Tag Archives: F2P

WAR f2p… for a short time

Warhammer Online_115When I wrote about the closure of Warhammer Online, I complained about them not doing anything to say goodbye to the players. As a goodbye, Mythic has now reactivated all accounts and Warhammer Online is free to play until they shut it down on December 18. This is definitely a nice gesture. According to the official announcement, they will also add NPCs that will “power you up”. This is good, since you can’t really join the endgame (T4) unless your character isn’t only max level but also has a high renown rank. At least, if you want to be any competition to the players who’ve been around for ages.

Of course, I haven’t been able yet to get into my old account which is a shame. I would love to say goodbye to my characters. :) I am currently logged in with an account, but I have no idea which one it is. It might be the one I used after cancelling my sub as for quite some time, they let players try the first 10 levels of the game for free.

Patching seems to be very slow. So if you want to have a look at the game, better be patient.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (“What to play until GW2 releases”-edition)

Before we start with today’s Geekwatch, there’s some news about ArenaNet’s community managers: We apparently now have community managers tweeting during EU time and Rubi Bayer has joined as new community manager (she was previously working for Massively). It’s great to see them “expanding” and hopefully this means that Guild Wars 2 is closer than we dare to hope at the moment! ;) The funny thing is that I haven’t really noticed not having CMs tweet or report during EU times because Seattle is conveniently located timezone-wise. Or they just waited for all their big announcement until us EU folks were up anyway. Because so far, announcements came at some point during our afternoon or evening. Still, now we get to hear from them during our morning hours as well, maybe? ;)

But let’s continue with the actual posting. Today’s Geekwatch is about “free” games. And with “free”, I mean games that used to cost a monthly fee and which don’t anymore… to a certain extent at least. More and more seem to be converting nowadays which is great if you just want to check out game or two or if you want to bridge the time until Guild Wars 2 comes out.

Let’s start with MMOs that went f2p some time ago. You can just go to their official website, download the client and start playing:

Lord of the Rings Online went f2p quite some time ago. I’d recommend this if you’re a Tolkien fan (or just liked the films ^^). You get the starting areas plus a few after that for free (I know Lone-Lands are free now but I’m not sure about others). All other areas won’t have quests for you unless you buy those quest packs. You can still grind your way up to max level, though. The game’s “real money shop” now also offers armour with stats which is one of several reasons why I’ve fallen out of love with the game recently. Still, it is a pretty game and I love looking at the game’s screenshots. They also have interesting classes with good and fun mechanics. And I love the cosmetic system which lets you dress your character in one way while the character wears ugly armor with good stats on it. ;) If you want to read more about the game, go to this entry where I’ve previously compared Rift, WoW and Lotro.

Everquest II is a game I’ve just recently discovered for myself. And I was probably one of the last people to do so. ;) It’s definitely an “old game”. It was released in 2004 and it’s showing its age. Then again, the amount of stuff you get for free is great. The downside is that you can’t play all races or all classes for free. That’s kind of sad and made me actually spend money so I could play my cute little rat. But the housing in the game makes up for it. So much freedom (compared to Lotro which is the only other MMO I’ve ever really played that had housing) when it comes to how you want to decorate your house. Also, all quests are free. You just don’t get the last expansions – but you need to buy those in Lotro as well. ;)

Star Trek Online joined the f2p group this week. You get less character slots than subscribers (as in Lotro and EQ2 as well). STO is outstanding when it comes to the character creation (compared to Lotro an EQ2). Also, they have space combat which the other two, obviously, don’t have. As I said above with Lotro and Tolkien: If you’re a Star Trek fan, it’s worth checking out! The restrictions you get compared to subscribers also aren’t bad at all.

Champions Online, DCUO and City of Heroes: I’ll just throw those in because they’re all superhero MMOs and it seems they’re such a niche, they all go f2p one day. ;) City of Heroes is the oldest one, DCUO the newest. I liked the character creation in Champions Online the most (one thing Cryptic – the developers behind STO and Champions Online – can do very well is character customization, apparently ^^).

Aion EU will go free to play soonish. There’s no definite date yet as far as I know but it was said to become free to play in February. Once that happens, the game will not be published by NCSoft anymore. They will hand over the game to Gameforge. Important to note is that this is only the European version of Aion. The US American one stays with NCSoft (at least, as far as we know) and will still require a monthly sub. Still, if you’re interested in the game, why not check out the EU version once you can do so? As it’s not switched over to f2p, we can’t say much about the real money shop yet.

