Never spent a cent on your F2P game? Congratulations, you're a hare!

I've noticed that whenever an F2P game is criticised as having somewhat evil monetisation strategies, someone will invariably pop up and say, 'I've never spent any money on this game, and I am so leet! You can totally play for free!'

...or at least, for very little!

*Nugget peers at her 2 Forsaken World accounts, with a grand total of US$301 spent in the course of more than 3 years.*

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees.... BUT!

That doesn't make you (or me!) a good little underdog, sticking it to The Man... or whatever the mentality seems to be in most F2P communities I've been a part of.

What that makes us is rabbits.

Or more accurately, mechanical hares.

Modern greyhound racing has its origins in coursing.[1] The first recorded attempt at racing greyhounds on a straight track was made beside the Welsh Harp reservoir, Hendon in 1876, but this experiment did not develop. The industry emerged in its recognizable modern form, featuring circular or oval tracks, with the invention of the mechanical or artificial hare in 1912 by Owen Patrick Smith.

- Wikipedia, the source of all truth! >.>

And the truth is, we're not only not sticking it to The Man, we're actively working FOR him. And we're well worth the 'pay' of our status, and our loot.

Because we run along in front of all the other, newer players who go... wait... if I just work a little bit more, I too can be...!

But it's a rigged game, because a lot of the time, these newer players fail to see the rest of the underlying structure that made us rabbits what we are.

We got in early. We're old players. Who've been playing a long time. We were able to cash in on booms in the economy which are no longer present in a mature game. So even though we didn't spend anything (or spent barely anything)... if you want to match a rabbit today, as a new player... Pay up.

Or sit there wondering why 'these other guys could farm it but I can't'. Then give up. Or pay up. XD

For example, if a newbie wanted to match my toons in Forsaken World today, they wouldn't be able to 'just farm' it all. I'd say at a guesstimate, the combination of both my accounts, if a newbie started playing this week and wanted to be at my power level within that week... conservatively, they'd have to drop about US$4,000 on the game.

That's crazy. But you know, the existence of the rabbits, bounding ahead... if they can run that fast and never get tired... surely I should be able to, too? *chase* *puff* *pant*  *chase* *puff* *pant*

...Ugh! Chasing is hard! I'll pay just a little bit to make things just a little easier.

Congratulations! The F2P game has another new customer, and another potential whale. ;)

The Secret World (TSW) is (almost) everything a nugget wanted GW2 to be.

TSW's combat is GW1 style, only evolved, and with enough differences to not be a blatant ripoff - more of a homage. Same way GW1 was a homage to Magic: The Gathering.

You can equip 7 active skills, which you can pick from any skills you've already learned, and you can use them as long as you meet the weapon requirements, if any. 1 of those 7 active skills can be an elite. There are another 7 passive skills, which can also contain one elite, so they don't crowd your skillbar. Similar, to, but at the same time, very different from, allocating skill points in GW1 to make a build.

In terms of combat mobility, you can move while casting (at least, I think you can), double tap to dodge, see AoE rings, blah blah. Circle-strafe like mad when outmatched, stand still and hit buttons when your opponents are puny. At least, in melee. Not sure how ranged works yet.

Mobs don't seem to be as smart as GW1 mobs, but I'm a newbie still (a whole 3 days!), so maybe they get smarter later on. So far, though, they're still better than many other MMO mobs. They DO try to surround you (and hit your back). But they currently don't run from aoe automatically, don't rez each other, etc.

The skills themselves have a lot of interplay between them, but the kind of interplay seems less sophisticated than what GW1 had. There's no costly skills that make a lot of sense - e.g., Flesh of My Flesh, Infuse Health, not that many skills that promote team play above selfishness, e.g. splinter weapon, and protection is not as subtle and beautiful, e.g. Reversal of Fortune, Aegis, Aura of Faith. And there are no minion masters. *sob*

If you like Lovecraftian alternate-universe type stuff, TSW is great. It feels like a rich, solid, plausible, well-built world. The world feels like it has history. Of course, it's easier in their kind of modern alternate-universe-history setting than in a purely made-up world, as it's as simple as going, 'Oh ohtay, that's New York, and Kingsmouth is in Maine.' ;)

Writing & Voiceovers
The writing is just a notch under Witcher and Witcher 2.

The voice acting is superb, AND, like Witcher and Witcher 2, the animations are well done enough that cut-scenes feel like movies, like actual... acting, instead of a poor relation.

