As business models change, I find it fairly interesting behind the arguments behind the subscription model compared to the one called “free to play”. From a player perspective, the complaints that I’ve heard from subscription about FTP business models are usually unfounded. At least in my opinion. Here’s the deal. Most subscription based users often complain that it’s not right that someone can just go to the shop and buy their way into something that they worked long hard hours to achieve. My answer? You’ve never really played FTP models, have you.
Now, I admit, I haven’t played every single mmorpg in the world, and I’m sure there are those that defy this rule but from the insane amounts of asian FTP games that I have touched upon, item shops usually are time limited items that boost experience gain, specialized pets, or special character upgrades so you can have a different look than other players. Usually, there isn’t a special weapon, or item that is permanent outside of pets and such. You could buy some super potion or something but usually those are also achievable within game so it’s not really that much different.
On top of that, there are also worlds such as Kaneva, and Second Life, that have free basic accounts (just like FTP business models) but also include subscription models. In these, the subscriptions get a “gain” of something. SL specifically would give you the option for land ownership and some other perks. Kaneva… well, I don’t know. I never touched it.
Games such as the one shown in the picture, Sword of the New World, are actually amazing games and that particular one is superbly draw with amazing character design. I would say that it’s not any less on par with WoW, or any other subscription based game as far as the game dynamics but it does use the “free to play” model. Is that so bad? You still can’t buy permanent items for the most part.
Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t find it justified for the arguments used against this type of business strategy, or from the user’s perspective, the dislike due to you not willing to shell out. Truthfully, you put in probably a lot more in subscription costs than the FTP guy, but that’s just me.
Photo Credit: (verifex)