Eorzea Examiner #22: FFXIV F2P?

Ragar examines whether a subscription-less model would work for FFXIV

Hello and welcome to the 22nd edition of the Eorzea Examiner, ZAMs column on Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. For this weeks column, I’m going to be looking at that most common of complaints/suggestions for modern MMOs: going Free to Play. If you read articles about nearly any MMO, watch YouTube videos, etc, there’s a couple of comments that keep showing up on those posts. “I’ll check it out once it goes F2P.” “They’re crazy to use subscriptions! No one pays a monthly fee these days!” “I give it two months tops before it goes F2P.” All of these commenters see the F2P model as either the savior of the modern MMO/gaming industry or this absolute final destination for all of those games once they’ve gotten that silly “asking for money regularly” thing out of their systems. The question is: are they right or is there room in the MMO world to ask for a subscription fee?

So I Get More Money By Giving Away My Game?

To start let’s take a look at how a F2P model works for those FFXIV players out there who might not have tried any MMOs without a subscription fee. The basic premise behind the F2P model is that it is by definition free to download and play that game. At no point will you be required to pay money for the privilege of logging into their game and there’s always something available for you to do without paying cash. Of course the question there is “How do the developers get paid?” The answer is that now instead of a forced monthly fee, you’ll be presented with a storefront offering various goods, services and conveniences. Depending on the game, those items may go for straight cash or they may obscure it behind a secondary currency like Neverwinter’s Zen, Guild Wars 2’s Gems or Marvel Heroes’ Gs. Some games will even offer an exchange service of sorts, allowing players to trade one of the normal in-game currencies acquired from questing/PvP/etc. to other players who have purchased some of the cash currency. Those players with more time than money can now buy some of the items off the cash shop, while those time-strapped players now have in-game cash without needing to spend the hours required to farm it up.

There would be some advantages to a F2P system were FFXIV to change over from subscriptions. First and foremost is that it does bring in new players – convincing someone to drop cash upfront for an MMO isn’t always an easy sell unless their friends are already playing, but when the only cost is hard drive space, they have nothing to lose. I know there are quite a few games I’ve installed over the years that were only put there because it was free to try them out. We’ve already seen that FFXIV has the content to keep someone playing for a while after that initial install, so making it easier for someone to impulse try the game would mean a larger potential pool of players willing to spend money.

Speaking of bringing in new players, there’s another source of new players that would greatly benefit from a F2P transition, PlayStation 3 and 4 players. Those of us who game primarily on PC are accustomed to seeing games with monthly subscriptions, but if most of your time is spent on a console, subscriptions aren’t something that comes up very often. There’s FFXIV, its predecessor Final Fantasy XI, The Elder Scrolls Online and DC Universe Online prior to its F2P transition a while back. Other than this handful of MMOs, the only subscriptions a console player would be likely to see is their Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus memberships – the games themselves tend to stick to an upfront cost with DLC packs down the road for interested owners or they’ve gone the full F2P model with unlockable content. Games like PlanetSide 2, Warframe and DCUO offer PS4 players a chance to get their MMO fix without spending anything for the download. Once they’re on and you’re in, that’s when they can start showing off the various shiny things available for money and make it easy for you to purchase.

That brings up the biggest perk for transitioning to a F2P system: when it’s done well, it can bring you a lot of cash. When a player considers a game with a subscription fee, often it leads to some mental rationalizing and debate. “If I spend $15 a month on this, what do I need to cut out? Can I afford to do this on more than one game or do I need to cancel my other MMO sub? What else can I get for the money?” A subscription often feels like a fee for having fun and thus has to be justified. With a cash shop however, it’s a one-time fee so you have an easier time justifying it: “Sure this mount costs $15, but I’m not paying a sub so that’s basically breaking even!” or “This content pack may cost $20, but the devs gave me the game for free so I’d like to support them!” When you add up all of those little “It’s not that much…” purchases together, it can often be more than you would have spent on a subscription. I know I’ve fallen for this a few different times. I spent $60 or so on a supporter pack for Firefall during its early beta days. Marvel Heroes has taken more of my money than I really want to admit to spending – I think for money spent, it’s about tied with FFXIV and only behind World of Warcraft and that Lifetime sub for DCUO at this point. A subscription would have saved me money overall.