Pricing Model
It's on a buy-the-box ($30 or $60, you pick), then subscription-optional model. As far as I can tell, the cash shop is not rapacious or evil. There are a few (very few, well hidden) lottery boxes, so it doesn't seem like that's their main revenue push, and there's very little to no outright selling of power. Lots of selling of fripperies. And subs members get a 10% discount.

Fashion is great fun. Since your gear doesn't show as clothes, your clothes don't matter. Meaning you can wear anything you like! ;) And there's heaps of it in the Pangea shop in London. And of course, more in the cash shop. I love fashion cs fripperies. XD

TSW is the place where crazed build-tinkerers from GW1 should go. For peeps like that, GW2 is an utter travesty. TSW is... the game that GW2 should have been.

LegendMUD folks - TSW is like GW1 met Legend, and they had an MMO baby. ~_o

Weird. The single, largest predictor for nugget's liking any given game is whether or not it allows minion armies. Usually zmobies.

I was a bit disturbed upon realising this while playing my second day of Age of Conan, yesterday.

Every single game I've loved or really REALLY liked bigtime since LegendMUD (with the exception of Forsaken World), has allowed me to have a minion army. And I'm not even talking MMOs only here, but any game.

I blame it on spending my formative gaming years raising homunculi armies in LegendMUD.

The class I've started with in AoC is the necromancer. I'm level ?10?, I have 4 zmobies gwarrrrrrging along behind me, and I am as happy as a clam despite AoC being fugly and having really really bad animation. XD

Apparently I will forgive near anything if I can have minions.

...can it really be that simple? O.O

Suggest an MMO to a nugget! Preferably subscription-based, not F2P/P2W.

A nugget is currently poking around for a new MMO, due to certain major economic changes PWE made to Forsaken World.

There's a whole lot of complexity around it, but what it boils down to for me, is that I can no longer live off my in-game investments while spending real money on luxuries. Not just that, but newer toons without in-game investments now have real trouble (for the first time since the game was launched) building up enough capital to acquire investments. One of the reasons FW has lasted so long for me is I loved that every dollar I spent on FW felt like a 'treat yourself' vs a 'pay us for basic amenities'. That's gone now.

And soooooo... I'm in the market for a new MMO. Preferably subscription-based, because I don't want to think about money in-game, for a while. I do not believe that F2P games are in any way inferior to, or of a lower quality than subscription-based ones. However, in order to play an F2P game sanely, without turning into a whale, you need to know how much every single thing you do is worth in RL cash. That kinda kills some of the happy escapism, and adds a bit of a DoT effect to the nugget's limited Willpower bar. And for someone with horrible altitis, F2P games change alts from happy new bundles of exploration to costly happy new bundles of exploration.

So for now, I would really prefer a subscription-based MMO, so I don't have to think about stuff like that for a while.

Unfortunately, when I went looking for a subscription MMO, and not a F2P one, I found, to my horror, that the thing I feared 2 years ago has now come to pass.

Everyone has gone F2P, with the exception of WoW. I won't go back to WoW, because I don't like the person I turn into when I play WoW. In a WoW context, I turn into this extremely mercenary creature, who really only ranks and assesses people by how useful they are to her. WoW is the only MMO I've played where I haven't made a single friend, or met someone who could have (given more time) become a friend. So - WoW is out.

I don't want EVE, cause space doesn't do it for me, and neither does open-world PvP. The latter, though, I'm willing to accept if the premise is attractive enough. ATitD was great when I tried it, but really not for me. Sad fact - I'd rather kill than build things. ;)

Which leaves me, really, with no subscription-based MMOs at all. HALP!

MMOs nugget has tried
There are a few missing from the Pinterest board, as I've been too sluggy to add them.

