Warframe on how studios should ‘learn to fight superficial microtransaction integration’

Warframe has become aggressively popular according to Digital Extremes’ own metrics, and our own readers back that up. Part of the reason is the game’s business model, which as DE VP of Publishing Meridith Braun tells GIbiz this week that the studio has been working hard on its monetization over the last several years since the game soft launched open beta. (Yes, it’s still technically in open beta.)

“[Players] say they are blown away by the fact that we aren’t a full retail game with paid DLC, and that the monetization we have integrated is more than fair. We’re looking to redefine what free-to-play means to gamers,” Braun argues. That means making almost everything in the game earnable inside the game, downing content progression walls, allowing players to freely trade within the microtransaction system, and respecting the new reality that “a games service is always on and needs constant attention.”

“Those are significant choices that, from a business sense, can seem very risky. We realized early on that players hate being boxed in. They value and champion fairness and transparency — which seems like common sense. But building that common sense into your game is much more difficult than it seems. In my opinion, the industry must learn to fight superficial MTX integration into their business models that ultimately destroy a player’s sense of choice within the game and their perception of what is fair. Earning players’ respect and respecting their interests will reflect in the bottom line.”

It’s almost as if players like to support solid games whose devs aren’t trying to fleece them.

Source: GI.biz
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Blop Pie

You cannot login to WarFrame unless you enable SMB Protocol through the WorkStation service. Anyone doing this on anything that isn’t Windows 10 is exposing their computer to malware and exploits.

Even the Win10 version has some major (unpublished) exploits because the protocol is NOT intended for use over the unencrypted internet but is meant to be used exclusively in a corporate environment (intranet) rather than anywhere else. Remote encrypted VPNs are typically used by traveling workers to access their intranet over the internet.

DE has outright ignored this issue for well over a month, claimed it was fixed when it has NOT been fixed, and seems to employ complete idiots that don’t know how computers work. Don’t you dare change ANY settings on your computer from the default (not even the wallpaper!) or they refuse to help you with anything. :P

There’s a saying about pots, kettles, and the color black. Maybe DE should take a page from it.
I’m disappointed that this website seems to enjoy reposting PR-spew that misleads and outright lies to their readers.

“You can earn everything just by playing the game”. Technically yes, but with major caveats. The biggest one being that there are certain warframes and content that can only be done in a group and only if you know what to do and how to do it. The WarFrame wiki is absolutely essential because the game itself tells you almost nothing.

People had to resort to data-mining the game and posting droprates because DE outright refused to release them, then did some half-assed color coding scheme that caused further confusion.

There’s also years of backlogged exclusive items (mostly mods) that can only have ever been obtained if you were around for those events. Good luck trying to find them in player to player trade.

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Nathan Aldana

warfraes model is one of the major reasons I love it.

Reader
rafael12104

Well, Warframe is moving up my list of “must” play games. I’ve seen enough now, and it is worth a shot.

And, MTX stuff isn’t perfect in general. There is always going to be a little give and take there. But Warframes version is a far cry from what I’ve seen in many f2p not to mention, ok I’ll mention them, EA’s bullshit.

Reward Warframe for saying the right things and trying to deliver. Plus from what I’ve seen for Rees Racer, our resident Kiwi, I’d say jumping in this game sooner rather than later is the plan.

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Targeter

I really do recommend it. I play on XB1 and it’s super smooth and fun to play. It also doesn’t *feel* pay-to-win to me, though I’m sure there will be some detractors at the highest level of play that may disagree. The bulk of the game can be done without spending a penny, though some may have a problem with grinding up materials for different warframes (basically, your power suits). I get why it’d be annoying for some who are cash-strapped, but I’ve never been shy to throw some cash at a development team that puts out a quality product and does it pretty fairly in my opinion. It’s not perfect, and it’s definitely not Path of Exile (which is alllll cosmetic), but it’s probably one of the best systems out there and the aesthetic is just jaw-dropping.

Edited for typo :(

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yoh_sl

Warfames MTX systems is pretty good, not the best, I would have to give that to Path of Exile.
But still far in away better then the vast majority of the industry.
Even was compelled to throw a little money their way when last I played.

