Sunday, August 30, 2009

Whats your poison? To pay or not to pay, for a MMO?

To pay or not to pay?

Today I was thinking about the many MMORPGs I have played. With so many available today with free to play and subscription based there really are tons of games out there. But in the end do  you really end up paying? I've asked myself that and weighed the monthly subscriptions vs free games. What really keeps players interested in the long haul?

So far this year I have re-subbed to Everquest, Everquest2. Tried AoC and War Hammer. Several free games such as Free Realms, Ether Saga and Runes of Magic just to name a few.

I love trying out new games, a whole new world to explore, new classes and races to play. But if there is nothing at the top it can really feel like "whats the point?" Grinding out level upon level you expect there to be a goal at the end, things to work to right?

Free vs Subscription.

I often find myself trying out the latest neat looking free to play mmorpg. At times I get roped into wanting to purchase a cool mount or item in the cash shop. Honestly when I sit and think about it for all those cool things I could buy.. I could just play a subscription game and get those type of things in the long run.

Ether Saga hooked me in on the cash shop as well as Free Realms. Ether Saga's cash shop seemed to me very expensive and the amount of in game money you got for cash was misleading. Making most good items about 10$ real cash. I was not up for that.. come on I was just wanting to get a new outfit! It didn't even have stats. So I just was soured upon that.

Free Realms had many cool things but some of them you could only use if you had a subscription too! Meh.. that sort of put me off. But it wasn't that bad I suppose. You can still play a lot of the content in this game w/o a subscription but many of the classes are locked out to the player. So really Free Realms felt not so free in the end.

Coolness Factor. Ok so maybe I don't want to play a MMORPG just b/c it is free, but because it looks so much fun! Ok so you don't have to buy any of those cash items. I have tried ftp (free to play) games and not bought a single thing. But when the coolness wears off it seems there are things that I find I don't like. Such as Perfect World- PvP is forced upon you at 30. You are going to get ganked, no doubt about it. Even if you do not wish to PvP ever. There were no PvE servers. Or in a few it seems at high end there was just not much there in the end :(

Free with option to pay. Two examples of this would be Dungeon Runners and Free Realms. Dungeon Runners was like WoW meets Diablo. It was really tons of fun when I started. I just got tired of running the same dungeons over and over. They had the option to pay and use subscription gear and a few other perks. It wasn't game breaking so either way it was still fun.

Free Realms is pretty much the same. Fun but you could add some bling with the cash shop or just enhance yourself a bit with cash shop weapons/gear. Pets.. oh they were so cute you wanted to buy one. Several required a subscription even after purchase.. like the ghost dog or cat. But did you really need to subscribe? Well if you wanted to play most of the classes available, yes.  Some mini games also required a subscription.

Subscription with cash shop.

S.O.E. (Sony Online Entertainment), has inter-graded this into a lot of their games. Many people were angry when Everquest and Everquest2 added the cash shop and the Legends of Norrath online TCG.

LoN have loot cards that range from in-game titles,  illusions, potions, pets.. ect ect. People felt this took away from the game. Who wouldn't want a vanity pet that adds stats or in-game effects? But not everyone wanted to pay money for one on top of a subscription.

Next comes the cash shop. Both EQ, FR, and EQ2 offer cash shops on top of subscription. While I honestly loved some of the items.. I didn't always want to pay extra on top of that subscription for an item. But it was the only way to get the item.. kind of sucks you in. My husband prefers I stay away from these types of games :p

Monthly Subscription. No Strings attached.

This in my idea would be games more like WoW, AoC, and War Hammer. You play it, you work on the character, you have the option  get everything offered to everyone as long as you take the time to work at it. This honestly is how I like it. WoW has the TCG loot but nothing there really is something I lose sleep over really b/c there are so many cool things already available to players.

But at the same time, these can get boring waiting on new content at the same time because they can be so streamlined.

Playability in the long run and high end.

If you are like me, you want something to make the game fun in the long run. May it be raids, dungeons, pvp (with goals/rewards) or just more phat lewt!

Do many of these games offer much high end? Honestly I can't say for sure what most of the free ones offer b/c after the candy coating starts to wear off.. I get bored and move onto something else.

The games you actually pay a subscription, well they want you to keep paying those subscriptions and they cater to the long term player. They do have the steady income to keep working on more more more.

In the end it's all about fun.

I am not bashing or playing favorites to any of these games. Honestly I am glad there are so many out there in the free genre. I was really sad when Mythos went under (look em up on twitter, seems they might ressurect the game!), it was such a neat game.

I get bored more easily these days it seems so it is fun to try out different things. Those are just some thoughts on free vs subscription.

I think it is great that the options are out there now for both. I remember when I started Everquest I had looked for a free game beforehand and I was sad to find there were none out there that didn't look like a Zelda rip off lol. That was nine years ago and now there are sooo many it's really nice to see them out there.

Really anything that you find fun is worth it if you are enjoying it. So what do you find fun?

I'm still trying to figure it out today ;)

This week I'll be putting a top free to play mmorpg list up, I will be doing some reviews on several this month but first I'll give a basic review on the top ones I think are worth it. Next month will have more subscription based reviews.

Till Next time!


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