  • Guild Wars 2
    Box purchase and CS based on F2P principles. Broke my heart, don't bother.
  • Guild Wars
    Box purchase. Ah, ArenaNet, I used to love you so much, believe in you even more.
  • Furcadia
    Free. I wish furries were my thing.
  • Runes of Magic
    F2P. Boring.
  • Glitch
    Dead from not doing F2P right. I would have paid a subs to keep it alive if they had asked. I'm sure many other Glitches would have, as well. They never asked.
  • Jade Dynasty
    Rapacious F2P. Wuxia styled, hilarious storylines, but the sheer grind and willpower cost to NOT spend got to me in the end. Also, I still resent them for that $20 mount I had to buy to access my midlevel content...
  • Heroes of Three Kingdoms
    Dead F2P. Closed by PWE after testing some concepts that made their fully-fledged way into Forsaken World.
  • Rift
    F2P, formerly subs. I really wanted to like this game. Trion loves its community the way ArenaNet used to. But the game is simply lacking on every level, from art, to sound, to combat. Does do dynamic events really, really well though.
  • City of Heroes
    Killed by NCsoft, formerly subs. Wouldn't really have interested me anyway. I don't care if it had one of the most advanced character creation screens for its day, if every option is ugly.
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea
    F2P. Fascinating... but F2P, which defeats the point of this whole post!
  • Forsaken World
    F2P. The reason for this post in the first place.
  • Chronicles of Spellborn
    Dead, formerly F2P, then ?free?. Killed itself just as I was getting to know it.
  • Lineage II
    F2P, formerly subs. Beautiful indoors, beautiful character models, hideous outdoors. The last was a deal breaker for me.
  • Aion
    F2P, formerly subs. Took hours to download and install, only to find that my bombshell vixen of a toon walked like a chicken. Deleted in 5ish minutes.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online
    Pay-for-content-unlocks. Fugly. Really smooth, but so ugly I uninstalled 10 minutes after installing.
  • Atlantica Online
    F2P. Can wield a party, much like GW. Horribly ugly, but interesting. But it's F2P!
  • Allods
    F2P. Tried recently to get back into Allods. Unfortunately, GPotato has implemented a ridiculously stupid authentication system, and after the Nth time of being told my password was incorrect, even though I'd just sent a password reset, AND reset it, AND was able to log into the Gpotato site itself, I gave up. All Gpotato games fall under this group now.
  • A Tale in the Desert
    Subs (I think). Great game, if you like building more than killing. I like killing more than building.
  • World of Warcraft
    Subscription with a growing cash shop. I don't like the person WoW turns me into, and I don't like their systems.
  • Tera Online
    F2P, formerly subs. Best combat I've ever seen. Beautiful art, great sound. So why it's not really 'sticky' for me, I don't know.
  • Neverwinter
    F2P. Feels like a cheap rip-off of Tera. As far as I can see, everything Neverwinter does, Tera does better.
  • Age of Wushu
    Paid 'VIP' status. Extremely promising, love the artwork, love the combat. Unfortunately, it's trying for an EVE-style economy, and from what I could see before I stopped logging in - it isn't working. At all.
  • Lord of the Rings Online
    Pay-for-content-unlocks (I think). Couldn't install on 2 computers now. Can't be bothered to troubleshoot.

Tera Online: Sidesaddle wut?!

It doesn't bug me at all that my slip of a girl Lancer somehow fights on foot with a lance twice her height and with a haft that is about the width of her waist.

It doesn't bug me that she has stiletto heels on her solleret, to go with her lingerie platemail.

But DAMN, it really freaking bothers me that she rides sidesaddle! LOL!

Age of Wushu - Wonderfully silly!

Not quite the screenshots I intended to post, but this was so silly that I had to share it. ;)

Yes, AoW is full, open-world PvP. Yes, carebear nugget likes it. It feels more like a PK MUD + sandbox than any other MMO I've played, and the world feels like a ... world!

I think one of the reasons the silliness of this dialogue works so well is that (pesky players aside), in other places almost all of AoW is totally IC (in character), and even this one is subtly done.

This sums up one of the reasons why Guild Wars was so magical for me.

"The JRPG protagonist is just a convenient placeholder for a dynamic group of resolute individuals who are greater than the sum of their parts. The player isn’t controlling one hero with several non-playable sidekicks. They’re guiding the whole. As each member of a party gains levels and becomes stronger, each character’s role in combat solidifies, and they specialize in a given class, while the story brings the characters closer together as people."

"The (often silent) protagonist isn’t there to keep conflicting personalities in check. They’re just an excuse to bring them together. They’re a body to hold the adventurers in while they adventure. In these games, the player doesn’t have a virtual surrogate through which they experience the world; the player is the group. All control that the player has over the game is blanketed across the whole party. Cooperation is built into every layer of these games."

- We Are One: JRPGs, the Group Journey, and the Mechanics of Cooperation, Mark Filipowich, Gamasutra's also why I loathed Dragon Age. Dragon Age, for me, was like being stuck in a bad PUG and being forced to use Ventrilo by a bunch of whiny poopheads. I did like the dog, though.