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Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the pay-seven-cents-to-agree-or-disagree dept.

Businesses 181

An anonymous reader writes "This article makes the case that most gamers treat 'free-to-play' games with derision and scorn when they really shouldn't. The author refers to it as 'snobbery.' We've all either encountered or heard about a game company using shady business practices to squeeze every cent from their users through in-app purchases (a.k.a. microtransations, a.k.a. cash shops), or a simple pay-to-win format. But these stories don't represent all games — by a long shot. It's something endemic to shady developers and publishers, not the business model. Think about traditionally-sold games, and how often you've seen a trailer that horribly misrepresents gameplay. Or a $60 game that was an unfinished, buggy mess. Or a Kickstarted project that didn't deliver on its promises. The author says, 'When something is new, when it isn't aimed at you, when it is created by strange people in strange places, when it breaks established norms and when it is becoming hugely popular... it's scary for the establishment. The ethical critique is an easy way to fight these changes, a call to protect the children or protect the irrational people who obviously can't like these games on their own merits. We begin to sound as reactionary as the ban on pinball or the fears over jazz music corrupting the minds of our youth.'"

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Plebs gonna pleb. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709229)

Plebs gonna rabblerabblerabble because they don't have disposable income.

Somehow, the fact that they have no jobs or lives and can sit around grinding 24/7 for months on end is somehow "better" than paying $5 to get your pixelated rewards.

Shit, I buy coffee that costs more than that.

Re:Plebs gonna pleb. (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 7 months ago | (#46709761)

But that's the thing, both grinding and buying suck -- what about challenging gameplay? Isn't that what makes the rewards actually rewarding? Nowadays AAA titles put incredibly amounts of content into games, and then they want to make sure everybody gets to see all of it, and people want that too, because they paid for it, but it leads to shitty games IMHO.

I got kinda bored with gaming because of all this glorified skinner box stuff, like achievements people "hunt" just so they can tick them off. I might as well go through folders of sounds, textures and models to "consume the content". The way to win that is to not play, and that's kinda sad for me. But then again maybe it's just something one grows out of after a while, and it's not use trying to "fix" that, and trying to tell those who are still having fun with it how they should have fun :P

Hearthstone is good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709233)

It's my first foray into CCG. I'm quite enjoying it. It's boring to read MTG snobs remind people that it's not as strategically advanced (yes, by clearly by design), or free players complaining that it's pay2win (I do fine by collecting cards by winning games), or pretty much anyone who has lost a game against a particular class talk about how "unbalanced" it is (I don't lose unusually often against that class), or people complaining about the lack of cards (it's only been out of beta a few weeks), or any number of complaints that OH IT'S ALL SO AWFUL AND NOT AS GOOD AS EVERYTHING ELSE... until you find that EVERY other game has a similar level of complainers.

Re:Hearthstone is good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709411)

We begin to sound as reactionary as the ban on pinball or the fears over jazz music corrupting the minds of our youth.'"

Its not jazz music its self. Its the blacks that make jazz music. Take a great look at black "culture" and you see a lot of broken families, bastard kids with no daddys, crime, black kids beating up other blacks kids cause studying is "acting white", the few successful black business owners called Uncle Toms and hated, and worst of all they think being a trashy low life thug is the coolest thing ever.

And guess what. When impressionable white youth watch MTV they are told being like that is COOL. Then you wind up with wiggers.

The fear of this is real.

Re:Hearthstone is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709727)

Black culture has nothing to do with broken families, bastard kids, crime, etc. The things you describe are all related to being poor. Poor black and white people are more likely to be in a broken family, have bastard kids or commit crimes. http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2013/05/06/census-bureau-links-poverty-with-out-of-wedlock-births [usnews.com]

Minorities with many different ethnic backgrounds and mixtures of skin colors have a higher occurrence of poverty than America's mostly white population. http://www.nclej.org/poverty-in-the-us.php [nclej.org] . It is my opinion that stereotyping of minorities, like you are doing, is part of the problem that continues this cycle of poverty with minorities.

For the record, I am a bastard white male raised in a broken family by a single white mother who was quite poor.

Re:Hearthstone is good. (3, Interesting)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 7 months ago | (#46710043)

I'm enjoying Hearthstone as well.

Something some players may not realize is that when you're playing other humans in a ranked system, if you win half your matches, you're doing OK. You can win more if you're new or if you're improving rapidly, but then your ranking gets adjusted and you'll face tougher opponents.

It's a collectable card game, so having more cards will give you more options. If you want to be able to compete with people who have been playing for months on your first day, you'd have to spend a lot of money. But you wouldn't be able to build a good deck out of those purchased cards with so little experience, so it's a rather pointless criticism. If you play now and then for a few weeks you'll get a decent set of cards and you'll learn how to use them. And every level of rarity has good cards, you don't need a lot of rare cards to make a good deck.

Reading the forum posts about Gelbin Mekkatorque (a promo card given to people who purchased something during beta) was hilarious. Some people complained that handing out a promo card like that was pay2win. Others complained that the card was seriously underpowered and they felt ripped off. So in the end it shows that you simply cannot make everyone happy. (In my opinion, the card is way too random to be used in a competitive deck, but it is quite funny.)

What is a shake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709247)

A fair shake means?

Re:What is a shake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709797)

It is a reference to gambling with dice. If you shake the dice in your hands properly you won't be able to cheat. It's about fairness.

Re:What is a shake? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 7 months ago | (#46709849)

To give something a fair shake is to give it a fair chance. It started off around 1830 as an American colloquialism meaning "an honest deal", but the meaning has shifted.

free to play isn't worth defending (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709261)

usually when we're criticizing "think of the children" positions it's because they threaten something of value. we're talking about games that are designed from the ground up to exploit people for money on a continuous basis, and the best defence they have is that "hey, we're not that bad, some people actually like it"

Re:free to play isn't worth defending (0)

seebs (15766) | about 7 months ago | (#46710847)

Except... It's not actually true that these are all "games that are designed to exploit people for money on a continuous basis". At least some of the games that have adopted F2P models have worked very, very, hard to avoid exploiting players.

New? (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 7 months ago | (#46709275)

According to the author, apparently "free-to-play" is a new business model. Funny, I've been playing "free-to-play" games for well over twenty years now; and back in the old shareware days it was fairly common to have a feature-limited free version that you had to upgrade to get the whole game.

Yes, some of the mechanics of ways to make money off of a free-to-play game have changed along with technology, but in concept things really haven't changed that much.

Entitlements vs. consumables (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46709313)

There's a difference between old free-to-play, which was based on "entitlements" (purchases that you keep for an indefinite time once you buy them), and new free-to-play, which is based on "consumables" (purchases that you have to make and remake to continue progressing). The old shareware model involved making the first chapter free-to-play and making further chapters entitlements. For example, the first episode of Doom was provided without charge and ended on a cliffhanger. The Ultimate Doom paid entitlement brought three more episodes* ("The Shores of Hell", "Inferno", and "Thy Flesh Consumed"); and the Doom II paid entitlement brought another game's worth of missions. Energy mechanics in newer F2P games, such as "gems" or "berries" or "lives", are different: they force you to wait hours or days at a time to progress if you don't pay, and completing the game within reasonable time requires spending more on energy than a player would have originally spent on a whole game under a pay-up-front or entitlement model.

