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Thread: Ripper's definition of F2P - how does it apply to Dark Legends?

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    Default Ripper's definition of F2P - how does it apply to Dark Legends?

    First, a little bit about me:

    I've been playing game a long time. I'm part of the original Atari generation (actually started with Pong) and have played tabletop and electronic games through my entire life, including MMOs for over 15 years. I was a de facto "unofficial" team member for Dungeon Runners and Associate Producer for a game called Dungeon Bandits that won't ever see the light of day (unfortunately).

    One of the ways in which games have evolved over the years has been specific to the payment model. Subscription games have lessened both in popularity and profitability and microtransaction-supported "F2P" games have gained in popularity, due in large part to how profitable they can be. As gaming has evolved, I have too. I grew up, my career has taken off, I've had a family and my entertainment priorities--along with their financial dependencies--have changed over the years. I enjoy both subscription and F2P games, but F2P game seem to fit my life a little better as I'm getting older. I can play a number of games casually instead of being tethered to just one that I have to play "because I paid for it".

    With the proliferation of various "F2P" games over the last few years, there's been a lot of player discussion about the concepts of "pay-to-win", "nothing is free" and "there's no such thing as F2P". A lot of games have given players reason for such discussion. From my perspective, the issue really pertains to marketing. Games are marketed as "F2P", but there really aren't any standards that define that term. So, I've come up with my own definition (which I've posted a few places over the last year or two) of what constitutes a "real F2P":

    1) The client must be free - if there's a barrier to entry, such as having to buy the client , then the game does not qualify as "F2P". Guild Wars is an excellent example of a game that can be played for free, but only after an initial purchase of the client license.

    2) The "game" must be free - What's the "game"? Playable content. All levels, quests, dungeons, instances, etc... must be free. No velvet-ropes cordoning off content. Alganon is an example of a game for which players must pay real money in order to progress beyond a certain character level (30). This is where many studios/publishers get into semantic gray areas, as far as I'm concerned. With Alganon, one can technically play free "forever", never progressing beyond level 30, but why? Wizard101 is a fantastic game (and one for whom several friends work), but I disagree with how it's marketed as being free-to-play. In the case of Wizard101, the semantic arguments are even more egregious. Yes, one can play free forever, but new players are essentially locked into "newbie island". That's not truly "F2P", IMO.

    3) No pay-to-win sales - Simply put, a F2P game cannot offer items for sale that give a significant competitive advantage over non-paying/less paying (ex: two players might both spend $50, but one spends it on weapons and another on sparkly ponies) players. Please note, this really only matters in games in which competition matters in terms of progression, rewards, etc... If, for example, you legitimately cannot level without assistance from RMT (Real Money Transaction) items then you're paying to win. If your guild keep can't be maintained unless you buy items that defend against intruders then you're paying to win. Imagine a very competitive game like Darkfall selling uber weapons for real money? What if only those guilds whose members bought the uber weapons were able to be successful in game? Definitely pay-to-win.

    Examples of some games that were truly F2P in my opinion were Dungeon Runners and Faxion Online.

     
    How do truly free game make money? Well, the two above are bad examples, because they're both defunct, but that's not due to their revenue model. Free games make money from selling vanity and convenience! Typically, this is achieved through some variation the 89/10/1 revenue model (89% of players never pay anything, 10% pay something and 1% pay a lot!), provided there's sufficient ARPU (Average Revenue per User) and ARPPU (Average Revenue per Paying user). Ultimately, volume is what makes F2P games profitable. The more players the more players that will pay and great chance for increased ARPU and ARPPU!

    So, with those definitions in mind (which are entirely my own opinion), how does Dark Legends stack up?

    1) Is the client free? Yes.

    2) Is the "game" free? Yes.

    3) Are there pay-to-win sales? No. Yes, as of now the most powerful items in game do come from platinum purchases, but they don't affect PvP so significantly, IMO, that they adversely affect the outcome of matches. There are far too many other variables, such as character level, player skill and powers chosen for one to state unequivocally that plat weapons determine the outcome of any match. Even so, PvP in Dark Legends is meaningless fun. There are leader boards, but so what? PvP doesn't affect the "game", as a whole. There aren't any PvP rewards and you can't level up through PvP. As such, the use of platinum weapons--as they exist today--in Dark Legends PvP is fairly meaningless. Yes, they're more powerful than any items currently found in game, but they aren't magic "insta-kill" weapons, either.

    Please note, however, if experience or rewards are ever implemented in Dark Legends PvP then I would most definitely want to see items that could be found and traded in game that were at least equal to platinum items of the same level, otherwise I might refine my opinion of #3.

