Things that Free to Play Games Need to Change

Before you fill my inbox with hate mail and death threats, let me explain. I do not dislike all games of any genre. I’ve enjoyed games such as Runescape, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Planetside 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. There is simply a common trend in these games that I think need some tweaking. As such, the distribution of such thoughts as mine may prove to be helpful to game creators as constructive criticism. So let’s get into it.

1. Budgets: Most of these are MMORPG’s that take the same ideas as every other MMORPS ever and run with them. Health bars, mana bars, cool down bars, and little icons you click on to do stuff. Got it. But being free-to-play, which often times have a tighter budget, means they aren’t allowed to try something new. I’m glad they’re free so people can easily get their hands on them, but as such they become obligated to go the safe route. Which all too often means unremarkable in virtually every way. A little variety (the spice of life) may boost sales and get better numbers.

2. Marketing: I get it, it’s a product they spent a lot of money and time on and here I am playing it for free. But do you really have to put an ad to sign up and become a member into every little menu? Go to a shop to buy something and boom, sign up for x amount of in-game money. Go to my character menu to see what my new armor looks like, bam sign up for monthly drawings to win free gear. It just gets a little tedious to look at after a while of the guilt racking up, sort of like being asked to donate money during your checkout when oftentimes you can’t afford to pay, hence the reason you were playing a free game.

3. Perks: The biggest and by far worst aspect of free-to-play games is related to #2. The fact that members who do pay a monthly fee get benefits is only reasonable, of course they should. But to constantly show this to every non-member is a bit ham-fisted. Sprint is a low-level ability for members but you have to wait till you’re 15 so why not sign up? Can’t customize your ally’s appearance unless you sign up. Picking out your end-of-quest reward? Can’t get these, but members do. It just seems to me that selling convenience to members means creating inconvenience for non-members.

These are all small grievances, so by no means am I trying to say free-to-play games are bad. Some are quite good. Play them all, try them out and see which ones really fit your tastes and play style. It’s all a matter of opinion and to be taken with a grain of salt. Hopefully with enough input from us players, the companies will listen and make their great games even better.

1 Comment

  1. TJ January 10, 2014
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    Some Free to Play games have actually implemented the ability to earn these “perks” by achieving/purchasing in game. Earning them through the game, rather than paying for it outside of the game. For example, late 2013 Runescape 3 had implemented Bonds. Which is a way that Members and Free to play players are able to purchase bonds with in game money, or real world money. Which you can then sell for in game money, or for “spins” or for “runecoins” which are used in basically an item mall. So theres that.

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