Doing Free to Play Wrong – How Bad Monetization Harms F2P Games – Extra Credits

90 thoughts on “Doing Free to Play Wrong – How Bad Monetization Harms F2P Games – Extra Credits

  1. Valve has this down pat, they mainly focus on cosmetics so no resentment and they are cool to have so people like them also in tf2 there is an item sorta like the money bomb called the giftapult.

  2. I feel like I’m going to get a lot of hate, but Fortnite kind of does this well.
    It allows free access to Battle Royale and Save the World(eventually) without a paywall.
    In the Battle Royale mode, you can even earn some cosmetics for free.
    And it’s technically possible to get the battle pass without spending money.
    You’re not inclined to spend money in the game(unless it’s a skin you desperately need).

  3. Warhammer 40k has consumed sooo much of my money for pointless models that have no relevance in life yet I say MONEY WELL SPENT HELL YEAH MORE MODELS TO KILL MY BUDDIES WITH

  4. It's simple, if it's a multiplayer game you only want to sell cosmetic things, because giving any advantage for money is bad. And if it's a single player game then it's the best to just sell dlc's with any kind of content.

  5. I recently noticed an interesting solution for this issue in Fortnite. Locked behind a subscription fee are various challenges, which if completed, give the player cosmetic rewards. I find this to be an interesting abstraction from the mere association of cosmetics with premium membership. Instead, by giving the player an in-game challenge to complete, it feels much more integrated into the core experience of the game. The developers also, quite cleverly, allowed non-premium members to experience a few of these challenges without paying. By making these challenges a component of the gameplay (while still remaining secondary to the core engagement), I feel the model is far more compelling than other methods seen thus far.

  6. The worst part of bad monetization models (namely those where gameplay-boosting items are premium-only) is when it's combined with power creep.

    I'll take Asphalt 8 as an example. It's actually a good arcade racer, it's free-to-play, and most of the best vehicles are available to buy with regular currency… except it takes ages to get enough credits to get those cars without premium boosts, upgrading those cars is very expensive (and the premium card packs are not exactly reliable), and even if you manage to get everything ready on your top-tier car… a few months later, a new update launches and adds a better car that is somehow more expensive than the previous one.

  7. While it’s not FTP, Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion is a perfect example of something you’re happy to buy. It does exactly what it advertises, and more, and it does it all excellently. If something like the Octo Expansion released again, I would gladly pay for it.

  8. As a player i feel like paying and playing SHOULD be 2 different experiences, let the player enjoy the game without putting any of the monetization in their face and then they will reward you.
    Otherwise you are just making a scumy game that ppl will be driven away from just by looking at it

  9. Curious im working on a Free to play Pixel type game where its a autoplay game and you update your adventure or party with equipment you find and pretty much they go through dungeons for you and collect anything they find so when you return you can fit them up, In what way could i add paid items without hurting the free players? im really stuck for ideas

  10. So, I play a game on Roblox called Elemental Battlegrounds… I think it kinda does the F2P kinda Nicley.

    When I started out(or atleast started playing Survival mode) I felt like it was nice to not have into monetization and play the game like a 0 budget person or just a little kid would. Felt cool to try and match up with the level 200 Players with Thier OP movesets and combos With what I could make.

    But then it felt pretty nice to have bought some Gems in the end. I know feel like I have a even better chance. I got a bunch of new elements that allow much more inversive gameplay.

    I might be dumb, but Elemental Battlegrounds is a good example of a good F2P game.

  11. There are only two F2P games that I have spent money on. A Dragon connect three game and a 'Princess Marker' style VN.

    For the first one, I was right near the start of the game, like two islands in, and was already having a hard time figuring out where to put everything in my camp. I had too much stuff and not enough room, and I didn't have enough 'Dragon power' to clear the next lot of space. Especially with how many different dragon eggs I had but couldn't hatch. Then I remembered that there were three buy able islands at the bottom of the camp, for about $2-5, that not only gave you more space, but also gave you a mass of goodies, including rare items, gold and gems. I bought two of them, and it saved me many a head ache.