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Veldan

It sucks that no MMO is trying a PoE-like model. Just sell cosmetics and convenience and put some cool stuff in a pack whenever a new expansion or big content pack releases. The game then doesn’t have any P2W while whales can still throw tons of money at the game and show off their flashy stuff. What’s not to like?

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Arktouros

That’s because you can’t point a game and say “Use that business model, it works!” and it’ll work. There’s an essay’s worth of reasons of why one business model works and one doesn’t. A simple thought experiment on how WOW, the biggest and most populated MMO, is one of the last few subscription games left because all the others that followed it’s model largely failed to the point they had to switch business models just to keep operating.

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yoh_sl

Ikr? POE even does whales right (god I hate that term).
Being able to buy permanent additions to the game (uniques) that anybody can use, thus adding content for everybody while also giving bragging rights to the whale, as well as allow them to leave their mark on the game and it’s community, without giving them any advantage at all since they still have to earn the item like everyone else.

It’s fucking genius.

Reader
Bryan Turner

Watched part of a video by Lazy Peon and while it looks fun it seems way way too fast paced for me and PVP oriented at that.

With that said are there any lumbering tanky Warframes that you just smash crap with and face tank everything?

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Jack Kerras

Warframe is 95% PvE.

I have never even zoned into its PvP mode, not one time, and I have played thousands of hours.

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Alex Willis

Some have suggested Atlas, Wukong, Chroma, and Rhino. All good calls. For my money? You want Inaros. Total face tank. Biggest health pool in the game by a HUGE margin, and multiple abilities for health restore. When properly armored, he’s pretty unstoppable.

http://warframe.wikia.com/wiki/Inaros

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Bryan Turner

Sounds like that’s right up my alley.

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Targeter

For lumbering, tank warframes, can’t go wrong with the Atlus. Big, knight-lookin’ bastard that uses earth powers and stuff. Really like him (even though I’ve switched to Hydroid Prime recently).

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Bryan Turner

Another fine suggestion, sounds like a good aesthetic for people used to heavy armor classes in typical MMOs.

fallwind
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fallwind

uh… not sure what LP is on, but warframe is 99.9% pve. I’ve played for years and never once even played a pvp match.

As for lumbering tanks, there are a few. Rhino is likely the first you will earn and can be quite strong. Chroma is a “quest frame” that requires quite a bit of work to unlock, but has *insane* tanking abilities that can basically render it unkillable with the right mod and arcane setups (the more you invest into that frame, the better it becomes).

But for true unkillability… Wukong + a rage mod. No expensive arcanes, no farming for rare mods, just remember to toggle your second ability once in a while and there is nothing in the game that can kill you (assuming you aren’t completely braindead and know how to kill enemies that turn off your powers or sap your energy faster than you can generate it)

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Bryan Turner

I’ll research on this one as well.

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Tithian

Side note: LazyPeon is a huge tosser, avoid at all costs.

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Targeter

I enjoy his videos, but he does have a certain style he prefers (PVP-heavy). His Warframe video was actually pretty darn fair and he was very impressed with the game. I also think that was before they changed a few things about how you start.

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Boom

Very much this.

Dantos
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Dantos

warframe is almost entirely pve focused, they have 1 pvp mode that no one plays. But it is fairly fast paced, the movement is part of its feature set, but you dont need to play it like a bunny on crack though. You can play a frame like Rhino, who can put an extra armor skin on to absorb damage, or mesa who can put on a 90% projectile damage reduction shield, you could play a CC frost, who slows enemies and puts up a protective bubble that he can shoot out, but blocks shots coming in. Lots of options

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Bryan Turner

Good I’m to old for that shit

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ZMe Ul

oh yeah, do it like Warframe where they sell power and hinders player’s ability to progress unless he finds a way to make platinum or invest cash

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting rules.))

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kgptzac

They sell what?

Not sure how you define power, but both prime frames and weapons have parts that can be farmed, like, you aren’t obligated to buy them with plat. Please stop masturbating with your prejudice of all forms of microtransaction.

Dantos
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Dantos

There is a pretty healthy trading market in game, prime parts for plat. I think over the last year or so, ive made $100 in currency by just trading, although prices have deflated since the removal of void keys and replacement by relics (parts being easier to get, therefore increased supply).

