Tobold's Blog
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Buying blindly

One reason why I am okay with the Free2Play business model is because I trust myself to handle it intelligently. I'm never going to spend thousands on a game, and if I end up paying as much for a "free" game as a full-price game would cost it was because I got as much enjoyment out of the game, or even more than I get from a full-price game. My buing decisions are informed, and commensurate to what I am getting out of the game. The key point is that I can start playing for free, and see whether I like the game, and gain a good estimate of the value of any virtual goods or services before I buy them.

Via the launcher I received yesterday an offer by Blizzard to buy the $40 founder's pack for Heroes of the Storm. This is exactly the opposite of what I am describing above: I need to pay first to get beta access to the game, and I have absolutely no idea of the in-game value of the heroes, skins, and gold that is contained in the pack. I don't even know if I will like the game.

The best I can say about this offer is that it isn't quite as outrageously priced as some other founder's packs I have seen, and that I have more confidence in Blizzard to actually deliver a polished game in the end than I have in some of the other companies offering those deals. Some people already spent hundreds of dollars on Star Citizen. If that game fails to deliver on the hype, which given the high level of hype is nearly certain, some people will be severely disappointed and regretful.

Pre-purchase plans are bad enough, paying before the game comes out and you could read the reviews. But at least I've seen many pre-purchase offers on Steam where you could either get a discount for pre-purchasing or some other added value. In the case of Heroes of the Storm I am asked to pay $40 now for a game that will be free on release. I much prefer playing the game on release, when it is also in a more finished state. I'd rather miss out of some "exclusive" skin, or pay a bit more later, after having made sure that what is on offer is exactly what I need. I think buying games blindly is a bad idea, and buying virtual goods and services of a Free2Play game blindly without having first played the game is an even worse idea.

To be fair, you are not "asked" to pay $40 for a F2P game. What Blizzard asks is your money to access exclusive content (closed beta) long before anyone else can play the complete game.

At the same time, you get something in return: you play before others and you get some ingame gold, items/skins, whatever.

It's all about hype and desire to play a game as soon as possible. It's a special ticket for those who can't wait, thats' all.

So far I think they're doing a pretty good job. I've got a free alpha code back in time and I must say the game seems quite fun. I am not a moba player but I may be interested in this simplified version.
Additionally, alpha/closed beta keys to hots were being sold for rather high prices (no idea if it was legal or not, I got an alpha invite so never looked at it), and this closed beta for sale thing also stops those things
It's not a beta. It is a soft launch. As such I have no issue with people paying early to get a head start, especially since you can get in without making a purchase (although you might need some patience that way).

The founders bundle is identical to the $40 battle bundle which has been available in-game for several months. What would annoy me is that the battle bundle is current on-sale at a 40% discount.
Tobold, you said that
"I'm never going to spend thousands on a game"

Didn't you spend around $1,000 per year for a decade on Magic: the Gathering?
@Dàchéng: In that sentence I was talking about Free2Play games, and Magic the Gathering doesn't qualify at all.

I'm not even sure if you can say that I spent the money "on a game". It was more like spending the money on a lifestyle during a whole decade, which included going to tournaments and the like. I got some of the money back when I sold my physical cards, something I never managed with virtual cards from MtGO or other virtual goods in online games.
How is this different from buying a normal game sight-unseen? Or do you only buy games after you've played a trial version?

Just because Heroes has the "F2P" label, I don't think changes anything. It's essentially a Buy2Play game at this point, which will go Free in a couple months.
Your post pretty much sums up my thoughts on Everquest landmark.
If you had a Magic Online collection of value similar to your physical collection then you would have been able to cash out in the exact same way. Probably even easier since finding a collection buyer online is trivial no matter where you live, and you wouldn't need to find cards and haggle about condition and the like.

I sold my Magic Online collection for ~$2200 a few years ago. Recently I sold a mox for $65.

The best part is it isn't even against the rules in theory. Wizards is fine with people buying and selling cards/collections.
Yea, but how how much time and resource do you waste on a f2p game before you realise its P2w(archeage).

I was burned too hard with AA, and I will NEVER play a 'f2p'game again.
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