Help me understand the "free to play" model for pc games

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#1 Posted by Videodogg (12611 posts) -

I appreciate being able to download and play a game for free, but what am i really getting?

I downloaded Hawken. Fundamentally, the game is awesome. But i have a feeling i am going to be at a distinct disadvantage playing against people who opt to PAY for weapon upgrades and items, while i futilely try to earn in-game credits the FREE way. Is this model really just PAY to win, or is it really fair to all players regardless of how much they pay for upgrades?

I really like the game, but i think i would rather just pay $60 for a full game, like normal.

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#2 Posted by DanielDust (15402 posts) -

Don't know about Hawken since I only played the first closed beta, but World of Tanks has the best freemium model that I know of, it's the definition of "pay for commodity", but it also has things worth spending money for, a happy customer is a paying customer, spent more on this game, both money and time, than any single game (except WoW and I have a feeling this arena shooter will easily surpass the years I paid for WoW and the time I spent on it).

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#3 Posted by k2theswiss (16599 posts) -
98% f2p games sucks. 1% is fun yet it's pay to win, the other 1% does it right...
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#4 Posted by geitenvla (960 posts) -
98% f2p games sucks. 1% is fun yet it's pay to win, the other 1% does it right...k2theswiss
Can you name a few titles from that last 1% category? I really am looking for a good F2P game, preferably mmo style.
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#5 Posted by nutcrackr (13029 posts) -

there are varying models of free to play and therefore varying models of "fairness"

some games focus mostly on cosmetic items, things that do nothing but make you look like an idiot. There aren't many of these, for obvious reasons. Many games do cosmetic, pay for faster unlocks and pay for faster XP gains. If you play the game a lot, then XP boosters are universally the "best" bang for your buck. If you are the type who plays only a little then you'll be better off buying a few weapons outright. Generally though you buy a small group of items and you are already well over the standard retail price.

Just about every free to play game has one major goal, that is to have enough content so that people can spend hundreds of dollars to get everything. ITHe basic principle is that a small group of players have enough money and want most of everything. Small transactions add up over time but the some gamers don't mind spending small amounts. This goes hand it hand with the second tactic which is make the free players earn experience at a painfully slow rate, maybe 50 hours to get a single weapon. Obviously doable but so high that it strongly encourages you to pay. Also high enough so that double XP boosters still take forever too.

One thing that seems universal with the F2P games is that comparatively it's poorer value versus a retail product. You just won't get half or even a quarter the game content in $50. There will be more and more F2P games coming in the next few years, it is truly the next big thing. But also with more games flooding the market they will have to increase the quality or some F2P games will burn out withing months.

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#6 Posted by Videodogg (12611 posts) -

I was all excited for Hawken when i first read about the game. I even upgraded my pc, well in advance, in anticipation. But i was rather let down and disappointed when i found it was going to be a "F2P" game. And, im hearing about lots of games adopting this free to play model. If this is the future of PC gaming, then it looks like i backed the wrong horse. If consoles adopt this model, i will quit gaming altogether. Is "free to play" really the future?

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#7 Posted by the_bi99man (11242 posts) -

It really does depend on the game. I haven't played many F2P games, myself. Blacklight Retribution is definitely the one I have the most experience with, and I feel like it does a good job of balancing that out. I've never used the real money currency for anything in that game and, more often than not, I don't even bother buying stuff with earned, ingame credits. I just jump into games with the default gun and armor. Never really felt like I was at a disadvantage. Still wind up in the top half of the scoreboard, most of the time, and I'm not even very good at online shooters.

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#8 Posted by the_bi99man (11242 posts) -

I was all excited for Hawken when i first read about the game. I even upgraded my pc, well in advance, in anticipation. But i was rather let down and disappointed when i found it was going to be a "F2P" game. And, im hearing about lots of games adopting this free to play model. If this is the future of PC gaming, then it looks like i backed the wrong horse. If consoles adopt this model, i will quit gaming altogether. Is "free to play" really the future?

