Calling ALL Developers - Your games are Sub-par
I have been playing MMOrpgs for 17 years now. I have invested in many time, effort, money, endless grind, top PVP or PVE player, hardcore or casual, Subscription/F2P/Freemium/B2P and you name it. I am a complete veteran of this genre.
This year and the previous one has been the worst year for this genre. Definitely the worse because instead of having MMOs trying to compete with the big players on the market such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy: A realm reborn, WildStar, Destiny, Blade & Soul, Phantasy Star Online 2 and Star Citizen and Kingdom Under Fire II we have games trying to compete with who is the more niche and how fast they can gain revenue by exploiting that niche market.
Let us have a look - Age of Wushu, Archlord 2, C9, Dragon Nest , Guild Wars 2, Firefall, Lord of the Rings, NeverWinter, Rift, Star Wars: The old republic, Swordsman Online, Tera Rising, The Secret World, Warframe and the list never drops. In fact, there are tons of F2P MMOrpgs and the problem is not that F2P exists as a business model, an alternative one to a subscription but the culture itself.
Cheap or Free does not guarantee quality. Anything good needs cash or some type of a strong long run investment. Period.
We all knew what would happen when Free 2 Play came around and mostly MMOers from the new age, were so passionate about the idea of FREE as if it meant FREEDOM and the whole mainstream press was embracing something in the same lines. What is ironical though is that the same press and new MMoers alike are steadily reaching the same conclusion - they are all reaching the same wall that old MMOers reached when the MMO market was stuck in the World of Warcraft era.
"We are bored. We need more. We want more".
And the consequences?
Reverse engineering - Instead of progressing forward to a more complete and unified MMOrpg genre it has dissected that genre into snacks and bites with incomplete PVE & PVP and hidden content through paywalls and paypals. Every single Free 2 Play MMOrpg right now is incomplete and lacks usually basic tools such as a good group finder. Progression has been backwards and that is exactly why we have got so many with disgusting graphics, generic character customization, unpolished combat and animations and bad level designs and environments. In all fronts, from story to gameplay, the F2P market will make sure that there is always going to be a core expectation missing in order to build up hype for the next generation of gamers.
Short life span - In every crisis or stale period, there are opportunities that whoever is the fastest and the smarter hits gold. Some MMOrpgs are good at doing that - filling up a hole through that particular period of stagnation; by taking advantage of the thirst of a niche MMO crowd such as the Lineage crowd with ArcheAge. Companies right now will not allow for complete MMOs to appear because there is no need to because the market is not at a good state nor competitive and there are way too many gaps.
Pipe dream – Option is good but it is not always good; when the minority dominates the majority that is unhealthy by default. Once one good subscription MMOrpg fulfils the gap in the market, the rest will get wiped, studios will close downs, jobs will be lost and so on and so forth. And there are two huge gaps - making a more refined MMOrpg of the past and making a more refined MMOrpg of that specific theme. If right now someone released the closest thing to a Skyrim multiplayer, ESO Online would go bankrupt.
Hideous purpose – F2P is all about money. Not just about money or some money. And the evidence comes from the very nature of the model ; you are just a free to play player from them; someone that plays their game for free; they do not have to listen to you, take your constructive criticism seriously; you have no authority or influence whatsoever; you are not entitled to anything. Pay2Win elements are often and if you dare to raise a voice you should not because you are not entitled to since you don’t pay money to the game. Hence you should be thankful to the “whales” to spend allot of money so you can play still play that game and still play it for free. And most importantly, regardless of how much money they make, they will never rival with the quality of a sub-based MMOrpg and it is pretty self-explanatory on why that is happening.
No expectations – That is right. Since you do not pay for anything you cannot expect anything. Standards can be as low as possible, the game can be as average as possible, customer service can be as non-existent as possible, floods of bots, goldsellers, spammers and hackers can be as big as possible, technical mess with high lag and spikes can be as often as possible and servers can be as ghost towns as possible. As long as the “whales” spend more money, have a reason to, everything else is irrelevant.
Forceful Adaptation – When you have no options because there is a lack of competition, you are forced to adapt. If you think Star Wars is the worst Star Wars, you will still play it because there is no other Star Wars to play. That creates a culture of taking breaks and painfully playing an MMO for the sake of being an MMO or due to boredom.
This has been one of the most ludicrous (for the business), subpar (for the genre) and ridiculous state of gaming where manipulative products of P2W dominate. This is like Steam flooded with indie games to justify that PC gaming is doing good and it still has the most exclusive titles when in reality most of them are byproducts of easy, cheap and intentionally lazy development. And in that respect, MMOs have become moneycash grabbing scheme like a bad Kickstarter project.
They will never attract millions of players because they don't deserve to attract millions of players. They are not that good and they do not want to be that good either. The intention of F2P MMOrpgs is not to make a great and complete MMOrpg experience but to cater to a niche and identify the whales which in turns become a money-grabbing marathon. That is why there is no loyalty from the playerbase. That is why they are not sub-based because they can never have many subs. There not again not that good and they can flood the market just like that.
We need competition because competition drives quality.
That is my argument and right now quality is secondary. Without competition, there are no standards, everything goes, there are no expectations. The culture behind F2P is a backward step.