Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Best MMO Business Model of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best MMO Business Model, which was awarded to Guild Wars 2 last year, the first time we’d given out this reader-proposed honor. This award is intended to recognize a live MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated an exemplary business model specifically in 2017, regardless of its past performance. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Business Model of 2017 is…

TIE: WORLD OF WARCRAFT & FINAL FANTASY XIV

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I really want to give it to Elder Scrolls since they’ve been doing great updates and a good expansion, but…. man, I’ll just go for Final Fantasy XIV. At least the subscription fee seems to be paying for content that players are passionate about, and (hopefully) the developers finally learned their lesson about how they tackle housing. I’ll also nominate WoW even if it feels like the sub may not be totally worth it, but at least the hardcores can earn Destiny 2 right?

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): The expansion of the free to play offering is a great step for EVE Online this year, though I think it could even go further than it already has. You can now play for free and fly everything up to tech 1 battleships and faction battleships, a huge improvement over the highly restrictive previous business model. As I wrote in a recent article, there are even ways for returning veteran players to get full omega subscriptions completely for free just by training and extracting skills once per month. The power of the PLEX business model continues to show its strength throughout 2017.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): World of Warcraft has the best MMORPG model right now, it just does. Blizzard’s largess and success allow it to skate along with that sub indefinitely in a way few other studios can, and while it has a cash shop, it’s nowhere near as nasty as the cash shops it’s competing with in a genre where the F2P and B2P games have become increasingly icky. Even if you believe (as I do) the subscription is a barrier-to-entry and has incentivized slow update cadences in the past, this year the latter hasn’t proven true and WoW’s had the best and least exploitative model for actual players, full stop. And I’d also be just as happy seeing Final Fantasy XIV grab this for almost all the same reasons.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): World of Warcraft. What. Yeah, I am as surprised as effing anybody. But not only has the game kept up steady updates through the whole year, it also moved the WoW Token into working more like PLEX, simultaneously freeing up players to earn more stuff through gameplay and making a buy-to-play option more viable for the title. Weirdly enough, this year that business model is really working itself well. This year is weird. Runner-up: Final Fantasy XIV.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): EVE Online. Just throwing this into the pot because I’m glad that CCP finally added a free-to-play option for those cheapskates among us — and even more glad that this model was beefed up toward the end of the year.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): I really like the Elder Scrolls Online model despite some disappointments in a couple of small areas. I don’t like the lootboxes, but like with everything bought in the ESO cash shop, it’s secondary to everything else. The crux of the ESO business model is buy-to-play. There is nothing that you can’t buy into, but if you want access to every in smaller monthly payments, then there is the subscription model.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): This sounds really weird coming from a dedicated lover of subscriptions, but I choose Warframe, Path of Exile, and Aion. I think Digital Extremes does very well with Warframe’s business model; I have never once felt like I needed to spend money in the cash shop to be able to play, and that actually makes me want to spend there more! Offerings are cosmetic and convenience. You can build items in game instead of buying them premade in the shop. Path of Exile is the same way — I do not feel the least bit pressured to buy anything and can fully enjoy the game without the cash shop, or I can enjoy some fun cosmetics if I choose to buy. I can’t not give a nod to NA Aion, which was the first to successfully offer the most generous free-to-play experience by giving access to all the content for completely free. True, those at end-game may feel more of a need to buy convenience items from the shop, but none of it is required.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I would have said Guild Wars 2 before ANet decided that three different payment methods for highly coveted content – including lockbox mechanics at a time when players are railing against them – was a clever idea. I’m voting for World of Warcraft or EVE Online instead this time: Clear subscription costs that can be avoided by farming in-game currency, combined with tempered cash shop options available for those who enjoy them.

World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV won our award for Best MMO Business Model of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: Which MMORPG had the best business model in 2017?

  • World of Warcraft (21%, 199 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (15%, 141 Votes)
  • EVE Online (4%, 35 Votes)
  • Warframe (11%, 104 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (8%, 76 Votes)
  • Aion (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (13%, 125 Votes)
  • Black Desert (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (11%, 106 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (1%, 6 Votes)
  • SWTOR (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Albion Online (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Revelation Online (0%, 1 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (0%, 2 Votes)
  • TERA (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (2%, 21 Votes)
  • Riders of Icarus (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 8 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (1%, 6 Votes)
  • RIFT (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (2%, 22 Votes)
  • RuneScape (0%, 3 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Nothing (3%, 29 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (2%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 937

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Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought would be worthy.

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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130 Comments on "Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Best MMO Business Model of 2017"

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deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

it’d have to be wildstar, which yall seemed to forget about here. aside from teh price of the level boost (which they’ve given boosted toons away for free twice this year), there is no game in the genre more consumer friendly and generous than wildstar.

also MJ’s vote for aion and her comment about the cash shop being totally optional mostly just demonstrates she’s never slotted endgame gear before. >< cash shop items are pretty much must haves for that, nevermind the level of "convenience" other items have on endgaming gear progression. XD

in terms of giving away everything for free content wise, there was metric shit tonnes of f2p games doing exactly that including ones from ncsoft prior to aion going f2p so idk how that's even a reason what 6 years now after it went f2p?

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PhoenixDfire

One of the things that I’m quite relieved about is that Elite:Dangerous got it’s Micro transaction Model right.

  • No Loot Boxes
  • No Pay to win
  • Reasonably priced
  • Good selection of skins, ship kits, commander clothes and fun, silly bobbleheads
    1. I reckon because they’ve got this right, it’s meant Elite: Dangerous : Horizons owners get a year ‘s worth of updates for free.

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kanbe

FFXIV would have gotten it for me but EVE pushed it out of the way with the updated F2P model. Now Alpha’s are much less restricted, benefit from subbing for a set time frame to train and being able to retain many of their skills after the sub lapses, and you can still earn a sub with in-game isk.

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David Goodman

Voted for WoW. Any game without lockboxes is good, but that’s the one i’m playing right now, so there we go.

I don’t disagree with microtransactions on principal depending on what they are, but for bleeps sake, just SELL THE F’ING THING directly, don’t make me “gamble” by making me purchase a key that opens a box that has a 1/100 chance of dropping 1/10th of a special unique item in it. (hoping that you don’t get a lot of duplicates of course.)

Reader
Alex Malone

I’m not playing any MMOs right now, and haven’t for years, so really hard to pick a best business model.