The only power they sell are the catalysts and reactors that double your mod power capacity on a weapon and frame respectively at like $2 a pop maybe? with at least an alert a week to get one. Maybe forma too, but ive gotten 100+ of those blueprints just by farming relics for prime pieces.

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ZMe Ul

that plat isn’t spawning out of thin air, someone has to invest real money for that platinum to exist in the 1st place

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Bruno Brito

So? Are YOU the one spending? No. So, yeah. No.

Dantos
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Dantos

well, yea, but you arent.

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Anthony Dixon

You are aware that you can make plat by doing simple things like opening relics, then selling the rewards? Do a couple of rounds of Hieracon on Pluto, get some relics, open them up on a void fissure mission, sell ’em on warframe.market, easy.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting rules.))

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Bryan Turner

Sounds like a bunch of complex gibberish to me.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting rules.))

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Nothing about what he said was complex, it’s basic stuff anyone can do if they don’t want to spend any real money on the free game.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting rules.))

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ZMe Ul

I suggest you read your own comment again
platinum isn’t growing on trees, someone has to spend cash

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

It’s a video game. SOMEONE has to spend cash, or they shut down. You do understand that, right? If the studio doesn’t get paid, the game doesn’t get made. It’s already free to play, now you’re complaining at the mere ability to spend money on it?

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Bruno Brito

Some people want everything for free.

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NeoWolf

Personally I wouldn’t sayWarframe is in a position to give advice their platinum and what you spend it on is overpriced and does not go far at ALL. And I haven’t noticed any discount sales etc.. so far but then I dont play it every day, only occasionally so I could have missed them.

fallwind
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fallwind

discount sales are in the form of login discounts on buying plat. I got their 180€ pack for only 45€ and have been slowly getting things since at a 75% off sale (over and above any regular discounts like their Black Friday sale)

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NeoWolf

Nice , good to know they do have them

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Black Friday weekend saw a sale, random login awards can can give you up to 75% discounts on either platinum or items in the market.

I think their store is well priced, actually. If you build a warframe, you’re still not getting the orokin reactor with it or the inventory slot for it. If you buy that same frame you’re getting the frame, the additional slot, and it’s automatically given the reactor. Bundles are even better since you get the same deal for the frame and the weapons they come with.

Dantos
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Dantos

if you are outright buying frames and weapons I agree, they are overpriced, but to me, the main point of the game is to get those things through gameplay, I play it as a “collect the things” game, so I dont bother with that part of the shop. That may be just me though, ive known people who just buy the weapon for $10 that would have taken 30 mins to farm for enough materials to build it.

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Armsbend

It often isn’t the gun but the mods attached that are hard to get.

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sophiskiai

They do sometimes have sales (they had a big one over the Thanksgiving weekend) and sometimes even give them a lore justification (via a merchant NPC named Darvo), but the main way to get a discount is by waiting for one of the 25%-75% discounts on platinum purchases you can get as a random daily login reward. Which is kinda sneaky, as it’s an incentive to either login every day (and then spend a lot in one go due to the artificial scarcity of the discount) or pay high prices if you don’t want to wait.

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sophiskiai

Started playing around March of this year. There aren’t many games where I drop money in the cash shop, but Warframe is one of them – and what they all have in common is being F2P or B2P and giving me dozens of hours of really fun and engaging gameplay where I don’t feel the need to spend anything. The more a game demands my money, the more I resent the idea of giving any to it, but the more generous the game is with giving me enjoyment the more I’ll eventually decide I want to financially reward the devs for making and running it.

Warframe can demand a lot of farming and grinding if you don’t pay to by pass that, but with so many missions available (over 200, not counting Alert and Nightmare and Syndicate and Invasion and Kuva variants) all on procedurally generated maps with a bunch of different tilesets, and the ability to instantly change your playstyle by switching your frame and weapons, I feel I can farm and grind for ages without it ever getting dull or repetitive!

Also, while you can buy frames and weapons in the cash-shop what they mainly provide is versatility rather than power, since the majority of an item’s power comes from its mods and those have to be earned (or bought from other players) and then levelled up with farmed resources.