    So, based on my personal definition of what constitutes a true "F2P" game, Dark Legends is really F2P!

    I'm really curious to hear other player's thoughts on this topic.

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    I disagree to point #3. At this current time, DL is definitely pay to win.

    The point is not how much it affects PvP. The point is that the best gear can be purchased with platinum. In every F2P MMO on the market, that is probably the biggest point of concern, and biggest complaint. The best gear in the game should come from PvE content and hard work, with the platinum items being a close second/third. It's not really the point of how much better the weapons are...but rather, that the plat bought stuff IS the best.

    Its just kind of disheartening for players who spend sooo much time farming and trying to get the best equipment for their character. Then step into pvp with some guy who just clicked the "buy" button on items even better than his, with no effort, and lose.

    Gear should reflect time/effort spent. Not dollar signs.

    Let's make it SPARKLE!

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    I disagree to point #3. At this current time, DL is definitely pay to win.
    If it's pay-to-win, then you have to win something, by definition. What do players with plat gear "win"? An e-peen contest? It certainly doesn't guarantee wins in PvP or lack of deaths in PvE.

    Unless there's some measurable component of what they win, it can't be called pay-to-win, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripper McGee View Post
    If it's pay-to-win, then you have to win something, by definition. What do players with plat gear "win"? An e-peen contest? It certainly doesn't guarantee wins in PvP or lack of deaths in PvE.

    Unless there's some measurable component of what they win, it can't be called pay-to-win, IMO.
    Well... by that definition a no pay to win game has ever existed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StompArtist View Post
    Well... by that definition a no pay to win game has ever existed.
    I disagree entirely. There are games where one most definitely can't succeed without paying for gear, mostly Asian games. Even "westernized" games like Runes of Magic are arguably pay-to-win, especially when it comes to higher level content, PvP servers or guild-vs-guild pvp.

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    Pay-to-win isn't a term that ensures automatic victory through items.

    Pay-to-win is just a term that was coined from being able to by the best equipment with money. People who put little to no effort into their gear, now have the possibility to perform just as well as people who did. It just belittles the work others have put in for those same (or worse) stats on gear.

    Let's make it SPARKLE!

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    Default Ripper's definition of F2P - how does it apply to Dark Legends?

    When it comes to PvP though I in a way must agree, though sorta disagree, some of the better items can be attained through platinum, but in the end the difference between platinum items and PvE acquired items is sorta filled in by the skill of the user.

    So basically if u are a very good PvP fighter, you can still win against someone with better stats, though this may change, that is how I see it at this moment

    PL Valkarya- 65 dex/int Mage~Ubernova- 51 str bear~Bearwithbow- 27 farmer dex bear~valksfarmer- 10 farmer bird
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    Quote Originally Posted by morfic View Post
    Pay-to-win is just a term that was coined from being able to by the best equipment with money.
    Says who? The term itself is pretty self explanatory.

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    You should hook up with another poster called Akeibo. You guys/girls would have a blast!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripper McGee View Post
    Says who? The term itself is pretty self explanatory.
    ? It's just common knowledge. Go to any game, or any forums and ask, "What makes a game pay-to-win?"

    The response will be "a game where you can buy the best gear with money". In your idea of a pay-to-win game, what happens if I buy all the best gear (that is supposed to guarantee victory 100% of the time), and then eat a sandwhich with one hand, smoke a cigarette, and talk on the phone while pvp'n? I would probably lose. Same thing if I went totally afk. There is no button you can press, or money you can spend that will automatically hand you a victory. You have to play, and you have to know how to pvp. At that point, the stats on your gear come into play. If you suck at pvp horribly and run in circles, and can't control your guy, and mash all the wrong buttons, you are going to lose no matter what.

    Not even sure what the argument here is.

    Let's make it SPARKLE!

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    If two players are evenly matched (SKILLS not gear) and they show down in PVP the one with plat gear will come out on top every time (being that their skills are EVENLY matched)

    That is Pay-to-Win

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    STS has gradually tweaked its payment philosophy. It has slowly evolved to further promote/influence plat purchases. Pay To Win means the best items are bought. Period. What you do with the items is completely up to the individual player, sure... but all things even, the person with the bought gear will out perform the player of equivalent skill who abstained from purchasing items. Period. This is irrefutable fact.

    ...and the items in question come from random chance packs and not even sure thing purchases... further promoting the cash inflow.