As far as I’m aware, none of those listed are sub-only or b2p only, so I voted for nothing. The presence of a cash shop means the game is immediately compromised, so picking a best model means knowing the specifics of the cash shop – prices, p2w, volume, lockboxes etc – but as I don’t play any of them I don’t know any specifics.

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

gw2 and poe still have the best payment models. wow and ffxiv? are you effing kidding me?

and btw: maybe next year you should let ppl vote first and then let them see the winner or the answers of the staff. almost every time the votes are the same as the winners… (or heavily favoured)

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connor_jones

I have to go with Star Trek Online, and before you roll your eyes, hear me out:

1) The game now has a huge amount of content, and none of it is gated behind a paywall.

2) Cash shop purchased T6 ships are a nice to have, but not an absolute necessity. In fact I say with some pride that I bought a T5 Mirror Universe science ship for a modest sum off the player exchange, and have taken it to almost the end of the available story content on advanced difficulty. To me this speaks volumes.

3) The cash shop is surprisingly fair. Cosmetic uniforms can be purchased for about $5-6 dollars per set, advanced T6 ships run about $25. Also, with a little patience you can save money by waiting for their not infrequent cash shop sales. Speaking of the cash shop, I find it curious that Cryptic’s other mmo Neverwinter has one of the worst cash shops I’ve ever seen, at least it was when I tried the game a few years ago. Not sure what’s up with that?

4) A word about their lockboxes. I know this is a very sensitive subject of late, and yes, I agree that Cryptic pushes the STO lockboxes a bit too hard. That said, STO has about the best lockboxes I’ve seen. I’ve almost always gotten something useful from them, or failing that at least something I can sell on the exchange for a tidy sum. The downside is that unlike GW2 they never give you any freebies, though the STO lockboxes are much better than the GW2 boxes which in my opinion have gotten worse of late.

“Enjoy your time in the frontier of yesterday, a time like that will never come again.” – Captain Pavel Checkov

cryinglightning39
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cryinglightning39

T6 ships are not “about $25”. They are $30. Same as Neverwinter mounts. There’s nothing wrong with the NW cash shop, NW has more options. NW subs get a free lock box key per day and other nice benefits that STO players do not get.
Cryptic nerfed the value of loot drops to the point where it’s all vendor trash now and meaningless. They’ve heavily restricted ways to make EC, so the grind in the game is the worst it’s been in years and prices on the exchange have doubled or tripled for keys and ships, fleet modules, and other important items. Doing the boring Tour the Galaxy across many farm alts is really the only way to make enough EC to buy anything in demand. It’s a huge grind but I’m sure F2P leeches still love it.

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connor_jones

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Bryan Turner

To any ESO players, what passes for PVE Endgame, I under stand there’s a lot of exploration like GW2, Is it big on Open World or is it group instance based?

Mewmew
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Mewmew

You know this reminds me, what ever happened to the Mo comics? :(

Reader
Melissa McDonald

You can successfully enjoy World of Tanks/Warships/Warplanes for free, without ever spending a dime. You can earn all your tech tier progressions through gameplay. I’ve spent money once in the last 3 years in WoT, because i wanted some cool camouflage on my tank, just a cosmetic.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Really? Ive heard many times that donators who buy “golden” ammo have huge advantage over anyone else in WoT

cryinglightning39
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cryinglightning39

That’s true. Gold Ammo practically negates armor in heavy tanks. It doesn’t just do more damage, the important aspect is that it has higher penetration stats. It’s the pen that makes it P2W.
The game is and always will be heavily RNG based and very much P2W. There’s no argument about it. There are high end players who always run “food” that costs gold and gives stat bonuses along with gold rounds and yes they absolutely have an advantage over a player who is not running them.
I’m taking a break from the game now but have over 10,000 matches played with a 54% win rate. I’m sorry but Melissa doesn’t sound like she plays the game seriously, so sure in her mind, gold rounds don’t matter.

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Melissa McDonald

Vastly overstated. Sure, gold ammo does more damage. But doesn’t make you a better player. I completely tune such drama out and happily play.

Reader
blah blazh

For me, I still find GW2’s payment model the best. I don’t feel pressured into playing all of the time due to a subscription and I can pay for cosmetics if I should choose to.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Reading editor’ reasoning behind choosing WoW i have a hard time finding an actual reason. Bree mostly talks about how Blizzard does it cuz they can. Instead of arguments there are phrases like “full stop”, “it just does”, “period” which is funny.

Eliot talks how PLEXes make WoW’s model great. Like grinding gold to buy game time is compelling thing.

Andrew says sub model is good because it pays for creating content. Guess what? F2P and B2P models allow this too.

Id like to hear just one convincing and well argumented reason why sub model is superior to what Path of Exile has

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

It’s not just the subs but also certain a la carte options, like mounts and level boosts that aren’t in lockboxes. I like buy to play too, but didn’t feel comfortable enough with any particular game to nominate it, especially as many also have lockboxes (seeing a pattern with me yet? ;P )

I’ve heard good things about Path of Exile’s model, but I don’t play it enough or talk to people who play it enough to risk commenting on it. Press MJ to push for it more next year, as she mentioned it but didn’t push anyone too hard (probably because she and I are trying to stay in people’s good graces after we fought for Landmark to win a few awards last year prior to the shutdown news -_- )

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Oleg Chebeneev

Imagine WoW 100% free. You log in and have access to any content without any limitations. You have all bank slots and everything else u have now. Just with cash shop that sells pets/mounts and some charging for character faction change or transfer.

There are many F2P games like that. YOu basically telling that between 2 games that offer absolutely everything and have irrelent game shop, the one with 15$ monthly charges has better model then the one that gives full access for free.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

there are special bank tabs including ones that are pretty much required for trading with.

it’s goa good model for the most part but don’t act like some MTs in the game aren’y pretty much mandatory.

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Armsbend

No F2P game has the writing and content of WoW. Not one single game.

ernost
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ernost

I might have agreed with you before they started recycling their own villains from previous storylines, that had already been killed off.

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Oleg Chebeneev

There are millions of people who will tell you that there are F2P games that have writing and content better then WoW

Reader
Malachi Shoffner

But you can’t name a single one.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Yes, I consider WoW one of the best MMORPGs. Doesnt change the fact that there are millions who consider it utter garbage. Thats my point. Such things are subjective

Reader
Emiliano Lozada

So start naming.