With the right game and the right cash shop design, a F2P system can be good for both the developers and the players in an MMO. The developers get higher account numbers to show off and potentially more income, while the players have a game that doesn’t require consistent spending and where they could reasonably play through the whole thing without spending a dime. With all of that said, the big question is would F2P work for FFXIV? Honestly, I have to say no.

Insert Tokens For Job Unlocks

After listing all of those positives for a F2P system, some of you are probably wondering why I’d be against the switch. To explain that, let’s get into the downside of F2P games – namely, the parts that actually cost money. In order to make money, a F2P game has to have at least some features either locked away or restricted in some fashion in order to encourage players to spend real money. These can range from the benign (costumes and other superficial changes) and convenience (experience potions) all the way to the tempting (character/bag slots) and obnoxious (dungeon/PvP/other feature unlocks).

 

All F2P MMOs have some method of using these purchase areas to pull money from players and FFXIV would have to do the same. Certain areas are seen by players as more acceptable and more likely to pull in money. In general players are very accepting of cosmetic items and convenience boosts with F2P MMOs – you’ll still get some complaints, but most will see these as perfectly acceptable ways to ask for money. The tempting category of character and bag slots is slightly more frowned upon, but in general seen as a necessary evil for F2P. That last category is where the danger comes in. Sure, it’s far more enticing to lock something like a dungeon, a class/job or a major feature behind a paywall, but that’s always going to cause a storm of complaints with your player base. Player imbalance from the haves/have-nots for major features, guilds where only a portion of the members have purchased the newest dungeon unlock, etc – problems like these are forum storms waiting to happen and many of the F2P MMOs out there have tried to move away from this. At worst you may see something like a timed exclusive for people who preordered.

Assuming that Square Enix wanted to avoid yet another housing-scale forum flame war, that would leave us with benign, convenience and tempting options for monetizing a F2P version of FFXIV. Costumes and other benign changes are always possible, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see FFXIV add them to an in-game shop at some point, but there’s already a wide variety of costume items and varying gear appearances in the game. Combine that with the Glamour system that allows you to change your gear’s appearance and all of the costumes provided by the various in-game holiday events and you have a somewhat tough sell for getting players to pay money for new clothes. Sure you’ll get some sales (TERA and The Secret World manage to sell clothes to its players after all), but it’s unlikely that you could support all of an MMO’s development off this small amount of cash.

The next obvious step would be to look at those convenience items: experience boosts, potions, etc. None of these are strictly necessary, but for players looking to powerlevel a new class or catch up with their friends, a few bucks here and there to save a few hours sounds like a tempting trade. Similar to the benign items, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see some of these show up in an in-game shop one day either, but I can’t really see funding a game of FFXIV’s scale solely off these and cosmetic purchases. Aside from the whole “you’ll eventually run out of characters to level” limit, it also causes conflict with some of the other boost items that exist like the crafting/gathering bonus XP consumables from the Grand Company vendors. For many high-level characters, these give them something to spend all of their Seals from grinding FATEs on combat classes. If you want those max-level characters to buy convenience items as well, that list of consumables and end-game Seal sinks from the Grand Company vendors would need to expand.

That leaves us to tempting items: character slots, bag slots, and so on. Character slots are a big one with many F2P MMOs; players usually only have a couple on each server, so if they want to try a new class, they’ll have to pony up for that extra slot or delete one of their existing characters. The problem with FFXIV is that while we have other character slots, the game itself is designed such that a second/third/etc character isn’t actually necessary. Unless you wanted to see the starting chunk of the main story quest for all three Grand Companies/cities or you need an alt with more retainer space, there’s no reason to have more than one character. You can level every class and participate in every activity in the game on that one character. With the whole game of options available to a starting character, those extra slots are a bit of a hard sell. Bag and retainer slots would work (I know I definitely ran out of space on my retainers on a regular basis), but that “one character for all” feature hurts this as well. Often when you buy that extra character slot in another MMO and start putting time in, you’ll end up spending the cash for those extra slots like you bought on your main; when you’ve got the convenience on your main, it’s hard to say no to it for your alts. With a single character necessary, that means either you bump up the costs to make up for the loss, which would impact impulse purchases and lead to complaints, or you have to look elsewhere to bring in the money.

