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#1 Jan 09 2013 at 4:31 PM Rating: Default
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With all the AAA MMOs going from P2P to F2P (star wars, terra, secret world, etc etc) these days.. why hasnt it finally happened to FFXI or more importantly.. what makes everyone so sure it will NEVER happen to FFXIV some day?
#2 Jan 09 2013 at 4:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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Market price.

People are still playing FFXI at $12.95 a month. If the number of subs ever dropped down to a low enough point, SE might very well consider it. But right now, there are still 16 fairly active servers in XI, each with around 5-6 thousand active accounts (and probably a few thousand less active but paying accounts, from mules.)

They're still making at least million bucks a month just from subs from XI, probably more.

There's also a difference in the Japanese business mentality. They're content to be fairly profitable and successful - they don't have to make the biggest amount of profit in the shortest term possible as many American businesses feel the need to do. As long as they're making that million bucks a month from XI, they can justify keeping the fee for the game. If subs drop off significantly for some reason, then they might consider.

WoW isn't free to play, either.
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#3 Jan 09 2013 at 6:53 PM Rating: Decent
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catwho wrote:
Market price.

People are still playing FFXI at $12.95 a month. If the number of subs ever dropped down to a low enough point, SE might very well consider it. But right now, there are still 16 fairly active servers in XI, each with around 5-6 thousand active accounts (and probably a few thousand less active but paying accounts, from mules.)

They're still making at least million bucks a month just from subs from XI, probably more.

There's also a difference in the Japanese business mentality. They're content to be fairly profitable and successful - they don't have to make the biggest amount of profit in the shortest term possible as many American businesses feel the need to do. As long as they're making that million bucks a month from XI, they can justify keeping the fee for the game. If subs drop off significantly for some reason, then they might consider.

WoW isn't free to play, either.



the reason WoW isnt is because theres well over a million people playing it.. so of course that isnt going free anytime soon.

As for FF going free if numbers dropped low enough.. I doubt it seriously.. Im pretty sure SE would just shut the servers/game down before they make it F2P
#4 Jan 09 2013 at 7:05 PM Rating: Excellent
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Also consider the fact that there isnt as much overhead with XI anymore. Whatever they're still making from subs, is all gravy on top.

As for XIV, i think its make it or break it. going f2p would be worse than failure. And we all know how the japanese take failure....
#5 Jan 09 2013 at 7:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Why are we talking about this yet again?

I would rather pay a monthly fee for a game that will hold my attention for a decade (as FFXI has, been playing it since the NA beta), then have a free game that I wouldn't want to invest any money into since I have zero assurances the game will be around in a year. I don't think the P2P model is dying, but there will be fewer games that can get away with it.
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#6 Jan 09 2013 at 8:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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I think there are two major reasons so many of these MMORPGs change themselves over to the "free to play" model. The first is due to competition and the second is due to initial investment.

Many of these games are very similar to one another, to the point of being somewhat indistinguishable to the cursory eye. Additionally, they also all have relatively little content, with most of it being extremely easy (there is enough to keep a hardcore player engaged for a few months before most everything has been earned, I mean). This caustic combination of similarity to others and little depth creates a situation wherein people unsubscribe as soon as the next MMORPG rears its head -- there's no motivation for them to remain, and the upcoming product makes them feel right at home.

The second problem is related to the first and involves a company's investment in the game's creation. Games cost more now to produce than they ever have before, due to all sorts of reasons that I'm sure everyone knows. This means that, in order to survive, an MMORPG needs to eventually earn money, which becomes a hard thing to do. Add to this the earlier problem of "too little content," and we see how these games have trouble generating significant revenue, especially over time.

In sum: so long as games continue to copy one another so heavily, and continue to provide primarily casual-oriented experiences, they will all be chasing the same, fickle user-base: one which will never be likely to subscribe for more than half a dozen months. Like EVE, FFXI choose to set its sights on a certain market; they filled a niche and remain extremely profitable to this day. Time will tell whether any post-WoW developer manages to tear his or her eyes away from the inimitable 10-million subscriber goal -- until they do, they'll only be preparing for a situation that will never come, and continue to fall flat into the "free to play" ditch.
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#7 Jan 09 2013 at 8:12 PM Rating: Decent
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but isnt FFXIV pretty much copying or drawing its ideas from WoW to get more players/casual crowd and wasnt one of the main things wrong with 1.0 "lack of content" so by your own words FFXIV should have went free to play lol.