Reader
Zora

Id like to hear just one convincing and well argumented reason why sub model is superior to what Path of Exile has

That’s unlikely, at the end of the day it’s not a model in itself that is “better” but simply how well the publisher proves able to make it work in your favour as a customer. And it’s inevitable that among old time veterans of the genre the sub model will illicit positive reactions.

I feel the same and there’s less logic about it that I dare admit. It just feels… safe. Reassuring.

Many of the perceived advantages of the sub model are a trapping of our goodwill, a way to conduct business that was the norm in the past rather than a integral part of the having a sub.

When publishers can (as blizzard demonstrated admirably in WoD) get away with maintaining a buy+sub model even when publishing a half-baked expansion, providing barely any of the post-launch content subs are expected to finance and abandon it halfway through to develop the next product, you realize the main advantage of a sub model is our own faith in the fact that -certainly- they will not do such a thing ever, because nooo would they ever… we even paid a monthly sub, right?

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Oleg Chebeneev

Nice post, finally something logical. But it brings more weight to my opinion that sub defenders do it from “grass was greener” perspective thinking that if old MMOs they thought were the best had sub model, its part of the reason the were “the best”. And that F2P model is to blame for “genre degradation”.

Your last point isnt only related to sub model. People tend to leave F2P MMOs too if developers screw up, and this leads to lost profits.

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Armsbend

Because in the past decade of F2P models you might be lucky if you find 5 decent games wading through literal 100s of complete garbage. F2P makes developers think of their cash shop first and entertainment a distant second.

The sub games attract and hold on to more talented developers.

ernost
Reader
ernost

The sub games attract and hold on to more talented developers.

Lol, if that is the case then why has literally every sub game other than WoW and FFXIV converted to F2P or B2P if not outright shut down?

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Malachi Shoffner

He said they attract more talented developers, which is true when comparing the quality of music,story,gameplay,etc. of FFXIV and WoW to every fully F2P(no B2P) games. It’s less profitable than going the whale f2p route, but the games are better.

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Toy Clown

I love the business models of WoW and FFXIV. Just sadly not attracted to the graphics style. While I enjoyed FFXIV recently, once I hit end-game, as I did with WoW, I headed off. Hope to see a sub model for a game with realistic graphics one day. I might stay there awhile.

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Michael18

LOTRO‘s model is better than its reputation, imo. It’s very flexible, you can basically choose between F2P, B2P, and sub (plus paying for expansions, in all three cases). Might only be a bit different for people who are heavily focused on cosmetics and/or housing, because that can require quite a few extra purchases in the shop, depending on what exactly you want. But this is optional and not required to enjoy the main content of the game; the epic story quest lines are free even in F2P mode.

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Vincent Clark

Originally, I would agree. Now, with the Mordor Expansion they have gone off the deep end. The entire gear progression (while leveling up) and at end-game (raids, dungeons) has been developed with loot-boxes in mind. The less said about the actual pricing of the individual expansion packages, the better. If you can ignore all that–or if end-game isn’t your thing, then the model is fine. Otherwise, stay clear.

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Michael18

Before the instance cluster update (haven’t played since) I did not open any loot boxes at end game, not even those I got for free from daily quests (sold them on the AH). Still I had BiS gear except for 1 or 2 slots iirc and I did not grind that much. So at least it can be said the lock boxes can be avoided.

But you got a point there, of course. The mere fact that it is possible to speed up end game gear progression by buying lock boxes with real money is an issue. That’s true.

Reader
Stiqman

Hilarious to see this award given the amount of flaming that went on 6-7 years ago towards anyone who suggested F2P was going to be a cancer on the industry and cash shops would consume a major portion of developer effort, leaving actual game content thinly supported. Gee, and what happened?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

What you said.

For a new example see what repealing net neutrality does to the internet in 6-7 years. We’ll see if this website is still accessible then.

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Terren Bruce

Wow… I totally disagree with this award. I’m still giving it to GW2 because I spend $30 every two years on it and nothing else unless I feel like rewarding them. I couldn’t care less about the mount loot boxes for cosmetic skins. And with their new content cadence I haven’t had any problem finding something to do. If anything I have too much to do.

You guys enjoy spending $180 a year for your subscription MMO’s, and $220 a year during an expansion year. And still having cash shops on top of that (even if they are a little more gentle, but not much compared to GW2).

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Emiliano Lozada

I rather pay $180 a year for fast content updates and have the vast majority of the cosmetics being available to me through gameplay versus paying $30 every 2 years to deal with loot boxes, paying for cosmetics, and slow content rollout.

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

“You guys enjoy spending $180 a year for your subscription MMO’s”

I started WoW for the first time 4 months ago and haven’t had this much fun since FFXI back in 2002. I am enjoying it very much.

gelfred
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gelfred

Yep, agreed, f2p games just inconvenience you. You may not notice it, but its noticeably not there when on a game like WoW.

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Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

While I get the love of WoW’s tokens, I prefer FFXIV’s constant content updates for my sub instead. I don’t have time to grind gold, that’s why I pay a sub.

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Rumm

WoW certainly has to edge out FFVIV by the simple fact that you can pay for your subscription with in game gold.

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Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

WoW

Please please bring back the subscription model to all…

Lot of hate for WoW, but I like it, I get sevrers in Australia with a 30ms ping, I am happy to pay a premium subscription for a good service, I also know nothing in game is locked, unless you count expansions.

I don’t really touch the cash shop, who cares about some mounts, the only stuff I get from the cash shop some is when they have the pets with the 100% charity sales.

I am happy to pay for expansions, if you compare free to play games that do have expansions and then WoW’s expansions you get a shit ton more content.

But most F2P games don’t even have expansions you just get trickles of new content.

The next patch for Warships for example adds one new mission and ship horns, whoopido.
(in secret I am looking forward to tooting my horn hehe)

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Oleg Chebeneev

It boggles my mind how short sighted MOP readers are. Insisting that subscription model is the best like its still year 2004. Seriously, how the heck forced paywall that prevents many people from playing is better then F2P game that has ALL content available for free and just provides some cosmetics for cash?

As for poll. I dont even look at models other then F2P since all of them are archaic and have no place in MMO genre today (WoW and FF14 still do it just because they have millions of subscribers anyway. But they will switch to F2P eventually, no question about it).

Ofc there are crappy F2P models and I can give long list of examples. But there are also games with great F2P model like Path of Exile. But since PoE isnt an MMO, my vote goes for EVE Online, particularly what it became after revamp.

gelfred
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gelfred

Does not really matter if it prevents people who cant pay from playing, these games usually have high population, updates, good service and no overreaching cash shop.