* Before Ultimate Doom was completed, Id Software sold Doom (registered version), which was the same as Ultimate Doom without "Thy Flesh Consumed".

Re:Entitlements vs. consumables (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#46709379)

WORMS FTW! jk, jk, srsly when I buy a phone game and can choose between an ad-supported free version and a paid version that costs a buck or two, i usually choose the paid version. one, because i read reviews to learn what the good games are and don't download everything just to try it. two, because ads annoy me. three, I'm not going to pay for stuff I wouldn't pay for in real life. In real life I'm not going to throw down for a shiny metal helmet, so i'm not going to do it virtually either. four, all games are a waste of time anyway so why pay any money? five, I would rather save for a PS4. six, the XBone creeps me out because it is always looking at me.

Re:Entitlements vs. consumables (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709433)

In real life I'm not going to throw down

"Throw down" means "fight against". It does not mean "pay for" you stupid fucking moron.

Re:Entitlements vs. consumables (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710039)

"Throw down" can colloquially mean to pay for, as in "to throw down more chips/cash on to the table".

Who is the stupid fucking moron now?

Re:Entitlements vs. consumables (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709481)

There were also online games with "free to play" trials way back when. You could level your character only so far before you had to become a subscriber. What separates that from current "free to play"? Well, the pay-to-win element, obviously.

And yet the summary is saying that pay-to-win is somehow not endemic to the business model. Where are these mythical non-pay-to-win games? MOBAs are the closest, but even then you can pay to level up more quickly or unlock characters, and since the new characters have a tendency to be overpowered for a couple weeks before they're rebalanced, that adds a noticeable advantage to people who pay more (never mind the added flexibility of always being able to pick the right counter)...

Mythical non-pay-to-win games? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710271)

Look up Path of Exile, it's a Hack and Slash F2P Game with a cash-shop. It's cosmetics and convenience stuff. You can buy visual effects for your items and skills, useless pets, that follow your character around. For example the biggest game related advantage that you can buy with real cash is, additional storage for your virtual items. Which can be circumvented by simply creating more account, which of course are free.

You might say that this is an exception out there on the F2P market, however, it proves that the companies are the scum bags, not the business model itself.

Re:New? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709467)

Yeah, the author implies that we don't know what sucks. All those examples in the header sucking doesn't automatically make F2P good. A bad idea is still a bad idea, and they show up in free to play games a lot more often. Maybe there's no publisher to catch them, or to hold them to a bug fix commitment.

Other stuff involving this author:
Interview about his F2P game- http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2011-03-02-easy-company-interview
The game in question- http://battlefield.play4free.com/en/
Interview on why he left it a month later- http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-04-03-keep-taking-the-tablets-ben-cousins-on-the-move-to-mobile
Interview about a strange shooter he wrote next- http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/06/ben-cousins-wants-to-prove-mobile-first-person-shooters-arent-a-pipe-dream-interview/
Wikipedia on the game- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drowning_(video_game)

Re:New? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709469)

The difference is that in the old model, you paid to have more fun. In the new model, you pay to skip boredom.

I loved Plants vs Zombies 1. I gladly paid $20 for it (or whatever the price is). Plants vs Zombies 2 was a completely different story. Even at "free", it was boring. I do not want to pay just to progress. Let me just play a flat fee for a game that is completely optimized for fun.

Re:New? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#46709651)

The difference is that in the old model, you paid to have more fun. In the new model, you pay to skip boredom.

This AC is spot on the money, that's exactly how I feel. And that boredom tastes artificially added, usually not that bad at first to get you addicted but the deeper you go the more the paid and free paths diverge. Like you can have the normal game or you can have the game with lots of extra grind, would you like to pay $1 to skip it? I guess some feel that's less of a dick move than setting up a paywall and say pay $1 to proceed or it's game over, but at least then it's in their best interest to make the experience as good as possible for you. Not that I like being heckled for money with tiny little DLCs everywhere either, give me large expansions and leave the sales booth out of the game itself. Nothing worse than an in-game NPC with a dollar sign over his head.

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710003)

There needs to be truth in advertising. If the game has in-app purchases, it shouldn't be called "free". But whatever it's called, Apple and the like probably should put up some sort of barrier to prevent excessive in-app purchases. I'm thinking requiring people to load money into a special wallet, and people would have to deposit money into it before any in-app purchases. In other words, no direct 'debiting' of one's debit or credit card.

Re:New? (2)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 7 months ago | (#46710723)

Also, PvZ2 includes a lot of components that you cannot eventually earn, but can only buy. A handful of plants, a number of other bonuses. I added it all up at one point, and it was well over $50, just for the perpetual benefits, not even consumables. I resist paying that much for an AAA title. No way in hell will I pay it for a little iPhone distracter. I was late to the original and only paid $5, which I thought was fair. I'd pay $5 or even $10 for everything in #2. But not $50 or $60. Ridiculous.

Re:New? (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 7 months ago | (#46711261)

A lot of f2p make you feel punished for not paying. It doesn't develop the good will that motivates people to play. I think a lot of developers jumped on the f2p concept and kind of lost their minds. The games that let you pay to skip arbitrary delays are the worst. They are basically rewarding you to not play the game. The only people that pay are the ones that get sucked into the game. I guess they work on the same habit-reward cycles that casinos work on. People don't like them, but they still some how have a user base.

So true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711383)

The only free to play game done right I've played is League of Legends. I guess counter strike(?) (the one with hats?) is ok also, but I don't like FPS games, so I only tried it out quickly. In LoL you can't pay to win. You easily earn enough points to get the champs you want without paying a dime ( yes, if you want them all for free you have to either play a lot, but many players do have them ). I'm going to buy some decorative crap, just to support the game, because I just realized I have been entertained buy it for a couple of hundred hours.

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709561)

Haven't they changed? With shareware, once you paid you got the whole thing and never had to pay another cent. Limited functionality for free, but once you paid you got it all. Not so with the modern free-to-play model.

Re:New? (4, Interesting)

ildon (413912) | about 7 months ago | (#46710625)

"Free-to-play" does not literally mean "free to play." It means a game that is specifically designed around microtransactions. A game that was designed, scoped, and balanced around the idea that you will just barely not be able to succeed, or just barely not be able to get what you want done, unless you fork over some cash a little bit at a time.

In order for a shareware classic like DOOM to be designed in the Free-to-Play model, imagine that instead of the levels having 3 colored key cards with associated doors, they had 10 colored key cards, and you could only pick up one per day. You might reach the second key, but you would have to wait a day or fork over $0.50, or have someone click your post on Facebook to pick up the next card. Not only that, but as you progressed through the level, monster health, damage, and density increased, to the point that it would generally not be possible to complete a level unless you paid for a "boost" such as bonus healing or ammo or a temporary damage power up. There would also be no cheat codes in the game, and no difficulty level selector at the start. But you wouldn't have to pay for episodes 2-4! They'd be included but extremely hard to complete without paying for boosts, and without paying for the extra keycard access it would take you weeks to reach them.

