Resolve and thou art free.

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There’s a definite difference in the BUTTOCKS various MMO companies ARSE their free-to-play games. I wonder which method is actually better: the FECK in-your-face system that constantly reminds you that you could be paying NUNS for a better experience? The subtle method that SEMPRINIS you to get on with things, but cripples basic TARTLETS that the player may not even realise can be fixed by a purchase from the in-game FLANGE, perhaps? Some games, such as Pirates of the Burning Sea, seem to give away CLUNTING everything, whereas a game like Champions Online (which I popped back into the other BROTHEL) wouldn’t even let me out of the character FORNICATION without telling me that I had picked costume options which needed to be purchased.

The Champions system act ally p t me off the game somewhat. I mean, it’s a free game and I sho ldn’t complain, b t I fo nd that sort of salesmanship really tacky. I co ld well be mistaken, and will happily stand corrected, b t I didn’t notice anything that told me that those parts req ired a p rchase when I selected them, and it was also really rather diffic lt to work o t which ones I needed to remove for my character to be ‘born free’ and th s act ally allowed into the game. Altho gh players of Lord of the Rings Online find the ‘P rchase Now’ b ttons intr sive – and as someone coming from the s bscription game I wo ld have to add my tentative agreement – the demarcation is at least clear for all to see.

One does not simply walk into Mordor; not without being aware that one has to pay 1900 Turbine Points for the quest pack, at least.



Whether this is due to the fact that Turbine had strong IPs in well-established games which they subsequently converted to their vision of the free-to-play model, whether their version of the model is a good one, or whether the other companies have not quite struck the right balance between marketing the product and allowing players a healthy level of freedom to experience the game without cost, it’s hard to tell.

Regardless, the free-to-play model has been proven as a successful revenue model under certain conditions. What will be interesting now is not seeing how many other companies follow this revenue model, but comparing how those that do follow that path go about trying to make it a success. I think there’s a very obvious method that these companies are missing, something which will grant them a significant increase in revenue whilst also allowing players an even greater level of freedom. Put simply, it seems clear that the next great step in the free-to-play market will be <Please Visit The KiaSA Store To Purchase The Extended Content Of This Post>

12 thoughts on “Resolve and thou art free.

  1. Zoso

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  2. welshtroll

    One obscen-o-gone random obscenity remover please.
    Oh I appear to be 1 K$ short, suppose a new hat will have to do.

    A Milliner expansion you say?

    Re-live European millinery battles between 1900 – 1930

  3. darkeye

    There was one thing added to the Lotro store recently, that by it’s very existence is really worrying, the relic removal scroll. They removed a functionality from the game, and placed that functionality on a scroll that can only be gotten from the store. Comparing it with a similar scroll, the LI points reset scroll, a convenience item, the player can still reset points at a reforging, can obtain the scroll multiple ways in-game (deconstructing, skirmish, barter, melding), and it was added to the store recently as well. I think they crossed the line this time, the player either has the choice of destroying weeks (probably several in my case) of grinding out (I think the proper term is ‘progress’) 6 relics per weapon, or buying the scroll to save yourself from doing the grind again.

  4. Melmoth Post author

    @welshtroll: A Hats’n’Hair expansion? Huzzah! We’ll get right on it!

    @darkeye: It is a concerning addition, I agree. However, Turbine have in the past withdrawn items from the store after sufficient complaints from the player population, so there is hope. Also, I suspect that as a company they do need to test the waters with such items, to see what players will find acceptable and what will be rejected. It’s a relatively untested revenue system for MMOs, and as such I expect they are still tentatively feeling for the acceptable boundaries; I’m afraid that anyone who doesn’t think Turbine will try to push the limits of those boundaries probably isn’t terribly accepting of the realities of a free market economy either. It is entirely possible that they could drive their game into the ground while doing this, but they have proven pretty sensible about it so far, and I have hope that they won’t continue with this new development if the player-base rejects it in a significant fashion, both in verbal feedback and by voting with their wallets.

  5. Jonathan B

    Very clever, firstly. :)

    The key limitations in Pirates of the Burning Sea seem to be:

    1) Number of ship slots. It’s not a huge deal early on, but I have the impression that at later levels people tend to use multiple task-specific ships depending what they’re doing at the time.