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Vincent Clark

You’re a fan of Path of Exile. Duly noted. WoW and FFXIV will never go F2P because the people who play them don’t want them to go F2P. This isn’t about an industry trend going in one direction versus the other…it’s quite simple: People will continue to pay a sub if they feel that the content they are getting is worth the sub. There is a reason why WoW and FFXIV have millions of subscribers. I wonder what that is…

Zeph
Reader
Zeph

I think many of us are just turned off by F2P because of how many games have done it poorly, which is honestly the majority in my opinion.

Reader
Arktouros

Business models aren’t inherently better or worse than another.

So for example you have WOW. WOW is a solid game. It’s popular because it’s a solid game. Because it’s popular it can afford to have it’s subscription business model. It becomes more popular because it’s customers prefer the subscription business model which enhances it’s popularity.

You can see this in a variety of games who are also often times regarded as good in their field such as POE and others. They’re good games that are popular because they’re good which allows them to have a more generous/liked business model which in turn enhances the perception they’re good.

You can see the opposite as well where some games do okay, so they have an okay business model, which you get arguments over how it’s good/bad, which increases/lowers how people perceive that game. You see this in games like GW2. Also you can see with long term games like RIFT that cycle can update/change over time where first they may be fine with something like a subscription model but later that cycle might change where they weren’t doing so hot and so business model changes had to happen. However that doesn’t mean every business model is all good either. WOW is notorious for having massive drops in subscriptions in between content lulls such as pre-expansion. Games like POE still design item count intensive systems that push storage space.

So when we’re labeling one system as good we’re just saying that we like these business strategies over other business strategies. In many ways they’re all bad or simply put another way each business model has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

Zeph
Reader
Zeph

It’s WoW for me, which means FFXIV tags along. I play some B2P and F2P games, but the simplicity of the subscription model just really appeals to me. Money for a service. I don’t have to worry about unlocking the next zone or feature, only whether or not I want to buy a glitzy sparkle pony from Blizzard.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

Maybe the first time I’m 100% in agreement with the pick. I am fully on board good subscription models now – maybe for life.

Again, Brendan’s pick was hilarious.

Proposal for 2018 Awards.

Massively Overpowered Brendan’s Pick For A Game That Isn’t EVE Online. Seriously. Just Pick A Name Out Of A Hat Brendan. Any Will Do. Please.

2018 MOBPFAGTIEOSJPANOOAHBAWDP Award for a short acronym.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Why would he if EVE Online has a great model after F2P revamp. Id put it #2 on the list after PoE

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

Proposal for 2018 Awards.

Massively Overpowered Brendan’s Pick For A Game That Isn’t EVE Online. Seriously. Just Pick A Name Out Of A Hat Brendan. Any Will Do. Please.

2018 MOBPFAGTIEOSJPANOOAHBAWDP Award for a short acronym.

Sounds like an easy lock-in award for EVE Online!

Reader
Arktouros

If you didn’t explain your answers I think I’d mind but you usually do a good blurb on why you’re choosing EVE and how that relates to the question being asked.

Then again I also don’t get why people take things too seriously. It’s not like these awards going to be etched into golden tablets to be handed down to our children’s Children for all time or anything. Nor will it have any actual impact on anything ever as companies long ago figured out that Subscription models are terrible regardless how customers feel about it. Don’t see why anyone would mind!

(Yes I get Armsbend was joking around)

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

That’s kind of funny because there are several awards this year that I gave an answer but no real explanation for, we just haven’t got to them yet! We all gave our picks and then discussed them as a team to come to a final decision though.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

Next time I see Brendan doesn’t pick EVE I’m going to have more questions than answers.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

This maaaaaay not be the last one I voted EVE Online for, but I guarantee you will agree with one of them.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

love yeh babe :) you keep on being you!

Reader
rafael12104

I’ll abstain from this one.

I see at least two F2P games that are using good business practices that can make the case: Path of Exiles and Warframe.

And yet, as I mentioned below, the best business practice for players is a sub only model. A true sub like all used to know and love. There might be a free weekend etc. etc. But the value lies in the sub.

But the reason I can’t bring myself to vote for any right now is because I think the gaming industry and our genre is in a quagmire.

Sub only games are increasingly under pressure to change there ways and monetize more than just via the cash shop. F2P games are always under the specter of pay to win.

And they are all just a patch away from lootbox bingo.

Wow=Activision. Yeah, yeah, Blizz is not immune to greed. And FFXIV is Square who have already said this past summer that they are looking to increase profitability by establishing games as platforms (games as a service), and adding more features via microtransactions.

TL;DR? I’ve lost faith. And I vote none.

Reader
Bryan Correll

I would have voted for PoE but, though I love it dearly and like having it covered here, I just can’t buy into considering it an MMO.

Now if you’ll excuse it’s time to get back to the Abyss League and hope that Vagan and Vorici will quit screwing around and finally spawn somewhere. I’m back in Oriath and you jerks still haven’t had the decency to appear and get to work for me.

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Sally Bowls

Hmm, so none of the writers voted for FF, EVE got more mentions & votes than FF, and yet FF was a co-winner?

Reader
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Armsbend

Can you really count Brendan’s vote?

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Zora

Eliot and brianna both voted for it together with wow, it’s at the end of their comments… Andrew voted FFXIV although he claimed he felt ESO was a strong contender.

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mistressbrazen

Actually both FF and Eve On Line had three mentions. So, it seems that would be a three way tie?

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Bryan Correll

The boss’s vote counts double. :-)

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Castagere Shaikura

To me B2P GW2 will never be beat.

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Fervor Bliss

Since I don’t have the time to play WoW or FFXIV enough to pay subscription. I like to be able to cancel and jump into a game now and then for some fun.
Lucky for me many games do not have such harsh rules as the winners this year.
Also Subs and a cash shop really ? This is the best?

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Brendan Drain

I promise I didn’t just pick EVE Online for every award, it just happens that the couple I picked it for were our first published awards!

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Zora

If there is any sort of cosmic justice, this year I want to see a “best game to play while doing other things” award with Brendan not picking his fave hehe

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Bryan Correll

The real questions is: What kind of dirt do you have on Justin that you could use to force him to also vote for EVE?

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Paragon Lost

I’ve been saying it for years, to the point that people are tired of me saying it and that is that subscriptions are the overall best business model for the mmorpg genre. World of Warcraft though I am not currently subbed/playing still does it the best in that regard.