and Wint this isnt a F2P vs P2P discussion... Id rather play a P2P game for the exact same reasons you listed.. this topic however is about "since just about every other AAA F2P MMO that isnt WoW seems to be going F2P, why wont/what makes people belive without a doubt that it would never happen to FFXIV?
#8 Jan 09 2013 at 8:29 PM Rating: Good
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By his own words, I'm pretty sure Square-Enix is heavily invested in their flagship franchise.
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#9 Jan 09 2013 at 8:49 PM Rating: Good
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DuoMaxwellxx wrote:
With all the AAA MMOs going from P2P to F2P (star wars, terra, secret world, etc etc) these days.. why hasnt it finally happened to FFXI or more importantly.. what makes everyone so sure it will NEVER happen to FFXIV some day?


It mostly relates to content and player investment. FFXI has the content and player investment to stick around forever if it really wants to and tries to keep up with the playerbase (it probably won't). New games can't compete with FFXI and WoW in these regards, so players eventually go back to them (partially because they have an early adopters bonus... players become invested in them because they had very few other options at the time). For a new game to be successful, it really has to do everything more than a little better than these games, which may retain significant portions of their playerbase for decades of those players' lives.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

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Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#10 Jan 09 2013 at 8:50 PM Rating: Good
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Also, I'm not at all convinced that XIV won't go F2P. I think if they don't do a **** good job with the combat system, it's practically a certainty. And the fact that they seem to be modelling the game after other games which have gone F2P doesn't bode well at all for a P2P model.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#11 Jan 09 2013 at 8:51 PM Rating: Good
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I honestly don't care what the payment model is as long as the game is smooth & fun. This notion that games are only HQ if they are p2p is skewed.
http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/guild-wars-2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax-_06Acj8Y
Like it or hate it, the game scored well and is firmly crafted.

http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/apb-all-points-bulletin
http://www.gamesradar.com/apb-reloaded-hits-3-million-users/
Game still bad, but because it does something different, it got 3 million users.

FFXIV ARR can be p2p and be profitable. But regardless of the payment model. They ship a good game or same result.

WoW will never be dethroned until age kills it. Streamlined games with little risk and huge fanbases sell platinum millions. Hardcore niche games get small but loyal followings. Just give me a polished good game. Not as time demanding as FFXI or as casual as WoW. Slap some FF into it and take a few calculated risks and I'm good.

#12 Jan 09 2013 at 10:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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Farmville had 80 million users at its peak.

Just saying.
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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#13 Jan 09 2013 at 10:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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And that's why if you really want to make the big bucks in the gaming industry, you open a casino.

If you want to produce something with artistic merit, you resign yourself to a smaller audience of fans.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#14 Jan 10 2013 at 6:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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I don't think that going f2p is a sign of failure, so much as it's indicative of the current state of the market. Games like wow and ffxi have very strong and loyal player-bases, so they'll always be profitable from subscriptions. When new games come out, f2p has been an appealing option in the past few years because it's a business strategy to grab a lot of players over a short period of time and perhaps cash-in on microtransactions.
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#15 Jan 10 2013 at 7:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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There is pressure from investors too. New MMO are often unstable from the financial point of view. Some of them start out strong but as the number of curious players drop rapidly, the investors will demand developers to do something about it. The investors don't really care about the core players of the game or how good the game is but rather about getting enough money for their investment as soon as possible. Large number of players tend to be an indicator of good returns to investments rather than core players' responds. So often the developers will have to resort to F2P to increase the number of players to calm the investors.

SE is spared from the pressure as they seem to let the developing team/director do whatever inspire them. I think they prefer a sure and steady income for a long time rather than a gamble of getting a big return or flop.
#16 Jan 10 2013 at 7:43 AM Rating: Excellent
WoW, FFXI and whatever other P2P MMO came out at a different time, and unfortunately (or fortunately) have us all hooked like crack addicts. We all seem to have the notion that "good" MMO's are P2P which I just don't think is the case any more. If FFXIV goes F2P, it might not be because it wasn't good, it'll simply be because of the current market and trends for MMOs. F2P MMOs will need awhile to get rid of the stigma that they were all dead games needing to be revived. Some simply go to this model cause it actually makes them more money.

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 8:44am by Montsegurnephcreep
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#17 Jan 10 2013 at 10:22 AM Rating: Good
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Montsegurnephcreep wrote:
WoW, FFXI and whatever other P2P MMO came out at a different time, and unfortunately (or fortunately) have us all hooked like crack addicts. We all seem to have the notion that "good" MMO's are P2P which I just don't think is the case any more. If FFXIV goes F2P, it might not be because it wasn't good, it'll simply be because of the current market and trends for MMOs. F2P MMOs will need awhile to get rid of the stigma that they were all dead games needing to be revived. Some simply go to this model cause it actually makes them more money.

