Tag: free to play
All right folks, let’s kick off 2015. Surprisingly enough, there have been a couple of relevant news pieces over the otherwise dead New Year’s week, and as it happens both are related to game pricing. I’ll start with a Techdirt piece illustrating just how far micropayments can go. Short version: it’s UGLY. Not that saying so will change anything as long as people keep paying to be shat on, but it’s good to keep in mind that unless you’re as big as EA, you can’t really afford to treat your customers like that. This is not good business practice; it’s just something they can afford to do. You don’t.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the fine folk at Failbetter Games took the time to explain why Fallen London is still free to play. Having played Fallen London since it was called Echo Bazaar, I can say it’s F2P done right. Or was — I gave up in the meantime, having grown tired of clicking cows.
Speaking of which.
It was a really slow week at the end of January, but a handful of links caught my eye anyway.
First, a piece of gaming history, namely how the Japanese RPG was born. I wasn’t surprised to learn that some of the familiar tropes were born of technical limitations, but it turns out the genre was brought to the land of the rising sun by a Westerner who missed his D&D gaming group and didn’t even speak the language. Now, that’s fascinating. (By the way, have you noticed how many legendary games were created by people with no prior knowledge of computers, let alone videogames? We need a lot more cross-polination here.)
Is it ironic that a MMORPG designed to piggyback on social networking services reached me via someone in my real-life social network? Such is the case with Echo Bazaar, a browser-based title still in beta as of 13 February 2011 (two years after it apparently won an award from Escapist Magazine, hmm).
How about the fact that she has a Facebook account and I have a Twitter account, so initially we couldn’t interact at all in the game? Because, you see, Echo Bazaar is entirely dependent on these two services for authenticating players. That’s good on the one hand, as you don’t need to remember yet another set of credentials, and bad on the other, as many people stay as far away as they can from either.
But I’ll return to that later. For now, let’s see about little things such as story and gameplay.
Every time some artist, or author, or publisher moves to a “pay what you want” or “freemium” business model, trolls inevitably show up to yell how this is never going to work, despite numerous examples to the contrary. A similar outcry could be heard a few months ago, when several high-profile MMORPGs announced moving to a free-to-play model. So I guess they’re in trouble by now?
In a word, NOPE. Ars Technica gives a quick heads-up on how Lord of the Rings Online is doing:
I’ve been playing a couple of MMORPGs lately. Now, that’s not usually my thing, but sometimes one needs to try something out of the daily routine. And since we’re talking free-to-play, it was only going to cost me time. What I find interesting is that both games appeal to me considerably, despite being not just very different, but polar opposites in some regards. So I decided to try and review both side by side, and see if that turns out any useful insights.