I have a lot of issues with how they do various mechanics and it is why I am not playing, but I can’t fault them for what they offer with their subscription model. Now, back to playing Lotro and a “meh business model”.

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Ariel Domen

Surely must be the best if you live in the first world. For others, spending $15 per month is simply not a possibility and the B2P and F2p models are the best options. Sure we miss a lot of the cosmetic stuff but we get to play *something*.

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rafael12104

Yup. Ironically, subs are the best despite the idea that many games aren’t offering a sub only business model.

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Greaterdivinity

I’ll throw behind PoE. They’re still not selling content, are constantly coming out with new cosmetic options and new services/tech that folks actually want and request, and are pumping out free content for all players regardless of if they pay or not.

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Polyanna

How is Star Trek Online not in this list?

Consider this my write-in for it. It has the most in-offensive F2P model of any game I have played. You can play 100% of all the story line content in total comfort without spending a dime, including all the latest expansions and up to the current level cap. And you even can get endgame capable ships for free during events three or four times a year.

Beyond that, it gets pricey if you want all the shiny cash shop ships (and you will), but the cash sink is nicely offset by the deep discounts and mega bundle deals that they frequently run.

Overall, STO stands out as the best experience by far that I’ve had in an MMO when spending no money at all on it, and equally the one I’ve consistently felt most satisfied with my purchases in when I have chosen to spend money on it (much more than a little, over the years).

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Alex Willis

It seems weird to award this to a sub-model. Not saying subs are bad, but…it’s kind of like people who try to argue that standard transmissions are better than automatic transmissions. Like, sure, OK? Let me know how you also greatly prefer using ink and quills to write out longhand.

I guess I was hoping for a somewhat more…innovative win here. Warframe, Path of Exile, even GW2 make more sense to me as a “best”, if you’re going to look at appeal and quality and value across the board. I know the award isn’t for “innovation” per se. But…”best”? A sub model? Ohhhhkayyyy….

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Arktouros

I dunno if I’d consider those other games really all that much more innovative.

If I’m being honest this whole award/topic generally comes off like which turd stinks the least as we discuss the negatives of one system not being as bad as another.

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Sray

I’m right there with you. I get thay it’s the old familiar model, but frankly it’s still heavily flawed. Most subs don’t provide new playable content per sub period; 5 or 6 times a year you get a small infusion of playable content that is maybe comparable in value to what you’d get for a fifteen dollar dlc in a non-sub game. Name one other type of subscription where you don’t always get something new per pay period; personally, I can’t think of any. To me it comes down to the quantitative value of a MMO sub is not there when compared to non-subscription games: the 150 to 180 US dollars per year is equal to 3 to 6 non-sub, multiplayer games that will provide me with at least as much entertainment, and probably a far greater variety of game play as well.

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Coolit

If ESO didn’t have loot boxes it would have been my winner however it does so I just can’t bring myself to vote for it. So I feel it’s between WoW and FFXIV, my only gripe with WoW is you can buy gold through the token so I voted FFXIV.

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Apridise

Those loot boxes are only cosmetic items AND ESO has events where you can earn the tokens to get these for free for non subscribers. If you do subscribe you can use left over amount on them OR buy something else in the shop. But down voting it for a sub model? If you pretend the loot boxes don’t exist… I just can’t fathom how an AAA game that lets you in free can lose out to a sub model….

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Dug From The Earth

Path of Exile wins hands down.

100% free
No pay 2 win
No pay 2 skip
No pay 2 not wait
No pay 2 go faster

No other F2P game matches this. Warframe still has pay 2 skip and pay 2 go faster.

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Arktouros

POE is guilty of designing a large amount of the game around mechanics that take up a large amount of storage space. Divination Cards, Essences, Currencies and now Maps all take up an atrocious amount of space that present a constant pressure to either leave loot behind or expand your storage. Four storage tabs is woefully inadequate and they of course sell quality of life solutions to problems they designed.

Now is it EA level trying to gouge you every chance they can? No. However saying it’s 100% free or that it doesn’t have mechanics that pressure you to pay for $4 Essence Tab or a $5 card tab or a $7 currency tab or a $15 map tab (all of which will carry thousands of specific items which equates to numerous regular stashes) let alone any other tabs isn’t accurate either.

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BalsBigBrother

It is an arpg they are at their core loot finder games and inventory management has always been part of that equation even before the original diablo made the genre popular.

With PoE all of the loot can at some point be of use even the trash white stuff can be used in end game if it has good gem links / colours and you can roll good stats onto it. The trick is to learn what is good and look for that then ignore the rest, loot filters can really help with this part. You have to be disciplined if you want to play this way.

Personally I have 15 stash tabs including some of the premium, currency stashes etc.

In the course of a season if I use more than six stash tabs total I am slipping in my game discipline. It usually breaks down to 1 currency tab, 1 card tab, 1 essence tab, 3 normal tabs (weapons, armour and a misc tab for maps / gems / other stuff).

I have 15 because it did take me a while to figure out I don’t actually need all that to play a season, it took me a while to work out what is worth keeping and what is just filling space for no reason other than to fill space.

At the end of the day with some discipline it can be done with minimum purchase but there is a hell of a lot of game offered in compensation for the absolute minimum of cost. This is only my experience and I accept others will feel differently I am just showing my side of things :-)

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Arktouros

While I’m new I actually have been playing games for a long time and I pick up very quickly on the ins and outs of things. For example I had FilterBlade by Neversink installed by day 2 and by day 6 now I’ve began setting up custom loot filters based on it.

The only issue I really have at this point is difficulty in knowing which Uniques are valuable and which are not as there’s a huge variety of builds and knowing which uniques are solid for all is difficult at best. However POE Price Info has been helpful in that for many items as I can see what others are offering them for sale for and gauge prices accordingly.

So while I’d love to dismiss the issue as simply being a hoarder, the fact is that isn’t really the issue going on here. It’s simply a matter of repeated design updates in which encourage taking up more and more of your storage space that isn’t an issue for those who already bought in.

Over all I am enjoying the game and it’s very much improved from when I quit back in beta and I’d love to say I’m spending money because I support what a fantastic job they’ve done but the reality is I’ll end up buying storage space simply because the game has pressured me to do so just like other games have as well.

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BalsBigBrother

Well as I said it took me a little while to figure out what I needed and what I didn’t and that was over the course of several hundred hours of playing.

