Monday, February 6, 2012 | 11
Free to play is pure evil.I get a lot of questions about why the seemingly dated monthly subscription structure is still so popular. There are a few reasons why I greatly prefer the monthly subscription model to the double-edged F2P model, and I'd like to fully outline it in a way that can be helpful to those of you who are incapable of critical thinking.
There are really two main factors that determine what type of subversive evil that developers are wielding.
If a game has PVP:The goal of a F2P game with PVP is to increase revenue by luring competitive gamers with game-breaking incentives. To clarify, I'm not talking about PVP in the modern sense where it is a largely irrelevant and tacked-on feature. In order to maximize profits, PVP must be hardcore and unforgiving. Spoiled children are harvested by experienced players, and ultimately end up paying far more than a typical monthly subscription would cost.
This system creates an unbalanced playing field where people who have money to spend on awful games will have a tremendous advantage over casual gamers who don't prioritize micro-transactions in their monthly budget. In a game where PVP is central, balance is an absolute requirement for long-term enjoyment, so F2P fails.
If a game doesn't have PVP:Unless a game is funded by a eccentric gamer philanthropist, the goal of every game is to make as much money as possible. When there isn't PVP as a mechanism to recycle cash shop items, the only way to make more money is by offering incentives that accelerate your progression. These can range from currency and equipment to experience and stats.
Think about why, from a business standpoint, a game developer would offer items that allow you to progress to the end faster. There is really only one logical conclusion you can draw.
The primary goal of a F2P game is to make you quit.Scary, right? The perogative of a standard subscription-based MMORPG is to retain subscribers as long as possible with content patches and sandbox elements, but a F2P game without PVP risk makes the most money if you get to the end as fast as possible and quit. They don't want you clogging up their bandwidth, so they have no incentives to provide any decent end-game content, and they never will. The players willing to pay in order to quit faster will more than pay for the players who are satisfied with a grind-fest which basically amounts to gamer welfare.
A new F2P game comes out of Korea about every 3.5 minutes because they follow the same model as chop shops. They suck you in with the promise that you won't have to pay anything, take all the money you're willing to pay, and then discard you. It obviously works because people can't get past the "free" illusion.
Maybe some company will come out with some new way to offer a free gaming experience without destroying fairness or throwing veterans under the bus, but I haven't seen any yet.