Pirates of the Burning Sea going F2P. Yarrrrrrr

Nothing major, just figured I didn’t want to go over a week with no new post.

As reported by Figit, another semi-popular MMO, Pirates of the Burning Sea, is planning on goin F2P soon. While the honchos haven’t revealed any specifics, they have given us the ever elusive “Soon”. The game currently has a 14 day free-trial, and one I’m very tempted to give a go. I mean. I love MMOs, and I love Pirates. I just don’t love multiple subscription fees.

It’s an interesting announcement to come after my babble on whether or not F2P games will become a new standard. PotBS joins a long list of popular titles going the F2P route, like LotR and Eve, and several other MMOs that started out that way. Every time another game joins the ranks, it convinces me more and more that this future Gaming Utopia of F2P, optional pay will be realized sooner rather than later.

The most interesting part of this was reading up on Rusty William’s Dev Blog post on why they decided to go ahead with this change. He gives a few solid points on why it makes sense to do, and something I think lots of developers with sub-based games should consider if their numbers are falling:

With a subscription, there’s only one price, whether you like to log in occasionally on the weekends to do a few missions with friends, or if you’re the kind of player who calls in to work sick to make sure you’re ready for an important port battle. The more fun the game is, the better the model works

This couldn’t be more true and sums up in one line what I tried to say in my wall of text.
I feel with so many large-scale MMOs that are sub-based dominating the market, it must be extremely difficult for new titles to emerge and convince players to pay. On the flip side, if they have a basic F2P format with the option for subscriptions with premium content, their changes of success rise.

While I know us “real” gamers hate to include social gaming like Farmville in the MMO mix, we do have them to thank for this surge in popularity of F2P, Optional Pay model that will make many quality games more accessible to players.

Rusty goes on to say:

.. in the modern MMO environment, players often rotate through several games that they’re engaged in. With a subscription, it’s a hassle to cancel and then re-subscribe as they move back and forth between games. With F2P, players can play the games they want to play right that moment without having to keep in mind what they committed to weeks or months ago.

Another hugely valid point.

It makes me wonder once GW2 comes out (assuming it’s as good as we’re all hoping), they will really set a high bar for F2P and MMO genre that might almost force other games to submit as well.

I also feel that Blizzard should make Vanilla WoW F2P. It would make complete sense, with Cataclysm streamlining the early leveling experience and bringing all the high level characters back to the motherlands. This would be the perfect time to let the 1-60 world be open to all.

AntiLurk Q&A: What games would you like to see drop subscription fees? Would you be willing to subscribe to an optional membership to support them? What do you think of “premium” service and memberships on MMOs?

  • It’s free to play now. I’ve already played a few hours today and it’s was kinda interesting. The graphics are nice and the missions are not too hard to complete. My character is only at level 5 right now though.