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 8:44am by Montsegurnephcreep



no I have the menatllit ythat P2P MMOs = good and F2P MMOs = bad because of what they consist of..

the only P2P MMO ive played was FFXI it it had a HUGE plethora of things to do.. I could play the game an entire month and never repeat the same task twice


whereas all the F2P MMOs Ive played are extremely bland and repetitive... ive downloaded and tried plenty of PC F2P MMOs.. 9 dragons, last chaos, and two moons just to name a few.

and they ALL have the same things in common.. for one the exp system is bad... you don get points.. instead you have a numeric "meter" that starts off at 0.00% and when you get it to 100% you level up... now when you first start youre getting %% per kill... so 20 kills you level.. ok thats doable... but then before youre even HALFWAY to level cap.. you get to the point where youre getting 0.001% per kill.. thats 100 kills just to get 1% which means 10000 kills to level up... then when you finally are halfway to cap you start having to kill 4-5 enemies before you get that 0.001%

and I laugh at ppl who say FFXI grinding was bad.. at least with FFXI getting to max level seemed possible/doable in my lifetime... those F2P MMOs Ive played however.. would NEVER see me with a character at CLOSE to max level.


and their idea of "new content" = double exp weekends, and raising the level cap and adding new areas with higher level monsters to reach that cap in (but even on those new higher level monsters.. when youre at the level range to fight them you still have to kill multiple to get 0.001% exp)


the only other thing the game consist of is PvP and fetch quests.. so three things to do really and most of which can be done solo.. outside of PVP youre given zero reason or incentive to interact with other players... nope.. no grinding parties in this game (which if youre getting less that 0.0!% per kill solo on monsters you can already kill in 4-5 hits I can only imagine how bad the exp in a group is)

never was there anything like limbus, dynmis/sea/sky to do.. and these games with horrible level requirements and pvp are supposed to keep people playing for years like FFXI did? whoever has the attention span to hit max in one of those games is a god lol..

thats how EVERY F2P MMO ive played was... until I see one that proves otherwise.. Ill always thing F2P MMOs are garbage (dont say Guild Wars as I dont consider MMOs that you have to BUY but at free to play after you buy them count.. Im talking games that are completely free to download, install and play" Not to mention these games can be 5 years old yet theyre still calling themselves a "bet" how long does beta testing take? I think its just an excuse they use for the games crappiness and lack of depth
#18 Jan 10 2013 at 10:45 AM Rating: Good
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#19 Jan 10 2013 at 11:32 AM Rating: Good
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Pretty spot-on with what I've been saying. P2P vs F2P doesn't affect content so long as the money is coming in to produce new content.
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#20 Jan 10 2013 at 11:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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I think the investor explanation makes sense. F2P games are not made for long term sustainability. They're there to make a quick buck. At best, you'll get six months to a year out of most of them, and then a year later, they're forgotten.

But if you want to build a high quality game with long term content instead of a bunch of freeloaders hanging around for six months, a P2P model makes more sense. SE is playing a long game. They'll never be able to reach WoW, but if they can reach the success of XI, they'll be okay.
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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#21 Jan 10 2013 at 12:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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Agreed. The fact they let Yoshi rebuild into ARR is a sign of their financial commitment at least.
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#22 Jan 10 2013 at 12:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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DuoMaxwellxx wrote:
With all the AAA MMOs going from P2P to F2P....


OK I'm with you so far..

DuoMaxwellxx wrote:
(star wars, terra, secret world, etc etc) these days.. why hasnt it finally happened to FFXI or more importantly.. what makes everyone so sure it will NEVER happen to FFXIV some day?


Now you lost me.. You said AAA, right?(Kidding..) Then you cite all the MMOs that came out in the MMO-craze of last holiday season. The reason they went F2P was competition, and lack of endgame to keep a sub for more than 30 days.

FFXI has a fiercely loyal userbase, plus the players are invested. If you can keep a player passed 30-60 days, you've now got that player invested in the future of that game. Last year, over 30 mmos were released. It's not a question of quality, its market saturation.

Lastly, no one is sure it will never happen to FFXIV. Yoshi-P himself has made a few comments on the subject and didn't sound completely against it, but feels that it creates an uneven playing field for players and creates a new set of development problems.

We are all just positive it won't happen soon.