Guild Wars – Oh come on, you know I had to throw this in here now, didn’t you? ;) This is NOT a real free-to-play game. You actually have to buy the game first. But once you own it, you can play without any monthly subs. And I’ve seen all three campaigns plus the addon for 30€. So that’s not too bad. If you want to start playing the game and you don’t want to buy the complete edition (with all three campaigns – and either with or without the addon, depends on the version), I’d recommend “Nightfall” as I found this tutorial the best to follow. If you’re just interested in the world 250 years before Guild Wars 2, then you want to check out “Prophecies” (and later the addon “Eye of the North”). Stay away from Factions at the beginning because it’s not newbie-friendly (I felt lost in there and that was after I’d started a character in Nightfall and knew the basics ^^). It’s also not a real MMO. I guess “cooperative RPG” might fit better. Still, if you haven’t played it yet and are waiting for Guild Wars 2, why not check out its past? :)

World of Warcraft (European version), Warhammer Online and Rift Lite are still subscription-based. But all three games offer “unlimited trials”. Which means that you can play a portion of the game for free and don’t have a time limit. WoW and Rift both give you 20 levels of gameplay. Once you’ve reached level 20 with your character, you can’t advance it any further unless you pay. In WAR, it’s the first 10 levels, I think.

11 games to choose from. Even if each of those only entertained you for a month, this could last until the very end of 2012. And we know that GW2 will be released this year… ;)

Edit: I was just reminded that there’s also Fallen Earth. Now I know that I can’t list every single game that exists but this list should’ve been one of games that I at least tried out (and liked ^^) and I even played Fallen Earth for a few weeks (which is… well… a bit more than just trying it out)! The crafting is what makes this game stand out as the best items are craftable. Also, it’s set in a kind of post-apocalyptic USA (or very tiny parts of it). There also weren’t any bad restrictions. I just found the combat itself a bit clunky. Still, it’s nice to have a non-standard settings for once.

New home in EQ2

I’ve found a new home – for now. It’s been quite some time since a game caught my interest as much as Everquest 2 does right now. Yes, I know, it’s ooooold. And the graphics aren’t up-to-date anymore. And there are bugs… even though the game is ooooold. And while it is free to play now, the system still sucks at times (I can buy stuff from the AH but I have to pay real money for each item I want to sell on the AH. No, thanks).

But… but… it’s fun! And there are things that I don’t get. And there’s stuff to explore. And there’s crafting. And then I saw the housing. And with that, it had sucked me into its world completely. ;) So here you go. I’ve said goodbye to Lotro (for the time being… I have no idea if I’ll go back or not) and am playing EQ2 (and STO) in my free time. Of course, this is also just me waiting for Guild Wars 2 to come out. But that one won’t have housing either which is a shame. I like decorating houses and collecting all the items that I could put into a house. That’s the main reason I ever started playing Restaurant City on Facebook. *cough* Decorating your restaurant is fun! ;)

In other news, up until now if you hadn’t been a wordpress user and logged into wordpress, you probably saw ads in our entries every now and then. I have no idea how often they appeared but I know that I saw them a few times when I wasn’t logged in and it always bugged me. When we started our blog, we decided that we’d never want to have ads in our blog. We don’t want to earn any money from it. Blogging and sharing our opinions about stuff is what we like doing. We don’t want to do it for any money. Now, of course, hosting the blog on wordpress means that they have expenses and thus, them putting ads on our blog is perfectly alright. But they also give you the option to disable them and that’s what we did now. ;) We enjoy the hosting service otherwise and want to keep our blog here. But we’re happier without ads even though we weren’t the ones seeing them. ;) So, happy ad-free reading! :oD

First Impressions: Hello Kitty Online

Here it is, the “special MMO” I’ve mentioned some time ago. I’d actually played the tutorial several months ago but recently went back and played through it again. This has a specific reason: My co-worker loves everything Hello Kitty and I was reminded of this MMO. So this “first impressions review” is dedicated to her because she’s awesome and working with her has so far been a lot of fun! :) (And when you consider her love for pink (rosa!) – and my love for dark colours, she brightens my life? ^^).

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I first heard of Hello Kitty Online in Warhammer Online. It was mentioned in the same way that people called others “carebears”. “Go play Hello Kitty Online!” – I thought that was just a joke but decided to google it as some point and was… shocked to see that this game actually exists. ;) So of course, I had to check it out. I hadn’t taken any screenshots, though. So I went back on New Year’s Day (it was a boring and rainy day… ^^) and now I’m here with lots and lots of screenshots. Muahaha. ;)

But let’s start at the beginning: What is Hello Kitty Online? As I already said, it’s an MMO. You can find the website here where you can download the client (close to 4GB if you’re interested). The game is “free to play”, so you can jump right into the action. Of course, it comes with a shop (“item mall”). The good thing first: I didn’t notice its existence in the game at all! No huge button that you always stumble over, no big pop up window in your face, etc. Let’s get away from the “real money transactions”. That’s not what I tested, after all. I did actually manage to play through the tutorial and then walk around the Dream Carnival for a bit. Now what did I experience, you may ask yourself. Colours. Lots and lots of colours. Pink, most of all. I guess that’s the biggest difference between Hello Kitty Online and all those other MMOs that I’m playing or have played. HKO is pink. Not just pink… it’s PINK! With lots of other pastels in between.

