Playing the Free to Play Field (Non-Committed)

Kind of feels a bit like speed dating.

As good a time as it is to be a gamer these days with all the free-to-play options I am actually a bit sullen. Unlike my wife, I just can’t commit to any games. I could argue it is because of the game themselves but I am starting to think it is more because of the payment model.

I have downloaded a lot of FTP games lately.

Star Trek Online: I have updated it 3x, logged in only once, and haven’t been past character select

Star Wars The Old Republic: Perfect to play as a single player game to check out the storylines now that it is FTP, but I have only managed 8 levels and 3 play sessions over the past 30 days.

EQ(1): Nostalgia. Log in and run around with the old toons. Cannot be bothered to figure out how to play it again =)

GW2: I update it and log in but I never got the feel or enjoyment from this game. I call this FTP because there is no sub!

LoL: I play a match daily still, and it’s getting my best playtime.

Of them all League of Legends is the clear cut winner as I am navigating through a SoloQ ranking system. So there is an investment there, a goal, something to measure my playtime against. I so very badly want to give the others a fair shot but my time is at a premium and I just don’t feel invested – or have enough carrot/stick to GET invested.

When I jumped back into WoW I had a goal to reach max level, and gear up enough to get into Looking For Raid. And since I was paying a sub to play there was an automatic investment.

Maybe that is it – the sub fee helps commit you to the game. Do you find the same thing?

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I think a monthly Sub can help drive a desire to play a game a sufficient amount of time so you “get your money’s worth”, but I don’t think it’s the primary drive.

    Speaking/writing as someone who played A LOT of WoW for over 5(?) years, there were times when I would be out with the family, shopping with the wife, etc., and I would want to go home because I perceived that time as being wasted because I could have been playing WoW. It wasn’t that I was paying a monthly sub though, there was just a part of me that really, really REALLY wanted to play WoW. Even when I was at work I’d be browsing the forums or looking up builds or reading WoW-related Blogs, and my work suffered, and I was bloody lucky I never got fired.

    After quitting WoW I played Wizard 101 which was not a lot different, just slower paced, so more relaxing, and it was a good change of pace. But I also got sucked into a few Skinner box-type Facebook games (Mafia Wars, Farmville, etc.) that ate up a lot of my spare time. A big problem with those FB games was that I could play them at work, which I & several coworkers did, for months, right up until my IT department blocked access to any webpage with a “Gaming” tag. And thank God they did because our Director spoke to us a few times about spending too much time on Facebook, and I think one of the girls was very close to being fired.

    Then came Android. After upgrading from Blackberry and getting my Android phone I’ve been subjected to a wealth of new games. And again, there’s been a few games that have sucked me and had me constantly playing them. A lot of the free games are deliberately set up like that, they strive to keep you playing but constantly throw small roadblocks at you that you can either grind your way past (which can take hours, if not days), or you can spend money to get past them right now. Candy Crush is a horribly addictive game. Even if you have a brain that can see the patterns and are able to consistently set up combo chains, once the first combo triggers and pieces are exploding and new pieces are dropping in, skill goes out the window and it’s all down to luck. And I hated that. There were also mechanisms designed to hinder you. A limited number of attempts that slowly replenished over time, unless…you have Facebook Friends who play (because the game on your phone is linked to your FB account) and who can send you more Lives. Virtual Locks every 20-30 levels that require three of your FB friends to click and unlock it so you can gain access to the next area. But I beat it…by quitting 🙂

    The only game I consistently play on my phone now is Real Racing 3, and even it wants you to log in and race at least once per day. Because if you don’t log in and race once a day then your daily bonus drops from 2x down to 1.1x, and it takes 5 days to get it back up to 2x. Now that doesn’t sound like much incentive even when it means the difference between earning $16,500 for winning one race, or $30,000. Except as you progress through the game you need to upgrade your cars, or buy new cars and upgrade them, and cars cost $50K to $500K, and each upgrade costs $10K to $50K. I could just race two times and earn the same amount except there’s a Virtual Road Block. My car needs “servicing” after that one race, and that takes 2 hours. Or…I can spend some real money and my car will be Serviced now. I’ve avoided paying real money for the game. I’ve been playing it every day for about 6 months now, so it’s pushing the right buttons, it just hasn’t sucked me in enough to spend real money on it.

    I’m not sure if I’m still agreeing with you…or perhaps I never was 🙂

    1. Ahoy Cap’n!

      Even though I wrote the original article I am beginning to agree with you. I am just completely uninspired to play video games right now. Even my newest darling, LOL, I just stopped playing. and I don’t miss it. Nothing has my attention right now. I have been trying! This is also the issue with lack of blog posts. Hard to write when the passion is weaning. I just want a developer to do something that grabs me. Doesn’t have to be an MMO – which is why I am looking forward to the next Walking Dead series from telltale. That one grabbed me hard and didn’t let go.

      If you find one of those let me know =)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: