Age of Conan Smashes Subscription Fees, Goes Free-to-Play

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SlickMajestic

F2P is only a good model for lackluser, failing, terrible and cheaply developed MMORPGs. No real company designing a solid MMO will use that model as you are basically giving people a well developed game to play for free. It's why the major MMOs of old never used the model and any future MMORPG that is considered a large scale, well developed major MMO will not.

F2P works great for garbage games and the fraud MMORPGs that you have seen clutter the gaming horizon over the past 5 years. That model works for those games because people will get on them, play for a week or a few, buy some quick items and probably end up spending more than $15-30 bucks in a week or two on clothes or speciality items than they would have subscribing to a monthly game BUT those people are extremely likely to never buy anything after those initial items or play the game any longer than a couple of weeks where as with a real, well developed MMO they'd be on it for years paying $15 a month - whether they play or not.

F2P is not the future of MMORPGs - stop jumping on that bandwagon. What good MMORPG has ever launched F2P? Guild Wars? Was it even good? Not in my opinion - it felt cheap. Other than that there is nothing even worth mentioning. CO, Warhammer (even F2P?), Conan - all of these games launched with the intention of being marketable, solid MMORPGs. They didn't cut the mustard and because each of them were poor games and simply couldn't hold subscription numbers long enough to profit. They slow the bleeding, bandaging their wound by going F2P to at least cash in for the next year or so on weekly players who would have never tried their game had it not been F2P. In the end however, the bleeding is only slowed and they bleed out and die while the real MMOs like UO, EQ, WoW, DAoC, EVE keep on ticking until some new juggernaught finally ousts them or they become so dated they are unplayable.

With the sole exception of Guild Wars 2, no other major and well developed game will follow the F2P model. This includes Star Wars (if it's even an MMORPG), TERA Online, Warhammer 40k, CCP's World of Darkness, and Blizzards next MMO. All will be P2P. Guild Wars happens to be a random exception because they were extremely successful with GW1 (no other F2P game has ever come near their success), have a solid design team and have enough funding and fan base interest (not to forget credibility) to survive on a F2P model for their second game.

P2P immidiately guarantees you money - whether the player quits after 1 day, 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years. And P2P games are usually created by bigger companies meaning their development time is longer and staff better equipped hopefully resulting in a better overall game. This cheap shit MMO's that currently litter the internet shouldn't even be classified in the same market/genre as real MMORPGs.

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Red Ensign

Slick, you are so ignorant on so many levels that I don't have the time to point them all out for you but I'll make a short recap that you might be able to understand.

1 EVE - I, and thousands of others, play the game completely for free. I can tell you don't play it or you'd know about PLEX. Dumb of you to try to use EVE as an example.

2 UO - Sub AND a store that makes an ass load of money. Look at the new theme packs. You HAVE to buy them if you want to use the new vendor system in New Magincia. Again, pretty dumb of you to have not done a little research.

3 EQ2 - Oh that's right, F2P

4 LoTRO - Like it or not, they are hella successful with their F2P model and they are a quality MMO. Many MMO of the year awards won vs some irrelevant web jockey implying it's not a quality game?  Or did you intentionally not mention it because it invalidates your rant? Doesn't take Einstein to figure out who the simpleton here is.

5 DAoC - Really? In it's first 3ish years, yes it was. ToA and NF killed the game and made it a shadow of itself. Even UO get's more attention from Mythic than DAoC. To imply it is still a quality MMO is just plain negligence on your part.

You seem to be under the incorrect impression you are an authority on what is and is not a quality MMO. Did you honestly think any civilized adult would look at your little rant and take you seriously and think "Man, this dude knows his MMO stuff"? Sad really.

 

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Ghok

To respond to Holly below (sorry, I can't stay logged into this site long enough to do an actually reply, wish I knew why, btw), Steam was not a very popular idea when it first came out. There was lots of opposition to it. It only got to be as popular as it is now by being very very good at what it does and being a company that gamers respect. While I do think Steam has a few shortcomings that I wish the gaming media would call some attention to, I much prefer it to Games For Windows Live. Which does require additional software, by the way. Windows Update is constantly trying to install it.

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Cy-Kill

I knew this was going to happen eventually, I wonder what other current games will follow.  I know it was mentioned that STO will eventually adopt a F2P model, but as far as I am concerned, it shouldn't have been P2P in the first place!

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Righteous Fury

Now if only the guys at Eve would decide to travel this road...

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SlickMajestic

Do you know how much money CCP would lose if they went this route? They have an extremely solid and deep game - perhaps more so than any other MMO in existence. Players have stuck with that game for years and amazingly, six years later, it still attracts new players daily.

If CCP suddenly went F2P then all of those current subscribers who pay $15 a month per account (many holding separate accounts) would now be playing the same deep, well designed game for free. There is no guarantee that any of those people would come close to paying the same $15 a month they would have for P2P for the now F2P content. As a matter of fact the older subscribers most likely wouldn't (the ones most loyal) because they have everything they already need. And if there isn't something they have - they have the means/contacts to get it. F2P would mainly only attract new players as it would help them acquire items/ships they couldn't normally get with the current P2P model. The bulk of CCP's income is from long term EVE players, not new ones.

