I recently found out the game has become free to play, and it got me wondering; does anyone play this? Since it's shift in strategy in May, it has apparently doubled its revenue (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-08-11-free-age-of-conan-doubles-revenue).
I remember trying it back when the game was first released, but I never played it for more than a couple of minutes, so I don't know if it was good at all.
Unless they drastically changed the content I'm not even willing to give it a second try.
I played it for, like... two hours. I don't remember disliking it. But I just don't have time for an MMO. If I did, it'd probably be Eve Online. Though I'm curious about the SW MMO and The Secret World.
Eugene said: Though I'm curious about the SW MMO and The Secret World.
I'm curious about them too. In reality, I don't have enough time to play all the games I want to as is. I just remember Jaimar was a huge fan of AoC in the past and figured it might be interesting to see if other people played it.
I also was seeing if this would spark a discussion on the merit of free-to-play game models, and peoples' opinions on them.
Free-to-play is great as long as the way they make revenue doesn't hinder the experience.
Spiral Knights for instance is a perfect example of how to make it a frustrating experience and drive off anyone not willing to shell out for the opportunity to advance in the game.
Basically your character advancement is gated. You can only get 100 energy per day unless you buy more, and energy is used to advance in dungeons and to craft gear. Additionally the free energy you acumilate will never go over 100, so you can never spend more than that unless you purchase additional energy. This wouldn't be a huge deal if all it was used for was dungeons because the amount you spend is pretty reasonable there, but if you want to craft items it gets progressively more expensive. The first tier of items is 10 energy, then 50, 200, 400, and finally 800. You need to have an entire set of tier 3 gear to go into tier three dungeons so it all becomes very expensive very fast.
You can buy energy with real money or in-game currency, but the market price for using in-game currency is unreasonable for new players.
It basically leaves the game with a very low player retention. From what I read, the community was shrinking before it was released on Steam and then there was a bit of a boom, and then not longer after it started to shrink again as the new players realized it wasn't a practical game to play unless you planned on buying energy regularly.
It's a pretty terrible system.
I think the ideal Free to Play model from the perspective of a player is one that makes all game content available to you, and money purchases can grant you quicker advancement to level-cap, cosmetic accessories/changes, and possibly the purchase of gear that's available in-game (meaning buying it with real money is not the only way to get it, just the fastest).
The worst system is what people have taken to calling Pay to Win, where real money purchases grant access to exclusive content/gear and other big advantages not available to the rest of the playerbase, which is particularly bad for games with a heavy emphasis on PvP.
Which model does Conan use?
I played D&D Online for a bit after it went free-to-play, though I don't recall what model they were using. I just remember I didn't have to spend any money at all, and the optional purchases added up to approximately $15/month anyway.
I believe the current model Conan uses is more towards the Spiral Knights direction, but not as bad. From what I've read, only 4 of the game's classes are available to free players, but level advancement is unlocked fully. Whatever "alternative advancement" is is locked. All of these are available if you subscribe to the game.
Has anyone tried Dragon Nest yet? I believe it only went live for NA a few days ago, and I also don't know what kind of F2P model it uses.
I'm also a little wary because it's a Korean game so I want to know how grindy it is. :p
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