There is a lot to take in and I will grant you having stash space can take some pressure off you when you are unsure what is good or not, hence why I have 15 stash tabs even though I don’t use them all these days.

Hopefully you will figure things out in due time and of course have a lot of fun in the process :-)

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Arktouros

I got the hang of things pretty good I think, not an overly complicated game when you get down to it.

Just a question if I think I’ll be playing the game long enough to justify the $$$ investment the game is encouraging me to pay.

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Dug From The Earth

Which is why i didnt say “no pay 2 unlock”

You get bag space, a decent amount. But if you are a collector, hoarder, or just play a TON, you will run out of space. You must pay real money to get additional space. The additional bag space is a convenience, but a very very NICE convenience at that in this game. I actually played PoE for over a year with the default bag space. When it came time for me to want to support the devs, I paid money specifically for bag space.

Every F2P game i can think of makes you pay for bag space of some sort.

Most give you a pitiful bag to start.

PoE at least gives you a moderate amount of space right off the bat. The key is learning to not keep so much junk. Its more than enough for someone starting out. I had a habit of keeping EVERY skill gem i found, for example, which leads up to taking TONS of space. The truth is, you dont need to keep ANY skill gems, with the exception of higher quality ones, and even those, if not a skill thats good, can be dumped.

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Arktouros

I would argue, instead, that additional stash tab space is an advantage and not simply a convenience. A lot of the specialty stash tabs have immense storage. Each currency can go up to 5000, and with some currencies only stacking to 20 that’s 250 slots worth of currency of one type.

I’m at 6 days of 1-80 and i’m out of room. First stash is all currency, cards, and essences. Second is all maps (I’ve stopped keeping numerous duplicates of maps in favor of upgrading them to higher tiers) which there are 16 tiers of. Third is Misc stuff (Sacrifice Fragments, few flasks, 10%+ quality gems, etc). Fourth is a combination of good unqiues and gear I want to craft/upgrade/modify (those new Atlas Base type gears so goooood).

I am not a hoarder, but I want to be. I’ve read about things like Chaos/Regal orb recipes that you can save gear sets for and sell them off. I can’t do that due to lack of space. The entire game pressures you as you progress to either leave most things behind or simply pay for storage and you don’t have to.

And, look, all that is fine. 100% okay to have a business strategy like that and after a week of giving it a go I’ll probably buy in. But I’m going to call a spade a spade and it’s pretty clear how and why these systems were designed with storage expansion purchases in mind. I’m not spending money because I want to, I’m spending money because I’m tired of dealing with the inventory headaches they designed in their game so I’ll pay to remove them.

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Dug From The Earth

Its a fine line between convenience and advantage.

Storage space doesnt help you level
Storage space doesnt help you kill things

It sounds like you use your storage wisely

But you have played enough where the reality of “nothing is completely free” sets in. Its entertainment, and eventually, you are going to need to drop some cash if you reach a point where playing free becomes a bother.

I stated that the game is 100% free. To be more specific to clear any confusion, this applies to
100% free to level from 1-max level
100% free to experience and play 100% of the games content
100% free to obtain and use all the games items
100% free to take part in all the game play modes in the game.

4 stash tabs IS doable, but becomes more and more of a burden the more you play.

What is missing here is the comparison to all the other games on the list.

PoE eventually inspires you to spend money on bag/stash space. (not as quickly as most other games). And thats it.

Compared to other games, that make you feel the need to spend money on:
– Bag space
– Mounts
– Combat companions
– Boosters (xp/currency/crafting)
– Crafting materials
– Loot boxes (ugh)
– Unlocked game zones
– Unlocked game play modes
– Unlocked character/classes/etc
– Unlocked Races
– Additional ability to run dungeons/events etc another time
etc
– A subscription fee to actually play at all
– A box fee to play at all
– A fee for expansions

… PoE simply stands tall…. because oh no… play enough and you will have to buy more storage space.

My point being, despite “needing” to buy stash space, there really isnt a comparison between PoEs model and all the other games on the list.

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Arktouros

But you have played enough where the reality of “nothing is completely free” sets in. Its entertainment, and eventually, you are going to need to drop some cash if you reach a point where playing free becomes a bother.

I stated that the game is 100% free.

You can’t simultaneously state that the reality is nothing is free but here’s why this game is 100% free. Either the game is 100% free or it uses game design to eventually pay for the game. Making statements that you know the game eventually is going to want you to pay for it doesn’t back up 100% free statements.

More over the 100% free statements you use can be applied to many games out there so long as you’re also willing to put up with the disadvantages and annoyances that come with playing for free. Stating one game is better or worse than another doesn’t undermine the objective point that conceptually they are identical.

There’s other faulty comparisons as well. For example you bring up there’s no need to spend money on mounts, but the game has no mounts. Why would you compare those? Shouldn’t we also then compare the things that POE doesn’t offer like the ability to play with tens or hundreds of your friends/guildies at the same time? Can they afford to have a more consumer friendly business model because they don’t have to pay for the design or maintenance of a perpetual world?

Furthermore the game does have loot boxes and heavily incentivizes paying the cheaper $3 amount for them because many of the cosmetics, when compared to other similarly priced cosmetics, are upwards of $40 in some cases. Many games offer only cosmetics in their cash shop boxes but are regularly taken to task for them as well. Look at the GW2 debacle over their RNG mount crates.

Finally, I’m okay with POE’s business model. Over all it’s not bad. However lets not bullshit each other here and pretend that their deceptive business practices and game design pushing storage space is on any different than other games doing the exact same thing.

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Dug From The Earth

I can state that, as long as you dont take it out of context, as you did.

Cutting off my quote mid explaination to make a point… tisk tisk\

But lets stick to the point. The topic of this article is which of the listed games have the best business model.

Argue “storage” semantics all you like, PoE has ZERO requirements to ever buy anything. But… to give your gripe the benefit of the doubt, we will say that additional bag space, is indeed, 100% required… and thus.. the ONLY thing you need buy in PoE.. is bag space.

Compared to every other game on the list, its still ahead of the pack by a metric mile. EVERY other game on the list, if you were to only buy bag space, you will STILL be missing out on some part of the game unless you paid for that as well.

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Arktouros

I cut off your quote because the rest of your quote went on to undermine the 100% part of your statement. Either the game is 100% free, or it’s only X% free. 100% is a fixed point where you say everything (or 100/100 as in all elements) is free. This is not the case as we clearly see the bulk of the cosmetic options and storage expansion are not free. You also recognize it’s not 100% free because you clearly stated in the other quote that “nothing is completely free.” If it’s not completely free, then it’s not 100% free. Cherry picking the parts of the game in a list then of what is free doesn’t back up the statement the game is 100% free it in fact highlights only some aspects of the game are free while others are not.

