Recently I have downloaded World of Warships which is the latest game released by wargaming.net, I have played around 40 battles so far, and unlocked up a few tier 2 ships and one tier 3 ship. The objective of the game is to control your ship around a vast map and claim victory by eliminating the enemy, reaching a defined number of points or capturing the base. I decided to download this game as one of its main features is that it is free to play (F2P). As I have been playing the game, it got me thinking about F2P games in general. More precisely, how free are they to actually play?
World of Warships has surprisingly been a positive experience, after trying and disliking World of Tanks and Warplanes. The game itself doesn’t require any form of payment to reach the end game tiers, however if real money is paid into the game then it will drastically increase the rate as to which you will receive end game ships. Upgrading to a premium account will increase all XP and credits earned by 50%, with a 360 day subscription costing £58.58 averaging out less than £5 a month. Personally I am happy enough with the free account as I log on play a match or so with each ship that I have currently unlocked to get the daily first win bonus, although at times I can feel the draw towards paying for the XP boost to get to the next tier or type of ship quicker. Further to purchasing the XP boost you can also purchase premium ships ranging in value from £7-£28 depending on the tier of ship purchased. These ships will be fully upgraded and any XP and credits earned will go towards funding other ships. This same methodology runs across the entire range of Wargaming.net games meaning that if you want to pay you can, but you are certainly not made to pay and you don’t lose out if you do not pay.
Previously I have also played one of the worst offenders at being advertised as a F2P game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. When I was playing this game as a F2P account I found the game was extremely restricting, even down to being unable to equip “purple” items unless you spend real money on the in-game store or take out a monthly subscription for the game. However once a purchase of $4.99 on the in-game store is made then this will increase the account to a preferred status, meaning that some of the restrictions are removed or in most cases relaxed a little. To be honest I only played this game until I obtained my first purple item, realised I couldn’t equip it without paying real money for it and then uninstalled it from my computer. To me alongside the other restrictions they put in place for free accounts seemed like I was being forced into either paying for a subscription or parting with my money to use as currency within their in-game shop.
I understand that the companies who make F2P games have to make money, as at the end of the day they are a company with employees and shareholders. If they are unable to pay their employees, cover the costs of running their games or make a profit for their shareholders then the game in question ceases to exist. There have been many games that have gone this way, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning springs to mind as one of the ones that I was most attached to. But as we can see there are different ways of running a F2P game, from the game that boosts progression for those who subscribe to those who limit the game so that it is merely pay to win. Have you any stories or experiences that you would like to share?