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F2P - Clearing the misconceptions


zelnik
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There's obviously a lot of F2P model hate out there, and rightly so.  Over the past 3 or 4 years I've gone through and analyzed almost all of the popular F2P titles, (both PC and mobile) from new user experience all the way to end game, in many cases.  Unfortunately for the players, there were significantly more examples of bad F2P execution than there was good, but that doesn't mean the model itself is bad.

 

When F2P is done right, the game delivers value worth paying for, the monetization doesn't imbalance gameplay (no P2W) and it's all above board with no underhanded and predatory tactics to milk more and more money out of players.  The result is a win/win for dev/publisher and players.  

 

For anyone interested, I wrote a few articles last year about F2P and the importance of focusing on delivering value before focusing on monetizing (and a few other things).  To be honest, I was personally a bit disenchanted with a general lack of interest (mostly in the growing mobile industry) of focusing on player value over the desire for a "magic bullet" formula for making money, but if you know anything about the guys making this game, you'll know that isn't the case here.

Part 1 - http://f2phq.com/2014/03/26/the-future-of-games/

Part 2 - http://f2phq.com/2014/04/02/the-future-of-games-part-2/

Part 3 - http://f2phq.com/2014/04/15/the-future-of-games-part-3/

 

TLDR:  Focus on delivering as much value as possible before anything else, monetize fairly and proportionately with the value you create = win/win

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The ONLY way I'm coming near this title is if its buy 2 play (b2p) at a minimum of $29.99 - I don't even mind a small un-obtrusive to the community cash shop.

 

I'm never going to another f2p model EVER again.

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I'm interested as to why you feel that way (besides the obvious of a $29.99 price point filters out a good chunk of the younger demographic)?

 

The ONLY way I'm coming near this title is if its buy 2 play (b2p) at a minimum of $29.99 - I don't even mind a small un-obtrusive to the community cash shop.

 

I'm never going to another f2p model EVER again.

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ummmm i have yet to find, in my MANY years of experience...ANY F2P game worth my time...either due to poor production, the pay to win aspect or bad client side security in one whay or another

 

give me the basic monthly subscriber model any day....all else and i'll do what i've always done...try the beta and then never touch it again after a few weeks of launch cuz it's shyte

 

just my one sixth billionths of the world's opinion.....your mileage may vary...

 

Excelsior!

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let the Code build the World and it's Laws....let the Players build the rest...

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There isn't only a problem with games being F2P because of money problems, or because pay  2 win; other in-game problems exist as well.

 

If the game is F2P, players can keep making accounts, and use these accounts to gather resources all day, or bot. This would manipulate the economy, and ruin it.

 

Secondly, players can hack without fear of needing to buy the game again. This is probably everyone's worst fear.

 

Lastly, a lot of F2P players are cheap, and don't help support the game. Free to play games survive on "whales". Obviously a lot of F2P players never spend a dime on the game they play, and "whales" make up for it. "Whales" are players who play F2P games, and spend loads of money on cash shops (hundreds, and even thousands). If they went down the F2P model route, but hardly any whales played the game, they could be in trouble. It is a risk.

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I completely agree that all of those problems do exist, but that is still execution, not the model.  

 

There isn't only a problem with games being F2P because of money problems, or because pay  2 win; other in-game problems exist as well.

 

If the game is F2P, players can keep making accounts, and use these accounts to gather resources all day, or bot. This would manipulate the economy, and ruin it.

 

Secondly, players can hack without fear of needing to buy the game again. This is probably everyone's worst fear.

 

Lastly, a lot of F2P players are cheap, and don't help support the game. Free to play games survive on "whales". Obviously a lot of F2P players never spend a dime on the game they play, and "whales" make up for it. "Whales" are players who play F2P games, and spend loads of money on cash shops (hundreds, and even thousands). If they went down the F2P model route, but hardly any whales played the game, they could be in trouble. It is a risk.

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I completely agree that all of those problems do exist, but that is still execution, not the model.  

 

Not exactly just the execution. Here is why the model is also the problem.

 

1) The F2P model itself is the problem, because pay2win cash shops really only appear in F2P games. F2P games, and Pay 2 win go han-in-hand, and pay 2 win shops are usually never seen in buy 2 play, or subscription based games.

 

2) I will agree that it execution has a lot to do with my other two points, about combating hackers and botters, but in order for hackers to circumvent being banned, they would need to keep buying accounts, the game, or both. This will stop a lot of players in their tracks, unless they are quite well-off/wealthy. It won't stop everyone, but I am willing to bet it would stop a majority.

 

I wish I could think of more ways to make F2P work, but I personally want this game to be either Buy to Play, or a sub.