The real reason I don’t think FFXIV can or really should go the F2P route is because of where I think they’d need to turn after those other three groups didn’t bring in enough income: the unlocks. Locking any individual feature in the game behind a paywall not only goes counter to the whole “you can do everything” mentality of FFXIV, but it would risk both blocking character progress as well as causing class/job imbalance. Lock a dungeon behind a paywall? Hope you’ve removed any attunement or quest chain links to it or else you’re going to have a lot of angry players stuck on their main story since nearly everything is gated by that. Asking for cash for certain jobs or classes past your 5th or 6th one? Something like this may be fine in games where each class is self-contained, but FFXIV is built around players mixing and matching cross-class abilities and trying everything. No one’s going to be happy to find out they need to drop $5 to unlock one of their job’s cross-class options because they decided to try Blacksmithing. So many restrictions on what they can charge for with pitfalls awaiting them everywhere if they decide to charge for the wrong thing or don’t have enough players willing to purchase the safe items – sure seems a lot safer to just ask for the $15 a month, huh?

Conclusion

The inspiration I had when coming up with this column actually came from this quote and the related blog post from former ZAM writer, Gareth “Gazimoff” Harmer:

 

As tempting as the idea of a free MMO is, where a small percentage of players pay for the vast majority and the game’s development is paid for with purely benign purchases made to support the game they love, a well-done F2P game has a ton of research performed beforehand with regards to item cost vs. demand vs player reaction and so on. Transitioning a subscription-based MMO to F2P is arguably even more so with potentially bigger risks. Locking features behind a paywall may draw ire from new F2P players, but how do you think the old subscribers are going to feel? They’re used to simply having this content available to them whenever they felt like doing it. Any restrictions you place upon them compared to whatever they had available as a subscriber can just lead to animosity against the new F2P model and against the developers for changing their game.

That’s it for this edition of the Eorzea Examiner. What do you think about F2P games? Do you like the subscription fee or would you prefer to spend money on a-la-carte unlocks and convenience items? Does the sub make it harder for you to convince friends to try the game? If you were going to make FFXIV a F2P game, how would you go about it? Tell us in the comments below. If you've got any requests for column topics, add those as well. Until next time, see you in Eorzea.

Michael “Ragar” Branham

Comments

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# Sep 06 2014 at 11:24 PM Rating: Good
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3,426 posts
The nice thing about Sub-based games, is that in 99.9% of the time, everything is available in-game without having to pay money.

Yeah, you have to pay a monthly fee, but yet you aren't given grindwalls (with, of course, the $$$ way out of said grindwalls) that are more ridiculous-than-normal as F2P games are infamous for having.

I don't like sitting in the game looking at this screen that says I gotta plunk $$$ down for something. I wanna "Pay and forget", which is why I love games that have a discounted 6-month sub.

I'll pay the 6-months for $70 or what-not and then I forget about it, 1, 2, 3, 4 months later I forget that I even paid up.

F2P games, however, wave $ tags in front of my face and I tend to hate that.
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# Sep 07 2014 at 1:00 AM Rating: Decent
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4,172 posts
Lyrailis wrote:
Yeah, you have to pay a monthly fee, but yet you aren't given grindwalls (with, of course, the $$$ way out of said grindwalls) that are more ridiculous-than-normal as F2P games are infamous for having.

That grind is intended to keep you busy doing something for a certain amount of time. It's found in F2P, sub-based and even hybrid games. People act like XIV is without grind now and it would suddenly be introduced should the game go F2P. The leveling curve, the lack of quest options while leveling, guildleve allowance, atma grinding, raid lockouts... all 'grindwall' mechanics you will find in XIV.

I think sometimes people forget that we're talking about a game that initially tried to implement a fatigue system to keep players from leveling at the pace they wanted to...