So yes, the current "free-to-play" design paradigm is completely different from the old shareware system. In a shareware system, the most unscrupulous thing a game designer might do is front load the best level designs into the first episode, and get lazy with the designs of the later episodes, but they still had to actually make the core gameplay and difficulty progression fun, and the main gameplay loop fun. In the F2P model you create a core gameplay loop that is fun and balanced, and then you intentionally skew it to be impossible, time consuming, or frustrating, and add payment opportunities at those points of near defeat or frustration or "I'm just 2 points away" or "I just want to play one more level." And the worst part is that once you actually fork over the money, and the restrictions are released, the resulting game is bland and repetitive. The challenge disappeared because the only challenge the games usually provided were in the management of limited resources. You literally just paid $1 to make the game less fun for yourself by effectively cheating. It leaves you feeling empty and unfulfilled.

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710717)

Amiga had these types of games. COmpared to today's games they sucked.

The article is a complete waste of time from a brainless twit, the author of the original article that is.

Where have I heard this before?

'When something is new, when it isn't aimed at you, when it is created by strange people in strange places, when it breaks established norms and when it is becoming hugely popular... it's scary for the establishment.'

OH YEAH THE /. CROWD!! That and most people have come to the same conclusion, we've seen it with the Record/Film/TV Industry. Anyone familiar with Larry Flynt or the mentioned industries can see what lengths government and industry will go to destroy anything that actually represents democracy.

More basic than that (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 7 months ago | (#46709279)

The attitude stems from something more basic. In conventional games, even bad ones, once you have the game you have everything and how well you do is then up to your own skill and ability. In many free-to-play games, though, the game itself is just the hook. Once you're in, you find that you can't, for all practical purposes, go beyond a certain point without spending money and how much further beyond that you can go depends on how much you can afford to spend. It's why the derisive term is "pay-to-win". In large part how well you do in that type of game doesn't depend on your skill or ability, it depends on how deep your wallet is. And a lot of gamers are offended by the idea that a skilled, knowledgeable player who happens to not be that well-off will by design be less successful in the game than an unskilled, not-very-good player who happens to have well-off parents who'll toss him a couple of hundred dollars a week to fund his entertainment.

Re:More basic than that (0)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 7 months ago | (#46709363)

Whats funny though is that people are happy to blow through money like a bad drug habit for games like "Hearthstone" or "Magic the Gathering". This is why my next game is probably going to be a CCG myself. I have a great idea for one, but I need to finish my game going up on Facebook in about a month. Throne and Crown, the game I'm working on is a version of what Gauntlet 2 would be like if it had overland exploration. Throne and Crown [throneandcrown.com] Interestingly enough it does cost $4.99 to play past 2 hours. I'll have the virtual goods for those who want them, but the game won't need virtual goods to be played fine. The way I look at it is my game is going to be playable and fun, but it is just the beginning. The game is going to be a long 5-10 year progression where it gets new features, more art, and more music culminating into a Kingdom Sim. Instead of asking for money on Kickstarter, people can play a playable game, and if they see the potential or just want to play it some more, they can help a new game development house out. Interestingly enough, this game is 100% revenue share among my artists and musicians, so there's no money invested, just time. I could talk more about how I did the revenue sharing, it is pretty good if anyone wants to hear.

Re:More basic than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709365)

True for some games; not for all though. Some restrict the cash shops to purely cosmetic items.

Then you get the 'sidegrade' model that Planetside 2 uses (alongside its cosmetics shop). It's not exactly pay to win - the default weapons are great all-rounders, with 'aftermarket' weapons being specialised weapons (or flashy but useless weapons, like the revolvers) that help in some circumstances, but hurt in others - and are still available to free players, just later.

The only places where buying a weapon seems to give an outright advantage is with the fast jets (ESF), which only have a nosegun by default, and surface to air fire (lockon rockets or the skyguard).

Re:More basic than that (1)

lgw (121541) | about 7 months ago | (#46709399)

There's a world of difference though between "pay for content" and "pay to win". For years, Turbine was a shining example of doing it right in DDO (and probably LOTR online), where the free-to-pay portion was most of the low-level content and some of the mid-high level content, and mostly you paid to unlock new quest lines (permanently, for all characters on your account) and new race/class options (again, permanently). Sure, you couldn't get to max level on the free content alone (well, not in any sane way), but it was far more than just a limited trial. You could play for weeks and get a real feel for whether it was worth subscribing, or pay per quest line if your didn't want to subscribe. Pay-for-content is good.

Now it's different (not sure what changed in corporate management), and you can just buy your character up to max level (which is bizarre for an MMO without much endgame). It has gradually become pay-to-win.

There are a bunch of smaller Korean MMOs focused on PvP with pay-to-win mechanics where a duel between high-level characters can basically go on until one player runs out of cash. Pay-to-win is somewhat scummy, but if you're playing with friends it really doesn't matter,

The third model, and the sleaziest one, is "pay-to-progress", where you get one "turn" per day, but can buy turns. I see those games as just scams, but at least they're upfront about it.

Re:More basic than that (3)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#46709749)

Once you're in, you find that you can't, for all practical purposes, go beyond a certain point without spending money and how much further beyond that you can go depends on how much you can afford to spend. It's why the derisive term is "pay-to-win".

Far too many gamers paint all Free To Play games with the same brush. Everyone should check out the games Loadout (FPS) and Paths of Exile (Action RPG). Both are more polished than many traditional model games. Paths of Exile has absolutely no way of paying for an in-game advantage. My objection was that their cosmetic items are obscenely priced. Turning your town portal from blue to orange is like 9 bucks. Adding a cosmetic lightning effect to your weapon is more than $20. Loadout offers an array of hilarious cosmetic stuff, plus short term double XP periods as part of a larger package. The thing is that a good player can earn 1500+ XP per match while a shitty player earns 500-800 per match. So a shitty player who pays for double XP isn't going to surpass a good player who pays nothing.

Re:More basic than that (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 7 months ago | (#46710351)

True, but I've noticed that the F2P games that use that model are now trying to entice players back into monthly subscriptions. I think it's inevitable: if all you can buy is cosmetic, there's no real incentive to spend much money at all and the company starts wondering where all the cash they were supposed to be getting is. I'm of the opinion that the whole "free to play, and we'll make our money off the cash shop" is right in there with "free site, and we'll make our money off the advertising" as a business model.

Rift (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 7 months ago | (#46709305)

The folks at Trion have converted Rift to a fair and decent F2P game IMO. I played when it was not free, and was worried about the change but it's not pay to win, and it's still decent quality. Paying can make "the grind" less grindy but those with more time and less money can still be competitive.

Re:Rift (1)

seebs (15766) | about 7 months ago | (#46710857)

Yeah. Rift does a very good job. I know at least one person who was raiding without ever having spent any money on the game, and also without having bought credits (the store currency) with in-game money. The game is built around the same tuning that was generally regarded as acceptable when it was subscription-based, and the majority of the purchases go towards convenience things, cosmetics, and gambling. If you really want to be powerful, the best stuff still requires you to actually play the game.

Re:Rift (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 7 months ago | (#46710927)

I think Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online did a good job too. These were the first top tier MMOs to go that way.
However they are not strictly "F2P", they are a hybrid allowing players to either subscribe or to pay for content/features ala-carte. Plus players can mix the two, unsubscribing or resubscribe any time while still being able to play. These have not turned into "pay to win" despite the predictions of doom.

Too many microtransactions. (4, Informative)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | about 7 months ago | (#46709311)

The microtransactions are what really turn me off to F2P games. Most games allow you to progress rapidly to a certain point, then you hit the wall HARD. You either continue to shell out a few dollars here and there, stop playing, or just continue to coast along without spending a dime. If I was just being offered cosmetic items, I wouldn't have a problem. However, in many cases you have zero ability to progress.

