My phone woke me up on Friday. It takes a lot for my phone to wake my up since I have it on vibrate. Irritated, I rolled over and grabbed the thing, briefly considered hurling it against a wall, and noticed I have a gazillion missed phone calls, texts, IM's and Tweets. I kinda stared at it and wondered if the interwebz had imploded overnight or something. I mean why else would everyone be in such a state of emergency?
One scroll through my IM's explained.
My immediate reaction was a sense of deja vu. This simply couldn't be happening again. I mean, seriously?
I spent the morning quietly smoldering. I had to turn everything off and just let the thought percolate in my little grey cells.
What will follow below is an off the cuff almost stream of consciousness opinion piece on F2P in Middle-Earth. I have thoughts. Many of them are too slanted to share, but I have done my best to cull out the bad ones and try and make sense of what has essentially ruined my own personal gaming experience.
The announcement DDO was going Free to Play brought me to my gaming knees. I spent the first few months tolerating it. The next few deciding if DDO was still a game I could enjoy. By December 2009, I had quit playing my main characters. I just didn't turn on the game except for Static group night.
By March of 2010, DDOcast had set up a static group type guild on Orien. With some trepidation, I joined the guild and used the DDO store for the first time. It was a terrible experience and unfortunately cemented the ire I had been living with for some time.
Free to play changed things. I got a giggle when I read in the press release that things would essentially not change for VIP members of LOTRO. I am not sure what crack Turbine is smoking, but once they cut through the haze of smoke, they have to admit, the model changed things significantly.
The caliber of players changed. I am keenly aware of it on Orien. While I admit I have met several players who have benefited from the free to play model, most have gone VIP. Being Free to play is simply a lot of work. And yeah, as I predicted there is the class problem. Most players just don't want to play with free to play people. It a stigma that's grown like a cancer in the community.
The store has continued to grow in its role as the big fat easy button.
Things that drive me nuts in DDO's F2p?
Share the quest...I haven't bought that pack. Can someone get me a pass?...I didn't know this was a pay to play sorry...Oh we need a rez? I'll just buy a cake from the store!...Oh I ran out of mana, let me buy some pots from the store...I bought 32 point build but I don't understand what its for...I thought if I bought the pack I was flagged for the raid...Man this game is so easy to level in. I've made it to 14 in 10 hours with xp pots, but the game has no story...I'm 12 my mom says I have to clean my room now...I need my moms credit card to get more points from the store...
I could probably go on forever.
I had someone tell me they were under the impression I hated free to play players. I don't think I do. I think I hate the way some Free to Play players treat DDO like a " you can win if you throw enough money at it" kinda game. I don't like that the knowledge level of the players has decreased significantly. Not to mention Turbine has been on a "how can we make this easy" kick with DDO! It's like they are playing to the lowest common denominator of Free to play players who can't read.
And yeah, it ruined DDO for me personally.
LOTRO will be different. For one, I don't think the any one item in the store can be game breaking the way rez cakes, rest shrines, xp pots and mana pots have been for DDO. The game has settings inside of it already that will stop most of that. I foresee the store being able to sell a bunch of cosmetic items, something I would love to see in DDO.
Biggest issue I see coming is that LOTRO is not an instanced game. While a select set of quests are instanced, it is generally a wide open world. I can't wait for the servers to open up so a bunch of idiots can run rampant being loot whoring, kill stealing, camping morons.
Since the quests follow story lines, as the new population levels, they are going to be following each other around in waves trying to out kill steal another player to complete quests.
It's a disaster in the making.
I am hoping Turbine will not be selling crafting items in the store. So far, the LOTRO economy is pretty healthy. Amassing any gold of significant quantities takes a bit of work. Most of that work comes from crafting.
LOTRO offered life time subscriptions until recently (which should have been a signal more people picked up on). I feel horrible for those who spent good money on a lifetime subscription to a game that will now attract the dredges of the gaming community at large.
Knowledge level is not going to be a super big deal. LOTRO has cookie cutter builds a 5 year old could navigate. It is however a big world. I foresee a bunch of those ugly "signs" like they put in DDO helping players who can't figure it out. *rolls her eyes*
Most of us play LOTRO solo, we aren't gonna have to group with knuckle heads who can't find their ass from a hole in the ground. I think though we will see the same type of cancer in LOTRO suffered currently in DDO. Free to play players will play amongst themselves. There are fellowship quests, but the "looking for group" mechanic in LOTRO sucks monkey balls. I think we will stick within our guilds for fellowships.
Things are gonna change. The first six months of F2p in DDO were horrific. I am girding my loins for the influx in Lotro this fall.
In general, I think we are going to see this model popping up more and more. I live in fear of having to quit PC gaming entirely in favor of my console. Turbine has been very open with how much money they are making from the model, and I expect a few more games here in the future to begin emulating what's already been highly successful overseas in the Asian market.
Used to be, you picked an MMO, paid your money and spent a few years in your fantasy world of choice. You were spending your money, and with it, came a sense of commitment to a game world. With the advent of Free to play in the mainstream, younger players have learned to jump games when they like with no guilt and little thought.
I swear we are raising a generation of people with the attention spans of gnats.
It's almost enough to make me want to play WOW. Almost...