My main criticism (besides it having so many complex systems with little or no in-game explanation, requiring frequent trips to the wiki and YouTube) is that while you can trade in-game there’s no in-game Auction House, so you have to either go to a trade hub and spam the chat or organise trades via a third-party website, which with all the other systems they’re always putting in the game feels like a glaring oversight.

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Alex Willis

I agree, the trade component needs a total and complete overhaul. But it has the interest from the community to be very exciting, so I hope they do give it the attention it deserves.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

I just started playing last week. So far I’m enjoying it. I missed the Steam sales, so I’m waiting on a deal to spend money, but I probably will. My only real complaint is that they have a lot of confusing terminology they don’t bother to explain, so I still don’t understand a lot of the game. It took me three videos to kinda-sorta understand what Lith Fissures were, and I’m still not sure I understand them.

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Scott McCool

There’s definitely a learning curve. Having logged over 200 hours with the game and unlocking most of the system map, I’m still running into things that take research to understand. Don’t let that stop you, though!

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Denice J. Cook

Wow, I will have to try this game now!

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yoh_sl

It’s a pretty good romp.

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Rees Racer

Not quite a hundred hours in, as I just started playing about 3 weeks ago. I admit I took advantage of some of the Black Friday/Steam sale promotions at the end of last month, but it was not a hard decision…it means I now won’t need to buy the Destiny 2 expansion this week. I don’t regret buying the 2 frames I did, because it deepened my understanding of the overall systems, and now I’ve a better idea what I’m doing, and the style of play which best suits me.

I appreciate the cosmetics (especially the colour palettes) offered for money, but it’s refreshing to have goals to play for when you’ve got an eye on the frame you fancy. I just started building my first shotgun, which will take 24 hours to complete. Sure, I could spend a couple of dollars in Platinum to finish it now, but I actually appreciate the wait, because I will have earned it.

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Arktouros

Sure, I could spend a couple of dollars in Platinum to finish it now, but I actually appreciate the wait, because I will have earned it.

Would you say that it provides you with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different warframes?

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Rees Racer

Fortunately, all the blueprints for Banshee (and a couple of other frames) are available for purchase in the Clan Dojo, but I am presently in progress accumulating the necessary parts for Mag, which means boss runs on Phobos. There are many frames that I will only be able to access much later in the game, but I’m enjoying the journey so far…is that what you mean?

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Arktouros
Dantos
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Dantos

after farming harrow myself, yes.

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Anthony Dixon

How many times did you have to do the defection mission?

Dantos
Reader
Dantos

maybe 15-20?

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Arktouros

Maybe EA was onto something….

thinking.png
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Rees Racer

I didn’t fully appreciate your clever comparison, because apart from being 3rd- person shooters in a sci-fi setting, the games are so thematically different in what the goals are. Collecting later-game frames does not give one a competitive advantage. There is no Darth Vader warframe. It can be argued the choice of 3 frames offered to a player during the tutorial are no worse than ones that take hundreds of hours to earn by progressing in the game (although some might be significantly more difficult to master).

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Arktouros

It can be argued the choice of 3 frames offered to a player during the tutorial are no worse than ones that take hundreds of hours to earn by progressing in the game

Sounds like players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.

Dantos
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Dantos

Well, it comes down to the type of game and expectations, Warframe is a grind game through and through, I like to compare a game like that to building a model, it can take a long time to get things JUST right.

BF2 on the other hand, is more like going to see a movie or going out to dinner, fun in its own right, but ultimately transitory from match to match, not long term goal oriented, at least to me.

Like harrow, for instance, drops from specific places, so I could take specific action to reach the goal I wanted, not just open a box and pray. RNG is RNG I know, but it just “feels” better

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Arktouros

Personally I’ve always taken games like Warframe as the basis of my entire argument of why pay2win and cashshop whining is just people wanting to be recreationally outraged.

You look below through the comments, and you’re going to read the, “Everything is earnable in game.” line multiple times. But isn’t it funny how we use these same terms to praise one game that in many others we take them to task for selling you the option to bypass that grind. We accuse developers of padding the grind in their games in order to incentivize spending in the cash shop while games like Warframe hey it’s all good.

