Saturday, 16 August 2008

Free to play

As a member of various free to play websites, like AeriaGames, etc. I sometimes get Beta Invites for their closed Beta's. Which can be fun, don't get me wrong. But not today. I got a mail from AeriaGames about their new game, croNous. I was in their Beta. Okay, let's try it out, if it's any good, I might have something to blog about.

After downloading the game, which took all morning, I got to play. Immeadiatly I saw the horrible graphics, tiny fonts and Chinese mythology which is the standard for F2P MMORPGs. You have four classes, being Fighter (how unusual), Magician (original.), Savage (Big Shiny mallet!) and Valkyrie. All were decked out in awesome armor, until you selected one to play with. I picked Valkyrie and I began. For a ranged class, you might expect that it has a ranged weapon. Even Hunters in WoW start with one.

And even after 5 minutes of play time, it was obvious that the only goal was grinding, as usual. That may work in Asia, but in Europe and the US, we don't really like grinding that much. But all free to play games have grinding in them. Even ijji's puzzle games. Some of my friends love it, 2 of them play Flyff and the other one is always playing a new MMO.

To the free to play publishers, it's normal to have ranks etc. like in Halo, where you get XP for every match won, which advances you to the next rank. It's only good for showing off, but even the simplest puzzle game has it. Okay, if you like that sort of thing, go enjoy it, but to me it feels out of place.

In games like Halo, it makes sense that you advance when you win. You do good, you get promoted. CoD4 rewards you with new and shiny weapons. But with puzzle games? Congratulations, you advanced to Sudoku Master by defeating iliekpuzzle999? New mouse cursor unlocked? +2 bonus to red blocks? Sudoku stat increased? It's just silly.

But then there are the fake games. Take SoldierFront for example. You need to stop terrorists from planting a bomb, by either killing them, defending long enough or defusing the bomb. Where have I heard that before. Oh, yes, Counter Strike. The only difference is that you have a stable connection, better graphics, nicer players (yes, really) and better maps in CS. Add one of those annoying item shops, where you pay real money to buy coins and then you buy items with those coins.

Which gives players an unfair advantage. I don't spend money on those F2P games, so I don't have a shotgun in WarRock, or improved armor in GunZ. It's just not worth it. Why pay money to play a hacker infested game with a QQ-ing player base?

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