Evolution of the F2P model (pay to win is coming)

Brief post:

Tobold commented earlier this week that he feels that the Facebook model for gaming is broken. Tami Baribeau gives a more detailed analysis of why she feels Facebook games are an unsustainable business strategy.

I think the latter post is the more intriguing because she identifies that Facebook games were never designed to be sustainable. This would probably be news to the majority of players, even the ones who try it for a day or two, get bored, and move on.

So what makes a more sustainable F2P model? Well, Bigpoint reckon that they’ve just sold 2000 in game items at 1000 euros each (that’s 2M euros from a single item) in one of their games. How do they do it? They let people pay to win, run a game that is intended to be sustainable, and make the high ticket item rare and powerful.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the future of F2P. It won’t be so much about knocking out cheap Facebook games quickly, it’ll be about figuring out what makes a massive online game stickable for players, and then monetizing the heck out of the high spenders by letting them pay to win. This may actually have some good side effects for MMO players if it inclines devs to be thinking more about issues like immersion, sustainability, etc. But it will come at a cost.

(I remain dubious that DarkOrbit has 65 million registered accounts, seems a lot for a fairly low profile game, but what do I know?)

Question of the Day: Alt accounts for the win?

Back when I was playing Dark Age of Camelot, it was pretty much de rigeur for anyone playing seriously to run two accounts. One for the main character/s and one for a buffbot. It was a ‘feature’ of that game that there was one buffing spec, and that buffs could be cast out of group and stayed up until the buffee got killed. Also, buffs were immensely powerful.

So you could log your accounts on, buff up your main, park the buffbot somewhere safe/ out of the way, and go play with your superpowered main character.

Surprisingly few people ever complained about this, and eventually as I said, most semi-serious players got another account and levelled up a buffbot. I remember when running big public master level raids, it was quite common for people to ask if they could bring their buffbot along and set it on follow (the master level raids gave characters new master level abilities if they completed them.)

You also occasionally hear about people ‘multiboxing’ in WoW, which means running multiple accounts simultaneously for fun and profit. I know people who have multiple WoW accounts for trading purposes, but I never really felt it was necessary.

I was thinking about this when reading a blog post this week about the Monocalypse which commented that serious EVE players had several alt accounts.

Have you ever run multiple accounts in a single game? Do you like the idea that it’s an option? Has it had good/ bad effects on games you play?

(This is, btw, the most accepted form of pay to win in subscription games, and has been around for a very long time indeed.)