And with Incarna right around the corner and the ability to finally see your character in interactable environments? Haha. Please. You know how many previous EVE players will pay $15 to come back and experieince that? Perhaps they stay ... perhaps they don't - regardless CCP at least pockets their reactivation fee. Why release that for free? Would you as a business? No.

It's like giving someone a decent to nice car for free and then saying "well, if you want to mod it in any way you pay us <X> amount of dollars for part <Y>" instead of charging them $30k up front for the purchase. Free to Drive future in America? Nope. It might not be the most desirable or legit comparison, but you get what I'm saying.

F2P only works on shallow, garbage MMOs or ones that start with that model in place from the start. Any who has converted from P2P to F2P are only doing so to preserve their life for another year or two, max.

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Red Ensign

Sorta like how you can buy PLEX in game and play for FREE or you can buy Gametime directly from CCP and sell it for in game currency and then buy whatever you want....just like a store but without CCP actually having to build one from scratch? 60 days GTC cost more than the price of 2 months at $15 each. Go to the forums right now and you can see how many people are selling and looking for GTC. Hundreds EVERY single day. Re-reading your post I find it hard to believe you play EVE. How can you NOT know these things? Hell, for over a year I never payed them a dime. I blitz'd level 4s Q18 missions in a fully trained level 5 every skill for a Golem and earned 6 billion ISK and had enough to pay for a PLEX each month. You think I'm the only one running easy mode like that? Get a clue boy.

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BonzTM

I don't think MMOs are going the way of F2P because it's "the future of MMOs".  Most of them are losing large chunks of subscribers at a time.  Going F2P is the only way they are gonna keep anybody playing these terrible games.  It's a tough market and everybody is trying to get in on it.  These things are called "massively multiplayer".  There is only room enough for a couple big hits, the rest will suffer low populations and subscription drops until they are forced to go free or go home.

 

I'm personally waiting to see how TERA fairs when it's released in the fall.

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Ash333

I've done F2P, DDO & LOTRO, but I got tired of only playing a limited amount of content without buying more & more quests. After a 3 year hiatus I actually went back to WoW just so I could budget my MMO cost. I got bored grinding the same quests over & over just on a higher difficulty. Don't get me wrong I like LOTRO & really like DDO, but it just seemed very limited without buying extra content several times.

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Ash333

I played DDO & LOTRO & while I like Rings & really dug DDO F2P gets pretty boring if yu don't keep dumping money to buy premium content. On DDO you just play the same quest over but at a higher difficulty. So after a 3 year hiatus I actually went back to WoW just so I could budget my MMO costs. One fee access to almost everything, I haven't bought any expansions past Burning Crusade. I just wish the characters looked better, so dang cartoony.

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RedAnt751

Games for Windows Live = no thank you.

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Slurpy

I actually got a bit excited by this - went back and watched the trailer again.

 

Powered by Games for Windows Live.

 

Never mind.

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Holly Golightly

Games for Windows Live is not so bad. If so, Steamworks is even worst. It is free of any clients. Unlike Steam, which requires you to run the client while running the game at the same time. So basically, all steam games are password locked, unless you either log in, or set it to remember your password. With that said, why do you, and many other people feel that Games For Windows Live is bad? No additional software, just connect it with your XBOX/Zune/MSN account. I hope more games either go client-free, or just not use SteamWorks.

I guess to sum it all up, I would much rather have a game that does not require an account and password as well as a client to run in order to enjoy a rather expensive game. 

I look forward to a future where games are free of any additional clients like GameSpy, Steam, etc. A market where games do not even have DRM. Where, I can enjoy an MMO-free of charge! It looks like Age Of Conan is headed in the right direction. Seems great.

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Slurpy

It sounds like you're talking about console clients.  I have no opinion on those, since I never deal with them, I just play PC games.  That being said, I'll explain why I hate it on Windows.

I hate GfWL because it never works right for me.  As a short example, I finally installed and started playing Bioshock 2 a week ago.  It took me SEVEN software restarts and two system restarts to actually be able to play the damn game.  Not once in my life have I had to restart a normal Steam game even once - just install and play.  And GfWL has crashed on me a couple of times, keeping me from saving my game even though the game was still running fine.

And on PC, you DO have to run GfWL as a client, just like Steam, although it's done automatically when you launch a game you want to play.  I don't think you have the ability to run it by itself like Steam, though, if you want to dig through the store and be able to easily use a web browser to read reviews, etc.  Regardless, they're essentially equal in that regard.  Except that GfWL took six tries to download my profile properly, and Steam doesn't have to, since it's kept on the cloud.

Anyway, this is just a long-winded way of saying that the three GfWL games I've bought are 0 for 3 for not having issues, while my Steam account is 62 for 62.  I'm not sure how many times I have to get burned by GfWL before I am allowed to despise it, but I think I must be getting close.

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