Hell yes, I am in a ranting mood, but I am just really pissed how companies now are abusing the term “Free-to-Play”. Ok, Asian grinders will require folks to buy tons of upgrade items to survive the end-game, but at least players are able to enjoy the full content, right? Enter Sony Online Entertainment’s Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, which is going “Free-to-Play” on the 14th.
No, it really is just that “Freemium” gimmick, with tons of restrictions (classes, races, maps) similar to a couple of games. Ok, fair enough, since there were a couple of previous examples. Now, how about also limiting the number of uncommon and rarer items for the Free-to-Play players? And also charging more for cash items, more for sending in-game mail and also paying more for using the broker system. Is this even “Free-to-Play”? The term was already “dirty” to some, I have no doubts it is about to get worse.
1. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes requires an internet connection (which you are responsible for) in order to play. Regardless of your account access level, Free or Gold, all optional content from the in-game Marketplace requires a purchase. Gold Membership is available for $14.99 USD per month.
2. The six free races included with Free Membership are: Thestran, Halfling, Kojani, Half-Elf, Qaliathari, and Mordebi. (out of 19 races)
3. All classes are playable for Free members up until Level 20. After Level 20, the seven free classes included with Free Membership are: Warrior, Rogue, Monk , Cleric, Disciple, Sorcerer and Necromancer. (out of 15 classes)
4. Uncommon and higher will have limited availability for Free members. (means lesser quality items drop)
5. Free players will be able to sell items in the Broker system, but at a higher cost than Gold Members.
6. Free players will be able to send and receive mail, but at a higher cost than Gold Members.
7. Free accounts will receive customer service to resolve real money transaction based issues only. Support for other gameplay and performance issues is available at the online knowledge base.
Free-to-Play was always about giving players access to full content, while making the progression curve much steeper reaching the higher levels (which will need cash items for the easy way out). This is a business after all, I can’t really blame companies trying to milk profits from the upper tier players. The full access to content will make players decide if they are willing to pay for cash items, or even subscribe to a monthly fee in this case. Why restrict so much content only to piss players off?
Yes, Sony Online Entertainment will probably get shit loads of curious players come 14th August, but how many players will actually decide to pay for the full game with various features unavailable and the item restrictions? Shouldn’t the game somehow make players feel “powerful” enough to give them the positive mentality they will succeed in the game long-term and therefore commit? I am not sure what SOE is cooking, but according to the Vanguard forums threads (1 example here), folks aren’t really happy as well.