 EOWWuhQ.png 
 

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It is a fair point that P2W (pay to win for anyone new) is only possible with F2P (as long as people don't try to get technical about paying for better computers/connections/tech), that doesn't change the fact that P2W is a design/execution issue.  It isn't that hard to keep P2W out of F2P.

 

On the other hand, I will concede that the hackers/bots issue could potentially be a much larger issue, but it's hard to speculate without knowing more about the design of the game.

 

 

Not exactly just the execution. Here is why the model is also the problem.

 

1) The F2P model itself is the problem, because pay2win cash shops really only appear in F2P games. F2P games, and Pay 2 win go han-in-hand, and pay 2 win shops are usually never seen in buy 2 play, or subscription based games.

 

2) I will agree that it execution has a lot to do with my other two points, about combating hackers and botters, but in order for hackers to circumvent being banned, they would need to keep buying accounts, the game, or both. This will stop a lot of players in their tracks, unless they are quite well-off/wealthy. It won't stop everyone, but I am willing to bet it would stop a majority.

 

I wish I could think of more ways to make F2P work, but I personally want this game to be either Buy to Play, or a sub.

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It is a fair point that P2W (pay to win for anyone new) is only possible with F2P (as long as people don't try to get technical about paying for better computers/connections/tech), that doesn't change the fact that P2W is a design/execution issue.  It isn't that hard to keep P2W out of F2P.

 

On the other hand, I will concede that the hackers/bots issue could potentially be a much larger issue, but it's hard to speculate without knowing more about the design of the game.

 

Alright, I see your point about how the P2W can stay out of F2P, at least. While I think the largest issue is hackers, and bots, a F2P MMORPG without pay 2 win could be okay I suppose. I guess it all depends on the community itself, and who plays the game, and how they act.

 

Anyways, good points!

 EOWWuhQ.png 
 

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Definately free to play but with a optional Subscription.  I love free to play games cause I'm poor as dirt and would not be able to play any games if they all had "must have" subscriptions.  I love LOTRO, Rift, Arch Age and EQ2.  I did play WOW many years ago but my budget has gone down since then.  Personally I've had no problems with these games.  It seems to me that games you have to pay for get hacked more often.  I have not had this happen in free to play games.

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If the game is free to play then the games bad, because its full of noobs who probably dont even know what there doing who'd probably mess up the game. A game like this needs to cost money.. thats how they will make a profit.

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MWO is doing OK as F2P.  It isn't P2W, but it is pay to save time.

 

They really started doing a good job when they bought out their dead weight publisher.

 

Publishers concern me. They can absolutely destroy a game.  Will be interesting to see how that plays out here.

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"Agelmar is King of the Hypocrites and Ruler of the Kingdom of Hypocrytia"

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Small budget games like this will get absolutely demolished by f2p hordes of hackers before it ever gets off the ground...

 

I doubt that, I've seen F2P work without whatever the hell "f2p hordes of hackers" are.

 

I think the same community that wants a game like this wouldn't mind a sub pay model.  I'd do it, I'm old and have money, let me spend it.

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"Agelmar is King of the Hypocrites and Ruler of the Kingdom of Hypocrytia"

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I got to say that if this ends up as a F2P I won't be playing much or at all because of all the problems F2P brings with it. Only thing that would make me stick around if it were a F2P would if it was done in an extremely exceptional executed way. Though I live on a tiny fixed income I rather pay for a good quality game than deal with the bull pucky that F2P MMOs bring with them. Hackers, bots, P2W, etc. all ruin a game for those who play honestly and really earn our game stats and accomplishments.

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F2P should never provide an advantage in ingame performance from a transaction.  A faster path to a cosmetic item, sure.  Some in game currency?  Sure.  Anything that impacts PvP performance?  Absolutely not.

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"Agelmar is King of the Hypocrites and Ruler of the Kingdom of Hypocrytia"

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I know of a game called Warframe. It's F2P.

The only things that are B2P is to rush items that you are building, or just to get stuff faster.

Yet I love how some people get their facts mixed up when they say that the game is B2P because of their secondary currency.

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If it was a few years ago you could argue that F2P games are a cashgrab and they got low quality games but that is not the case nowadays, Sure those types of game are still about but thar is now more and more amazing games going f2p or releasing as f2p and they are great quality games with decent cashshops. Hell even P2P games have cashshops now. Making you pay 59.99 for game then +15 bucks a month doesnt make it quality at all and in most cases i feel most games cant even really afford to stay P2P because thar is plenty of good F2P competition.

I don't want to kill more rats, fill another experience point bar or collect another meaningless badge. I want to play a GAME against PLAYERS, where my actions, my decisions and my SKILL will determine if I win or lose. Allies. Enemies. Alliances. Betrayal. risk. Conquest. To compete with THOUSANDS of other players for a chance to claim the THRONE. Even if i lose, the experience won't feel hollow. I don't want another worthless trophy.

PLAY TO CRUSH

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