What can you do in Hello Kitty Online? It seems to have what the other MMOs have as well. You have a world that you can walk around in (though I only saw the tutorial, the Dream Carnival and some other region whose name I don’t remember), you have items and an inventory. You apparently also have housing (I only met those Boa Constructors that told me about housssses, but haven’t seen anything else). And there is also combat! Yes, combat in Hello Kitty Online. But it’s not the way you might think. Again, I’ve only played the tutorial. But I got to whack some bad monster who wanted to drain my energy. It was actually just auto-attacking the monster (a star-shaped something) and then… it fell asleep. Yes, you read that right: You hit monsters until they fall asleep! Isn’t this cute? (^_^) By the way, the thumbnails of the screenshots might look identical but they’re not. The one on the left shows me right during the combat with the tutorial page saying what I need to do and the one on the right shows me right after combat (with the tutorial telling me how I lost lots of energy while I actually didn’t!).

There are also minigames that you can play. Nothing too exciting, though. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take screenshots while playing them. Anyway, this is just a very short “first impressions” review because while the game played flawlessly and I didn’t notice any bugs etc., it’s just really not my cup of tea. Hello Kitty is cute and all but that was way too much pink for my liking! ;) I probably wouldn’t have any problems letting my kid play that game once in a while though (if I had one… ^^). I now do understand, however, why people might use “Hello Kitty Online” as an equivalent to the all-too-common “carebear” (which I loved as a kid, by the way). There’s just no violence in Hello Kitty Online. We just love our colours and help others overcome their sleeping problems. ;)

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (January 14, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^).The first Bookahneer’s Geekwatch this year starts with some Guild Wars 2 “news”. Tivac, a web developer at ArenaNet, answered a few questions in several forums. The summary can be found on Reddit. The first closed beta phase is over.

Then there was an interview with Angel Leigh McCoy who’s a writer and game designer for Guild Wars 2. I’ll just leave the most important quotation here although the rest of the interview is also interesting if you want to know more about her and her work.
“What I can tell you is that we’re currently in Closed Beta and planning has begun for an Open Beta. It’s all extremely exciting, and the game is coming along smashingly. It really is like magic when it all starts coming together and you see what an enormous accomplishment you’ve contributed to.”

Last but not least, GuildWars Insider has an interview with Ree Soesbee. I love seeing her talk about the game (though here, you either have a transcript of the interview or you can listen to it). Her eyes start to shine brighter than her hair (I love her hair colour ^^). It’s just great seeing people talk with such passion!

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Now, on to something less fun. Turbine disappoints me once again. The story can be found on Massively: Lotro will soon start selling (low level) gear in their real-money-shop that has stats on it. Even though they said that they’re not going to do that! It’s the principle here more than anything that annoys me. And the explanation is that they had feedback from players saying that there’s not enough low level armor in the AH and they want more options. As I commented on Massively: Why not add more rewards for tasks, skirmishes, quests, etc.? Why not look at why the AH economy is the way it is and do something to promote it? Why is the only solution nowadays putting something into their shop? Ah yes, money. -.- If only I could see it getting reinvested into the game. I’d even have an idea: Hire more voice actors. ;) Casual Stroll to Mordor has a poll about the players’ reception. Participate if you care about this topic. Maybe Turbine will have a look at it.

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SOE has partnered with ProSiebenSat.1 to distribute their games exclusively in Europe. “Their games” include Everquest, Everquest 2, the upcoming new Everquest, DCUO and others. But I didn’t see Vanguard in that list. Here is the announcement from the other side (that is, from ProSiebenSat.1). Not much is known so far. There are lots of questions and worries, of course. I also saw the rumour that this means IP bans for European players. We shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, obviously. But I really dislike the lack of answers and information here. You can’t make such an announcement and not have any more information ready for your players!

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And the last things for today: Star Trek Online will officially go free to play on January 17. Here is the feature matrix. Former subscribers were already allowed back in. I created a new character and have been enjoying myself, even though I haven’t done much yet. Unfortunately, free players can’t access player-made missions (the foundry) at the moment. I hope they’ll fix this soon because I really liked those.

The European version of Aion will go free to play soon as well. For that, NCSoft gives the game to Gameforge. Look here for its feature matrix.

All in all, I guess we have lots of games to choose from without having to pay while waiting for Guild Wars 2. No need to play any other MMOs that still require you to pay every month. *coughcough* ;)