Free2Play vs Subscription

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Free2Play vs MoneyMy wife and I have been playing online MMO’s since July of 2007.  We have always stuck with “free2play” games to “save money”.  Sadly…. it’s not what it may seem to be.  To play totally free, you need:

  1. no life
  2. no friends as they will all pass you by using cash
  3. and a huge amount of patients to get anywhere

We started with Last Chaos.  This game at one time was a very fun game to us.  We met a lot of folks who we still play with today daily.  But for a free2play game, Last Chaos lacked not only content, but any sense of it being worth playing unless you gave into their Micropayment system.  This is how a free2play game makes it’s money.  From players who are willing to spend a little money to get ahead of everyone else.  In the case of Last Chaos, it became the only way to do anything.  People have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to get to level 165.  Because without potions, boosters and other enhancements, you can’t do squat in this game.  We got to level 90-100 before we realized we has sunk $1,100 into this game in 2 years.  That’s 70+ months of subscription to World of Warcraft… but oh no… we don’t want to spend money on a subscription game…

Then we discovered a new game called Runes of Magic.  Say what you want, but having played both it’s obvious it uses a derivative of the World of Warcraft engine. But it had a very cool option.  You can use the Auction House to buy diamonds from players who use the Micropayment system with the gold you’ve collected.  Essentially you could play for free, it would take a bit longer, but could be done.

Then we wanted more, so we put $20 in to our accounts got some stuff and started to stash away and be very careful not to over spend.  Then, the gold sellers came….  These are shady sites selling in-game gold for money.  But what they really want, is to steal your bank account info and credit cards and hack your accounts.  But they infiltrated the bureaucracy of the game and forced RoM to stop the trade of diamonds for gold.  This put us players into a bind.  Now we have to spend money to get diamonds for puri’s, golden hammers and other stuff we use frequently that make the game easier..  And recently it’s gotten to $30 a month.  Again, the cost of 2 WoW subscriptions.  Sadly, RoM is having a hard time getting the option back to trade diamonds and gold.  Or perhaps they don’t want too as it is making them more money.  It seems that RoM is starting to fall the way of Last Chaos… It has that “feel” to it. Granted, RoM can be a blast to play but things like this are hurting it.

There is also an issue with free2play that has kept players like us under the thumbnail of the people willing to invest money. “He who hath the most cash hath the best shit”.  So now it’s getting harder to get good gear as the 1337 groups are starting to rape us when they sell the good drops we can’t drop ourselves.  Again, taking away from the fun experience.

Then there’s this dual class system.  You can play a Mage/Warrior or a Priest/Mage or Warrior/Scout and the list goes on and on.  It’s becoming to the fact that people assume you only play 1 class and that you should only greed or need on items based on that.  When in reality, many of us choose to play both.  But when you go for an item that people think you shouldn’t (as it is for your secondary class), you get a load of grief over it.  Last night I was so pissed, I passed on everything then logged off over it.

Things are going down hill and picking up speed doing so.

Adding it all up, perhaps a subscription based game is the better way to go.  We’ve been discussing with our friends going to World of Warcraft.  For less than the money I spend now, I can pay for both me and the wife to play it.  Then we wouldn’t have to worry about things like affording special Cash Shop stuff because we all would be on a proverbially level playing ground.  Granted, those with no life will have the better gear, but perhaps that’s a lot lower group than those with loads of money.  Though after the tour I got last night, it’s very tempting for me to go.