I really feel bad for people. They just want to fork over their money and be told what they're going to have access to rather than being allowed to think and act on their own. Smiley: oyvey
____________________________
Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
Don't do it.
# Sep 05 2014 at 6:56 AM Rating: Good
3 posts
The day they make FFXIV F2P is probably the day I leave. People seem to think that F2P is the way to go while conveniently ignoring the fact that the most popular MMO in the world has survived over 10 years on a subscription model.

I don't want to play with the playerbase who complain about sub fees. I get that you can't afford it. Or that you feel like you shouldn't have to pay. And you don't. Play something else. I like the idea of a fixed cost. Every six months I pay 77.94 or something like that and I'm done for a solid 180 days. If all **** breaks lose financially for me, I still have something to entertain me. And if that happens, the money I payed to play this game isn't the cause.

There are a ton of F2P options out there, many of them great games. I'm just not interested. I'll stick to paying sub fees.
Don't do it.
# Sep 05 2014 at 6:56 AM Rating: Good
3 posts
The day they make FFXIV F2P is probably the day I leave. People seem to think that F2P is the way to go while conveniently ignoring the fact that the most popular MMO in the world has survived over 10 years on a subscription model.

I don't want to play with the playerbase who complain about sub fees. I get that you can't afford it. Or that you feel like you shouldn't have to pay. And you don't. Play something else. I like the idea of a fixed cost. Every six months I pay 77.94 or something like that and I'm done for a solid 180 days. If all **** breaks lose financially for me, I still have something to entertain me. And if that happens, the money I payed to play this game isn't the cause.

There are a ton of F2P options out there, many of them great games. I'm just not interested. I'll stick to paying sub fees.
Don't do it.
# Sep 05 2014 at 6:17 PM Rating: Decent
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4,172 posts
ReactionRed wrote:
The day they make FFXIV F2P is probably the day I leave. People seem to think that F2P is the way to go while conveniently ignoring the fact that the most popular MMO in the world has survived over 10 years on a subscription model.


You're comparing an MMO that failed at launch to an MMO that amassed nearly 15 million subscribers at one time. I don't think I really need to go into detail as to why that argument holds no weight.

I'm not sure why people cling to the subscription payment option as if it's some sort of security blanket. Companies make the switch to F2P if they feel it's a better option for them financially, not because they have the consumer in mind... yet their consumers(read: fans) still defend them. I honestly don't get it.

If they can convert from a subscription model to a F2P model without disrupting players routines, I really don't see why those players would just up and leave. It's like you're saying "I'm leaving this game because I don't have to pay for it. Yes, it's still the same game I enjoyed before but I can't enjoy it anymore if it's not on a subscription."

Makes no sense at all...
____________________________
Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
Freeorzea
# Sep 04 2014 at 6:23 PM Rating: Decent
****
4,172 posts
Quote:
The real reason I don’t think FFXIV can or really should go the F2P route is because of where I think they’d need to turn after those other three groups didn’t bring in enough income: the unlocks. Locking any individual feature in the game behind a paywall not only goes counter to the whole “you can do everything” mentality of FFXIV, but it would risk both blocking character progress as well as causing class/job imbalance.


There are several games in the market currently that don't lock any of the things you mention behind a 'paywall'. There are some games that sell increases to experience gain or things of that sort, but that's not the same as impeding the progress of players who don't pay. The leveling and reputation grinds without bonuses are not unreasonable enough that it would force players into feeling like they had to spend money. If you don't enjoy the game, you wouldn't invest the time(much less the money) anyway.

FFXIV has many options as far as F2P is concerned that wouldn't force it to rely on blocking character progress. If this game were free, people would gladly pay for pet minions. People would pay for mounts. People would pay for furniture for their housing. People would pay for vanity items related to the glamour system. There are really a ton of options they could exercise in order to make F2P profitable for themselves and still preserve the enjoyment of players who don't or can't spend the money.

Quote:
As tempting as the idea of a free MMO is, where a small percentage of players pay for the vast majority and the game’s development is paid for with purely benign purchases made to support the game they love, a well-done F2P game has a ton of research performed beforehand with regards to item cost vs. demand vs player reaction and so on.


I would actually like to see the research on how many people who play F2P games consistently are also spending money. I don't think I can agree with the statement that the minority are funding the majority because I think most people who stick around to play free games actually enjoy them enough to spend on them. I also think that successful F2P games understand what the majority of their players want and cater to them.


