The Dilution of the F2P Market

So Age of Conan has tossed its hat into the ring around the Free to Play paradigm.   And yes, I would like to play it for free, thank you very much.  But…

The Age of Free To Play

I am struck all at once by a peculiar sort of conundrum.  Eighteen months ago I was bouncing subs like nobody’s business.  I had two subs running concurrently and those often changed from month to month based on what I wanted to play.  So in general, my annual MMO subscription budget is $360 a year.  That seems like a lot, but since its pretty much my only form of entertainment (and since at least $160 of that each year comes from birthday/Christmas money), I guess its not too bad.   Still, it is a lot when my wife looks at the bills, and so that was my cap, and indeed, my limiting factor.

Now though, I enjoy what we all do – the ability to play a game for less than $15 a month.  Indeed, when I boot up the compy tonight, I could play Everquest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Lord of the Rings Online, or Champions Online…all for free.   And that doesn’t include other already F2P favorites of mine like World of Tank or The Reincarnation or Minecraft.  All of a sudden, my limiting factor has shifted.  Before it was money, and now, it is time.

You see, with two subs a month, and changing each month, I played only two games at a time, for at least a month in duration.   And this was okay, because MMO’s require some continuity.  Now though, I can play anything anytime.  And continuity is my problem, not theirs.

Long story short, all this lead me to a thought…

Does this mean that the more high profile MMO’s go F2P, the less successful they all will be?  Or more poignantly,  does this mean that those “lesser” games that enjoyed a new lease on life as F2P creations will now hit a back burner as other, formerly “greater” games turn F2P.  Granted, this designation may not apply to Conan – YMMV.  But the question remains.  I guess time will tell.  But my hope is that the many virtual worlds I have explored and come to love will have long lives ahead of them for years to come.  And if the pool gets to crowded, some of them may get pushed under to make room for the new guys.

Coming Soon to an F2P Market Near You!

Narrowing It Down

So when I was last in Hyperborea, I had a hard time deciding on a class.  I was enamored with the melee combo system, and to some extent I still am.  But I also like my ranged action.  The solution last time was to go with the Ranger.  Nice solo elements, but also useful in a group.

Ranger Crossing

This time around though, it wasn’t really doing it for me.  I had already tried the Dark Templar (too blah) and the Assassin (too squishy) the last time around.  My alt had been a Necromancer, which I had liked.  I had also had an inkling, looking at the skill list, that the Demonologist would be a familiar class to me (much like the pet classes I play in the EQ series).   Beyond that lay the Herald (originally the Lich class btw, I still think they made a mistake there), which looked fun but I had passed on in deference to my brother, who was playing one last time around.  So I decided to play through the Mage archetype and see what I could see.

Long story short, I like the Demonologist alot, and I found the Necro to be less engaging this time around.  Probably because its really squishy as well, since the pets draw no aggro, and it seems to be missing the commensurate DPS to make up for it.  But I miss the awesome fatality combos.  So I moved on to the Herald, and added the Conqueror and Barbarian into the mix as well.  The Herald suffers a bit because of its lack of weapon variety (hey, what can I say? I get bored easy) next to the other two.  And if I’m going to roll out melee combos, having the tanking ability to go with it is a nice touch for grouping.

Hence:  A twofer.  I’m playing a Cimmerian Conqueror and a Stygian Demonologist.  This gives me two different playstyles, both of which are enjoyable. Now that that’s out of the way…its time to find out if they’ve ironed out the wrinkles in the leveling ramp known as Tortage.

Just Who Is This Godslayer Person Anyway?

Further proof that unlimited trials are a good thing:  some time after soundly berating FunCom for holding my characters hostage and deleting them, I am now playing through Tortage to see if its improved any. 

I would play EVE – but we’re in about our 8th consecutive week of War Decs, and this week, we got two of them.  So…I’m not doing much their but finishing T2 shield tanking skills in anticipation of owning my first ever Caldari ship – the totally wicked looking new Scorpian.

I would play Everquest 2 – but I have nobody to play with.  I’m in three different guilds on two different servers.  In two of the guilds, there is never more than one or two others on, and while terribly nice to me, they don’t have much interest in grouping with me.  In the third I joined a new guild (got a shiny plat for that too!) thinking that I would be able to play with others my level.  I signed off around midnight, and when I got back in the saddle 21 hours later – I was still level 9 and everyone else was in their 20’s.   …

So, I’ll take out my frustrations via decapitation and disembowelment.  That is all, carry on.

When approached by three beautiful women with weaponry, confusion is a natural response.