Article from the NY Times from on recovering F2P addict.

Discussion in 'Other Games' started by MOOMANiBE, Dec 21, 2013.


    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    I don't normally bring my anti-F2P crusade into this forum but this article is amazing and I think more people need to read it.

    It basically reads like the diary of a recovering gambling addict who destroyed his life in the casinos. Except instead he destroyed it on one of the most popular F2P games in the world, one that many developers strive to emulate. Incredibly gross. I hope the people who worked on it can live with themselves knowing they do this to people.
    Kazeto, mining, Aegho and 2 others like this.
  2. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    For the most part, they don't care.

    The ones who actually make decisions about this sort of thing never see their “customers” eye-to-eye, so they wouldn't care. It's the difference between firing a cannon at a far-away group of people and personally killing someone with a knife—they don't see the immediate results of their actions and the ugliness of it.

    But yeah, it would be great if they had.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  3. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    F2P means "shareware" to me. You will be teased and baited into paying one way or another.

    I would rather play a game that freely admits it is "pay to win" than one of these all too common abominations.
    Kazeto likes this.
  4. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    I've hated free to play from the very beginning and it's only getting worse.

    That said I've played a couple of them that weren't that bad, but even then they were grindy. (Planetside 2, Warframe).
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  5. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    The biggest problem with the F2P mess is that is makes truly free games look like a bait and switch. For instance, TomeNET is a great and truly free to play game that I have enjoyed for years. But if I had never heard of it, hearing that it is F2P would make me ignore it because it sounds like more of that garbage.

    That particular example is a very good one, since it is multiplayer and online, they do not even accept donations to cover server costs, they have no reason to mess with you or sell "upgrades" or whatever else the F2P abominations do.
    Bohandas and Kazeto like this.
  6. Gorbax

    Gorbax Member

    What are your thoughts on Team Fortress 2's take on F2P?
    That is, literally free, but cashing in on micro-transactions that don't influence game-play at all.
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  7. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    So long as the purchases do not make it easier to win, there is no conflict of interest.
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  8. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    There's a lot of different kinds of F2P games, so making blanket statements about all of them is not right. F2P itself is a misnomer for a lot of them, and as Omni points out, can be very misleading.

    I want to mention a debate that went on with players and devs in an MMO that I played for a while (Fallen Earth), where my guild leader appointed me their representative. As it happens, Fallen Earth was subscription based at that time, but had just opened a very tiny cash shop and there was much talk about expanding it, and some people had very strong feelings regarding that. The main counter-argument, believe it or not, was NOT regarding pay-to-win, but regarding paying for purely ornamental costumes and similar items. As it turns out, Fallen Earth had a rather significant role-playing community as a percentage of players, and the role playing guilds complained that the types of items that cash shops usually sell are the very types of items that are the mainstay of role-players. In other words, stuff that's normally considered frivolous for PVPers, or PVEers, are actually the main attraction of what Roleplayers are looking for in the game, so charging money for that (at the time, on top of a subscription charge) was unfair to them.

    The reason why I mention this is just to point out that pay 2 win can mean different things to different players in certain types of games. To a role-player, showing off one's new duds can, in effect, be 'winning', so even selling clothing that serves no purpose but for show can, in effect, be 'pay 2 win'. At least that's what it meant to the role-players.

    In any case, F2P games are probably especially dangerous for people with addictive personalities. With a subscription game (barring a cash shop), you know how much the game is going to cost you month to month. IF you subscribe, you are making a conscious decision that you know ahead of time whether you can afford it or not. F2P games work differently. Microtransactions mean that you are paying impulse to impulse. If you have poor or no impulse-control, then you may not be conscious that all of your small (or sometimes not-so-small) transactions are adding up over the course of a month to big money.

    It's like my experience in Reno at the worldcon. Every day, I had to walk across the casino floor in order to get to the convention center. Fortunately, I don't have much of an addictive personality and, in fact, have had some negative role-models in my life of people with such a personality to harden me a bit to those kinds of distractions. In a F2P game, those pop-up ads or in or out-of-game advertisements tellling you of the day's specials are akin to the sounds and flashing llights of the casino floor for some people.
    OmniaNigrum and Kazeto like this.
  9. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    I was in the beta for Fallen Earth(closed and open), had quite a bit of fun, though I remember some of the direction it was taking wasn't to my liking(such as forcing crafters into pvp areas for resources), I even wrote some character creation and archetype guides on the forum, and I was getting emails about those for months after release, and I had to tell people I don't play anymore, so I don't know what's changed, but I do know what I knew is outdated.

