Up For Debate - Is Free-To-Play A Good Or Bad Deal For Gamers

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 5:00 PM

Like it or not, free-to-play games are a big deal now. The most played games on the planet are F2P and the reason is exactly that - people don’t have to spend a thing. While it’s all too easy to consign anything F2P to the special filing cabinet of your brain labelled ‘Crap’, there’s no denying that some of the totally free games out there are incredible.

They might be swamped by legions of dross, but DOTA 2, League of Legends, Unreal Tournament, Team Fortress 2, and Planetside 2 are arguably all quality. The list goes on and on as well, and we haven’t touched on the F2P behemoth that is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Like it or lump, free-to-play is a roaring success and it’s here to stay, but is it a good or bad deal for gamers.

My instant reaction to the news of a game being free-to-play is trepidation. There’s too many examples of terrible F2P games out there for me not to be like this. It’s a hangover from the mobile market, which is flooded with plenty of awful F2P games. On PC and consoles, however, there are plenty of greats.

None of us are stupid though, and there’s a reason everyone’s making one. The games might be F2P, but they’re clearly often making more money than full-priced games. Gamers are tempted in by the non-existent price tag, before spending small bits of cash on hats and upgrades and boosters.

The most successful F2P titles play the long game. They don’t want your cash after a few minutes or hours. They might not even want your cash after weeks. They want you playing their games for years, and they know it’s almost an inevitability that a relationship like that will have gamers digging into their pockets. And why not? We’re getting years for enjoyment for no up-front cost, this seems like a fair deal.

There’s clearly a right and wrong way to do F2P. Ethically, anything pay-to-win is going to be met with backlash. You can see with MOBAs how multiplayer games so finely tuned would be thrown out of balance by paid attack boosts or enhanced speed. Cosmetics on the other hand are fair game - even full retail titles seem content to charge for cosmetic items now.

Where do you stand on free-to-play games? Is the term an instant turn-off for you? Or are you more willing to try new things when there’s no upfront cost attached? Pour your thoughts out in the comments below!

Are you a fan of F2P?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
9
Offline
21:54 Jul-26-2015

I play F2P steam game - Warface &#603

0
Rep
2
Offline
00:03 Jul-23-2015

Ive played dota since 2007 or so.. Havent spent money buying stuff nor the game. IVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME PLAYING THAT ****ING BEAUTIFUL VICIOUS GAME though :)


When you see what dota creators have accomplished, its wonderful. A free to play game, funny, hacker-free, no pay-to-win style game, an International Tourn. with awesome prize pool. Even LoL, HoN, etc. came from DotA. Its just perfect.

0
Rep
1,991
Offline
admin approved badge
12:28 Jul-23-2015

The game is great, but the community is slowly degrading... There is more "cykabliat" flying around than ever before.

-1
Rep
2
Offline
15:10 Jul-23-2015

Yeah, I could agree with you. Anyway, If you are a solo player maybe you are exposed to those things, but if you are playing with your friends against flamers, rats, etc. you just mute them or win the game. Ez.

1
Rep
1,991
Offline
admin approved badge
16:29 Jul-23-2015

I actually never play solo. EU West is still fun to play in. It's just that the nasty, toxic russians (not implying that all of them are such) tick all available servers to get matched up more quickly. So pretty often you get matched up with someone who doesn't even speak english, if you're playing in servers corresponding to areas near Russia.

0
Rep
8
Offline
03:12 Jul-22-2015

Speaking of F2P games. Does anyone here still play Planetside 2? After Daybreak took over in place of SOE, everything got worse. For example, new pricing changes don't affect paid players but do inconvenience free players.

0
Rep
26
Offline
19:47 Jul-21-2015

The thing is, those aren't F2P games anymore. Those are pay to win games.


TERA is a really good example of a properly structured F2P game.

2
Rep
71
Offline
admin approved badge
19:59 Jul-21-2015

Yup,exactly as I said yesterday, tera is an awesome example

0
Rep
34
Offline
00:48 Jul-22-2015

I love Tera, I haven't played in forever, but it's got an amazing combat system, and a pretty nice world(though a bit repetitive.... which is to be expected since it's a Korean grinder).... I invite you guys to check out Phantasy Star Online 2 if you're into action combat MMOs..... the missions are instanced, but it's a really fun game.

-1
Rep
34
Offline
17:06 Jul-21-2015

So another topic here (please dont rage its true fact) i recently started playing tera and people are constantly spamming p2w p2w and i am like wow really how is it possible. Couple of days later i joined guild and asked what is this about everyone spamming p2w so they explained to me people are actually transferring to other realms in order to sell items for more gold and come back to current

-4
Rep
34
Offline
17:08 Jul-21-2015

realm with obviously more gold. This is exceptional with new "expansions" when there is new gear some people get gear in 1 day be cause they used this method to get gold for upgrading gear and its like you payed for it. That is how they explained to me so i am guessing every game that offers server transfer could be considered p2w be cause of this aspect it was quit odd when i started playing.