It’s almost like players like to support solid games whose devs aren’t trying to fleece them.

Frankly speaking, every developer is trying to fleece you. It’s just a matter of how much you like their game and how much you’re willing to justify the fleecing as morally okay because you’d rather not stop having a good time.

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yoh_sl

It’s a question of ‘what do you win?’ in pay to win.
In Warframe, besides being free, there isn’t any real form of competitive mechanics whatsoever. Yes you can pay to skip the grind or time consuming mechanics, and get a more powerful weapon.
But what do you win in doing that? An easier time vs AI opponents? Bragging rights?

I think the reason people in Warframe don’t give a fuck about the game essentially letting you buy power, is because it doesn’t mean anything. It’s nothing you can’t get by simply playing the game, and it doesn’t really give you any advantage. So what’s the point?

Games like Battlefront 2 are not only 60$ titles, but are almost entirely built around the competitive multiplayer. Where paying to win does unbalance the game and make an unfair playing field. That’s that problem.

TLDR: No one cares if you cheat in a single player/vs AI game.
But cheating in a multiplayer game is a big problem.
P2W only matters in competitive multiplayer games.

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Arktouros

As we discussed below that isn’t accurate either because you still see high amounts of complaints regarding monetization models and the ability to buy power in single player games or non-competitive games as well. Recent examples of this include things like Assassin Creed Origins as well as the LOTR Mordor Shadows whatever game.

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yoh_sl

But are you talking about pay2win, or pay2play?
There is a different you know. While I am unfamiliar with ass creed, Mordor from what I understand not only bogged down it’s experience with unnecessary lootboxes, but also nearly locks off the true ending behind a wall of grind, which you can pay/gamble to get beyond.

It’s a strong arming tactic, and F2P games have be doing it for a long time, it’s just now full prices 60$ games are pulling that shit too.
People have a right to be upset.

Having a gameplay experience actively ruined by bad monitization is not that same thing as pay2win. Even if complaints sound the same.

ernost
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ernost

You are ignoring a very important point of distinction: Battlefront 2 has a $60 (minimum) buy-in cost while Warframe has no buy-in cost.

People were not upset because of the grind or pay to win or lockboxes. We’ve been playing f2p games with those things for years. People were upset because they were paying full price for a game, and then being asked to pay even more to unlock features of that game.

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Arktouros

As we discussed below I ignore that because the in game progression of a game is separate from the initial box price of the game.

A system designed to incentivize you into paying by introducing a large time gate that you can bypass by paying is predatory game design whether you paid $60 upfront or not.

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sophiskiai

I reckon the key difference is whether the grind is a barrier to gameplay or the grind is the gameplay. If a game tells me “you need to grind before you can compete fairly (or unfairly to your advantage) in PvP/join people in that dungeon/progress to the next part of the story/play the iconic character you’ve dreamed of playing” then the grind is an obstacle to my enjoyment of the game and it feels like I’m being asked to pay more before I can start properly enjoying the game. Even more so if the most efficient grinding activities aren’t what I enjoy doing in the game.

Although Warframe does have some great story missions hidden away on various planets, 99% of the game is just playing missions because they’re fun to play. So the grind just feels like standard gameplay + patience rather than any sort of obstacle, and most of what I’m grinding towards is goals I’ve chosen to set myself (e.g. “unlocking all the Codex Fragments and getting enough oxium to build the Zephyr warframe”) rather than core content or the ability to group with my friends.

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Sorenthaz

It depends on the game, but in some cases outrage is justified. For example, with Black Desert, last I checked you cannot obtain cash shop gear/pets in any reasonable fashion (if at all) yet those things impact performance and in some cases give substantial benefits/boosts.

Then you’ve got games that lock progression behind lockboxes and paying money lets you get bulk lockboxes to get a further advantage. This is especially problematic in PvP games where they use ‘cards’ or other performance-enhancing junk that’s dependent on RNG/grinding out a resource that can be sped up further with said lockboxes.