Edited, Sep 4th 2014 8:23pm by FilthMcNasty
____________________________
Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
Freeorzea
# Sep 05 2014 at 6:11 PM Rating: Excellent
Guru
***
1,310 posts
FilthMcNasty wrote:
Quote:
The real reason I don’t think FFXIV can or really should go the F2P route is because of where I think they’d need to turn after those other three groups didn’t bring in enough income: the unlocks. Locking any individual feature in the game behind a paywall not only goes counter to the whole “you can do everything” mentality of FFXIV, but it would risk both blocking character progress as well as causing class/job imbalance.


There are several games in the market currently that don't lock any of the things you mention behind a 'paywall'. There are some games that sell increases to experience gain or things of that sort, but that's not the same as impeding the progress of players who don't pay. The leveling and reputation grinds without bonuses are not unreasonable enough that it would force players into feeling like they had to spend money. If you don't enjoy the game, you wouldn't invest the time(much less the money) anyway.

FFXIV has many options as far as F2P is concerned that wouldn't force it to rely on blocking character progress. If this game were free, people would gladly pay for pet minions. People would pay for mounts. People would pay for furniture for their housing. People would pay for vanity items related to the glamour system. There are really a ton of options they could exercise in order to make F2P profitable for themselves and still preserve the enjoyment of players who don't or can't spend the money.

Quote:
As tempting as the idea of a free MMO is, where a small percentage of players pay for the vast majority and the game’s development is paid for with purely benign purchases made to support the game they love, a well-done F2P game has a ton of research performed beforehand with regards to item cost vs. demand vs player reaction and so on.


I would actually like to see the research on how many people who play F2P games consistently are also spending money. I don't think I can agree with the statement that the minority are funding the majority because I think most people who stick around to play free games actually enjoy them enough to spend on them. I also think that successful F2P games understand what the majority of their players want and cater to them.


Edited, Sep 4th 2014 8:23pm by FilthMcNasty


If you'll recall what you were doing on Zam in 2010 and 2011, I believe you'll have memories of coming here brandishing the latest creative insults deriding how much FFXIV sucked.

And the payment model FFXIV was using under in those days?

F2P

Even though the game was free hardly anyone could stomach to play it for long because it was so bad you couldn't give FFXIV away.

Now we have ARR. And you have to pay-to-play. And people do. You want to know why? Because ARR is good.

If it wasn't good, people would stop paying and they'd leave, and finally you would have your F2P wish. Then you can relive 2010 and 2011 all over again, logging into an F2P game that no one wants to play because it's bad, only this time, instead of frequent updates to make the game better, like adding new dungeons and storylines, the developers will instead focus all their time making things for the cash shop that you're too cheap to buy.

Right now, at most, the game costs 50 cents a day to play. But for some people it's more important to see this game completely change it's focus so that rewards are bought instead of won through playing the game just so they can save that 50 cents and get someone else to pay so they can log in free.

There are plenty of other MMOs in the world where you can mooch off others for your free login, so it's not like you're suffering for options. Good MMOs like WoW and FFXIV aren't among them. Thank goodness.
Freeorzea
# Sep 05 2014 at 8:29 PM Rating: Decent
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4,172 posts
Xoie wrote:
If you'll recall what you were doing on Zam in 2010 and 2011, I believe you'll have memories of coming here brandishing the latest creative insults deriding how much FFXIV sucked.

And the payment model FFXIV was using under in those days?

F2P

Quite frankly, the game did suck. I understand that people defended it(though I don't understand why), but the fact that the game was free is completely independent of how good it was.

Xoie wrote:
Now we have ARR. And you have to pay-to-play. And people do. You want to know why? Because ARR is good.


I respect your opinion, but it is still just that; an opinion. Some people like XIV and some don't. I also feel that XIV is a good game, but it's not good enough that I'm willing to subscribe to it. Just because I'm not willing to pay a subscription fee doesn't mean I want the game to go F2P. I'm just conscious that there is a way to implement F2P that doesn't infringe on the enjoyment of people who were otherwise willing to subscribe.