    For the VN game, there is lots of stuff, like outfits, extra romance options (Which feel to me like they were just taken out of the game for money), hair styles etc. but the prices are all wrong because they only show the US price, not the localised one. So whenever I think of buying one of them, I get slapped with a price tag twice as big as I was expecting. The only thing I let myself buy from this game, was the male main character. I'm still trying to decide if I'm happy with that, or angry that I gave these people any money at all.

  12. Sometimes the most stupid and ridiculous F2P design on paper, turns out to be a brilliant idea. I guess Money Bomb is like that.

  13. What I would like to see would be a paid item that increases the difficulty of the enemy you're going against, while giving more loot than normal.

    Like in an mmo, instead of grinding for 2 hours to get 100 rabbit skins, you can drop one of these on a rabbit in the overworld, it mutates into a mega-rabbit, and you have an impromptu boss fight for which the reward is 100 rabbit skins

    Something that makes things more fun, but is not necessarily required to get the same end result.

    It'd be especially useful for high-level players because, once they reach a certain point, collecting the items would be a matter of mindlessly clicking on anything that moves until they get what they want. However, if they were to pay, they could still have a challenge even though they're at the point where they're pretty much towering above everyone else.

    The only issue would be needing to make sure you don't make it feel like they have to use that particular item to have a challenge anymore. to which i'd probably respond by making the item only work on enemies 30 levels or lower than you and boosting them to "your level +10% of the difference between you and the enemy", while still having a normal level-appropriate challenge elsewhere in the world.

    So it's more of a "make grinding feel less like grinding" item than anything. Turn the "help me find 50 bull horns" fetch quest into a boss battle instead of "let's go destroy the cattle ranching industry"

  14. The reason I stopped playing Game of War is because I was forced to pay money to progress past base level 15. I haven’t seen that happen on other competing games I play (Guns of Glory). However, the developers of that game also constantly promote the bundles of in-game stuff they made.

  15. Look at Ea and try to buy anything else n gta/rockstar games, that why I stopped playing gta felt like a free to play

  16. World of Warships by Wargaming has an amazing free to play system.
    They have 10 established tiers of play, the tiers provide a nebulous guideline for each ship's matchmaking and overall stat spreads and capabilities.This helps keep power creep in check, and if you work hard enough you can unlock any ship in the tech tree.
    If you decide to pay some money you can get what is called premium account time which provides a global boost to all exp and resources earned through playing. It doesn't feel like cheating, and is a very appreciated boost in the grind. It's totally not mandatory, but it gives a real incentive to buy it, and you aren't really punished for not buying it.

    Second which is a little more controversial. They offer for sale, premium ships. These are unique ships that you can just outright purchase and play without having to grind or even really invest any time in the game. Which I know is a red flag, but hear me out. This game has quite the learning curve and is very skill dependent. So if a new player was to buy a tier 8 (which is as high as they go for regular purchase with real money) premium ship, they would suddenly be thrust into a very ruthless and unforgiving game where even the most basically skilled player can easily wreck this person.

    These premium ships are not instant I win buttons.
    They may have unique abilities or slightly improved stat spreads compared to their same class and same tier counterparts. But the main appeal for buying a premium ship is economic. Premium ships get the same economic benefits that purchasing a premium account gives, and it also stacks with an active premium account. Making playing a premium ship on a premium account a very efficient system for making long grinds seem much more comfortable. There are also no premium ships at tier 10. There are unique ships that have premium status at tier 10, but these are endgame rewards that can only be acquired through gameplay, and cannot be purchased.
    Additionally for every really good premium ship out there that might be perceived as having a distinct competitive advantage (and I will admit, it is there, as it is incentive to buy them) there are just as many tech tree ships that are just as good. Not all of them mind you, as some are meant to be obstacles to grinded past but every tier has its fair share of incredibly good ships be they free or premium. Diversity is this game's best friend as there are over 200 ships in the game currently.

    Additionally the grind-able regular tech tree ships can have a unique camouflage skin bought for a cheap price that essentially makes them into a premium ship economically. So there are a lot of options available to players. Do you like the idea of one off (but relatively pricy) purchases that stay with your account permanently. Or do you like more frequent and cheaper, more subscription fee style purchases that you can renew at any time. Either way you get the same thing, new experiences and economic bonuses.

