pass" to whatever premium module you want to play in the game store. They don't cost much at all.

The DDO model also allows you to save money in comparison to the traditional pay-to-play models like in WoW. You can purchase content outright with Turbine Points, so even if you let your VIP subscription lapse, you always have access to that content. Buy all the content you want to play, then drop your sub. You'll pay several months worth upfront perhaps, but if you're playing for a while, you've made a saving.

Re:Meh... (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454394)

league of legends

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37455304)

... has been bought by a Chinese company. Give it time. It will fall right in line.

Re:Meh... (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37456610)

I haven't played D&D Online, but I do play Lord of the Rings Online, which is also a Turbine game, and I believe the free / pay sub model works similarly.

I'm a paying subscriber to LOTRO. As a paying sub, I get no limits on gold, bank use, auctions, etc. I also get 500 Coins a month to spend in the LOTRO Store.

This does NOT get me all the content. Want Mines of Moria? That's extra. Want Mirkwood Forest? That's extra. Want Rise of Isengard? That's extra.

But you know what? Say I'm a World of Warcraft subscriber. Want Outland? That's extra. Want Northrend? That's extra. Want Cataclysm? That's extra.

Being a paying subscriber to Turbine games doesn't get you the expansions free. However, you CAN buy the expansions with Coins. The Coins that you get for free for being a paying sub. And it's not all that many. If you don't spend them on cosmetic things, you'll easily have enough to buy the expansion when you get to the relevant level. (I don't think Isengard is on the store for Coins yet, but it's brand-new.)

So in effect, I got the Mirkwood expansion for free, because I used 'bonus points' from being a paid sub to get it. And I wasn't anywhere near level to get into Mirkwood yet.

And again I don't play DDO, but in LOTRO you can earn coins in-game. If you're willing to grind Deeds, it's possible to buy all content and play the entire game without spending any real money. But you'll spend a lot of time on things like 'Kill 100 Goblins in the Shire'.

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37456908)

In defense of DDO, those "modules" are called adventure packs and you earn the same points you can buy with cash by completing existing adventures (you have access to around 40% of content at a guess as f2p). With those points you can buy even more adventure packs (which will earn you more points). Now, you don't earn the points at an amazing rate but if you play you will have enough for one or two lower level packs or one of the key midlevel packs (like Gianthold) for free, plus a bunch of other content. New f2p content comes with every update, I haven't seen an update without at least one new adventure for f2p people.

As well, if you have a pack and your friend doesn't you can buy a guest pass. These actually don't cost much and allow you to grant access for a couple hours to a given pack (on sale you can buy around 7000 points on sale for 50 USD, guest passes, iirc, run around 50-80 points, so around 40 cents of real cash if you have no points to spend).

Now I understand if the above doesn't sound like a real good deal for some people and I do recommend buying at least 5 dollars of points of the store if you play more than a few days just to get premium level on your account (more than one auction house listing, 2 extra character slots per server, more chat options, etc.), but even if you don't you can easily play 1-2 weeks of a really good game for free. There's tons and tons of free content for DDO and while you'll run more of the same dungeons than a paying player in order to level you can level all the way up to level cap.

I don't sub to DDO but I did for about 4 months. Since then I've been f2p. Now I like Turbine so I have spent money on their store, for about 50 bucks plus some free points I picked up at an event I actually have every existing adventure pack (they go on sale from time to time). I didn't need to do that, I had enough packs to level up to max with any characters I wanted to play as well as access to the end game content, I just wanted to support a good (as I see it) f2p model.

Re:Meh... (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#37457868)

I've been playing a ton of League of Legends, and I love their F2P model.

If you simply can't afford to spend any money, and have a ton of jobless free time, you'll eventually own every character in the game.

Even then, they rotate heroes around to the "Free" section for people to try out for a week at a time.

I have a job, so I spent the money and bought a hero package. (More money than free time)

There are two aspects of the game that are interesting. 1. The hero skins require you to spend money if you want them. They give you no in-game advantage.
2. The rune "bonuses", can only be purchased using IP. Currency you get from playing.

I had bought DC Universe, and it's a cutting edge MMORPG... for 1996. Wouldn't play it for free.

Re:Meh... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461936)

DDO has thousand of dungeons and modules that are free to play... and it' nothing like DC universe.

OTOH, who can respect an opinion about MMORPG from someone who plays UO? no one, that's who.

Yeah, there are thing in the games that you can pay for. That's the point.

The real way is B2P (2)

LyannaStark (2266168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453292)

IMHO the real way for any MMORPG, who didn't want to goes F2P (Free To Play), it is going for a B2P (Buy To Play) with Item Shop, with item that are just esthetic. Like Guild Wars or Guild Wars 2!

