Have been playing a little Battlefield Play4Free as a poor man's substitute for Battlefield 3, just to see what Battlefield series is all about, and to learn the PC controls.
One thing that quickly becomes apparent is that if you wish to explore the full potential of P4free, it is anything but free.
When you register, you create 1 soldier, who gets a basic weapon loadout. If you want anything more, you have to buy it either for a limited period with combat currency that you earn (slowly in my case) in the game, or for a longer period or permanently with battlefunds, which you buy (with real money). Even creating a new soldier/class costs 300 battlepoints, or around £1.92 UK or $3 US!
Needless to say; I'll be taking my money elsewhere. BFBC2 pretty cheap in the UK!
As for the game itself, quite like the scope of it, but the graphics are a bit spartan, to say the least. And I don't like the idea of playing against people who have just bought their way to better weapons, faster XP, pretty much anything lol.
Will persevere with the basic loadout just to learn the keyboard controls. Then I'll ditch it and get BFBC2.
I was looking thru the list of weapons that you can buy, and, needless to say, all the more powerful are only available by paying real money. Something like $8.50 US to permanently use the top smg, for fcuk's sake.
League of legends, Heroes of Newerth, World of Tanks, Arma 2 Free, Gunbound and Counterstrike Online all represent the brave new world of micro-transaction games and are tremendously popular since they have no barrier to entry and create the illusion of a full featured game when in fact you're buying into the skeleton of a game and buying the core features individually.
While you can play them using their in game currency its hugely time consuming and only exists to remind you that paid advancement exists if you want to play competatively. In the case of BFree and ArmaFree, there is lower graphical fidelity too. Many of the flagship mmo games of yesterday are even going this route to stay competitive.
I'd love to hear some impressions of Arma 2 from anyone on these boards as well. Does Den dig it?
I'm all about ArmA II, however just ArmA II alone doesn't cut it. If you ain't got Combined Operations, then you're playing with an incomplete product. ArmA II:CO is worth the fifteen or thirty bucks or whatever it's going for ( I got it off Steam when it was on sale).
ArmA II Free is basically an extended multiplayer demo. (also, it doesn't have any microtransactions, you just get ArmA II).
The problem DICE, or perhaps all of EA (and other developers) seems to have is that they're still treating micro-transactions, "cash shops" and even the "Ranking Up" processes as though it were the early 2000s.
Back in the day of blooming Korean MMOs, large scale free to play games in their infancy, games making a profit by means other than retail copies and subscription fees. Back then, cash shops were "Pay 2 Win". You wanted to beat the competition or not go at a snail's pace, you bought stuff.
Anything worth getting was worth money and likely impossible to get just by playing.
Since that point in time, the "free to play" market have grown wiser and have come to realize one important thing - "Pay 2 Win" is not nearly as lucrative as "Pay 4 Clothes". When money is a requirement to be "good" at a game, a huge amount of the potential player population vanishes.
They also realized that few people will pay to win but a LOT of people will pay for a silly hat or fancy clothes for their initially generic character. The amount of money a handful of people spend on visual fluff rivals that of an entire player base paying a fee of sorts. So they took out all of the $Winning and put in the $Cosmetics.
You can currently see this in effect most visibly by the popular adopter of this revenue type, Team Fortress 2. A less visible, but equally telling of the Cosmetic Cash Shop's effectiveness, Vindictus. Apparently the most purchased items are underwear for the female characters. By a large margin.
Thirdly, they realized that if players see the opportunity for gaining things without buying, the greater likelihood that they will eventually buy something anyway. Cash Shop shooters like AVA, S4 League, Combat Arms and CHANGING MAGS give you access to guns for a short time with a measured and trickled-in Game Points earned by playing.
The amount of points spent on a weapon and the amount of points earned are often just enough for one to make just enough points again to rent the weapon again. This method appeals to longtime players and "potential buyers". Want to branch out? Buy the gun you like so much permanently instead of spending all your Game Points on it, so you can use them on other things. Some times, they'll even give you some of the points you would otherwise gain through purchasing.
This is in contrast to the way it has been handled in BF games. Limited purchases to certain items. Weapons and gear that are unmistakably better than the free stuff. Gains that do not meet the losses. Instead of leading the player along, making the prospect of buying over endless renting appealing, they hold out on the free points.
Who pays, wins.
Anyway, I had intended to chart P4F once it stopped being a beta and went open... but then I played it.
You know, I am actually beginning to warm to this game. Although the default free weapons are pretty lame, it is possible to get along just fine by renting better weapons on a daily basis with the in game credits. The basic version of the MP7 is a decent smg and only costs 500 credits for a day; not too hard to earn in a couple of hours play.
And all the good engineer stuff is available free as you rank up (more rpgs, repair tool upgrades, heli training, anti tank mines ;D, etc etc).
I'll be playing for a while yet. Until I can justify buying a pc capable of running bf3, that is.