-3
Rep
34
Offline
00:36 Jul-22-2015

That's called abusing a system, pay to win would be being able to purchase an item in the cash shop that granted you a significant competitive advantage over other players who were not spending the same money in cashshop, such as a sword that one hits things.
Most MMORPGs can't even be called "pay to win" even if they did offer such items because most are not PVP centric.

2
Rep
34
Offline
08:20 Jul-22-2015

Ok so heres scenario new expansion comes you are just getting new items and there are people already with full gear +15 what are you going to do. It is pay 2 win but you have to know what to do instead of click 2 buy. While yes it could be abusing a system i really dont believe in that term if its there its should be allowed and transferring like that wont get you banned so it is allowed.

0
Rep
34
Offline
16:45 Jul-21-2015

WOW you just had to pour oil in fire. I am scrolling down reading all the comments and i am like wow did non of these people ever play free 2 play games.

-4
Rep
34
Offline
00:19 Jul-22-2015

I'm an MMO hopper, I jump from game to game to game to game because none of them are able to hold my attention for very long, I've played some pretty bad f2p games, but more than that I've played some HORRIBLE sub games, WoW, FF14, SWTOR(when it was sub), those games all sucked ass even in comparison to some of the worst f2p games I've played, spamming 12345 isn't skill, and not my idea of fun.

0
Rep
34
Offline
08:15 Jul-22-2015

Well in wow if you spam 12345 you would wipe every raid

0
Rep
58
Offline
15:36 Jul-21-2015

When the servers shut down after three to four years, say goodby to your games because every publisher is trying to force gamers to the online-only world.

0
Rep
13
Offline
13:47 Jul-21-2015

This title is retarded. How the hell can free be a bad deal ?! This was probably made by some console peasant who is mad about having free games on pc.It is true that you need to invest more time if you don't want to pay,but isn't that a main goal in gaming ? ****ing PLAYING ?!
btw I didn't even read anything in this because I think it is as retarded as title.

-10
Rep
1
Offline
14:23 Jul-21-2015

How about free with garbage included? Spammer, gold seller, scammer, bots, illegal program, rude players, is enough reasons to be bad? Oh wait you don't have a job or money so yeah free is good for you.

-1
Rep
13
Offline
15:00 Jul-21-2015

What are you talking about ?! scammer bots illegal what ?! Are you actaully retarded so you download some random games you find on internet or what ?
I don't have a job but I have enough money to buy games that I do like,if you don't belive me check my steam - ultrawtf,anyways I realised how retarded this all community is and I will probably leave this **** for good.

-1
Rep
1,041
Offline
senior admin badge
15:12 Jul-21-2015

I think he meant that free2play games are more likely to get crowded with trolls, spammers and other scam who use cheats and botscripts, to me personally it totally destroys the game experience if playing with such people

7
Rep
13
Offline
15:28 Jul-21-2015

Lets see:
-League of Legends-free 2 play,no pay 2 win whatsoever,rare trolls,no possible way to get scammed/spammed(ignore button for spam), 0 hacks in 5 years
-Call of Duty(any) - 60€,tons of hackers,in every 50 player 1 is hacker,a lot of raging kids and a lot of spam after "camping",pay 2 win.

-1
Rep
1
Offline
15:32 Jul-21-2015

You clearly don't play enough MMO to know what I mean what's come with "free" is a package that killed the community such as bots, scammer, spammer, gold seller, and illegal programs will ruin even the good game. Better pay the premium MMO to filter all that garbage, so the poor people that only know to cheat cant play

0
Rep
1
Offline
15:33 Jul-21-2015

So you only know MMO one of those two types? How about MMORPG?

-2
Rep
1
Offline
15:36 Jul-21-2015

Let's see here Aura Kingdom, Arch Age, Echo of Soul, Point Blank, Black Squad, Lost Saga and other game that is free and got tons of cheater, scammer, spammer and gold seller. SO?
I've been playing MMORPG since Ragnarok era so I know what comes with "free" in MMO game.

-2
Rep
34
Offline
16:55 Jul-21-2015

@ultra9923 really rare trolls no hackers there are basically bots every where you just dont know about them they are not that popular tho its called scripting in lol for whatever reason. You could have gotten scammed before when there were sites with skins and stuff. And if you pay attention hit boxes on skins are sometime smaller hit box and better animation so that could be advantage.

