Misnomer: (noun) – 2 a : a use of a wrong or inappropriate name b : a wrong name or inappropriate designation.
Is Lord of the Rings Online going Free-to-Play (F2P)? I’ve seen a lot of debate around the ‘sphere and re-amplified by the latest Spouse Aggro podcast on how to define F2P MMOs. Those that prefer the narrow definition seem to say that F2P games will not bar content by requiring purchase, and the business model works because players buy extras in the cash shops. A slightly broader definition lumps games that sell content into F2P. However, then it becomes a question of degree.
Dungeons and Dragons Online sells dungeon packs for buyable cash shop points, and players can also grind out the cash shop points in game to get most of the content. Wizard 101, on the other hand, sells content zones, but there is no way to play those zones unless the player subscribes or buys the zone. Instead of F2P, Wizard 101 could be considered to have a endless demo like the subscription MMO Warhammer Online.
Finally, the broadest definition of F2P is an MMO where a time-based subscription is not required to play. This is how I mostly define F2P games. I find it too wishy-washy to find a degree where one game becomes F2P based on available content. I think it is irrelevant on whether content (e.g., zones, quests, etc.) is available for purchase because it seems that ultimately a F2P game in the narrowest sense will bar content somehow. See, for example, Allods Online’s requirement to buy items in order to PvP.
In my mind, I buy some tangible item like a mission pack, a campaign, or better armor, and I am free to play the game whenever I want. I don’t have to worry about whether I have timely paid for access when I feel like firing the game up. For me, this is the essence of F2P. What defines F2P for you?
“what” ain’t no country I ever heard of!