You could make the same argument about ArcheAge if you wanted. You have ZERO requirements, technically, that you ever buy anything but oh boy I’d hate to play that game because it’s game was designed around buying things in the cash shop. Oh sure, technically, 100% technically free but we all know that’s a load of garbage. And it’s no different in POE where the developers have done the exact same thing. They’ve created a number of advantageous but space intensive vendor recipes (chaos, regal, flasks, chisel, gemcutter, etc) that if you pay you get an advantage over those who don’t and have to just leave that stuff on the ground.

Compared to every other game on the list, POE is still an Online ARPG and not a MMO. If you want to argue it has a better model than Marvel Heroes or Diablo 3 by all means but lets keep comparisons to like games.

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Dug From The Earth

Undermine my own statement? More like explain the generalization of it.

I still stick by my original belief that you can (and people do) continue to play the game, 100% without spending a single dime. Its doable.

That makes the game 100% free.

You arent missing out on ANYTHING.

Being inconvenienced is not missing out on anything the game has to offer.

And again, no other game on the list allows you to play completely 100% for free without missing out on at least something.

That, to me, makes PoE the clear winner when it comes to the above list of games, and best business model.

Apridise
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Apridise

Does this game have a group mechanism and content while leveling where you can group and run dungeons together like ESO, Wow or FFXIV?

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BalsBigBrother

Short answer is yes.

Slightly longer answer: Yes you can do every piece of content in the game as a group. Once you get to the mapping end game you are essentially doing a dungeon instance with trash mobs and a boss fight at the end. Though probably due to the nature of the game more trash mobs than the average mmo player would be used to.

It even has a group finder that has functionality that would benefit most mmos. In that you can specify how you will be running your group or what content you are doing. You can type a note to say you are speed farming a specific area or doing relaxed story content etc etc.

Apridise
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Apridise

While that is a group manager for finding groups to run continent, its not like the ones I mentioned. FFXI actually has one just like what your describing but they separated that into a different tool then the dungeon finder. So based on your answer and what someone else wrote the answer is actually no it doesn’t. It’s been at least a year and I never got very far so I wasn’t sure but I know I never got into it because of the story and graphics mainly. Frankly I don’t think that this game should even be on this list because its not a traditional MMO, as the next poster even said, it’s a mmoArpg. You play it more single player like Lotro which interestly is more of an MMO then Path of Exile and isn’t on the list.

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BalsBigBrother

You asked if you could group while levelling and indeed you can if you have friend or can find folks do to the content with you. There is a group finder that can facilitate that if you care to use it.

While I accept that it doesn’t have traditional instanced dungeons in the wow / eso or ffxiv style the end game maps do function in exactly the same way and again you can do them in a group of you wish.

If you don’t like the story or graphics that is fine I am not here to convince you that is your choice. As for the rest that wasn’t in your original query and I am unsure why you are bringing it up now so I will just take a pass on that.

Thanks for your time and have a nice day o7

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Dug From The Earth

You can group in Path of Exile.

There arent dungeons. The game is more along the lines of Diablo 2, Titan Quest, Grim dawn, only a bit larger in scale. Towns are hubs where you see even more people.

Its an mmoArpg… not an mmorpg.

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BalsBigBrother

While end game mapping isn’t a traditional instanced dungeon in say the wow style mechanically they work the same. You enter an instance, fight your way past the trash, fight a boss or bosses at the end (in most cases) and collect your loot. Dungeons in all but name imo but if you don’t agree that is fine /shrugs

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Sray

The Destiny franchise has the best model, DLC screw ups aside. A full retail release every two to three years, followed by a successor product. The original product remains playable (thousands are still happily playing Destiny 1), and the new product moves things forward. Additional content is sold to you, and is optional (although required for endgame); plus a non-intrusive microtransaction shop. Come Destiny 3 when we’ll probably be able to carry some sort of progress forwardfrom Destiny 2, it’ll be even better.

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Tobasco da Gama

I don’t know how anybody can vote for WoW. Double-dipping with a mandatory subscription and gating new content behind buy-to-play expansions still doesn’t add up to “best business model”. Oldest business model, sure, maybe even most familiar to MMO grognards, but hardly best.

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Paragon Lost

You and I will have to strongly disagree. It might be an old business model but as I’ve been saying for years, it’s overall the best one for both players and developers. It gives you 24/7/365 access to an immersive gaming experience that grows over time.

It gives developers a constant and fair cash flow that allows them to recoup their initial development costs and allows them to pay employees, offer benefits, pay for building space, insurances, hardware, servers costs etc and on top of that maintain current game world while working on improvements and expansions. The expansion costs which like the initial box costs give more income to help them out and further power the game and company.

When you consider the paltry sum asked for the initial box, monthly subscription fee and the very year or two expansion box, it’s hard to knock the hobby. It’s got a very low entry fee once you’ve got a gaming pc which nowadays for most isn’t a high cost either if you save for a few months.

Heading away from the box/subscription/paid expansions business model was the worst thing that ever happened to the mmorpg genre. Now game developers have to always keep in mind ways to keep cash coming in order to stay in business. Every aspect of game development is now approached with a mind to how can we monetise it. :/ Also cash flow is very uneven and just a total nightmare for the game developer, they can’t depend on said flow at all, it’s all over the damn place.

Anyhow that’s my once in a blue moon reminder of how strongly I disagree/dislike the B2P/F2P business models which I don’t see much difference in. In the end they have to monetise the crap out of game in order to stay in business and depends on Whale players like myself who can afford to toss an extra couple grand their way. What a shitty way to do business.

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ensignedwards

Don’t forget an extensive cash shop and ludicrously over-priced account services.

Yeah, I was shocked to see so many votes for WoW. It’s not even close to the best, and I say that as an avid WoW player. If anything it could probably be a contender for worst, IMO.

ESO gets my vote.

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Paragon Lost

WoW has an extensive cash shop? I guess you don’t play other mmorpgs then. It’s pretty barebones when you compare it to other mmos. I’m shocked that you don’t see that and didn’t vote for WoW! (see what I did there?) Hard to take you serious when you’re being hyperbolic. I personally think that ESO has a pretty shitty system as an aside. Go figure.

