I used to play WoW… there… I’ve admitted it. I enjoyed playing and would play for hours on end whenever I had time. I had a group of Real Life friends who would get together and beat our heads against the old Burning Crusade Elite dungeons which were HARD. Then Wraith of the Licking King came out and skill went out the window. No more “sheep that, stun that, kill this guy first” plans. Every fight turned into “I’m going to run into the middle of everything… and everyone nuke it all down!” Some nights I would almost fall asleep hitting 2…..2…..2…..3…..1…..2…..2…..<snore>
The big problem I had is that since I was paying 15 bucks a month to play this game I felt obligated to play it whenever I had time. The problem is that I have a lot of games that pull me in different directions. If I start playing Super Dragon Effect 3: Special Skyrim Edition and ignore playing a subscription game for a few weeks, the guilt of paying will eventually force me to play it again.
Fast forward a few years and suddenly a few less popular games go Free 2 Play. I think the first F2P game that really sucked me in was Lord of the Rings Online. I had played it years before and couldn’t justify the monthly subscription cost. But not I could drop a little cash, buy the content I wanted and never lose it. Over the course of a few months, I managed to buy ALL of the content for somewhere around what I would have paid for 3 months of subscriptions! SCORE! Now I can stop playing for a few months and know that whenever I feel the bug again, I can go play it and everything will be just as I left it, including all the quest packs I just bought for a hefty percentage off!
I love sales… as a matter of fact, games should have MORE sales. All of the content in LOTRO, on sale. Bought points in STO, on sale. Almost every single stupid 300-some-odd game I own on Steam… on sale. Just a couple of weeks ago I was gushing (<sigh> yes, I gush once in awhile) to my wife about buying something or other on Steam for $5 that would have cost $50 just a few months ago. In mid sentence I saw the look… THAT look… the EXACT same one I give her when she’s talking about the new pair of shoes she found that were only a few bucks. I guess we all have our bad habits.
I don’t mind paying for things in game. I recently bought some points in Star Trek Online even though I have a Lifetime Membership and get 400 points per month already. I like the game and want to support it financially when I can. However, I also tried the trial of Star Wars: The Old Republic. If that was a F2P game, I would play it. I certainly know the IP and it seems like a great Single Player MMO. That being said, I refuse to pay $40 for the box (cheapest I’ve seen it at) and then continue paying 15 smackers per month to play it.
Now on the other side of the coin, I am not afraid to purchase a game and spend money. I recently bought both Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2. While Diablo isn’t technically an MMO, it’s close enough in my book. Both games have upfront costs, but then you aren’t required to pay anything else. I love it. Are there other F2P games that I’ve downloaded and only played for a few minutes and deleted because it wasn’t what I was looking for? Sure. There are others that I have downloaded and paid a few bucks here or there for stuff while playing but never stuck around long term. The big difference is that I wouldn’t have played ANY of the F2P download only games if they weren’t F2P but they at least got me to look and a few of them got some cash from me.
At this point in my life, I don’t see myself ever paying a monthly subscription again. Maybe that will change. Maybe it won’t. For now, I’m quite content playing the mess of F2P or BuytheBoxandPlay4Free games like Diablo 3/Guild Wars 2.