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  1. #1
    Bloodsail Admiral Kasperio's Avatar
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    What grinds my intergalactic gears about the F2P model

    Hello, dear reader!

    Before we begin, I am legally obligated (not really) to inform (mislead) you that my post will be fiendishly (not re-- oh, nevermind) long and with background to inspire healthy debate and point of view, but I'll add a TL;DR to those who just want to jump into a debate with as little background knowladge as possible.

    Let me start out by noting in BOLD letters to sincerely express that this is NOT a SWTOR bashing, player bashing or otherwise bashing thread of anything, but a means to present what I believe is constructive discussion material regarding the method of play!

    Phew.. With that out of the way, here's what I've got on my mind:

    Free. Think about that word for a moment. Incorporated into our minds, we'll already be thinking of beneficial additives. Free food, free drinks, free space - unless you're a compulsary room decorator on starvation diet, those three things will ring pleasantly to you. Free samples. Another example that sounds great and makes us feel comfortable with trying a product before comitting to a purchase.

    Free samples have been used many, many years as a way to introduce your product into a market, allowing a consumer to consume your product without demanding a full currency dependant comittment. You're able to offer a small piece of something you have created to increase interest in your product. While that's a very easy thing to boil down when it comes to retail or directly consumed merchandise like edible material or a drink, the online version is far more complex.

    If you're still with me, then think about this for a second. What is a succesful sample? Take SWTOR. The F2P model released for the game was an excellent idea to attempt to rescue a franchise which was not gaining the revenue that would have been desired. (Note: Worded explicitly to avoid bashing as we can all agree "more money" is always desired, regardless of success). So when a F2P model is introduced, let's talk about the intentions.

    I am sure every single one of you will immidiately understand, or even have wanted to smack me upside the head by now saying "Get to the point!" to draw this conclusion, that the intention with F2P for SWTOR was to offer a sample. But let's consider for a moment what it really did.

    Let's say you wish to advertise a product. Your first step should be to take a look at what qualities your product has, present them formally through gameplay and make sure the consumer of your product understands three things:

    1: What you are attempting to show.
    2: What qualities your product contains
    3: Why the consumer should develop interrest in your product.

    By clearly displaying to the consumer that you are showing them a space simulation based on an adventure that alot of people knows, SWTOR stands from a pretty smart stand point here since most people comitting to their game already knows what they're going into. So that's not the part which I want to adress since SWTOR is basically marketed and sculptured to match that. But what about the qualities?

    Let's step a bit back again and assume you're the head of a sandwich making company. You're all set to start selling your sandwiches in supermarkets because you developed a way for creating delicious sandwiches for affordable prices. Introducing this to a market means you want to be competitive and since price is becomming unreasonably difficult to compete with, the quality of your sandwiches should be your main draw.

    So you line up the campaign, you send your display managers to supermarkets with your product and tell them to promote it. But here's the trick where I believe SWTOR went wrong. When you promote the sandwich, you don't want to give the full sandwich away, that's a given because that's bad financially for you aswell as it might offend those who did not recieve a free sample but paid for your product. (Note: Exaggeration, but stick with me for examples sake). You will want to pack the best qualities from your sandwiches into small packages to display and serve the potential costumers to make them want to buy your real product and become happy, paying costumers. But here's the fine line.

    TL;DR:

    There's several ways to go about a F2P model, but the way I see it, it comes down to these two choices. Let's step back with SWTOR again and see what they DID and what I would have SUGGESTED them to.

    SWTOR already had several things going well for it, the game is amazing and a niché group of players had no problem playing and paying hapilly. When a F2P is introduced to a game it quickly needs a balance for things to function and I believe SWTOR messed up on that note. See, the point of the long post before was to express that you should reward a player rather than penalize them. Nobody gains interrest from being penalized.

    During WoW's development, to make an example, the rested bonus did not exist. Instead there was a pentalty for playing for too long making the experience you gained ½ the value. Players did not respond very well to this so Blizzard quickly analyzed that nobody likes being penalized for enjoying a game. Instead, they changed it to reward players for not logging on all the time - atleast on the same toon - thus creating a rewarding experience instead. What this did was change the entire way of how it was viewed upon.

    Back to the F2P of SWTOR. The current system works to withdraw benefits from you for not being a regular subscriber. You're penalized for not paying to play the game by having things taken away entirely, reduced access or limited benefit. "But Kasperio!" you might say "What about subscribers, then? Are you suggesting F2P players gets the same things subscribers do?!" - No, no! Not at ALL! But that takes us back to the reward system. I believe the actions taken should be to add benefits (Note: Not just novelty but innovative gamplay diffrences) to subscribers while making current content F2P. I know someone might think "But that means everything I have now, others paying nothing would get aswell?" Well, yes and no.