Again, there is no correlation between paying for a game and enjoying that game, but that's what people seem to be arguing.

Xoie wrote:
If it wasn't good, people would stop paying and they'd leave, and finally you would have your F2P wish.


This statement leads me to believe that you think people will stop playing if they no longer enjoy the game. I wholeheartedly agree. I have to ask again, why would people leave if the game went F2P but still allowed them to enjoy the game just as much as they did when they subscribed? That makes no sense to me.

Xoie wrote:
But for some people it's more important to see this game completely change it's focus so that rewards are bought instead of won through playing the game just so they can save that 50 cents and get someone else to pay so they can log in free.


In some games you can either buy an experience point boost directly from an online store, or you can go out and farm up gold or items in game to sell in exchange for the boosts. You have the choice of paying for it with either your time or your money. You also have a choice as to what you want to buy or earn.

Those minions and mounts you get as veteran rewards in exchange for your monthly payment are the same 'rewards that are bought instead of won through playing the game' that you mention here. You do realize that, don't you?

Now if XIV adapted a hybrid or even a F2P model, these rewards could be given for subscription or purchased from an online store. The difference here is that the player actually has a choice of what they want. If you like minions and mounts then you would be likely to subscribe. If you don't like one of the two you could purchase the other for a one-time fee. Either way you're paying for it but the hybrid/F2P model at least allows you to make the decision yourself.


Edited, Sep 5th 2014 10:33pm by FilthMcNasty
____________________________
Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
Freeorzea
# Sep 08 2014 at 2:51 AM Rating: Excellent
Guru
***
1,310 posts
FilthMcNasty wrote:
In some games you can either buy an experience point boost directly from an online store, or you can go out and farm up gold or items in game to sell in exchange for the boosts. You have the choice of paying for it with either your time or your money. You also have a choice as to what you want to buy or earn.

Those minions and mounts you get as veteran rewards in exchange for your monthly payment are the same 'rewards that are bought instead of won through playing the game' that you mention here. You do realize that, don't you?


There's a huge difference between getting a thank you gift for your subscription and buying that gift from a cash shop. I'm not paying a subscription to FFXIV just so I can ride around in a new mount every three months. You do realize that, don't you?

My subscription buys continual development that focuses exclusively on gameplay improvements. There's new rewards to collect, new dungeons to explore, new monsters to fight, new quests to complete, and new gameplay features, like Hunts or 24 v 24 v 24 PvP. It's all out there in the game world. All I have to do to get it is to challenge myself to play the game, which is the fundamental point of a game in the first place.

F2P, by its nature, can't offer a world where developers can focus solely and wholeheartedly on improving gameplay. Without continual development of the cash shop, the money runs out and game shuts down, so pretty much every new thing is going to be designed with getting you to buy from the cash shop in mind.

Frankly, I get better value in a subscription game. 100% of that money being reinvested into the game is not going to develop new cash shop crap. It's all going to improve FFXIV and make it even better than before. And if it doesn't improve, then I'll quit. No amount of veteran rewards can change my mind about that.
Freeorzea
# Sep 08 2014 at 1:23 PM Rating: Decent
****
4,172 posts
Xoie wrote:
There's a huge difference between getting a thank you gift for your subscription and buying that gift from a cash shop. I'm not paying a subscription to FFXIV just so I can ride around in a new mount every three months. You do realize that, don't you?


I don't. You're paying money for something you purchase or you're paying money for a guaranteed gift. Seems like the same thing to me.

Xoie wrote:
My subscription buys continual development that focuses exclusively on gameplay improvements. There's new rewards to collect, new dungeons to explore, new monsters to fight, new quests to complete, and new gameplay features, like Hunts or 24 v 24 v 24 PvP. It's all out there in the game world. All I have to do to get it is to challenge myself to play the game, which is the fundamental point of a game in the first place.


Just as an example, it took FFXI several years to break even. Their goal was to start profiting in 4 years, but since the game constantly added subscribers they were able to reach that goal early. Meanwhile they were still spending money developing the 3 expansions released in that time.

