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View Full Version : Free to Play Models - Impressions Regarding Stoic's Approach



Slimsy Platypus
02-27-2013, 05:57 PM
I've seen a ton of backlash for Factions in the Steam discussion area and in comments on nearly every site with mention of the game regarding the free-to-play model. I'm curious as to what your guys thoughts are.

What do you think of the monetary model used in factions?
Do you think it differs from the models that have made gamers come to hate anything with the F2P title?
How does your initial experience compare to bad experiences you've had with other free-to-play models?

I personally don't have any issue with the model used in factions. The day the Marketpalce was released I actually was very happy with it and commended the approach to "keep the money away from the combat". I'm certainly biased because I purchased a starter pack from the Marketplace on day 1, so I am very curious to hear other's thoughts.

As a side note, there is a reference to the Factions model going around that it is "pay-to-lose" (contrary to pay-to-win) due to the fact that promoting all your units with purchased renown will give you greater chance to be matched via the matchmaking system against players that have spent heaps of time playing (if anyone has a link to a possible originator as I'd love to see it; I've seen it now in a couple different places and have found its delivery hilarious in each case :) ).

Kord
02-27-2013, 07:23 PM
I'm really skeptical of F2P games and micro-transactions in general. So many games lately have really lost me simply because of their massive grind or purchase systems (Planetside 2 most recently), and for the most part I think progression in MP makes for a uneven match. I've been critical of TBS' approach prior to launch a few times on here.

That said, after having played a decent amount after its release, I'm very happy with it. Very few of my games have been uneven (and the ones where I'm at a slight disadvantage have been really satisfying). Building up my team has been a lot of fun. I've haven't paid for anything yet, and I'm doing just fine, and I've seen quite a few varied teams with interesting builds. I definitely thought that renown requirements would keep experimentation to a minimum but I've been pleasantly surprised. To be honest, having a F2P model where I don't need to buy anything actually makes me want to buy something if only to support the devs, so I might get some colors or something later on.

However, there are still a couple things that need to be addressed. I think in friend matches, you need the ability to play any class, because some people just want to play with their buds, and a renown barrier there really restricts that. It would also allow people to test out advanced classes before they make that 50 renown purchase (which can be a lot of time or money for some folks). I see where Stoic would be hesitant with that though, because they want people to join everyone else in the competitive scene, and they want people to earn/buy renown, and those two things kind of counter those two goals.

Also, I'm hoping that once the game ages a bit, say a year or so from now, new players aren't totally left in the dust. Progression systems do tend to separate the player base by time played (particularly in a 1v1 type game), so a guy joining in much later might only be able to match up against someone with a much stronger team. This is way down the line, and only a rare problem right now when few people are on, but I still think it may be an issue.

I think I agree somewhat with the "pay-to-lose" thing, haha. Might be a bit harsh, but I have been paired up against a couple advanced teams with few or no kills that didn't quite understand everything yet and made some big mistakes. Not saying I don't make mistakes, more like, if I am pointing it out, then it was quite the mistake indeed.

But anyway, tl;dr: pleasantly surprised by how well the system has worked so far, and the people on steam screaming PAY2WIN must be playing something else.

RobertTheScott
02-27-2013, 09:40 PM
I'll echo Kord--and add that from a gamer perspective, I did find it disappointing that after encouraging my friend to play, we were only able to use level 0 units (and a thrasher) in our friend mode. He essentially copied my strategies, which I then realized are relatively simple at level 0, and we had some boring (if close) clashes. Then I went back to playing against random people, where I seemed to do much better at dominating the battlefield.

But, that said, I can see how an opened-up friend mode would make the main game a sideshow, and lower the overall game experience.

As per F2P, I have to say that if I hadn't kickstarted, I would have been hesitant to play because I'm still angry at certain F2P games of the past (Dragon Age: Legends, I'm looking at you!), and wouldn't want to be sucked into a P2W game. So I think that until more games are released like Banner Saga (i.e. games that actually use the F2P model in a way that isn't evil and exploitive), that bias is something we will have to deal with.

Finjinimo
02-27-2013, 09:48 PM
I really like the setup for Factions.

Putting money into the game gives me no advantage over another player -- that is important to me.

It let's cut down on the time invested to reach higher tier gameplay -- that is excellent too.

It is entirely optional, and if I want to play for free I am not disadvantaged for doing so.

The backlash is against the concept of f2p which usually equates to p2w. Since this is not the case with Factions, I am really happy with how it has turned out.

erom
02-27-2013, 10:13 PM
I think free to play has been done badly so many times now that a part of the gaming world is just totally burned out on it. They're never going to be happy with ANY F2P model, no matter how well designed. To some extent I feel bad for these people - they are missing out on quite a few good F2P games. But I can see where they are coming from.

I definitely think you can't worry too much about these people though. To some extent it's like a politician worrying about what his opponents base thinks of him - those people are never going to like you, no matter what you do, so don't worry about them.

I do think the paying into beta for a free game was a bizarre decision. I would be pretty upset if I had payed for a beta a week before release. I understand you want to generate buy-in somehow, but I think the way most games do it (Only letting in a small subset of those interested - essentially generating value with exclusivity instead of monetary cost) is a bit better.