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Arktouros

However to my point, again, what people call justifiable outrage for one game is suddenly free and clear in another game. One of the principle complaints repeatedly heard against Battlefront 2 was against it’s grind and how they fast tracked that for sale via it’s cash shop. The term “a sense of pride and accomplishment” has been memed pretty hard. Yet here we have another developer who has stacked an incredible grind in game that can be bypassed via the cash shop and where is the outrage? Where are the memes?

You can pretend certain companies have some inherent level of greed higher than others if that makes you feel more comfortable playing the others’ games but when you objectively look at things it’s all the same. None of these companies are your friends. All of them are trying to fleece you. Some are just giving you a spoonful of sugar and a soothing, reaffirming words to keep you docile while they sheer away.

PS: I’ll let those BDO comments go for now but I got my eye on you.

Xijit
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Xijit

No one in the world would have really given a shit about the Battlefront 2 lock boxes if that developer hadn’t opened his mouth on Reddit … not defending them, but damn near every major seasonal FPS title out there has got something like them and most people just ignore the “buy” option and play the game.

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Denice J. Cook

Yeah, but on the fleece scale, some devs rate a 1 or a 2, while others score an 8 to a 10. Yet others like EA don’t notice because they’re way too busy cranking their own fleeceometer to 11!

;)

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Arktouros

There’s a lack in consistency in the way we perceive the same (or similar) business strategies. What you’re calling a 3 for one company and a 9 for another are often times identical or similar enough business strategy to be directly compared to one another.

Estranged
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Estranged

No, cause these devs aren’t playing the PT Barnum act, like CR.

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Arktouros

I don’t know what that means. Circus act? CR?

A is A. The same business model is the same business model. The developer behind the same business model is irrelevant.

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Armsbend

Chris Roberts.

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Arktouros

Oh boy. One of those.

I mean I think Star Citizen is a meme as much as the next guy but boy oh boy I don’t think I’d be going to a random other topic and complaining about it.

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Armsbend

Don’t shoot the messenger :)

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Scratches

The developer is not irrelevant as goodwill is an actual thing; in the business world it’s even considered a quantifiable, defining variable — or asset, even.

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Arktouros

It needs to be irrelevant if we want to remain objective in regards to gauging a business model. If a business model is predatory it’s just so regardless if how much or how little goodwill that company has.

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FG3000

Dude you absoutley nailed it, Warframe is excellent but HELLA grindy with options to use real money to bypass the grind. Quite simply this is the model that people are so upset about yet in Warframe they love it lol.

I think why Warframe gets a pass is that PVP isnt a serious mode in this game and anyone that does drop a ton of money just ends up helping you via Co-op. Kinda like Mass Effects multiplayer.

So my take away? You can have all the paid to skip grind options you want as long as PVP isnt included.

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Castagere Shaikura

Agreed if the PVP was a big deal in this game people would be saying something else.

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Arktouros

I’m not sure about that criteria as the recent Assassin’s Creed got a fair amount of commentary on it’s practices and to my knowledge there was no PvP. Same with the recent Mordor Shadows game thing?

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ozzie

Dude those are all b2p games with f2p tacked in, same as Battlefront 2. Warframe is a f2p game with f2p monetization. That’s why people are less critical of it, because it does exactly what they say in the article – tone down the barriers for f2p players. Most f2p games don’t do that.

I think it’s worth noting that even if you pay in Warframe, you still need to grind. You can access basic warframes via money but you need the golden version or whatever, which takes grinding for everyone. Basically everyone who plays Warframe likes grinding anyways, as the entire game is designed around it whether you pay or not.

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Arktouros

So your argument is that a system that lets you ignore spending money in the cash shop and just spend time unlocking things is perfectly acceptable for F2P but if a game has the exact same system with another cash shop you can ignore and just spend time unlocking things is wholly and completely unacceptable if you paid $60 upfront for it? That you already paid, therefore you should get access to these things?

Does that imply then that a B2P game should, up front, immediately have everything unlocked and available with no progression mechanics in them what so ever? I mean I paid $60 for Diablo 3, I should be able to be max level instantly and have the best item sets instantly available for me right? I already paid them.

Or, maybe…just maybe, we can remain objective and realize that a system designed to incentivizes you into paying by introducing a large time gate that you can bypass by paying is predatory game design whether you paid $60 upfront or not?