  17. I can’t remember which game it was, maybe because of the issues it had, but I played a free to play cell phone game a few years back. The monetization scheme relied upon paying to reach the next level, but it only took me a few weeks to beat the game without paying my way through, and the only thing that made the game interesting was trying to beat the next goal. So basically I got a few weeks of fun, but if I had paid any money towards it, I would’ve spent the money on not having fun. Basically I could either play the game or pay for the game. The two were mutually exclusive. I think that’s a bad free to play model, especially as the game was so unmemorable that all that I remember about it is the one glaring flaw and the rest got lost in the world of generic mobile games.

  18. I love this video. Makes me remember playing mmo's and loving adventuring and making new friends. But ultimately because of the paying wall we seperate and can't play together.

  19. After feeling extorted to pay into so many F2P games, I no longer even really bother.
    That one with the ships or the tanks LOOKS like a lot of fun, but I'm soured because all those other F2P games also looked like fun, but they all turned out to be F2PP4F Free to play, pay for fun.
    Fuck 'em

  20. Hmmmm maybe online card games like hearth stone should change how packs work in there games. I think it should go like this, so you open a pack and it’s full of duds (or really bad cards) then there would be a trading market where you grab the cards you want to trade and exchange them for better cards so that way the millions and millions of commons get traded in for good card! That would give the player a big reward for getting the packs. I also think there would be deals on packs that haven’t been selling, and finally if you keep on spending money on the packs in one session then the game will bump up the chance of great cards and lower the chance of bad cards. Wow that was a lot.

  21. I think an example of a F2P game done right would be Town of Salem. I'm going to be focusing on Coven mode. Coven mode is just the normal game accept, a little more fun and, they made it at just the right price to where it's like buying a toy or something but, the big thing is that instead of Coven mode being the only way to have fun playing, they make the free game fun, too.

  22. i feel ninja kiwi did f2p well with bloons tower defense battles were theirs a premium thing wich gives you extra game modes but you can still play the game unhunderd without it

  23. The worst thing I've experienced is the super grindy type that, while letting you keep playing for free, it's WAY too grindy to the point of exhaustion, and once you pay, you're done. There's no middle ground, you either walk extremely slow and barely make progress or you pay and end the game.
    I just wish Mu Online had better design, I'm glad the fanbase creates new servers each month, higher chances of doing it right.

  24. I think wizard 101 is kind of a good example and a bad one.
    On one hand you can get through most of the first world and get about 20ish hours out of it(might be less than 20, but I was a stupid kid) before needing to pay for anything.
    But it literally just says “give us some cash to go to the next world”
    Which is a crappy literal pay wall, and just gives the finger to a free player.
    But a free player still gets a good experience that might make them want to unlock the next thing of content

  25. I guess most successful games focuses a lot on cosmetics than content itself. Apex, Fortnite, H1Z1, Warframe, etc. Unique designs and allowing the player to spend on cosmetics similar to buying a nice looking shirt that they saw in the short. Of course it doesn't affect gameplay, but I believe it improves the player's skill, because it feels like a "Man, I look cool. I think other people expect me to be good at this game". It's a psychological thing of me.

  26. The Blockheads used to be amazing. But then, in an update, people had to pay money for servers. The currency was being pirated, but after the update the game died.

  27. You're speaking to game designers with the expectation that they are like you – that they also love games. But the fact is, many people just churn out games to make money. They don't and never will care about the game, the customer, the impact on others. They just want an easy revenue stream so they design quick, crappy games and when one dies, they repeat with a slightly different skin. I love what you said, but this other type of developer is also the reality.

  28. Robocraft, before the lootbox disaster and other questionable decisions, had an interesting take on premium. You could buy premium time, which just doubled the experience and money gain after each map. But it also gave each other player a 5% bonus. So people who bought premium often felt appreciated, and people loved the promotion events where everyone got a few days free premium. It has an effect like those moneybombs I think.

  29. My problem with Free to Play is that I never want to pay for cosmetics, because they seem pointless to me. I also don’t want to pay for anything I could get by just playing. If a game makes me pay halfway through, I’d resent it. I like games where the paying is one-time. I’d rather just pay $60 right away for a good game, than a few bucks once and a while until it ads up on some stupid game.

  30. what about pay mechanics that are just there to circumvent grinding like in warframe for example? how and where do they fit in?

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