My opinion on F2P is that it creates a weak community. You have players who aren't invested in the game. You'll have much more unique users, much fewer dedicated players. Additionally, to sustain a F2P model, you have to create artificial barriers that can be overcome by paying money, like slower leveling unless you buy double xp for 2 hours. I'd rather pay my monthly fee and do as I please, and not have to count all the nickles and dimes to make sure I'm not paying too much for what I'm getting.

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 1:34pm by Louiscool
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#23 Jan 10 2013 at 12:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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DuoMaxwellxx wrote:
With all the AAA MMOs going from P2P to F2P (star wars, terra, secret world, etc etc) these days.. why hasnt it finally happened to FFXI or more importantly.. what makes everyone so sure it will NEVER happen to FFXIV some day?


Simple: There's no reason for XI to go F2P at all. It's profitable, it was already a huge success and lasted for almost 11 years so far. Going F2P means it was a failure and not profitable to stay as P2P..noticed the games you mentioned basically failed.

catwho wrote:
Farmville had 80 million users at its peak.

Just saying.


The ~ville games you can't do **** with unless you're dumping in tons of money. Why not just..Pay a monthly fee and get everything? This is why there's a stigma against F2P because it's the last option to get people to pay for your game. However let's be honest, if a game was good it can easily stay P2P forever. Trend or no trend. Popular trend is limiting people playing your game, i.e the ~ville games or any Zynga game, yet has tons of population and people dumping in money because of restriction.

You're open to XIV restricting your gameplay unless you dump in tons of money to get around it? I bet you'll say no.


Edited, Jan 10th 2013 10:56am by Theonehio
#24 Jan 10 2013 at 1:20 PM Rating: Default
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Personally, I believe both FFXIV and FFXI should enter the F2P space provided they do it 'correctly'; however, I doubt they would stand a chance in **** of implementing a proper F2P model based on how terrible square's understanding of "what players want" or "expect" in the MMO space has been over the last 10 years (look how poor the star wars F2P model was implemented... pitiful... I imagine an S/E implementation to be far worse).

With ideas like level sync, There's no reason a F2P 'option' should be completely unavailable. For example, I'd love revisiting FFXI to say "hi" to some old friends now and again, I'm just not willing to pay to do it; if they were to implement a level 30 cap restriction (I.E. you are synced down to level 30 at a maximum on all jobs higher than 30, and allowed to level 'to' 30 on sub-30 jobs), I'm sure they'd make a lot of ground as far as new player-base goes (lots of people would be happy to subscribe for a month at a time, and the crysta system might finally make sense), and in the meantime the existing playerbase would see a much needed boost to low-level company and activity. Hell, with the way FFXI content is oriented, even capping sync at level 75 for "previous" subscribers would make sense and help boost the 'old content' activity, and even allow players to experience some of the 99 content with friends.

The problem I see too often these days is a **** implementation of an F2P model - where even the most basic ideals of an MMO, like drop rates, the ability to equip items that you already own, respeccing (in games that utilize talent trees), and even the most core element in an MMO ... chatting... all get micro-transactioned to DEATH. I've seen the drop-rate thing implemented well, but more often than not, it means you don't get items if you don't pay. Personally (and this is just my opinion from other F2P games I've dabbled in) I think the F2P model works best when it does one of the following two methods:

Method 1 (my preferred method ) - "Subscriber" & "Visitor" method:
Full subscription based game, with a level restricted F2P visitor option. This gives people incentive to visit old friends and encourages subscribing when people have the free time or desire to play high level content for a month or two at a time. This method works almost flawlessly as a transition away from an already existing pay model as it usually allows subscribers to explain to new people that the game is limited, but also walk them through parts of the game and give them incentive to join. Restricting in any way other than level caps tends to really change the mindset of the player... they will have no desire to play a game that feels like it's taking away their right to hold items, chat freely, or participate in events other people can at that same level. Restrictions other than level also result in frustration from friends / other players, because they have expectations that you will be able to do basic things... and when you can't because of poor design choice, they, the paying characters, are stuck trying to figure out ways around it (we saw a lot of this recently in the new SWTOR F2P model).