-3
Rep
34
Offline
00:13 Jul-22-2015

Mhmmmm, so you think people who play f2p games don't have jobs and money? Or could it be that they don't want to pay for the garbage that is WoW, FF14, Wildstar? There are a decent amount of b2p games that actually aren't too bad, ESO and Guild Wars II for example.... but every game that currently has a sub is complete garbage...... I would rather play the worst F2P game out there than WoW

0
Rep
34
Offline
00:24 Jul-22-2015

And if you want a horrible MMO community, WoWs is about the worst out there, bunch of self entitled elitist little twits that will think nothing of kicking a new player out of a dungeon group because they don't meet "their standard" for damage.

-1
Rep
1
Offline
04:00 Jul-22-2015

If you live in SEA region, there's 2 types of people that play f2p online game especially MMORPG. First (90% of it) it's gold seller that make a living selling in game currency by spamming the server with bots and doesnt care with the game, second is the real gamer that suffer from the first one.

-1
Rep
1
Offline
04:07 Jul-22-2015

I know every game MMORPG that is f2p in SEA region majority of cheaters, gold sellers, and botters came from Indonesia and Pinoy. That's why sometimes SEA regions got IP blocked from good F2P mmorpg like TERA.

0
Rep
34
Offline
08:02 Jul-22-2015

I don't live in SEA, but even if I did, I'd take the crappy community in a decent action combat F2P game than I would the garbage gameplay in an overpriced subscription game like FF14, WoW, or Wildstar.

0
Rep
1
Offline
09:37 Jul-22-2015

If you play TERA from Gameforge please check why they decide to IP block SEA region when it's okay to play before. And if you want to know how bad SEA community in f2p games is please at least try to play a games with a lot of Pinoy and Indonesian inside. So for me yeah I better play subscription based MMO.

0
Rep
1,991
Offline
admin approved badge
15:15 Jul-21-2015

All I'm gonna say is free to play, pay to win. If you've ever tried even a harmless title like NFS World you'd know.

1
Rep
1,041
Offline
senior admin badge
15:19 Jul-21-2015

I do .... - but NFS:World didn't use to be that bad when it started, it went full crap when drag racing was introduced, together with much more stuff paid for speedboost :/

3
Rep
34
Offline
16:58 Jul-21-2015

OMG that game and after all these years i still can't play it on medium without stuttering in every race

0
Rep
71
Offline
admin approved badge
17:04 Jul-21-2015

It's been taken down anyway, EA wasn't making enough money on it,because people were tired of the p2w bs that started after drags were introduced.

0
Rep
1,991
Offline
admin approved badge
20:08 Jul-21-2015

Yeah those drag races were the devil.

-2
Rep
1,041
Offline
senior admin badge
20:55 Jul-21-2015

EA decided to sell NFS 2015 but also keep all the in-game currency and microtransactions
hats off lol to NFS:Worse =P

0
Rep
71
Offline
admin approved badge
21:45 Jul-21-2015

I think that deserves a GG XD

0
Rep
1,991
Offline
admin approved badge
22:27 Jul-21-2015
-1
Rep
34
Offline
00:31 Jul-22-2015

True pay to win games change or die pretty quickly because no one is willing to endure a true p2w game..... it's like every time someone sees a cash shop it's all about "OMG P2W!!!", those people have no idea what the concept even means.... being able to buy a faster mount or more bag space or more character slots IS NOT pay to win!

3
Rep
71
Offline
admin approved badge
00:54 Jul-22-2015

^_^

1
Rep
213
Offline
admin badge
19:36 Aug-05-2015

also this wasn't made a by a console peasent and free to play games are on console and pc and also tard, if you actually read the article is NOT about free games its about free to play games did you even read the damn title it doesn't say free games it says free to play and I personally don't think its a good idea way to much pay to win and a lot of the games milk people dry not all but most

0
Rep
14
Offline
12:17 Jul-21-2015

My one and only f2p and the best one ever if you've got some friends and know how to make things work in a very RP & a complex game of systems (Not for those people who just take a gun and start the rage mode). A.K.A - Multi Theft Auto.

0
Rep
60
Offline
admin approved badge
09:25 Jul-21-2015

It's nice that there are games out there that you can pour time into without having to invest any money in them, and I don't mind their use of in game purchases either so long as it doesn't affect the balance of the game that much. What I don't like is when AAA developers use those in game purchase schemes to make you pay for additional content that should be in the game from the start if your expecting £40+ for it. But that's just me.

1
Rep
-27
Offline
09:24 Jul-21-2015

DOTA 2, LoL and HoTS those 3 games are f2p and they're perfect. They don't need to be pay to win. Maybe LoL because you need to have all heroes unlocked + runes for more dmg. But some games might be called free pay to win.

1
Rep
1
Offline
06:43 Jul-21-2015

My MMO gaming friends didn't have any job so they tend to play F2P, so sometimes I playthe F2P game. All MMORPG F2P that I play have tiny space of inventory, a lot of spammer & gold seller, Bots, scammer, usually with illegal program. Usually I got bored in 1-2 months.