Videodogg

There are those who believe it is. I really hope it's not. And I don't think it will be. Mostly because F2P can only work properly with MP games. And there will always (I hope) be a market for a solid, story driven, single player experience.

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#9 Posted by bonafidetk (3911 posts) -

Most F2P games are thinly disguised P2W game models. The only game I can really think of where premium players dont have a genuine advantage over F2P players is TF2. Although its incredibly cheap to get all the premium TF2 features.

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#10 Posted by EliteM0nk3y (3382 posts) -
There are a few games that do it right, League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 (once it's released), Blacklight Retribution, Lord of the Rings Online, Tribes Ascend and Planetside 2 are some examples. I think there is more, but those are the most popular ones.
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#11 Posted by bonafidetk (3911 posts) -
Most of those games you mentioned are extremely grindy unless you pay. I wouldnt consider that "doing it right".
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#12 Posted by James161324 (8315 posts) -

The problem with f2p, is its not f2p if your a gamer. If your a casual player, then yes the free stuff can be fine. But for the most part f2p is free to try, then pay money if you want to keep playing. The only games where money isn't needed is Valve f2p games, blacklight you can kidna get away with it to.

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#13 Posted by True_Sounds (2915 posts) -

Dota 2 (once released) is the only game I can think of that does it great. No grind in that game, and you get every single hero and no restrictions as F2P. TF2 would be the same but the item drops you get are significantly handicapped until you deposit min $5 in steam wallet and buy something from the ingame store, and that game leans on economy so heavily as a gameplay aspect imo.

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#14 Posted by Alex_Baratheon (33 posts) -
[QUOTE="k2theswiss"]98% f2p games sucks. 1% is fun yet it's pay to win, the other 1% does it right...geitenvla
Can you name a few titles from that last 1% category? I really am looking for a good F2P game, preferably mmo style.

I'm not much of an MMO player, but I can still recommend you some good F2P games. Try Tribes Ascend and Planetside 2. Both of them are FPS games, and you don't have to pay anything. Everything is pretty much balanced out, and most of the micro transactions are just for customizing your character's voice, skin, your weapons' looks etc.
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#15 Posted by DanielDust (15402 posts) -
Most of those games you mentioned are extremely grindy unless you pay. I wouldnt consider that "doing it right". bonafidetk
Making you grind while not offering any balance breaking features for paying customers is a successful F2P model, then there comes the optional monthly subscription (WoT practices this) that turns the game into simply fun not grind because you're a cheap arse.
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#16 Posted by James161324 (8315 posts) -

Dota 2 (once released) is the only game I can think of that does it great. No grind in that game, and you get every single hero and no restrictions as F2P. TF2 would be the same but the item drops you get are significantly handicapped until you deposit min $5 in steam wallet and buy something from the ingame store, and that game leans on economy so heavily as a gameplay aspect imo.

True_Sounds

Not really true, tf2 is set up where the stock weapons are just as good as the others

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#17 Posted by nutcrackr (13029 posts) -

I was all excited for Hawken when i first read about the game. I even upgraded my pc, well in advance, in anticipation. But i was rather let down and disappointed when i found it was going to be a "F2P" game. And, im hearing about lots of games adopting this free to play model. If this is the future of PC gaming, then it looks like i backed the wrong horse. If consoles adopt this model, i will quit gaming altogether. Is "free to play" really the future?

Videodogg
It remains to be seen. F2P is likely going to make it's way to consoles too. MS and Sony will just take a cut from the microtransactions. I still think the traditional retail model will be around for many years to come. The F2P market might also have a bit of a crash when it gets saturated with garbage. Vote with your wallet and buy regular games.
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#18 Posted by True_Sounds (2915 posts) -

[QUOTE="True_Sounds"]

Dota 2 (once released) is the only game I can think of that does it great. No grind in that game, and you get every single hero and no restrictions as F2P. TF2 would be the same but the item drops you get are significantly handicapped until you deposit min $5 in steam wallet and buy something from the ingame store, and that game leans on economy so heavily as a gameplay aspect imo.

