There is an age old debate going on worldwide… Okay it’s not really that old, and it’s currently just going on in my head. This issue of Free to Play, versus Subscription based games. Recently, I have been playing a lot of Neverwinter. One night, as I sat there, running through the missions, I became irritated. Not with the grindy, often repetitive missions that the game provides, but with the fact that I don’t have access to everything in the game, not without spending real coin. To me, this cheapens the experience of being fully immersed in the story. And then it dawned on me; What happened to subscription based games?!
Now to be fair, Let’s first look at the pros to Free to Play games. First off, it’s free! you get to play a “full” game for a whopping free dollars and zero cents, and usually it’s a pretty enjoyable experience… And thats about it for the positives…
Now for the cons. Free sometimes only gets you so far. In so many of these games in order to make actual progress in the higher levels you either have to shell out the cash, or grind for a ridiculous amount of time to scrape together the insane amount of in game currency to trade for premium credits. At which point to me the fun is over. As I mentioned earlier, in other cases “free” doesn’t get you access to all the items, or features of the game. As a completionist, this kills my sanity. To round it out, with the ftp model you never know how much you’re paying. you may need access to something that runs you $30 one month, and then the next month you only spend $10, and in the best case, no money at all.
Now lets talk about subscription based games. Before free to play reared its ugly head, this was the only way to play MMO’s, and it was good. So we’re going to switch it up, lets talk about the pro’s of subscription MMO’s!
First, you were exposed to the full world, the entire game without locked areas and items. Although you had to grind, you knew that within a reasonable amount of time you could obtain anything you set out to do. The next thing is price this is both a pro and a con. The good part is you know at any given rime you know you are never spending more than your monthly subscription fee. You know that everyone playing is paying the same amount to play the same game, you are on an even playing field.
Now for the con’s. I mentioned earlier the price is both a blessing and a curse. While you have access to the whole game, it’s all or nothing. If you’re not completely invested in the game, and care about where your dollars are going $10 a month might seem like a bit too much of a commitment. Also, subscription based games can often be grindy, and that can be a huge turn off to many gamers.
Thats my take on it. To me I would rather drop $10 a month to enjoy a game in its entirety, than play a game for “free” but not be able to enjoy (or love to hate) certain parts. There are a select few games that got the free to play model right, for example Warframe did a phenomenal job with the way they built their game, so kudos to them.
What are your thoughts? Comment below with “Team Subscription” or “Team Free to Play” and your reasons why in the comment section below (wow, that sounded super YouTube-y)