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Does that imply then that a B2P game should, up front, immediately have everything unlocked and available with no progression mechanics in them what so ever? I mean I paid $60 for Diablo 3, I should be able to be max level instantly and have the best item sets instantly available for me right? I already paid them.

Aah, why did you have to go and say something preposterous like this? Did you really infer that from the posts above you?
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ozzie

No, because a progression system and a monetization system can be two completely separate things. In f2p, they’re often linked – which is usually bad. I would say “acceptable” is progressing by doing the things you like and are playing in the first place (like Warframe), then paying to skip things you like doing actually feels like a choice. I don’t think people play games for lootboxes, just the stuff that comes in them. Hence playing and progressing via lootboxes is bad. Progression/monetization can also be separate in f2p, which is the cosmetic stuff people generally say they prefer.

I think it really, really does matter if progression/monetization is linked in a $60 game. “Acceptable” there is progression is done by playing the game, and monetization is b2p. Things get pretty gray with games like PUBG and OW, which are cheaper and offer cosmetics. Still, unlinked to progression so it’s probably acceptable.

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Arktouros

Yes, yes they can be two separate things which is what my (obviously) hyperbolic example was meant to highlight. Just because a game has a $60 price tag doesn’t mean you can’t also have an optional paid progression model. Implying the box price (free or not) is inherently tied to the progression system doesn’t make any sense. Games aren’t inherently given a free pass because they had no upfront cost to their business model. In fact that’s how the bulk of F2P games operate, they don’t have a box price because they want to remove the barrier to entry (the box cost) in order to lure you in to spend whatever you will. A reverse foot in the door tactic if you will.

Terms like “acceptable” are largely subjective in nature. I would prefer to look at things in a sterile and objective environment where rather than passing judgment upon any model we look at them simply as they are.

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CapnLan

Definitely one of the better (if not the best) F2P models out there. It’s why they get so much of my cash. At no point have I ever felt that I had to buy anything. I’ve very much felt that I wanted to though. Especially when it comes to Tennogen. Ugh that stuff is digital crack. Even more so when I know that 30% of the payment goes to the author who made it.

When they release the big Prime Access bundles or Vault packs I can easily just say no and farm it all up in game. Well, some of the cosmetics are exclusive to the packs but eh it’s not so bad. The frames and weapons can all be farmed up in game. I did feel somewhat traumatized after farming Vauban Prime and I didn’t want to look at the game for like a week after I finished him but fortunately they scaled back all the newer frames coming out. It’s turned out to be a great system.

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Alex Willis

Tennogen is really great.

Xijit
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Xijit

WTF?!?!?!?!

Ok, I will allow that some time has gone by and the developers have no fear of making titanic changes to the game and it’s cash shop … so things may have changed … But if any “lessons” were learned early on, it was only because they tried them and then walked back after they failed spectacularly.

The fucking pay walls and grind these guys pumped into the game during alpha is why I stopped playing back in Alpha and I find it slightly insulting to hear them try to act like they are cash shop white knights after the only reason the game isn’t a P2W shit show is because players like me dumped their asses.

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Jack Kerras

It seems like maybe the ‘learn to fight’ part of that statement, revolving mainly around learning, mean that they had to make the same effort early on and that they recommend everyone else in F2P does it, too? Rather than just monetizing in ways that are considered ‘tried and true’ but are honestly just really good at milking whales and blowing through a huge amount of customer goodwill.

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Xijit

I am fine with them saying “hey, this doesn’t work” … but the tone of it is “we never tried to screw anyone, ever” instead of “yeah, we screwed up and learned the hard way.”

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Castagere Shaikura

LOL was thinking this too.

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flamethekid .

I mean it was alpha and they basically lost nearly everything back in those days

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Zen Dadaist

Quite. One of the reasons I like Warframe so much is that its business model feels very fair to me. The premium currency is player-tradeable and you don’t get any godforsaken lockboxes littering up the loot drops.

