In the world of online gaming, numerous games are always fighting over how to make their game free while still managing to maintain profits. The debate of Free to Play vs. Pay to Play has been a long drawn out one, with numerous discussions about the pros and cons that exist.
When a company decides to release a game, there usually is a wildfire that emerges among the community debating over what would be better for the player base. In reality, game developers don’t want to tear up their players and are constantly trying to incorporate a good combination of the two to serve their customers better.
In the world of MMORPG’S Free to Play is when you can download a game and start playing it for free. This can be excellent for people who are used to hopping between games. It gives users the opportunity to give each game a fair shot without having the remorse of buying a game and not liking it. However, this leads to some players just playing a free game for a week and then switching to another one causing a constant erratic player chart.
Pay to Play, on the other hand, is exactly what the name suggest: You pay a small amount before you can download the game or are given access to a game’s starting levels and then you are required to pay them. Some games like World of Warcraft take the Pay to Play model to a whole new level by incorporating a monthly subscription fee into the game instead of a large one-time payment. But why would someone choose to pay for a game when there are so many out there available for free?
To give you an example, I started playing Guild Wars 2 around two years ago when the game was free to play. The game, in fact, is still free to play but has a bunch of content features locked which can only be available after you purchase the Heart Of Thorns Expansion pack. However, this purchase can be made at any time, or not, depending on how much you enjoy the free world in the game, which can be equally as challenging and rewarding as the Pay to Play. Through this model, if a player doesn’t want to spend all their money on an expansion but still really wants it, Guild Wars doesn’t stop them from getting it. You can farm up the currency through the free content and pay for the expansion with that. The downside, though, is that it might take a little longer than paying with real life money for it.
However, this model can seriously backfire if the developers choose to lock away certain character boosts behind the wall of payments. Sometimes, a player might be excellent at a game but just be overpowered because he doesn’t have enough real life money to pay for the gear he wants. This Pay to Win atmosphere can be extremely discouraging and cause players to move away from the game and choose other alternatives.
League of Legends is currently one of the most famous and most played games in the entire world. The game was built around the model of Free to Play, and the only thing you have to pay for in a game like this is cosmetic upgrades or skins. These games give all its players an equal footing and make the game solely skill based so that your real life earnings aren’t a reflection of how good you can be at a game. However, with that comes along an entire community of people who aren’t serious at the game and can end up ruining a game experience for other people especially in large team dependent games.
Whether Free to Play or Pay to Play, there are always going to be options for everyone in the gaming industry. With the sheer amount of MMORPG’s out there, it’s just about finding the game that’s right for you