Method 2 (less preferred, but can work if done well) - "Minimal Impact Microtransactions" method:
MMOs are unique in that the virtual items in game have to represent something, or the game is pointless. In FFXI for example, having a fully upgraded relic or mythic means a lot of time or in game currency was pumped into the acquisition of that item (or at least it used to) and are a status symbol of dedication (and sometimes power or deep understanding) of the game. Today they don't mean as much because they are a lot easier to aquire, so it's not the perfect example of what I mean, but they still take dedication to aquire. If microtransactions make these items 10-20 or even 100 dollar purchases, you hurt the in-game perception of those items. Microtransactions only really work in a purely "side-grade" or "cosmetic" driven environment. Team Fortress as an example (while not an MMO), features hats that are purely cosmetic and fun, while weapons are never really pure upgrades, and pretty easy to aquire in game, so if someone drops 5 bucks on the item, the game balance isn't thrown off, it just speeds up something someone was going to do anyhow by maybe a day or two.

I see a lot of varitions or combinations of the above two methods, some have worked ok, others bomb completely, but I think the most important piece of keeping a free to play MMO functioning is just to "keep it simple". If it's so overly convoluted you just can't understand why you don't have access to certain features in the game that seem like they should be basic... (especially in a game like FFXI, where it's ALREADY convoluted just to figure out simple things like maximizing bag space via quest lines for a new player) ... it's a strong sign of **** implementation.

At this point in time, there are so many GOOD free to play options it's insane... this is not the F2P market we saw just two years ago, this is a F2P market that now completes directly (and on par quality wise) with the existing subscriber model games. We are no longer in a generation of "crappy-Korean-dime-a-dozen" games, we are seeing grade-A top-notch games being released into the F2P space, and they are all struggling to find the "perfect" F2P model, but in time they will all figure it out.

I'll Finish up this long-winded rant with this:

People will go where their friends go, and where a games populations are highest. Growing up in a generation where we had to buy every next big game the moment it was released, keeping in touch with friends was easy because we all had the same games. Today we have thousands of options when it comes to games, so we have to carefully pick which ones we buy so we don't break the bank. The F2P space is going to become more and more popular as you can join friends and get friends to join you more easily, even if it's only to "try" the game for a month before they give up on it - but myself and my friends haven't purchased many games in the last 7 years "just because a friend had it"... and I am not alone in this stinginess as our generation of gamers grows older. So yes, while I love the idea of a subscription based model that allows me to do whatever the game has to offer, I do not believe that has to be mutually exclusive to the idea of a reasonable, well implemented, fun-for-most, F2P model doesn't make you hate yourself for playing


Edited to remove the world "truly" and replace it with "purely" as it seemed to cause some confusion / misinterpretation

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 4:01pm by FUJILIVES
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#25 Jan 10 2013 at 1:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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A good MMO will encourage me to make new friends, should my existing ones not want to play. There isn't a single person I see physically every day who play MMOs, so this isn't a big deal for me. A lot of my "virtual" friends just meet in a FB group we created for just this purpose, since we're all scattered to the winds right now as far as MMO's go. Everyone is going to give XIV another shot but I can say that for myself, having my friends stick around isn't a condition of me continuing to play.

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My opinion on F2P is that it creates a weak community. You have players who aren't invested in the game. You'll have much more unique users, much fewer dedicated players.


This is what I think happens with F2P. There may be a F2P MMO that comes along and proves this wrong, but I haven't seen it yet. I'd rather play with a smaller number of dedicated players, people you see day in and day out, than have a larger population initially that end up walking away in favor of something else. If you don't have to pay a monthly fee, the achievements, friendships, and time you put into your character in that game have less of a value in my opinion and are easier to abandon.
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#26 Jan 10 2013 at 2:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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FUJILIVES wrote:
Microtransactions only really work in a TRUELY side-grade driven environment, or heavily design/cosmetic driven environment.


For every item in an MMO that can be bought for a few dollars, that's one fewer notable quest or interesting crafting recipe that could have actually appeared in the game.

Ultimately, we're faced with two implementations: the first would be a little questline where I meet a goblin and, in the end, get a gobby hat; the second would be to make sure my PayPal account has $5 in it. I'll always prefer the former, where I play the game to accomplish things in the game.


Edited, Jan 10th 2013 3:07pm by KaneKitty
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#27 Jan 10 2013 at 2:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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FUJILIVES wrote:
"Minimal Impact Microtransactions"
Microtransactions only really work in a TRUELY side-grade driven environment, or heavily design/cosmetic driven environment.


If by truly work you mean not work at all..yes. Microtransactions truely work when people are forced to use it. Forcing your player to use it = tons more money for you as the developer.

So while it SHOULD be limited to those categories..you don't truly know the nature of MT if you think that's the only way it "truely works."

#28 Jan 10 2013 at 2:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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The only way microtransactions truly work, and by that I mean they don't wreck your game, is if the items on sale really ARE optional.