Of course it’s a F2P so there has to be some way of encouraging folks to spend at least a little money, and given how many thousands of hours I’ve got out of it so far I’m quite happy to pay them for some platinum now and then. And it is grindy, but I have a lot of fun while I’m farming out stuff and it really doesn’t take -that- long to get most things. I poked my head back into Rift recently and the huge massive giant nerf to Notoriety gain (no more IAs/Zone Events dropping marks) plus the huge massive giant nerf to Celestial Instant Adventures (very slow and unrewarding now) has made the grind feel an order of magnitude greater than anything I’ve run across in Warframe…

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Alex Willis

I’m in the thick of a month-and-a-half-long obsession with Warframe. No signs of slowing down. It’s…it’s pretty crazy. It’s first and foremost a loot grinder, but compared with the isometric Diablo 3s of the genre, it’s actually one I love playing. Progress can be slow, but it’s always gradual, and you are offered so many options for progress.

But the business model: well, a few things. In-game currency is very expensive if you want to buy it in RL dollars. It’s *almost* a disincentive to buy items from the cash store, that’s how pricey it is. The perverse effect of this is that most players are happy to grind away for their new Frames (the name given to the robot suits you pilot) and gear.

And you really can earn anything by grinding or buying from other players. I’m probably only about 15% of my way through the content and the majority of that has been from grinding. I have bought two frames for myself (which are apparently notoriously hard to grind), and have not regretted those purchases. As about 95% of the game is co-op, not PvP, players who use the cash shop have no real advantage over others: all loot can be picked up by everyone.

I have several complaints. Connection issues are TERRIBLE. Several dozen times since playing, I have lost progress/missions because the player host dropped connection, or even more mysterious problems like the server not being able to reconcile mission progress with my base account, resulting in the mission being lost. Also, while the Warframe Wiki is extremely comprehensive, some systems remain very mysterious and hard to figure out, like trading. Game is very much “learn as you go, and learn from your (many) mistakes”.

It’s still worth it. Most of the community is extremely friendly, to boot. I have had several people gift me endgame-quality gear for nothing in return. And I think I’d do the same, once I get established.

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Sorenthaz

Connection issues are pretty much due to their P2P system with missions. That’s just the nature of the beast and a part of how they probably keep server costs down.

Also they incentivize plat via the daily login discounts too. I bought the $200 worth when I got a 75% off and didn’t feel bad about it.

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Brother Maynard

There are discount coupons as random login rewards, going up to 75%. They’re very rare, but it can happen.

In the end, all you really need plat for are some cosmetics and weapon/warframe slot unlocks. And even that can be sustained purely by playing the game if you trade your rarer drops.

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Armsbend

I believe that their “trick” is to attempt to lure into buying their big quarterly packages. You get a cool maxed out frame and so much Plat that buying some of those overpriced items really isn’t that big a stretch. I bought two expensive frames in my time and I think I had 4000 Plat or so? So much I did buy some of those overpriced guns right at release.

It’s a system I felt was very fair – considering you didn’t have to buy anything.

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Sorenthaz

Warframe is pretty nuts with how you don’t have to pay a dime if you truly don’t want to. People will point at the time gates on crafting or the amount of grinding needed for various things, but honestly I’d prefer that over straight-up paywalls, and the grind for specific weapons/warframes/equipment has never really ever felt like it’s too ridiculous.

It’s one of those games where it makes you feel like you want to pay, not like you need to pay.

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Dug From The Earth

It’s one of those games where it makes you feel like you want to pay, not like you need to pay.

This right here, is the big concept companies like EA fail to grasp.

Make a good, fun, entertaining game, and people will happily give you money. It all starts with making a good game. EA skips this part, and jumps right to the “lets make money” part.

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BalsBigBrother

Two games have managed that “want to pay” trick with me. Warframe is one of them with Path of Exile being the other. Neither game is perfect and both still have issues but those are very much outweighed by the good parts.

I wish more devs / publishers would take note and try to emulate them instead of the EA’s and the like of this world. I feel gaming would be in a much better place if they did.

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Scott McCool

Truly.
I’m glad I gave the game a try. I could have spent $60 up front and I’d still feel I’m getting a good deal by now. The fact that I’ve actually only put $25 into the game almost makes me feel guilty, considering the many hours of play I’ve gotten out of it.

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