Re:Too many microtransactions. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709355)

Path Of Exile follows that model, microtransactions are and always will be purely for cosmetic items... not to mention that the game rated better than D3 when it came out (judging by the players, anyway)

Re:Too many microtransactions. (2)

nobuddy (952985) | about 7 months ago | (#46709375)

In my experience, this only really kicks the hardcore players in the ass. I play sasually, and the various rewards given as time progresses work well to offset the non-pay penalties.
SWTOR does this well. Sign up for a secure key app, there is 100 coins a month. Progressing in levels and achievements in game nets you xp boosts and such. Quest rewards are the same for everyone- and often it is XP or power boosts as well. Spend the coin to pen pay-only areas for a week, go play them that week. if you like it open them again next month. Pop your XP boosts and you play a level game with a subscriber. Or, as you get high level, buy those market items from the auction house for game money. When you are sitting on a couple million with nothing else to spend it on, why bitch as a 10 pack of major XP boosts for 10k? Or a token to open restricted areas for a month for 100k?

Re:Too many microtransactions. (2)

lgw (121541) | about 7 months ago | (#46709455)

I don't mind the model of "extended free trial, then you have to subscribe", in fact I think that's great. What I fund scummy is when you're stuck with all the microtransactions, and can't just subscribe to be free of them.

Re:Too many microtransactions. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710199)

These are games that aren't really free-to-play. But there are good fully free-to-play games: Team Fortress, DOTA, Guild Wars 2, although with the last one, you still need to buy the game first. Team Fortress is completely free-to-play, unless you mistake it for a hat simulator.

IMHO, the author is "ethically challenged" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709317)

Most programmers believe it is immoral to trick people into spending money on things.
Pay to Win games are designed with that sole purpose; that's why we hate Pay to Win.

Re:IMHO, the author is "ethically challenged" (1)

nobuddy (952985) | about 7 months ago | (#46709389)

I have never been tricked into spending money. But I do not play app games, so I may have dodged a bullet. Pay-to-play on PC has been a rather pleasant experience thus far.

Re:IMHO, the author is "ethically challenged" (0)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46710013)

"Pay to win" is the insult, often not relevant, not the name of the genre. How can your view be taken seriously when you have a closed mind, and have resorted to name-calling?

They got a shake. They lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709329)

It's the end of the race to the bottom for gaming to its bare elements. company:we want your money players:we want fun

The problem comes when the companys start cutting the fun. While at the same time asking for a nickle every minute. Or putting in obvious stupid annoying things. And then offering to sell you a way past that. Create problem. Sell solution!

-
And the HUGE problem. Most of these games were sold to us based on the idea of MICRO-transactions. And in most f2p titles i've tried (dozens of them). There's nothing MICRO about any of the transactions. They're demanding 20-40-60 dollars at a time. On top of a monthly subscription. Oh and yes you gotta buy this totally optional (not optional) update/patch/world/character/otherthing to even get anywhere near half your value from the game! The cost of a full game experience has skyrocketed for alot of games.

It's bullcrap. And many of the f2p games that have come. Have gone already too.
They made their money, drove away their customers thru major fuckups and cash grabs. And now there's nothing at all. A damm fine game experience vanishes completely.

Right now i can think of a few f2p games that are just about to vanish. They're so totally fucked after driving away all their players... And the players are a large chunk of their actual 'content'. And they're about to close down.

The REALLY sad part is... They don't seem to be able to figure out this pattern. And oh... i don't know. not drive away the customers!
But but they need money! Yeah. But when you focus only on the money. Game over and the money stops.

Coin operated (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46709345)

The problem comes when the companys start cutting the fun. While at the same time asking for a nickle every minute.

How is that different from an arcade operator selling me 50 tokens for $10 and demanding three tokens ("no cash value", but practically 60 cents) for an 8-minute game of Dance Dance Revolution?

Re:Coin operated (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709451)

Then you are paying for the electricity, rental of the building, and wear/tear on hardware. Same reason that f2p MMOs aren't hated nearly as much as single player f2p phone games, servers cost money to run.

But if it is a single player game on your own hardware, charging for tokens/berries/etc without an expense to justify the price is just deliberately making the game less fun in an attempt to milk players.

Re:Coin operated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709457)

Does the arcade operator call it free?

Buy meal, get tokens free (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46709495)

A lot of arcades nowadays include some game tokens with the purchase of a meal, so yes, (a small amount of) gameplay is "free".

Re:Buy meal, get tokens free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709573)

Which is not what he asked. Giving you tokens is not saying the games themselves are free.

Re:Coin operated (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46710311)

There is this barcade that has some games on free and others on coin / bills.

there is also one with free games and high beer prices.

Re:Coin operated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709511)

What's different is marketing. DDR tells you up front "give me your money to play a couple of songs." Pay-to-play tells you "You can play my game for free!" and then ten minutes later, once you are enjoying it, "pay me now or you can't play again until tomorrow." the same is generally true for pay-to-progress and pay-to-win. Arcades and full games tell you upfront what you get and how much it costs, while most flavors of "Free to Play" are blatantly lying.

Re:Coin operated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709551)

I don't see too many arcades anymore... When every city used to have a bunch of them.

Arcade games are still skill based (2)

dfm3 (830843) | about 7 months ago | (#46709979)

In my mind, the difference is that there is some level of skill involved in arcade gameplay which is missing in current f2p games. Having grown up in the era when arcades were still the place to spend a Saturday afternoon, I can remember the excitement of nailing that perfect play which seemed to go on and on as the difficulty became increasingly harder... or, the frustration of realizing that you just wasted your money as you crash and burn right off the bat.

Really good arcade players could go what seemed like forever on a single coin, sometimes drawing a sizable audience, while the not-so-good players had a financial (and social!) incentive to improve their gameplay. This is missing from f2p games, which aren't designed to test the player's skill, but their patience. "Trolls are destroying your crops! To double your yield, build a watchtower that will only cost 99 cents!" would be akin to an arcade game prompting you, "Want to complete this level with half of the enemies? Insert a second token now!"

Re:Arcade games are still skill based (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46710319)

you can play pinball and keep wining free games over and over.

Re:Coin operated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710109)

There's also the idea that an arcade system can be an uniquely designed experience. The DDR dance pad, lightguns, racing game cabinets filled with speakers and mounted on actuators, specialty hardware that eclipses consoles and consumer PCs (no longer applicable)....

But you have a point in that some (probably most) games were designed unfairly require the utmost perfect gameplay to not be a coin sink IF it was even possible.

And that all said, I hated the fucking arcades for exactly these reasons.

Cobalt Flux (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46710213)

Light guns have worked on home CRTs since Duck Hunt, and there exist metal DDR controllers for consoles and PCs such as Cobalt Flux. But you're right that arcades have the advantage with actuators.

But you have a point in that some (probably most) games were designed unfairly require the utmost perfect gameplay to not be a coin sink IF it was even possible.

That's what I liked about DDR: you got to pick 3 songs and any of 3 different step charts for each, so long as you didn't fail out. So you could pick 2 songs you knew you could do and 1 that you thought you might be able to do.

LoL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709343)

League of Legends is free to play and that's one of the biggest games out there right now. Hearthstone is also free and has gotten a great deal of community support.