By this I mean that character power can't be directly tied to a microtransaction (I shouldn't be able to plop down $20 for Excalibur for instance). However, if I want a costume that makes me look like Santa Claus (and does nothing else), that can be a microtransaction without ruining anything. You'll find that the games that haven't destroyed themselves with their F2P model have operated similarly to this. Cash shop items are cosmetic.

Guild Wars 2 is a great example of this. Their cash shop has minimal impact on the game, about the only thing in there that has any affect on anything is the exp bonuses you expect to see in any cash shop, but really, it's not that big a deal with the way their questing works anyway.

When a game transitions from p2p to f2p, a lot of times they do it wrong and you end up with something soul crushing (hi, SWTOR). But it can absolutely be done right and save a game that would otherwise just be shut down (hi LOTRO and DDO). Making that change doesn't have to mean the game is a failure, it just means that the subscriber numbers aren't enough to keep it running by themselves.

Honestly, if MMO developers would please stop trying to be the next WoW-killer, and design themselves into a niche market that can be successful with a few hundred thousand subscribers (FFXI did this brilliantly), I think you'd see a lot fewer subscription games going free-to-play, and a lot more happy MMO players who can find games they enjoy playing.
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#29 Jan 10 2013 at 2:51 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm seeing a lot of focus on my comment about how micro-transactions need to be for them to truly work, so I'd like to take a moment to point out I'm actually not "for" micro-transactions, I would much rather play games with a "visitor" & "subscriber" model.

What I meant was that if you have a micro-transaction model, the items have to be of very little impact on the existing game environment (and the game environment needs to be able to sustain and support itself without the need for those micro-transactions - so yes, I agree with you, they need to be optional).

In regards to the "side-grade" methodology, I am referring to the avoidance of pay-to-win in games where cosmetic items aren't the only source of income. I used Team Fortress 2 as an example, so I'll revisit that and elaborate on my explanation. In TF2, there are different classes. Those classes have access to many weapons, none of which are necessarily better than any of the other options available to you, but instead they are "different". Because no one item is a leap above another or an "up-grade", we call these "side-grades". In this particular example, the player base is never abused and there is never a time where you feel like "if I only had that item I could compete", it's even, and not even in a "rock - paper - scissors" type of way, but more of a "red rock - blue rock - green rock" style of play.

When FFXI introduced the mini-expansions for 10 dollars a piece, many of us paid simply for the "final mission reward", not because it was "the best", but because it was a nice side-grade on par with many of the "just shy of being best" items available at the time - this is as close to FFXI ever came to a micro-transaction model, and because the items weren't game breaking or massive upgrades vs already obtainable items in game, we viewed this as acceptable. Honestly, many of us would have preferred just getting the items for 10 bucks, because the content available in the mini expansions were ... lackluster ... to say the least, definitely something I wouldn't have paid for if those rewards weren't a guaranteed bonus upon completion of the storyline.

So yes, while I believe the FFXIV / FFXI model would do best with a "visitor" vs "subscriber" model, I know there are many people out there who would gladly drop 10-15 bucks down for a ra/ex body piece similar stat wise to the auction-house-version of the void-watch items, ESPECIALLY if it were re-skinned and available in different colors / styles, and No, I don't believe this would break the game in any way except lowering the already extreme cost of the "lesser" versions of the rare void-watch items you should be going for anyhow. I do believe you can impact the game in a way that is more positive than negative with this micro-transaction model, you just need to be intelligent when implementing it instead of developing stupid routes like "instant level 99 for 10 dollars" or crazy **** like "relic sale! 50 dollars per weapon for a limited time!". The dev team knows the base-line of stats on their items and where they could get away with releasing items that wouldn't break the game, they just need to be as involved with the "shopping cart" as they do the rest of the games' development, and to be honest, while I don't have experience in those particular businesses from the development end, I'd wager that this is most likely where the biggest failing occurs in F2P models that go wrong.

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 3:54pm by FUJILIVES
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#30 Jan 10 2013 at 3:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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KaneKitty wrote:
FUJILIVES wrote:
Microtransactions only really work in a TRUELY side-grade driven environment, or heavily design/cosmetic driven environment.


For every item in an MMO that can be bought for a few dollars, that's one fewer notable quest or interesting crafting recipe that could have actually appeared in the game.

Ultimately, we're faced with two implementations: the first would be a little questline where I meet a goblin and, in the end, get a gobby hat; the second would be to make sure my PayPal account has $5 in it. I'll always prefer the former, where I play the game to accomplish things in the game.


