The Daily Grind: What do you think is right to charge for in a free-to-play MMO?


We all understand that free-to-play games still basically want your money, yes? That’s the whole point of the business model. But the question is always what should be charged for, a question that is much harder to answer, since every potential answer can be rather fraught. Sure, it’s easy to say that you should just charge for cosmetics and outfits… but if that’s your only real source for good cosmetics, suddenly that starts feeling a bit gross.

My personal feeling is that cosmetic items and access to content are perfectly fine to charge for, but not things so basic as access to hotbars and the like (no, Star Wars: The Old Republic, no one is forgetting that). At the same time, I feel conflicted about things like buying more bank space in games like Star Trek Online, which don’t require that purchase but sure encourage it… it’s complicated, in other words. So what do you think is right to charge for in a free-to-play MMO? For that matter, what things do you actually think you would buy?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Everyone has their opinion, mine are rather strickt.

Ok to charge for:
Bag/bank space, access to content (one time), lesser convenience, game time & its currency, character services (transfer, rename, etc), character slots, class/race unlocks (provided they can also be unlocked by playing the game), premium access (special servers).

Not ok (and breaking my game experience):
Any Cosmetics, any item that gives stats, pets, mounts, lootboxes, game currencies of any kind except game time.


The above is for a real mmorpg, because to me everything needs to be earned in such a game, to put everyone on equal ground, to give all items VALUE and getting it a sense of accomplishment. Also it is for pve mmorpgs, as I really don’t give a frack about how pvp mmorpgs do things.
For lobby games and other nonmmos, cosmetics are fine, even direct p2w to some degree, as long as it isn’t creepy designed. So yeah…mmorpgs are just different.

Roger Melly

It depends if the game has pvp in it or not . I am OK with armor, weapons ,trinkets etc being for sale in a purely or mostly PVE game as long as its also readily available within the game itself and there is a good chance of getting such gear ( not if its almost impossible to get if you take my meaning ) .

In a game with widespread pvp I am completely fine with cosmetics and maybe some sort of XP boost depending on how much of an advantage it gives you .

I am certainly completely against selling huge space ships of thousands of dollars in a game that doesn’t yet exist .


I agree with Eliot.
All cosmetics are fine. Also access to content is fine as it’s a 1-time purchase.
Anything with stats in not okay, anything that saves time is not okay, convenience items are almost never okay.

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Schlag Sweetleaf


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$3.50 or tree fitty


First up, I do not play F2P games. My past experience with them has been 100% negative, and as one of my favourite things about mmorpgs is the community, there’s just no point me playing a f2p game with the community it attracts.

That said…..

I liked LotRO’s original F2P ethos. Can’t afford a subscription? No problem, buy the parts of the game separately on a time scale you can afford. Total cost for all f2p items should end up being more than a subscription costs in a year.

That way, players are still encouraged to subscribe, and subscribing is still cheaper if you play a lot. But, if you play on a limited timescale or limited budget, then you can enjoy the convenience of f2p and just buy the content as-and-when you need it.

Matthew Yetter

I’m all in favor of cosmetics of all kinds. Clothing, mounts, furnishings, etc. Even certain character appearance options like premium hair styles.

I think a game would also do great to offer a certain number of free character slots, with a charge for additional slots.

Oleg Chebeneev

Cosmetics, cool looking mounts, XP boosts, titles and other crap that doesnt affect competitive gameplay, particularly PvP


If you’re playing F2P you should expect everything except the UI (like Action Bars that’s particularly scummy) and playable content to be for sale, even pay to win mechanics.

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Services (account transfers, renames, refactions, changing race/sex, additional character slots, expansions and some DLCS etc..)

Upgrades (shared bank space, inventory space) *with the caveat that these are also available via in game currency just by playing too

Amenities (mounts, cosmetics, dyes, skins etc.. basically nothing with stats)

All unlocks should be account-wide not per character too, as I detest nickel and diming or better yet like SWTOR does and give the choice of unlocking per character or as an account, give US the choice, don’t make it for us.

Matthew Yetter

I agree on every point.

Regarding the account-wide unlocks, I think there is room for a middle ground by having two price points. For X amount, you can unlock for the character. For 50% more (or double) you can buy the unlock account-wide.

So it’s taking your point of player choice a step further by giving the player the choice of whether to have the unlock be one way or the other.


” think there is room for a middle ground by having two price points. For X amount, you can unlock for the character. For 50% more (or double) you can buy the unlock account-wide.”

You sound like one of the Corporate Suit-Dummies who come up with these cash shops…………GTFO here with that money grubbing, nickel & dime every last cent Bull SH*T.