    You see, what Blizzard discovered with raiding tiers and easing the progression system is that beneficial subject should be enjoyed for a moderate time before becomming fully accesible. It's worked great for them so far. Back to SWTOR, you would'nt lose ANYTHING as a subscriber, infact, you'd be benefitting new things only for you and fellow subscribers. F2P players would be able to jump in and enjoy the game that got YOU hooked, seeing all the benefits and negatives of it before deciding if they want the additional BENEFITS you have as a subscriber.

    Currently, the game smacks you upside the head on constant basis and says "See this? This gameplay feature? PAY ME!" and almost mocks you for using a model THEY chose to introduce. While I am sure some players might get attracted to it, simply to play it as a single player experience, I do not believe it will result in the intended procedure of luring more new players.

    In conclusion: If time and experience has shown us anything, it is that the carrot is a far better way to advertise and sell your product than the stick. I believe the current system of the F2P SWTOR experience - even with the updates - is flawed, hollow, moneygrubbing and intentionally guilts and smacks you for not paying, rather than alluring you to pay because you love and support the game.

    And that's what grinds my gears about the F2P model of SWTOR, and other F2P models in general.

    Thanks for reading! What's your take on all this?

    - Kasperio.
    Enough with bashing eachother, guys.. This community is still young and needs to grow up and show that not everyone are jerks. We're gamers and we enjoy games, don't bash eachother over what games they like or their oppinions, but don't let them bash others either. We need to come together and stand up, as a community, and help eachother out by being respectful and understanding. Please.

  2. #2
    My take is simply this,

    The more you know about the game and the model the less you have to pay.
    Experienced players can generate a significant amount of credits with relative easy and buy unlocks from players attempting to profit off their stipend through the GTN.

    Swtor's model, especially on the surface, is imperfect. There is much room for improvement. Which is not to say that the model is horrible or terribad or w/e.
    Last edited by Bardarian; 2012-12-07 at 08:36 PM.
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  3. #3
    Old God Kelimbror's Avatar
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    Not to be a dick, but TL;DRs are normally shorter than what precedes them. I was excited when I saw it...then immediately not happy.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyvicious View Post
    Not to be a dick, but TL;DRs are normally shorter than what precedes them. I was excited when I saw it...then immediately not happy.
    It was more of a TL;ML (Too long; Made Longer)
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  5. #5
    Bloodsail Admiral Kasperio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    My take is simply this,

    The more you know about the game and the model the less you have to pay.
    Experienced players can generate a significant amount of credits with relative easy and buy unlocks from players attempting to profit of their stipend through the GTN.

    Swtor's model, especially on the surface, is imperfect. There is much room for improvement. Which is not to say that the model is horrible or terribad or w/e.
    I completely agree with with you, particularly on the bolded sentance which is also what my grind is. What about inexperienced players looking to pick up the product only to feel like they're being downtrodded with penalties because they're not looking to make a financial contribution just yet, or wish to judge weither the content is worth their investment before making it? Purposely penalizing those players will simply throw them right off the idea - myself included - and mean less long-term controbutors to the product.

    To add a bit more of my background, I wanted to play SWTOR when it came out but was not financially ready to comit fully to the product. I read feedback and was discouraged somewhat and left the idea alone. I tried the F2P model, now that I actualy have the spare financings to comit to another game long term, but because of the way it was designed, I was thrown off the idea once more and have now given up on that particular game despite my likings and interest in both MMORPG's and Star Wars.

    And as I mentioned, while the F2P might interest some new players, I have read alot of feedback regarding the F2P that assumes alot of players are likeminded with my observations. The comming reduction of restriction should imply that the company sees the same results as what I concluded, but I still think they ought to change their initial progression entirely to offer a rewarding experience with additional rewards for regular subscribers rather than offering 'same ol' for the current subscribers while penalizing those looking to try the product to determine if they wish to comit to it or not.

    ---------- Post added 2012-12-07 at 09:37 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyvicious View Post
    Not to be a dick, but TL;DRs are normally shorter than what precedes them. I was excited when I saw it...then immediately not happy.
    Too Long, Did'nt read is usually a way to filter out background material. I believe I did that but made the basic intentions of the debate open in my follow-up after the TL;DR mentioned. I could also just have added "TL;DR - What's your take on the F2P model" but that would not only diminish the constructive value of the post, but also filter out so much that the original point would have been obliterated. I am sorry you were unhappy with my way of constructing the post, I did not intend to trick you with short term conclusions.
    Enough with bashing eachother, guys.. This community is still young and needs to grow up and show that not everyone are jerks. We're gamers and we enjoy games, don't bash eachother over what games they like or their oppinions, but don't let them bash others either. We need to come together and stand up, as a community, and help eachother out by being respectful and understanding. Please.

