Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

F2P and I still can’t Play Casually

One often praised advantage of so-called free-to-play games is that you get to play sporadically without having to worry about wasting a subscription when you are not playing. Does this actually work for people in MMOs though? Ever since LotRO went F2P I plan to drop in and finally experience all those praise-worthy parts of the game that I never got to see back when I still had a subscription. I haven’t seen the content of the expansions I’ve bought yet and I even have a sizeable amount of points I could spend in the store. Great conditions, one would think. Except that I don’t log in casually.

This is somewhat connected to my issue of getting back into games. I simply can’t play an hour or two of LotRO and then drop back in next month for another session. In the mean while I will not only have forgotten how to play my characters, but also at which point in the story I am, what my future goals were, what I’m looking to craft etc, etc. In short, each time I log into LotRO I’m lost and have to spend time getting back on track. Even then chances are good that I do rather irrelevant and boring content because that is the more obvious one to find.

I did quests around the Forsaken Inn the last three times I logged into the game, only recognizing that I kept doing repeatable quests that would lead me nowhere the third time around. My inventory is full of crafting stuff that I don’t really feel like taking care of during the few hours I’m in the game. Nor do I sell anything at the auction house.

A lot of MMO features simply don’t seem to lend themselves towards sporadic gaming as they are designed with focused subscription game play in mind. Now, this might be different at maximum level for example where you log in and hop into a dungeon run, skirmish, or do some PvP. The leveling game is hard to digest in small spaced out chunks though.

This does not necessarily reflect badly on the concept of F2P games, but at least for me it means that F2P MMOs are no better for this kind of casual play than subscription games. I could toughen up and simply spend some serious time in LotRO whether or not I’m paying a subscription, but not paying one doesn’t save me from having to do that. A shame, I read so many good things about LotRO that I won’t ever see at this pace.


  • You’ll see the same thing in a Final Fantasy offline game or an Elder Scrolls game. Take a two month break and then try to pick up where you were without a little muscle memory loss or mental skips. Seems to me to be inevitable in any game that has story chains and a wealth of things to do. Hmph, I’ll even get lost coming back to something like Gyromancer, where the story is only rudimentary. Just getting used to the gameplay and maps again takes a bit of time.

    I guess that’s one trouble with playing as many different games as I do. …I also don’t “finish” many, but maybe that’s another topic.
    Tesh´s last blog post ..Akimi Village

  • Agreed, yet the same isn’t true for Civilization, Portal, noncompetitive Starcraft 2, Diablo 2, Magic Online, or League of Legends. MMORPGs are not alone with this problem, but most (if not all) of them have it.
    scrusi´s last blog post ..League of Legends as a Spectator Sport