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Hey to the few people who may be tracking my blogs. Its been a long while since my last blog because I dont often have much to blog about but I recently came across something that I feel the need to voice my opinion on. The topic? Free to play MMO's.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last year or so then you've heard of this and have probably read a ton of articles about it already so nothing I'm going to say is anything new but I've been wondering recently as someone whos about to renew his WOW subscription and who is interested in Lord of the rings online, is free to play actually a good thing or is the more traditional subscription based MMO the better way to go?
There seems to be a lot of positive points to both and some negatives to both as well. What are they? And how do they stack up?
It seems to me that on the face of it free to play has the biggest advantage of the two systems and its in the name. FREE to play. It hurts my brain to think how many people must have looked at world of warcraft, interested to give it ago, then thought better of it because they've seen the cost of a 6 month subscription. Its so obvious that most people are going to prefer to play a game for free rather than pay a £46 subscription for 6 months of play that I'm wondering why I'm bothering to mention it in this blog!
But its not that simple is it? Of course not! Lets remember these companies arent suddenly registering as charities they are still for profit commercial organsiations and need to make money off their products and thats where the catch comes in. Because you see, as I'm sure most of you no doubt know, although the game is free to play free to play also includes a little thing called micro transactions.
Lets take the upcomming system that lord of the rings will soon be using. I have to admit its a very interesting system. Sticking to the free member tier, you make a free account and for no money at all you get access to the entire game and everything in it. All the default races, all the areas included in the original subscription game EVERYTHING. But you will have the option of buying (with real money) a set of "turbine points". These are the currency used in the games online store from where you buy all the games extra content. From what I understand there are weapons, armour, extra races, even extra areas with extra quests to undertake. According to many articles I've read you dont need to buy any of these extras to keep up as they are all balanced to avoid giving the paying people an extra edge over those who dont pay. What I'm worried about is how do we know this will last? Lets face it if people arent paying then to a profit company their concerns are seconday. The ones who matter are the paying customers and what worries me in the long run is that the items and armour and races you have to buy with real money may be required in order to keep up! You can earn tubine points through regular game play but even so if this horror scenario comes to pass those of us who dont pay might well be stuffed because of the time it takes to earn enough and it'll eventually be no different to a subscription system. They say it wont but how do we know?
And thats where a subscription system finds its main strong point. Although when I renew my WOW subscrption I'll be paying 46 pounds to get access for another 6 months, for that price I am garunteed access to everything everyone else has access to. Weapons, armour, races no one will have an advantage over anyone else who has put in more time to the game. Which is really reassuring because you know you wont end up spend 20 hours leveling up and gathering funds for better equipment and mounts only to find some noob whos been playing an hour can beat the hell out of you because he paid for some major equipment off some online store. But on the flip side, unless you buy an expansoin pack, you dont get anything new for the money you pay. In my case this will be my second payment for WOW but will I be getting any new equipment for my money? No. Will I be getting any new races? New areas to explore? New dungeons? NO. And thats the problem with subscription based MMO's. The way I see it I spent £45 on empire total war back in feb when it came out and got everything the game has to offer but I havent had to pay another £45 after 6 months to keep on using the same content so is it really worth spending what is effectively retail price of a normal game multiple times just to carry on using the same old stuff in a subscription MMO? And keep in mind to get any of the new stuff I just mentioned you have to spend more money getting the expansion packs.
Personally I'm torn. With free to play there is always the risk that the devs will take advantage of people and give paying players an unfair edge over the none paying players to force them to buy stuff to keep up (and lets face it people would pay). With a subscription MMO you arent at that kind of risk but you are effectively paying the retail price of a normal game everytime you renew your subscription but you arent getting anything new for your money.
So what do you think? Which system would you prefer? Do you think free to play will continue to be a massive success or is subscription based MMO ultimately the way things should stay? It'd be interesting to hear what people think.
Right my first blog ... EVER!!!!
So star trek online, a lot of people have been looking forward to it and seeing as I've started playing the beta I thought I should blog and share my impressions
So first things first for those of you who are a bit impatient the question burning away in your mind is most likely is it actually good? The answer ... Erm so far, no I wouldnt say so. To be perfectly honest I havent spent a massive amount of time in the beta but what I've experienced of it so far is already enough to make me wonder if keeping my pre-order is worth it.
As many will no doubt of figured from the various trailers the game is very action orientated infact after a few hours I would say a little too action orientated. There doesnt seem to be anything in the way of diplomacy at all so far. I know that in this game the alpha quadrant is embroiled in a series of wars but even in deep space 9 during the dominion war there was room for diplomacy so its dissapointing that so far there doesnt seem to be any and frankly sorting EVERYTHING out with a phaser and a couple of photons doesnt fit into the star trek world.
Though that aside hows the combat? Frankly its crap. Lets start with ship to ship combat. Cryptic have been going on for a while now about how its a deep, tactically engaging process where you have to think about strategy but its not its really not. Basically you target a ship, fire your phasers at them till their shields go down then lob some photon torpedoes at the hull till it explodes ... maybe turn now and then to face a stronger shield at the enemy to prevent your own hull being exposed. Job done. Theres no targeting of individual sub systems thus no tactical dismemberment of an enemy vessel to make it easier to destroy or allow weaker ships to finish it off whilst you go off and start dealing with the next one its just point, shoot, BOOM. You cant even choose which phasers to fire, you only have the choice of front or rear facing weopons and thats it, you can manauver so that you after and front weopons can concentrate on the target but thats still not enough to add any depth. And as if thats not bad enough you notice its in 3d? Well even that doesnt have any kind of tactical use. You can attack from the top or bottom of a ship instead of forward, aft or sides but because there are only the forward, side and aft shields it only registers as a hit in one of those four quadrants and the same goes for hull damage. Basically there is no point making any effort to attack from any exotic angles what so ever and because of that the game misses a massive chance to infuse some real tactical depth into the combat.
Whilst I'm at it this feels the best time to make a quick note about the interior of ones star ship. If youve ever watched the series or the movies then you'll be ripping your hair out wondering if the designer has ever actually watched an episode because they look nothing like the inside of the ships you'll have seen in the series. Like for example the corridors are too big, the doors are too big EVERYTHING is to BIG. Its like the ships were designed to accomodate species 6 times the size of a human. And not to mention the warp core room of the khitomer in the first mission you get which is now apparantly a soveriegn class ship!Instead of the layout you see in nemesis or anything else with this class in you have basically a door that opens onto a large slope leading down to bare floor with a couple of consoles in it ... thats it. I know the devs have to take gameplay into consideration but I see no reason to have messed with the interrior design at all and its bound to irritate a lot of star trek fans.
How about ground combat? Well thats no better, infact I'd go as far as saying its possibly worse. I'm a bit strapped for time so I'll make it simple, you target an enemy, select your weopon, fire, kill enemy, move onto next one and repeat. You have access to various boosts and aids depending on your class but in the end its still not fun or tactically engaging in anyway just like the space combat. Its essentially world of warcraft but not fun or engaging at all.
I'd love to be more detailed but I dont have the time so with that I have one piece of advice, if you want a decent well designed mmorpg save your money and get world of warcraft.
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Apr 14, 2013 11:31 pm GMTpenpusher posted in the topic GTX 650 compared to GTX560 on the Computer Hardware Discussion board