Neverwinter is a game and the developers fully embrace that fact. Game creators often seem to take the ‘fun’ factor of videogames for granted – after all that is the whole purpose of playing games, right? However with their newest MMO, developer Cryptic have decided to stop trying to recreate a universe and instead focus on the fun parts of the whole MMO experience.
Come June 12th Rift will be going free to play. Those who are in touch with the industry have been predicting this for quite some time. Nowadays an MMO going F2P is, quite frankly, as unexpected as an ice cube melting in the hot sun. In actual fact I was more surprised at how long it took Trion to get here. The publisher/developer is claiming that this move was instigated by the players themselves who have been clamoring for Trion to change Rift’s payment model. That may very well be part of the story – the other part being that the game was not making enough money with a subscription model.
Since the launch of Diablo III everyone and his uncle voiced a strong opinion on the always-on debacle which was recently highlighted again by the launch of SimCity (5). The game experienced the same criticism as D3 had before it. Namely that the gameplay could easily accommodate an offline mode and also the fact that servers were less than stable in the weeks following launch, making the game inaccessible to those who bought a legitimate copy.
Before taking a long blogging hiatus I was in quite an exciting spot. Riders of Rohan had just been released and Storm Legion was about to hit stores. Both games formed a large part of my MMO diet at the time and I was equally excited for both releases. Now that the dust has settled I feel confident enough putting my thoughts on each expansion on electronic paper. Before I proceed its important to note that I have not reached max level in either game so I am not going to comment much on end game (which is a facet of MMO games which I am not particularly enamored with). These thoughts and opinions reflect what I enjoy in an MMO ie. Story, exploration and the leveling process.
Disney bought Star Wars. Lucas gave virtually all of the profit to charity.
Now with that out of the way let’s get to the topic at hand.
Bioware recently gave details about the free to play model for Star Wars: The Old Republic and the internet was up in arms. The ones who still care anyways. With this model those who choose not to pay a monthly subscription will have limited access to Warzones and Flashpoints. Operations will require a purchase to be accessible. Mounts will be available to them later in the game. They’ll have less slots for crew skills and limited inventory space. They will have only 5 field revives and will need to purchase more after that. Most purple items will be off limits. Moreover they will level at a slower pace and will not benefit from rested xp. Free players will also be limited to three races and a finite amount of character slots.
A lot of naysayers are saying that Bioware are shooting themselves in the foot with this model. Syp and Dodge got their panties in a bunch on Episode 42 of Too Long, Didn’t Listen and they just could not understand the logic behind these restrictions. So, am I alone who gets (and agrees with) Bioware’s logic here?
Xfire is a gamer centric program (I refuse to use the word app) used primarily for instant messaging. It has a variety of other uses my favorite being its ability to track which games you are playing and how many hours you have spent playing said game. I have a strange fascination with the amount of hours I have actually spent on each game. It feels very much like a metagame to me where I see which game manages to grab my attention for longest any given week. It has also opened my eyes to the fact that my perceived game time and my actual game time are usually at odds with each other.
I have been using Xfire for a few years now and here is what my gaming history looks like:
Disclaimer: After re-reading this post I realized it sounded like some commercial for Rift. It’s not.
After a lot of deliberation I have decided to go for it. I accepted Trion’s offer to subscribe for a year of Rift. Truth be told they made it really hard to resist. First and foremost by paying a full year in advance I got to save money – 48€ less than what I would have paid if I decided to subscribe for the whole year but pay month by month. Secondly I get the Storm Legion expansion for free when it is released in November. That’s another 25€ saved. last but not least I got the Landslide mount. As far as mounts go the Landslide is as cool as it gets. Freud would have something to say about the joy I get from having such a lumbering beast huffing and puffing between my legs. There are other minor rewards too (a special cape, an exclusive title, early access to some instance and immediate veteran rewards). Nothing to write home about really but getting extra goodies is always a good thing.