Re:The real way is B2P (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453490)

Guild Wars isn't just aesthetic anymore, though. With the $10/slot "Player Character heroes," (and, arguably, as far back as the additional inventory panes at $10/pane), the GW store absolutely sells in-game advantage for RL money now.

That decision was what made me decide not to get GW2, rendering my 50/50 HoM a waste...

Re:The real way is B2P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454208)

Clearly you haven't been following GW2 because if you did, you would know that 1.) it is going to own and 2.) they aren't going to have any pay for in-game advantage. It's pretty debateable to say that GW1 does it now anyway by allowing your stash to become larger or adding more character slots. Even if they did add an advantage now, the game has been out since like 2004 or 2005 and is end-of-life anyway.

Re:The real way is B2P (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454926)

I did follow it until the event which I mentioned, which you must have misread.

You may not consider inventory slots to be an advantage, but the ability to store more mods/weaponsets is definitely an advantage in a build-based game like guild wars.

And I never said character slots were an in-game advantage. Earlier this year, they introduced 7 hero parties (about damn time) for free, AND the ability to use your own characters as heroes. THAT is a definite in-game advantage, because it gives you more flexibility in party builds.

Have a party build that would work with a third paragon hero? Think you can out-discord Discordway with an 8-necro party? You can do it, at $10/slot.

And since they broke their promise not to sell power in GW, I have no reason to believe that a company as permanently cash-strapped as ArenaNet will resist the temptation to sell power in GW2, as well.

Re:The real way is B2P (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454494)

I agree, I think the real future of MMOs is going to be the Guild Wars model. Its sustainable for the developer and keeps players playing by not beating up their wallet. It also encourages the developer to pump out expansions and not put out a game until it's properly balanced. Borderlands was a great example of this as well. It was B2P, yet came out with 4 quality expansions in a years time. While the expansions were smaller compared to most MMO expansions, they also only cost $10 each. I have a feeling that a lot of people bought the expansions without even playing them, just because they liked the game and the expansions were cheap.

I don't think the $15/m model is sustainable anymore. A greatly reduced rate ($5/m) or B2P is definitely where things are going to have to head or else the MMO market will deteriorate. People only have the budget for one $15/m game...but I'm sure they'd buy and play multiple MMOs if they were based on the B2P model.

Feemium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37453668)

It's not Freemium it's Feemium.

I haven't played DC Universe, but the trend in asian MMO's is that they hold back half the customization options and many special outfits, weapons and pets. In the case of some games, they also play the "Arcade game" card which means the difficulty is tuned in a way to extract the most amount of money out of players by paying to continue when they die (albeit this is a time tradeoff, since some missions may take as long as two hours to complete, and paying 25 cents to resurrect on the spot is preferable to having to spend 2 hours to get back.)

If I had designed such games, I would have put more emphasis on a fun game and anti-bot/anti-cheating before flipping on the premium features. This is something that every damned MMO out there fails at. They see $$$ in their eyes and don't give a shit about the rampant cheating, which in turn causes more players to just cheat and not buy the premium features. The "end-game" with these MMO's is that there are only two population bases, the 97% that don't pay for anything, and the 3% "premium kings" that fund the entire game by paying for the premium content and selling it for the in-game currency. They never really have to play the hard parts of the game since they can just buy their way past it.

Unfortunately the fun is truely sucked out of the games when you can just buy all the game rewards cheaply. Too many of these games are turning into cow-clickers.

Fun 2 Play? (2)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454012)

About time.

Oh wait, that wasn't it was it...

Several MMOs??? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454378)

It's time to get out of your parents' basement if you have enough time to play several MMOs (and be any good at any one of them), but lack the financial means to do so.

Re:Several MMOs??? (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455840)

Reminds me of this comic: What it's Like to Play Games Online as an Adult [theoatmeal.com] .

Re:Several MMOs??? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37461914)

That comic should be titles:
"What's it;s like for a dumb ass adult who doesn't know how to keep a social gaming group of peers so he grabs just anyone to play and then bitches when he doesn't like them."

To long?

And for the record, I have a tight group of peers I play with, but when my wife wants to go out and get funky, I drop therm like a hot potato.

Re:Several MMOs??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37462728)

Here's a shorter, more accurate one: "Some idiot in Portland takes comic strips far too literally"

Free? (2)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455806)

Free as in; I do not have to give them any personal information, any business information, any money, and free of any chance installing their software will effect my computer? That would be the only circumstances I would involve myself with Sony.

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