Edit: (glances down at Zen Dadaist’s comment) Nevermind I am not going to waste my time debating this crap. Rather actually go for a ride, it’s 40 feels like 36 so I’m good to go.

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ensignedwards

I write about MMOs professionally and have played virtually every significant MMO from the last ten years, plus a few older titles. WoW’s cash shop might not be quite as big as games that rely on them entirely, but it’s not exactly small. Especially when you consider that literally the only virtue of a subscription model, its only justification from a player’s perspective, is that you’re supposed to get everything in the game for a single fee.

WoW’s model is the worst of all worlds. You can’t play at all without coughing up $15 a month, and you have to pay for expansions that are comparable in cost to entire new games, and you’re surrounded by overpriced microtransactions.

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zeko_rena

Yeah, well I am an MMO god and have been playing them for 100’s of years, so take that!

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Zen Dadaist

Oh, right. Paying for expacs on top of a monthly sub instead of just for buy to play games. I forgot that was still a thing in a couple of places. Ergh.

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Zora

Correction: pay to buy the base game -and- the current expansion…which does not come with the base game free of charge…and still have a sub attached…services as premium as usual.

With upcoming allied races not-so-subtly blurring the line between the free ingame barbershop and race-change paid services, it’s going to get better and better. What a time to be alive <3

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Tobasco da Gama

And all the expansions in between if you want to level more than one character!

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ensignedwards

Actually all prior expansions are now rolled into the base game. So all you have to buy now is the base game and Legion. Still kind of a lot on top of the sub and everything else, though.

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Zen Dadaist

I haven’t played so many this year, so my current experience is somewhat limited and I have to rely on what I see/hear. I suppose I can’t disagree with WoW/FFARR given they’re sub models without bullshit lootboxes – which is actually my preferred MMO business model.

I voted for (surprise) Warframe because its business model is one of the reasons I’m happy with it and whenever I get a 50% or 75% off voucher I do buy a little plat. The community snaps at the heels of any percieved monetisation bullshit, and DE seem to want to keep things fair in the first place.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Now that Marvel Heroes is gone there is no game I play personally that I feel deserves this. Other people made great picks.

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Zora

Awww wildstar isn’t on the list, you mean mean people. I think it’s a rather forgiving model, everything is open to you and the only thing you gain from subbing is bonuses to your activities. Cash shop is pretty furnished and not intrusive, you can buy subs with ingame cash if you will… nothing too shabby.

If I were to pick one of the titles in the list, I think it’d probably be ESO. They triple-dip just as shamelessly as blizzard does but the cash shop has a reasonable offer of goods to justify its existence and you actually get stuff other than the privilege to access the game you already -bought- if you actually sub. :P

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Brandon McCormick

I know this might be blasphemy and there is no love lost with Daybreak games, but I really like their sub-model, pay 15 bucks a month and get sub access to all of their games.

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Castagere Shaikura

This is so true. If MOP is so hot for a sub. model they should have picked this.

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Schmidt.Capela

Or, if you lucked by purchasing a DCUO lifetime sub back when they were available, enjoy a free subscription to all Daybreak titles — including the $5 in store cash per month — until the day DCUO sunsets.

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Polyanna

As far as the model itself, I totally agree with this. It’s just too bad they don’t have any games I want to play, since I never got into EQ and am over PS2 at this point. When I did have All Access in the past though, I always wished other companies with games I actually care about would offer the same sort of plan.

It feels like Steam is going to have to go this way and start offering a Spotify style monthly fee for access to the whole catalog, or else some other company that does (GOG maybe?) will eat their lunch when they do. Someone sure as hell should, cause if Steam needs anything right now it’s some actual competition from a company that will get off its ass and innovate in this space for a change.

Anyway, sorry for the hijack, but these sorts of all access passes seem to be the way of things to come for all species of digital content delivery. If they deliver actual value, people obviously are happy to pay for them. Video game makers seem to be the dinosaurs at this point; basically clinging to DVD pricing in the age of Netflix.

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Nick

No votes for Rift? Lol

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Brother Maynard

Pst, I can get you one… $100, no questions asked.

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BalsBigBrother

No contest for me personally Path of Exile.

I agree 100% with what MJ said, I have in all the time I have played it never felt pressured or pushed into buying anything for the game.

The said I have probably thrown more money at PoE than any other game I own to date. When I can afford them I will purchase the supporter packs and when I can’t afford something that expensive I will chuck in a few pounds for a lockbox or three.

The simple reason for that is I enjoy the game and want it to continue. It can only do that with continued funding so I do what I can when I can afford to because I want to not because I have to.

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Arktouros

I mean if you’re already spending money on the game why would you feel pressure to spend more money on the game?

I started the game last Friday and 4 Stash Tabs is immensely limiting.

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BalsBigBrother

Listen to this weeks podcast there is an email from a listener talking about going back to Rift after an extended break. They mention the first thing there were confronted with was a pop up on screen saying look at the shiny stuff we have in our cash shop.

Rift is probably a bad example given how messed up Trion are these days but its not the only game to do that with others being more in your face. Even Lotro which is my current mmo has things embedded into the ui that direct you to the cash shop for things like extending your inventory, crafting progress, deeds and pretty much everything else.

That is what I mean about pressuring you to visit the cash shop and a lot of games do that even more overtly. There is non of that in your face pressure in PoE though granted stash space until you figure things out (please read my post higher up).

As they say there is no such thing as a free lunch so you are never going to get a game as complex and as well supported as PoE is totally for free. However for the cost of a coffee and sandwich lunch you can have a hell of a lot of game which is a heck of a lot of bang for your bucks imo :-)

For forms sake I acknowledge that I am totally drinking the GGG coolaid and I am totally biased in my opinion because I enjoy PoE immensely. ymmv depending on your own fun or not with the game.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

True, but 4 stash tabs doesn’t prevent you from playing 100% of the game for free.

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Arktouros

I mean we can point to any number of games where you can play 100% of the game for free if you’re willing to deal with the inconveniences they designed into the game to get you to pay.

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Schmidt.Capela

Kinda my case too, in that the more I feel forced to spend money on a game, the lower the chance I will actually spend money on it.

I’m not playing PoE, though. I have a big issue with how they handle respecs. For someone that used to respec daily in Diablo 3 and that refused to play Diablo 2 online because it would remove my ability to use cheats to respec, PoE’s design philosophy of pushing players that want to try new builds into rolling new characters is a huge turn-off.

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