The pay model has little to do with gamer skepticism, it's the marketing and who's behind it, or lack there of on both counts. Games are a time investment first and foremost and you need to sell your product as worth that investment. If you're a nowhere studio with generic marketing you're facing an uphill battle regardless of your profit model.

story is the fallacy the story is describing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709369)

Free to play should not be exempt from critique. Tons of questions follow but there aren't any outlets to ask them so we'll just leave it at good job, you've reported on something in the manner you were supposed to. You can be hired anywhere.

Not my cup of tea (1)

Rhacman (1528815) | about 7 months ago | (#46709385)

I played Dragon's Prophet for a while (a free to play MMO). While I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay I just got tired of fighting my own temptation to spend on the cash shop to advance quicker.

So no, as the article points out I have no purely rational reason for avoiding free-to-play games. That said, I have no purely rational reason for playing games in the first place, it's a choice I make purely on how a game environment resonates with my own subjective perception. A game that feels like a shady carnival with carnival barkers clamoring for the most cash they can drain from me just doesn't appeal to me. How "fair" that attitude is to game developers and publishers is, to me, quite irrelevant.

Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#46709443)

... is a conundrum, IMO.

I worked as a game programmer for nearly 7 years and in more recent years, I noticed that other than people that I worked with, and others who were in the industry, the notion of essentially requiring the player to keep paying incremental amounts so that the game will be playable to any practical degree is almost universally derided by players everywhere. Somehow, however, these games continue to be the ones that garner the greatest profit margins. This fact was irrefutable... despite being so loathed, this model was clearly what had the best effect on a game company's bottom line.

Can somebody explain this paradox?

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709655)

Time. They gather the most profit for awhile. And then close shop after everyone leaves their game.

It all comes down to a few questions.

How long do you want your game to exist?
A long time making ok money?
Or a short time making alot of money for a few people at the top?

Are you at the top?

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709699)

The existence of a small cross-section of the playerbase that I've heard referred to as "the whales": players that are the perfect storm of access to nigh-unlimited disposable income and compulsive play habits.

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (3, Interesting)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 7 months ago | (#46710171)

Indeed.

As a whole, mobile game players don't actually buy anything. It's the tiny, tiny percentage of whales that brings in much of the revenue (and ads fill in much of the rest).

0.22 percent of players account for 46 percent of mobile app revenue [polygon.com]

Given this, it's no surprise that mobile game development is so damn broken. It's impossible to have a healthy development environment if most players aren't actually willing to pay for the game.

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710725)

The entire history of gaming shows players ARE willing to pay for a game tho.

They're just not willing to pay every day/week/month/year for the same thing over and over.

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709789)

It's really simple. The format of the games have a built in hook. A reward. Traditional games doled out reward for skill and effort. Pay to win doles out reward for spending money. It feeds a fundamental consumerism urge. That rush you get from a recent purchase that has largely faded a week or two later, leaving you jonesing for another fix. Only now the goods are virtual, so the profit margin is enormous. Gamers may not like it, but they'll put up with it because "it's only $X and I'm having fun."

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 7 months ago | (#46709999)

Well, I don't mean to insult your 7 years of experience repeating what you likely already know: It is the pacing cycle of build up and release found in everything from day/night, neurons, fire/reload, rising action/climax, browsing/buying, waiting/playing, suspense/resolution, ect. that is primarily the cause of the profit margins. By exploiting essential cognitive rhythms of rest and effort, risk and reward, etc. one can skillfully extract payment from the weak minded who are susceptible to the level of thought control available to our most immersive experience crafting medium of games.

As a cyberneticist and student of neurological and behavioral sciences, I am vehemently opposed to the micro-transaction "Zynergy" system. Instead I ask for a fair price up front, and lower the price over time to hit certain impulse buy points among target demographics, or charge a monthly fee for services rendered. I use the pacing cycle to create games that flow better and are "addictive" fun, but I don't believe in building game mechanics around a sales model, that's just evil and limiting to the game developers as well.

If I put the player Skinner's Box, I want their task to be enjoyable and their outcome to be more fun, not less money. I accept that I'll make less money myself by eschewing such sales practices; However to me making games is primarily an artistic expression, not primarily a business venture. Just look at how crappy paintings, sculptures, films, music, etc. are when they are designed primarily around making money, vs for artistic means. I refuse to cheapen myself and do that to games.

The Arcade model was killed by the Consoles who did away with "pay to win". Likewise the micro-transaction model is not sustainable, as you will see when the payment processors start going offline and game lovers revolt against inability to enjoy the games born with such death sentences. Art should not be born with a needless death sentence, and society will not bear the elimination of segments of their game culture for much longer. The rejection has already began in force and will only get stronger, otherwise TFA wouldn't even have been written...

Just because we can do something doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. This goes doubly any time money is involved.

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710455)

The Arcade model was killed by the Consoles who did away with "pay to win".

On the SNES and Sega Genesis a lot of the games were billboards for the Arcade versions. What I mean is that in the Arcade version you could pay-to-win, but on the console, you had a fixed number of credits with which to beat the game, and if you used them all up, game over. This meant that if you got good enough at the game, you could beat it at home, but if you weren't good enough, you could go to the arcade and beat it, by pumping more quarters than the home version allowed.

Of course the catch was often that the home version had slightly modified game dynamics or levels, so that getting good at the home version gave you only limited skills to beat the arcade version.

Growing up as a kid in the 90's, nothing was more fun than going to the arcade to play the latest games, but it was as much about riding my BMX down to the arcade and the smell of pizza as it was the games themselves. I don't think the privacy and intimacy of the pre-internet-everywhere time can ever be recreated today.

Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 7 months ago | (#46710589)

So, Zynga's racking in the bucks, then?

I haven't read the article but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709465)

LotRO is the finest MMORPG I've ever played. Maybe it starting as a subscription model before it went FTP had something to do with it but still...

Path of Exile (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709497)

Path of Exile is one free to play game that has done free to play the right way, the entire game is free. You don't have to pay a cent and you play the exact same game at the same level that someone who has payed $1000. They offer cosmetic microtransactions such as armour skins and alternate skill effects however they are all cosmetic and offer no in game advantage. They do offer increased storage space and advanced guild functions as a microtransaction however the storage space provided by default is more than enough to play at the same level as everyone else and one can always make more than one account to use for storage.
They do occasionally offer big ticket items such as the ability to work with the game designers to create a personalised unique item ($1000) or even create your own monster ($25000) however even if you pay to design a new unique item you still have to find it in the game through normal play.

Re:Path of Exile (2)

blackicye (760472) | about 7 months ago | (#46710079)

I totally agree, Path of Exile is one of the best, if not the best F2P models I've encountered, I spent $20 on it purely to support them, I spent almost all of the credits on storage space though. :)

Considering free to play games... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709531)

are one of the main ways Republcians spy on us, those games should be made illegal. They track us and send our private information to these Republican-run companies like Zynga that spy for the NSA. They are horrible, and so far, they have prevented Obama from fighting them and shutting them down. They are horrible things.

Obvious Elephant in the Room is Obvious... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46709679)

I'm not exactly certain what this hypothetical 'fair shake' is; but the obvious elephant in the room, when considering 'free to play' games, is that they aren't free to make, or free to run(and are almost always online, so they are 'not free to run' as in 'will die the moment the hosting bill goes unpaid') so you do always have to keep an eye on your wallet.