I can rationalize a subscription fee as being 'for development and implementation of new content' when we're actually getting new content quickly. XIV isn't even close to the pace that FFXI set. Not only that but the content they do release needs its own adjustments. Where are the test servers to make sure that things don't need more time in development before things like this happen? Does your subscription not pay for that in XIV?

Xoie wrote:
F2P, by its nature, can't offer a world where developers can focus solely and wholeheartedly on improving gameplay. Without continual development of the cash shop, the money runs out and game shuts down, so pretty much every new thing is going to be designed with getting you to buy from the cash shop in mind.

You're speculating that F2P games put most of their development resources into their cash shop?

The saddest thing about this comment is that even if it were true and these companies devoted most of their resources to the cash shop, they're still putting out free content and expansions on a much faster pace than ARR.

Translation: A skeleton crew of devs in charge of working on free content are putting out said content faster than XIV can, even when you pay for it.

Don't think about that for too long or your feelings might be hurt Smiley: lol


Edited, Sep 8th 2014 3:24pm by FilthMcNasty
____________________________
Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
Freeorzea
# Sep 08 2014 at 3:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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1,310 posts
FilthMcNasty wrote:
Translation: A skeleton crew of devs in charge of working on free content are putting out said content faster than XIV can, even when you pay for it.

Don't think about that for too long or your feelings might be hurt Smiley: lol


It's quantity versus quality: more stuff to buy in the cash shop versus more gameplay content. And I'd rather have gameplay, thanks.

Besides, FFXIV has minor patches of content almost every month, and major patches every three months. That's hardly a snail's pace but you would know that if you actually subbed to the game.
Freeorzea
# Sep 08 2014 at 5:50 PM Rating: Decent
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4,172 posts
Xoie wrote:
FilthMcNasty wrote:
Translation: A skeleton crew of devs in charge of working on free content are putting out said content faster than XIV can, even when you pay for it.

Don't think about that for too long or your feelings might be hurt Smiley: lol


It's quantity versus quality: more stuff to buy in the cash shop versus more gameplay content. And I'd rather have gameplay, thanks.

Besides, FFXIV has minor patches of content almost every month, and major patches every three months. That's hardly a snail's pace but you would know that if you actually subbed to the game.

Hotfixes are not 'minor content patches', they're bug fixes or minor adjustments to content that has already been implemented into the game. Adding HP to a hunt mob is not adding content. Fixing an error where mobs cease to attack suddenly is not content.

I'm talking content updates that add things like a new class, a new dungeon or raid, a new area, a PvP arena, housing, storyline or the like. SE adding the 'hunt' system is a good example. SE adding HP to the hunt mobs for balance issues is not.

I don't have to subscribe to be able to read patch notes. One of the things I do give credit to SE for is the detailed patch, hotfix and update notes they have been giving us. It's clear to see when they are actually adding content and features vs when they are fixing something that was already implemented to work as it was intended to. Please don't try to represent that you're getting monthly content. We both know that's not true.

It doesn't matter if you purchase a mount from a cash shop or if it is an added bonus for subscribing. You can't give XIV any advantage here because their developers still have to take time to create this content just like any other developer would. It doesn't matter if you sell a car, lease it or give it away... it still takes time to create it.

The only point I'm making here is that F2P can be done in a way that doesn't disrupt the influx of content. People come in with preconceived notions about how XIV would change and just assume the worst despite several successful models that have proven otherwise. There's nothing wrong with fearing that they might muck it up, but people are already counting chickens here.

XIV borrowed heavily from other games to create what they have today. Assuming they continued on that path as they have up to now, it's not outside the realm of possibility that if they ever did go F2P they'd use a model that works well as some games before them have.

*EDIT*
Just to reiterate, I'm not advocating that XIV go F2P. If I enjoyed the game enough and thought it was worth the price I'd pay double the subscription fee. I'm not cheap when it comes to entertainment at all, but I am picky. The market is so saturated it's becoming harder and harder for subscription based games to compete without an edge. The namesake alone used to be an edge, but that's started to deteriorate over recent years. People no longer to to FF as the go to for JRPG. It needs more than that if it's going to keep competitive.


Edited, Sep 8th 2014 10:34pm by FilthMcNasty
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Rinsui wrote:
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HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
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