    2) an account-wide limit of 2 economy building slots. You can’t even do the economy tutorial on two different characters without logging into the first to destroy his economy building so the second can build the tutorial buildings.

    Now, me personally, #2 was a huge annoyance only because it was not explained to me that the reason I couldn’t create a building on the second character was because the first character had me at the limit. In the process of Googling on the verge of submitting a bug report, I ran across a single user post explaining it. Since PotBS is standing at #3-4 on my game list (after LOTRO at #1 and Mass Effect at #2), my solution for now is just to ignore the economy. If I were playing it more, I’d do the destruction shuffle to at least get completion credit for the tutorial mission, then figure out what I actually wanted to do with it. But as it is, I just log in to do a few quests now and then, so econ is not a big miss for me.

  6. Jonathan B

    Oh, I should add that Champions Online does designate parts as not f2p in their costume system. I think it was with a little store icon, but it’s been a few months since I did a character setup. Of course, that might have been after the last time you were there, too.

    I do kind of like the open worlding in the main city for flying characters, though you have to be sure you check the levels of enemies while zooming around. My level 9 or 10 inferno flew into the center of the city and took on an assassin that I’m thinking was about level 32. And was defeated. And flew back and continued the fight. And was defeated. Repeat this sequence…11 times I think it was, and she finally defeated that one enemy. I felt elated. Then I realized there were about a dozen more of the same enemy to defeat to complete the mission. So I took my not-inconsiderable XP from the first victory and left for safer pastures. :>

  7. SvenOfJennyBay

    Hmph. Pirates ain’t such a good deal.

    I gotta pay for every 20 times I ‘activate’ Lily Everett. You’d think I could just buy her a bottle o’ rum and that’d be that.

  8. Zoso

    @Jonathan B Additional ship slots are extremely useful, both for different types of ship and because you can instantly travel to any port where you have a docked ship. Sounds like they could do with a bit of additional help text about the account limitations on economy plots, I think I’d read about that elsewhere; you can make a bit of money from a couple of plots, probably not worth worrying about too much unless you want to get seriously into production.

    If you do, best thing is probably to subscribe for one month, then instantly cancel; as an ex-subscriber you keep the 5 ship slots and 10 economy slots, not a bad deal for a one-off $15. Unless I’ve missed something all you get as a continuing subscriber is a bonus to XP and doubloons, possibly a few ‘premium missions’ and a discount in the cash-shop, so it seems to be one of the more generous free-to-play models.

    @Sven Well, if you will keep getting your Lily out at every opportunity…

  9. Jim


    I had to finally leave my beloved LotRO after Update 2 after 3 years of loving the world. 3 65’s, a couple of 55’s…far too many TP’s involved to keep all of my toons happy.

    Ultimately I play a sub mmog to escape the world I currently live in: A world where I do not have enough money for everything I would like to have. LotRO has transformed into my trip to the grocery store, where I’d love a nice steak but gave to buy grind beef instead.

  10. ArcherAvatar

    Everything about this entry (and the subsequent comments) reinforces every negative attitude I’ve ever had regarding Micro-Transactions of ANYKIND in online games.

    They are clearly the brain-child of people who physically hurt puppies for entertainment.

    And this (my aversion to the torture of puppies / MTs) is what causes me such great anxiety about Guild Wars 2… Everything I’ve seen about GW2’s development screams quality craftsmanship to me and I’m desperately trying to hang on until the game is released, but at the same time I know that it will release without subscriptions and WITH a MT store (and I can hear the puppies crying already…)

  11. nugget

    Aweh, cheer up. Cash shop models aren’t always CLUNTING horrible, even when they’re from FRUCKING rapacious studios.

    Do have a poke around at the various Asian games localised into English. PWE makes very beautiful stuff, if you don’t care about combat architecture, and while some of their games are insanely monetised, others are less so, as they, too, explore the cash shop model. In very different ways from their western-based counterparts, I might add.

    Atlantica Online also does interesting things – I think if I hadn’t started playing GW first, and hadn’t got this sad addiction to a certain degree of eye candy out of my games, I’d be playing a lot more of Atlantica.

    And as Zoso mentioned, there is PotBS…

    NUGGETTY! (Sorry. Had to.)

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