  6. #6
    Mechagnome
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    Noooo..... I can't read.

    It took me all of a week to quit swtor... sorry, but WoW is just better in my opinion.

    I did however, hear about swtor's f2p model from one of my friends who works at gamestop. I lost my drink laughing over how the game shows you what loot you "could have paid for" and then realized why I didn't even bother sticking around past a week.

    Swtor is doomed to mediocrity, when you enter the mmo industry you need to break down the door with a game that beats its predecessors in every way with a steel bat AND a pool noodle all at the same time. Like WoW snuffed EQ, some game will eventually show up that raises the bar. Swtor just backpeddled into an incredibly stupid business model because they upchucked their half arsed game before it was polished and people just went "pfft" and xbox turned and walked away (if you don't get the joke, don't comment back). End of the day, an f2p model doesn't work for an mmo, it has too many costs that just aren't covered unless you have an enormous player base (or are running a subscription based game). Where f2p DOES work: instance based pvp gaming with open ended options for character and gameplay aesthetic customization. Games like League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Dota 2 are fair examples. Xbox live, should also be f2p with an online store with things to spice up your gaming experience, like a clown nose and hat for your master chef or something. It would be much more in line with the current console business model of selling you pieces of a game that should have been a part of the game on it's release. My 2c.
    Naftc, "Hunters are the cheapest class in game and when played right are more deadly than a train plowing through a field of bunnies covered in napalm"

  7. #7
    Old God Kelimbror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasperio View Post
    Too Long, Did'nt read is usually a way to filter out background material.
    Ok.
    1) It was a joke, please take it as such.
    2) It is used to summarize drawn out and overly long text into an easier to read format. Not just to filter out the background.

    Additionally, because I'm already irritated today, you continued on another train of thought after stating TL;DR in bold. It's like you used it as some weird filler writing to bridge your paragraphs, except you did that already by saying "But here's the fine line"...

    And the reason why I, and many others might be annoyed at this, is because we have discussed this ad nauseum. You claim that the point is to see what we think about it, but that is readily available on the forums already. What you really seemed to want is to scream, here I am...please read my words and give me your attention.

    While I might get assaulted for not being a computer savant, words are my area of expertise. If the cheekiness I'm getting off of this is misread, then I apologize. It just comes off like you are practicing your submissions for cracked.com and this is completely not the place for that.
    Last edited by Kelimbror; 2012-12-07 at 09:04 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuna View Post
    End of the day, an f2p model doesn't work for an mmo, it has too many costs that just aren't covered unless you have an enormous player base
    Okay. This just isn't true.

    Lotro went f2p and has since done several expansion and is thriving,
    same with AoC, Dcuo too, and so many others.

    Just because they aren't on your radar doesn't mean they are no longer around. That's just silly.
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  9. #9
    I tend to agree with what you said - incentives almost always work better. Players tend to always look more positively towards them. I guess the counter argument to why they didn't do this though is that they would have had to come up with (enough) benefits to then make the payed version worth the cost. I'm guessing they were afraid that maybe they couldn't find that sweet spot as easily?

    If the current model is too intrusive and they change it, players will view it positively when they lift restrictions. If the reverse happened and they continually add more incentives due to low numbers, people would look at it as a "money grabbing" move. That said, I still think you are correct and it would have worked better.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuna View Post
    End of the day, an f2p model doesn't work for an mmo, it has too many costs that just aren't covered unless you have an enormous player base (or are running a subscription based game).
    This is objectively and factually incorrect. It's actually the preferred monetization method for MMO's of all shapes and sizes nowadays. The improved profitability of a F2P/freemium model for a game with a moderate to medium-small player size has been proven time and time again, and it's why you continue to see MMO after MMO make the transition from sub only to a hybrid freemium model (a la SWTOR or DCUO) or a F2P model (a la Aion).

    Costs to maintain MMO's have dramatically dropped over the years, and cash shops have proven to be highly profitable, so subscriptions aren't a "requirement" to cover operating costs anymore.

    Here's some background for you.

    http://www.superdataresearch.com/why...should-be-f2p/
    http://www.newzoo.com/trend-reports/mmo-trend-report/
    http://www.superdataresearch.com/monthly-mmo-metrics/

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by edgecrusherO0 View Post
    This is objectively and factually incorrect. It's actually the preferred monetization method for MMO's of all shapes and sizes nowadays. The improved profitability of a F2P/freemium model for a game with a moderate to medium-small player size has been proven time and time again, and it's why you continue to see MMO after MMO make the transition from sub only to a hybrid freemium model (a la SWTOR or DCUO) or a F2P model (a la Aion).