As for the marketplace itself... it's great. Cosmetics are always totally okay by me, and the gameplay-affecting purchases can be gained within a reasonable timeframe by grinding.

If anything, I think Stoic needs to start brainstorming more ways to spend renown, because I think most players are going to be swimming in it come a month from now.

(I assume the new unit types as they become available is the intended long-term renown sink. Personally I would pay quite a bit of renown/$ to play with some of those striking dredge units.)

Kord
02-27-2013, 10:24 PM
I do think the paying into beta for a free game was a bizarre decision. I would be pretty upset if I had payed for a beta a week before release. I understand you want to generate buy-in somehow, but I think the way most games do it (Only letting in a small subset of those interested - essentially generating value with exclusivity instead of monetary cost) is a bit better.


I think the main reason for this was that, originally, the only way to get into the beta was to be a Kickstarter backer. A lot of people (including me) missed that, but still wanted to back the game, so they offered this option. Unfortunately, it does make it seem like a weird decision and one I can definitely see people passing. At the same time, you don't want to make your original backers feel ripped off by offering an open beta after you've advertised it as exclusive.

Jorgensager
02-28-2013, 05:00 PM
As for the pay to beta-decision I agree with ^ Kord.

The Marketplace is ironic in its pay to lose nature, since it is a Marketplace I could want to use to support the devs (exactly because it's not a pay to win game), but is contradictory in its nature (then again there are colours)... but yeah, I find it a bit weird that it's likely a disadvantage to pay into the game. As much as I dislike "free" games relying on players to pay for it (something I would never do myself, I might add), I can't help but feel sorry for those who do, just to lose game after game (totalling more than they would otherwise), so maybe considering some kind of balancing on that front would be required if this actually turns out to be a problem.

Slimsy Platypus
02-28-2013, 05:44 PM
I'm not sure if the "pay-to-lose" structure is actually all that much of a deterant. During the beta every player entered the game with fully developed units and jumped right in the middle of harshly matched games (brand new players could be matched against the best players in the game). Players still learned to play well and fell in love with it.

The model may not excel from the new-player-who's-going-to-spend-tons-of-cash's vantage point, but far outpaces many other toxic models (in my opinion). And I believe the appropriate steps are being made (by displaying how the matchmaking works and detailed confirmation screens on purchases) in making the game as transparent as possible for the new player.

In short, My opinion is that the pay-to-lose concept is just a funny way of looking at it. It's not actually describing a negative aspect of the system.

Jorgensager
02-28-2013, 05:53 PM
I'm not sure if the "pay-to-lose" structure is actually all that much of a deterant. During the beta every player entered the game with fully developed units and jumped right in the middle of harshly matched games (brand new players could be matched against the best players in the game). Players still learned to play well and fell in love with it.

Indeed... that's what happened to me, lol.



The model may not excel from the new-player-who's-going-to-spend-tons-of-cash's vantage point, but far outpaces many other toxic models (in my opinion). And I believe the appropriate steps are being made (by displaying how the matchmaking works and detailed confirmation screens on purchases) in making the game as transparent as possible for the new player.

In short, My opinion is that the pay-to-lose concept is just a funny way of looking at it. It's not actually describing a negative aspect of the system.

My point is that people who pay for renown will get more things to pick up on at once, rather than getting to know the basics and slowly adding complexity, so their learning curve will be steeper - thus take longer to ascend - than for someone like me who started playing with basics and getting wtfpwned for a few games before I picked up on the strategy and tactics.

So there is a downside for buying into the game in renown. Probably not significantly so, but it is there, which was my point. And I don't know if I didn't make myself clear, but I believe we hold the same view on horrible pay to win models, and that this is way better (I am by no means encouraging them to change it... I'm simply stating that it's reversed, which is, as you say, funny... but at the same time illogical and weird ^_^ ).

Slimsy Platypus
02-28-2013, 05:58 PM
Don't get me wrong Jorgensager, I absolutely agree with you that there a sort of dis-incentive for new users! I was just pointing out that I don't think it's backbreaking (in my typical long winded fashion :) )

Jorgensager
02-28-2013, 06:05 PM
Don't get me wrong Jorgensager, I absolutely agree with you that there a sort of dis-incentive for new users! I was just pointing out that I don't think it's backbreaking (in my typical long winded fashion :) )

Haha, don't worry ~ I'm fairly convinced we agree, but are stating the same argument from two different angles. ^_^

RobertTheScott
02-28-2013, 06:13 PM
There's a dis-incentive for people who think of this as P2W. There's an incentive for people who are good at understanding complex systems quickly, have a decent amount of money, and don't have as much free time as they'd like.

Which...sounds about right to me. P2L FTW.

eduran
03-01-2013, 04:22 AM
Imo Factions has one of the best F2P models out there. What people who brand Factions as P2W miss is the matchmaker. No matter how much money you spend, you'll still face off against a squad of equal rank.

Jade Dragon
03-18-2013, 09:45 PM
Really, how many pay-to-win games have been released recently? The big titles for free-to-play right now are Planetside 2, Hawken, and this. Team Fortress 2 is also still very popular. There are some iOS games that are pay-to-win, but... those are iOS games. Most of them suck with some good ones among the lot.