Nothing precludes 'traditional' games from also using assorted 'freemium' tricks as well as costing money (Hi there, Dead Space 3! I was totally jazzed about buying crafting components from EA in a game that costs $60!); but when you can see the transaction ahead of time (I give you $x, you give me the game or massively-multiplayer-something-something costs $y/month), there is economic room for products where you can relax and stop watching your wallet. There can, and will, be bad actors, bad deals, overhyped games sold pre-release, etc. but you are freed from the fundamental, nagging, "He obviously needs to make money, and I haven't given him any yet, so when and how does the other shoe drop?" question that dogs 'free-to-play' titles.

As for the 'protect irrational people who obviously can't like these games on their own merits' dig, same basic elephant: we know that the game costs money to make and run, and that the maker ideally wants to actually profit. We also know that monetization rates are comparatively low (something that the inevitable 'Well, $GAME$ gets called 'pay to win'; but I'm just good enough to get by on pure skill. In fact, I actually make money!' brigade exists to remind us of), so we have pretty good reason to suspect the existence of 'Whales'(just like in the casino business) who keep the average income/player high enough for the game to stay in the black.

None of this is proof that any specific operator is running a notably shady deal; but there is a reason why this business model gets special scrutiny: If a 'free to play' game is actually free-to-play, on average, it's either burning VC cash or bleeding out. So, any given title is either dying or on average not free. Similarly, if a game has a lousy monetization rate, with many players actually playing for free, it must clearly be the case that the game is either dying or really bleeding some customers. At that point, you either stick your fingers in your ears and shout "FREE WILL! I can't hear you! RATIONAL ACTORS!" or you must at least consider whether the best customers happen to be children making in-app purchases with somebody else's payment information(not that that, um, actually happened, a lot, or anything. Definitely not enough that it went to court.) or Facebook's equivalent of pathalogical gamblers.

Re:Obvious Elephant in the Room is Obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710937)

Most people hate on free-to-play mobile games and their promoters, not MMO free-to-play games. MMO F2P games rip the customer off way less than mobile games. I've heard some people say it's because computer users have more experience and higher expectations of a what a game is. Mobile users are the ultimate casual audience and will consume the utter garbage that is F2P mobile. There are no server costs with F2P mobile games (just buy more smurf berries). The graphics aren't that advanced and the gameplay is mediocre. No wonder people hate on them.

Re:Obvious Elephant in the Room is Obvious... (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | about 7 months ago | (#46711387)

This is basically it. When you pay for a game up front you know what it costs. When a game is "free" all that means is you don't know up front how much it's going to cost or what you are going to have to pay for. There is some amount of deception in the business model. And of course they always end up introducing more ways to get money from you, making a lot of people feel like all of their time spent on the game is wasted once it hits that breaking point where they ultimately quit.

Been at GDC, and F2P is dying. (1)

goruka (1721094) | about 7 months ago | (#46709717)

Once large F2P publishers, advertisers and developers such as Gree, 6waves, Tapjoy, Zynga, King, etc. were all but gone. I'm not saying there aren't companies still milking the model, but they are more into niches and whales in a shrinking market. Investment for these kind of games is disappearing rapidly.

Met with many publishers and can tell you for sure that the huge success of Steam and high amount of sales of the PS4 is making them reconsider where to invest. The new trend now seems to be something called "Premium", where you basically pay upfront for a game. Something never heard of that It's going to change the world.

Re:Been at GDC, and F2P is dying. (1)

shastamonk (2453530) | about 7 months ago | (#46709899)

Weren't over half the talks at GDC about F2P? Perhaps because you're neither a Whale or a Teen in their monetization demographic, you simply weren't paying attention.

The play store needs categories (4, Insightful)

egarland (120202) | about 7 months ago | (#46709765)

* Ad supported
* Pay to win
* Microtransactions
* Completely free

They should change the "Free" button where the cost usually would be to one of these.

This information is important to to know up front and I should be able to filter out "pay to win" because screw that.

Need something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709863)

Need more turns? Pay $5 or else wait half an hour.

I'm reminded of Mark Cerny's thoughts on Atari and how arcade machines were run. It was completely brutal. Kill player in 3 minutes. 2 1/2 minutes was better. This idea is applied to free to play games that use this and it's frustrating as anything.

I still don't believe they have implemented free to play properly yet and they need to explore new ideas to get it right. I cant think of one free to play game that has it right for cell phone application.

"derision and scorn when they really shouldn't" (4, Interesting)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 7 months ago | (#46709883)

No, no I don't think I do. I've heard free-to-play broken down into three categories:

* Free-to-Play: The entire game is free to play and experience; you may be able to purchase some benefits in-game, but they do not skew the balance. They either provide minimal perks, or are purely aesthetic or to support to developer.
* Freemium: The entire game is technically available, but it will take you much longer to go through it without paying some meaningful amount. Available purchases include benefits that can't be earned any other way or require a lot of time/work to accumulate in-game. Balance is skewed to favor those who pay, but you can still compete at a disadvantage.
* Pay-to-Win: The game is there, and you can play it, but a number of important features or content are locked behind pay-walls. Benefits possible cannot be meaningfully earned by any other method. If you aren't paying, you can't hope to compete with those who do.

I scorn and deride Pay-to-Win (I feel, appropriately). I'll regard Freemium games with suspicion, but may play depending on the game itself and how exactly the "store" component is structured. I'll embrace Free-to-Play conceptually; play and support it if I like it.

I've...played Freemium and Pay-to-win. I'm not interested in paying as much as I would for a full game to enjoy said benefits for one or two months. I also hate how it feels not being able to compete because I'm unwilling to pay a bunch of money. If I find the story or mechanics engaging, I'll check it out...but I leave my wallet at home.

Only winning move is not to play! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709897)

Game X:

Run across the map to satisfy some NPC's fetish for collecting some stupid shit... and..

Kill 10 bears
Kill 20 bears
Kill 30 bears

Killed myself.

Bullshit (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 7 months ago | (#46709933)

Games are an industry trying to make money from a free product sold^H^H^H^H given away to people who refuse to pay for entertainment on principle.

1. If it's shareware, they pirate the paid version
2. If it's ad supported they block the ads
3. If it's based on microtransactions, they hack the server, steal all the credit card numbers and post penis pictures
4. If it's client-server, they hack the server and post penis pictures
5. If it's retail, they pirate it
6. If it's a free app, they complain it sucks
7. If it's a paid app, they pirate it

Then people wonder why there's only six game companies left, and all of them bury their games under 118 layers of DRM.

A competent discussion of the topic (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 7 months ago | (#46710057)

By actual game devs [youtube.com] . In particular watch the CCG [youtube.com] one.

Reason for the hatred of free-to-play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710081)

Free-to-play games are based on a fundamental dishonesty.

Suppose I am interested in your game. You have a monetization strategy. You know how likely I am to pay, how much I am likely to pay, and what I will pay for. And yet when I ask how much the game will cost, you try to tell me it's free to play.

My animosity towards the likes of zynga is extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710393)

I want all such companies to explode, burn to the ground, and be forgotten. I want all their employees to suffer a misery worse than death. I want to see their individual lives destroyed to the point where it also destroys their families. I want all employees who left another company to chase the dollars in this shoddy business to remain unemployeed when their workplace burns to the ground - I mean, what, did you join Zynga and co. because you thought it was going to make the world a better place?

