Free-to-Play Games Are All Junk

While I’m on the video kick, check out the following video (not by me!)

This is for Perfect World International, a Chinese title that I am… not very interested in. But it’s pretty popular even here in the west. And I’ve got to admire the level of work that they’re evidently putting in to their expansion. Taking the numbers presented in the video at face value, it seems like they’re adding a lot of assets, and not just for this one expansion, either.

  • 12 new music tracks
  • 700 new models
  • 1000 new audio pieces (which I take as “sound effects”.)
  • 100 new motion-captured animations

Done with a staff of 40 developers. Now, I’m commenting here with an imperfect knowledge of the game and what all goes into an expansion for it, but just off the cuff, compare it to most (i. e. non-WoW) western expansions. Will, say, Destiny of Velious add as many aesthetic assets to EQ2 as this will to Perfect World? Will Rise of Isengard, to LotRO? If the development teams are of comparable size (as I suspect they are,) shouldn’t it?

One might (rightly) say that all this is art and music and other fluff, and there’s no mention of content. Which would be a good point, but it’s also worthwhile to add to game infrastructure, which can then be drawn upon when developing future content.

I have about a dozen well-worn reasons for not liking Asian MMOs, some of them even rational. I am considered, in some quarters, to be anti-Asian game. But one thing is underlined by the video, that the idea that all free-to-play games are under-developed clunkers is absolute nonsense. Combined with the example of LotRO in the west, we can see that whether a game was originally designed to be free-to-play or not is independent of whether or not it’s well-designed.

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2 responses to “Free-to-Play Games Are All Junk

  1. That was a really cool video. Personally I have never gotten the nearly irrational hatred of FtP MMOs in some circles. Yes many of them bite, and it is really only in the last few years that production values have cought up to those of sub based MMOs. However, I’ve found by and large that whether a game is fun to me or not is independent of their payment model. I’ve had more fun in some low budget cash shop games than I have in some of the big budget sub based games I’ve tried. There is also a lot more innovation in the FtP space because the barrier to entry is so low, both for players and developers. In fact, it’s only when you get into well and truly FtP space (i.e., no sub no cash shop) that you start to see some of the really experimental stuff like Endless Forest and URU (though the latter was briefly sub based before tanking).

  2. While I’m not a fan of “Perfect World”, I do like the new one they have coming which is Forsaken World. Heroes of the Three Kingdoms is also pretty fun. Perfect World had an Allods-esque cash shop blow up awhile back and they haven’t fixed the problems yet. However, their other titles don’t reflect that issue and I hope they stay that way.

    Some free to play games are absolutely gorgeous and the game play is very nicely developed as well. I think that free to play games are beginning to muscle their way into the market here in North America. Turbine has really set the pace for some of the similar games that are coming in. I think the largest problem with f2p is really how much they nickel and dime players.