-2
Rep
1
Offline
06:47 Jul-21-2015

Then I play Premium MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV with my other friends that got money to spend, AND OH MY GOD THE DIFFERENCE IS LIKE NIGHT AND DAY. I didn't have to worry about inventory spaces, no pay to win system all equal as long you play, No spammer, the community kind, caring, and nice, occasionally bot but not much.

-2
Rep
1
Offline
06:51 Jul-21-2015

After that I hate F2P MMORPG. Stick to P2P game from then on. You got quality over the free one called " a game with garbage included". Oh and certain country in SEA got really bad reputation in online community, I didn't want to sound rude to them but it's true. Hint "bobo & putang ina"

-2
Rep
34
Offline
00:43 Jul-22-2015

Dude..... FF14 is garbage..... it's WoW with a coat of Final Fantasy paint on it..... out of a 30 day sub for that game, I've played maybe 6 hours.... the game puts me to sleep...... I cannot see myself playing any more, it's just too boring.
My friends are all playing the piece of crap now.... while I'm playing a game that just so happens to be both free and amazing called Phantasy Star Online 2

0
Rep
4
Offline
06:28 Jul-21-2015

Free to play games are only good if done right.. If the company can find a way to make the game not p2w but still pay for itself it can be very good.

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
05:51 Jul-21-2015

Free to play games are like a Virus that can't be cured.

1
Rep
34
Offline
05:58 Jul-21-2015

And yet there are many that bring unique features and gameplay that crappy subscription based games like WoW cannot or will not provide...... it's all about innovation.... both in game and in payment models, subs are dead, and for good reason..... because they are a commitment that most people are not willing to make, a gamer plays many games, paying per month on each is ridiculous.

-1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
18:45 Jul-21-2015

I don't play MMOs & I would never pay a sub anyway.

1
Rep
-25
Offline
05:10 Jul-21-2015

I don't like the F2P game for the simple reason that you are extremely limited in content and if you want something more then...you need to pay for it. I highly prefer paying a game 60$ and having a real gaming experience!

0
Rep
4
Offline
05:38 Jul-21-2015

Well, nowadays even the games that are not free come out as a part of the whole game, whereas the game producers add the other parts as DLCs.

0
Rep
34
Offline
05:50 Jul-21-2015

F2p games can be like that, but it's actually pretty rare..... one example would be Dungeons & Dragons Online early free to play model in which if you wanted to advance past level 7 you needed to pay to unlock the missions in order to do that...... in just about every other f2p game you can level from 0 to max level and explore every piece of content without paying a dime.

-1
Rep
34
Offline
05:54 Jul-21-2015

The pay part in most f2p games generally consists of conveniences like faster mounts and more bag/bank space, cosmetic things like costumes, and vanity pets...... sometimes items that give you an advantage over free players, but again as this is generally frowned upon, it as well is also pretty rare to find in a f2p game these days...... trust me, I've played my share,

-2
Rep
13
Offline
04:32 Jul-21-2015

Just now i play Heroes of the Storm. Its the first moba i actualy enjoy since the original dota .

0
Rep
34
Offline
17:01 Jul-21-2015

ye i find heroes of the storm quit fun actually better then lol and i really want to play dota 2 but everytime i play chat looks like typical rage fest and its always 3v5 game so ye can't play it.

1
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
03:32 Jul-21-2015

Regardless of whether you pay for a game or it was free, we can all agree that pay to win is bad...

0
Rep
34
Offline
03:49 Jul-21-2015

What sucks are low quality games that only exist to rake in the cash..... and those exist in all payment models, I would say WoW, since they seem to keep milking that cash cow every year with crappy overhyped "expansions", but it's been around long enough to get a pass..... "pay to win" is a subjective term, to many people any game with a cash shop is "pay to win".

1
Rep
213
Offline
admin badge
02:53 Jul-21-2015

wish i could select 2 options i play a few free to play games but i hate the idea of it and concept but i enjoy the games examples are clash of clans and world of tanks (that game milks money good) but is lots of fun

0
Rep
34
Offline
01:51 Jul-21-2015

There are so many examples of horrible F2P games, and there are also a TON of amazing F2P games......... PSO2, Warframe, Neverwinter, Vindictus, Tera, Star Trek Online.... just a few right off the top of my head that I will always hold in high regard. The funny thing is, paid games tend to get viewed through rose colored glasses, WoW, FF14, SWTOR all managed to put me to sleep... literally.

0

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Palit Super JetStream 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-11700K 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 32GB
50% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-4770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 6GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II 2GB OC Edition 16GB
60% Yes [5 votes]
Pentium Dual Core B960 2.2GHz Radeon HD 6950M 4GB
33.3333% Yes [6 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
| High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 10GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i3-8100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 32GB
100% Yes [5 votes]