What’s Your Take on Free to Play Games?

Age of Empires Online

Free to play games are getting more and more common these days, but I’ve always been hesitant to check them out, mostly because if a game has the word “free” in it, my mind tends to lower my expectations significantly. I don’t know where this notion comes from, but I’ve been making an effort to try out the mass of free games that have flooded the market (except for TF2, I played that game for years before it became free).

To date I’ve tried the Battlefield game, APB Reloaded and Age of Empires Online, and a few buddies of mine have tried out the MMOs that have gone free like Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings Online. While the gameplay in these games are pretty good, I just can’t get into them, mostly because of their reliance on the microtransaction business model.

All of the games use it to varying degrees, but APB Reloaded and Battlefield are the two worst offenders in my mind, allowing players to purchase weapons for use in PvP combat. This might not make much of a difference in Battlefield, which is still and FPS and is mostly determined by skill, but APB is an MMO, so whoever has the best gear wins. Add that to the fact that the level system is so convoluted (I had to play for two days before I realized that I wasn’t even close to eligible to buy a weapon with in-game funds) and I got tired of the whole experience pretty fast. It was fun ripping around the city robbing store with friends, but the whole microtransaction aspect soured me on it.

I realize that this is just one example and most of the stuff you can buy with your money in other games are personal cosmetic things and the like, but I just can’t abide with the “whoever has the most money wins” method of play. I know some people don’t have an issue with this, but for me I can clearly identify which games are a shameless cash-grab.

Firefall is an upcoming free game that I’m greatly looking forward to though, mostly because the developers have stated that they want their game to be about skill, and the paid stuff will not affect PvP combat. To me, that’s the best way to go about these things. I’m wondering what you guys think about free to play games, though? Which ones have you played and did you enjoy them? What your take on microtransactions?

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Take on Free to Play Games?”

  1. I played War Inc. Battlezone through Steam, which was my first experience with a Free to play game (minus TF2 just like you Mitch). The gameplay was pretty clunky, and I definitely had no interest in buying stuff, especially items that you would only get for 7 days or 10 days? Why would I pay real money to have limited items? I think it’s pretty stupid.

    On top of that, the game suffered pretty bad from the nVidia hiccups that some games have, so after about 30 to 40 minutes of play it was almost unplayable for me.

    But, if I was at a LAN or something, these types of games would be fun to install for a night or 2 and play with a bunch of friends. To play seriously though? No, never.

  2. I’m pretty sure you guys haven’t mentioned this on the site yet, but League of Legends is actually a very good F2P game. There are microtransactions, but those are just for character skins.

  3. I have basically spent the last 2 years hooked on LoL and haven’t payed anything…although I definitely will in the near future, not even for the items, just to support an excellent game. It seems just when I am over the last f2p game another comes out. I was just winding down on my LoL play and now we have Dragon Nest (which is like the best dungeon crawler/mmo I have played). Anyways.. I urge you to try both of these as they will leave you wanting to buy junk out of respect for the developer (more so Riot, rather than Nexon :p ).

  4. I like that you guys brought this up. I used to be very much against F2P games because they all sucked. As of the last few years this has changed a bit because of Zynga mainly. People are starting to realize that they can make a killing off of that business model. Reason being is that if you start out free and see that “oh this gun will only cost me a couple bucks” you’re more willing to make those small transactions which eventually end up to the same or sometimes even more than what you would’ve paid for a full priced game.

    A few however change that, Battlefield Heroes was good but if you bought guns you had a one up on everyone else. APB sucks. League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth are great because you never really even have to buy any of the paid stuff to do well in my opinion.

    The one that I feel hit the nail on the head the best thus far is Age of Empires Online. I’m addicted to that game. The idea of blending an RTS with MMO elements is great. It has a few bugs and needs some more features but overall is fantastic and I don’t feel that having the premium pack (which I bought because the game is so good) gave me a one up over anyone else. My friend is level 11 and i’m level 8 and he owns me everytime despite me having a premium pack, mainly because premium gear can’t be used in PVP matches. So it goes with your comment on Firefall.

    I also appreciate this because you buy one thing and it unlocks a bunch of stuff…not just this little single item purchase bull.

    I’m hoping more games follow the AOE Online model because so far it’s got me back into being addicted to online multiplayer which I haven’t been in about two years with the exception of the Battlefield series.

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