    I too started in the pong/atari days. I have seen games go from artistic obsessions from small teams who love their "baby" to the big business controlled money makers that they are today. As soon as video games were no longer viewed as "geared for children", and their interactive value started to trump the movie industry's earnings, the industry has sold out to profitability, and the players are the ones footing the bill.

    STS and DL are wonderful. I truly enjoy them both, but the games have been on an increasing trend of increasing cost.

    If the bought items were esthetic only, or just gave you an expedited path to end game only... then I would say its free to play. But having more power in either pve or pvp due to the bought weapons and supporting items giving you an edge, however small, makes the game most certainly pay to win.

    woof...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xaphan Fox View Post
    STS has gradually tweaked its payment philosophy. It has slowly evolved to further promote/influence plat purchases. Pay To Win means the best items are bought. Period. What you do with the items is completely up to the individual player, sure... but all things even, the person with the bought gear will out perform the player of equivalent skill who abstained from purchasing items. Period. This is irrefutable fact.

    ...and the items in question come from random chance packs and not even sure thing purchases... further promoting the cash inflow.

    I too started in the pong/atari days. I have seen games go from artistic obsessions from small teams who love their "baby" to the big business controlled money makers that they are today. As soon as video games were no longer viewed as "geared for children", and their interactive value started to trump the movie industry's earnings, the industry has sold out to profitability, and the players are the ones footing the bill.

    STS and DL are wonderful. I truly enjoy them both, but the games have been on an increasing trend of increasing cost.

    If the bought items were esthetic only, or just gave you an expedited path to end game only... then I would say its free to play. But having more power in either pve or pvp due to the bought weapons and supporting items giving you an edge, however small, makes the game most certainly pay to win.

    woof...
    Out to close another thread are we?

    Also I agree plat bought gear is the best gear available so if you buy the packs and recieve the legendary item you seek. You have a better weapon than I do after grinding for a day. You get to go nanny nanny poo poo I got better gear than you! and all you did was shell out some cash.

    But since my good friend the fox here decided to mention Star Legends a game I love so dearly I will also have to mention that aside from the gambling aspect of these plat packs in DL. The platinum purchasable gear was better than the in game gear for the first couple of campaigns and I don't seem to recall any such joyous uproar.

    Not sure what the point of this post was... PAY ATTENTION ONLY TO THE FIRST LINE.

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    At least I am much nicer and diplomatic with my wording!

    The point:

    Pay to win is a horrible business model. It insults players who wanna play the game and rewards players who want shortcuts. Which means they play the game less, focus less on the content the devs spend months developing, so they can laser beam focus on end content... a small portion of the overall game.

    Bought items should be esthetic only, or short cuts to any items of equivalent power that can be farmed in game. Plat purchases should=time spent in game to some degree.

    DL is fun. Better than PL by leaps and bounds, and a refreshing twist on what I like in SL, but popular mobile games "are" progressively getting more saturated with IAP's, and I do not think it is doing the industry any good.

    I weep every time a major company offers day one downloadable content, etc... I'd like to not see this in the games I enjoy.
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    Agree. DL is a true F2P . It fits all the req's. Hopefully #3 will never become an issue...

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    Going to have to completely disagree with your assessment on PVP. I personally consider the PVE aspect of the game to be for building up your character (Experience and equipment). Due to the lack of any sort of depth or challenge in PVE, and by the fact that the rewards eventually become irrelevant (max level and equipment), there leaves little to no reason to continue doing PVE content (with the exception of achievements, which is also finite). Combined with the energy mechanic limiting the amount of time that can be spent doing PVE content, I feel that PVE can not be considered as the primary source of replayability.

    Your argument that PVP shouldn't be considered when determining whether or not the game is pay-to-win, is flawed. Due to the non-limited amount of time one can spend doing PVP, and by the fact that PVP has more depth than PVE (although arguably not by much), implies that PVP is the primary source of replayability. Should this not be considered when determining the significance of pay-to-win items?

    Another point to consider is that plat-items do not provide much benefit to PVE content. You can solo every 3d-mission with gear that is far from high tier, meaning that the benefit of the plat gear is minimal.

    On the other hand, the plat gear does in fact give you a significant advantage in PVP. And since PVP is arguably the primary source of replayability, this should be taken into account.

    DL is not a PVE game, and not all that much of a PVP game. But it is moreso a PVP game than a PVE game, meaning that plat items should be designed with this in mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by morfic View Post
    Pay-to-win isn't a term that ensures automatic victory through items.