James161324

Not really true, tf2 is set up where the stock weapons are just as good as the others

Yeah but it's a much worse experience imo because items and item trading and the driving force behind the game (to a much greater extent then they were in the pre-F2P era). In dota they are purely cosmetic which makes it a better F2P model yet, in my opinion. But that could all change in due course though. With strange kill counts and the likes it looks like Dota will try and make these cosmetics into as big of a meta-game as is possible.

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#19 Posted by JigglyWiggly_ (24599 posts) -
tribes ascend does f2p right
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#20 Posted by bonafidetk (3911 posts) -
[QUOTE="bonafidetk"]Most of those games you mentioned are extremely grindy unless you pay. I wouldnt consider that "doing it right". DanielDust
Making you grind while not offering any balance breaking features for paying customers is a successful F2P model, then there comes the optional monthly subscription (WoT practices this) that turns the game into simply fun not grind because you're a cheap arse.

I'm not a cheap arse at all (Most F2P games arent worth a penny of investment anyway). I just believe that the grindy F2P games are not "doing it right"... The only games I can think of right now that are use F2P models are DOTA2, TF2 and LOTRO
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#21 Posted by bonafidetk (3911 posts) -
tribes ascend does f2p rightJigglyWiggly_
Maybe at release. Not these days. They've packed that game full of superior weaponry. Far too many better weapons out of reach of new players unless you grind for a very long time.
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#22 Posted by DanielDust (15402 posts) -
[QUOTE="DanielDust"][QUOTE="bonafidetk"]Most of those games you mentioned are extremely grindy unless you pay. I wouldnt consider that "doing it right". bonafidetk
Making you grind while not offering any balance breaking features for paying customers is a successful F2P model, then there comes the optional monthly subscription (WoT practices this) that turns the game into simply fun not grind because you're a cheap arse.

I'm not a cheap arse at all (Most F2P games arent worth a penny of investment anyway). I just believe that the grindy F2P games are not "doing it right"... The only games I can think of right now that are use F2P models are DOTA2, TF2 and LOTRO

I said that as in general, not directed at you, F2P should be an extreme grind for the cheap with shinies that are at the same level or slightly worse (with benefits) than anything present in the game with an option to remove that extreme grind for people that want to pay. Limiting features for money, giving access to certain things only for money and giving the option to buy way more powerful things for money that 99.9% of the F2P games out there do, is a terrible freemium model.
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#23 Posted by Postal_Guy (2643 posts) -

I really like LoL's system, i've been playing for 1,5 years and never spent a dime on it. The more you play, the more you get (doesnt feel like a grind to me)

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#24 Posted by JigglyWiggly_ (24599 posts) -

[QUOTE="JigglyWiggly_"]tribes ascend does f2p rightbonafidetk
Maybe at release. Not these days. They've packed that game full of superior weaponry. Far too many better weapons out of reach of new players unless you grind for a very long time.

just work your way to get:
DMB chaingun which is very easy
sentinel default sniper and default pistol are my fav for that class

for soldier, default AR is great, just unlock eagle pistol.
TCN just unlock the sparrow hitscan pistol.
brute just unlock the nova colt hitscan pistol


all the babbies whine at my playstyle in arena. "Hitscan auto noob"

I use an auto and a hitscan pistol as my secondary.
it's 2funny

e.g below

stuff like that happens everygame
tribes ascend honor fuse noobs r 2 funny
"my grenade and spinfuser spam takes way more skill!1!!!!"


TribesAscend%202013-01-12%2022-23-30-59.


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#25 Posted by geitenvla (960 posts) -

Team Fortress II, DOTA2, LOTRO and tribes ascend... I'm gonna check these out. I'm particualry interested in LOTRO. I've never payed much attention to F2P, I'm curious how I will like it.