Friday, 8 October 2010

fridays musing- free to play in eve?

Morning guys,
If your looking for any for of action this morning this post contains NONE.

I have spent my Friday morning the way I often do, reading google reader at work catching up on all the comings and goings. Now my google reader account is totally filled with eve blog's (hundreds of em), but also a few of the larger sites/blogs like kill ten rats, massively and ten ton hammer ect, which let me know what’s going on in the MMO world as a whole. And as anyone not living in the most remote wormhole will know, many MMO’s old and new are adopting a free-to-play business model.
Now the free-to-play thing is false advertising in my eyes as it really means we will have a real money store where you buy things you need to progress through the game. In eve terms it would be like a indefinite trial period, you cant move money around or fly anything bigger than a cruiser or train half the skills but you can “play”.
For a while now I have been looking at these business models and thinking if they could be applied to eve if CCP got greedy, and they probably could in a whole bunch of ways. the most money grabbing would be to charge for ships, say 20p for a frigate, 50p for a cruiser, £1 for a battlecruiser ect, and at the rate ships are destroyed you could garuntee a fantastic turn over of revenue.
The slightly less gready way would be to charge for skills, a pound or two for each skill would again see a fair turn over of profit but would be far less regular, and would I think lead to having far more specific specialised character’s in eve.

Now I am really off the opinion that I DO NOT want eve to go to a free-to-play model. For one thing it tends to lead to far more assholes in game, secondly I don’t like people trying to grab my money in a stealthy way..if they want £100 a year from me id rather they just say that, it allows me to budget for it with ease, and its easy to judge if the enjoyment of the game is worth that.
Now taking all that into account I don’t think eve could go to a free to play model for 1 reason, most items in eve already have a real money value. Because of the plex system (which I like) we have a real money value for isk. If you can buy 2 x30 day plex for £25, and sell them in game for 500-600m isk (roughly) then 1 million isk is around 5p.
So now every item in eve already has a real money value, including things like titans which are valued at thousands. To introduce a real money shop would either, devalue every item in eve massively, or you would have items that most people could not afford without some major savings, can you imagine the conversation “honey that 4 grand we had put by for a holiday this year..i’m buying a titan with it on eve instead” or “mum can I have an advance on my pocket money this week I need £200 for a command ship”.

Would you guys like eve to go free-to-play? have you got any thoughts or experience with this? id be interested to know.