I'm not opposed to what you're saying, but I think there's actually more to it than making sure there's a storyline preceding the gear.

I always felt A Crystalline Prophecy and its two companion "micro-expansions" were nothing more than micro-transactions that used a weak story as the flimsy pretext to convince you it wasn't a micro-transaction. An expansion shouldn't just be about collecting the one nice treasure at the end, it should be an extension to the world itself. Getting a reward for finishing a storyline is fine, but in its wake, that story should be opening up new places to explore, new activities to partake in, new characters to interact with, and so on.

#31 Jan 10 2013 at 3:36 PM Rating: Good
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Moogle and Shantotto ones were worth it - they were cute and funny. The ending of ASA was just epic.

ACP was basically bad fanfiction and I wish they had not taken themselves so **** seriously when they wrote it.
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#32 Jan 10 2013 at 3:42 PM Rating: Good
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I think SE was exploring different methods of delivering expansions with the Abyssea & 3 mini expansions. What was the release year for each of the RoZ, CoP, Toau, & Wog?

If ARR only gains a niche and expects those players to hang around in a subscription model for ten years. How many expansions(major) would it take to equal the time taken to keep players invested as long as they were in XI. I ask because ARR is supposed to be a bit more on the casual side.
#33 Jan 10 2013 at 3:50 PM Rating: Decent
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catwho wrote:
Moogle and Shantotto ones were worth it - they were cute and funny. The ending of ASA was just epic.

ACP was basically bad fanfiction and I wish they had not taken themselves so **** seriously when they wrote it.



too bad i never finished the last fight in Moogle and quit before Shantotto came out..... woulda also loved to see how Wotg ended... last thing i did (including all the nation quests up to that point) was that one fight against caith sith when we could summon atmos and the fight was so easy a WHM at 75 cold solo it...... the rest of the story(ies) beyond that point will forever remain a mystery to me :(
#34 Jan 10 2013 at 6:31 PM Rating: Good
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TurboTom wrote:
I don't think that going f2p is a sign of failure, so much as it's indicative of the current state of the market. Games like wow and ffxi have very strong and loyal player-bases, so they'll always be profitable from subscriptions. When new games come out, f2p has been an appealing option in the past few years because it's a business strategy to grab a lot of players over a short period of time and perhaps cash-in on microtransactions.


I think the reason F2P is seen as a failure is simply the ideals of the MMO: a continuous, living world, where you and your character exist separately. MMOs aspire to live for years because players WANT to be that invested in their characters. After all, you're creating an entire fantastical world... why shouldn't there be enough in it to delight players for years?

To some extent, I think it's true that this is a misguided or at least overzealous dream, but we definitely have not yet seen a game that even comes close to pushing the boundaries of that ideal.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

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#35 Jan 10 2013 at 9:10 PM Rating: Good
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I'd say that an MMO needs a fresh infusion of major content on a yearly basis to keep players interested.

That doesn't necessarily mean a new expansion, especially for a brand new game. But stuff like new events, new major quest storylines, unlocking previously locked areas. New goals.

The mini expansions were not only an experiment in content delivery, they were about all the XI team could scrape up since all resources in the company were being poured into XIV and then ARR. ACP was the only one I didn't really like out of the six. Abyssea was a series of "battle" expansions officially, but even it had a badass FF worthy storyline behind it.
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#36 Jan 10 2013 at 9:19 PM Rating: Decent
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catwho wrote:
I'd say that an MMO needs a fresh infusion of major content on a yearly basis to keep players interested.

That doesn't necessarily mean a new expansion, especially for a brand new game. But stuff like new events, new major quest storylines, unlocking previously locked areas. New goals.

The mini expansions were not only an experiment in content delivery, they were about all the XI team could scrape up since all resources in the company were being poured into XIV and then ARR. ACP was the only one I didn't really like out of the six. Abyssea was a series of "battle" expansions officially, but even it had a badass FF worthy storyline behind it.



i hear abyssea had no story/goal outside maybe the one cutscene you get from entering.. theres no "missions" or quests" to do with subsequent cutscenes etc etc... but i could be wrong
#37 Jan 10 2013 at 9:27 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't know myself, but there was a considerable amount of story in FFXI that was easy to miss, like the lore of Odin, Alexander, and Diablos. Some of it is the kind of stuff that is subtle enough that you might miss it if you were to just sit down and watch it... like when you don't catch something your first time through a book, movie, or television series. Add to that weeks if not months or years between viewing the cutscenes and it can be really difficult to piece together what is a pretty interesting and thoughtful story at its core.

