Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:29 pm Post subject: Free-to-Play does not equal suck
For a few years now there have been a variety of free-to-play mmo games. I tried FlyFF once, for about ten minutes, but have recently tried again and found, based on varying, but short, amounts of gameplay that the quality definitely varies. Here's what I've found. Has anyone else tried any of these out? And, if so, what are your thoughts?
Perfect World: International
I haven't spent much time in this one yet, but my initial reaction (after about ten minutes or so of playing) is that it is a perfectly fine game. You don't seem, at the beginning anyway, to be missing anything you need to buy from the cash shop. The art style is a little plain for my taste, but leans toward the fantastic side rather than realism.
The biggest issue I've found is that, if there is a story, I don't know what it is, or why I care enough to kill 10 foozles to advance it. One I'll play a little more to see how it plays out (and you can be a barbarian panda, that's kinda cool).
I've posted about this one before, but since then it has gone to a free-to-play model. The playstyle is more arcade-y than most MMORPG games - it is very much about getting you into the action quickly. The free-to-play model allows you to play certain archetypes, so the character progression is locked in. There's a decent selection of these available, though some are "premium" and require purchasing. The level of character appearance customization is unbelievable and is the best part of the game. Decent game, and better than having to get a roll of quarters and stand up.
Lord of the Rings Online
I'm glad the free-to-play transition worked out for Turbine because this is an interesting game, from a story perspective. I haven't gotten far in, but it so far has danced around the storyline of The Fellowship of the Ring. The graphics are, first, in a style I don't care for. They seem really bland and favor realism. Beyond that (or second) they seem kind of low-res. I'd put this one as a decent game for LotR fans, but maybe not an overall great game.
This is in closed beta, so I'm probably in violation of some NDA I didn't read by posting this
It has an interesting premise: several thousand years after a totally desctructive WWIV, there have emerged two societies of humans: the steampunk Noblians trying to rebult, and the hippy Floressians wanting to get rid of the destructive ways of the past.
Graphics are good and while questing it has a nice path system to lead you around. Beyond that, I hope this is a really early beta, because it seems to be a little lacking.
It may just be this phase of beta, but you can choose one side or the other, it appears that that is a permanent decision for the account, not for the character or even server.
The characters have a decent spread, and are fairly customizable, but you cannot change gender.
I'm giving this a wait-and-see. If it goes live in much the state it is now, it is probably not worth it.
This got five minutes, and may not get any more at all. While it is an interesting idea of progression (root class -> advanced class -> prestige class, more or less) the graphics were terrible and controls were very awkward. Might give it one more go, but this one looks like a "no" for me.
So far, this plays a lot like WoW. The controls are just about identical, it has the same style of interface (not that these are uncommons things). The graphical style is also very similar to WoW, fantastical, but just a little cartoony. Very vibrant. Play is fairly standard stuff at the beginning: go here, kill these, collect those, etc. I guess the big key to this game, tied into the story, is the higher-levels: you get to build your own AEther ship and fly around in space to explore new Allods (land fragments floating following the desctuction of the planet... very Burning Crusade kind of story, now that I think about it).
Anyway, seems pretty solid. The races and classes all seem pretty distinct. Playstyle and graphics are good. I like this one.
Technically, this is in open beta for a week or so but there won't be any character removal, so it basically is a live game. Graphics are sharp in this game. It has a very vibrant, fantastic appearance. The one caveat I'd give is that it could be considered a little fan-servicey...
Anyway, the play is pretty solid but largely standard fare. There is a ton and a half to do so far (having made it to mid20's) with the main quest, a bunch of side-quests, daily-quests, a variety of instances...
It has a great feature with auto-routing to characters or location, saving you the trouble of having to hold down "w" for ten minutes when you could AFK and play Plants vs. Zombies. It does have a couple of quirks: you can't hold down both mouse-buttons to run and there is no keyboard-turning at all. I know a lot of people are against keyboard turning, but being able to do it is very helful sometimes.
Anywaym this is probably the most enoyable one I've played of the free-to-play bunch. So far there are some nice bonuses in the cash shop, but nothing important (like character classes. That's right, LotRO, I'm shaking my fist at you!). I'll be seeing how this one goes, but I like it a lot so far. _________________ [Image blocked due to inappropriate content]
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