ESO: “Nobody believes that The Elder Scroll Online would be hurt by its business model if it had a Free2Play model with a subscription option.”
ESO would be just as good a game with cash shop ad loading screens, devs spending time coming up with ways to get you to buy yet another hat/wing/item (eventually of questionable power), seeing said items on people around town (nothing says ES like neon wings or a baseball cap), and finally we would get the awesome immersion effect of the guards telling us to visit the cash shop rather than about that arrow in the knee.
What a huge loss for the game that it’s sub only. Total killer.
When one thinks about it, criticising a game for not going f2p given the state of some f2p games is absolutely absurd. I think it’s fair enough to say that none of us like having a store/cash shop or adverts thrown in our faces all the time. But, people are actually saying this about TESO. I think the reason why is because there are some games out there that are doing f2p well such as Rift or buy-to-play games such as Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World.
Obviously Syncaine was referring to the type f2p game such as Lotro which is done poorly: the store is constantly thrown in one’s face, subscriber (or VIP) status has been degraded with some things being taken away and added to the store (I’m looking at you Destiny Points and relic removal) and also gone so far as to monetise some things such as some festival quests, needing to buy an extra trait slot in order to enjoy each of the three lines per character or even having the choice of what colour warsteed you want. In my opinion, Lotro is an example of a hybrid sub/f2p payment model gone wrong as I believe a sub should open up the entire game to you aside from store cosmetics. Monetise the hell out of the rest of it for non-sub folks.
On the other hand we have games like Rift which appears to be doing f2p (and a true f2p at that) the right way. I’ve not gone back to Rift since they made the switch as I can’t properly devote enough time to it, but from what I hear, the game is doing well and is really enjoyable. I know from the Lotro forums, many raiders have moved to Rift. I hear praise about Rift’s store and no complaints about it being intrusive.
Then we have b2p games such as GW2 where you pay for the box once and that’s it. There is no intrusive store. If you look at one of my recent screenshots, you can see the only icon for it. It’s the little lion symbol at the top near the middle of the other icons that has a little red exclamation point on it (as I had money/items ready for pick up at the Trading Post, aka Auction House):
None of the items found within are pay to win either. GW2 is also churning out new content every two weeks for a few months now (aside from a break during the holidays.) One can argue how good it is or isn’t (personally I think the game might could use a paid expansion or at least make much more of their work permanent in the game) but I think the game been an incredible value. It would seem microtransactions have been doing quite well for ArenaNet as well. There was some report out a few months ago regarding sales dropping but I believe the report was only referencing box sales. A drop in those is entirely expected.
There are more games to mention such as The Secret World, Swtor (though I hear life is difficult in that game without a sub, though I’d say it should be), League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Path of Exile… I think enough to show that microtransactions can be done in a positive way. I think this is why the cries of TESO not being f2p are out there: because other companies are showing that you can have a profitable game without a sub. So some people are seeing better deals for their money.
To me, TESO better be damned good if it wants people to cough up money every month in addition to a box sale. Due to NDA I can’t really say anything (though honestly, didn’t everyone and their mother get into the recent stress test? :P), but I will say I don’t think they’ve succeeded in that. Personally I wish it would go with the buy-to-play model, not the sub only PLUS a cash shop model they’ve chosen . If they’d do that, they’d have a sale from me. But after reading what people have to say about the game, I think it’s only a matter of time until they’ll drop their current payment model. It’s going to be Swtor all over again.