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Reloading... No Free Lunch

Posted Fri, Jul 08, 2011 by Boomjack

Welcome to the 32nd edition of Reloading…

If you are reading this online, rather than via our mailing list I would like to ask you to please sign up to receive it in your email.   We don’t make it easy either.  You have to work to get the good stuff.  Head over to the Reloading… page (where for some reason our staff think it is funny to post my columns out of order) and scroll way down to the bottom.   I’m waiting….

tap…

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good job!  (Seriously, if you haven’t done all that, please go do it now. 

Now click on that Subscribe banner posted at the bottom, but not the VERY bottom because that would take you PlayerScorewhich is fine and dandy, but isn’t the goal we’re trying to attain at the moment.   Did you click? 

Thank you!!!!

If you are already reading this in your email, do me a favour and get one of your chums to sign up.   My goal is to reach 10,000 subscribers by the end of the month.   I’ll keep you updated, because really, if I fail, then you fail and neither of us wants that. ;)

If we reach 10,000 subscribers I’ll go out and scoop some “free crap” from my developer friends, so not only will you get some grammatically incorrect, non-factual information delivered right to your email box each day, but you’ll get to enjoy crap, and as we all know, the only good crap is free crap.   You have my promise.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day.   Let’s go with this…


Free crap, that reminds of a touchy subject…
 
Very few topics send massively multiplayer online gamers running in circles like their pants are on fire as quickly as free-to-play games.   It’s an innocuous enough subject on the surface; you play, but you don’t pay.   Sadly, we all deep down realize that we do pay; we just don’t pay a set fee.  
 
Enter stage left:  World of Warcraft free-to-play.    David Piner made a great point, and I don’t mean the one living on top of his head, when he wrote The Possibilities of World of Warcraft going Free To Play,
“If Blizzard were to go to an extreme and make all of World of Warcraft free-to-play then, by gosh, we’d all be in for a world of trouble. The amount of ner’do’wells that would flood the game would exceed critical mass within hours. Not to mention that Blizzard would need some way to maintain an income and then we’re at the hilarious topic of what an in-game World of Warcraft cash shop would look like.” – Davey P.
I don’t even want to imagine a F2P WoW.  I can barely L2P WoW as it stands now.
 
This seems the appropriate time to air my bias.   I have an irrational dislike for anything that is F2P.   It stems from the early F2P titles that were so bad my dog wouldn’t play with them even if I put a pork chop around their necks.   I concede that F2P has come a long way and titles like Dungeons and Dragons Online or Lord of the Rings Online bear no resemblance to their evolutionary predecessors.   Still, I have a dislike for anything with the F2P title, irrational as that may be.
 
Davey P’s opinion piece was posted before Blizzard announced their endless free trial, which prompted the DP to write World of Warcraft Free To Play Overview.
“Some are already hailing this as the end of WoW and how Cataclysm has now started the downfall. The rest of us non-crazies see this as a new way to get friends into the game without having to suffer 40 hour arguments about why they need to try WoW. This isn’t new, the trial has existed forever (and you can get about as many of them as you want). The only difference is that it doesn’t expire.” – The Piner
 Again, he’s correct in my humble opinion and truly, this isn’t a F2P model at all.  It’s a free trial.  Here’s a World of Warcraft free levelling guide for any of you going to give this new opportunity a shot.  Here is a link to Blizzard’s “List” of cool loot in patch 4.2.
 
Not to be left behind, the development team at Rift has decided to allow free server transfers.   We chatted with Hal Hanlin and not surprisingly he thinks it is a wonderful idea. 
“It’s easy for us to do this, I don’t know about those other companies who seem to make a production about it, but for us it’s a simple process.” – Hal Hanlin
I believe it is probably easy for other companies too, but it is also a revenue stream.   With Rift offering some normally paid services for free will other companies follow suit?  I doubt it and unfortunately it makes it seem to an outsider like the industry is in decline as more and more becomes “free”.
 
Do you love free-to-play or are you F2Pphobic? Send me your thoughts.

As always, you can contact me a number of ways:
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Telepathy (Just make sure it’s during business hours.  I hate to be woken by this stuff)
Until we meet again,
John “Boomjack” Hoskin
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