    Costs to maintain MMO's have dramatically dropped over the years, and cash shops have proven to be highly profitable, so subscriptions aren't a "requirement" to cover operating costs anymore.

    Here's some background for you.

    http://www.superdataresearch.com/why...should-be-f2p/
    http://www.newzoo.com/trend-reports/mmo-trend-report/
    http://www.superdataresearch.com/monthly-mmo-metrics/
    Where ever a F2P model is being bashed... Edgecrusher will be there.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    Where ever a F2P model is being bashed... Edgecrusher will be there.
    *batman music*
    Indeed. I freaking love the F2P model because I'm a dirty freeloading entitlement mentality moocher who expects handouts.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by edgecrusherO0 View Post
    Indeed. I freaking love the F2P model because I'm a dirty freeloading entitlement mentality moocher who expects handouts.
    Don't expect much handouts from this F2P model. If you were a moocher/handout lover Bioware will give you no quarter.

    This is the worst F2P game I have ever seen.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Argroth View Post
    Don't expect much handouts from this F2P model. If you were a moocher/handout lover Bioware will give you no quarter.

    This is the worst F2P game I have ever seen.
    Meanwhile, people are buying unlocks off the GTN and getting "handouts".
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Argroth View Post
    Don't expect much handouts from this F2P model. If you were a moocher/handout lover Bioware will give you no quarter.

    This is the worst F2P game I have ever seen.
    I'm not a big fan of this model either, but they are loosening up the restrictions based on feedback. So hopefully they'll continue to do so to the point where they have a good model.

    But the bright side is that at least I can play it now, which is a vast improvement over not being able to play it before! The " dirty freeloading entitlement mentality moocher who expects handouts" is taking a jab at people who like to use those terms to describe people who like the F2P business model.

  16. #16
    Pit Lord philefluxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyvicious View Post
    Not to be a dick, but TL;DRs are normally shorter than what precedes them. I was excited when I saw it...then immediately not happy.
    HAHAHA, this was going to be my response as well

    OT: I get what your saying and agree. I think a better TL;DR would be: Instead of penalizing F2P players, seek to create benefits to the subscribers.

    I really think what they should focus on is using the pay model as a content gate. Functionality should not be restricted, game content should be what you pay for. I know that they do this as well, but I think they are ultimately going to have to give up on feature restrictions if they expect to actually keep players making micro transactions sticking around.
    Last edited by philefluxx; 2012-12-07 at 10:39 PM.

  17. #17
    This was way, way, way, way, way, way, way too long. Don't like that many ways? Sorry, TLDR.

    The problem with OP's point is that really he doesn't say much. Essentially, if I understand his point, is that subs should get incentivized and f2p shouldn't be penalized. Therefore the question that needs to be asked, that wasn't specified is, how?

    If, for example, a f2p isn't penalized, in terms of gameplay, why would they bother to spend a dime if they can play the entirety of the game, free. And as thus the only benefit to a subscriber is perks?

    So to use an example, let's take WoW for a walk. Let's just say WoW is f2p in it's current form. Thus what would you give a paying customer? Free pets? Free mounts?

    Sorry, but based on everything I know, and I'm a relatively new player, this is actually a very good f2p model. As HK-51 has said, it's relatively easy to make money in this game, and pretty much all unlocks and authorizations are readily available to be bought on the GTN or in fleet chat by those easily earned credits. As thus it really makes it one of the least restrictive out there. Other games, will restrict the classes you can play, the races you can play, the amount of aquireable powers and power sets (like Champions), limit most of the areas of the game unless you pay actual real cash.

    Again, SWTOR f2p is very easy in that regards. And while not perfect, IMO, is actually pretty good. And even the ultimate cynic in Edgecrusher is starting to understand that too and realizing, again, while not perfect, that EA/BW is taking steps to improve upon it.

  18. #18
    Old God Kelimbror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philefluxx View Post
    I really think what they should focus on is using the pay model as a content gate. Functionality should not be restricted, game content should be what you pay for. I know that they do this as well, but I think they are ultimately going to have to give up on feature restrictions if they expect to actually keep players making micro transactions sticking around.
    That and truly cosmetic options. It would've been perfect.

    I think they are wising up to that kind of thinking based on the backlash they've received so far. It really is settling into a better place.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyvicious View Post
    I think they are wising up to that kind of thinking based on the backlash they've received so far. It really is settling into a better place.
    They do seem to be making good adjustments as time goes on. If nothing else I trust them to handle themselves with this; and by that I merely mean if they can find a way to make more money and irritate less people they'll be all over it.

  20. #20
    Benefits to the subscriber would be free HK-51, free Makeb, unlimited warzones/ops/fps and 6 action bars etc. I do however agree, freemium players have taken alot of stick so far and little carrot.

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