    Pay-to-win is just a term that was coined from being able to by the best equipment with money. People who put little to no effort into their gear, now have the possibility to perform just as well as people who did. It just belittles the work others have put in for those same (or worse) stats on gear.
    As long as the f2p gear is equivalent to the p2p gear, I don't see it as a problem. In order for a f2p game to profit, while still being able to truly fly the "f2p-flag", the developers should sell only things of convenience and vanity. As long as the developer is only selling items equivalent to the f2p items, they are only selling a convenience, and not a benefit. Whether or not a player feels "belittled" is honesty irrelevant. Despite being "f2p", the game still needs to make a profit, and if they can profit off of things that do not give paying players a clear advantage over non-paying players, I see no problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by morfic View Post
    ? It's just common knowledge. Go to any game, or any forums and ask, "What makes a game pay-to-win?"

    ...

    Not even sure what the argument here is.
    Considering my gaming background, I'd say it's not "just common knowledge". Such an argument belittles the entire discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aculeas View Post
    If two players are evenly matched (SKILLS not gear) and they show down in PVP the one with plat gear will come out on top every time (being that their skills are EVENLY matched)

    That is Pay-to-Win
    I would agree if that could be shown unequivocally. In fact, I'd love to see that either proven or disproven in Dark Legends. Anecdotal evidence points both ways. Some players believe it makes a difference today, I don't believe it does. I lose too often for it to make any measurable difference! I think some player see particle effects on a weapon and assume that's why you won, not that it's because of a disparity between overall builds, player skill, character level (which does make a large difference) and powers/combos played.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cjon View Post
    Going to have to completely disagree with your assessment on PVP. I personally consider the PVE aspect of the game to be for building up your character (Experience and equipment). Due to the lack of any sort of depth or challenge in PVE, and by the fact that the rewards eventually become irrelevant (max level and equipment), there leaves little to no reason to continue doing PVE content (with the exception of achievements, which is also finite). Combined with the energy mechanic limiting the amount of time that can be spent doing PVE content, I feel that PVE can not be considered as the primary source of replayability.

    Your argument that PVP shouldn't be considered when determining whether or not the game is pay-to-win, is flawed. Due to the non-limited amount of time one can spend doing PVP, and by the fact that PVP has more depth than PVE (although arguably not by much), implies that PVP is the primary source of replayability. Should this not be considered when determining the significance of pay-to-win items?

    Another point to consider is that plat-items do not provide much benefit to PVE content. You can solo every 3d-mission with gear that is far from high tier, meaning that the benefit of the plat gear is minimal.

    On the other hand, the plat gear does in fact give you a significant advantage in PVP. And since PVP is arguably the primary source of replayability, this should be taken into account.

    DL is not a PVE game, and not all that much of a PVP game. But it is moreso a PVP game than a PVE game, meaning that plat items should be designed with this in mind.
    Thanks for replying, Cjon. You make some really good points regarding PvP being the primary aspect of the game and, upon reading your post, I'm inclined to agree. It's a unique and new point of view. I still disagree that plat gear gives a significant advantage in PvP, or that it can be easily proven, however, given the myriad of other variables that go into victory even in a 1-v-1 duel. As stated above, though, I'd love to see it proven or disproven so the argument can be put to bed.

    All that said, it should be obvious I'm an advocate for true F2P and I think Dark Legends fits the bill given my own personal opinions. If it could be proven empirically that plat weapons absolutely make a significant, measurable difference in PvP outcome I'd be much more inclined to say DL doesn't meet the #3 qualifications. Also, as stated above, should experience or other rewards be granted for victory in PVP, I would absolutely want to take a closer look at the role of plat weapons in PvP.

    Regardless, even though plat weapons are currently the "most powerful" in the game, I would rather they weren't. I've always felt their should be gear of at least equivalent power found for free. Then it becomes a matter of convenience buying items.

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    Whoever says this game is not pay-to-win has never played with plat gear, is lying through their teeth, and/or doesn't know what they are talking about. It makes a big difference.

    Seriously, try to pvp and pve with, then without plat gear. The difference is night and day. When I upgraded, I can solo instances now without blow tons of pot and do much better in pvp.

    Put a plat gear team against a non-plat gear team and they will get smoked in combat...it will be an absolute slaughter. I've 2v4'd non-geared teams consistently, with other geared and skilled players.

    This game is definitely play-to-win once you hit 20.

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    Whether plat bought are .1% more potent, or 10% more potent than dropped weapons is not the point. The point is the best are bought, and depending on your build, the gems that drop from the random packs, can be considered the best as well.

    The point isnt how good they are, just that they are the best. That is it.

    Making dropped gear absolutely equivalent to that which is bought would get rid of the need for these discussions and the drama it inevitably causes.

    That is the point.


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