The title of this post is a question I’m mulling over at present, do you buy stuff with money in free to play games, and do you set any limits on what kind of items you’d buy? Each free to play MMO that I’ve tried has had a slightly different version of this concept. I’ve had a rather mixed bag of experiences so far:
I came back to DDO for a time as free to play having played as a subscriber way back in 2009. The free to play system didn’t seem particularly onerous (other than the silly ‘leveling sigil’ unlocks which they later removed). However once my group had made it past the first couple of zones I soon realised just how little content there was available without paying, which made the game a super-grindy experience. For whatever reason it didn’t encourage us to drop some cash unlocking content, rather we simply stopped playing.
I’ve mostly played this game as an occasional side game, something to play while my partner is raiding in WoW or if I’m home alone. Other than the original race and class restrictions I’ve not really seen much that would affect a free to play player, I do have the upgraded free account status (silver in SoE parlance) because it was a cheap upgrade with some nice benefits.
EQ2 is also the first free to play game where I’ve succumbed to some micro-transaction payments. The broker tokens (10 for 50 station cash) are a guilt-free purchase, I only put rarer items on the broker so I don’t get through tokens that quickly. I also bought my very first item unlock recently, I’d picked up a lovely looking legendary cloak from some random rare monster and finally succumbed to equipping it. I can’t see myself doing this that often but 35 station cash isn’t too bad either I suppose.
Guild Wars 2
My most recent dungeon experience left me annoyed over the impression that the dungeon content is designed to drive repair canister purchases. I haven’t been that tempted to buy anything from the GW2 in-game store although early on I did purchase some gems to unlock a larger shared storage.
So far my experience of free to play SWTOR has been a positive one, despite some of the restrictions seeming arbitrarily harsh. The simplest things, like the emote restrictions do actually seem so unnecessary. Still I have bought an account-wide 3rd profession unlock and on my knight I just bought the “Newcomer Bundle” to get the speeder skill and a basic speeder mount (60% discount at time of purchase!).
I’m more likely to spend on account unlocks than per character unlocks, and less likely again to go for the smaller stuff like consumables (XP potions or store-bought healing potions). Perhaps the thing I’d be most against buying is renting virtual stuff as highlighted by Tobold this week. That’s really beyond the pale as far as I’m concerned. It’s a big reason why I never really got into Runes of Magic years ago, there’s no way I’ll pay to ‘rent a horse’ for a month with real money.