Wednesday, February 2, 2011

p2p vs f2p

f2p (Free to Play)- A game that does not require any fee to play.

p2p (Pay to Play)- A game that requires a fee to play.

While looking around at games yesterday I came across a lot of games out there that might interest me.  Most are f2p.  Made me think, why do I spend money each month to play WoW when I could play other games for free. 

The answer was actually quite simple.  Free to play games are too expensive.

I also like that in a p2p game you have something to aim for.  That is not saying that f2p games have nothing to aim for, they do.  The difference is that in a f2p game you do not actually have to work for get them if you do not want to.

f2p games are not as the name would make them appear.  They are, in fact, not free at all.  All f2p games have a cash shop where you can buy things.  While the fact remains that you can play without ever spending a cent there is always a option to buy things.  Even if you never buy something there is someone else out there that is buying them and sometimes in obscene amounts.  Don't fool yourself, if the game was not making money it would not be around any more.

I've played a few of these games and I have dumped some cash into a few of them.  Not because I wanted to be better or anything but because I am one of those people lucky enough to have expendable cash and my enjoyment of the game was starting to be impacted by others around me.

I never wanted to pay to play on a f2p game.  I wanted something to do when I was at work.  I can not play WoW at work, the computer is not that good here.  It is an office computer so no graphics card worth speaking of.  This is where I came across f2p games.

At face value f2p games are fantastic.  That is until you meet up with someone that pays to play and they take a liking to kicking your butt every chance they get. 

That is why I started to pay a little to get some bonuses.  I started playing, made it about a week of having fun and then someone started attacking me every day all day long.  I spend a few bucks to get myself some defenses.  I just wanted to play and have fun, not fight.  Apparently he noticed my defense and bought more offense and kept at it.  I made the decision to quit the game instead of throwing more cash into it.

That is how f2p games make their money.  They get people spending money to try to keep up.  In one week of playing that game I ended up spending $250 and I imagine that the person attacking me spent triple that based on what I saw coming my way.  Don't cry for me, $250 is nothing.  I would never spend cash that I needed elsewhere.

The point of this is I almost spent more in 1 day after only a week of playing than I have spent on WoW for the entire time I have been playing.

f2p is not really free to play.  It is actually more expensive than a monthly fee if you get caught up in the moment like I did.  I could have easily spent 2000 instead of 200 if I had decided that it was worth defending my little town I created.

With a pay to play approach like WoW has you have a monthly fee.  The only things WoW sells are cosmetic really.  There is nothing you can buy to catch up from behind like the f2p games offer.

In WoW, if I work for something I can earn it.  It feels like an endless grind sometimes and can be disheartening sometimes when you work forever trying to get something and keep missing out on it.  Like me never winning a roll on a tier upgrade in all of wrath.  However, the person that did get it won it.  They did not buy it.

p2p and f2p games both operate on the same concept.  Get the person addicted to the game and they will keep coming back. It works, it has always worked and it will always work.  Just like the drug dealer that gives a druggie a free sample.  They know that if the person gets addicted they will keep coming back to buy more.

With WoW, you keep coming back with a monthly fee.  It is a set price and it does not change.  With f2p games it is the cash shop and you could easily spend hundreds if not thousands per day just to try to get a foot up on others.  That is what they want.  They want your addiction to get the best of you.

Addictions can destroy lives.  Drug use has ripped apart families as has alcohol abuse.  Just take a look at the news paper and you can see how addiction is destroying Charlie Sheen at this very moment.  Do not fall into the thought that, it is just a game. 

It might be just a game and WoW might very well be responsible for people losing jobs and breaking up marriages but with a small monthly fee it is not exactly going to cause someone to go into hock to pay to play the game.  The problems that stem from WoW addiction are not monetary most of the time.

Oddly enough free games will send people into hock.  Yes, free games have been known to send people into financial ruin because addiction and the need to complete at the top level has made some people spend money, way to much money, in their effort to try and be the best.

Given the option I think that p2p is the best way to save a bank account.  f2p games are just way too expensive to play.  Remember who we are, we are gamers, gamers are addicts.  WoW controls our addiction for us for the most part whereas f2p games let our addiction control us.

With that said I am still looking for another game.  One that can give me something to play at work or something that gives me an alternative to WoW when I have my play time at home.  WoW just does not have what it takes to keep me interested at the moment and I am looking around at other things.  The sad truth is that the only games that seem worth the effort so far are all f2p games and I am not looking to spend thousands to play catch up in them.

I wonder if the time will come where f2p games are targeted by government for what they do.  The people that run f2p games are no better then drug dealers and the people that pay in the cash shops to catch up are nothing more then drug addicts.  Reading around the net makes me worry about the people that play them that have no impulse control.  I worry for them.

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