    Didn't feel like paying sub, I was poor and unemployed at the time. Looked back later and saw (not really) optional sub+money shop greedy double-dipping and just went nope, never gonna happen.

    And yeah I don't have that much against cosmetic-only F2P systems, there's a few other convenience features I don't mind so much, like character/bank slots, assuming you get a decent amount for free and aren't completely starved to force the purchase. Path of Exile is pretty decent about it, Warframe was a bit too forced for my taste, but I did end up paying because I liked the game and it was *bleeping* forced.

    It's when there's grind and/or power affecting purchases that it really becomes bad. Power because pay2win, but the grind affecting ones are even worse, it means there's incentive for the developer to make it extra grindy to make us pay to ease it up, it's making the game more tedious on purpose for greed, and this quickly ruins games.
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  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I left before FE went F2P, mostly because my guild had fallen apart due to most of the top players leaving (since I was a founding member, I inherited guild leadership, something which I really didn't want to do anyway). I thought the game was flawed, but fun and unique and had some very good ideas. I actually thought the crafting system, while certainly not perfect, was the best I'd seen. But it was damaged mostly by a bad economy and a poorly-designed Auction House. It didn't bother me to enter PVP areas to farm crafting goods, and that is in spite of the fact that I was never really into PVP except as a rare and very casual past time with friends. Later on, they did make some mistakes in that regard with the new zones, but before then, it was never a huge issue. The best thing about crafting in the game was that it took a huge investment of effort to do it, which meant that crafting the best items felt like a real accomplishment.

    For example, it took me 2 months to build my infiltrator from start to finish. In most games, you took your mats, checked to see what you could make, buy or gather what you were missing, go to a crafting area and press a button. In FE, you'd research book after book, research how to make tires, make tires, improve tires, research improvements to chassis, etc. etc. A lot of thought and planning had to go into it. Sure, you could find shortcuts, if you managed to find an intermediate part like an engine or tires or whatever on the AH, but those were inevitably way overpriced. In FE, crafting was a metagame, instead of what it felt like in most other games, which was busy-work. Too bad the economy was broken so that most of the time you were only making stuff for yourself and for friends and guildmates.
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  11. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    Yeah I was a crafter too, a guildmate of mine built the very very first car(this was during beta, and it really was a first), a few of us had built motorcycles already of course, including me.
    OmniaNigrum likes this.
  12. jadkni

    jadkni Member

    The whole "lockbox" thing (sorry if what I mean by this isn't clear, that's just what I know it as - the "pay money for a random item" thing that is so pervasive in F2P games) puts a bad taste in my mouth. Never dropped a dime on them, I see no difference between paying for random rewards and gambling frankly. I don't know what the Zynga business model is like, other than what I've heard secondhand (not much good), but I'd imagine it's similarly exploitative.

    That said I think the F2P business model can be both profitable and reasonable. As a (former) roleplayer I don't mind paying for cosmetics, they aren't necessarily required to enjoy the game, they're just a nice way to show support for the game and get something in return. Even XP boosts or other minor timesavers don't bother me too much. It's a fuzzy line between what's acceptable and isn't though, and everyone seems to draw that line a little differently. I draw it at "can I attain this otherwise, and if so, does it affect core game functionality?" and "am I supporting the game, or paying to enjoy the game?"

    I'm currently playing The Secret World (yep, still at it :p), I think the F2P model they work on is quite fair. The cash shop contains largely cosmetics with a few time savers, and some decent-sized content packs. The only part of their model that I'm not fond of is gating Augments behind an otherwise very weak content addition, but that's a rant for a different forum.
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  13. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    The thing about time savers is that they incentivize the developer to make the game more grindy, they're basically saying "you can pay to make the game less tedious", which of course implies that the game was made tedious on purpose, at which point, why should I play it instead of a game that isn't tedious?
  14. jadkni

    jadkni Member

    I can only speak for the games which I have played that include timesavers, namely Warframe and TSW. In the case of Warframe, there's little to do but grind, so I don't mind not cutting corners. In the case of TSW, the grind is only significant in the case of augments, which I've already said I have an issue with.

    I don't think a game is generally made tedious intentionally, it may be a byproduct of bad design, but designing a worse game as a manner of generating more revenue isn't logical. Now, granted, I think the current archetype that online games generally follow is atrocious and that more need to break the mold, but I wouldn't attribute that to intentional bad design as much as sticking with what 'works', even if what works only works because the competition is equally crap.

    (Sorry for zeroing in specifically on MMORPGs, but I have never touched other games that follow a F2P model like Candy Crush Saga or various social games, so I'm only speaking of games I'm familiar with.)
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