Lets start the week with a controversial opinion piece about free to play MMORPGs. Which of the lot has the most restrictive F2P system? When the free model became popular in the industry, many sung its praises, claiming that this model is the way forward. Today, plenty of MMOs including AAA titles use this model. But we have come to learn then as long as the F2P tag exists on an MMO, there is always a catch.
Myself, the MMOsWorld team and I’m very sure our readers have all played a bunch of F2P titles. In fact some of us still do on a weekly basis. But what form of restrictions takes the cake when it comes to choking free players from truly experiencing the game? Which MMORPG we’ve tried to play but it left us feeling so frustrated that we rage quit? Start leaving your comments in the comment section below!
The Most Restrictive F2P MMO: Star Wars the Old Republic
Anyone else jumped in joy the moment you heard that SWTOR was going free to play? Not only could you take up the roles of Jedi and Sith in the SW universe without paying, we could also enjoy the masterfully crafted Bioware class stories. The gameplay was solid, offering hours of questing fun in the various planets that are staples in the Star Wars universe. The game is filled with complex characters and companions that lends credence to the storytelling. It was an amazing experience as a subscriber.
And that’s where the plaudits stop. Because as a free to play player, SWTOR’s restrictions severely punishes you for not considering throwing them money on a monthly basis. Let’s start with the worst offender. Want an extra UI element, lets say, adding another hotbar for skills? Pay. How about turning on titles or hiding your helmet cosmetics? Pay. Want to use end-game gear, hold more Credits or use your Cargo Hold? Guess what, pay. This is just the tip of the ice berg, and there’s many more restrictions that just turns away new players from that MMO experience. I have personally played as both sides, subscriber and F2P. I have never seen an MMO rub it in player’s faces as much as SWTOR has, and they don’t even care all these years later. This MMO definitely takes the cake as the most restrictive F2P model ever in an MMORPG.
Comparing Business Models
A lot of players will also argue that high praise games like Guild Wars 2 – which has now made the core game free – is no different. Guild Wars 2’s base game is fully accessible, allowing new players to experience world events, dungeons and all stories up to the expansion. Heart of Thorns requires a purchase, and once owned, all restrictions are lifted. The base GW2 does have limitations for new players, that much is true. You can’t access mails and Trading Posts for example, but you also can’t compare that to a true free to play game like Star Wars the old Republic. Guild Wars 2 started and still is using a different business model, the buy to play system. One purchase is all you need to get rid of the restrictions, and even then, those aren’t restrictions that’ll make you pull your hair out. Thus, that argument is moot.
Other MMOs that are closer to SWTOR like The Lord of the Rings Online or Archeage would be a better fit. The former could be called the pioneer of F2P at the turn of the decade, dropping the subscription only based model for free to play. While it may not dime and nickel as much as SWTOR, there are a quite a few restrictions too. There’s a gold cap, Auction House posting limit and content that’s locked behind a pay wall. Ultimately, it’s how much restriction and the level of severity that we’re here to judge.
The verdict now lies on you, readers. What in your opinion is the most restrictive free to play MMO you’ve played? Let us know!