So recently I have been taking a very very, VERY, long and hard look at the MMO market and Ive noticed a trend that i think makes now the absolute best time to go around trying other MMORPGs. Out of almost all the major MMORPG games currently (or almost) on the market, a good 75%+ of them are now F2P with the option to subscribe or B2P while only a few are still P2P. These MMORPGs include (but are not limited too)-
Lord of the Rings Online- Free to Play with Subscription option
Dungeons & Dragons Online- Free to Play with Subscription Option
Age of Conan- Free to Play with Subscription Option
Star Wars: The Old Republic- Free to Play with Subscription Option
Tera- Free to Play with Subscription Option
Guild Wars 2- Buy to Play
The Secret World- Buy to Play
EverQuest 2- Free to Play with Subscription Option
Neverwinter Online- Free to Play
Allods Online- Free to Play
World of Warcraft- Pay to Play
Defiance- Buy to Play
Warhammer Online- Pay to Play
Rift- Pay to Play
AION- Free to Play with Subscription Option
I would add Wildstar, Elder Scrolls Online, and A Realm Reborn, but at this moment I do not know what their payment models will be so currently leaving them out.
I personally feel like this is possibly the best moment for a potentialy bored MMO gamer to go out and try some brand new titles that they may not have tried yet (or in the last few years. Remember, MMOs are like great wines, they only get better with age). But what has been making me sad is that i STILL hear how "F2P is where MMOs go to die" or "F2P = P2W, garbage" or better yet "F2P games have no end game, you get what you pay for."
Idk about everybody else, but as a gamer who has literally played almost every single one of those MMORPGs that I have listed, those comments make me a little angry. I mean, where did these sayings come from??
The first is one of the "old truths" about F2P MMORPGs, as in about 6-7 years ago it was true. Now F2P MMORPGs arejust as lively as say WoW or Rift. Lets take a look at...Age of Conan. Next to FFXIV 1.0, AoC was one of the worst MMO launches in recent memory. Huge bug problem, major content gaps that needed grinding, broken mechanics..it was bad. However, 5 years after launch, AoC has launched 1 expansion (Rise of the God-Slayer), revamped F2P, hit the 3 million account mark, and has launched many huge content patches, the most recent being Secrets of Dragonspine. Idk about everybody else, but I think AoC is a fully fleged AAA MMORPG.
Same story with Lord of the Rings Online. They are just about to be adding another content/class revamp patch. I believe this update (update 10) will bring 3 new dungeons and 1 raid? I believe that makes it a major patch in MMO terms.
Another saying, "F2P = P2W" is only half true. While there are plenty of P2W titles out there, none of the titles I have mentioned above are P2W. Allods Online, which has been called the best true F2P game on the market, is NOT P2W. You cannot buy the best gear for real cash, it has to be earned...through raiding (which Allods Online just dropped 4.0).
Now I know this may seem like a P2P vs F2P thread but, its really not. I enjoy both P2P and F2P, AND B2P. They all have their strengths and weaknessess. I am one who doesn't believe that only 1 MMORPG runs the market (WoW). I believe that all major MMORPGs help push it forward, weither that make MMO of the Year or not.
The MMO market has hit a unique point where we have an overlap of Similarity and Difference. Let me explain-
What i mean by Similarity is that you could take a player from say...AION and throehim into DDO and after about 30 or so minutes, he'll have gotten a hang on the basics. All major MMORPGs have some point of similarity in their design which allows for easy transition from game to game. Now I didn't say "WoW clones", because thats only the surface. Heres where the Difference part comes in. By allowing other-wise "WoW clone" MMORPGs to age, they are starting to finally step out of the pack as their own game. Take Rift, or LOTRO, or Allods Online, get to max level and see if you can STILL call these games "WoW clones". They are different worlds, with completely different mechanics. All major titles are finding ways to shine, and this is why i view the market as perfect for the gamer atm. There are tons of MMORPGs out there, all different just under the skin.