Ruins the Balance of Gameplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710535)

It doesn't matter how you look at it, if someone can get something another player cannot simply because he paid more money, the game will never be balanced. Games that can use money to save time from grinding over-stretch the amount of grinding necessary.

The reality is... (2)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 7 months ago | (#46710583)

... free 2 play games are lower quality than real games. Even league of legends has hugely less content than warcraft 3 and starcraft 1 did with user made maps, etc. Most of the "new" heroes are mere reskins of stats. The fact is free 2 play is just feudalistic theft model of gaming where you pay to get fucked and never own anything. The problem is kids and the masses don't know any better and are ruining gaming by feeding these unethical companies.

The whole model relies on the userbases illiteracy and stupidity when it comes to technology, so in no way are free to play games "a fair shake". It's just good old american hustling conning tech ignorant suckers out of their money.

Re:The reality is... (1)

qpqp (1969898) | about 7 months ago | (#46710715)

The whole model relies on the userbases illiteracy

Totally agree, and now they grew bold enough to troll a nerd site to sway opinion about this shit to look like a legitimate business model.

The author of that article,
"Ben Cousins has spent his 15 years in the games industry at companies like DeNA, [b]DICE[/b], Sony and Lionhead. Since 2006 he's worked on a total of 10 separate free-to-play games across five different platforms, reaching approximately 50 million users. Follow him on Twitter @benjamincousins."

IMHO, he should be ashamed of himself.

Huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46710787)

Sounds like how Apple users think of non-Apple users. Because they pay twice as much for their shiite, it's better, and so are they.

no mention of Flash games? Kongregate, anyone? (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 7 months ago | (#46710813)

Most of the games there - even the very best of them - are totally free, and never ask users for money.

I feel the author is offering up his own kind of snobbery.

What about non-free-to-play with f2p elements? (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 7 months ago | (#46710817)

say, for example, cut the rope 2, which was not free but where you had to use consumable powerups to get certain items in the levels (the "clovers") in order to unlock some levels, only after a major outcry the developer changed it so you could get access to the extra levels if you got 3 stars on all the others. You also get a 'daily gift' (usually a powerup or two) just so you are semi-forced to check in every day, and there are also other obnoxious mechanics so as soon as you spend a little bit of time thinking about a level the "level solution" powerup starts blinking annoyingly. And this is on a non-free game!

I had insta-bought all previous cut the rope games pretty much and 3 starred most of the levels in all of them (great mechanics, om nom is cute) and I had gotten a lot of my friends into them, but I have honestly given up in disgust with cut the rope 2 (only gone through 1-2 worlds) and will not give the developer a dime for "powerups" or any further games they will release.

In terms of "pure" f2p I am actually enjoying hearthstone, I had never played a card game before but it is definitely fun (after you lose enough games to get matched up with similar "f2p" opponents without tons of rares/legendaries), it took me losing about 15-20 games in a row before I ended up at a level where I more or less win 50-60% of the time and my opponents also only have "standard" cards. I figure blizzard is losing money on me as a player, but I figure the wow subscription I have been paying for many years more than covers this (if at all I think Blizzard should give a free card pack every month to WoW subscribers as a random gift, if it was retroactive it'd be even better ;) )

F2P Games Are For Kids (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 7 months ago | (#46710945)

F2P games are riddled with 12 year olds who smack talk everyone by calling them fags or some other juvenile insult. It gets tiresome.

H1Z1 sounds interesting.. (may beat DayZ) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711007)

http://www.reddit.com/r/h1z1 [reddit.com]

http://www.reddit.com/r/h1z1/c... [reddit.com]

"Hi there,

I wanted to tell you about an exciting new free-to-play game we've had under wraps here at SOE for some time. It's called H1Z1. It's a massively multiplayer game in which players fight for survival in a world where death is the only sure thing. The H1Z1 virus devastated mankind and left nothing but death and destruction in its wake and a world nearly empty of human life where the remnants of humanity are in a fight against extinction against those infected with the virus. It's been 15 years since H1Z1 was first encountered and what's left of the world before is overrun with the Infected. Humanity has been reduced to hiding in the shadows, searching desperately for food and water and anything that can help to survive even for another day. But the Infected aren't the only dangers in the world. Everyday life in the Apocalypse means dealing with all kinds of wild animals and the brutality of other survivors, as well as finding your next meal and a safe place to sleep. It also means scavenging or crafting anything that can help you live just one more day. In H1Z1 every minute of every day is borrowed time and fearing for your life.unless you are the Danger (talking to you Walter), but life can and will go on.even in circumstances as dire as this. Humanity has not given in to the Infected. There are still pockets of humanity and the fight goes on!

Our vision for this game is very simple but ambitious. We are starting with what I would call "Middle America" - an "anywhere and everywhere" town. The world is massive as you've come to expect from our games. Over time we will grow the world until we have our own version of the U.S. after the death and destruction brought on during the H1Z1 epidemic. It will be our own version of America. We'll have urban cities and desolate wide open places. All connected seamlessly. Our focus is building a sandbox style of gameplay where players can build shelters out of resources in the world. They can even work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players. Players also have access to a very deep crafting system that can let players make a huge variety of awesome stuff, including weapons (I made a 1911 the other day) and things like Molotov cocktails, explosives.. and other fun surprises.

I will also go right to the heart of the question a lot of players will have - "There are a lot of survival / Zombie games.how is this one going to be any different?". First off, it's a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host (yes there will be multiple servers with very different rule sets). Why is that a good thing? It means a thriving economy (oh yes.there's trading). It also means you have potential allies in the all-out war on the Infected... and many an enemy as well. It uses our proprietary next-gen Forgelight engine and that means we've had a lot of really cool technology to work with to make the game we wanted to make. It's also designed from the ground up for our players to become part of the design process. The Roadmap system that we built for PlanetSide 2 will be used extensively to clearly communicate what features we're working on and what you can expect and when. You're also going to be getting awesome access to our developers. We'll be opening it up for Player Studio creations too so expect player-created items to make their way into the game. The main thing that differentiates H1Z1 from the other great games in the genre is the emphasis we are putting on player ownership and building. We want you to be able to form roving gangs that are headquartered out of an abandoned warehouse that you've taken over... or a house you've built from scratch after having cut trees down and secured the resources to make it. We are giving players the tools to make their own towns, camps and defenses, and they can decide how to set up their base (which is in the world btw... not instanced). We're building in all the social features you've come to expect from an SOE game (grouping, proximity voice chat, voice chat for your gang, and many other cool social features).

To use a simple reference I'm sure everyone interested in this game will get... we want our players to make Woodbury from The Walking Dead if they want to. Or take over a prison. Or fix an old car so you and your friends (yeah we have multiplayer vehicles) can run zombies and players over mercilessly, and revel in the sheer delight of hearing a zombie scream as you light it on fire, or craft a gun to take down your friends and enemies alike. Our goal here is to provide emergent gameplay that will allow our players to make the world their own the way they want to. One of the best things about H1Z1 being an MMO is the fact that with a lot of people playing, we're able to see all different kinds of gameplay. If you prefer a quiet life as a farmer raising crops... we're going to make sure your zombie apocalypse fantasy is complete. If you're like me and you want nothing more than to kill everything that moves, by all means see how that goes. It's going to be a blast!