That was one of my big complaints about XI, actually. The narrative was really important to my enjoyment, enough that at times I'd backtrack to Goblin Footprints just to watch it all again. The failure to make those cutscenes viewable from a central location really made it hard for me to appreciate the story fully.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#38 Jan 10 2013 at 9:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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DuoMaxwellxx wrote:
catwho wrote:
I'd say that an MMO needs a fresh infusion of major content on a yearly basis to keep players interested.

That doesn't necessarily mean a new expansion, especially for a brand new game. But stuff like new events, new major quest storylines, unlocking previously locked areas. New goals.

The mini expansions were not only an experiment in content delivery, they were about all the XI team could scrape up since all resources in the company were being poured into XIV and then ARR. ACP was the only one I didn't really like out of the six. Abyssea was a series of "battle" expansions officially, but even it had a badass FF worthy storyline behind it.



i hear abyssea had no story/goal outside maybe the one cutscene you get from entering.. theres no "missions" or quests" to do with subsequent cutscenes etc etc... but i could be wrong


You are lol. There was a LOT more than one cutscene...
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#39 Jan 10 2013 at 10:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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Each zone had a zone boss, that upon defeating it, netted you a cutscene from that zone. After you started defeating the zone bosses, Joachim began relating more of his tale of woe, and then Gilgamesh and Eshtar'nel and even **** Prishe gets involved. You find out that your Abyssean counterpart lost the final battle of CoP 8-4, Promathia consumed Sehl'teus/Phoenix and is now Shinryu, and your screwup is pretty much the direct cause of the Abyssean hordes destroying their world. Oops.

It was definitely a classic FFXI storyline, even replete with pointless running around for the sake of running around. (Did I really have to meet people in Hall of the Gods? Really?)
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#40 Jan 10 2013 at 10:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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Hall of Gods and it's link to Tu'Lia has a special attribute which actually makes it the perfect meeting location regarding alternate dimensions.

"Yearly updates but not expansions etc" makes sense in theory, but when you get down to it, it makes even more sense to release an expansion if the game is lively as the company can make even more money you know?

#41 Jan 11 2013 at 7:15 AM Rating: Good
Releasing expansions is always a good idea, RotZ, CoP, ToAU, WotG...no wait, well that one could of been good had they rolled the content out over a few months instead of 3 years. That's not bad though, 3/4 expansions brought a sense of adventure and unfamiliarity to the player base. WotG had some great cutscenes with decent ideas...just ended up being dragged out way too long, while some of the ideas were poorly executed.

That's the hope for Seekers right now, that it does what CoP and ToAU managed to do on release.
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#42 Jan 11 2013 at 7:37 AM Rating: Decent
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Theonehio wrote:
FUJILIVES wrote:
"Minimal Impact Microtransactions"
Microtransactions only really work in a TRUELY side-grade driven environment, or heavily design/cosmetic driven environment.


If by truly work you mean not work at all..yes. Microtransactions truely work when people are forced to use it. Forcing your player to use it = tons more money for you as the developer.

So while it SHOULD be limited to those categories..you don't truly know the nature of MT if you think that's the only way it "truely works."



I disagree with this actually. Maple Story is a great example of a side-grade driven environment, that was(is) insanely successful.

The only times you were "forced" to pay money is if you wanted to set up a shop outside of the sh*t-fest free market and make some money. Everything else in their cash shop was clothing, pets, expressions, and double xp-sort of thing.

But that would never work in FFXIV or XI.

Edited, Jan 11th 2013 8:40am by Louiscool
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#43 Jan 11 2013 at 11:23 AM Rating: Decent
I say certain things work differently for different games. FFXI has a strong enough user base and is still pumping out content. Creating a F2P model could cause less content to come out as quickly, a cut in staff or a potential decrease in players.
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#44 Jan 11 2013 at 11:27 AM Rating: Good
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Doesn't Maple Story use sprites? (Never played it.)
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#45 Jan 11 2013 at 12:05 PM Rating: Good
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Yes, which is another reason this model is successful. They can just pump out a ton of clothing without having to worry about 3D mapping and designing them for multiple races. It's a 2D sidecrolling mmo that has a really weird social aspect to it. In fact, some people won't even play with you if you don't use cash shop items like clothing, probably for the same reason I prefer a P2P model. IF someone uses cash shop clothing, you know they will be playing often and are invested in the game.

Edited, Jan 11th 2013 1:07pm by Louiscool
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