Check out H1Z1.com and the subreddit ( http://reddit.com/r/h1z1 [reddit.com] ). We'll be adding more information in the coming weeks to the website. We'll also be very openly answering questions in the subreddit.

Next week you can see us do a livestream of the game as we have a playtest. Stay tuned!

Smed"

- http://www.reddit.com/user/j_s... [reddit.com]

H1Z1 - may be better than DayZ! from SOE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711017)

http://www.reddit.com/r/h1z1 [reddit.com]

http://www.reddit.com/r/h1z1/c... [reddit.com]

"Hi there,

I wanted to tell you about an exciting new free-to-play game we've had under wraps here at SOE for some time. It's called H1Z1. It's a massively multiplayer game in which players fight for survival in a world where death is the only sure thing. The H1Z1 virus devastated mankind and left nothing but death and destruction in its wake and a world nearly empty of human life where the remnants of humanity are in a fight against extinction against those infected with the virus. It's been 15 years since H1Z1 was first encountered and what's left of the world before is overrun with the Infected. Humanity has been reduced to hiding in the shadows, searching desperately for food and water and anything that can help to survive even for another day. But the Infected aren't the only dangers in the world. Everyday life in the Apocalypse means dealing with all kinds of wild animals and the brutality of other survivors, as well as finding your next meal and a safe place to sleep. It also means scavenging or crafting anything that can help you live just one more day. In H1Z1 every minute of every day is borrowed time and fearing for your life.unless you are the Danger (talking to you Walter), but life can and will go on.even in circumstances as dire as this. Humanity has not given in to the Infected. There are still pockets of humanity and the fight goes on!

Our vision for this game is very simple but ambitious. We are starting with what I would call "Middle America" - an "anywhere and everywhere" town. The world is massive as you've come to expect from our games. Over time we will grow the world until we have our own version of the U.S. after the death and destruction brought on during the H1Z1 epidemic. It will be our own version of America. We'll have urban cities and desolate wide open places. All connected seamlessly. Our focus is building a sandbox style of gameplay where players can build shelters out of resources in the world. They can even work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players. Players also have access to a very deep crafting system that can let players make a huge variety of awesome stuff, including weapons (I made a 1911 the other day) and things like Molotov cocktails, explosives.. and other fun surprises.

I will also go right to the heart of the question a lot of players will have - "There are a lot of survival / Zombie games.how is this one going to be any different?". First off, it's a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host (yes there will be multiple servers with very different rule sets). Why is that a good thing? It means a thriving economy (oh yes.there's trading). It also means you have potential allies in the all-out war on the Infected... and many an enemy as well. It uses our proprietary next-gen Forgelight engine and that means we've had a lot of really cool technology to work with to make the game we wanted to make. It's also designed from the ground up for our players to become part of the design process. The Roadmap system that we built for PlanetSide 2 will be used extensively to clearly communicate what features we're working on and what you can expect and when. You're also going to be getting awesome access to our developers. We'll be opening it up for Player Studio creations too so expect player-created items to make their way into the game. The main thing that differentiates H1Z1 from the other great games in the genre is the emphasis we are putting on player ownership and building. We want you to be able to form roving gangs that are headquartered out of an abandoned warehouse that you've taken over... or a house you've built from scratch after having cut trees down and secured the resources to make it. We are giving players the tools to make their own towns, camps and defenses, and they can decide how to set up their base (which is in the world btw... not instanced). We're building in all the social features you've come to expect from an SOE game (grouping, proximity voice chat, voice chat for your gang, and many other cool social features).

To use a simple reference I'm sure everyone interested in this game will get... we want our players to make Woodbury from The Walking Dead if they want to. Or take over a prison. Or fix an old car so you and your friends (yeah we have multiplayer vehicles) can run zombies and players over mercilessly, and revel in the sheer delight of hearing a zombie scream as you light it on fire, or craft a gun to take down your friends and enemies alike. Our goal here is to provide emergent gameplay that will allow our players to make the world their own the way they want to. One of the best things about H1Z1 being an MMO is the fact that with a lot of people playing, we're able to see all different kinds of gameplay. If you prefer a quiet life as a farmer raising crops... we're going to make sure your zombie apocalypse fantasy is complete. If you're like me and you want nothing more than to kill everything that moves, by all means see how that goes. It's going to be a blast!

Check out H1Z1.com and the subreddit ( http://reddit.com/r/h1z1 [reddit.com] ). We'll be adding more information in the coming weeks to the website. We'll also be very openly answering questions in the subreddit.

Next week you can see us do a livestream of the game as we have a playtest. Stay tuned!

Smed"

- http://www.reddit.com/user/j_s... [reddit.com]

But they have corrupted minds and youths (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 7 months ago | (#46711019)

Pinball, jazz, pirate radio, free-to-play games, and many many other readily-available forms of entertainment have done precisely that: they've corrupted social norms, minds, recreational pass-times, and priorities.

That's been the point all along.

Protecting the children is a perfectly valid reaction to any event or advance offering an easy-route through a scenario. In the case of free-to-play, it means being able to play games, socially, with friends, with no money, and no job. So if you've used expensive games to convince your children that they need a job to pay for things in life, then that simply won't fly anymore.

If that lesson (needing a job to pay for things to have things) is no longer relevant, then that's fine. But if it is still relevant, then free-to-play games do indeed make raising your children more difficult. How do you intend to teach them that money buys things if they don't need money for anything for what, two decades?

You aren't going to stop feeding them. And you won't (anymore) stop giving them a cell phone. So given a 15 year-old, going to high school, with a phone, free games, food, free school, and a bus pass, it's kind of difficult for them to want a job or career. What's the value of a job to a 15 year-old these days? It ain't movies anymore either.

You can like the corruption, I know I like most of it these days. But it's certainly corruption -- that's how society progresses quickly, within a single generation.

I thought you said free (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 7 months ago | (#46711119)

By "free to play" I thought it was like this actual good games that are free [techdrivein.com] . Not that tossing them a few $20 for the games wouldn't be a cool thing to do, they are free games to play.

Not All Free to Play Games Are Bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711331)

Maybe the "good guy" FtP devs should fight harder to shut down the "crooked" FtP games so the whole FtP reputation isn't pure shit.

Most should (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711527)

Path of Exile did it right.
Some pay to win games could be awesome of they dropped it, but the ones I enjoyed I became a GM on to keep up with cash players without mass cash injections of my own. A few would be Ming Dynasty - Forgame now hosted on LeKool, Fantasy of Sword - LeKool, Call of Thrones - Yeepgame, Conquer Online - TQ, Evony aka Civony to name a few. Each one of these games had a extreme pay to win layout and even getting thousands of dollars worth of currency I never came close to maxing out well actually I was on CO at +12 on everything except my armor that was +11. Sadly they don't pay well so my gear came from farming waters to 110 getting the gem after rebirth then selling the char.
.
Ming Dynasty 1 Max gem 80,000 USD which adds up to 3,840,000 USD to socket all your gear.
Call of Thrones maxing out would be around 38,000 USD.
Conquer Online around 18,000 USD to max out +12
Fantasy of Swords + 500,000 USD
Evony - Impossible there are some players that have spent over 1,000,000 USD

Back to POE there is none of this shit in POE sure there are cash shops but they're actively hunted by me to troll them and report their shit to PayPal. Shit it's insane I'm 98 and farming like a junkie searching for a crack rock.

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